Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: "Unto The Hills; A daily devotional" by Billy Graham

TITLE: Unto The Hills; A Daily Devotional
AUTHOR: Billy Graham
GENRE: Christian devotional
ISBN: 978-0-8499-4621-9
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: "For peace, for strength, for courage and inspiration, look UNTO THE HILLS. Day by day, you can join the nation's most beloved spiritual leader for a moment of quiet and reflection - a Scripture, a thought, and a prayer. The author draws from his lifetime of study and ministry to offer this devotional classic, featuring 365 meditations to calm you and point you toward the One who can always help."



First off I want to say that the summary from the back cover is just awful. It makes it sound like some pious guide to religion by some religious leader who is worshipped as God Himself is. Really unappealing.
The first few days of this devotional were equally unappealing to me. They were generic, spiritual babyfood. I wanted some meat to chew over, not platitudes I learned in Sunday School when I was 6. If I flipped this devotional open in a store and read the first few days, I would most definately not buy it.
BUT after a few weeks of readings I felt like the...

[To read the rest of my review, please click HERE to go to my review blog!]

Friday, November 19, 2010

I lost my Nana...

My dear Nana passed away last night. She was 85 and went Home in her sleep. I was her first grandchild and we were so close. I'm still in shock I think. Just numb and queasy. I'm probably not going to be blogging much if at all for the rest of this month. Thanksgiving and a funeral to think about, memories on my mind.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sneak Peek (Baby!)

Wanna see a sneaky peeky of the newest member of my family? ;)


I was just sitting here looking down at her sleeping in my arms:

...and I'm thinking how blessed I am! :)
~*Mama Mirage*~

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

working on..

the birth story! slow going 1 handed since I'm always holding my new little princess. :) I know she's 2 months old now - I'd better get it posted soon! lol!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mama's Tips

We all learn a few things along the road of motherhood. Sometimes we remember to pass them on and sometimes we don't. I think our daughters could really benefit if we remembered the little tricks we learned to make things easier and passed them on to the next generation. :) Here are a few things I've learned to do that make things easier with babies and toddlers.


Diapers
If baby explodes their diaper every time they go #2, It's time for a bigger diaper! Now your baby might fit perfectly in a size 1 but you have to get size 3 to hold the poo. I don't want my 9 week old in size 3 diapers but I have to unless I'd rather have poo stains in all her clothes. I have to swallow my pride and expectations and put her in a diaper that's a bit too big so I don't have to changer her clothes every time she poos.
Worried about the fit? Got poo coming out the leg holes now? In order to get away with using a too-big diaper to contain the mess, you need to have the waist up at the bottom of baby's ribcage. That's right, put it on as high up as you can get it so that between the legs the legholes are snug as can be. The poo will either go out the legholes or up the back and both of these are remedied by a larger diaper pulled way up and cinched snugly.

Huggies are a bit bigger than Pampers, as a general rule. For instance a 3 in Huggies is halfway between a 3 and a 4 in Pampers.

Always have something easily washable under the baby when you change them in case they have an accident while you're in the process of cleaning them up.

When going out, keep a reuseable changing pad in the diaper bag. When you use it, remember which side is which!! Fold it in half DOWN-SIDE IN to keep the germs from the side that touched the changing table only touching themselves. The clean (baby's) side should be on the outside. The reason is that your own little baby's bottom germs won't hurt anything you've got in the diaper bag as much as the random germs on the changing table will, so if you're folding it table side out, you've just essentially rubbed everything in  your bag on the changing table for a nice coating of strangers' germs.

But what if you're not worried about germs on the changing table and don't want the hassle of bringing a changing pad everywhere? I mean they're just baby germs, right? It's not like babies are running around spreading STD's or anything. Okay, but think about this... Some communicable diseases can be passed to the infant from the mother during birth. Those babies might have been changed on that changing table before your baby and their mom might have not used a pad. Or how about parasites in the feces? How about just poo like when the person before you is a lowlife and leaves excrement smeared all over the table? If you're not afraid of germs from that how about the smell and do you want your baby wearing some other kid's poo? No, I didn't think so. Or worse, what about the people who put their purse or diaper bag on the BATHROOM FLOOR when they're in a stall with no hook, and then when they are in a stall with a changing table or while they're washing their hands or changing their own baby, they set that same purse or diaper bag on the changing table, essentially culturing it with everything that lives on the floor, including accidents that didn't make it into the toilet and every single thing on the shoes of every occupant of that stall since the last time the floor was disinfected. And speaking of disinfected, I've gone into stores weeks apart and seen the exact same poo smudges on the changing table both times, indicating that they NEVER WASH THE CHANGING TABLE. At least the FLOOR gets washed every night! And my last point, vaccinations. You either do or you don't vaccinate your kid and you do whatever you do for a reason. Chances are that some previous baby changed on that table was the opposite of what your baby is vaccination wise. Many things can be caught by contact with fecal matter. 

Eating Out
You know those 5 packs of plain white fruit-of-the-loom t-shirts you can get in the little boy's section for like $5 per pack? They totally solve the problem of my messy eaters eating out and ruining their clothes. A tshirt is full coverage. Just pull any long sleeves up as far as you can and throw a tshirt on them. My kids call them our "bib shirts."
Do note though that you want them to be very big so they will comfortably fit over top of the kids' outfit, plus take into account that these puppies shink something awful. My son wears a 2T/3T in clothes right now but his "bib shirts" are size 6/8. Yes size 6/8! And my daughter wears a 5T in clothes but a 10/12 in bib shirts. Because of how much they shrink and how much bigger they need to be to go over the clothing. I keep a couple in the diaper bag at all times for this purpose.

I also keep a ziplock baggie with a couple baby wipes in it in my purse. You never know when you'll wind up in the restaurant with all the dirty tables or the restroom with something yellow or brown on every toilet seat. That way if I don't happen to have the diaper bag with me (which is rare indeed) I still have a few wipes. It's also handy for that occasion when you find yourself in the stall without any toilet paper! ;)

While waiting for the food is a great time to practice memorization with the kids. Sing the ABC's or count your fingers or the condiments, recite multiplication tables, ask what color this or that thing is, tell them a new rule of good manners or remind them of one they tend to forget. Practice sitting up straight.

If you have toddlers, always carry a little notebook and a couple crayons in your purse or diaper bag. Play pictionary or have them draw or write while waiting.

Bring in the sippy cups. In the restaurant is not the place to practice drinking out of a big kid cup. You can order them a drink and then pour it into the sippy. Better that than to have your kid wearing red juice on their white dress. Those bib shirts are great but a hefty liquid spill will soak through them and into your kid's clothes. The back yard or bathtub are the best places to practice drinking out of a cup.

So what are some of your tips and tricks for daily life with kids?

Until next time, hope you've enjoyed these things I've learned along the way! Have a great week!

This post is linked up to the http://raisinghomemakers.com/2010/homemaking-link-up-11/

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Handmade Gifts- Soft Block for Baby

For Christmas this year I'm hoping to go as homemade as possible. Store bought gifts are fun, for a while, but homemade ones are heart to heart! Homemade gifts are sentimental, personal. They just mean more. :)

My nephew just turned 1 and I made him one of these for his birthday. He had a ball (pun intended) tossing it around, and since it is soft there were no bonked noggins and no sad faces. :) Now I'm thinking of making these for Christmas for all the babies on my list.


Step 1. You'll need to cut out 6 squares of your selected fabric.
Make sure they are as close to perfectly square as possible. You will have to zigzag or serge the edges of each square so it doesn't unravel if you do not use pinking shears. It doesn't really matter how big your squares are, as long as they are all the same size. You probably want them to be at least 4" though. 6" would make a nice big block and be easier to work with.

Step 2. Sew ONE side of each of 4 of the squares to EACH side of 1 of the squares, leaving the 6th square unattached for now, as shown:
The square in the middle will be the "bottom" of your block and the 4 attached to it will be the "sides."

Step 3. Sew the SIDES of the SIDE BLOCKS to each other to form a box:
Remember to always sew with the right sides of the fabric facing each other so your pretty seam is on the pretty side of the fabric.

Step 4. Now you're going to put the "lid" on. You can press open the side seams to make it easier to work with.
Now sew your 6th square onto your "box," leaving one side open:

Step 5. With block right side out, iron all the seams as shown to make the block more square.
Then iron under the edges of the open side to make it easier to sew up later.

Step 6. This step is optional, I just like to do it because it helps the block to be more block-y looking and then I can use the machine to sew the hole closed after stuffing instead of hand slip-stitching it closed. It also re-enforces the seams to help prevent them from coming unraveled with rough play.
Sew as close to the edge as possible along all the seams as shown in the picture above. Do not sew the block closed accidentally or you won't be able to stuff it! ;)

Step 7. Stuff your block with polyfill, making sure to arrange the stuffing in the block with your fingers as you go in order to make it most block-like. Don't stuff it too full if you plan to machine sew it closed! In fact, if you plan to machine sew it closed, leave enough room near the hole for the block to fit under the sewing machine's foot. You can pinch and squish the polyfill around to "fix" the empty spot once the block is sewn closed.

Step 8. Pin the hole closed and sew it closed as shown.
If you skipped step 6 then you'll want to hand slip stitch it closed instead.

This was only my second one so the seams are not real pretty... I need more practice! ;) It didn't help that my 2 year old kept reaching up and pushing buttons that would adjust the tension, needle placement, etc. as I was trying to sew. Lol! I'm sure it would look a lot fancier if I didn't have any "help"... hehe... But it's cute in a handmade toy sort of way anyway I think.

This post is linked up to the following where you can find more handmade gift ideas:
4 Moms, 35 Kids; Christmas Craft Linky
AND
Click to see other posts in this blog carnival or add your own!
AND
Raising Homemakers; Homemaking Linky

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Heart Of Christmas ♥ Homemade Gifts ♥ Keeping CHRIST in Christmas!

Click to see other posts in this blog carnival or add your own!

Every year as the weather gets wetter, the leaves get brighter, and the air gets a bite of chill to it, I start thinking about my favorite time of year: Christmas! I remember my childhood Christmases. We were poor in money but rich in love and what I remember about Christmas isn't Santa or Presents, it's the SMELL of cinnamon and pine, the beautiful nativity set, the inspiring music, the sound of family gathered, the taste of cranberry sauce, and laying underneath the tree looking up through the branches at the lights and just soaking in the joy. That's what I want to pass on to my kids! Not greed or materialism. Not Santa-worship. Not cartoons and movies that have no foundation on The Rock. Every year I want to make homemade things as gifts but get distracted and then don't get anything finished in time. Every year since becoming an adult, despite my best intentions to keep the focus where it belongs and not get lost in the stress; somewhere along the line I loose my focus and have a panic attack, start resenting the to-do and to-buy lists, forget what it's really all about. I always need a reminder to get me back on track. I need to make it a point to not get caught up in worrying about making everything perfect and forget that the things aren't what makes Christmas CHRISTmas. What makes Christmas CHRISTmas is keeping our eyes on Jesus.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33
Last year I decided what better way to stay motivated and focused on the TRUE heart of CHRISTmas than a fun interactive bloggy carnival with all of you! What do you say? Want to join the fun?

Welcome to The Heart Of Christmas 2010 link up! There will be ONE linkup for the whole season here in this post, at the bottom. Every time you have a relevant post you may link it here, any day from now until January 7th. You must link back to this post in each of your participating posts. You may link back in text, or by including the button in the post. You may add the button to your blog's sidebar if you would like to help draw more participation, but it's not required. You may link up old posts, even posts you linked up last year, as long as they contain a link back to this post: i.e. the updated button code (can't use last years- it goes to last years linky which is closed! Must use this years from this post!) or post link to get visitors back to THIS 2010 linky in case they wish to view the other entries and/or participate.

What to put in your posts (you can use any one, several, or all of these ideas in each post):
-Something about how you stay focused on Jesus.
-Something you have bought/made as a gift for someone, or a link to an idea for a project you would LIKE to make for a gift. Don't forget to give credit where credit is due for patterns, ideas, tutorials, etc.
-A Christmas recipe.
-Talk about one of your family traditions, why you do it and what it means.
-A sweet Christmas memory.
-Anything else that is related to the HEART of Christmas, having a sweet and thankful spirit, handmade with love, giving, helping the needy, avoiding getting stressed out, avoiding focus on money and gifts, seeing Jesus as the bringer of every good and perfect gift, etc.
-Check out last year's entries for more ideas!

We want to avoid posts that encourage complaining and stressing, focus on money/Santa/gifts (commercialism), and "keeping up with the Jones'."

INSTRUCTIONS:
I will try to post a Heart of CHRISTmas post at least once a week and link it. You may link a post every week, or every day, or just once or twice. You know I'd love it if you linked often of course... Lol! But I know you can't post if you don't have something you feel like posting about. ;) So just join in when you want to. :) There is not a specific day of the week to do this. Just come here and link up each time you have a qualifying post.
1. Write a post that falls within the guidelines above. (Or you can use an old post of like a Christmas craft or recipe or gift idea.)
2. Include this button (or a text link back here) in your post. If you would like, you can put it in your blog's sidebar too to draw more people to share with us. Use the code provided which links the button back here so people can browse the other participating posts.
Click to see other posts in this blog carnival or add your own!
3. Add your post to the MckLinky below so others can find it from here! :) Please include the name of your blog and most importantly the title of your post in the "Name" field when linking. LINK DIRECTLY TO THE SPECIFIC POST, not just to your blog in general. For example my first link will not go merely to http://everypreciousjoy.blogspot.com/ - it will instead be a specific link to a specific post; http://everypreciousjoy.blogspot.com/2010/11/heart-of-christmas-1.html. Make sense? Link to the post, not the whole blog.
4. Browse the other posts in the MckLinky list to see what others are doing for CHRISTmas 2010. We all love comments so if you'd like to leave some love for the other participants we'd be ever so excited! :D

November Giveaways!

http://everypreciousjoy.blogspot.com/2010/11/november-giveaways.html 
First, here are some awesome giveaways I have found! Check back frequently as I will be removing the ones that are over and adding new giveaway links as I can! Please click on a date to see a few select giveaways ending on that date. (If date is not clickable, I have not selected any giveaways to feature for that date yet.)
Giveaways By End Date:
November01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
December01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31


_____________________
Linky Time!
••For more places to list your giveaways click HERE
_____________________
_____________________
Your turn! :) MckLinky up!
In the space that says Link Title, remember to include 3 things: YourBlogName - Giveaway Title [End date]. Does not have to be in that exact order but I do need all three in some order or another please. Link to the giveaway post specifically, not just to your blog in general.
PLEASE make sure you follow these easy instructions so it is easy for me to maintain and easy for people to view and use. Alot of people have not been doing this and it makes maintaining the list much harder and more time consuming for me. This is not an unreasonable request in the least: most giveaway linkups require this same format. You can use proper format and copy and paste it the same (proper) way to all the linkys you use. If this gets too hard for me to maintain due to people not doing this as I have asked, I will stop fixing them and have to instead delete any that I don't have the time to fix. So you see why it's not only courtesy but is also important to use the BlogName-GiveawayName[EndDate] format. (In any order. You can do End Date - Blog name - Giveaway or Giveaway - End date - Blog name or whatever as long as they are all in there.)
ALSO please note: I will immediately delete any entries that are innapropriate and further links from that blog may be deleted if I don't have time to screen them. A good way to look at it is if you wouldn't want your 13 year old daughter to have one or read the review in your words then DON'T LINK IT HERE. This is supposed to be a family friendly blog and when I've got people posting giveaways for ...um... 'romantic props' or something it is extremely embarrassing and upsetting to find that on my blog where my friends' innocent children could see it.
Your link WILL BE DELETED IF it links to a post that:
**Contains profanity, nudity, or inappropriate inuendo.
**Does not contain a blog giveaway.
**Endorses abortion, divorce, adultery, or things that are anti-God, anti-moral absolutes, anti-ten commandments, etc.
**Endorses a product/company that endorses abortion, divorce, adultery, or things that are anti-God, anti-moral absolutes, anti-Biblical commandments, etc.
**Is not appropriate for an innocent child to view.
This is what I believe in, and to allow links on my blog that go against that is something that I cannot do in good concience.


Entries will stay on the list until they expire (until the giveaway ends).
I will try to delete expired giveaways often to keep this list fresh and easy to view.
I will create a new list each month. This MckLinky list will run November 1st-30th. Check back December 1st for a new list.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween - Part 4: My personal beliefs, some Q & A

If you have not yet read the preceeding 3 parts of this 4-part series, then I must request that you do so before continuing. It is a series for a reason and is in the order which I have presented it for a reason - it will make the most sense if you read it as it was meant to be read.
*(This is an updated repost of a series I did last year)*

Part 1: Jack-O-Lantern, Stingy Jack, Jack the Smith
Part 2: Origins - All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day
Part 3: How it all ties in, Christian response

PART 4:
I would like to open this post where I left off in Part 3- with the scriptures I noted there. They may help you to understand why I believe what I do.

~*~*~*~*~
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.

Ephesians 6:12-13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

~*~*~*~*~
And if it seems offensive to you to serve the LORD, choose once and for all whom you will serve; the gods of your ancestors, or the gods of those in whose land you reside... but as for me and my lineage, we will serve the LORD.
~*~*~*~*~

What are my personal beliefs regarding Halloween?
Well, I believe that it is a celebration that pleases Satan. I think that children dressed as demonic creatures pleases Satan. I think that carrying out the pagan religious ceremonies of setting out Jack-O-Lanterns and acting out the distribution of sweets to bribe the evil spirits to move along is pleasing to Satan. I think the fact that Christians don't know (or don't want to know) what what they are doing represents when they take their children Trick Or Treating gives the devil a big ol' happy boost. I think that when children act out being an unholy being it is spiritually unhealthy, even harmfull to them. I think that even if a child is dressed as an angel or Superman they are still acting out the story of demons visiting homes to threaten tricks if not presented with a treat.

How were my husband and I raised regarding celebrating or not celebrating Halloween?
When I was a child my family did not celebrate Halloween. We would lock up our animals and pray that some cult or prankster wouldn't get ahold of them and torture them for the glory of the evil one. We would sometimes leave the house and go eat dinner out to avoid the bombardment of costumed kids incessantly beating at the door demanding candy. Sometimes we would turn out all the lights and watch a movie, but they would come anyway and shine flashlights in our windows and beat on the door for a long time. It scared us kids to have our home assaulted that way. I never slept well that night.
When my husband was a child his family did celebrate Halloween. He has two older brothers. They dressed in costume and went trick or treating. His family never gave any thought to it, just thought of it as harmless and did it because they'd always done it and it was fun. My husband was raised in church, good Christian boys from a good Christian family. His family still thinks of it as harmless fun but my husband has now, as an adult, been convicted against celebrating it.

Did I ever feel deprived by not being allowed to go Trick or Treating?
Yes and no. Not really. I felt deprived of the chance to dress up in a way and at a time that was not glorifying to Satan. This deprivation would have still been there even had I been out trick or treating. I would still have felt like I would have been more proud of my costume if it were done somewhere, somehow, that would glorify my LORD. I also felt deprived of the chance to glutton myself on free candy. Lol! A very shallow and childlike thing to pout over of course, so I got over it after just a few Halloweens. My family was too poor to buy candy. I imagine my kids will not have this problem since my husband and I are not so poor we can't afford some sweets. ;) And even if they do feel deprived of treats, that is NOT a sufficient reason to participate in something we don't feel right about.

What about Church Harvest Parties or Trunk-or-treats?
Well, I went to a Church Harvest Party (Church costume event for Halloween to keep kids off the streets) when I was about 11. I felt so betrayed when I stepped inside this house of GOD and saw little witches and demons asnd fairies running around with Jack-O-lantern buckets! In the CHURCH! My little 11 year old heart broke and I felt positively sick to my stomach. I had been under the impression that the purpose of the Harvest Party was to have something for the Christian kids to do on Halloween that would be glorifying to God instead of Satan and when I saw that it was just a big trick or treat party in the Church I started crying and wanted to go home. I told my parents I didn't ever want to go to another Church Harvest Party. I felt morally raped.
My husband tells me that a trunk-or-treat was what his childhood Church did. People would park in the Church parking lot and open their candy-filled car trunks and the kids would go from car to car trick-or-treating. Basically still trick or treating in the pagan traditional manner except with cars instead of houses. Still carrying jack-o-lantern buckets, dressed in costume, going from car to car repeating the intonation "trick-or-treat!"
I think that Christians should pray carefully about these alternative activities just as they should pray carefully about the traditional ones. See what God tells you. IMO if the Church Harvest Party had turned out to be what my hopeful little 11 year old heart had expected, it would be a great alternative. If you can find an alternative in your church or group that is truly glorifying to God rather than just being a tamer version of the pagan celebration, then I would be all over it!
We won't allow our children to participate in anything where there are children and/or adults dressed up as evil things or even some seemingly innocuous mythical creatures, so this would eliminate Church Harvest Parties like the one I attended as an alternative for my kids. I would love to have a Harvest Party where the children could dress up in wholesome costumes and the focus would be on something other than candy. I wouldn't mind in the least if it were not even ON Halloween- in fact that would be a plus to me I think, since I'm not looking to celebrate Christianized or tamed Halloween, I am rather looking for an outlet for my kids to glorify God by dressing in costume and socializing with other kids in an uplifting way. Perhaps when my kids are older I will host such a thing for other Christian families looking for an alternative fall activity. Hmmm the possibilities! Of course I will have to discuss it with the hubby and do some praying... I was browsing a blog back in October of 2009 where the blogger just did a Harvest Party and I thought it looked wonderful and like so much fun! Wish I still had the link so I could show you. The kids dressed as historical characters and gave a presentation on their character. What a terrific idea! Do any of you host or attend a wholesome alternative to Halloween? I'd love to hear about it!

What do I think about other Christians celebrating Halloween?
Frankly I think that it would be wrong of me not to present my fellow believers with the truth of the origins of Halloween in case they do not know. I have a very difficult time conversing in public. I'm the oldest of 3 siblings and, strangely, the only one who is cripplingly shy in public. My brother is not going to win any socialite awards but he gets along more than passably well with other humans. My sister could win socialite of the century; she is chipper and witty and friendly. I seem to be the only one who did not inherrit any one-on-one communication skills! So when I get asked by friends and family, "Why don't you celebrate Halloween? It's just harmless fun, right?" I can't seem to express clearly what I'm trying to say. I have a whole speech ready the instant they are out of sight but when conversing one on one it's like I revert back to the vocabulary level of a toddler. That is one reason why I decided to write this blog series on Halloween, originally posted in October of 2009. I am so much better at expressing myself in the written word when I have the time to do so. So now when I get disbelief, scorn, dirty looks, or questions or whatever I will be able to direct people to my blog to answer the burning question, Why don't we celebrate Halloween? The other reason I wrote this is because there are alot of dear friends with whom the subject has never come up. Like I said before, I believe it would be wrong of me to not present the origins of Halloween so that people know. If I believe God wants me to do something and I do not do it, it would be a sin. As for what other people do with it after I tell it... that is between them and GOD.

~*~*~*~*~
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. -James 4:17
~*~*~*~*~

What should I do on Halloween?
Well, you know, I just don't know. I will admit I'm still in prayer and pondering on this one. Should I hand out tracts and candy? That kind of makes me uneasy because then I'm opening the door of my home to 'monsters/ghosts/demons/witches' in front of my vulnerable children. Even if the babies are in bed, the whole symbolism of trying to evangelize kids dressed as scary evil things by playing along with something I believe is wrong seems to be contrary to scripture. Be ye IN the world but not OF it? But is hiding from them or avoiding them the right choice? I don't know. I really don't. I was reading HERE that if our only “light” to our neighborhood comes by celebrating Halloween, via trick or treating or handing out candy, than something is really wrong! If you have any thoughts on this dilemma I would love to read them and add them to my ponderings. ;) We have lived in this town since 2005. The first Halloween I think we went out to eat, the next year we handed out tracts and candy and the trick or treaters were almost all dressed as hellish things or chopped up murder victims and they scared the poor dog half out of her mind which led to barking which scared baby Chicklet half out of HER mind and the poor little boy dressed as a demon whom my 50-pound pit bull was barking at was scared about out of HIS mind too. The next two Halloweens we just watched a movie with the lights out but the kids here are awfully rude and foolish and beat on the door anyway even with the porch light and inside lights out. In 2007 they were throwing things at our house because we wouldn't answer the door. In 2009 we posted a sign saying we do not celebrate Halloween on our door for those kids who ignore the porch light being out, but half of them just ignored the sign too and beat on the door yelling and roaring. But if we go out to eat everyone is dressed up in the restaurant with gory dead body parts and skeletons hanging around the food. Not what I want my kids to be seeing, and not what I like to view with my dinner. *sigh* I really am not sure what we will do this year yet. Stay home and have a family movie night most likely, and hope the neighborhood kids don't try to vandalize our home or scare our kids this year.

~*~*~*~*~

Respectful, calm comments, spoken with Christ's love, are welcome. Any comment that comes across as rude, disrespectful, evil, mean spirited, or playing 'devil's advocate' literally, will be deleted at my discretion. It's my blog and I reserve the right to delete as I see fit.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween - Part 3: How it all ties in, Christian response

This week we are looking at how the information in Part 1 and Part 2 tie together. If you have not read parts 1 and 2 yet, please do so now so you know what I'm talking about. ;)
Part 1: Jack-O-Lantern, Stingy Jack, Jack the Smith
Part 2: Origins - All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day
*(This is an updated repost of a series I did last year)*

In part 2, I was saying how All Saints Day has been supposedly 'Christianized' from pagan roots. Sometimes people get confused and say that "Halloween has been Christianized just like Christmas" when it's not Halloween that was 'Christianized' at all. Halloween is All Hallows Eve-October 31st. All Saints Day-November 1st is the holliday that was 'Christianized,' not All Hallows Eve. The pagan traditions may not be (to be perfectly honest I cannot claim to know much of anything about how All Saints Day is currently celebrated) in use for All Saints Day, but they are definately in full force for All Hallows Eve.
Lets recap and tie up some loose ends:
You remember the story of Jack the Smith (Stingy Jack) from Part 1? How did it go from a legend about a damned soul wandering the earth with a lighted turnip to the carved pumpkins we now know as Jack-O-Lanterns? All Hallows Eve was a night when the spiritual barriers between worlds were thought to be the thinnest and all manner of evil spirits were thought to be roaming the earth. Irish villagers were concerned about the spirits of past occupants moving back into their former homes homes so they did 2 things... They would carve gruesome faces into vegetables, primarily turnips, representing the death grimace on the Devil's face when he lay in the road waiting for Jack, to scare the spirits away; and just in case that didn't work, they left food out to placate the spirits so they would be content and move on. The Irish Potato Famine caused a massive influx of Irish immigrants to America, where turnips were not as available as pumpkins. The Irish brought their traditions with them and pumpkins became the new turnips- the new "Jack's Lantern" to frighten away the maleviolent spirits. That is what the Jack-O-Lantern is; the devil's grimace carved into a pumpkin to scare off the spirits of the dead.
In part 2, I mentioned the Manx children dressed as scary beings representative of the demons and ghosts and went door to door with carved Jack-O-Lantern turnips. Asking for offerings of sweets and money.

The Jack-O-Lantern is the grimace of Satan, the representation of a damned soul, namely Jack the Smith.
The children dressed in costume represent ghosts and demons.
The candy handed out represents the food set out to appease the ghosts and demons so they go away.
The meaning of "Trick or treat" is the ghosts and demons saying 'I will play a nasty trick on your household if you don't give me a treat to appease me.'

How should we as Christians respond to this information? First of all I think that we should be deeply disturbed that we have been tricked into thinking it's harmless fun. I think, as always, that we should see what the Bible has to say in light of this new information. I think that we should prayerfully consider our response to this 'holliday' and have a soft heart toward God and a willingness to please Him with our decision.

In closing I'd like to leave you with a few scriptures to pray over in light of this information. This is not an exhaustive list by any means. You should definately study up on what the Bible has to say regarding the devil, sorcery/witchcraft, and what things we should emulate and practice.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.

Ephesians 6:12-13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

~*~*~*~*~
And if it seems offensive to you to serve the LORD, choose once and for all whom you will serve; the gods of your ancestors, or the gods of those in whose land you reside... but as for me and my lineage, we will serve the LORD.
~*~*~*~*~


READ MORE...
[Coming 10/24] Part 4: My Personal Beliefs


Respectful, calm comments, spoken with Christ's love, are welcome. Any comment that comes across as rude, disrespectful, evil, mean spirited, or playing 'devil's advocate' literally, will be deleted at my discretion. It's my blog and I reserve the right to delete as I see fit.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Halloween - Part 2: All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day...

If you have not yet read Part 1: Jack-O-Lantern, Stingy Jack, Jack the Smith, then now would be a good time to get caught up! *wink*
*(This is an updated repost of a series I did last year)*

All Saints Day/All Hallows/Hallowmas/Lemuria/Samhain
Now, I'm not Catholic, but as explained to me by a friend, this day seems to be currently thought of as a day to remember loved ones who have died.
More specifically, it has been thought of as a day to commemorate those who have died and now reside in heaven.
Previous to that it was a day dedicated specifically to martyrs, but later came to be commemorative of all souls ("saints") who have gone to heaven, as stated above. Byzantine Emperor Leo VI "the Wise" supposedly built a church which he intended to dedicate to his deceased wife, Empress Theophano. When he was forbidden to dedicate it to her specifically, he decided to dedicate it to "All Saints," so that if his wife were in fact one of the righteous, she would also be honored whenever the feast of the Solemnity of All Saints was celebrated. According to Eastern tradition, it was Leo who expanded the feast from a commemoration of All Martyrs to a general commemoration of All Saints, whether martyrs or not.
The Wikipedia articles on these might give you a bit more insight if you'd like to look them up. Some of my info I gathered  from there, but much of it is from many other places and people over my lifetime. It's a bit confusing to look it all up in so many places so I tried to compile a simplified version all in one place here and clarity it a bit for you.
In Roman religion, the Lemuralia or Lemuria (the Feast of the Lemures) was a feast during which the ancient Romans performed rites to exorcise the malevolent and fearful ghosts of the dead from their homes. The unwholesome spectres of the restless dead, the lemures or larvae were appeased with offerings of beans. On those days, the Vestals would prepare sacred mola salsa (salt cake) from the first ears of wheat of the season. In the Julian calendar the three days of the feast were the 9th, 11th, and 13th of May. According to Ovid, at this festival it was the custom to appease or expel the evil spirits by walking barefoot and throwing black beans over the shoulder at night. It was the head of the household who was responsible for getting up at midnight and walking around the house with bare feet throwing out black beans and repeating the incantation, "I send these; with these beans I redeem me and mine (haec ego mitto; his redimo meque meosque fabis.)." nine times. The household would then clash bronze pots while repeating, "Ghosts of my fathers and ancestors, be gone!" nine times. According to cultural historians, this ancient custom was Christianized in the feast of All Saints' Day, established in Rome first on May 13, in order to de-paganize the Roman Lemuria. In the eighth century, as the popular observance of the Lemuria had faded over time, the feast of All Saints was shifted to November 1, coinciding with the similar Celtic harvest festival Samhain.

The Ulster Cycle (book of Irish mythology) is peppered with references to Samhain. Many of the adventures and campaigns undertaken by the characters therein begin at the Samhain Night feast. One such tale is Echtra Nerai ('The Adventure of Nera') concerning one Nera from Connacht who undergoes a test of bravery put forth by King Ailill. The prize is the king's own gold-hilted sword. The terms hold that a man must leave the warmth and safety of the hall and pass through the night to a gallows where two prisoners had been hanged the day before, tie a twig around one man's ankle, and return. Others had been thwarted by the demons and spirits that harassed them as they attempted the task, quickly coming back to Ailill's hall in shame. Nera goes on to complete the task and eventually infiltrates the sídhe  (pronounced "shee," ghostly beings believed to be ancestors, spirits of nature, gods and godesses, or faeries) where he remains trapped until next Samhain. The sluagh sídhe - "the fairy host" are sometimes depicted in Irish and Scottish lore as airborne spirits of an unpleasant nature, and perhaps the cursed, evil or restless dead. The Banshee or bean sídhe, which simply means "woman of the sídhe", has come to specifically indicate supernatural women in Ireland who announce an oncoming death by their wailing and keening. Her counterpart in Scottish mythology is the bean shìth. Other varieties of aos sí and daoine sìth include the Scottish bean nighe - the washerwoman who is seen washing the bloody clothing or armour of the person who is doomed to die.

"Thwarted by demons and spirits" eh? Banshees? Spirits appearing as portents of death? Gettin' a wee bit creeped out yet? It's not over. Here's more on the rituals of Samhain...

 In parts of western Brittany, Samhain is still heralded by the baking of kornigou, cakes baked in the shape of antlers to commemorate the god of winter shedding his horns as he returns to his kingdom in the Otherworld. The Romans identified Samhain with their own feast of the dead, the Lemuria. This, however, was observed in the days leading up to May 13. With Christianization, the festival in November (not the Roman festival in May) became All Hallows' Day on November 1 followed by All Souls' Day, on November 2. Over time, the night of October 31 came to be called All Hallow's Eve, and the remnants of the festival dedicated to the dead eventually morphed into the secular holiday known as Halloween.

Traditionally, Manx children dress as scary beings, carry turnips (ringing any bells from part 1?) and sing an Anglicized version of Jinnie the Witch. They go from house to house asking for sweets or money.
Celtic Reconstructionists place emphasis on historical accuracy, and base their celebrations and rituals on traditional lore from the living Celtic cultures, as well as research into the older beliefs of the polytheistic Celts. At bonfire rituals, some observe the old tradition of building two bonfires, which celebrants and livestock then walk or dance between as a ritual of purification.
According to Celtic lore, Samhain is a time when the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead become thinner, allowing spirits and other supernatural entities to pass between the worlds to socialize with humans. It is the time of the year when ancestors and other departed souls are especially honored or feared.
Though Celtic Reconstructionists make offerings to the spirits at all times of the year, Samhain in particular is a time when more elaborate offerings are made to specific ancestors. Often a meal will be prepared of favorite foods of the family's and community's beloved dead, a place set for them at the table, and traditional songs, poetry and dances performed to entertain them. A door or window may be opened to the west and the beloved dead specifically invited to attend. Many leave a candle or other light burning in a western window to guide the dead home. Divination for the coming year is often done, whether in all solemnity or as games for the children. The more mystically inclined may also see this as a time for deeply communing with the deities, especially those whom the lore mentions as being particularly connected with this festival.

Divination games for the children? Inviting the dead into your home? Walking and driving livestock between fires to "purify?" Offerings of appeasement to spirits? Some creepy stuff there, eh?

Samhain is considered by some Wiccans as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of light and fertility.

So there you have the origins tracing back to before the holliday was the Halloween we know now. Eek! Some nasty stuff in there, yes?


READ MORE...
Part 3: How it all ties in, Christian response
[Coming 10/24] Part 4: My Personal Beliefs


Respectful, calm comments, spoken with Christ's love, are welcome. Any comment that comes across as rude, disrespectful, evil, mean spirited, or playing 'devil's advocate' literally, will be deleted at my discretion. It's my blog and I reserve the right to delete as I see fit.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Halloween - Part 1: Jack-O-Lantern, Jack the Smith, Stingy Jack

*(This is an updated repost of a series I did last year)*
Today in Halloween history we will be studying the origins of the Jack-O-Lantern.

The Jack-O-Lantern began with an Irish legend. So goes the legend there was a man named Jack who was a blacksmith. He was a stingy drunkard and a con-artist. Smooth and silver-tongued it was said he could talk anyone into anything. (For more information, Wikipedia "Stingy Jack".) The Devil heard about Jack and was curious and jealous of his reputation so the Devil went to find him. Some versions say the Devil came to Jack in a bar. Some say Jack met the Devil along a deserted road, and some say Jack came across a body with an evil grin in the path at night on his way home and from there took Jack to the bar to get him drunk enough to kill him. All agree that they were at one point in the pub. Jack requested to have one more drink, or several, or the Devil convinced him to drink more. Jack asked the Devil to pay his tab in exchange for his soul and the devil turned himself into a coin to pay the tab, assuming once it was paid he would turn back into himself and walk out of the bar, but instead of paying with the coin, Jack put it in his pocket with a crucifix to prevent the Devil from returning to his natural form. Jack made a bargain with the Devil to release him if he promised not to come for Jack's soul for another ten years.
Ten years after that the Devil found Jack out walking and informed him it had been 10 years and it was now time to relinquish his soul. Jack was like, 'Oh okay. But could I have an apple first? I'm starving and since I'll be starving through eternity in Hell, at least let me have one last apple before I go!' So the devil climbed up a tree by the road to get Jack his last apple and Jack carved a cross in the tree trunk or laid crosses around the tree so that the Devil would be trapped in the tree. He made the Devil promise never to take his soul to hell.
Jack's lifestyle caught up with him and Jack found himself dead at the Pearly Gates where he was refused entrance to Heaven due to his wicked life. So Jack's soul wandered down to Hell where the Devil reminded him he cannot enter there either. Jack asked, "Then where am I to go?" and the Devil replied, "Back where you came from!" The Devil sent him on his way with a coal from Hell to light his way, which Jack held in a hollowed out turnip. Jack's homeless soul wanders the earth with his coal-in-a-turnip lantern, looking for a home.

Due to this legend, Jack's Lantern or Jack O' Lantern came to be used to describe a strange light flickering over the marshes of Ireland. If approached, the light was always just out of reach. The mysterious occurrence is also known as will o' the wisp and ignis fatuus, Gaelic for 'foolish fire.' It was said that it was Jack's soul wandering, looking for a home.


READ MORE...
Part 2: Origins - All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day
Part 3: How it all ties in, Christian response
[Coming 10/24] Part 4: My Personal Beliefs


Respectful, calm comments, spoken with Christ's love, are welcome. Any comment that comes across as rude, disrespectful, evil, mean spirited, or playing 'devil's advocate' literally, will be deleted at my discretion. It's my blog and I reserve the right to delete as I see fit.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October Giveaways!

http://everypreciousjoy.blogspot.com/2010/10/october-giveaways.html 
First, here are some awesome giveaways I have found! Check back frequently as I will be removing the ones that are over and adding new giveaway links as I can! Please click on a date to see a few select giveaways ending on that date. (If date is not clickable, I have not selected any giveaways to feature for that date yet.)
Giveaways By End Date:
October 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
November 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 

_____________________
Linky Time!
••For more places to list your giveaways click HERE
_____________________
_____________________
Your turn! :) MckLinky up!
In the space that says Link Title, remember to include 3 things: YourBlogName - Giveaway Title [End date]. Does not have to be in that exact order but I do need all three in some order or another please. Link to the giveaway post specifically, not just to your blog in general.
PLEASE make sure you follow these easy instructions so it is easy for me to maintain and easy for people to view and use. Alot of people have not been doing this and it makes maintaining the list much harder and more time consuming for me. This is not an unreasonable request in the least: most giveaway linkups require this same format. You can use proper format and copy and paste it the same (proper) way to all the linkys you use. If this gets too hard for me to maintain due to people not doing this as I have asked, I will stop fixing them and have to instead delete any that I don't have the time to fix. So you see why it's not only courtesy but is also important to use the BlogName-GiveawayName[EndDate] format. (In any order. You can do End Date - Blog name - Giveaway or Giveaway - End date - Blog name or whatever as long as they are all in there.)
ALSO please note: I will immediately delete any entries that are innapropriate and further links from that blog may be deleted if I don't have time to screen them. A good way to look at it is if you wouldn't want your 13 year old daughter to have one or read the review in your words then DON'T LINK IT HERE. This is supposed to be a family friendly blog and when I've got people posting giveaways for ...um... 'romantic props' or something it is extremely embarrassing and upsetting to find that on my blog where my friends' innocent children could see it.
Your link WILL BE DELETED IF it links to a post that:
**Contains profanity, nudity, or inappropriate inuendo.
**Does not contain a blog giveaway.
**Endorses abortion, divorce, adultery, or things that are anti-God, anti-moral absolutes, anti-ten commandments, etc.
**Endorses a product/company that endorses abortion, divorce, adultery, or things that are anti-God, anti-moral absolutes, anti-Biblical commandments, etc.
**Is not appropriate for an innocent child to view.
This is what I believe in, and to allow links on my blog that go against that is something that I cannot do in good concience.


Entries will stay on the list until they expire (until the giveaway ends).
I will try to delete expired giveaways often to keep this list fresh and easy to view.
I will create a new list each month. This MckLinky list will run October 1st-31st. Check back November 1st for a new list.

Friday, September 10, 2010

"One Hand, Two Hands" by Max Lucado (Children's Book review)

"One Hand, Two Hands" by Max Lucado (Children's Book review)


From Amazon.com: "Written in rhyming text and illustrated with the charming art of Gaby Hansen, this simple message of God's blessing of hands not only entertains . . . as it teaches what wonderful things our hands can do from scratching, latching, and petting a pup to washing dishes with mommy and putting toys in a box . . . but it also conveys the important message: We can use God's gift of hands to show our love for Him by helping others. The book ends tenderly with a prayer of thanks to God for hands and asks Him to use them again:

One hand, two hands,
Five fingers, ten.
God, thanks, for my hands.
Please, use them again."

My Review:
A very simple cute book for the little ones. Pros are that it has adorable illustrations that my kids loved, and enforces the idea that our hands are for doing good things. Cons are that the book really only mentions God at the end there as quoted in the Amazon writeup and the book is a bit long for the attention spans of the intellectual level that would get the most out of the simple rhyming text. I think that my almost 4 year old will after a few readings begin to grasp that the book is saying we should use our hands to do good and kind things, without further explanation. She might need help connecting the one mention of God using our hands to the reason why we do good things with them, simply because God is so obscure in the book. But then again maybe not... kids pick up on things sometimes that we wouldn't think they would. My 2 year old however will probably not grasp this concept right away even with further explanation. I will have to own this book longer, I think, to be able to see what their little minds do with it. :) And every child is different so perhaps what is not immediately obvious to my tots will be to yours, or vice versa.
Over all a good sweet simple book. I enjoy reading it with my littles. I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars - not 5 simply because I'd like God to be a little more obvious in the text but other than that it's great!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My water broke!

So my water broke this morning! Yay finally something's going on! :D I hope. I've only had 4 contractions since it broke at 7:30am which was 2 1/2 hours ago so not really going anywhere yet.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Keeping them innocent just a little longer...

**This post is for ADULTS ONLY**
We explain to Chicklet when we encounter something immoral or inappropriate that this is not something we do, but in this day and age there are unfortunately too many things that cross the line and while we as a society are becoming numb to the perversion that is so prevalent, our little ones are becoming innocent victims. Think about it, how many times do you notice what's happening in the commercials when you're watching tv that's supposed to be "family friendly" in the evenings? Honestly it's hard to pay attention isn't it? Your show goes to commercial and you turn to the hubby to discuss what you think is going to happen next, and meanwhile the kids are playing on the floor nearby and look up just in time to catch a crude remark, nude shot, or a dirty teaser for that show you swore you'd never ever let cross the airwaves into your home. I will admit that I've heard and looked up just a little too late one too many times. Well one time IS too many IMO. My kids don't need to see an ad complete with a shot of Shakira's crotch spread in wide view in a bikini during American Idol. Hmph even *I* do not want to be subjected to that! Eww! Very eww. I'd personally rather just not have the TV at all. Okay maybe just set up for DVD's so I can watch Christy and Anne of Green Gables when the mood strikes. ;) But I could do without the Shakira crotch aD or Lady Gaga's sex dance in the middle of a show that's not supposed to be risque'!
And so can my kids! They can do without the constant barrage of filth streaming in from every venue outside our doors, coming in through the tv, radio, books, magazines, etc.
Mamas, we're the GATEKEEPERS. When we're admonished in the Bible to be keepers of the home, the original word was a cross between a word meaning to work in the home and a word that was used to refer to a guard or gatekeeper who would prevent the enemy from entering the city. We are to keep our homes in more than one way- we are to work at taking care of the home and those in it, and we are to GUARD our homes from the enemy. Oh mamas, we have SUCH an important job! Our children's minds are the future and our job is to guard what enters them. This is something that should be near and dear to every mother's heart: to protect their child from the advances of the enemy. For now they are our babies but someday, if we keep them from being broken down before they grow up strong in The Lord, they will grown into strong straight arrows for God!
Now, I don't think I can totally sheild my kids from all the mess that is the culture we live in, but you can bet I'll do my best to protect them from things that will weaken them as much as I, in God's strength, can do so. So if we're in the checkout line and Chicklet, whom I've begin to teach to read, sees "57 s** positions that'll blow his mind" on the cover of a magazine, she's not going to know the meaning of that word and she's going to ask about it and 3-4 years old is too young for that much discloseure. It will not strengthen her to know about s** at age 4. Or 5. or 6... It will just serve to open a mental door of curiousity that is like a magnet. Ever notice that as soon as you buy a certain kind of car you start seeing them everywhere and think to yourself, "Huh! I never noticed that many of these around before!"? This is because the brain has a magnet in it for things you are interested. Once that door of the knowlege of the existence of something is opened in a mind, especially a child's mind, their brain finds little tidbits about that subject everywhere. In everything. Things that would be overlooked before are taken in like a flashing neon sign. Once your child notices magazine covers have things on them that they don't know about, their brains are on high alert for new magazine covers or any other media that will fill in the blanks. Especially if they know that these things are not for little eyes and ears. Just like your toddler wants to eat off YOUR plate the same food that is on his plate because it's just better when it belongs to a grown-up, for a child hearing that ___ is a grown-up topic and they will learn more when they are older, their brains are in seek-mode trying to figure out the missing bits. And a little curiousity can lead to finding out things that are too heavy for their little minds and hearts to fight against. Why do so many 12 year olds get pregnant and have abortions? Why do so many 10 and 11 year olds sleep with their boyfriends or become addicted to pornography? Why do so many 8 year olds think they need to wear a tube top to the mall and a string bikini to the pool? They see; they are smart enough to decypher the message that pop culture is sending out: 'less modesty/purity makes you more desireable and being desireable is EVERYTHING in life.' Everywhere they go your kids are seeing skanky women in their undies on magazine covers and tv screens and billboards. I want my daughter to be who she is, who God made her to be, without being innundated with constant pop culture, KWIM? Even if that pop culture is "no that bad" it still entices my chid to pay attention to pop culture - that open door magnet thing. Just look around and who do 6 year olds want to be? Hannah Montanna? They want to be someone from pop culture. They don't want to be Florence Nightingale or Gladys Aylward, the door is opened to pop culture and next thing you know they want to grow up to be Lady Gaga. And the brainwashing starts from the cradle as they are seeing the advertisements on TV and in the checkout line and everywhere we go.
So how are we supposed to combat that? What is the next step? I think that daily taking our mission as gatekeeper seriously by being in prayer about everything we allow into our homes is a great start. We can't prevent them from being exposed to anything impure, but we can innoculate them with a firm foundation in the Bible and pray over them constantly. And we can take little and big steps whenever the opportunity to do so arises to preserve their innocence.

HERE's a post by a concerned mom of mostly boys with a terrific idea! I hope you will take a moment to check it out and consider taking a stand in this manner also. I plan to next time I'm in WalMart. Just remember that you catch more flies with honey... ;)
Making a family friendly checkout line will not prevent my daughter (or subsequent children) from growing up in "the real world" as much as I WISH it could, but it would help to protect a little bit of her sweet little girl innocence for just a little longer and I'd stand in line an extra hour for that. ;)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Flashback "Fry-day" recipe!


Recently for supper we had this:




All shiny with cheese and delicious lentil stew! Yumyumyumyum!!! It was delicious of course. :) The kids, even my non-eater, gobbled it right up. I posted the recepe last year so if you'd like to check it out, click HERE and enjoy! ;)


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Giveaways!

http://everypreciousjoy.blogspot.com/2010/09/september-giveaways.html 
First, here are some awesome giveaways I have found! Check back frequently as I will be removing the ones that are over and adding new giveaway links as I can! Please click on a date to see a few select giveaways ending on that date.
Giveaways By End Date:
August 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
September 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 
October 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

_____________________
Linky Time!
••For more places to list your giveaways click HERE
_____________________
_____________________
Your turn! :) MckLinky up!
In the space that says Link Title, remember to include 3 things: YourBlogName - Giveaway Title [End date]. Does not have to be in that exact order but I do need all three in some order or another please. Link to the giveaway post specifically, not just to your blog in general.
PLEASE make sure you follow these easy instructions so it is easy for me to maintain and easy for people to view and use. Alot of people have not been doing this and it makes maintaining the list much harder and more time consuming for me. This is not an unreasonable request in the least: most giveaway linkups require this same format. You can use proper format and copy and paste it the same (proper) way to all the linkys you use. If this gets too hard for me to maintain due to people not doing this as I have asked, I will stop fixing them and have to instead delete any that I don't have the time to fix. So you see why it's not only courtesy but is also important to use the BlogName-GiveawayName[EndDate] format. (In any order. You can do End Date - Blog name - Giveaway or Giveaway - End date - Blog name or whatever as long as they are all in there.)
ALSO please note: I will immediately delete any entries that are innapropriate and further links from that blog may be deleted if I don't have time to screen them. A good way to look at it is if you wouldn't want your 13 year old daughter to have one or read the review in your words then DON'T LINK IT HERE. This is supposed to be a family friendly blog and when I've got people posting giveaways for ...um... 'romantic props' or something it is extremely embarrassing and upsetting to find that on my blog where my friends' innocent children could see it.
Your link WILL BE DELETED IF it links to a post that:
**Contains profanity, nudity, or inappropriate inuendo.
**Does not contain a blog giveaway.
**Endorses abortion, divorce, adultery, or things that are anti-God, anti-moral absolutes, anti-ten commandments, etc.
**Endorses a product/company that endorses abortion, divorce, adultery, or things that are anti-God, anti-moral absolutes, anti-Biblical commandments, etc.
**Is not appropriate for an innocent child to view.
This is what I believe in, and to allow links on my blog that go against that is something that I cannot do in good concience.


Entries will stay on the list until they expire (until the giveaway ends).
I will try to delete expired giveaways often to keep this list fresh and easy to view.
I will create a new list each month. This MckLinky list will run September 1st-30th. Check back October 1st for a new list.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My newest crochet project- Can I do it?

I confess, I have taken on yet another crochet project! It's a good one though I promise! ;) Those of you who have known me very long know I tend to take on too many projects at once. Right now I'm due in 12 days, having regular contractions for at least a couple hours a day daily since the full moon, and working on TWO baby blankets. Yes two. You see, I never finished Buggie's baby blankie before he was born. I got a little carried away and made it a wee bit big when I started and it was only about 1/3 of the way finished when he was born. Now, he DID get to use it in a way. You see, I'd wrap him in the finished end while I crocheted on the other end when he was a little bitty fellow! Lol! So he did get snuggled it alot as a newborn, but when he got too told to hold still while I crocheted the blanket got shelved. And by the time he was old enough to not need me hovering over him trying to counteract his deadly sense of adventure every blessed moment, well by then I was good and pregnant with this little bun in the oven. So now, not only do I have to finish THIS baby's blankie, which is currently about halfway or almost, BUT I also have to finish Buggie's baby blanket. I am very thankful now after the fact that I got carried away with my starting chain because now it will come out toddler sized so when I DO finish it, it can move to the toddler bed with him and he'll get lots of use out of it. Provided I DO actually ever finish it... Been working on it for over 2 years now, since we saw the hotdog on the ultrasound! So those are my two current and pressing projects and I REALLY need to get the new baby's blankie done before she's born because this time I did NOT get carried away on the size and it would fit her best as a baby and not a toddler! LOL!
So I've been trying to be so good and concentrate only on those two blankies and not add any other projects. But then I saw this:
Knit and Crochet for Romania's Orphans

Okay I bit. :) I clicked (and you should too if you want more info!) I signed up! You have to admit it's a great cause and I really want to help! I'm probably yet again biting off more than I can chew but I just couldn't NOT give it a try.
So here's the million dollar question; Can I finish 2 baby blankies before I give birth (remember I'm due in 12 days) and then how many hats can I make by October 15th with a newborn in my lap? ;)
If you want more info, click the button in this post. If you decide to join in I wouldn't mind if you mentioned that you found it through me. ;) And if you're not into the yarn arts or crafting for charities, perhaps you could just cheer me on, and/or pray for the project and the orphans? :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

September Giveaways!

http://everypreciousjoy.blogspot.com/2010/09/september-giveaways.html 
First, here are some awesome giveaways I have found! Check back frequently as I will be removing the ones that are over and adding new giveaway links as I can! Please click on a date to see a few select giveaways ending on that date.
Giveaways By End Date:
August 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
September 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 
October 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

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Linky Time!
••For more places to list your giveaways click HERE
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Your turn! :) MckLinky up!
In the space that says Link Title, remember to include 3 things: YourBlogName - Giveaway Title [End date]. Does not have to be in that exact order but I do need all three in some order or another please. Link to the giveaway post specifically, not just to your blog in general.
PLEASE make sure you follow these easy instructions so it is easy for me to maintain and easy for people to view and use. Alot of people have not been doing this and it makes maintaining the list much harder and more time consuming for me. This is not an unreasonable request in the least: most giveaway linkups require this same format. You can use proper format and copy and paste it the same (proper) way to all the linkys you use. If this gets too hard for me to maintain due to people not doing this as I have asked, I will stop fixing them and have to instead delete any that I don't have the time to fix. So you see why it's not only courtesy but is also important to use the BlogName-GiveawayName[EndDate] format. (In any order. You can do End Date - Blog name - Giveaway or Giveaway - End date - Blog name or whatever as long as they are all in there.)
ALSO please note: I will immediately delete any entries that are innapropriate and further links from that blog may be deleted if I don't have time to screen them. A good way to look at it is if you wouldn't want your 13 year old daughter to have one or read the review in your words then DON'T LINK IT HERE. This is supposed to be a family friendly blog and when I've got people posting giveaways for ...um... 'romantic props' or something it is extremely embarrassing and upsetting to find that on my blog where my friends' innocent children could see it.
Your link WILL BE DELETED IF it links to a post that:
**Contains profanity, nudity, or inappropriate inuendo.
**Does not contain a blog giveaway.
**Endorses abortion, divorce, adultery, or things that are anti-God, anti-moral absolutes, anti-ten commandments, etc.
**Endorses a product/company that endorses abortion, divorce, adultery, or things that are anti-God, anti-moral absolutes, anti-Biblical commandments, etc.
**Is not appropriate for an innocent child to view.
This is what I believe in, and to allow links on my blog that go against that is something that I cannot do in good concience.


Entries will stay on the list until they expire (until the giveaway ends).
I will try to delete expired giveaways often to keep this list fresh and easy to view.
I will create a new list each month. This MckLinky list will run September 1st-30th. Check back October 1st for a new list.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"My Sweet Sunday Moment" Pillsbury Sweet Roll (Review & Giveaway & Contest)

I've been given the opportunity to try out Pillsbury Sweet Rolls with my family and share the experience with my readers! MyBlogSpark and Pillsbury generously sent me a coupon for the rolls and a "Sweet Sunday Moment" prize pack. In addition, one lucky reader will win a Pillsbury "Sweet Sunday Moment" prize pack just like the one I got! Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win the prize pack, or a family vacation, or both!

{Pillsbury "My Sweet Sunday Moment" prize pack which includes a Pillsbury Doughboy Giggle Doll, blue silicon spatula, blue silicon pot holder and dishcloths.}

When the box arrived with my "My Sweet Sunday Moment" prize pack it was standing on it's side on my front porch. I went to pick it up and it made a sound- the trademark pillsbury Doughboy giggle. It took me a minute to figure out why my box was making that sound but then I smiled big when I realized what it was! Chicklet was so excited that when I went to snap the following picture:

a certain little girl reached in and started to run off with that doughboy... ;) I had to snap fast and let her have it because she was pretty much bouncing off the walls with excitement. I was excited about the rest of the goodies and checked them all out while she hugged that doughboy 50 times. We decided we'd be having us some yummy cinnamon rolls sometime in the next week! Seemed like a great family activity to help pass the last dragging days of this pregnancy.

Okay so it wasn't a Sunday when my little helpers and I decided to make our Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, but it sure was sweet! :) We all had to wear our aprons because of course, it's more fun to cook when you're wearing an apron, right? ;) And over our pajamas to boot. Because baking cinnamon rolls in your jammies is more fun. Hey and it was getting close to bedtime so we were just chilling around in our jammies anyway.

Yeah my daughter's cornrows look slept in. Because they are. So there. And my kitchen has baby-related boxes all over it. And my kitchen table is sewing central. Now that you've seen my junk, let's pretend it away and concentrate on the yummy cinnamon rolls and cute kids!

Getting ready to start! Can't make cinnamon rolls without our doughboy, right? I never use canned biscuit type things so I had no idea how to open the can and hubby kindly informed me how. Lol!


Cute little hams aren't they? :D

Chop chop! He's got a butter knife and is prepared to use it.

Thinking super sugary sweet daydream thoughts?

Arranging the sweetness.


The kids were excited. Neither had ever had a cinnamon roll before!
Helping Mommy put the cinnamon rolls in the oven! Careful, it's hot! :)


Our assistant, Mr. Doughboy, with some of the prize pack goodies.

Chicklet trying out one of the dishcloths from the prize pack. She's a little zoned out- it's actually bedtime when I took this so staying up late and baking cinnamon rolls was a double special treat.

Buggie's examining the picture of the finished product and carrying on a monologue about it, which I understood about 10% of. Sometimes when he gets to going on excitedly it's a bit hard to translate... Hehe...
Taking the tasty treat out of the oven! That funky potholder thing from the prize pack actually worked. I was surprised, wondering how something like that would work to protect me from getting burned, but surprisingly it did.

Frosting?! They have FROSTING?! Can I PLEEEEEEEASE taste some FROSTING?! PLEASE!!!!

Yep, it's edible. Can I lick the frosting container out too?

Dishing out the deliciousness...

Hmmm let's see if this is as tasty as it looks...

Thinking...

I asked but they just kept chewing. Hello? Guys? Is it yummy?

Does the rapidly vanishing bites of sweet roll in these pics answer whether or not they were delicious?

Hubby and I had some too and we decided that they were really yummy! We contemplated eating the leftovers after the kids went to bed but decided to behave ourselves and save them to share after lunch the following day instead. ;)

The cinnamon rolls and prize pack for this review, and it's accompanying "My Sweet Sunday Moment" prize pack giveaway, were provided by





through Blog Search




**Now it's your turn to join in the fun!! There are 2 things to enter so read on to find out the what, where, and how:

-Go HERE to enter Pillsbury's "My Sweet Sunday Moment" contest for a chance to win a family vacation package! In addition, when you enter the "My Sweety Sunday Moment" contest, you will have a chance to print out a coupon for Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls!
{In an effort to recapture Sunday mornings as the ideal occasion to reconnect with family and loved ones, Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls is teaming up with Melissa Joan Hart, star of the new ABC Family sitcom "Melissa & Joey," for the My Sweet Sunday Moment contest, where you and your family have a chance to win a seven-day "week of Sundays" vacation to California, including a visit to area theme parks and Melissa Joan Hart´s sweet shop, SweetHarts! Enter today by visiting Pillsbury.com/SweetSunday and telling Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls why your family loves Sunday and why you want more of them for a chance to win.} HURRY and enter before September 2nd!!

-Go HERE and scroll to the bottom of the post for the rules to enter the "My Sweet Sunday Moment" prize pack giveaway! (This review is posted on both this blog and my review blog but the giveaway is only attached to the one on my giveaway blog. This link will take you to the same review on my giveaway blog. Please scroll to the bottom to see how to enter.) COMMENTS ON THIS POST HERE DON'T COUNT. Please click over to my review blog to enter.