Saturday, July 29, 2006

On the {lighter} side...

For the last few


I have been wondering........

what do I have to do

tO gEt 22 CoMmEnTs

on a post about

knitting or household tips or recipes??

Friday, July 28, 2006

Response to Random Thoughts on Homeschooling

Dear Blog,

I hope you "anonymous" (and not so anonymous) readers are still out there so you can read this post. I was very saddened to read your comments, my entire spirit was grieved actually, not because I regret making that post, but because it was not received as intended. If you really know me at all, you would know that I would not personally attack anyone or maliciously hurt anyone intentionally. A few of the readers realized this and they don’t even really know me!! And if you are someone I know in “real” life and you still interpreted my post in such a malicious way, then you must not know me all that well. I love and pray for all my friends (and strangers) and really care for people. I would NOT choose not to love or not like someone based solely on one of their life decisions. I care for all sorts of people in my life: Christians & non-Christians, single moms, divorcees, home and public schoolers alike.
With that said, I would like to restate that my post was in response to articles on anti-homeschooling sentiment which I mentioned. I was basically trying to process through reasons why a Christian might not choose to homeschool. I did say that there may be reasons other than the main ones I listed. I did NOT say that these are the ONLY reasons why a Christian would not choose to homeschool. And although your comments were quite expressive to say the least, they really did not give any concrete reasons as to why you are not choosing to homeschool (!), other than some references to using your children as God's light and public school being the "best option" for your family. I really want to understand other positions on this issue. *Please hear my sincerity here.* Unfortunately since no one has concretely explained why public school is the "best option" for them, I am no further along in my journey of understanding than I was before I posted.
In direct response to some of your comments:

  • Yes, Jesus did learn at the temple, but He was closer to the age of 12, not 5 years old. Also, the temple was run by God-believing people, unlike our current public school system.

“And when He was twelve years old....Now it was after three days they found Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.” –Luke 2:42-47

  • Yes, I was a Christian for a short time in public school, as I began believing in my early high school years. And no, it was not easy. There are things I regret doing to this day. I also know many public schooled Christians who made regretful decisions during their schooling years as well. (This is not to say that a homeschooled child wouldn't make poor choices as well. You just asked me if it was easy.) I am thankful that during some of my early elementary years I went to a small private school. And unfortunately for children today, the public school experience is not like it was 20 years ago. God is only being removed further and further from the school system and being replaced with non-God honoring agendas. Perhaps you are not fully aware of what is going on in the public school system today, which might be another reason why you would choose public school. It could be that you don’t see any harm in sending your children there (for the last 5 years I have been thinking this very thought!!!!). I know maybe you are remembering your own school experience and thinking it wasn't so bad. There is so much information on the current state of public schools. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Here is just some quick information:
  1. Parents' rights stop once children enter public school doors
  2. Homosexual agenda in textbooks for grades K-12
  3. Humanistic Views in public schools
  4. Unnatural age division
  5. Failing Public School System
  6. Pledge ruled unconstitutional

I think one commenter stated that she wouldn’t go to a church that did not hold the same beliefs as she did, so why would she send her child to a school that did not teach the same things she believed as well? I am still wondering the same thing myself.

  • I do believe that the public schools need Christians and God's light, but in the form of Christian ADULTS, not children. Yes, Jesus spent time with tax collectors and prostitutes as an ADULT.

“Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age…” Luke 3:23

Before someone can be a light and witness to others, they must first be firm in their own foundation regarding what they believe. A child aged 5,6,7,8 will not be prepared to do so (at least none I have ever met). The purpose for homeschooling (especially if only in the early years) is for protection. I'm sure as a loving Christian parent you most likely do not allow your children to watch R-rated movies or play violent video games. Why? Because you are trying to protect their tender hearts and minds until they are fully able to handle what is being thrown at them. Wouldn’t it be the same with public schooling?

  • For those "choosing" the path for your children to be witnesses, could you please point me to some Biblical references for this? (I am NOT being sarcastic here, I am honestly looking for answers.) I don't think this is something you can choose for someone else, but rather each individual must choose this for themselves. Maybe at some point, our children would choose public school for the purpose of witnessing to others, which we would discuss at that time. There are not, however, any instances that I am aware of in God's word where children are being used as missionaries.
  • I NEVER insinuated that someone would be SINNING by sending their kids to public school. I don't even think this is the case.

  • A short note on the issue of shelter: Isn’t the idea of parenting to SHELTER our kids? Don’t we want to protect them as much as possible from being exposed to things that may harm them? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about IGNORANCE here. I am not saying that I (we) should keep our kids in a cultural bubble (I think someone used the term “sterile” environment), unaware of what is lurking in the outside world. Sure they will know about the evils of the world, but do you have to experience something firsthand to know that it is an evil?

  • Yes, this is a public blog & we are all entitled to our own opinions. And after all, aren’t we all judgmental to some degree? Don’t we all take what someone else says and filter it through what we currently believe be true? I honestly didn’t realize that my post would be as inflammatory as it seems to be. I didn’t outright call anyone names or use any all-encompassing statements like, “All parents who send their children to public school are selfish.” By the way, the selfish sentiment is not just something I cooked up in my head. It is something that I’ve heard other moms say as to why they could never homeschool, as in, “I just don’t think I could handle having all my children home all day!!”

I don’t know if I said it before, but I will say it again, I was **NEVER** planning on homeschooling my kids!!! You can ask my husband (if you know him). He was always in favor of homeschooling & I always was from the line of thinking, “What could be so bad about public school? I went to public schools and I turned out okay.” It wasn’t like I’ve been planning on homeschooling for the last 5 years, since Tatiana was born. Honest. For the last 5 years, I have been in the same place where (it seems like) most of you are now, where I would just send the girls to public school while teaching them as much about God and infusing our home life with Christ's likeness as much as I could. I know some of you mentioned having prayed about your decision and I would assume that you have searched the Scriptures as I have. In case you were wondering, here are the verses in God’s Word that I can not get to fit in with the idea of public schooling (my fault for not having included them in my original post):

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” –Proverbs 9:10 I am taking this to mean that really all learning should begin with the fear of the Lord. We all could probably agree that in a public school setting, the Lord would be the last person that an education would begin with.

“He who walks with the wise becomes wiser still but the companion of fools suffers harm.” –Proverbs 13:20 I am talking "walking" here to mean "spending a significant amount of time with". There are many Scriptures regarding fools, spending time with fools, and what happens when you surround yourself with corrupt people.

“He who is not with Me is against me and He who does not gather with Me scatters.” –Luke 11:23 Public schools definitely are not silent about whether they are for or against God.

“…but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.” –Matthew 18:6 When I read this, I can not help but think that being in an environment that is so anti-God for so many hours of the day would cause a child to stumble. Maybe I am interpreting this verse incorrectly?

If you thought I was being judgmental, maybe you could review some of the comments and think about how it might feel on my side of the computer screen. Instead of flogging me for my point of view, could you help me to understand yours? Instead of using a vague term like "best option", could you lay out what factors make it {public school} the best option? Academically? Character development-wise? Spiritually? I am not so much saying to defend your choice as much as I am saying that if you disagree with something I said, perhaps you could enlighten me regarding another point of view. Give me some links or articles or information to read. Neither my heart or my mind are set in stone. If I am wrong, I am willing to admit it. I did say that I was feeling judgmental and "was working to overcome it". Adding harsh comments only has served to stir up more wrath. I would love for those that read my blog to enter into more of a dialogue with me. I welcome different opinions, but I do think we should be respectful as much as possible & I am deeply sorry if anyone felt disrespected in the first place. Maybe it would’ve been better to ask for clarification or ask questions about my position, instead of painting me out to be/think something that I am not. I will unfortunately have to moderate the comments (which I really do NOT want to do), if readers can NOT continue in a more conversational (as opposed to combative) manner. You could always start your own blog and post your own views, which I would love to read ;-)
Again, I sincerely apologize for anyone feeling personally attacked by the previous post. I NEVER intended to condemn or put down anyone. I really am motivated by love for children, a desire to understand people, and to uncover the truth. I am humbly asking for your forgiveness......


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Let there be pickets!

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither, apparently, was my fence. But finally, today, the first picket was screwed into place, followed by about 30 more. It is amazing to see it finally take shape. Rick's deadline is Saturday for fence completion, which, even he does not finish by then it will not be for lack of trying. So much of our free time has been spent in the yard. I can not wait to just be able and sit back and enjoy the scenery. No more icky weed garden. No more looking out the back at unsaid neighbor's unsightly fence. No more worrying about kiddos wandering into another person's yard. It will be so nice once we get the swingset in place & make a small firepit to enjoy on those brisk fall evenings. Can't wait to enjoy the smell of campfire in my OWN backyard. NICE. Maybe some of you faithful readers can join us sometime for some s'mores roasted over an open fire. I know that day is lurking out there somewhere in the future. As a famous Roman once said, "Brick by brick, my dear citizens, brick by brick."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Random Thoughts on Homeschooling

Dear Blog,

I've really enjoyed reading the blog over at the Homeschool Cafe. So much good stuff there. If you scroll down to the "Announcements" post on July 20th there are links to articles on anti-homeschool sentiment and why people have it. The one reason that I came away with about why more Christians don't homeschool is: FEAR. I *loved* the quote, "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't." In other words, most Christians probably would agree that public school is not the best source of education/character development that they could offer, but it is the one that they know and are familiar with and is widely accepted. This "evil" is much better than fearing the unknown entity called homeschooling. I would also have to agree that fear of failure plays into a Christian's mind as why NOT to homeschool. Fail how? You've already taught your child SO much. I would rather fail according to the world's standards and be right in the eyes of God than succeed according to the world, but fail God with the children He has entrusted to me. If you're reading some judgmentalism here, you're probably correct. I am trying to overcome my anti-"Christians who send their kids to public school" sentiment, but it is proving difficult. Another reason why I think Christians don't choose homeschooling is just down-right selfishness. They've been looking forward to some alone time for years. Their child turning 5 means they (the parent) are right around the corner from "sending them off". But who taught us to think that way? Why would we have children if we weren't planning on raising them ourselves? I'm sure there are some other reasons, but I think these are the main few. Others are just extensions of fear & selfishness. And honestly, I still experience a lot of these feelings and we haven't even "officially" begun homeschooling yet. I AM afraid of failing. I AM afraid of what other people will think. I AM afraid that some of my friends will think I'm weird. I AM feeling selfish, like "will I ever have a clean house with kids always at home?" But God keeps reminding me that there are more important things at stake here than a clean house and what other people will say. God has not called us, Christians, to a life of ease, but of holiness. He has not called us to be like the world (public school), which means that we will have to be different. It will be a mark of our faith when we make choices that others raise their eyebrows at. I am praying for those moms that are dear to my heart to choose their children over their fear. And I will continue to pray. Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now.............


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

How-to Reupholster an Ottoman

Glider Rocker Ottoman "before" (I had already reupholstered it once with a *cheap* thin fabric).................
This is fairly simple project for the beginning craftswoman. You can also omit the skirt if it seems too intimidating. This is a super way to dress up your nursery/child's room for not a lot of money. I believe this entire project cost me about $10-12, which bought me lots of impact.

Supplies Needed:
  • Staple gun
  • 24" decorator's fabric for top of ottoman (something on the heavier side, not a flimsy cotton)
  • 1 yd. contrasting fabric for skirt
  • sewing machine
Select portion of fabric to use for the top of ottoman. Cut away the extra width. I ironed out any wrinkles in my fabric. Place fabric on top of ottoman. Turn over ottoman and fabric together. Starting on one long side, gently pull fabric in the middle of that side and staple. Move to opposite side, pull fabric taught and staple in the middle. Continue in the same fashion for the short sides. Continue stapling around the sides, saving the corners for last. I try to neatly fold up the corners and staple. However you choose to do the corners, just be consistent. Measure from the bottom of the ottoman to the floor to determine the length of your skirt (will come up from the floor when you hem it). Cut your 1 yd. of fabric into 3-1 yd. long strips; the height of these strips will be the length of the skirt. Sew the three strips together into one really long strip. Hem the skirt using about 1/4" folded over twice (if you are a novice sewer, it will help if you iron the hem first, using a measuring tape as you go along to make a neat even hem). Hem both edges of the long strip. With the ottoman still turned over, begin at one corner with both edges of the skirt meeting here and staple. Gather the skirt as you go along, stapling the gathers to the bottom of the ottoman. You may want to find the middle of the skirt first and staple that to the diagonal corner from the edges you started with so you can better judge how much gathering you will need to do. I did have to pull out some of the staples and redistribute the gathers where they were uneven. Here is the after.....
I also made a cute coordinating pillow with a discontinued fabric swatch that I purchased for $1.99. I hot-glued on some furry boa trim that I had in my scrapbook stash.....

If you have any questions about this project, leave me a comment.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Adventures in Knitting: Introduction

I guess if you are one of my mom's group friends, you will probably disown me now. I'm sure you guys are way too cool to take up a hobby like this. Yup, knitting. I don't know where I got this idea from. I've been doing a LOT of home projects lately. I have sewn Tatiana three sundresses, reupholstered an ottoman, sewn pillowcases among other things. I guess the textile bug just came up and bit me & I thought, "I should try to learn how to knit". I didn't think I could actually do it. I checked out two books from the library, picked up some yarn and needles from the local WM and I was ready to learn. It seemed like trying to learn a foreign language! I found an awesome website {knittinghelp} that has lots of how-to videos. I just watched the knitting one about 20 times. I kept pausing, rewinding, playing, all the while having the needles in my hands, until I could get my hands to do what the video was showing. I practiced for the whole night, staying up until midnight. I figured I was ready for my first simple project. I picked a garter stitch (all knit stitches) baby hat from the book "Knitting for Baby". It took me about three days to complete. I even made my own pom-pon! There are several holes in it, due to dropped stitches, and I ended up with more stitches than when I originally cast-on, but I am trying to release my perfectionistic tendencies {this is almost as hard as learning to knit itself!}. Here is the finished project:

It fits Sienna perfectly. If you're interested in learning how to knit, I'd love to be your knitting buddy. More projects to follow!

Friday, July 14, 2006

BBLT Sandwich

Basil Bacon Lettuce Tomato Sandwich

This sandwich is very addictive. As the queen of variety, you know when I eat the SAME thing for lunch and dinner that it must be one serious recipe. Umm, and I do have to confess that not only did I eat this sandwich yesterday for lunch AND dinner, I ate it again for lunch today too. As Tatiana's favorite Wonderpets would say, "!!"

          • 2 slices of your favorite bread (I've been using 100% WW, but I bet a nice sourdough or white country bread would be superb
      • Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise (been tested by Cook's Illustrated magazine and found to be superior in taste tests, but go on ahead and use your favorite)
  • 3 slices turkey bacon (or regular bacon, more sinful, but yummy)
  • vine ripened or other flavorful tomato, sliced
  • about 6 medium sized fresh basil leaves
  • green-leaf lettuce
  • kosher salt
Toast bread to your liking. Cook bacon until crispy. Spread both sides of bread with mayonnaise. Layer on lettuce, bacon, basil, and tomato, salting the lettuce and tomato. Yup, it's that easy. Eat, letting the tomato juices drip all over your chin.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

I really am amazed at the ability of babies to learn sign language. It is great for their communication development. I started signing to Sienna when she was about 6 months old. I thought it would be a great way to help us understand each other before she could actually talk. I picked "milk" and "more" and just kept signing them over and over. By 9 months, she could sign milk and it wasn't too long after that that she could sign more. WOW. You really find it hard to believe until your child is actually doing it. Now besides milk & more, she can also sign (like diaper or clothes), change, apple, play, dog (one of her favorites), open, and today for the first time she signed grapes. I think she also tried signing cracker the other day too. I also sign cookie, cat, & drink for her which she has yet to do & also have started signing water. If you add to that waving bye-bye and shaking her pointed finger for NO, that comes to about 10 signs! I need to start signing some more outdoor signs, which I think she might pick up fairly quickly. There is a link in the sidebar if you're interested in learning more about signing for babies. Oh, and I how could I forget the most crucial sign in her entire repetoire.......EAT!