Saturday, November 17, 2012

blog through the alphabet {k}

K is for karate...wax on, wax off :)

C has done ABKA karate for several years. I love that it is a Christian organization and he is surrounded by Godly men while he is there. He took a break last year but rejoined this semester. He isn't sure he wants to continue on to his black belt (he has to be 17 or 18 to test), but I'm still glad he has gone as far as he has. Here he is after karate on Thursday...I should have taken a picture before, when he wasn't all sweaty ;)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Melissa and Doug *Winner*

Thank you so much to the 36 people that entered the Melissa and Doug contest, and to Melissa and Doug for allowing me to have this contest. I put the numbers into and the winner is.....#31 - Jen. I went to her blog to congratulate her and saw her most recent post is about foster care. I love how God brings people into your life, just when you need them. We are in the beginning stages of getting approved for foster care so I am excited to see others on this journey with us!
Congrats, Jen! Enjoy your game :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

* Pig Mania *

Terrific T has decided to become an author. He has written his first book and already sold 10 copies! We had a CC Marketplace this week, where kids could sell things they have made. He made copies of his 12 page book, Pig Mania, and set up shop.

His first dollar!
I was very proud of him, and thankful for kind friends that supported his venture. Pig Mania is about a boy who loves pigs (sounds familiar). He loves them so much that he turns into one, and then it is PIG MANIA :)

page 9
As a supportive mother (LOL), I offered to sell them on here for him too :) If you would like a PDF version of this amazing children's book (I'm certainly not biased), click on the button below and it will take you to paypal. After you pay your $1, it will give you a link to "return to LE Portraits" (don't know how to change that's my first time doing something like this!), click on that to download the book. If it doesn't work, leave a message here with your email address and I will send it to you.

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review - Growing Up Wild DVDs


The Wild family, originally from Florida, are missionaries in Papua, Indonesia. The video series, Growing Up Wild, is about their lives there and is absolutely wonderful. It is not a profession production, where a team came in and followed this family, it is actual footage the Wilds shot of the people, area, and themselves while in the mission field. You would never know it wasn't professionally shot though as the colors, camera work, and coverage are amazing.

There are currently 5 volumes in the series and we received Volume 1 and Volume 4 for this review. Each volume is $18.99 (plus tax and shipping) and contains 3 episodes (about 15 minutes each) and a PDF activity guide to go along with them.

Volume 1's episodes are Home Sweet Hut, Supply Trip, and Sun and Water. This really helped us to see exactly how they live in Papua. We met the 4 Wild brothers and they showed the ins and outs of their home, and the homes of the Wano people. We followed them on a supply trip that made us appreciate that we get to wait in lines at WalMart! And lastly, we learned how they use the sun and rushing water near their house to provide electricity and water for their home.

The kids didn't move once they sat down to watch this DVD. Captain C took notes on the activities it suggested at the end of each episode so we could decide which ones to do. Then we opened up the PDF and realized that we didn't need to take notes after all. This CD is awesome! It is full of ideas, verses, and words from their hearts on how to make these DVDs even more meaningful for your family. There are enough activities in there that you could spread it out over a week or more (some you would do off an on all year actually). We chose a few that the kids wanted to do and began. I will not show you our poor model of a Wano home, made from Q-tips and string. It wasn't worthy of a picture and couldn't even stand on its own anyway. However, making it made us even more impressed with the Wild's home and how they built it without a modern day construction crew! They made a vendiagram of our home and the Wild brothers home; that was fun. We noticed some of the same school books we use in the video, which was cool to think that they are learning the same things we are. Then we learned about making a solar oven and googled how to make one our own. Honestly, I think we can do summer. Poor timing as the temps are so cool that we would just be able to heat in it and not cook. Definitely something to come back to later.

Next we watched Volume 4 and learned even more about their lives in the jungle. These episodes are titled Amazing World Around Us, Adventures in Culture, and Tribal Calling. The jungle they live in is full of God's beautiful creatures. Absolutely gorgeous. One of the suggestions in the guide is to classify animals and insects, which goes right along with what we are learning in CC this year - yay!
We learned a lot about the culture of the Wano people in the second episode, including them piercing their noses, which two of the Wild boys did! The kids asked me if I would let them do that and I said if we had lived there for several years and they still wanted to...sure, but I wouldn't watch! I had to cover my eyes in that part of the show ;) We enjoyed doing the "Culture Worksheet" they included - comparing our culture to the culture of the Wano people.

The last episode on here though, was outstanding. Mr. Wild shared about their calling to the mission field and some of what they have done for the Wano people. Some things include spending 3 years with them, learning to speak their language and then helping them invent (yes, they didn't have one at all!) a written alphabet so they could read God's Word, which they are translating into their language. WOW! This one touched our hearts and made us think more about how we can serve in the mission field. They showed that serving is more than just being a missionary; people need to pray and support them from home too. They shared Romans 12:4-5, which we used a copy work for the week. They encouraged us to write out our testimonies to share, like a Wano gentleman gave his on film. We are working on that and hope to have them finished soon.

There is so much in these DVDs that I want to do with the kids, and with others. I would love to have a group of kids meet, watch them, and do the activities together. I hope to get that going soon. I can't wait to share these with other people and to get the other DVDs in the set to learn even more. It is so exciting to read about others that are serving the Lord. These are worth every penny and minute you spend on them!

Check out what other Crew Members thought about these DVDs by clicking here or on the banner below. 


Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received these DVDs, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I'm Thankful {Nov 11}

I am so thankful for the men and women that have served our country in the past and are serving it currently. I'm thankful for the families that allow their loved ones to serve. I'm thankful for the countless people who have paid for our freedom with their lives.

I took this picture two years ago on Veteran's Day but can't beat it so I'm not going to even try.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I'm Thankful {Nov 10}

Today, I'm thankful for my job. I have been so blessed with the perfect job for our family. It has supported us in times when Big T was out of work, and simply let me be creative and "not just mommy" when I need that. It is flexible and I can change it to fit the needs of our family in any given month. It allows us to do "extras" that might not be in the normal budget otherwise. I get to meet the coolest, sweetest, most beautiful people, and reconnect with people I have lost touch with. And honestly, I just really enjoy it.

Tonight I met up with some old friends and did the coolest Christmas pictures. I can't wait to edit them. P went with me (another perk of my job is it is "Bring your kid to work day" anytime I want it to be) and we stopped by the "World's Largest Totem Pole" on the way home. It was everything you would imagine...and more ;o)

Apparently the Indians stole the Egyptians' signature dance move.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I'm Thankful {Nov 9}

Today, I'm thankful for our health. 4/5 of us are sick right now, but you know what, this time next week, we will all be well. When I see others that have chronic illnesses, I can't help but be thankful for this minor bump in the road. We are so blessed with health and I don't want to take it for granted.

That's all. I'm off to bed.....just didn't want to miss my post ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'm Thankful {Nov 8}

We all have sore throats today and just overall not feeling great. I swung by Sonic on the way home from T's dentist appointment and picked up slushes for everyone.

Today, I'm thankful for HAPPY HOUR at Sonic :)

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

We love Melissa and Doug products in the E household. They are always so well made and allow kids to use their creativity. So I was excited to see that they released this list of 20 of the "best of the best" gifts to gift this Christmas. In this list, there are gifts for ages 1+ -  8+ , ranging in price from $10-$70...something for about every little one on your list!

On the Melissa and Doug Facebook page, they are giving away a FREE gift from this list every day (starting Nov 6th) to one lucky fan. Be sure to like their page so you can have a chance to win!

They are also giving away an awesome family game called Suspend to one of my readers! How cool is that!
Suspend Family Game
From their site: A family game of tricky hangs and steady hands! Try this hanging balance game and you'll be hooked! Suspend comes with 24 notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces to hang from a tabletop stand. Sound easy? Try adding another piece! Each time a bar is added, the balance shifts, the difficulty changes and the incredible midair sculpture transforms. Can you add all your game pieces without making it fall? This tricky game for 1-4 players is a test of steady nerves and steady hands.

Our family started a few years ago giving a gift to the kids each Saturday in December. We were trying to cut down on the  number of gifts we give on Christmas morning, and intentionally chose gifts that made us spend time together. This is perfect for that and I am so excited to be able to share this with one of you too.

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me which of the other toys from the Melissa and Doug Twenty List your kids would like. That's it. Don't forget to hop on over to the Facebook page and enter to win there too. I'll close comments on Friday, Nov 16th, and then please allow 10 days for Melissa and Doug to send your prize! Good luck!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blogging through the alphabet {j}

J is for JUMPING! We had some fun jumping today :)


I even got in on the fun...Mental note: chin out if you don't want to have a double chin in pics!

Then they wanted to try to all jump together. Hmmm...didn't quite work, but their faces were funny ;)

Blogging Through the Alphabet

I'm Thankful {Nov 7}

I'm thankful for a God of second chances.

I'm thankful that He is patient with me when it takes me longer than it should to listen and/or move. I'm thankful that He loves me no matter what. I'm thankful that He is always there to comfort me and guide me. I'm thankful for His forgiveness, over and over again. I'm thankful that He sent His Son to die for my sins so I can live forever with Him. I'm thankful that His mercies are new every morning. 

~Hallelujah is the highest praise~

(watch the video and I dare you to not sing this all day)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm Thankful {Nov 6}

I took the kids with me to vote today and was once again thankful for our great country: America, land of the free and home of the brave.

I'm thankful that people gave, and continue to give, their lives to protect us and our freedoms. I'm thankful that we have the right to vote and let our opinions be heard. I'm thankful for my "First World Problems." No matter how the election goes tonight, I'm thankful to live in the greatest country on earth. God bless America....even though we don't deserve it.

Review: Your Child's Profession of Faith


Grace and Truth Books is an online Christian book store in my own backyard, based out of Sand Springs, OK. Oddly, I had never even heard of them before we were offered this review! They are a family run business that boasts their goal is to "glorify God, strengthen His people in their walk, and call all peoples to find joy in knowing His gospel and following Him." Gotta love a company that posts that right on their home page!

Dennis and Naomi Gundersen, and their four boys began Grace and Truth Books in the mid 90s and have been selling and publishing Christian material ever since. They are not as concerned about having the newest material released as they are having quality material that promotes Godly character in our families.

PhotobucketThe book I was given to review is Your Child's Profession of Faith, by Grace and Truth founder, Dennis Gundersen. It sells for $7.50 or you can get it as an ebook for $5.50. This was a very timely book for us as Princess P was talking to us almost daily for at least a year about wanting to become a Christian. Ironically, P got saved before the book arrived (see my review of Sugar Creek Gang for details), but I am still glad we chose to review it.

This is a short, 119 page book that is beneficial for parents and pastors to read if they have children or are working with children. Mr. Gundersen does a great job of cautioning parents against making a profession of faith FOR their children, or pushing them into making a decision. At first, it seemed to me that he didn't think that any children could be saved as he quotes many verses and reasons why you need to be mature to fully understand your decision.  As I read on, he actually encourages us to urge our children towards Christ, just to not rush this process. There is much to be learned in the process of becoming a Christian and to rush it will do the kids no favors and deceive them as to whether or not they are truly saved. He says, "Do all you can do to be parents who create an atmosphere at home in which your children are at ease talking to you about knowing God." I think this was the key to the book. We, as parents, must be educated and willing to put in the time to really lead our kids to Christ and prepare them to be able to profess their faith on their own and understand what they are professing.

Chapter 9 is a great resource on how to counsel our children during these years. One of my favorite parts of this book is the section right after that that contains questions for pastors to ask children before baptizing them. These have been great conversation starters with the kids during the day. They make them (and me) think of real answers and not "church" answers. They ask questions such as "Is there anything new the Lord has begun to teach you since you have been saved?" They have helped the kids to put their conversion story into their own words and really think about what being a Christian means to THEM. 

Mr. Gundersen ends the book by sharing a few chapters from Andrew Murray's classic book, "The Children for Christ", written over 100 years ago. It goes nicely with the rest of the book and was an encouragement to read something that old that is still relevant today.

Check out what other Crew Members thought about this and other books from Grace and Truth Books by clicking here or on the banner below. 


Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this book, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm Thankful {Nov 5}

Today, I am thankful for Classical Conversations. I'm thankful for God giving Leigh Bortins the wisdom to begin such a great program. I'm thankful for the ladies that brought it to Oklahoma and then to our beautiful city. I'm thankful for all the families that have joined our campus and make it such a blessing to our families. I can't imagine being on this journey to home educate our children with anyone else. They are my best friends and my kids' best friends. We have learned more than we (me included here!) every imagined we could.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I'm Thankful {Nov 4}

Today, I am thankful for my church family. They are a huge part of our lives and I really think they are one of the main reasons God brought us to our town. We thought we were moving here for the school system, but pulled C out after 2 years. Now, our church is our second home and a place we can grow and raise our kids surrounded by Godly teaching and influences. They are supportive of our homeschooling and let our CC group meet there each week too, which is awesome.

I actually took this picture a couple of years ago when I was doing pictures for a local's not that green today ;)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm Thankful {Nov 3}

Today, I'm thankful for my amazing family. I love them more than they will ever know.

Here is a picture of us from this morning before we walked in the Diabetes walk.

Friday, November 2, 2012

I'm Thankful {Nov 2}

Today I am thankful for beautiful fall weather. We have one tree out front that turns a pretty red for a few days before turning brown and dropping all the leaves. I took a pic of it yesterday.

Today, it is 80* and we have the windows open, airing the place out for possibly the last time this year. Clothes are drying on the line and we are loving this weather.

What are you thankful for today?

Blogging through the alphabet {i}

This week, at the E house....

I is for Immodium.

TMI?'s all I've got ;) 
I'm not going to take pics or link this one up, but didn't want to miss a week - lol!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm Thankful {Nov 1}

Sometimes I take my blessings for granted. Ok, if I'm being honest, the majority of the time I take my blessings for granted.

So, during November, I am going to post things that I am thankful for so I can look back and remember all the blessings God has given me. My goal is to take a picture and post each day this month, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I miss a day here or there. Some is better than none and I'm giving myself grace to miss.

We have had some minor illnesses in our house this week and it has slowed us down a bit. Sometimes it is nice to slow down, especially after the busy past few weeks we have had with work, school, family visiting, etc, etc, etc.

{Nov 1} I'm thankful for quiet moments.

I asked the kids to tell me what they are thankful for today too:
C - Food
T - That I am feeling better
P - That Jesus died on the cross to forgive my sins

What are you thankful for today? I would love for you to join me and help me stay accountable this month. I don't have cool buttons or even know how to make a linky dealy...but just post on your blog and come put the link in the comments here and I promise I will come read and comment on your blog too :)