Striving to create a home strong in the foundations of love, respect, and God's truths ...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hearts for Home Blog Hop - October 31, 2013

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Introducing ... the Hearts for Home Blog Hop!  A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for this weekly link-up, which means that every Thursday you'll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post.  If you're a blogger, we'd love to have you link up your posts and join us.  You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.



Last week this post called Trusting God, Trusting My Husband ~ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Series was the most-clicked-on post.

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

Montessori Monday: Montessori-Inspired Continent Activities Using Replicas – Africa

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our 'Featured Blogger' buttons!  Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.



Hearts for Home Blog Hop
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Link up your family-friendly blog posts below. Please add our button to your post to link back to this one. Happy hopping!
Hearts for Home Blog Hop

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

GratiTuesday - What Is the Purpose of Life?


I was recently asked a question.  It's one I'm not qualified to answer, I've never studied, and I'm definitely not a theologian.  It is an important question for us each to consider, though, and it's something I've been thinking about for quite some time.

So here it is:  Apart from faith, what is the purpose of life?

My answer:  Nothing.  There IS NO purpose to life apart from our faith.  We are meant to live in communion and relationship with God.  We're just spinning our wheels if we try to do anything else.  

John 15:5 says “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."

We're to be with Him.  It's pointless to try to live any other way.  Empty.  Desolate.

So, then, what is our purpose WITH Him?

That's a whole lot harder, and again, I'm not a theologian.  There's something about carrying new life inside you that will make you think about these things, though, and so for eighteen months, while carrying each of our kids, and then for months afterwards, these were questions at the forefront of my mind.

I think there are lots of answers to that question.  The first and best answer is to read the Bible.  It details everything - our world, how God created it, what it's for, and where we're going.  The answers to our questions are there - not always laid out next to each other in modern English, but they're there.  

God promises that "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).  That's the prophet Jeremiah speaking to the Israelite captives in Babylon, but I think that applies to us, too.  Just a few sentences before, He promises that "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).

So, God has a plan.  Again, for great detail, read the Bible itself - it's the plan's handbook.  He has a plan and it's a good one.  If you choose to trust in His plan - think John 3:16 - then you can also trust Romans 8:28:  "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

That brings up four important points:
  1.  Ultimately, His plan is for those who love Him.  
  2. His plan is good.  We may not always understand it, we may not always be sure of our next steps, we might not like our current circumstances, and everything may feel as if it's going downhill - but the plan is good.  The destination is good.  The endgame will happen as God promises and despite the current craziness around you, it will be good in the end.
  3. We are called.  We're not living in a world full of crazies, with a few geniuses, a few nuts, and millions of minions punching the clock day to day.  Each one of us are a part of his plan.  He calls every single one of us.
  4. It's HIS purpose that we're talking about.  His plan.  His call for us.  We might have our own plans, our own desires, but life is going to be a lot happier if we stick with His.  Lest that sound depressing, remember - He wants a future for us and has a good plan for us.
So, what IS your calling?

I can't answer that.  I don't know you.  We each have our own.  

How do I know?  Because "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord" (1 Cor. 12:4-5).  

So we're gifted in different ways, and we can serve Him in different ways.  That means that I can be a teacher and you can be an artist and the guy down the street can run the grocery store and we all have an important purpose to Him.

But how is that spiritual? Because we need to eat.  We need to learn.  Because God is creative and gifts us differently.  Because doing our best at whatever we do can glorify Him.  

Why aren't we all Billy Grahams?  I must not be important because I stay home and scrub dishes all day. Because we're all a part of the plan, we must work together.  We're interactive.  This is a doozy, but it's good:

15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentableparts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:15 - 26
If nobody scrubbed the dishes, we'd live in smelly houses and all have constant food poisoning.  Scrubbing the dishes, then, is an important job.  It would be near to impossible for us to carry out His purpose if we lived with constantly volatile tummies.  So ....

None of us are more or less important than anyone else.  

Now that that's settled, to figure out your own personal calling, listen. Ask Him.  Pay attention to what you're good at.  Explore your interests and your likes, your strengths and your weaknesses. God isn't going to send you off to study art if you excel at math and spend all your time doing number puzzles and have never shown the slightest interest in color or form.  He knows what He's doing.  He's got a plan, remember?

So you can decipher your own personal calling - but if you're a parent, God describes exactly what part of your calling is, and it's worth some study:


And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. ~ Deut. 6:6-9
For the rest of the plan, read the Bible.  It's a fascinating plan, one with a scope of thousands of years, millions of people, and no detail left unturned - ever.  Reading the Chronological Daily Bible helped me see just how detailed and amazing God is.

Try it.  He'd love to share His plan with you.

Have you wondered what your calling or purpose is?  Have you figured it out?

Be sure to check out Stephanie's Inspired Wednesday post over at The Multi Taskin' Mom!


A Nest in the Rocks

 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

GratiTuesday - Tiny Hands


When your baby is first born you can't wait to count each finger and tiny toe.  You stroke them over and over, memorizing each roll, wrinkle, and dimple.

At first every motion he makes is automatic.  He reacts to reflexes, whether waking or sleeping, and every movement is jerky and quick.

Then he begins to grow.  Soon his gestures suit his personality.  The wrinkles roll out and the dimples settle in.  Fingertips widen until they no longer resemble infant hands but those of toddlers.

Still, it's difficult for him to control his movements.  He begins to be better at running and jumping but hand motions and movements still tend to be big and jerky.

Until one day they're not.  Suddenly he has better hand control, and those fingers look just a bit more like those belonging to a big kid.  He might start writing, coloring in the lines, playing ball, or ... gesturing.


My Little Man has a few very distinct gestures.  He's used them for several years now.  Nobody else in our family makes these exact same motions, and it's difficult to describe them.  I can see those small fingers flick in excitement, and I smile every time.  I know that God has programmed those fingers to move in that distinctive movement, and I know that if He can plan even those tiny things, then He'll take care of my Little Man.


The little boy attached to those fingers is growing up.  Someday he might not want to hold his mommy's hand  or show me his excitement with every finger flick and wave of his hand.

But for now, I'm going to enjoy every single one.  They're little gifts from God, reminding me both that He's in control and to make the most of every moment.

Including memorizing all the dimples.

For more GratiTuesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - October 27, 2013

I have no idea what we're going to eat this week as I type this.  Is that horrible?  We're running in a million different directions this week, so not only do we need simple meals, but also ones that will keep until everyone gets around to eating them.  

With that in mind, I'm trying to stay flexible for this week.  

Here's the {tentative} plan:

Breakfast:

Caramel Pumpkin Doughnut Hole (Muffins)
- scrambled eggs, juice, bananas


www.anestintherocks.blogspot.com

Cinnamon Almond Granola and fruit

Banana Bread

Dinner:


- Grilled chicken, tortellini, salad



- A chicken version of {Man-Friendly} Grilled Steak Salad

- Chili, salad

- Tacos, rice, chips 'n' salsa

- Rice & Bean Burritos, salads, grapes

- Leftovers   


We'd love to have time for a bit of fall baking, too.  We'll see how that works out.


What are you cooking this week?

For more Menu Plan Mondays, visit OrgJunkie.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Glittering Promises" by Lisa T. Bergren



 Lisa T. Bergren's popular Grand Tour series concludes as Cora Kensington journeys farther into Italy, wrestles with a terrible ultimatum from her father, and comes to terms with the Father who will never fail her.

America's newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are tracking the news story of the decade---"Copper Cora," the rags-to-riches girl---and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn't going to claim Will's heart, she might just 
try . . .

You won't want to miss the stunning conclusion to the Grand Tour series.  Full of intrigue and strategy, business and pleasure, this heartwrenching love story is the perfect ending to this trilogy.  I love the way that Bergren wraps up each detail and finishes out the story.  Although you think you know the ultimate romantic conclusion, Bergren keeps you guessing - and I never would've predicted the final players in the battle between 'good' and evil.'  

Cora has changed since the series began, and that is never as clear as it is in this final installment.  Her growth, faith, and confidence are unmatched as she moves forward to find what she wants.  I appreciate the way that she learns that her own goals are not only what matter - but but that ultimately God's ways are best.

As in the rest of the series, the history and descriptions of each Italian locale are completely stunning.  Although fascinating, Italy has never topped my list of 'top places to visit,' but Bergren just might have changed that.  I would love to visit the country vineyard and rest in the out-of-the-way hot springs.  I can't imagine more beautiful places from which to view God's creation.  

I'm not usually a huge fan of rich main characters.  Wealth, while it doesn't automatically bring happiness, can certainly pave the way to an easier, if not simpler, lifestyle.  That very trait is why I like Cora Diehl Kensington.  While she may be unimaginably rich, she did not grow up that way - and although she's not in danger of going hungry, she's certainly in more danger than many people can fathom.  She also doesn't let her money change her.  She continues to think of other people, to work hard, to care for those around her, and to love lavishly.  I think that she would be fun to spend time with - and she's certainly a lot of fun to read about.



Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.
Learn more about Lisa here:http://lisatawnbergren.com.

I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hearts for Home Blog Hop - October 24, 2013

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Introducing ... the Hearts for Home Blog Hop!  A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for this weekly link-up, which means that every Thursday you'll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post.  If you're a blogger, we'd love to have you link up your posts and join us.  You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.



Last week this post called My Daughter's Modest Monday at First Comes Love was the most-clicked-on post.

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

- How to Use American Girl to Study History

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our 'Featured Blogger' buttons!  Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.



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Link up your family-friendly blog posts below. Please add our button to your post to link back to this one. Happy hopping!
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Super Quick Tortilla Pizza



Sometimes you just don't have time to cook.

I like to cook.  Sometimes I even love to cook.  But since I seem to be surrounded by people who want to join sports teams and work hard at big projects and start their own businesses bi-weekly, I don't always have time to cook.

And yet everyone insists on eating many times each day.  Go figure.

So when schedules get really crazy, I look for something simple - and this is one of those simple meals.

It may not be the most gourmet of meals, but it's surprisingly tasty.  It's also easy to customize, quick to come together, and pretty healthy, too.  I serve this with whatever finger foods I have on hand - carrot sticks, grapes, sliced veggies, apples, etc.  With all that fiber on the side, it fills you up without leaving you as thirsty as take-out pizza would.

Here's how to make your own Super Quick Tortilla Pizza.

Ingredients:

  • tortillas (flour or wheat)
  • your favorite jarred pizza/spaghetti sauce
  • shredded cheese, any type - mozzarella, Mexican blend, Muenster, cheddar - be creative!
  • pizza toppings - pepperoni, onions, green peppers, etc.
  • powdered garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
  • crushed red pepper (optional)
Directions:
  1. Spread sauce on top of each tortilla.
  2. Sprinkle each pizza with basil.
  3. Top the sauce with cheese.
  4. Top the cheese with the remaining herbs and your choice of toppings.
  5. Bake in a hot oven, about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, until cheese is melted and tortilla begins to crisp.
  6. Serve immediately.
What's your favorite in-a-hurry meal?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Return to Me" by Lynn Austin


Return To Me

After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true–King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem. Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God’s renewed favor. For too long they’ve remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo’s sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart. And so only a few choose to leave everything to return–return to their home and their God.
Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy. As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo’s beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God’s leading. Zechariah, Iddo’s oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather’s ancient beliefs and the family they left behind. But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah–and history–forever.
Better than any book I've ever read, Return to Me answers the question, "What was it like to live then?"   Austin describes the fear, reservations, and confusion felt by the Israelites as they leave Babylon after a 70-year exile and return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.  Never have I thought that the Israelites might have any doubt about leaving the city of their long enslavement, nor that they might compare this prison term to the time they spent in Egypt, but Austin sets up a scenario where both happen - and makes it completely realistic and understandable.  The temptations to intermarry with neighboring clans, worship pagan gods, and bend God's rules become clear and logical from the standpoint of these characters.  While a fictionalized version, it makes sense to think about how and why these Israelites behaved as they did, and this explanation helps to understand their choices.
When I turned the first page of this book, I thought I'd get to read about Daniel, which made me sit up straight and read faster.  I'm fascinated with the way that Daniel refused to change a thing about his faith practices with God in spite of the scary situations all around him.
Reading about Iddo and Zechariah might have been even better, though.
I love the way that scripture is carried throughout the story.  I love how Austin's research is evident as she takes what we know and fills in the gaps to create a plausible story of love, temptation, forgiveness, and redemption.
Zechariah's story is inspiring.  As a priest, he would have studied the scriptures and known them well - but I never thought much about that before.  How did they study?  Who taught them?  How did they learn?  The memorization implied in the book is impressive - and makes me want to sit down and get to work.  
It is always hard to get to the end of a good book and know that I must leave the characters for a while.  It has been a long time since I have been this sad to turn the last page, however.  While we know the ultimate end to the Israelite story, I am enthralled at the details brought to life within these pages - and I can't wait until the sequel is released.
Lynn Austin
Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.
I received a free copy of Return to Me from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

A Step Ahead of the Game


Recently I spent one evening fighting a horrid headache. 

My husband got the kids bathed and in their PJs, but unusually, we were a bit ahead of schedule and they had some extra time.  They eagerly disappeared into their rooms and were quiet for a bit.  That usually spells trouble, right?  I was aware of this but figured we'd cross that bridge when we came to it.  My head was really hurting.

Soon they came bounding back out, chattering excitedly about their new Bible study.  They told us that they were studying together.  They shared all about how they'd read a Bible story out of their Spark Story Bible, then looked it up in their 'real' Spark Bible and read that version.

I learned yesterday that they're reading a daily devotional, too.

We read scripture every morning at breakfast.  Since we're studying ancient Egypt right now, we're slowly working our way through the stories of Joseph and Moses, learning about how God provided for the Israelites.

My Big Helper has been reading her Bible on her own for just under a year.  She has a notebook and stickers and she occasionally brings up in conversation what she has learned that morning.

But this is the first time that they've shown collective interest in studying the Bible.  In doing more than just reading Bible stories or looking up what the Bible has to say about a certain issue.

Now they want their own ongoing study of God's word.  They're leading themselves, seeking out a relationship with Him, and taking steps to make it happen.  I haven't asked them to start a Bible study, or encouraged them to read devotionals on their own, or anything like that.

But they are.  And they're 6 and 8.

Don't get me wrong - I'm happy that I have creative, earnest kids.  I love that God has built those traits into them.

But He's keeping me on my toes, too.  As parents we must be diligent to pray, to ask for wisdom, to know how to guide and direct our children.  I think of Deuteronomy 6 often and try to keep that in front of me.

But I think there's more to it than that.  My Big Helper wants to know what the Ark of the Covenant looked like and what the Bible prophecies are that speak about Jesus' return.  Those aren't things that can be answered casually.  Those things take research and study and preparation.  She's 8 years old and she's asking - and I want to be prepared to help her find the answers she's looking for.

So I need to stay a step ahead.  I need to be diligent in my own study time and quiet time, to deepen my own relationship with God - both to know how to parent such deep-thinking short people and to become the woman that He wants me to be.

Or maybe this is where I don't stay a step ahead.  Maybe we're already at the place where, while continuing to guide and direct them, I teach them how to do these things on their own. Maybe this is where we begin to step to our own pace.  Maybe this is where we talk, over time and as they're ready, about ways to study the Bible, about safe places to do research, about how to recognize them when they see them.

I didn't think we'd really hit this place until they were much older.  I thought that we'd continue to read through the Bible together, talking about what it means, and they love that - but they seem to want more.

So while I'm happily surprised, I'm digging in, too - because this Mommy needs to keep on steppin'.

For more GratiTuesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"A Light for my Path" by Davis Carman

A Light for My Path: An ABC Book Based on Psalm 119

A Light for my Path is not your ordinary kids' book.

It's repetitive in nature, true.  The pages take you through the English alphabet, with colorful drawings of nature, on which each page is featured an animal that starts with that letter and a word that describes God's nature.  The animal is usually then also found, smaller, on the following page.


My Big Helper loved discovering those patterns.

My Little Man was intrigued by the animals themselves.

Both want to go research the animal found on the 'n' page, as it's one that is very unfamiliar to us.

They commented that they liked the book.  They thought it was a good book as it taught them about God's character.

Upon a first read, though, that could be the end - unless you were prepared to go deeper.  If you're not sure how, there are suggestions at the beginning of the book, and here are a few of my own.

This book provides the opportunity to be used as a teaching guide with children elementary aged and younger.  You could refer to this over and over again when reading through scripture or coming upon life events when you want to compare the occurrence in front of you to God's character.  What does that scripture say about God?  How could you see this event?  Does it line up with His character?  Is this something that needs to be investigated more?  I can see asking these questions and more with my kids as different circumstances arise to help them learn how to evaluate events and see them through Jesus' perspective.

A Light for my Path also takes the alphabet theme just a bit further.  In the back of the book is Psalm 119, which is an acrostic poem in Hebrew.  The poem is written out with the Hebrew letter for each stanza found at the top of the page.  I know exactly zero things in Hebrew, so this was interesting to me - and to the kids.  

If you're interested in a book for casual reading, this is probably not your best choice.  With only one word that changes from page to page, it's not exactly action-packed.

But if you're looking for a book that you can use over and over, in several different ways, to inspire, teach, and instruct your children in the ways and character and creativity of God, well ... then A Light for my Path is perfect.

I received a free copy of this book from the Mosaic Review Forum in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hearts for Home Blog Hop - October 17, 2013

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Introducing ... the Hearts for Home Blog Hop!  A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for this weekly link-up, which means that every Thursday you'll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post.  If you're a blogger, we'd love to have you link up your posts and join us.  You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.



Math for Gifted and Struggling learners

Last week this post called Math for Gifted & Struggling Learners was the most-clicked-on post.

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

- http://educationpossible.com/teaching-kids-cook-epcot-food-wine/Teaching Kids to Cook - Epcot's Food & Wine Festival
- Women of Faith - Freedom to Fail

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our 'Featured Blogger' buttons!  Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.



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Link up your family-friendly blog posts below. Please add our button to your post to link back to this one. Happy hopping!
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Inspired Wednesday - Getting Away


Last weekend I got to leave town for a friend - all the way to Charlotte for Women of Faith!


I heard several speakers I've heard before and loved, and there were several more that were new to me.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Liz Curtis Higgs.  


Third Day was there, too.  They were awesome, of course, and it was wonderful to hear their music blaring throughout the arena.  It's been a long time since I went to a great concert, and this definitely qualified.

I found several new books I want to study. I heard messages that resonated with me.  I came home feeling filled up again, full of purpose and meaning.

Sometimes it feels selfish to go away, knowing that others must do the work that I normally do; but I think it's important to remember that even Jesus went away from His daily life.  He did that often, in fact.  Sometimes with friends, sometimes just to be quiet and pray, other times to fish, but he took time to retreat from His regular life to rest and recharge.

It's good to get away.

When's the last time you escaped for a bit?

Be sure to check out Stephanie's Inspired Wednesday post over at The Multi Taskin' Mom!


A Nest in the Rocks

 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

GratiTuesday - A Piratey Winner!


A few weeks ago I randomly came across a story contest for kids.  It was being sponsored by Denette Fretz, a kids' author who had recently published her own story called Pirates on the Farm.  Since International Talk Like a Pirate Day was coming up and we'd be between units, I figured that would be a fun way to work on some writing skills before getting down to brass tacks with our Egyptian study.

Life didn't go quite as I planned, though - does it ever? - and the kids took our ice cream study much deeper than I expected - which took quite a bit longer.  We didn't end up with an extra week like I thought, but My Big Helper and Little Man really wanted to enter the pirate story contest.  They carried their notebooks around for days, along with a huge pile of piratey books, which they used for pirate vocabulary and spelling reference, as they jotted ideas and added new plot twists.

Finally the stories were finished, just as the deadline was looming.  We spent a nice afternoon on the deck illustrating the stories, and then the kids trotted off to bed while I frantically scanned and emailed them, just hours before they were due.

We received a nice confirmation of receipt, and then promptly forgot all about it in the midst of Egyptian mummies and Nile research.

That is, until this morning - when I received a very nice email from Denette Fretz herself.  It says:
Dear Big Helper,
Congratulations on winning the 8-9 year-old category with "The Pirate Princess & the Treasure." You did a very good job writing a fun story with pirate vocabulary and "voice." As soon as I receive the gift card and pirate patch from Zondervan, I will forward them to you, along with a signed copy of Pirates on the Farm. In the meantime, you can see your entry posted on DenetteFretz.com.

Also, your name was drawn from the three winners to receive the chance to Skype with me. I will email more about this opportunity after the book is shipped. (I would like you to have the copy of my book before we connect.)

Dear Little Man,
Although you did not win your age category, I enjoyed your entry. I especially loved your characters' names: "Captain Cheerio," "Hatchet," "Scissors," and "Wild Tooth." When I send [your sister's] prize, I am going to include an extra eye patch for your hard work.

Thank you both for entering. Keep on writing!

The kids, though still sleeping, are going to be wild with excitement over this.  They worked really, really hard on these stories - for hours and hours at a time over a period of only a few days.  My Little Man wrote pages and pages creatively - a first for him.  My Big Helper wrote and edited and typed and then edited some more.  We were able to talk about plot points and vocabulary and grammar on new levels - and it was fun.  

They worked hard.  It is wonderful to see them given credit for a job well done.  On a totally 'nother and selfish level, though, it feels good because we, like so many others, are breaking stereotypes.  We're hardworking homeschoolers, and while we may do a lot of learning in our PJs, we don't sit around and play in the mud all day.  We're doing real-life, valuable work, and we can see the return from that already, in their character, in their thinking, and yes, in their studies.   

So we're celebrating today.  We're celebrating hard, honest work; having the recipient of the pirate 'treasure' in our house; a kind author who remembered a hard-working little brother when dispensing that treasure; creative minds; and the possibilities that God has planned for these two pirate-lovin' writers.

For more GratiTuesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.  To read My Big Helper's winning pirate story online, The Pirate Princess & the Lost Treasure, click here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - October 14, 2013

Phew!  I spent the weekend at Women of Faith, and I am WORN OUT.  It was a wonderful conference and I learned lots of things - but I'm ready to get some sleep now.  We have lots of field trips scheduled for this week, so our at-home meals might be pretty simple.

Here's the plan:

Breakfast:
- scrambled eggs, juice, bananas


www.anestintherocks.blogspot.com

Cinnamon Almond Granola and fruit



Steal-Good Pumpkin Bread



Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal


Dinner:




Creamy Veggie Casserole - didn't get to this last week



- Egyptian dinner out while on a field trip
- Grilled chicken, baked potatoes, Mom's Baked Corn, leftover Creamy Veggie Casserole
- Leftovers
- Grilled chicken quesadillas, apples, carrot sticks

If we can find time. we just might have to make these Whole Wheat Pumpkin Snickerdoodles again, too.  Yum!

What are you cooking this week?

For more Menu Plan Mondays, visit OrgJunkie.