*2006 post*

Yesterday I read this from Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series (Volume 1)*, regarding habits:

For example, and to choose a habit of no great consequence except as a matter of consideration for others: the mother wishes her child to acquire the habit of shutting the door after him when he enters or leaves a room. Tact, watchfulness, and persistence are the qualities she must cultivate in herself; and, with these, she will be astonished at the readiness with which the child picks up the new habit.

"Johnny," she says, in a bright, friendly voice, "I want you to remember something with all your might: never go into or out of a room in which anybody is sitting without shutting the door."
"But if I forget, mother?"
"I will try to remind you."
"But perhaps I shall be in a great hurry."
"You must always make time to do that."
"But why, mother?"
"Because it is not polite to the people in the room to make them uncomfortable.'"
"But if I am going out again that very minute?"
"Still, shut the door, when you come in; you can open it again to go out. Do you think you can remember?"
"I'll try, mother."

"Very well; I shall watch to see how few 'forgets' you make."

For two or three times Johnny remembers; and then, he is off like a shot and half-way downstairs before his mother has time to call him back. She does not cry out, "Johnny, come back and shut the door!" because she knows that a summons of that kind is exasperating to big or little. She goes to the door, and calls pleasantly, "Johnny!" Johnny has forgotten all about the door; he wonders what his mother wants, and, stirred by curiosity, comes back, to find her seated and employed as before. She looks up, glances at the door, and says, "I said I should try to remind you." "Oh, I forgot," says Johnny, put upon his honour; and he shuts the door that time, and the next, and the next.

But the little fellow has really not much power to recollect, and the mother will have to adopt various little devices to remind him; but of two things she will be careful––that he never slips off without shutting the door, and that she never lets the matter be a cause of friction between herself and the child, taking the line of his friendly ally to help him against that bad memory of his. By and by, after, say, twenty shuttings of the door with never an omission, the habit begins to be formed; Johnny shuts the door as a matter of course, and his mother watches him with delight come into a room, shut the door, take something off the table, and go out, again shutting the door.

Charlotte Mason goes on to say that often the mother will begin thinking, "Oh, Johnny's been doing such a great job with that. He's hardly forgotten at all..." and she'll let up on her diligence once, then twice... and the habit is no longer being solidified.


Now, shutting the door doesn't really happen to be a problem in our house. (In fact, I'm always trying to encourage my children to leave doors OPEN around here. When I hear a door close it generally means that our youngest is being excluded (since he can't yet open a door).)

But I think what Charlotte Mason says about tact, watchfulness, and persistence being qualities a mother must cultivate in herself is right on. I see this so often in myself. I will find myself getting frustrated with whining, or delayed obedience, or poor table manners, or... fill-in-your-own-blank-here, and I will purpose to work on it. And we will. I am diligent, I am purposeful, I am mother-on-a-mission. For the first several times. And then my child will whine and I choose- for whatever reason- to let it go, and then again a second time, and eventually we're back at the same place we began. [Not that my sweet children whine. Oh no. I'm not saying that.]

* You can read Charlotte Mason's Original Series online, by going here.

Daily surrender

*2006 post*

My heart has been heavy for a season. I’ve considered sharing why that is so but then I wonder what the purpose would be. I’m still not sure, but I’ve decided to share a bit today.

My husband and I would love to have another child. And I have not been able to get pregnant. We’ve been trying (diligently) for nearly a year. (But who’s counting, right?) For anyone who has ever tried to get pregnant, you know that it is difficult not to. Count, that is. The days of your cycle. The months. The possible symptoms. And then there are those days of hope. Maybe this is the month. And then it becomes clear that it isn’t the month. And it is difficult.

We’ve been down this road before. It took us two and a half years- and many months with an infertility specialist- to get pregnant with our first child. Our second pregnancy was a complete surprise. We adopted our third. Each child a miracle. Gifts from God. And here we are- longing for more children, but… unable to get pregnant.

I find myself struggling with discontentment. Yet Philippians 4:11-13 says, I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances… I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

I have much to learn about contentment. I think the secret Paul learned is to continually draw from the Source of strength for his own strength. That I am learning. I think it is a daily drawing from His strength, and I think it’s a daily surrender.

Last week, in my journal, I wrote:

I surrender to Your will, to Your purposes, to Your plans for us. I surrender my own desires to have a positive pregnancy test, to feel a baby kick within me, to wonder at the sweet growth of that little baby inside of me, to choose a name, to deliver this miracle into the world, to carefully hold that tiny life, to breastfeed… I surrender it to you, my Father. I entrust it into Your hands. Give us strength for the journey. I desire nothing but Your will.

I do not know at what point this season will end. Or if it will. But I do know that I want to be faithful through it. I want to bring honor and glory to God through even this. I want my life to testify of His goodness and faithfulness in the midst of seasons of joy and seasons of difficulty. I do not want to be ungrateful or take for granted the gifts He has already lavished so generously upon us. I want to be thankful. And joyful. And content. I want to rest in His sovereignty.

After a difficult week, Mark and I spent some time last night talking, and crying… and once again entrusting this to our Father.

This morning I pulled out the Bible at breakfast with the kids to read our morning Psalm. The first verse I read was this:

We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near…

Yes. I am thankful.

And the second verse?

You say, “I choose the appointed time…”

Yes. He chooses. And I surrender to His choice, His sovereignty. Today. And tomorrow. And all the tomorrows after that. I trust Him.

A recipe

*2006 post*

When I'm making dinner, I always try to make more than enough so that we'll have leftovers.

However, there are two things that I end up making far, far too much of whenever I make them. Those two things are spaghetti noodles and rice. (Please tell me I'm not the only one with this problem.)

For some reason, every time I'm putting spaghetti noodles in the pot, it just never looks like enough. So I think to myself: just a bit more. And then, well... maybe a bit more for good measure. And then, just a little more, just in case I don't have enough. When all is said and dinner is done, there's this mound of spaghetti noodles remaining. But no leftover sauce.

And then there's rice. I'm not really sure what the problem is here. You'd think I'd know how much rice to figure for our family. It seems more easily measurable. And yet, I'm always packing a tupperware full of rice when it comes time to clear the food off the table.

Thankfully, I have this wonderful husband who will eat anything. And the noodles aren't usually a problem. He'll heat them up with butter and eat them happily.

Rice, though, is another story. Rice doesn't reheat too well, I don't think. My husband must not think so either because it tends to sit longer in our fridge.

About a year ago I came across a solution for our leftover rice. Here's the recipe:

Chicken Fried Rice

1 large egg, scrambled. Set aside.
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup peas, thawed
3 cups of cooked rice, cooled
1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced

2 T soy sauce
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 T cornstarch
1 tsp. sesame oil
cooking oil

Season chicken with soy sauce, pepper, and sesame oil. Set aside.

In a large saucepan (or wok if you have one; I don't), add 3 T oil. Heat oil on medium heat.

Add onions. Fry for 5 minutes.

Add chicken, carrots, and peas. (*I actually add the carrots with the onions; I like them cooked, not crunchy.)

Stir fry until chicken is cooked.

Stir in the rice and scrambled egg. Fry for a couple more minutes.

Season with salt and serve.

That's it. One of the things I like about this recipe (besides the opportunity to use up that leftover rice!) is that I usually have all these ingredients on hand. And it's quick, easy and tastes good.

There you have it. Try it sometime and tell me what you think.

A purposeful change

*2006 post*

Yesterday morning we headed out the door to go somewhere. Like anytime we are headed anywhere, my arms were full. I had my purse, my keys, the diaper bag, and a bag full of produce from our garden to bring to a friend. I was also holding a piece of paper with directions. And I was bending down to hold onto my youngest son’s hand to help him down the stairs.

My four-year-old daughter turned to me and said, “Mommy, what can I help you carry? I can carry something for you.” I debated this for a millisecond and then said, “Okay, sweetie. How about if you carry Mommy’s purse?” She agreed, and took it from me. Then she pointed to the piece of paper in my hand and offered, “I can carry that for you, too.” And I handed that to her.

When we got to the street, she held her little brother’s hand to help him across. As they stood next to the van waiting for me to open the door, a truck passed and I noticed that she put her arm around her brother and tucked him nearer to the van. When she climbed into the van, she took the items she had carried for me and laid them carefully on the passenger’s seat, and then went and climbed into her own seat.

I was so touched by her actions.

Normally I would have said, “Thank you, honey. I am so proud of you for how you helped mommy, and for how you took care of your little brother as he crossed the street. You are such a sweet girl.”

Today I said, “Do you know what, sweetheart? Mommy can really see God at work in you. Because this is what I saw you do…” And I told her that I saw how she was honoring me by offering to help me. And that her honor for me was her obeying God’s Word, and that He delighted in her obedience. So I did, too. I pointed out a few other things I’d observed in her recently, and then said that nothing made me happier than to see her obeying God’s Word.

I purposefully didn’t say “I’m so proud of you” like I normally do because I’d read this post a few days ago. I’ve thought about it many times since I read it. You should read it, too. So, scoot. Go read it.


*2006 post*

So. It's my day to blog and I am drawing a blank. I suppose I could come up with something-- after all, I do keep a running list of ideas or thoughts on what-to-blog-about.

Or I could always post a recipe. I'm in the middle of rewriting all of my recipes onto paper and at the moment think I might go CRAZY should I have to write out one more recipe. It's so tedious. I've only made it through the first section (all of my main dishes, though... it's a big one. But not as big as my desserts section! :D)

Remember when I said I was a perfectionist? Yeah...grrrr. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten to the final line of copying, the "Bake at 350..." part, and have accidentally miscopied it. So, I begin again.

Or the horror when I realized that for the first 20-something recipes, I'd used blue ink for copying, and then after I'd written a bunch more, I noticed I'd switched to black ink! I briefly considered rewriting all of those over, but that is where I draw the line.

I will post pictures (with great relief!) when it's done! :)

Now, back to the what-to-blog-about problem... I'd love some ideas! :) And I'm sure Amy wouldn't mind them either. Are there things you as readers would be interested in us blogging about? If so, let us know and we'll run with it.

Otherwise, I'm sure inspiration will hit soon and I'll be off on some other topic. :)

Now I'm off to get some bran muffins made and in the oven. Yum. And to try to keep the boys quiet while my daughter tries to sleep. And to empty the dishwasher, start the laundry, get these boys dressed, decide if this should be a day that I attempt to work on the potty-training with my 2 1/2 year old son, or not. I'm thinking not.

Have a wonderful Monday, all!

*Update: 10 minutes later...

As I was in the kitchen, measuring out the bran flakes for the muffins, I had this thought that I wanted to add. Amy and I (if I can speak for you, too, Amy!) began this blog in part because we wanted to come alongside other moms and share what it is that we're learning (notice I say learning, not learned!) along the way. The successes and the challenges. And hopefully that we'd be able to be an encouragement, too. That's our heart. And that's why we care what you would be interested in us blogging about.

That's all. My boys are getting hungry!

10-minute cleanup!

*2006 post*

Unfortunately, it's become a habit around our house for our children to play with something in one room for awhile, and then leave the toys where they lay and move to the next room. They enter the next room with a collection of toys from the original room, and as they meander through the house during the day, they deposit toys in every room! (Does this sound familiar to anyone?)

At the end of the day I try to straighten and pick up the toys. But at that point, the kids are sleeping in the rooms that the toys belong in, so... things don't always get to where they belong.

Having stepped on and tripped over too many toys laying on the floor, I have recently begun trying to instill some good cleaning-up habits in our home.

Truthfully, I'm almost embarassed to write this post because it's likely that most of you already have a system in place (and probably a better one!), or have been doing something similar for ages.

However- our "system" has been working so well for us, I thought I'd share.

A couple of weeks ago, I gathered up all the toys that I found on the floor of our playroom and stuck them into a laundry hamper. I then set the hamper in the middle of the floor and explained to my children that I was going to set the timer for 10 minutes. I told them that when the timer beeped, if there were any toys still in the hamper, they would go into the garbage (!)

On that first occasion, I helped guide them a little to ensure that everything was going away in it's proper place. I think it is important for everything to have a spot in order for this to work. We have a larger version of one of these:

so it's easy for our kids to see what belongs where.

When the timer went beep, the hamper was empty. And our children were elated and proud of themselves for doing it well before the timer!

I only used the hamper that first time. Now I just periodically call out, "10-minute cleanup!" I give a bit of instruction as to where I'd like them to focus their energies, and they scramble about to beat the timer. I've been doing this about 3x a day, (once before lunch, another in the afternoon, and another before bedtime). And this has worked wonders for the cleanliness of our home.

In addition, the kids love it. My daughter, especially, is really into this. She gets a little frantic that things might get thrown into the garbage and becomes a speedy little cleaner-upper. I've heard her often call out her own "10-minute cleanup!" instruction to her little brothers as she sees things getting messy. It's very cute.

For the first time last night, I set the timer for 5 minutes and told them to clean up the little cars and a few other toys they'd been playing with. My daughter ran about cleaning up, but my son chose to play during the 5 minutes instead. We noticed he was doing this, and encouraged him once, but let him continue playing. When the timer went off, my husband and I headed into the room with a garbage bag, and packed up all the little cars he'd been playing with. There were many tears from both of our children. My son plays with those cars every day, many times a day.

Now, we didn't actually throw the cars away. We just packed them up and took them away. We explained that they wouldn't get to play with those toys for a day (Mark says it should have been longer, but I had to come up with something spur of the moment because I hadn't pre-thought this part of it!) My son, especially, was very disappointed and tearful but understood it was because he had played instead of cleaning up.

Anyway, that's our system.

What's yours?

So that you know...

*2006 post*

...I may be a perfectionist in some areas, but I am not perfect.

Recently, I read an entry by Corin that acknowledged that when blogging, we all like to write about what we're doing right, what has worked, what tasks we've finished, etc... (so true, isn't it?)

And yet, she writes, "we all have weaknesses, we all struggle from time to time. How often do we only write about the good and "forget" to mention the rest? Or our pride gets in the way...?"

Corin's challenge was to post 25 things that would keep you off the cover of 'Perfection Weekly'.

I'm game. Lest you think this is easy for me, it is NOT. It was, however, not a stretch for me to come up with 25 things that reveal my imperfections, but it is difficult for me to post them! So why do it? Because I want to be someone who is willing to talk about the things that are imperfect in my own life. And I could always come down a few notches in my own pridefulness. (This oughta do it! :))

Without further ado, my own 25:

1.The surfaces of the tables in my home (or really, any flat surface) are usually cluttered with piles of books, papers, mail, projects, etc...
2. I am a much better spender than saver in terms of money.
3. I am a much better saver than thrower-awayer in terms of stuff.
4. Just so you know, our freezer is regularly stocked with chicken nuggets or corn dogs (or both) for quick lunches.
5. And our freezer also proudly displays many cartons of ice cream (four at last count, I think). We eat ice cream practically every day. I'm serious.
6. Despite my desire to be hospitable, I am terrible at inviting people over for dinner.
7. I get crabby and exasperated with my children.
8. I am very impatient. Especially when we're trying to get out the door!
9. I rarely do school-type things (practicing letters and sounds) with my four-year-old.
10. Sometimes food goes bad in my fridge. (Usually sour cream or cottage cheese.) I know... ICK.
11. There have been days that my children are still in their pajamas (or at least one of them is) when daddy comes home from work. And they weren't sick, either.
12. I'm continually beginning projects but not finishing them.
13. It's been months since I cleaned our bathtub.
14. We give our kids baths once a week. (Although it has been more frequent lately since they've been outside and getting dirty more often.) Still. On average, it's once a week.
15. I never wear make-up (with the exception of lip gloss or lipstick).
16. My hair is in a ponytail 98 % of the time. (If I don't have a hair elastic with me and my hair is down, I panic.)
17. I very rarely dust my furniture. I mean, very.rarely.
18. On the small desk on which my computer sits (that I'm at right now), I see the following things: an opened letter we got in the mail probably 2 weeks ago, a purple marker, two tubes of toothpaste, a toothbrush, a roll of tape, the recharger for our digital camera, a stack of post-it notes, a water bottle, a pillow for my daughter's dolly, my Bible, journal, a magazine, a pair of Bob the Builder underwear (clean, I promise!), some kleenex, some more mail, a library book (probably overdue), an envelope of photos we picked up nearly a month ago, a CD (need I go on????) This is the NORM.
19. I regularly walk past something that isn't in it's proper place. And I should put it there, but I don't.
20. I have about 5 loads of laundry piled onto the couch right now. My laundry days were Monday and Tuesday. It's Wednesday.
21. I haven't exercised in a week.
22. Our covered back porch is generally so crammed full of stuff, you might be risking your very life (or at the very least, end up with a broken leg), to try to walk through it.
23. I often forget to brush my children's teeth. Or remind them to.
24. I always misplace my keys.
25. Our bedroom is a mess.

And there you have it. I'm cringing, but I will post this. Now. Before I change my mind.

I know a little about perfectionists...

*2006 post*

...because I am one.

I'm the type of person who will be writing a card or a letter to someone and if I happen to write the wrong word, or- heaven forbid- misspell something, I do not cross out that word and begin where I left off. Nor do I use white-out. (It flakes off, don't you know?) What I do is this: I throw the card away and start over again.

For those of you who may be like me in this area, you know that when your children are helping you, you have this strong urge to do things over again.

For instance, when my daughter (4), helps me fold the laundry, her little stack of folded washclothes and towels isn't so little. It's lumpy. And the corners are mismatched. It can be very difficult for me to put those little piles away without doing a bit of retouching on her folding. But I refrain.

And last week, she was helping me snip and cut the beans from our garden. I watched (and winced) as she cut her beans in tiny little pieces. I even cut a sample size for her and laid it on her cutting board for inspiration. It never struck.

But I have learned that there is great joy for me in pulling those little lumpy washclothes out of the drawer. And I was delighted the other night at dinner when I saw those little bits of beans.

Now if I could just figure out why my perfectionistic tendancies aren't really bothered by the piles of clutter around my house...

The whatevers

*2006 post*

Have you ever noticed that when God is trying to tell you something, it crops up over and over and over again? This is so often true in my own life. God is ever faithful in finding a variety of ways and means in order to get things through this thick head of mine. This has been happening lately in regards to an area of sin in my life. I feel compelled to share what it is He’s been speaking to me about.

A couple weeks ago I was talking with a lovely older Titus 2 woman. I happened to be criticizing something our church was doing. Specifically- the thing I was criticizing was the fact that recently on Sunday mornings, there have been post-it notes stuck on the inside of our bulletins. Our pastor will ask a question during the service and encourage people to write their responses or testimonials on the post-it note. Those notes are then collected and hang on a board at the back of our church for the next few weeks if anyone wants to go read what others wrote. I know… a good thing. But I was critical, because to me it seems like we should have people stand and testify those things. Verbally. As opposed to a written note that people may not ever read. I was going off about this and then this woman gently asked me why I thought they had chosen to do it that way; what was the leadership’s purpose behind it? I answered. She responded to the things I had said by in essence saying they were trying the best they knew how to, in accomplishing these things I had mentioned. I agreed, and thought to myself that she was sure gracious. (Since clearly there was such a better way to tackle this!) It wasn’t until later when I replayed our conversation in our mind and thought to myself (or, more likely, the Holy Spirit whispered to me) that I am judgmental. And I thought then that I shouldn’t be so quick to point out fault with things church-related. Note: I was simplifying this sin to this one area.

A few days later I read an article online directed to Christian homeschooling parents. The writer pointed out how quick we are to judge others who are less protective of their own children, or those who choose a different road. And I saw myself in that description. Again, the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

Then I found myself noticing more- in my speech, my thoughts, and my attitudes- my condescending, judgmental, prideful sinful self. I am quick to judge. Quick to point out the faults (or, what I perceive to be faults) of others. I say or think something judgmental, and it is as if God says, “There. That, Stacy. That was sin.” And it became a bit clearer, this sin of mine.

Then yesterday, I was talking again to this older woman. (I’m beginning to wonder if she has an agenda! Or maybe she doesn’t have one, but God certainly does, and He is using her to fulfill His purposes.) She was sharing about a season in her marriage when she was being critical of her husband. As she prayed about it, she felt like God wanted her to make a list of her husband’s admirable qualities, based on the ‘Whatevers’ in Scripture. (It took me a second to figure out what she was talking about. Oh, the whatevers. In Philippians. Whatever is true, lovely, admirable... think on those things.) As she was sharing this, I was thinking… “Why is she telling me this? Mark and I are doing great. I’ve not been critical of him lately.” Then she said something to the effect of, “Making a list using the whatevers as a guideline was so helpful for me to do during this season with [her husband]….” (Again, Mark and I are doing fine. Really. I guess I’ll file this idea for future use.) She continued, “…and it doesn’t have to just be your husband, it can be anyone…”

And then I got it. Anyone. Anyone I might be critical of. Oh.

And if that wasn’t enough, today in my Bible Study I was directed to Acts 10. When God told Peter in a vision, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”


How often am I calling impure someone who has been made clean through Christ? How often do I judge the motives or intentions of others? The efforts of others? How quick am I to judge or criticize someone’s speech or dress? Or their choices? Their parenting?

Yet God’s way is this:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about these things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Honestly, I’d never thought of this verse in that light before. I’ve always thought of these whatevers in terms of what we are taking in (notably TV, movies, books, magazines, music. You know, make sure that what you’re taking in is lovely and honoring to God.)

But to look at others through this lens? To put into practice this looking for the admirable and praiseworthy qualities in others? Oh, yeah. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

I’m a long way from this, but it’s definitely something God is being persistent in getting through to me.

Sewing: My first project

My mom sewed many clothes for me and my sister over the years. I have fond memories of heading to the fabric store, selecting a pattern, choosing a fabric, and watching a piece take shape as she worked on it.

Although I learned a lot from watching, I never actually learned to sew myself. With the exception of a couple of Home Ec projects, I have never sewn anything myself.

This past year I've been itching to learn. I have many plans to make curtains, bibs, aprons, dresses and skirts for my daughter, doll clothes, and some quilting. It is also one of the practical skills I want to teach my daughter.

A friend of mine from church, who is an excellent seamstress, recently offered to teach me. I jumped at the opportunity. She invited me over for my first lesson this past Monday, and I made this for my daughter's stuffed bunny (and constant companion) Flopsy.

Here is Flopsy wearing her new dress:

Anyway, I'm pretty excited about the whole venture so I thought I'd share it with you!

My encouragement to those of you who already know how to sew: teach someone else! It is a generous gift to give.

And I think I've managed to convince my husband to buy me a machine for Christmas (so, for you sewers out there, in an effort to help my husband- any suggestions on what kind of sewing machine and which features to look for in a machine?)

Time for a recipe!

*2006 post*

Please note: I updated this recipe here.

Here's one of our favorites. It's delicious, quick and easy to make. And it's one that the kids are always delighted about (which makes it a keeper!)

Honey Baked Chicken

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Arrange in a shallow baking pan:

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves

Combine and pour over:

1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
2 T prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder

Bake for 1 hour, or until chicken is done, basting a few times.

Serve over rice.

That's it! Do share... what's a favorite meal at your house?

Our memory verses

There are few blogs that I check every day. Preschoolers and Peace is one of them. (Oh, I know... if you read our posts at all this is already pretty apparent.) I feel like I'm always linking to Kendra's site! The fact is, she has so much wisdom to share.

I am a big-time gleaner of great ideas. Here's one she shared awhile back, that I immediately (as in, the following day) put to work in our own home. Here's our own memory work box.

The first thing I did was purchase a box, index cards, and dividers. Then I copied all 26 verses we'd memorized when we went through ABC Bible Verses. (I bought some fun alphabet letter stickers, too.) I made five sections for Monday through Friday, and divided those 26 verses up between the five sections.

As we learn additional verses, I keep those cards in the front and we go over those daily, in addition to whatever is in our section for the day. When I feel like we have those down, I move them to their respective section.

Once a day, usually at breakfast (but if we forget, at another meal; as the box resides on our table) we review the days verses. On the weekends, we review those verses in the front we haven't quite gotten down to memory. (Or, if we missed a day throughout the week, we can cover that day.)

One thing that we liked so much about the ABC Bible Verses book was that the letter of the alphabet triggered our kids' memory for the corresponding verse. I noticed that if my daughter was having trouble remembering the verse, she would look intently at the big letter printed in the book, or at the picture, and try to remember the story that went with it.

I've tried to utilize that concept for our own memory verse cards. For each verse I've drawn a picture or symbol on each card. A few examples:

In the picture above, our verse was Psalm 119:11 "Thy word I have treasured in my heart." On the card, I drew a heart to help trigger their memory.

For the verse "God is light. In Him there is no darkness at all", I drew a little light switch on the card.

For the verse in Job, "Stop.. and consider the wonders of God", I drew a stop sign.

For Proverbs 29:11, "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control", I drew a picture of a little angry girl. (Or I tried; notice that's not one I'm showing you a picture of! But my children know it's an angry girl! :))

This is also handy because we can then use those real-life symbols to remind of us of the verses we've learned. Like when we stop at a stop sign, or turn on the light, or see a little angry girl or boy!

I realize this may get more difficult as we learn more verses (to come up with enough pictures and symbols), but for now this is working well for us!

Imagine with me, if you would... this:

*2006 post*

(This story will be told from the perspective of a Mother.)

It's Monday. It is also Laundry Day. Much sorting, loading, and folding is going on throughout the morning. Note here, as this is crucial information for our story: the laundry room is not on the main floor of the house. It resides in the finished basement.

Children are happily helping. You've also made a new schedule, and placed an online order that includes some Christmas gifts. All in all it's been a productive morning!

Naptime comes, and everyone goes down well.

Everyone wakes up well rested, and shortly afterwards daddy is home from work. Daddy and the two older children head outside to work on an outside project, while Mama and the littlest one (16 months) remain inside to work on dinner.

Mama remembers that a load needs to be switched downstairs, so there is a moment of decision. Does she leave her son playing happily on the kitchen floor while she runs downstairs to switch a load, or does she take him with her? (Knowing full well that when said 16 month old realizes that mommy has exited, there will be much fussing and wishing he had been taken along.) Decision is made. It will just take a minute...

Mama hops over the gate and runs downstairs. Pulls load out of the washing machine. Hears realization hit upstairs. Son is now crying and whining at the gate at the top of the stairs. Downstairs, there is the effort to hurry. A shirt coming out of the washing machine is still very dirty. Lest the stain set, she decides to spray it and soak it. Turns to the sink that sits between washer and dryer, tosses shirt in, turns the faucet on to fill the sink with water. Meanwhile, son is getting very crabby upstairs. Mama calls out to him, "Mama's coming, just a second..."

Everything is in the dryer. Another moment of decision: does she dare begin another load of wash? She does. Throws in final load for the day, runs upstairs.

Mama and now-happy son make dinner together. Once dinner is in the oven, they head outside to check on the work. A bit later dinner is served. Children and daddy head outside again after dinner for more work on the fence. Mama remains in the kitchen, cleaning up. Kitchen cleaned, children are still happily playing outside. Mama begins peeling the last of the apples.

Dirty children begin appearing at the back door. Mama glances at the clock. Yep. Bedtime. But baths first. So, all three children are hustled into the bathtub. Clean children come out of the tub. They wait bundled in towels while Mama runs downstairs to find pajamas.

As she's running down the stairs she hears water running. Water running? Oh. Daddy (who has still been outside, working) must be down here at the sink. Reaches bottom of the stairs. No. No daddy noises. Just running water. Steps off bottom step, peers around into the laundry room. Eyes widen. Gasp is audible. There is an immediate pit in the bottom of Mama's stomach.

At this point, you could scan further up in our story to the part where Mama turned on the faucet to soak the dirty shirt, but this Mama will save you the time. Faucet was turned ON, faucet was never turned OFF. Faucet has been running since dinner-making time, which was 4:00. At this point in our story (Mama standing at the bottom of the stairs staring with horror at the water pouring over the rim of the sink. And at the carpeted floor, which is clearly saturated with water) a glance at the clock would indicate that it is now close to 9:00. That's five hours. Five.

Mama sloshes (and I do mean this in every sense of the word; boots would have been very helpful at this point) across the laundry room floor to turn the faucet off. (Novel idea, doncha' think? One that would have perhaps come in handy five hours earlier?)

Then after briefly surveying the damage, she runs upstairs to tell her man. This hard-working man who worked a full day, and THEN came home and has been working hard outside ever since. Her husband who surely would like to come in, take a hot shower and rest at this point. This 9:00 hour of the day.

After initial alarm at this, from his wife: "Honey, I've done something so terrible", he comes in to survey the damage for himself. He- sweet man that he is- keeps saying, "It's okay. Really, honey. This is okay." He even makes a joke. And not one at the expense of his wife.

She heads upstairs to get those children (now shivering in their towels!) dressed. And picks up the phone to call her mother, to say, "Will you even believe what just happened?" Then she makes some calls to see if there is any place open at 9:30pm that rents wet-dry vacuums. No place she calls has those. She makes 2 other phone calls, to family members- asking if they have or know of anyone who has- some item to help us get the water out of this carpet. Leaves messages, no one is home.

Nearing 10:00, children tucked into beds, Mama thinks to call some friends from church. Maybe they have something. And they do. They own a steam vacuum that they think will do just fine. Heavy sigh of relief.

Husband goes to pick up said vacuum. Husband spends the next several hours vacuuming. Wife is back to peeling apples, and checking in occasionally to say "Thank you" or "I'm so sorry".

Husband and wife wearily head to bed a little before 2 am. Carpet is drying.