Thursday, February 26, 2009

House Update 7

The windows are here! They fit!! They are being installed as I type!!! Thank you for your prayers. Praise the Lord for hearing our prayers and answering.

If the installation is completed today, I will begin cleaning and painting the interior tomorrow. Please pray now for me as the finishing touches are mostly my responsibility. Pray for my strength and safety as I work. Pray that my work will not be hindered by any unforeseen obstacles. Ask the Lord to grant Michael and me extra measures of grace as we continue to burn our candles at both ends, getting our house move-in ready ASAP while continuing to teach and parent.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CC School Blog Contest!

Molly at Counter-cultural School is hosting a blog contest. The Vision Forum is graciously allowing her to give away one c.d. set from their Family Vision Conference Audio Collection. There are five fabulous collections to choose from. Only one winner will be selected who will be allowed to choose one collection. If you are not familiar with The Vision Forum, this is a great opportunity to become acquainted with this encouraging and equipping ministry.

Click here to read more details and to enter. The contest ends at midnight February 27th.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

House Update 6: A Remodeling Carol

I have never liked the t.v. show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The premise is nice and all... finding people in need and building their dream homes. In fact, I have always felt a little guilty for not liking the show. It is about neighbors helping neighbors and people in need being provided for. My disdain for Ty Pennington and crew has often made me wonder if I am, at least in part, a scrooge. Last week, my inner Ebeneezer was put to the test as I had an encounter with three remodeling spirits.

First, I met the spirit of remodeling past. His name is Mr. Botched Job. The wall-to-wall carpeting was ripped up last week, and all the floors are in excellent shape... except for one little flaw. In the hallway, there used to be a vent or floor heater of some sort. It seems that at some point in the past, a previous owner decided to remove it and did not want to have patch-work flooring in the house. His remedy was covering the hole in the floor with a board and carpeting over the hardwoods in the entire house. Since we decided to go with hardwoods throughout, we found ourselves facing the same dilemma. After going round and round with idea after idea, we have settled on installing a runner over the hardwoods in this hallway. It will have a very narrow edging of hardwood showing, about an 1 1/2" on each side. I'm not crazy about it but can live with this solution.

Next came the spirit of remodeling present. We'll call her "Miss Measurement." The special-order windows that we received were not the sizes we needed. They weren't even close! Regardless of whose fault this is, ours or the company we ordered from or the company that made the windows, they cannot be returned. We had to order a whole new set and essentially pay double. The new windows are due to arrive tomorrow. It is hugely important that they arrive on time so that the men completing our remodel (just a quick side note... they have no fault in this and are doing a great job on the house) can install the windows and complete the repairs on the walls. Please pray that they will arrive tomorrow (Wed). We also have a couple of potential buyers for the unusable windows. Please pray that we will be able to recoup at least 1/2 of what we paid for them. If they do not sell soon, I will be posting pix of them here with specs. If you know someone in need of windows, please, direct them to my blog.

Finally, I was visited by the spirit of remodeling future, Mr. Fix It, when I walked into my house and saw the progress each day. The hardwood floors are refinished. The bath room and kitchen are both almost completely redone. There are new light fixtures, doors and hardware. Where there were once the signs of age and decay, there are now signs of life. It is beginning to look like a new home. I know when the windows are replaced that the transformation will be remarkable. I have taken tons of pictures and look forward to posting. I am going to wait until everything is complete and post a room-by-room tour.

I know this is the point in my story where I am supposed to insert a huge revelation... a testimony of how I have shed my "Bah-Humbug!" ways. I do not, however, have a new-found love of remodeling or remodeling shows. Instead, I have a new appreciation for Jesus' teaching in Matt. 6. Earthly treasures really do rust. Moths (and age) really do destroy.

My earthly home is important. I am glad it is now in good repair. It is where I spend my days. It is where I do what really counts... the ministry of motherhood. I am thankful for how the Lord has provided and given us the grace we need to flourish in this season. I am thankful for Michael and how he has worked this week. I am thankful for the men who have done excellent work in repairing and updating my house.

But how great is my joy that my real treasure is in Heaven. I know that the work done on our house will be outdated within a few short years. Within a couple decades, it will have faded and age and decay will begin to rear their ugly faces again. However, the work done for the Lord within the walls of that temporal dwelling will last for eternity. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rocket Phonics Giveaway

Do you have a little who is learning to read? Do you want to take a phonics approach and keep things hands-on? Rocket Phonics might be just what you are looking for.

Christy at Mercy Every Morning is giving away a Rocket Phonics kit which has lesson plans and materials for hands-on phonics instruction. Christy has written an excellent review that will give you more details about the program. Visit her blog and leave a comment to enter. You can earn an additional entry by posting about the giveaway on your blog.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

House Update 4

Thank you for your prayers on the estimate. It came in today, and everything is in order. We will be able to afford all of the needed work and some of the other less-necessary work. The only thing we had to cut was adding a deck to the back of the house. It would have been nice but certainly is not necessary.

One new item for prayer. There is a delay on the windows. We were under the impression they would be delivered on Monday. They will not be here until Thursday or Friday. This means that the work may have to be postponed a week. The windows need to be done before most of the other work. It would be counter-productive for the men who are doing the work to drive here from two states away until the materials are all in place. So, please pray that either the windows will arrive ahead of time or that the rescheduling will work out for everyone involved.

I bought new light fixtures, a new ceiling fan and several other cabinets and accessories today. I think everything is going to look great when it is done. I will be posting before and after pictures within a week.

Monday, February 2, 2009

International Festival

Milestone Monday

We participated in our local homeschool association's International Festival Saturday. It was such a good event. Approximately 25 families participated, making it an event to remember!

At the beginning of the school year, each family chose a country to study. Different families take different approaches. Some study the country of their choice for the duration of the fall semester; others study for a month while others study for a week. We chose Mexico this year because we were studying Westward Expansion in History. During the fall, we learned bits and pieces about Mexico as its history overlapped with American history. We did not begin a focused study until January and did not begin work on our actual project until last week. My bout of bronchitis put us behind schedule!

The Mexican Family

Nohnie, Michael, Wilbur, Orville and Homeschool Dawn

A special thank you to Nohnie for making my beautiful skirt and the red sashes.

I found the sombreros at Party City and my shawl and the bandanas on ebay.

Nohnie's poncho was bought in Mexico.

The festival began with a feast! Each family brought something good to eat. There was Chinese fried rice, Vegemite from Australia, Irish cookies, Sushi and much, much more. It was all delicious! I brought Sonora Chicken Enchiladas, fried plantains, chips and salsa, hibiscus tea and Hershey's kisses. Chocolate was important to the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico.

I enjoyed the Vegemite at the Australia display.

After we ate, we completed a scavenger hunt. Each family had submitted two questions pertaining to their project to the event coordinator earlier in the week. She compiled the questions into two lists, one easier list for younger children and a more challenging list for the older students. We traveled from display to display to find the answers. After completing the hunt, the kids were allowed to enter a raffle for prizes!

Native American Display

Israel Display

For our display, the boys and I created a 3-foot-high model of a Mayan pyramid. For the first tier, we cut foam board in half length-wise and then cut the sides at angles to fit together. We attached the pieces with duck tape. The second tier was done similarly, only cut to smaller dimensions. The top tier was made by taping two empty Kleenex boxes together. Each tier was taped to the others. For a finishing touch, I mixed three different tones of brown with black and flesh tone paints and mixed in sand. The boys painted two coats. After the paint was dry, we glued reports the boys had written, typed and printed to card stock on the pyramid. You can read their reports here.

We also made a timeline from paper flags I bought at Party City (10 for $3). The boys chose 10 important events from Mexican history, typed them (double spacing between each event), printed to card stock and cut them out in strips. I used hot glue to attach three craft sticks together for a flag pole (I did this 10 times), glued each fact strip to a flag and each flag to a pole. We attached them to our table with packing tape.

Individual presentations followed. Reports were given. One young man played a song from his country of study on the piano, and two boys played violins. One of our teens sang a Psalm in Korean and then in English. It was beautiful and moved many of us to tears! Our family created a power point presentation on Mexico. We simulated a trip to various regions of the country (Mexico City, rainforest, beach, mountains, desert, etc.) and reported on landmarks. We also "spotted" birds along the way. We inserted pictures of birds in the presentation and had the boys pretend to spot and identify them using Spanish vocabulary. I hope to post video later but am currently having technical difficulties.

After presentations, there was dancing! My boys and I had practiced the Mexican Hat Dance with the coordinator beforehand and helped demonstrate it. The whole group joined in, and we had quite a line of dancers. We also danced a traditional Swiss dance and a Filipino dance. It was so much fun!

The event ended with the prize raffle. Each year our coordinator gives out prizes from around the world. As she gives out the prize, she points out the country it came from on the map. This year she gave out candy or treats and a book. Orville won a Toblerone and the book Heidi which represented Switzerland, and Wilbur won a Heath bar and a copy of Beatrix Potter stories which represented England. The girl who won the Japanese snacks and a Sudoku book gave them to Orville because she knew he is studying Japanese and wanted him to have them. Thanks, Katie! In turn, he gave his chocolate to a friend and Heidi to a child who had not won anything. Aren't homeschoolers great?!

Speaking of how great homeschoolers are... our family decided to incorporate a ministry project with our study this year. We asked our friends to bring in their pocket change to donate to a mission in Baja California, Capillo Calvario. The money will be used to provide school supplies and Bibles to the indigenous children of Vicente Guerrero. The pocket change added up to $54.30!

I want to give a BIG thank you to our event coordinator, Patty. We LOVE the international festival and are so thankful for the hard work she does to make it so special.
South Korea

Authentic South Korean Clothing


Paper Mache Llama at the Peruvian Display