Thursday, November 07, 2013

Washer Update…Fixed!

Well, in spite of my high hopes for the agitator dogs fixing everything, the washer was still behaving insanely. The bottom agitator was only spinning in one direction which is why the clothes had gotten so tangled.

So I posted to my favorite appliance DIY forum and in an hour and a half, had a diagnosis that I needed a new transmission. Ugh.

If I chose to DIY it this time, I’d be on my own, DH wouldn’t be available to help me, but on the other hand, we’d done this once before so I figured with my awesome SIL’s help (and a video of the steps), we ought to be able to avoid the trip charge and hourly fee of a pro.

I decided I could do it, so we ordered the part day before yesterday, it was in yesterday and I think I had the part installed in less than an hour from the time I started. It was a nerve-racking few minutes waiting for the washer to fill up to see if I’d done everything correctly, but it came on and did what it was supposed to do… whew!

It’s kind of good that I had to do this because in the process of everything I discovered the agitator dogs needed replacing and when I got the motor off the transmission, I saw that the rubber drive coupler gasket was just about to self-destruct. One hole had already broken through. Thankfully we had an extra from another repair so I was good to go in that department.

So… here’s hoping we can go for a few more years without any major repairs.

Next on my list… putting up a clothesline to keep up with all the clothes I’ll be washing.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Whooping Cough makes a visit

I’ve always thought that whooping cough was something that people used to get and was something from my grandparents’ and maybe my parents’ generation. You don’t hear much about it in this day and age tho. We had never given it a passing thought … until …

At the beginning of September, our kids had a mild cough that was annoying, but finally went away. Then later in September, we were over at a fellow homeschooler’s home and their daughter had a nasty sounding cough. She had gone to the doctor and was just starting antibiotic treatment that day. We warned the kids not to get too close to her and that was that (or so we thought).

No one knows for sure who gave it to whom as whooping cough starts with seemingly innocent cold symptoms and progresses into mighty scary from there. I do know that according to recent reports, whooping cough cases are on the rise, and not necessarily (as some argue) a result of under-vaccinated populations.

We’re racking out brains to try to remember when symptoms actually started, but as far as we can remember, Eli started coughing around the first of October with a cough that started sounding (as my SIL puts it) like someone with COPD. Next to fall was Geo (who actually has had it the worst), then Ana & finally Nina. I think Eli is in the convalescent stage (never had the whoop), Geo is almost to the end of the paroxysmal stage, Nina is at a lower level of the paroxysmal stage (no whoop), and Ana is in the paroxysmal stage, but only coughs (with whoop) 2 or 3 times a night, then goes right back to sleep. My sleep-deprived brain can’t remember if she woke up at all last night to cough. I almost don’t think she did, but if she did it was mild and only once.

Geo has the terrible coughing, followed by an inability to breath for a few seconds before he starts making a whooping sound as air starts making its way back into his lungs. Poor guy, he looks so scared when he can’t get air. We rush to him, speaking calmly and slowly, trying to help calm him down. We thump him on his back, give him a bucket to spit the phlegm into (sorry, but it happens) and after a minute or two, he is calmed down enough to where he is mostly breathing normally. After one of these attacks, he looks totally exhausted. He had been having 6-8 attacks a night (it’s worse at night which is totally exhausting to the parents who are up with sick kiddos all night), but is now down to 2-3. He says he feels that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, he’s finally able to cough gunk up from his lungs (at first nothing would come up) and he can breath easier in general… so yay for that!

As soon as we started suspecting WC, we started researching the daylights out of it. Turns out that OTC meds and antibiotics don’t do anything to help the symptoms. We had been trying OTC cough meds and homeopathic cough remedies, but when we found that out, we kinda quit using them. The only thing antibiotics do is to make you not contagious to others (after 5 days of taking it). So we started looking for natural ways to treat this nasty, pesky cough.

Thanks to helpful posts like this one and this we developed a quick plan of action. Here is what we finally did/are doing:

N – Nutrition

    We have increased fresh fruit and veggies, and whole grains (minus wheat which can cause increased mucus buildup)

E – Exercise

     This one you have to be careful with WC as too much can trigger an attack, but some exercise is good. Walking, lightly playing outside, we’ve allowed and encouraged (while the weather is so nice).

W – Water

     Ever hour I have the kids drink water to loosen up the phlegm in their lungs.


S – Sunshine

     We are getting them out in the sun every day for as long as possible. They don’t go out and sunbathe, but whatever sun they get while playing outside should help.

T – Temperance

     We’ve cut out gluten, flour, sugar, dairy, soy, potatoes, anything from peanuts, most oils…

A – Air

     They get plenty of fresh air when they play outside each day.

R – Rest

     We get them to bed at a decent hour and let them sleep as much as they want in the morning (since they are up multiple times during the night). We also encourage and sometimes require naps during the day (depending on how they did the night before).

T – Trust in God

     Last, but most importantly, we are trusting in God to bring healing to our dear children. He loves them more than we ever could and we call upon his powerful hand to heal these dear ones as no earthly physician can. Many prayers have gone up at all hours for these kiddos.


Additionally, here are some things we’ve done:

     We have been trying to get 1000 mg. of vitamin C into the children every 30 minutes. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but they are getting much more vitamin C than usual, that’s for sure. We will keep this up for several weeks after their symptoms are gone as any colds they contract in the convalescent stage could lead right back to the whooping till the cilia in their lungs grow back.

  • Vitamin D3 – Helps keep you healthy, fights disease 
  • Vitamin E
  • Colloidal silver – We did research on colloidal silver and bought the kind that will not turn our children blue. We have them breath in while we spray a little into the back of their throats (and hopefully a little gets down into their trachea and makes its way to the lungs) and we give them 1 tsp. to 1 Tbsp. of colloidal silver, usually before meals. My nephew has also tried it in his sister's nebulizer, but only once. If we had a nebulizer, I’d be trying it more often.

     Daniel and I have felt like we were getting something a couple times over the last week or two and have gargled with colloidal silver and that knocked it out each time. It works better than gargling with H2O2, IMO, and doesn’t taste as bad either.

  • Turmeric – The kids aren’t fans of the taste so I give it to them in capsules that they can swallow.
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) – I put 6 drops in a little grape juice to mask the taste. I give this with the silver and anything else that would kill the probiotics which I give at a later time. Eli was just singing, “Just a spoonful of grape juice makes the GSE go down, the GSE go down, the GSE go down…” :D
  • Oil of Oregano (OoO)– I have rubbed this on my little ones’ feet as well as giving it orally, either straight (for Geo who can tolerate it), or with honey for those who can’t. I’ve backed off this one a little because of the taste and because I’m about out of capsules which I could put it in for easier application.
  • Olive Leaf Extract – I had some of these left over from something else I was fighting so I add them in sometimes.
  • Bio Solutions Frequency Generator a.k.a. “The Zapper Machine” – There is not a setting specifically for Pertussis or Whooping Cough so I have kids run the Bronchitis and Bronchial Pneumonia routines as I don’t want their WC to develop into either. They do this once a day.
  • Son Ancon Chi Machine a.k.a. “The Fishy Machine”  - When they or I remember, they lie down on the Chi machine 1-3 times a day for 10 minutes each. This helps oxygenate their blood and increase circulation.
  • Probiotics – This is to counteract the bactericide (good ones not excluded) happening in their systems due to the silver/OoO/GSE. We give these after meals.
  • Ginger Tea – We give this when they are having a hard time in the night, after a cough attack, to help settle them back down.
  • Thyme Tea – I made this for the last 2 nights with great success! I boiled several branches of thyme in water till the water was yellow. I let the water boil off a little so that I could add ice cubes to cool it off and not effect the concentration much. Oh, while still hot, I added enough honey to make it palatable. I can’t tell if the coughs are just naturally starting to get better or if the thyme tea made that much of a difference, but it did seem that Nina’s coughing lessened drastically and quickly after giving her thyme tea after an attack. Also Geo went from 3 a night to 2 last night (only 1 after I went to bed).
  • Onion Poultice on Feet – Several people from church mentioned this as a remedy for cough. For the last 3 nights we have put slices of onion inside their socks and put plastic bags over the socks before tucking them in bed. I’m not sure if this has helped or not, but our nephew (who is visiting and hasn’t developed full-blown WC, yet) has been coughing for the last few days, but the last 3 nights that we put onion on his feet, we noticed a decline in the amount of coughing.
  • Vicks Vap-o-Rub – We rub this on their chests, necks and backs (also feet if not using onion) each night before they go to bed, also in the middle of the night after an attack.
  • Fomentations – I did these a couple of times but didn’t notice much of a change and since it is so laborious and because I didn’t find much on the internet about fomentations used for WC, I have put that one on the back burner.
  • Hot/Cold Showers – I suppose this would be pretty similar to fomentations, now that I think about it. I don’t think it hurts to increase blood flow and circulation which H/C showers do.
  • Russian Penicillin/Rocket Fuel… – The version I made called for:

1 onion

5 radishes (sub horseradish or cayenne)

5 garlic cloves

juice of 10 lemons (I think I only had 5 or 6)

honey to taste

This one is a very pretty pink and not too strong for kiddy palates.

I’ve also made a version calling for garlic, onions, cayenne, ginger, lemons, honey & water. Potent stuff!

  • Quarantine – As soon as my kids started coughing, I told them to cough down into their shirts or into their elbows away from people. My older 2 haven’t been to their piano lesson in 2 weeks, church in 2 weeks or the evangelistic meetings that are going on at our church (which they would dearly love to go to) because things were starting to get a bit worse and we didn’t want to share any germs. When Geo and Nina did go to their piano lesson (about 3 weeks ago), I told them to wash their hands with soap before playing piano and cough into their shirts if needed. After Ana started coughing, for the 2 weeks that we did take them to church, I had her sit in the back of her class, well separate from the other children, “just in case.” Eli (7) has been great about coughing into his shirts, to the point that some of his t-shirts are sadly stretched out in the neck area. That’s fine with me, tho, I’d rather that than someone get sick from their germs. Since we suspected WC, they haven’t been out anywhere. I bet they are getting a little stir-crazy, but it’s what I feel we must do for now, at least for another 2 weeks and until everyone is not coughing in the daytime anymore (at least that would be my preference).


These I haven’t actually tried but are on my list:

  • Garlic Juice – Press a bunch of cloves and press them through a sieve to extract the juice, give by the 1/2 teaspoonful several times a day.
  • Mullein Tea
  • Slippery Elm
  • Sage Tea, Garlic Tea, Turmeric Tea, Fenugreek tea…
  • Hot food baths (followed by cold before drying)
  • Tepid bath, cool cloth on head for 10-15 minutes (supposed to bring some of the blood from core [lungs] to skin to warm it up easing congestion)
  • Steam treatment in shower and thumping on chest (well, we do run the humidifiers in their rooms at night and thump Geo on the back when he has a coughing fit, but I read about one lady who took her kids into a steamy shower and thumped their backs to get them to cough stuff out of their lungs).


I use the School Assistant and the Carbodroid Android apps to remind me what the kids are supposed to be doing next (i.e. taking their vitamin Cs, or drinking water or going outside to get sun…). This helps to keep me on schedule and make sure nothing gets missed.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Replacing Agitator Dogs

Our Kenmore Elite 90 series washer has served us well for the last 14+ years. We have replaced (diy style) the clutch (iirc), the lid switch and the drive couplers.

Yesterday night while a load was washing I noticed a noise from the washer that was getting louder and (I think) slower too for some reason. I turned off the washer and found the clothes all tangled around the center agitator. I thought maybe something had gotten stuck underneath the agitator so I took the clothes out and drained the water (in hindsight I would have reversed that order, lol), but there was nothing there.

I went online to try to diagnose the loud grinding noise I heard and what might be the cause. I couldn’t find much consensus, but did see agitator dogs come up more than once and I kept reading that it was a cheap, easy fix. I figured it couldn’t hurt to rule that one out so I took the top cap off the agitator, unscrewed the plastic thingy in the center with the square end of a long ratchet wrench piece (don’t you just love my oh-so-technical vocabulary? lol) and was able to easily pull out the agitator dog assembly.

Sure enough, the teeth were looking quite worn. They were still able to engage the agitator under low pressure but when DH gave a mighty turn, they slipped and gave the nasty loud noise I had been hearing. So God be praised, we will once again avoid an appliance man’s trip charge and fix this old beauty for near nothin’.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Unconcatenizing a Publisher booklet

I’m pretty sure I did this once before, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to do it this time around. I had made a document in Publisher in booklet format (eg. pages 4 & 1 on one side, pages 2 & 3 on the other side of a single sheet of paper for a 4-page booklet) awhile back and needed it optimized for my tablet (only one page viewable at a time, not a 2-page per sheet spread as in booklet form). I searched and searched before I finally settled on this way to do it:

1) In Publisher, print document with a pdf printer (i.e. CutePDF) and choose Statement for paper size and Portrait for page orientation. Under 2-sided printing options, set it to Single-sided and print.

2) Open unconcatenized file in PDFScissors and choose separate odd and even pages.


Select regions for each odd and even page. Click File, Crop & Save or Ctrl+S to crop and safe as new file.

The margins might not be perfectly even all around, but they will be narrow enough to not take up too much screen real estate from your view of the book.


I also tried it in Briss and liked the results even better as it told me the exact dimensions of each page (evens and odds) so I won’t have any discrepancies in page size in the final product.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Going “No-Poo”

Finally Ready to Take the Plunge

I learned about No-Poo (washing with baking soda and rinsing with apple cider vinegar) about 4 or 5 years ago from a friend who raved about it. At the time, uninformed little me recoiled at the idea of ditching my sudsy, artificially scented bottle o’ chemicals I could barely pronounce (my favorite long name being Methylchloroisothiazolinone) for something that wouldn’t suds and wouldn’t smell (except maybe of vinegar—bleugh!)

Fast-forward to a week or 2 ago when now-more-progressive me* started reading up on BC/ACV. I read lots of rave reviews, a few warnings and noted that in general, most people report a couple-week transition period when your scalp adjusts to the idea that it no longer has to make up for all the natural oils you are stripping away every time you wash.

This equates to very greasy hair for a couple of weeks, an idea I am not so terribly keen on. I mean, yeah, we homeschool and I don’t get out as often as other moms might (we keep our extracurricular activities to a minimum), but there’s still church and piano lessons each week. I do not want to be a greasball in the presence of anyone but my immediate family. So, I came up with a plan…

Most people who go No-Poo go cold turkey and suffer through brave the side effects. Kathleen of Becoming Peculiar has a plan to wean off of shampoo by replacing one or more of your regular shampooings with a No-Pooing, increasing the replacements till you are completely No-Poo. My plan is that I am going to add a little dollop of shampoo into my baking soda/water mixture and I will gradually decrease the amount of shampoo in my mix till I am truly Poo-free.

Here are my initial impressions (after 3 BS/ACV washes).

  • I so far haven’t noticed any greasy side-effects, most likely due to the presence of the shampoo. I am right now on my third day after my last wash and my hair is still free-flowing, looks clean, not gross in the least.
  • My hair doesn’t smell like vinegar.
  • My hair is SO much easier to comb through after my shower. This was a big surprise to me, I can tell you!
  • I need a container with a narrow opening to apply the BS/ACV to my scalp so it doesn’t end up running down my face or missing the sides or back of my scalp.
  • Some people report dry, staw-like hair caused by the baking soda, but I think due to the fact that I dilute it pretty well, I haven’t had that side-effect either.

Some people have reported that their normally flat, lifeless hair develops more body after they ditch the Poo, and also that their hair holds curls better without product. I can only hope the same can be said for me in a week or two (a girl can hope!).

*Some of the slightly progressive things I’ve done in my life:

I’ve cloth diapered, clean with water and microfiber cloths whenever possible, culture kefir, have made sourdough bread, make non-sourdough bread on a regular basis, have tried home-made deodorant [plan to try that again, different recipe], ditched antiperspirant, have brushed my teeth with charcoal powder [need to get back into that if I can just find a kid-safe place for my powder], am trying to decrease the amount of plastic we use in our kitchen/on the table, made my own BPA-free Mason jar water bottle complete with stainless steel straw, really really want to try DIY remineralizing toothpaste or powder

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Printer keep going offline?

I was having trouble with my printer going offline and Windows troubleshooter didn’t know what to do about it. I did some super-sleuthing and discovered that the IP address that I had listed for my printer (in Devices and Printers) was not the IP address that my printer showed in its settings menus. Here’s how I (hopefully) fixed it:

Thanks to the advice from this post, I navigated to the TCP/IP settings screen under network setup on my HP LasaerJet printer. I set the IP address from “automatic” to “manual” and keyed in as the IP address as well as the default gateway.

I did have to uninstall/reinstall my printer since it was giving me an error message when I tried to update the IP address under the ports tab.

I’m finally back to work again and I’m expecting that I won’t have to fuss with it anymore. Whew! It’s goooood to have my printer back.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bible Marking–Easy and Fun

I got a new Bible on my birthday a couple of years ago and I knew that I wanted to have a good Bible marking system to go along with it. So, I searched the net and gleaned great ideas from tons of other Bible markers out there and came up with what I thought was the perfect system. Problem was, it was tooooo complicated. I had a subtle shade of color for each of a jillion different categories and after a few verses, it took so long to mark, I stopped.

Fast forward to now (or not so long ago) when I listened to a talk on Meaningful Morning Time (the part about Bible marking starts roughly at 01:05:20) and I learned a super simple marking system that so far is working!

Now, I have yet to do any marking in my birthday Bible, I’m still trying to work out the bugs, but I still thought I’d share what I had so far and I can share any changes I come up with later.

I have taken to reading the Bible on my iPad because it’s easier to navigate, and if I make changes in my system down the road, I’m not locked into one particular highlighting code.

I use the Logos free app for my Bible marking because of the terrific number of highlighting tools it contains, and because of its ease of use. I also love the natural look of the highlighting, as if I was highlighting with real pen on real paper.

Here is a screenshot of a page from I Timothy:


It’s so easy and so much fun, I can’t wait to read my Bible now because it’s like finding buried treasure and I love the colorful look when I’m finished.

I’ve gotten my 10 y.o. and my 7 y.o. into it big time and they both caught on to it super quickly so it’s not hard to learn. I’ve designated separate versions to each of us so we can do our own marking without messing each other up in the same version. The only thing better would to get each of them their own tablet ($$$) so they can leave mine alone, lol

I made a little cheatsheet using clipart (I adjusted Alane’s version since I’m a visual person) to help me remember the colors at first.

Bible Marking

If you have a favorite marking system, I’d love to hear about it!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Extract audio from .flv using VLC media player


Since it took me so long to figure this out (with a little help from other tutorials which were imo more laborious than my method, at least the ones I saw), I thought I’d share my way for extracting audio from flash (.flv) files. I saved a bunch of Restoration International videos to my computer using Orbit downloader, then used this method to isolate the sound so I could listen to the talks on my mp3 player.

First, open VLC player. I have version 2.0.6 Twoflower


Ctrl+R opens the Convert/Save window. Click Add… to find the .flv file you wish to manipulate.


Tell VLC where you would like to save the file; name your file.  I do like I do, you’ll select the same .flv file and manually change the .flv to .mp3, click Save.VLC 4

Click on the drop-down window in the Settings/Profile section and select Audio – MP3, then click start.


You should see a progress bar that looks like this:


When it is finished, you’re good to go!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My (Current) Chore System


I’ve tried a slew of ideas, some have worked better than others, sometimes I change because of the ages and abilities of my children. Anyway, this seems to be working for now.

I put the above chore chart in a sheet protector and it lives on the side of our refrigerator. I made some temporary circles from construction paper and use tacky putty to stick them where they go. I made this to be a 4-week rotation and each week’s allotment of chores includes 1 kitchen chore (to be performed after each meal), 1 bathroom chore and 1 Room Of Focus chore.

In the example above, Mom (purple) empties the dishwasher after each meal (or whenever the dishes are clean if there is a lot to wash), cleans the tub and mirrors, and keeps the living room tidy (everyone is responsible to put away their own things, then I sweep, vacuum, and tidy up what’s left);

Eli (green) sweeps the floors in the kitchen and dining room after each meal (or at least as often as necessary to keep things neat), sweeps the bathroom floor and wipes up any grubby spots on the floor or around the toilet, and helps all of the rest of us with our chores (at least 5 minutes of hard work for each person who is actually doing their chores);

Geo (blue) loads the dishwasher as soon as I unload, keeps the toilet clean, and keeps the front of our house picked up (tosses trash, puts bikes and scooters in carport, etc.);

Nina (pink) keeps the counters and table cleared, wiped and everything put where it goes, the counters and sink clean in the bathroom, sweeps the hall and keeps it clear of things and keeps the music room tidy (music straightened, piano turned off, etc.)

And last, but not least, Ana (4) checks to make sure our dog, Lucy, has food in her bowl and water in her dish, helps make the bed and keep her 1/2 of her room tidy, puts “hair and teeth things” away, and helps Eli with is chores (when she isn’t bothering him so much that he asks for me to keep her out of his way, sigh).

I made the chart pictorial, not because most of my workers aren’t readers, because they are, but because I can see from across the room what any given person is supposed to do. Also, I tried at the very beginning to change chores daily, but it got to be too hard to remember what chores we were on so I changed it to weekly chores which works much better. After the first day, I can remember what I did the day before and don’t even have to look at the chart to know what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s a real time-saver.

The number next to each row of chores is the order of evening showers except that my number trickles down to Ana. I have been trying to get the younger 2 to take their baths/showers earlier in the day so there’s not such a bottleneck during supper/shower time, but that might not work as well in the summer when there will be more playing the dirt, even in the later hours of the day.

Since I don’t always have time to (1) do all the chores by myself or (2) check everyone’s work myself, I came up with a way to designate. If I can’t check someone’s work to make sure they are done, I made this little wheel chart (which I can change every week based on my rotation schedule below). It helps us all know who should check whose work. So in the example below, Eli would check Nina’s work and on around the circle.


I came up with schedule because a certain older sister has a problem doing the dishwasher duty with a certain younger brother every other week (because he is “so slow”) so I came up with this chart to keep things “fair.” (I also made the rule that if the unloader takes too long, the unloader can expect to also be the loader, that helps too).


We try to do a “Family 15” every day outside of “chore time” and that helps a lot to keep things mostly tidy. If any of my crew doesn’t do an adequate job in their area and it requires my help to get the job done, I do their chores for them, but they know I don’t come cheep.

I’m a good worker and I do a good job and I expect the “workers” on my crew to do the best that they are able to do (I understand that they each have their own best and it’s not anyone else’s best, though I do try to help them improve their best when I can). When I don’t think they did their best or didn’t even try to do their jobs, I either put on my red bandana, or just inform them that I’m working for them (sometimes I give them a few minutes warning), set my stopwatch and go like crazy. It usually doesn’t cost them more than $1 when I do work for them, but there is a certain worker who seems to be taking a long time learning the lesson of diligence and hard work. I feel bad, and I have discounted my fee to him since he is less experienced than his older siblings and still in the training phase, but I want him to understand that there is a consequence to not doing jobs in this house.

I have recently started “hiring” help when I don’t have time to do someone’s chores. They all know that they can be hired to help Mom and that if they don’t do a good job or do their chores, Mom will hire help to work for them. I don’t pay them my going rate as I don’t think they work as fast or as well as I do (yet), but at least it’s something and it gets the job done. It also tends to cut down on the “No fair! You’re stealing our money!” complaints if they can turn and earn some of it back working for someone else.

So, I say this is my current system, it probably won’t last forever, but for now it seems to be working pretty well for us. I’ll post again if I come up with anything better.

Copying the Bible

Not long ago while browsing Anne Elliott’s blog I read how she has her children copy the Bible (not just verses, but the whole Bible) for their copywork time. This is an idea she got from the Klein Family who got the idea from Art Dappen who got the idea from the book of Deuteronomy:

When he [Israel’s king] takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. (Deut. 17:18-20, NIV)

Art Dappen wrote a book, a compilation of some of his thoughts on the subject, called The Education of Kings. (pdf / mp3)

His thoughts on the matter (very basically) are that if we are called priests and kings (Rev. 1:6), and if we are called to imprint the word of God in our minds, teach them to our children, and talk about them all the time (Deut. 11:18-21), and if Jesus directs us to seek his kingdom first, then all the rest will follow… (Matt. 6:33) then we should put God first in everything, including our homeschooling, give him the first, best part of our day and spend time imprinting his Word in our hearts while we copy it down in a book. He does a much better job of explaining this all so read his book (or listen to the mp3). It’s not very long, I found it very enlightening.

This sounded pretty good to me so we’ve started. The first day flowed really well with my normally change-hating child actually loving the idea. All was peace and quiet at the table… it was wonderful!

Then the novelty wore off and we’re now dealing with more noise and time-wasting, but I’m sticking with it. I think everything will normalize at some point and we’ll find a happy medium and hopefully my children will all learn to love it as I love it because…I love copying the Bible. It’s so relaxing and it gives me time to think about what I’m writing as my writing speed is much slower than my thinking speed. Try it, you might like it.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bible Memorization Tool

This particular tool is my favorite offline tool for scripture memorization. There are some great online ones such as iMemorize, but for memorizing at home (see Scripture Memory System), this works great.

I stumbled onto something similar in the past but forgot to bookmark it. This was mighty hard to find this time around so I wanted to post it so I don’t forget it again (and plus, you might find it useful).

Input whatever you want to learn, click “convert” and presto, a whole bunch of stuff that looks like gibberish, but really is just the first letter of every word which will hopefully be enough of a crutch to get you to the point where you can say your verse(s) without any help.


For instance, here is John 3:16

F G s l t w, t h g h o b S, t w b i h s n p, b h e l.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sad Rhino

I was trucking along, doing ok in the Orange Rhino department when Friday happened. It was one of those days. You know, the one where the kids can’t get along to save their lives, me constantly having to play referee and keep them directed where they are supposed to be directed. Then when I went to the restroom, the one place where I should have some semblance of privacy, I had not one or two, but three children in the room with me at the SAME TIME! There were a couple of times I kind of lost it, just a little. Once when Geo was playing around on the piano instead of doing his school work and wouldn’t respond to my repeated calling of his name for anything. Finally I had had it. I gave an extra loud, irritation-driven shout of his name… and this time he looked. I felt awful. I knew I’d just tripped, rhino-style. I wasn’t happy. Then I let fly on Eli for something else he was doing, can’t remember now what it was, but I was just SO frustrated. No excuse.

I didn’t yell anything besides their name or QUIET! but it was enough for me. I don’t want to do that, but I guess it’s going to take awhile to learn how to travel a different road.

So, this week in a humble attempt to get back on track, I’m going to make myself an orange bracelet to keep my goal in plain sight. Also, I’m going to print off the list of alternatives to yelling found on Orange Rhino’s blog.

Oh, whew, I feel a bit better… I just went back over to Orange Rhino’s blog and I realize I just did 2 “Oopsie Snaps” rather than crossing over into the super-nasty, yelling zone. I think it will still make it easier to stay in control of my stress if I keep the goal fresh in my mind throughout the day so I’ll still go again with my game plan. Trucking along, I guess I’m on day 18.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Orange Rhino Challenge

Ok, so I don’t consider myself a raging, out-of-control kind of yeller, but I do sometimes snap and let out an “argghhhhhh!” kind of holler usually followed by a question to whoever will listen hinting at the cause of the outburst such as, “Can everyone just be QUIET so you can hear me read?!?” or “Why did you just hit your sister/brother?!?” It rather reminds me of my days in school when our much beloved choir director, tired of all the chatter would raise the lid of a nearby desk letting it SLAM, making us all jump, but definitely getting our attention.

With four littles running around competing with each other for the title of  The Loudest One Of The Bunch, I find myself raising my voice a lot just to be heard over the din. But, when I heard about the Orange Rhino challenge, I figured I was not without sin in the yelling department, but that I really would like to get control of this little area of my life. So here goes, today was Day 1 of my challenge and so far so good, I haven’t yelled. I have used my stern mommy voice which Geo misinterpreted as raising my voice, but I told him I could still speak with authority and it not be yelling (which it wasn’t).

If you feel like joining me, head over to The Orange Rhino, read the details, and jump right in. I’ll be glad for the company.