Monday, December 30, 2013

Every Year I Get Bigger Book

At the start of 2012 I blogged about the New Year Photo Book we were making that I found at No Time for Flash Cards. I wanted to post again today as a reminder to keep it going.  I also hope to get some new readers in on the fun.

We started this a few years ago as a great way to talk about how we "grow up." Gess always seemed to talk about growing up as if it happens once and then suddenly you can do something. "When I grow up I will drive." I didn't think she understood that it is a process that is continually happening. This book is a really fun way to show that progress.
When we started the book we went back through old photos and chose one favorite from each year to put in the book. Now at the end of the year we go look for a fun experience or simply funny photo that will represent what Gess was like that year. While we want it to show her size we also want it to show her interests or her attitude and things like that.

For this year we chose a silly photo of her wearing her daddy's coat.  She does want to grow up and be like her dad!

So she cut the photo to allow it fit and glued it in her book.  Then she added the stickers with the year on it.

I compiled all the pictures to show what we have so far.  My Gess is getting bigger!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Our tree is decorated, our shopping is done and our gifts are all wrapped. This last week we went and picked Tim up from college for the holidays.  I am happy and blessed to have everyone all in one place.
Financially we are having a tighter than usual Christmas, but I am not upset or unhappy in the least.  All of my children will be here, we have a warm home, food on the table, clean water and are free to come and go as we please.  Holidays are not about the stuff for me.  It is about spending time together with those we love.  It should also be about something more.  Christ was certainly not born on December 25 and probably not even during this season.  However, if we are going to have a holiday focusing on Christ's birth, we should also remember that He came for a purpose. He came to save us from our sins.  Jesus was born so that He might die and He died so that we might live.  That is what Christmas should really be all about.  I hope you find this video a wonderful reminder of that truth.

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

We have a Facebook Page!

I finally started a Facebook page for my blog.  I will share my blog posts there as well as other great resources for both homeschooling and special needs.  If you are on Facebook, please consider joining us!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Free Friday: Free Jesus Movie for Churches

The Voice of the Martyrs is offering a FREE movie titled Jesus: He Lived Among Us for churches.  It is the complete story of Jesus' life here on earth as told in the Scripture.  For an animated movie it is pretty accurate and very powerful.

The Voice of the Martyrs uses these in other countries to help spread the gospel.  When presenting the gospel to people who can't read or who simply won't pick up the Bible it is a great tool to use to tell them about Jesus.  Our church received one and used it with our kids class last year.  Here is the trailer.

To get your church a FREE copy of this movie visit the Free Jesus Movie website by clicking on the image below.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Special Holiday Party

This year we had the pleasure of attending a special event for persons with Down syndrome and their families.  They first treated us to an incredible breakfast.  Next came the fun.  They had 3 Santas so that the lines remained small.  We never really did the Santa thing, but Gess still likes to see him.

They also had lots of fun games and crafts.  Here she is making a Christmas tree ornament for our tree.  I think we left there with 4 new hand made ornaments of various styles!

She also made a Santa beard for herself.

I think the antlers from her hand prints were her favorite.  She wore them all day.

As we were leaving she specifically asked for a picture with the nutcracker.

We had such a lovely time!  There were over 800 people in attendance!  Since we live in a small town it was refreshing to see so many other families and children with Down syndrome.  Gess has her few friends, but you know, there really are not any girls that are active in our group!  She was hugged by some at the party.  It was nice . We hope to go again next year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Locust Effect - Ending Poverty by Ending Violence

Gary A. Haugen the President and CEO of the International Justice Mission will soon be releasing a new book, The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence.  As you know I am very mission minded and have been an advocate of IJM since I discovered them a few years back.  The work they do to help save people from the bonds of slavery is nothing short of amazing.  As we know there are no victims more vulnerable to the threat of trafficking than those who live in poverty.  They are the ones with out the resources and power to speak out against the oppression that faces them on a daily basis.  Their desperation will make them trust those who actually seek to bring them harm or simply give up all hope.  However, poverty alone is apparently not the only problem.  To address poverty we need to end the senseless violence that surrounds it. 

The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence will address this and help explain to us what we can do to stop it.  I, for one, am anxious for this book to release in February.  In the mean time you can get a FREE sneak peek of The Locust Effect by clicking on the book below.  Read the first 28 pages to learn more.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Who is to blame for low paying jobs?

I was thinking the other day about the picketing going on of fast food restaurants and how they want workers there to make $15.00 an hour.  They are complaining that the minimum wage is not a fair wage.  In fact they are beginning to replace the word "fair" with "living."  They want every single person who gets a job to get a "living" wage, which means they can live off of what they make regardless of whether or not the work they do is worth it.

Before you start getting all up in arms as if I am looking down on the fast food industry by saying their work is not "worth" a certain amount you must know that I have not only worked fast food, I was raised in it.  My daddy worked fast food almost all of my life.  He managed many fast food restaurants and was sometimes the supervisor of several stores.  I know first hand how physically hard the work can be.  However, while it is hard work, there are basically no skills required for non-management positions and that is generally the reason people work fast food in the first place.  They lack the skills for a better job.  My dad didn't finish school, but he managed to find work in various places and by working hard  and learning on the job he worked his way up to a wage our family could and did live on.

This is where society gets it all wrong.  They seem to want to blame the business owners. Surely it must be the fault of those who are "rich" if the poor can't get a "fair" wage.  They feel that every business is out to cheat their employees.  While there will always be business men who do so, a good business man knows that happy employees who are paid and treated well will actually help his business so there is incentive to do what is right.  However they have to make a profit or there is really no reason for them to take the risk of running a business in the first place.  There are simply some jobs that are never going to pay well.  They just can't.  However those jobs are not meant to be employment for the heads of a household.  Those are entry level jobs, for students working their way through school, or for second income jobs where the spouse works to earn a little extra income to make their lives more comfortable.  Yep, my mom worked fast food too.

People who are upset about these jobs not paying enough seem to be under the impression that these jobs were made for families to be supported by.  They think that if a single mom raising her kids works there she should make enough to do so.  If a father is working while his wife stays at home to raise the new baby he should make enough money to do so.  These people have it all wrong.  Instead of blaming the companies for not paying low skill jobs high skill wages they should be asking the question, why don't these people have the skills to get a better paying job?

The short answer is that the public school system has failed them.  In many of these instances they quit the school before they finished but ultimately that too is a failure of the system.  Public schools have failed in many regards, here are just a few:

1.  Schools graduate students who can't spell, barely read and are awful at math.  Its as if they think the diploma will magically make the student employable.  It doesn't work that way.  They actually need the skills to back it up.

2. Schools focus more on social issues than life skills and therefore we graduate a bunch of kids who are "politically correct" but lack any real common sense.  Young parents don't know how to treat the simplest cold without running to the doctor and end up burdened with a debt of medical bills.  Instead of trying to learn they want a better wage or better yet, free health care as if that is the solution. Schools teach students that no one should judge them for being sexually active and then when they end up pregnant the solution to them is free abortions and birth control.  What a disservice our schools are doing. 

3. Students are taught a sense of entitlement.  They think that they deserve something just for existing.  After all they get the same diploma if they get straight A's or if they get the lowest grades possible.  Students think the wage should match what they think they are worth, not what they can actually do.  However, being able to know math isn't the same as putting it into practice.  They end up renting houses they can't afford, get a car on payments and then buy all the latest gadgets, video games and toys.  Then they can't understand why they run out of money before the end of the month.  They can't understand that you can't spend more in a month than you take in.  The thought of doing without something is foreign to them!  The thought of renting a place that isn't "idea" never occurs to them.

Of course schools are not the only ones to blame.  The break down of the family is the ultimate problem.  But think about it.  The family break down was inevitable once we gave the government control of our children's education.  Once I really started to homeschool I began to wonder, why do freedom loving Americans seem to over look the fact that a compulsory, public school system is the antithesis of being free?  All we know is that school is where our kids go.  It is just what they do.  Its done with out question because in school we were taught it was the only way.  Its the best way.

Why do you think that President Obama is working hard to let illegal aliens stay in this country but is doing all he can to throw out one family seeking asylum on the basis of educational freedom?  He will let thousands of families stay who came here illegally but this one family must go.  A family who went through the right channels, and tried to do it the right way.  Why are they fighting this so hard?  Because they know homeschooling is a threat to the government control that our public school students are so willing to give in to.  Its not only a battle for education, its a battle for the hearts and minds of the future generation.  Unfortunately that generation is here.  It is what got Obama elected twice in the first place and we may be stuck with it, unless we catch on and push the blame to the right places.  Most of our societies ills can be traced back to here in one form or another:  Public School.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Free Friday: Printable Advent Calendar Cards

Since earlier this week I shared about how we made our Advent Candles, for my FREE Friday post I figured I would share some links to some FREE Advent Printables.

A Virtuous Woman has a really neat spin on Advent Scriptures.  She offers Christmas ADVENTures in Prophecy which offers 25 readings about the life of Christ that fulfilled specific prophecy.

Happy Home Fairy has free printable Bible Verse Advent Cards.  They had a neat idea about adding this to your little elf on a shelf, if you choose to do that. 

Heart of the Matter has a Happy Birthday Jesus Printable Advent Calendar that is in the shape of a birthday cake.

DLTK has some good preschool craft and printable ideas for Advent Calendar Activities.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Craft: Glowing Advent Candles

I was on Pinterest trying to find some new Christmas crafts to do when I came across this one for Glowing Paper Advent Candles.  That looked so perfect for Gess!  These are really easy and we plan on using these at home.  We only started using an advent calendar a couple of years ago and we have never used the candles.  Since we do not have an advent wreath for our home we will use these.  I made up cards with the verses that we will read as we light one each week.  It will be fun and Gess will be thrilled she had a part in creating it.

All you need is:
1 toilet paper roll for each candle
yellow construction paper for the flame
1 package of flame-less tea light candles

While traditional advent candles are purple, pink and white we didn't worry about the color.  Instead we cut out a shape to represent each candle so I let Gess paint the candles any color she chose.

Next you cut out something to make the flame and glue it to the top on the inside.

Then you cut out a shape in each one.  I actually did this part.  Here are what shapes and verses we use for each candle.

1. Candle of Hope - Cross: Romans 15:12-13
2.  Candle of Preparation - Flame: Luke 3:4-6 (some use peace instead of preparation)
3. Candle of Joy - Star: Luke 2:7-25
4. Candle of Love - Heart: John 3:16-17
5. Christ Candle - Crown: John 1:29 & John 3:1-8

Here they are lighting up the dark.


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