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God's Greatest Blessings

God's Greatest Blessings
Our Gifts from Above

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Coming closer to Christ

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, our family had a lot of time to pray and study God's Word together.  We picked out a few verses that will be our focus for the month of December and we picked out 4 Character Qualities that we would work on as well.  Our 4 character qualities are Truthfulness, Obedience, Attentiveness and Self-Control.  We feel those are very important qualities to have in order to follow what the Holy Spirit leads us to do and to have peace in our family.  

Here are our Bible verses for the month:

We also decided to make a cross and whenever we feel burdened or stressed out, we will write down what is bothering us and place it on the cross.  The Bible verse that goes with this is Psalms 55:22:
"Give your burdens to the Lord. He will not permit the Godly to slip nor fall."

God is changing us everyday and we are excited to see where He will lead us.   Our family has resolved to put God first in everything and the rest will just fall into place. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

So much to be Thankful for

As I got out of bed this morning, I began to think of all the things I am thankful for.  Heat, it is so cold outside, but we have a warm home.  A roof,  it is pouring outside, but we have a roof over our heads to keep us dry.  Hot and cold running water, we have the luxury of clean water to drink and wash in.  Clothes, even though I may not be in "fashion", we all have nice clothes to put on and keep us warm.  Food, as I planned out our breakfast, I saw all the food in our cupboards, we are so very blessed to have 3 nutritious meals everyday along with some snacks.  Health, we are all feeling well.  Love and family, we have people who love and care for us.  These are just a few of the things I am thankful for.  I have learned to look for the little things to be thankful for each day.  We need to praise God for what He has given us instead of complaining about things we don't have.  God is good and He meets all our needs!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our Pre-Thanksgiving Meal

Tomorrow we will be heading out to spend time with family, so the kids begged me to have our own Thanksgiving here tonight :)  They ate so much, they will be sleeping good tonight.  My 5 year old ate 5 biscuits and 3 plates of noodles  :-)






He couldn't wait to sink his teeth into his turkey leg :)

Turkey leg wars :-0

So many talents God has given them

Each of my children have different talents.  My oldest son, Robert,  loves to work on computers.  He has actually built 3 desktop computers and he is able to upgrade any computer you put in his hands.  He is totally self taught :)   My oldest daughter Amanda is great at many things.  She can sing like an angel, crochet, knit, and bake any dessert she has a recipe for. Amanda is great with her little siblings also.  She tries to teach them whenever she gets the chance :)  Megan is really good with little kids.  She makes them laugh and she enjoys playing with them.  They love her!  She is also good at dancing and singing :) Ryan is our sweetie.  He is a great big and little brother.  He is always there when you need a hug.  He has a big heart and he loves to make others smile.  He is great at making you laugh no matter what mood you are in :)  Joshy is our little over achiever.  He wants to learn all the time.  Today he even asked his sister to teach him how to crochet.  He is constantly coming up with something new to do.  He craves knowledge :)  Hope is just our little princess.  She is very bright and is always surprising us with what she knows.  She has a wonderful smile and her little face can make the world melt away :) 

Amanda making her mama a scarf :)

Joshy learning how to crochet.  Big sis was teaching him :)

Isn't it gorgeous!!!

Every day I thank God for each of my kids.  I thank Him for their health.  I thank Him for who they are becoming.  Each of them love God and want His will for their lives.  That is what I am most thankful for.  I love each one of them more than life.   I am so proud of them and I give God all the glory for who they are today. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Turkeys:)




Today we decided to make turkeys from our handprints.  The kids had a blast cutting and gluing.  Ryan, Joshy and Hope all made their own turkeys, then they had big brother Robert use his handprint for their "big" turkey.  We had some craft feathers, cardboard and construction paper and it made for an hour of giggles.They loved it.  Before it was over we were all covered in feathers.  It was a lot of fun :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Check it out :)

 Homeschooling 6 children, means mama has to be organized.  I love to have order!  I tend to probably go overboard when it comes to organization, but with 8 people living in one house, it is not a bad  thing.  From our school room to our laundry room there has to be some organization or there would be chaos.  I do make menus each week to plan out our meals.   I do a budget each month.  There is no way to follow a rigid schedule with life, but we do have a schedule of things we need to accomplish each day and  we do it in a orderly fashion.  Here is a picture of our household/school schedule:
 We use post-its so the schedule be easily changed :)

For chores we use Chore cards for the older ones.  Throughout the day they go to the chore card wall to see what they are suppose to do for their chores.  For the littler ones 11 and under, we have chore rings.  I put these together myself after reading a few articles on the internet.  They were inexpensive and the little ones love them.  Every morning they ask for their chores :)  It gives them some independence.  Here is what they look like :)




I have to get creative with my kids.  Each have a different personality and each respond to things differently.   It is important to remember that when you are raising kids.  What works for one, may not work for the other. 

One of the most important things we do in our home is memorize scripture.  The older ones see the need for learning God's Word which is awesome, but the younger ones who are still learning, love to be rewarded for learning their Bible verses.  We have a reward chart, hanging on the wall, for the 2 younger boys and Hope has a reward folder, she likes to carry around her stickers :)    Here is our chart :

When they get to 100 stickers they get a trip to Chuck E Cheese :)

Here was a just a few ideas from our household :)  Hope you enjoy looking at them and feel free to use them :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

God is with us

We had a pretty rough night.  My daughter, who is 15, is taking this very hard.  I keep telling her that God is our refuge and our strength.  He will put His arms around us and make us feel safe and secure.  He will wrap His arms around us and help us heal and forgive.  My oldest son asked us to pray for this man who harmed this family, during our devotions last night.  We did just that.  We prayed this man would come to Christ.  Even through the anger and pain we need to see this man is a human being.  We prayed for the families to heal and to be able to forgive.  We are working on forgiving this man.  We are praying that God will help us get through this and know He is still in control and will turn what Satan meant for evil into something good. 

Psalm 46:1-3
1 God is our refuge and strength,
   an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
   and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
   and the mountains quake with their surging.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Sad Ending

Soon after I posted today, we found out the 3 missing people's bodies had been found.  What is really scary is they were found very close to our home.  When I heard the news, I felt so much sorrow for this family who lost their loved ones, then came the fear.  I realized how close he was to our home.  It scared me so much I began to shake.  I know bad things happen everywhere, but honestly something like this has never happened so close to home.  Tonight all I wanted to do was hold my kids and tell them how much I love them and how much they mean to me.  I want to take all the fear they are having away. It has hit our whole community hard.  We will make it though.  We will pull together and support these families and heal from this horrific act of violence against innocent people.  I think what hurt the most was the little boy.  He is the same age as my precious Ryan.  I can't imagine losing my baby that way.  I am going through many emotions right now.   A friend said, now it is time for healing... I agree.  We need to heal!!!!

What a week

Along with school, we have been very busy praying this week.  A family from our county has been missing for over a week.  We are hoping that they are found alive soon.  If you would like to pray for this family and receive updates on them please see this link.http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Pray-for-The-Maynard-Kids/174173612594279

Every time I get frustrated or tired, I think about how blessed I am to have the family I have.  They are healthy and happy children.  They are kind-hearted and loving.  They really care for others.  I thank God every day for them.  I pray they will continue to grow spiritually as well as physically. 

Each day has it's challenges and I won't say that I handle them all well, because well, I am human.  I fail just like anyone else, but one thing I do before I go to sleep at night is tell my kids that I love them and if needed, that I am sorry for anything that may have not went well during that day.   We have to remember that when we do get frustrated or upset, that we must repent and ask our children to forgive us.  I believe that renews their respect for us and gives them a good example to follow when they have issues.  We are responsible for our actions and our responses.  We need to show our children how to respond in different situations, not just tell them how they should act. 

I pray for families every day!  I pray that the parents are good examples to their children.  I pray that Daddy's see their role in the family and take it seriously.  Mama's need to love and nurture their children along with teaching them whenever they get the chance.  Please join me in prayer for families and marriages.  God has to be the firm foundation that we build our homes on in order for it to stand and weather any storms that may come upon it. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Oldest Daughter is 15 Today

Amanda is our oldest daughter and 2nd child.  She has grown into a beautiful young woman not only on the outside, but on the inside as well.  She is truely a blessing to our familly and we love her very much.  I have started a new tradition today.  I will be making a video for each child's birthday during this year.  Amanda's will start this tradition :)

video

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veterans Day

Yesterday during school we talked about Veterans Day.  We did some coloring pages and we talked about how important it is to remember and support those who have fought and are fighting for our freedoms.  With each holiday, I take time to tell them what it is about and we do special studies or pages.  With homeschooling it is important to take every opportunity we can to teach little things.  I take my job teaching my children very seriously.  I want them to learn everything they need  to make it in the world.   Our most important study is the Word of God, then we study our other subjects.  Mike and I know it is important for our children to learn all they can now, so later they will be able to do whatever God calls them to do. It is important to be able to read, write, spell and do math.  Without those simple abilities, life would be hard to deal with. 

Here are a few photos of our Veterans Day coloring pages :)

Good Morning

We start our days pretty early around here.  Since my kids were little I have always sang them a little song in the morning just to get their day started right.  Our first activity of  the day is having devotions.  I believe we need to start our day out with prayer and a thankfulness in our hearts for having this day that God has given to us.  One of my favorite verses is Psalm 118:24: This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.   We need to be thankful that we are alive and able to get out of bed and do the things we do.  We need to make sure we see each day as a blessing and not take it for granted. 

One of my favorite things to do for my kids is make them a nice hot breakfast.  They love smiley face pancakes :)


We start each day a new.   Every day is a new begining for us.  We forget what lies behind and press on to what is ahead. 

Fridays are the busiest for us.  We have spelling tests and Bible verse quizzes.  We finish up our school week and go over what we learned from our Character Building lesssons.   To reward the kids for a hard week of work, we have family fun night on most Friday evenings.  We play a game and watch a good, clean, wholesome movie together.  It is important to just have fun and laugh together :)  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Soooo Much to Chose From.....

When we first started to homeschool, I got so overwhelmed with all the curriculum out there.  It was hard for me to chose what to use the first few years.  We knew we wanted it to be Bible based, so that did narrow it down a little.  The first year, we decided to go with Christian Liberty Press.  We used their whole curriculum set for Robert.  The books were wonderful, but we found it to be a little overwhelming for a Kindergartner.  Six large workbooks for a 5 year old was a little much.  As the years went by we found that hands on teaching along with a few workbooks during the first couple years of school worked much better for our kids.   They love learning through games and even craft projects much more than sitting with a bunch of books each day.  Our 5 year just officially started school and he is already reading at a 2nd grade level.  We never sat down to "teach" him how to read, he just caught on by us reading to him and playing phonics games with him. Each child has a way he or she learns best.  It is important to find that out early.  I remember spending tons of money on so many different books and never using them because they just didn't fit the child's learning style.   So now, when it is time to pick curriculum each year, we do it by what is best for the child.  I recommend reading the book "The Way They Learn" by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias.   It is a great tool for finding out your child's learning style.  Even if you do not homeschool, I believe it is important to know this in order to help your child through school.

We have learned over the years not to sweat the small stuff.  I use to worry if they were not right on  schedule with every subject, but soon learned that they will catch on when they are ready.   Each year when I have my children tested, they all score way above average on all their test scores, so I have learned that getting frustrated with the little things just isn't worth it.  They will learn what they need to learn, but sometimes it just takes a little time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Some days just don't go as planned

One lesson I have learned over my 11 years of homeschooling is that you have to be flexible.  We try to stay on a schedule most days, but there are always those days where something happens or someone is sick, and we just have to go with the flow.  Our schedule is really just like school around here.  We start school at 9 and end around 3:00.   We take two fifteen minute breaks and a thirty minute lunch.  The younger ones do book work in the morning hours, then afternoons are for fun activities and crafts.  Each of the kids have weaknesses and strengths.  I encourage them to work on the things they have difficulties with first.  We try to have one big science class a week.  During that class we do experiments or we do activities together.   They all love hands on activities.  We also come together every afternoon, for an hour, to work on Character Building.   Right now we are using a Character Building worksheet I found on the Duggar Family Website.  We take one trait a day to focus on and discuss.  We look up Bible verses that correspond with the subject we are studying and we talk about how we can work on displaying that attribute more in our lives. 

I really enjoy teaching my children and watching them grow in many ways.  I pray that God will strengthen me each day to keep doing what I am doing.  I pray that each one of my children learn from each lesson we study. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Why?

There are a few questions that many people ask me when they meet me and find out how many children I have.  Usually the first  is "Wow 6 kids, how do you manage?"  Then they ask "Do you ever have time for yourself?"  Then soon after they find out I homeschool those 6 kiddos, they ask " Isn't that a lot of work?"   Well I have created this blog to not only answer these questions, but many other ones that come up a long our journey of life.  I also want to share things we have learned over the 16 years of being parents. 

I will start out by introducing myself and my wonderful family.  I am Betty.  I am a wife, mother and friend.  I have been married for over 17 years to my incredible husband Mike.  He is a great husband and daddy.  He enjoys being with his family and even though he has 2 jobs (Firefighter & Mechanic), he finds time to be our spiritual leader and loving guide through this life.  We have 6 beautiful children ranging from 3 years old all the way to 16.   Our youngest is a little girl named Hope.  She is really a joy to have.  She is extremely smart and acts more like she is 10 not 3.   Joshy is our youngest boy.  He is 5 years old and already taking 2nd grade classes.  He loves to read and write.    The next in line is our precious son Ryan.  He is our sweet one.   He is 10 years old and has a heart of gold.  He is so kind and helpful.   Megan is our amazing 14 year old daughter.  She is very lively and likes to take care of her younger siblings.  She is great at keeping them busy while mom does her chores or works.  She has a sweet spirit.   Amanda is our very talented 15 year old.  She can do so many thing that range from singing to cutting hair.  She loves to crochet and draw.  She is great with kids and enjoys teaching them.   Robert is our oldest.  He is 16 and is just a great son.  He is a great counselor and friend to many.  He is always there when you need a shoulder to lean on.  He wants to be a pastor and we already see those qualities needed for that job coming out in him. 

Can you tell I love my family?   We are not perfect, but we strive to be what God wants us to be.  Mike and I try to teach our children what is important in life.  We hope to share some of these ideas with you through this blog.  We will share some of our journeys and even some of our mistakes.  May you be blessed by this.