Friday, April 29, 2011

Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps

While I now there are some things I would disagree with the writer on other topics, he's spot on here. 

Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps

April 19, 2011

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor

I saw someone at the airport the other day who really caught my eye.

Her beautiful, long blond hair was braided back a la Bo Derek in the movie "10" (or for the younger set, Christina Aguilera during her "Xtina" phase). Her lips were pink and shiny from the gloss, and her earrings dangled playfully from her lobes.

You can tell she had been vacationing somewhere warm, because you could see her deep tan around her midriff thanks to the halter top and the tight sweatpants that rested just a little low on her waist. The icing on the cake? The word "Juicy" was written on her backside.

Yeah, that 8-year-old girl was something to see alright. ... I hope her parents are proud. Their daughter was the sexiest girl in the terminal, and she's not even in middle school yet.

Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire this spring for introducing the "Ashley," a push-up bra for girls who normally are too young to have anything to push up. Originally it was marketed for girls as young as 7, but after public outcry, it raised its intended audience to the wise old age of 12. I wonder how do people initiate a conversation in the office about the undeveloped chest of elementary school girls without someone nearby thinking they're pedophiles?

What kind of PowerPoint presentation was shown to the Abercrombie executives that persuaded them to green light such a product?

That there was a demand to make little girls hot?

I mean, that is the purpose of a push-up bra, right? To enhance sex appeal by lifting up, pushing together and basically showcasing the wearer's breasts. Now, thanks to AF Kids, girls don't have to wait until high school to feel self-conscious about their, uhm, girls. They can start almost as soon as they're potty trained. Maybe this fall the retailer should consider keeping a plastic surgeon on site for free consultations.

We've been here with Abercrombie before -- if you recall, about 10 years ago they sold thongs for 10-year-olds -- but they're hardly alone in pitching inappropriate clothing to young girls. Four years ago the popular "Bratz" franchise introduced padded bras called "bralettes" for girls as young as six. That was also around the time the good folks at Wal-Mart rolled out a pair of pink panties in its junior department with the phrase "Who Needs Credit Cards" printed on the front.

I guess I've been out-of-the-loop and didn't realize there's been an ongoing stampede of 10-year-old girls driving to the mall with their tiny fists full of cash demanding sexier apparel.

What's that you say? Ten-year-olds can't drive? They don't have money, either? Well, how else are they getting ahold of these push-up bras and whore-friendly panties?

Their parents?

Noooo, couldn't be.

What adult who wants a daughter to grow up with high self-esteem would even consider purchasing such items? What parent is looking at their sweet, little girl thinking, "She would be perfect if she just had a little bit more up top."

And then I remember the little girl at the airport. And the girls we've all seen at the mall. And the kiddie beauty pageants.

And then I realize as creepy as it is to think a store like Abercrombie is offering something like the "Ashley", the fact remains that sex only sells because people are buying it. No successful retailer would consider introducing an item like a padded bikini top for kindergarteners if they didn't think people would buy it.

If they didn't think parents would buy it, which begs the question: What in the hell is wrong with us?

It's easy to blast companies for introducing the sexy wear, but our ire really should be directed at the parents who think low rise jeans for a second grader is cute. They are the ones who are spending the money to fuel this budding trend. They are the ones who are suppose to decide what's appropriate for their young children to wear, not executives looking to brew up controversy or turn a profit.

I get it, Rihanna's really popular. But that's a pretty weak reason for someone to dress their little girl like her.
I don't care how popular Lil' Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn't always makes me popular -- and the house does get tense from time to time -- but I'm his father, not his friend.

Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, "No, and that's the end of it."

The way I see it, my son can go to therapy later if my strict rules have scarred him. But I have peace knowing he'll be able to afford therapy as an adult because I didn't allow him to wear or do whatever he wanted as a kid.

Maybe I'm a Tiger Dad.

Maybe I should mind my own business.

Or maybe I'm just a concerned parent worried about little girls like the one I saw at the airport.

In 2007, the American Psychological Association's Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls issued a report linking early sexualization with three of the most common mental-health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. There's nothing inherently wrong with parents wanting to appease their daughters by buying them the latest fashions. But is getting cool points today worth the harm dressing little girls like prostitutes could cause tomorrow?

A line needs to be drawn, but not by Abercrombie. Not by Britney Spears. And not by these little girls who don't know better and desperately need their parents to be parents and not 40-year-old BFFs.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Earn Free Books from Scholastic

Scholastic is offering a program that enables your child to earn up to five free books.  There are math and reading activity sheets.  Once those are completed, you can send them in for the free books.  There are three different age groups starting with age 3 and going up to age 12.

To find out more and download the activity sheets, go to Learn and Earn.

This program will continue until 1,250 sets have been awarded or October 15, 2011 at midnight which ever comes first.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

5 Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy

Some great thoughts especially since we still have tons of Easter candy around the house!  This came from's/ weekly newsletter dated Monday, April 25, 2011.

5 Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy

Getting your kids to eat healthy shouldn't be a daily chore that you avoid or regret. Instead, with these 5 strategies to get your kids to eat healthy, you'll find that you and your family actually enjoy and appreciate healthy food even more!

#1: Keep Vegetables Visible: Don't get confused about this! It is true that in the last article, you learned that one technique to get kids to eat vegetables is to disguise it in the food through blending and mixing techniques. But your kids do need to know what vegetables are and be comfortable with them. Each week when we're at the grocery store, we take our children down the produce aisle and let them choose one new vegetable that they're not familiar with with. We teach them the vegetable name, then buy it, take it home, and prepare it in a yummy recognizable way! From rutabagas to parsnips, your kids will be far more likely to eat healthy if they're familiar with healthy foods.

#2: Let Them Decide. Never set a food on the table and tell your child that "even if they don't like it, they need to eat it." Instead serve the healthy meal and lead by example: dig into it with gusto yourself. Let your children taste, experiment and decide for themselves whether or not they actually like it. Most of the time, through the power of your example, your kids will dig in too.

#3: Teach Them About Their Bodies. From an early age, we've taught our children about mouths, tongues, the stomach, the intestines (tunnels!), poop, germs, rotten vs. fresh food, smelling foods, growing muscles and more! So when we're sitting at the table, we can explain to them that the spinach will help them grow muscles, and as they grow older, they will be positioned to understand why we make the food choices that we do.

#4: Age-Appropriate Help. Our three year old children can remove sticker s from vegetables or fruits that were purchased at the grocery store, help to plant, pick and pull foods created and harvested in a garden, assist with washing and rinsing, stirring and mixing, and become involved in the entire food preparation process. As they grow older, they will be able to chop, blend, cut and cook. By involving your kids in meal preparation in an age-appropriate manner, healthy meals can become a creative, cooperative creation, and not a dish that his shoved in front of their faces.

#5: Start Young. In most popular, name-brand baby foods, the ingredients are over-cooked and adulterated with preservatives or added sweeteners. As a result, a child develops a palate for sweet or salty foods that have been engineered to send a chemical message to their brains that keeps them craving those tastes. So if your kids are still at baby food stage, try to develop their palate by switching to purees and blends that you make at home from carrot, pea, broccoli, fruit and other whole ingredients.
If you want more healthy tips on meal preparation, nutrition, fitness and lifestyle from Ben and Jessa Greenfield, check out Inner Circle

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


"It is time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy. It's a bureaucratic system where everybody's role is spelled out in advance, and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It's not a surprise when a school system doesn't improve. It more resembles a Communist economy than our own market economy."
-- Albert Shanker
(1928-1997) former president of the American Federation of Teachers
Source: Wall Street Journal, October 2, 1989

"It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery."
-- Benjamin Disraeli
(1804-1881) Prime Minister of England, British statesman, novelist

"Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening.  The average American [should be] content with their humble role in life, because they're not tempted to think about any other role."
-- William T. Harris
U.S. Commissioner of Education
Source: 1889

Monday, April 25, 2011

Prioritizing Your Priorities

A great article about priorities from  It's very encouraging to me and hopefully to you as well.

Prioritizing Your Priorities

by Veronica on April 22, 2011 in Faithfulness

As a Christian woman, wife, mother, and homemaker, if I were to ask you to identify your priorities, you would probably create a list that ranks each area in order of importance. Maybe it would look something like this:

Friends, Ministry, Hobbies, Career, etc…

But, what if then I asked you rearrange this list to accurately reflect how much time was spent on each of these priorities over the course of a given day.

My revised “list” might look a little more like this:

  • As a homeschooling mom, my daughter receives the majority of my time and attention each day.
  • The care and keeping of my home also requires a decent share of my time and energy each day…to prevent the dishes from taking over the kitchen, or to keep everyone in clean, presentable clothing.
  • My husband is a full-time pastor…who is currently working 2 jobs. There are days when I hardly see him…much less spend time talking to him.
  • And, although I work to maintain a consistent habit of time in God’s Word and in prayer each day… There are those days when the demands of motherhood, or life in ministry seem to take over. And, my relationship with the Lord appears to take a proverbial “back seat.”
And, this has the potential to be an extremely discouraging exercise…

Because, in the trenches of everyday life, the amount of time that we devote to each individual priority is not always directly proportionate to its position in the hierarchal list above. As a mom with a young child, a home to care for, and a husband in full-time ministry, the amount of time that I actually give to each area can often seem rather disproportionate!

“A more practical approach to priorities may be viewing life as a ‘comprehensive unified whole.’ This concept suggests that God has called women to fulfill multiple responsibilities and roles (wife, mother, daughter, homemaker, community servant). Therefore, she should avoid compartmentalizing her life into the spiritual and secular. Thus, she avoids measuring the success of maintaining priorities solely by the amount of time given to them on a daily basis…Maintaining priorities means fulfilling all the obligations that God has uniquely and specifically called the Wise Woman to accomplish…” (Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God, pg. 131)

This perspective has been a game changer for me!

I like schedules and routines. (Probably a little too much!) I am a “task-oriented” person. I want to be efficient and diligent in all that I have to do in a given day. And, while that is not necessarily a bad thing, the usual result is that I often find myself getting frustrated with “interruptions” that mess up my plans. Sadly though, these perceived “interruptions” often come in the form of people who most need my attention (my husband, or my daughter).

But, my friend, Donna Morley points out that,

“there are two types of interruptions. One distracts us from what we should be doing; the other delays us, merely postponing our progress. Distractions jeopardize our chance to reach our goal, while delays merely grant us unexpected opportunities.” (Choices That Lead to Godliness, pg. 102)

When we see our life as a “comprehensive unified whole” we can stop evaluating our priorities (and by extension, our “success” or “failure” in each area) by the amount of time given to each endeavor. Instead we can see how the practical, daily outworking of our priorities overlap, and work together… Each one directly impacting each of the other areas!

And, we have no idea what the Lord has in store for us (and those around us) when we see choose to see the unexpected, the interruptions, and the delays as opportunities rather than distractions!
Veronica @ A Quiet Heart

Friday, April 22, 2011

I think I can....I think I can...

The Little Train That Could
I think I can....I think I can...
I think I can get this Gabby Mom review done...

I could say I'm having a writer's block, but I think it's more of a reviewer's block. 

The item I get to review this month is the newly, refurbished Eternal Encouragement Magazine published by  The magazine is awesome, but my ability to put into words with my usual humorous lilt just seems to be lacking.  No particular reason. 

So, I actually showed the magazine to some other moms I know from homeschool gymnastics.  I thought maybe they would say something about the magazine that would just spark my creativity.

Nah, not so much.
They noted things like:

"Wow, there is a LOT in this magazine."
"These articles are not fluff.  They would take me back to the Word and point me to God.  I need that."
"This magazine has information I can use."
"Cool.  It addresses being a Godly Women, Homemaker and Mother.  That's where I am."

Yeah, sure. I already knew all that.  I was going to share all that already. I also pointed out some things to them such as:

The size is very handy for carrying in my purse, thus making it easy to keep it convenient for reading anywhere. 
Oh, and the articles are deep but not too long making them easy to read during the busy day.

I even had my 6 year old daughter look at it.  After all, the magazine covers the kind of things I want her to know and learn to be as a woman of God.

She thoughts on the magazine were:
"It's good."
"It's about family things, and that's important."
"It's about good things."
"I think the girls on the front are pretty."

So, between my gymnastics moms, my daughter and me,  (yes, it should be "me" instead of "I" because it's the object of the preposition),  I have completed my main thoughts about the magazine. 

Summed up, it means the magazine is worth the investment and defnitely a keeper.  I wonder what I'd have to do to get a free subscription in addition to the free edition I was given to review?  Hmmmm....  Did I mention the girls on the front of the magazine were very pretty young women?  They must have a beautiful mother! 

I received this product for honest review from Eternal Encouragement Magazine as a part of The Gabby Moms blogging program. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Easy Peasy Family EV

A really cool article from Raising Homemakers.  It's interesting reading how a missionary teaches their children about evangelism.  I don't know about you, but we usually have plenty of hard boiled eggs left after Easter.  How about some egg salad finger sandwiches to go with the tea?

Easy Peasy Family EV

by ArabahJoy on April 14, 2011

Ever since my oldest could talk, he was sharing the gospel.

It wasn’t something we taught him and I often wondered how it happened ~smiles~ but then I realized he was simply saying a handful of phrases that my husband and I constantly shared with others ourselves. Things like, “Have you ever heard of Jesus before?” “Do you believe in God?” and “God exists, He really does!”

As missionaries in a communist, atheist country, we always sought to open spiritual conversations with everyone we could. Sharing Jesus was a way of life.

Then God blessed us with 3 children in 23 months and things changed. Suddenly, I was at home…ALOT. And my girls weren’t getting the exposure to sharing Jesus that my son had. They weren’t seeing me be missional and I missed it!

What to do?

It’s a good question. For stay at home moms who may have limited contact with the lost, how can we purposefully teach our children to share Jesus?

As I asked God what I could do, He gave me the idea of “Tuesday Tea.” This is where my girls and I prepared a special tea with snacks and invited a guest of honor ~ a neighbor who did not know Jesus.

This idea was easy peasy because what neighbor wants to turn down a child’s invitation?! And they came to us! Now that we are in the states on furlough, I am finding this an excellent way to reach out to other SAHMs in our neighborhood.

Getting Started:

~ Start by making a list of names or addresses of people on your street, neighborhood, or in your community. Add names of unsaved friends and family members as well. It doesn’t have to be many to start with, just reach out.

~ Keep adding names to your “Blessing List” as you meet new people or see neighbors at the park, in the yard, etc.

~ Plan the “menu” for your first Tea Time and make invitations. We do our tea time from 10:00 – 10:30am. The short time is on purpose, so our guests know this won’t drag out.

Involving the Children:

~ Get your kids excited by telling them you want to bless others together. They can help by selecting the special guest, making invitations, helping deliver them, baking the goodies, selecting the menu, setting the table, serving the guests, dressing up, preparing a story or scripture, ect.

~ Make it regular. Pick a day of the week so your kids can look forward to this special day. You can have your tea parties weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to work around family schedules. Build anticipation by talking about it in between parties.

~ Ask your kids for input. They will come up with some great ideas that will probably be the best of all

Making it Evangelistic:

~A super easy way to turn the tea party to Christ is to simply tell your guest upon arrival, “We would like to make you feel special and bless you today while you are here. Is there any specific way we can pray for you?”

~You can make scriptures that bless into placemats or simply write them on cards and leave them on top of the tea saucers.

~Have the children sing a song or an older child read a short Bible story.

~Be prepared to share your testimony. Some people don’t know how to “jump into” their testimony, so here are some openings you can use: “I wouldn’t be the person I am without Jesus. Here is how He has changed my life…”

Or, “Jesus is the best thing that has happened to me! Let me tell you what happened…”

Or, “I haven’t always been the person I am today. I used to …. until I met Jesus…”

Most importantly, have fun!

Sharing Jesus is one of the “funnest” things there is! Don’t be discouraged if things don’t go exactly as planned; instead, begin by praying before the guests arrive, committing the time and effort as a love offering to the Lord. Then enjoy the ride, however it turns out! He will accept your gift and direct your paths.

Doing a few simple things at each tea party, like praying for your guests and telling them Jesus loves them, will help your child learn the basics of sharing Jesus and starting spiritual dialogue.

Part of the legacy I want to leave my children is serving others and sharing Christ. The tea party does both. Who knew that something so simple could leave such a legacy?

Care to join in? If you have an “EV Tea,” let us know how it goes! For more ideas and inspiration, check out Tea Parties with a Purpose: 10 Simple and Fun Party Ideas for Kids of All Ages by Bobbie Wolgemuth.

I’m praying for lots of Tea Parties this month
By Arabah Joy, Arabah

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vlad and I

"Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted."
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

This isn't the first time I've mentioned this quote from Lenin.  I just have a few thoughts to share about it today.

I know when most read that quote from Lenin about planting the seed that will not be uprooted, they think of early childhood or at least before the high school years.  Some think that 8 years (twice what Lenin requested) of "official" education at home should be more than enough to ground their children.  Sometimes there is the fear of teaching high school.  Teens might miss out on football games, proms, etc.  Whatever the reason, teens are sometimes sent to public school for the high school years. 

We don't stop to realize that in this day and age, those last four years are just as important in seed sowing as any other.

Just something to think about.

"Is it not ironical that in a planned society of controlled workers given compulsory assignments, where religious expression is suppressed, the press controlled, and all media of communication censored, where a puppet government is encouraged but denied any real authority, where great attention is given to efficiency and character reports, and attendance at cultural assemblies is mandatory, where it is avowed that all will be administered to each according to his needs and performance required from each according to his abilities, and where those who flee are tracked down, returned, and punished for trying to escape - in short in the milieu of the typical large American secondary school - we attempt to teach 'the democratic system'?"
-- Royce Van Norman
Source: "School Administration: Thoughts on Organization and Purpose," Phi Delta Kappan 47(1966):315-16

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It was nice.

I don't have my act all together.  I know that might come as a surprise.  After all, I've got a blog.  That should add credence to my skills as a home educator, right?  Not so much.

I'm more than willing to share a few a my own thoughts, ideas, and reviews, and most definitely share great ideas and information from others.  None of that, however, should be construed as me being an expert.  Just opinionated and willing to share.

Most frequently, especially since I've been dealing with some ongoing health issues, I feel like I'm failing or at best, barely squeaking by.  We're usually able to get "something" done, but nothing like I should or would or could.  But sometimes, you have to be thankful for getting "something."  If it's my best for now, then God will use it.   I've got to trust Him for that.

All that being said, I received a blessing the other evening. 

Not long before our evening reading and prayers, my little girl, decided she wanted to practice making herself dizzy.  Normal kid stuff, though usually frowned upon as bedtime approaches.  Well, she lost her balance and fell.  When my husband went to assist, our dd explained that she had hurt her "spine and pelvis."  We had just finished bones a couple of weeks ago, so it was cool she remembered and cute that she applied it to this situation.

Our reading time usually consists of my husband reading a Bible passage, me reading some from a classic book, and our girl sometimes picking up something that she wants to read as well.  Just in case you were wondering, my current portion in this nightly ritual is Little Women.  You know what?  It's a loooooong book.  It's really great, however, to hear my 6 year old comprehend and even laugh at the funny parts of this book that was published in 1868!

But, what caught my husband's attention during our reading time was Micki's choice of book.  She had selected a book that was supposedly at a 9-12 year old reading level.  Not only was she reading it, but she was reading it with expression. (My husband is very impressed with reading with expression because he can't! That's why he has me read the regular books.)

After finally getting her down, my husband walked up to me and said, "You are doing an excellent job educating our daughter.  What other six year olds talk about hurting their pelvis and spine and then reads from a book that for older kids?  I'm really impressed with how you're doing." 

Now, I know for a fact that there are other six year olds that can do it, but I didn't say that.  I also know all the ways I'm lacking in enriching and encouraging her education, but I didn't bring them up.  I know a lot of things I could have stated as rebuttals.

But I didn't.

I said, "Thank you."

It was nice.


"Can we truly expect those who aim to exploit us to be trusted to educate us?"
-- Eric Schaub
Individualist, writer, activist, speaker
Source: The Common Man

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Post Tax Day Funny

Yesterday, my daughter informed me that she felt we should do less schooling because she needed to do her taxes.  (Nothing like waiting until the last minute.)  Ever diligent to take advantage of any learning situation (sounds more impressive than I just thought of it), I printed up some tax forms and let her have at it.  The photo is of my daughter after the second question.  :-)

"I just don't know..."
Appreciated the fact the feeling about taxes was ageless!


"Our tightly controlled educational system mocks the promise of democracy. With a closed educational system we simply cannot have an open political system. The current situation allows the government and big business to manufacture and maintain our culture for us, and in turn, control remains in the hands of the experts and institutions. The ability to change this situation is in the hands of the individuals and families who understand why change is necessary."
-- Helen Hegener
author, co-publisher of Home Education Magazine
Source: Alternatives in Education

"Do you think nobody would willingly entrust his children to you or pay you for teaching them? Why do you have to extort your fees and collect your pupils by compulsion?"
-- Isabel Paterson
(1886-1961) Canadian-American journalist, author, political philosopher, literary critic

Monday, April 18, 2011

Untangling Tangled

If you know me at all, you know I try to be picky discerning about what movies I allow my daughter to watch.  Just because it's animated, doesn't mean it OK.  In fact, I've blogged about some of my choices before.

Let me give you and example.  We recently watched How to Train Your Dragon.  It was really cute.  What I really liked best was how the adult Vikings spoke with Scottish accents!  Here's why we probably will not watch it again.  I heard a message repeated over and over,  "Adults won't listen to you or appreciate you the way you are."  I could go on to discuss more, but at least that gives you an example of my pickiness!

So here comes Tangled.

One website that I really appreciate is Ladies Against Feminism, so when they wrote a post discussing the problems with the movie Tangled, I posted the link to share with others.  They sounded exactly like the things Disney would try to promote, so I really didn't question it.

I am now here to give you my opinion/critic of the movie Tangled.

I loved it.  Maybe love it too strong a word, but I definitely think the LAF post  went looking for demons under the rocks.

I'll deal with the most challenging aspect first.  I'll let do the speaking for me. 
Flynn tells her that “rebellion is just part of growing up,” a rather unpleasant axiom for parents trying to raise obedient children. Perhaps the more appropriate way to say it is this: “at some point, teenagers have to think for themselves and weigh their decisions against the teaching of their parents.” This paradox presents an excellent opportunity for parents and children to talk about issues like freedom vs. trust and responsibility.

BUT, when she does rebel, she actually rebels unknowingly against the witch who has held her captive in a tower.  Therefore, her rebellion is not against her loving parents, but against a manipulative, selfish captor. 

Now, the whole feminist and anti-purity agenda the other reviewer mentioned...I didn't see it. 

One thing that was supposedly present was a message against stay-at-home wives or stay-at-home daughters.  She did all her "staying-at-home"  type of activities with a good attitude.  I don't remember her ever complaining about them.  I never sensed her desire for "more" or to leave her home as a discontentment with domesticity, but instead a desire to escape her captivity. "When Will My Life Begin" isn't a feminist manifesto as much as a teenager expressing a desire to grow up.
I mean really, don't we all get bored occasionally doing the same laundry and dishes over and over again?  I if we only had the same three books to read over and over and over and over again, that could get a little boring as well.  Is that the right attitude to have?  Well, that's for a discussion on a different post.  My point is I understand, and I don't think Rapunzel's desire to leave the tower and go see the lanterns was a coded message stating, "Death to all homemakers!"  any more than me leaving my home to attend my book group does.

And if you really want to go all the way, I suggest that she embraced the domestic arts.  After all, what was her weapon of choice?  A frying pan!

And unlike some of the other more recent Disney heroines, this little lady needs a man to rescue her! That's right.  No self-imposed, self-sufficiency here.  She willing surrenders to his leadership.  She also helps meet his needs like getting him out of The Snuggly Duckling.  He starts out as an unwilling, selfish leader and changes into a selfless, serving leader.  

I'm not saying we should use Tangled as an example to teach the Biblical roles of man and woman, but I do find them supported more than opposed.

Lastly (I heard that sigh of relief), I appreciated the message it did teach.  The uber-focus on physical beauty and youth by woman is wrong.  Mother Gothel used her beauty and youth to manipulate and gain what she wanted AND used manipulation (and kidnapping) to gain her beauty and youth.  Even Rapunzel learned that it's not all about her hair!

So, I enjoyed, and dare I even say loved, Tangled.  In fact, I have it sitting up in the closet to put in my daughter's basket next week.  So until next week when I can watch it anytime I want, I just remember "I've got a dream..."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Big List of Frugal Summer Ideas for Kids!

The Frugral Girls have made a tremendous list of summer ideas.  Nothing like preparing ahead of time.  Just go HERE to see the full list. 
The list is broken down into:
  • Read a Good Book!
  • Catch a Cheap Movie!
  • Get Creative!
  • Get Building!
  • Go Bowling!
  • Check Out a Fun Website!
  • Ask your Frugal Friends
  • And More Boredom Busters!
In case this list isn't enough, here's 101 Things to Do this Summer that I re-posted from last year.

Speaking of  "Frugal Summer Ideas,"  do you have any to share?


"Governments have ever been known to hold a high hand over the education of the people.  They know, better than anyone else, that their power is based almost entirely on the school.  Hence, they monopolize it more and more."
-- Francisco Ferrer

[Francisco Ferrer y Guardia] (1857-1909) founder of 'The Modern School' in Barcelona, Spain, arrested and executed without trial by firing squad following the declaration of martial law in 1909 during the 'Tragic Week'
Source: The Modern School, 1908

"Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed."
-- Josef Stalin
(1879-1953) Communist leader of the USSR

"The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother's care, shall be in state institutions at state expense."
-- Karl Marx
(1818- 1883) Father of Communism, Author of the 'Communist Manifesto'
Source: The Communist Manifesto

Friday, April 15, 2011

Plastic Eggs, Anyone?

I love Sue Patrick's Workbox System.  These ideas came from her April 10, 2011 e-newsletter.

Some ideas for using those plastic eggs:

Plastic eggs are inexpensive, plentiful and kids love them. All reasons to find great ways to use them with the Workbox System!

I always say I can think of 1001 activities for these eggs.

For little ones, just opening them and putting them together works on fine motor skills and sequencing. For children of all ages, they can be used for enrichment activities in all subjects. Here are few ideas:

Chores: Have a set color for each child (ex: Joey is always blue, Mark is always green). The children hunt for an egg in each room. When they find it and open it, it has a chore to be done in it for that room.

Preschool Workboxes: Put many different color eggs with parts separated in a Workbox. The child finds the matching halves and puts them together in a "finished" egg carton. Expand this by having them place the color word in the egg once they match it. In the beginning the color word will also be printed in that color of ink (the yellow egg color will be printed in yellow ink). Expand by having only black ink color words.

Elementary Age Workboxes: Fill each egg with different items (penny, toothpick, rice, rubber band, etc). Label the bottom of each depression of an egg carton with that item and the child shakes each egg trying to tell from the sound what item is in the egg. He sorts them by sound onto the appropriate label. He then gets to open them to see if he was right.

Middle School Workboxes/Center: Timeline events--label each egg with an event or date. The child sorts them in order if listed by event or if the date is written on them, place the matching event on a label in the depression of a an egg carton. He sorts the eggs onto the correct even. You can also play a game of throwing the eggs to them and when they catch it and look at the information, they have a certain period of time to tell you everything they know about that event. Ex: The egg has "underground railroad" on it. You throw it to them and they have one minute to tell you when, where and why for the underground railroad. This is particularly fun with multiple children.

High School Workboxes/Center: Use them as a visuals when working on planning for big projects or literature assignments. Many people ask me if I have the high schoolers fill their own workboxes or plan their own day/week. I don't. I feel academics are too important to leave up to them at this age. To work on their organizational skills, I use large projects. Also, I find that so many materials that parents may think are "too young" are often some of the best motivators. Your high schooler is not too young for this fun organizational tool: When trying to break down large literature assignments like Moby Dick or The Grapes of Wrath, write main characters on the eggs and then write questions regarding setting, historical significance, events, character assessments, or research ideas and so on to put inside the eggs. Each day they read the book, they progress through a character egg and a question or research egg. By the time they finish the book and the eggs, they have all they need to write a lengthy review or book report on the book without it seeming overwhelming. There are multiple ways for high schoolers to apply this to preparing a research papers, science fair projects and more. It can be a fun spring change as we are trying to push for the end of the year.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

HSLDA Alert for Branson, Missouri


From the HSLDA E-lert Service...


Missouri--Branson Using Ploy to get "Declaration of Enrollment"

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Branson Public Schools recently sent a misleading letter to area homeschool families referring to the homeschool statute and saying, "In order to meet these requirements, we will need the attached form
[a Declaration of Enrollment] completed and returned to us."

Missouri law allows a family to file an optional "Declaration of Enrollment." It is rarely, if ever, to a family's benefit to file it. If filed, it may be treated as a public document and be made available to any interested party, whether their intentions are honest or otherwise.

When public schools use tactics like this, the motive can often be traced back to money. Public schools may get a little extra money from the state for every family that files the optional declaration.

If you think you might be one of those few families who might be benefitted by filing, please call so we can talk. Otherwise, feel free to disregard a school's invitation or demand to file.

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nancy Leigh and a thought from me!

Never Alone Friday, April 8, 2011

Did you play more video games at work today?”

“No, my boss was looking over my shoulder all day.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When someone’s watching you, it has a way of affecting your behavior. We tend to be better behaved when we’re with other people than when we’re alone. But the apostle Paul reminds us that we’re never truly alone. In 1 Timothy 5 he says, “I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions.”

In other words, Jesus is watching. God is watching, and angels are watching. That should encourage us to obey.

So the next time you find yourself alone and you’re tempted to sin, remember that you’re not alone. Even when it seems like no one else is around, you’re still accountable to God. And He sees everything. In fact, that's what it means to live in the fear of the Lord.

Here's a few of my thoughts after reading this.  I hope it might encourage you, too.

The fact that, "Jesus is watching, God is watching, and angels are watching," should not only encourage us to obey, but encourage us to keep on keeping on. 

One thing that those who work out of the home get is affirmation or feedback.  Even if you don't get promotions or raises, you still get a paycheck at the end of the pay period showing that you did do something. 

At home, however, what we get accomplished is not always noticed.  Sure, sometimes you get a "thank you" or "dinner was yummy."  On the whole, however, at the end of the day, your husband may not notice what you did or didn't do.  Your children may not notice what you did or didn't do.  Let's face it, by the end of the day, you may not notice what you did or didn't do. 


Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Follow-up on Mississippi

I posted about the Mississippi judge demanding homeschool information back on April 8th.  Thankfully, the HSLDA is on top of it, so I wanted to share an update.

Here's the E-lert sent out by HSLDA to Mississippi.

Mississippi--Supreme Court Stays Proceedings
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

In an order filed today, the Supreme Court of Mississippi stayed all proceedings in the case involving the disclosure of the identities of homeschoolers in the Thirteenth District. Further, the court ordered Judge Joe Dale Walker to respond by April 18, 2011, and explain by what authority he issued his order of March 23, 2011, which gave rise to this controversy.

At this time it is uncertain how the Supreme Court will proceed after receiving Judge Walker's response. It may simply issue an order disposing of the case or may require legal briefs and/or oral argument before issuing a final decision. In any event, we will keep you advised of the status of the case.

HSLDA considers the Supreme Court's action today to be a very positive development in our effort to protect the privacy of homeschoolers in Mississippi.

Very truly yours,

Dewitt T. Black, III
Senior Counsel

It's not *just* about the book.

We all know the importance of reading to our children and reading with our children.  There are no doubts about the benefits, BUT have you considered the importance of you reading for your own sake, as well as, your children's benefit?

I know, I know.  Like you're supposed to find time to read.  The truthful answer is, "Yes." 

First, I'll mention the reason as it relates to your children.  That might be enough to spur some of you on. 

Think about it.  We're trying to teach them to read and enjoy reading, but they never see us read for our own pleasure or knowledge.  Hmmmm....what would we call it if we teach one thing but don't do it....hmmmmm....could it be....HYPOCRITICAL!!?!?!  (Sorry, Church Lady just broke through.)   Many studies have shown the benefit of children seeing their parents reading.  HERE is just one source.  (It's out of Canada, eh?)

So, we need to read our own personal stuff personally to help set an example for our children.  Did you realize when you were getting into this parenting thing how much of what you do and don't do, say and don't say, believe and don't believe would be an example for your children?  No pressure there.

Now, I will go where none of us have gone before....or at least not as much as we did before we had children.   READING FOR OUR OWN BENEFIT/PLEASURE.   Yes, I said it.  We need to find some time to read. 

There are many lists that speak of the benefits of reading.  One is at Persistence Unlimited.  I'm just going to share a few of the advantages the site lists.

1. Reading is an active mental process – Unlike TV, books make you to use your brain. By reading, you think more and become smarter. [OK, Suess's tongue twisters can be an active mental process, but not so much Brown Bear, Brown Bear.]

7. Improves memory – Many studies show if you don’t use your memory, you lose it. Crossword puzzles are an example of a word game that staves off Alzheimer’s. Reading, although not a game, helps you stretch your memory muscles in a similar way. Reading requires remembering details, facts and figures and in literature, plot lines, themes and characters.  [I don't know about others...but I need to work on retaining all the memory I can.  Someone said that the memory is the first to go.  I don't remember who said it, but somebody did!]

9. Learn anywhere – Books are portable. You can take them almost anywhere. As such, you can learn almost anywhere too.  [I've done a lot of great reading during gymnastics and ballet practice.]

11. Gives you something to talk about – Have you ever run out of stuff to talk about with your best friend, wife or husband? This can be uncomfortable. It might even make married couples wonder if their marriage is in trouble. However, if you read a lot of books, you’ll always have something to talk about. You can discuss various plots in the novels you read, you can discuss the stuff you are learning in the business books you are reading as well. The possibilities of sharing are endless.  [Wow!  You mean you can talk to your husband about something rather than the kids?  Who knew?]

12. Books are inexpensive entertainment – What’s the average price of a movie ticket these days? $8 – $10? You can buy a paperback for that price and be entertained for many hours more. If you have a used bookstore nearby, you can get them even cheaper.  [Cheap?  What about free?  Donde esta la biblioteca?]

17. Saves money – Apart from saving money on entertainment expenses. Reading books that help you develop your skills saves money. Reading books on how someone went bankrupt will be a warning to you against repeating their mistakes. Reading a book on how to build your own backyard deck saves the expense of hiring a contractor.  [Cha Ching!]

20. Decreased boredom [OK, maybe boredom is not an issue at this point.]

23. Reduces stress - Many avid readers (including me) unwind by reading... [Calgon and C.S. Lewis take me away.]

26. The book is always better than the movie.  [I have found very few exceptions to this.]

So, the question becomes how.  How do I make time?  What I do is use a form of accountability.  My church offers a wonderful book group lead by my friend Susan.  We read selected chapters out of a non-fiction Christian book every week.  We then meet and  go over the discussion questions. 

It's much more than just reading a book, however.  We do prayer requests and aren't afraid just follow a few rabbit trails if it means more fellowship or deeper growth.  It's the only place where one can jump from discussing the hypostatic union to hormones and hysterectomy within the space of 5 minutes and attempt not to wet your pants laughing while doing it.

All this to say, that if I didn't know I was going to be meeting with this group of ladies each week, I probably wouldn't find as much time to read. 

Here's the kicker!  Susan has started a website with all the books and the questions we've done.  The site is Susan's Book Group.  It could be a great resource if you'd like some questions for your own reading or maybe even starting a group yourself.  That could be a cool idea.  What an example would that set?  A few moms getting together to discuss a book while their kids play. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More Quotes

"The ruling class has the schools and press under its thumb. This enables it to sway the emotions of the masses."
-- Albert Einstein
(1879-1955) Physicist and Professor, Nobel Prize 1921

"The philosophy of the classroom today will be the philosophy of government tomorrow."
-- Abraham Lincoln
(1809-1865) 16th US President

Saturday, April 9, 2011

C.S. Lewis is spot on once again.

"What I want to fix your attention on is the vast overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence -- moral, cultural, social or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how 'democracy' (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient dictatorships, and by the same methods? The basic proposal of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be 'undemocratic.' Children who are fit to proceed may be artifically kept back, because the others would get a trauma by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval's attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT. We may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when 'I'm as good as you' has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to learn will be prevented; who are they to overtop their fellows? And anyway, the teachers -- or should I say nurses? -- will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men."
-- C. S. Lewis

(1898-1963), British novelist

Friday, April 8, 2011

Shocker! On his own, judge demands homeschool student IDs

Shocker! On his own, judge demands homeschool student IDs

Posted: April 07, 20118:12 pm Eastern
By Bob Unruh© 2011 WorldNetDaily

A Mississippi state judge has issued an order to public school attendance officers in his judicial district to provide the names of all homeschoolers there, prompting alarm at the Home School Legal Defense Association, which fights for the rights of homeschooling worldwide.

The order apparently is because the judge himself wants the information, as there appeared to be no case, motion or dispute prompting the request.

The HSLDA, which was alerted by its members in the 13th Chancery Court district in Mississippi, where Judge Joe Dale Walker issued the order, immediately sought and obtained a stay of the order from the state Supreme Court.

The judge's order noted that the "cause" for the order "came on for hearing on the court's own motion," but the HSLDA said apparently no hearing ever was held – and the order is the only document in the court file.

It also has no case number, the organization said.

Spokeswoman Beverly Kraft of the state court system told WND that the issue as it was presented to the state Supreme Court was a "confidential" case about which no documents, no information and no explanation was available.

The HSLDA said the order is highly unusual and could provide a "chilling" effect on not only homeschoolers but any group whose members' names may at some point be demanded by a judge.

The organization said the state Supreme Court ordered a stay in all proceedings in the case in which Walker demanded the names of all homeschoolers in his district. The order instructed Walker to explain to the higher court by April 18 exactly what's going on.

There was no explanation for why the judge issued the original demand for homeschoolers' information.

"At this time it is uncertain how the Supreme Court will proceed after receiving Judge Walker's response," the organization said. "It may simply issue an order disposing of the case or may require legal briefs and/or oral arguments before issuing a final decision.

"In any event, we will keep members advised of the status of the case."

An attorney for the group, James Mason, told WND that in the years he has worked with homeschool issues, he never before has seen such an order.

"It's a very chilling prospect," he said. "The plain fact is if judges start behaving this way – [targeted could be] people who attend churches or synagogues [or other groups]."

"That would have a chilling effect on freedom of association, and the exercise of other freedoms," he said.

A judge in a similar order could demand the names of patriot organizations, tea party groups, Democrat groups, GOP groups or even labor, teacher or parent groups.

HSLDA said that after attendance officers at the schools got the order, they notified homeschoolers, enclosing a copy of the judge's order.

"The letters cited the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and asked the families to notify the attendance officer by April 8, 2011, if they intended to initiate legal action to prevent release of the protected information sought by Judge Walker," HSLDA said.

The notice from the HSLDA to its members said the judge also wanted the addresses of all homeschoolers in Smith, Lawrence, Covington, Simpson and Jefferson Davis counties.

Walker's order listed no parties but only said "RE: HOMESCHOOL."

"We believe that Judge Walker's order is an inappropriate use of judicial power," said Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA.

The state's court website says chancery courts "have jurisdiction over disputes in matters involving equity; domestic matters including adoptions, custody disputes and divorces; guardianships; sanity hearings; wills; and challenges to constitutionality of state laws. Land records are filed in Chancery Court."

The chancery courts also are given jurisdiction in juvenile matters in counties that have no county court.

I'm a guest post!

If you've been reading my blog lately, you've probably noticed that I'm a Gabby Mom.  I've been really excited about the program.  It's been a big blessing to me.  Today I received an honor!  One of my pieces was selected as a guest post for Gabby moms

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Manners or Math?

Don't you love it when you child demonstrates good manners?  We recently went to a small, local craft sale.  It was so nice to have my dd actually catching people's attention with her "please" and "thank you." This was especially true since she was doing it of her own initiative without the normal parent prompt, "Now what do you say?"   If you think about it, it's kind of sad that people actually notice manners when it should be just a mundane thing.  But I digress.

Momma teaching manners
Manners.  So the other day,  we were at  home and I said, "Micki, you sure have nice manners.  Did you're momma teach you those?"   To my big surprise, she said, "No."  
OK, so this conversation's train of thought just jumped the track!  What did she mean I didn't teach her manners?

I had to give her a chance to get this straight.  So I ask, "Well, didn't your momma teach you anything?"

Her response?  "Yes, my momma taught me math."

Whew!  At least I taught her something!  But thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook, some friends gave me some insight into this discussion. 

First, she's obviously learned manners from us, but it's happened so naturally that she doesn't realize it.  Isn't that great?  It also means, that we have to make sure to set the example and be consistent. 

Second, my friend Deb pointed out that manners are math.  After all, Love of God + love of neighbor = manners!  Isn't that a wonderful math equation?

So, apparently you can teach math and manners at the same time, and the best way to do it is naturally, so it just becomes part of them. 

Just sharing it as I'm learning it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

i will survive by igudesman & joo

I just had to share this because it was so funny!  Enjoy! 

Homeschoolers Help Amid Devastation

From HSLDA on April 4, 2011

“God has been using homeschoolers to help the needy,” reports Hiro Inaba, President of CHEA Japan, one of the main homeschool associations in the country that suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami three-and-a-half weeks ago. “We have had more urgent calls from our members who have been supporting the urgent needs of victims in [affected] areas. CHEA Japan has been supporting those members through food, money, and other basic survival resources.”

In Fukushima, CHEA Japan delivers food to a doctor who continues practice in an indoor-confinement area near a stricken nuclear power plant.

In a country with a population of 130 million, the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 displaced more than 400,000 people.

“There are about 80 member families of CHEA Japan in the Sendai area,” Inaba told HSLDA. “Most of them are safe, though some families needed to be evacuated from their homes. We have not been able to contact some of families who may have been evacuated from the nuclear power plant area.” Sendai is the closest major city to the earthquake’s epicenter. Inaba had been in Sendai for 10 days in late March, bringing food to people in the evacuated areas who have lost their homes.

Many of Japan’s thousands of homeschooling families who have been personally affected by the earthquake and tsunami are reaching out to help others in their communities. Many Christian organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision, and Food for the Hungry are also providing relief. These organizations have been using local facilities at the MeySen school as a hub for coordinating support work for victims.

The disaster has also had a direct effect on CHEA Japan.

“We will postpone our 12th CHEA Japan Convention in May, because of the nuclear power plant disaster,” said Inaba. “Even in Tokyo, the government has warned about polluted water. The railway system has been restricted because of lack of electricity. Three-to-four-hour trips by foot for people to get to their workplaces when trains are stopped by the blackouts are not uncommon. For obvious reasons, we will also postpone our annual summer camp in Sendai, which usually has around 300 CHEA Japan members in attendance.”

Inaba states that the Japanese government has covered the major cities with relief relatively well, but that many rural communities are still struggling. Homeschoolers are reaching out to individuals in these communities.

“CHEA Japan is a nationwide homeschooling support organization whose aim is to foster the homeschool movement in Japan,” explained Inaba. “We are not a professional rescue organization. However, support for the victims is still very urgent, especially in rural villages and communities, and it is our heart to reflect the love and care of our Savior and to help the victims in any way we can. So, we have been responding to those in rural communities through the homeschoolers in Japan.”

HSLDA is coordinating with CHEA Japan to provide funds for relief efforts.

Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s Director of International Relations, encourages families around the world to consider supporting homeschoolers in Japan through a donation to the Home School Foundation’s International Fund.

“Hiro and CHEA Japan are doing a great work to respond in a compassionate and timely manner to those who have been tragically affected by last month’s earthquake and tsunami.” Donnelly said. “As you are able, I encourage you to help homeschoolers in Japan—and enable homeschoolers to help others—through prayer or a financial donation.”

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