Friday, December 31, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday

Ok, I lost my image...oh well.

So, how did I do? Overall not too bad, but I did not succeed. I ended up sick twice during December, making it very hard to stick to all my elements. The cool thing is I am really craving healthier foods, fruits and veggies while trying to get over the last bits of this sinus infection I had. So, the right amounts of those have not been a problem.

I have not worked out regularly, again because of sickness...but I will get back to it as soon as this is completely over.

I lost some weight, but not my goal of 8 pounds. It was more like 3. Wish it was better, but I am happy for at least going in the right direction!

I did post some of my verses...not every Monday....slacker, no other excuse.

I did drink my water as committed to. YAY!

Overall I would say I am in a better place than when I started and I am so thankful for that and ultimately that is my true goal. To continue on a better path of daily health.

So, for the new year I am kicking things off with a cleanse. I went to my naturopath and got all I needed to begin the cleanse and I will start on Monday. I know how cliche, I did not really plan it that way, I had been planning on a cleanse for a while, the timing just worked out good. So, I will be on a diet of select fruits and veggies, brown rice, lenitls and wild rice, select lean meats, chicken and fish and finally smoothies made with a detox powder of herbs and veggies along with detox herbal supplements. I think this will be a good thing for me, body and mind.

Congratulations to all of you who were in this challenge with me. You all worked hard at improving your health at some level.

May the Lord bless you and protect you in this new year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bricks vs. Stones

Genesis 11:3-4
They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Exodus 1:14
They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.

As we read this week in our Torah portion about the bricks being made by the Israelites, I started thinking about the idea of bricks and the teachings I have heard on them. My favorite, by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, shows us how bricks are man made creations, they are made in such a way that they portray uniformity, mans way of being one, at peace with one another. Bricks are made to fit together and create a monument to the handiwork of man. They are not a reflection of the sovereignty of God. Bricks are what our society wants. Human beings that fit together nicely, building a strong society that looks, thinks and behaves the same, yet taking pride in our diversity, while never judging. A trophy to mankind showing that without a god we can become one, a strong functioning, diverse unit. If only we would all behave according to the standard, a worldly standard, not a godly standard.

I also thought about the process of brick making. Slapping together the mud, sand and straw. Spending hours each day mixing, forming, drying and baking to produce more bricks to become apart of a larger project. A project that was not God's desire in the first place. How often are we caught up in a brick making project, working endlessly toward a goal that in the end has no spiritual significance for us, does not cause us to grow in our walk with the Lord or reflect His light into creation?

1 Peter 2:4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua.

Then I thought about stones, as Rabbi Lapin says, stones are made by God. What a contrast. This beautiful picture above shows us the true diversity in stones. They are different sizes, shapes and colors. Stones start off jagged and broken and as they are tumbled about the earth, being washed with water, rolled through sand and tumbling against other stones, they become smooth, polished and beautiful.

As we walk through life, we are also being washed by His word, smoothed and polished. As we have encounters with other people we are being rubbed and our rough spots worn down. As we are caught on someones jagged edge, we must remember that we have them too, we still need smoothing and a forgiving heart as we are being used to smooth the rough spots on our brethren.

Exodus 20:25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it.

The altar was always to be made of stones, never bricks or stones that have had a tool used on them. The tool would be mans way of smoothing the stones, or bricks. And as we know from experience our way is rarely God's way. Allowing Him to create the stones upon which we would offer our sacrifice is the way. He gave us the Living Stone, our Messiah upon Him we can make our sacrifice daily of our own desires, or own way of doing things. Lay down our tools and take up His Torah. His teaching and way of living, so that we can walk in abundant life found in His wisdom.

Stones are what build up the Kingdom of God, bricks are what build up the kingdom of man. Let us be found pleasing in His sight, loving one another and working for His Kingdom.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday - Verse Update

Fit Mommy Friday

Hm, can't seem to find my fit mommy image. So, this is getting done without it!

Here is a much overdo update to the Fit Mommy Challenge. Around the 1st of the month I came down with a cold, by the end of the second week I was mostly over it but had a wonderful case of laryngitis. (wow, I just spell checked that and it was right!! WOO HOO!!) So, that is why I have not been doing my regular check ins. But here is how things went over those couple of weeks.

As I started feeling better I was exercising again, I even went to Zumba which was great fun and will now become apart of my regular routine. I am going to attend class once a week with some of my girlfriends, how fun is that!? I did pilates as well, but I did NOT exercise all through the sickness, which I don't think I should do anyway, so no loss there. I did drink my water, albeit some of that was in the form of copious amounts of tea. But I could not possibly do both regular water and all the medicinal teas or I would never have a chance to lay down and rest! I did eat my fruits and veggies, sometimes that was in the form of orange juice as that was one of the few things I actually wanted to consume during this whole thing, but in my book that counts. Interestingly I found myself craving fruits and veggies throughout this cold. Which is not my personal that was a wonderful change for me! I did do my no sugar days as well! Which was not easy, but I did it! YAY ME! I did not always maintain my after dinner eating. I would have juice or something like that several nights after, sometimes I had to because of the tinctures I am taking. Does that count? I don't know...but I was not so concerned about it while trying to get better. I was making reasonable choices though. I also have not been keeping up on my bible verse, which I will be posting next. However I have been reading the word more frequently and that makes me very happy.

Now, an update to my update. After my cold was almost all gone I came down with a nasty sinus infection. Ugh. Double whammy. It's been years since I have been sick like this. So, I am now on a new tincture and 5000 mg of vitamin c per day. I am feeling much better today, but will have the doc check me over tomorrow to be sure I am fully on the mend. I am done being sick, time to go bug! I rested all day yesterday, did eat right, did eat later after dinner...but still not doing bad. So, I am hoping later this week to get back to an exercise routine, will start slow but move my way back into the groove.

I am grateful for this challenge, as it has kept me more mindful of how I am doing and what I am doing. Even while being sick I have seen some true positive changes I have made and it feels great.

Off to write a verse for the week! Hope you all are doing great!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

WHEW, what a week! This was a fabulous Hanukkah! We were SO busy! Started off the events with some lovely nights at home, having dinner, reading the Hanukkah story and of course, eating! We had latkes several nights, they are just so yummy! On Friday night our home fellowship gathered at our house for a Mexican themed Hanukkah party! That was a blast! We had plenty of food, doughnuts included and lots of fun. Max, Jeff's puppet friend made a special appearance to tell us all about what happened to the Maccabees and how they overcame with Gods help. We had a trivia game where chocolate was thrown to the person with the correct answer. We learned how to memorize the 10 commandments as well. We then moved on to some serious dreidel playing and closed out the night watching a Tim Hawkins comedy video. It was a fantastic evening.

We had Grandma Sheila over on Sunday to share an evening with her, light hanukkiahs and then of course she always brings them gifts. As usual, they were totally spoiled.

The week was wonderful, memorable and blessed. It went way too fast...but now my thoughts move forward to the spring when the cycle renews and with it comes more of His wonderful feasts.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Aleks Review

(From the ALEKS website)

What is ALEKS?

Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn. As a student works through a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained. ALEKS courses are very complete in their topic coverage and ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions. A student who shows a high level of mastery of an ALEKS course will be successful in the actual course she is taking.

ALEKS also provides the advantages of one-on-one instruction, 24/7, from virtually any Web-based computer for a fraction of the cost of a human tutor.

Math is NOT my strong subject, I love history. I thrive when my children and I are learning about History and so do they. Math is a struggle for us. I was really excited to review ALEKS.

I love the idea of someone/thing else teaching my kids math, assessing them and making sure there are no "gaps" in their learning. Gaps, scary word for a homeschool mom. Reality is, there will be gaps, no matter what you do. But thankfully, learning doesn't stop at 18 and they can work their entire lives to fill those beautiful brains with knowledge, and even closing some of those gaps. However, having a program that is so complete that it continually assesses for learning issues, moves them on when ready and keeps records of everything is incredibly appealing.

I set my children to work on this program right away, with very high hopes. They both enjoyed the assessment portion, both were happy with this portion. They then saw their pie chart that showed them where they have mastered and what they have yet to learn. Very satisfying, at least for mommy, to see this breakdown. Now I know what needs to be tackled! Not to mention I love to check things off! Let's get that green pie piece filled in!! I feel so accomplished! They liked it least the idea of it.

As they got working away, they enjoyed the program, but did have a few hiccups which turned into frustrations as we continued. They understood how to receive instruction by clicking on the explain button. However when they were sent back to the problem they had been working, the problem would be a new one after the explanation was given, they both found this frustrating as they wanted the opportunity to finish the work they had begun.

They both needed a fair amount of help from mom throughout the program. They would read the explanations, it was different than the current programs we use, and this caused confusion. And I have to admit, some of the processes they used in the math was different than I had seen. I could understand it, but it was a different and it just added to them not understanding the procedure.

I love the idea of the program, I even really liked the program itself. I think for my family it was just not a great fit.

ALEKS is available for a wide variety of uses. Homeschool, Public Schools and is available for K-12. They offer free trials, which I would highly recommend as this program could be an excellent fit for you and your children!

A subscription to ALEKS is

  • $19.95 per student, per month, or

  • only $99.95 every 6 months, or

  • only $179.95 every 12 months.
They also offer family discounts. Wonderful program, user friendly, just like everything it is not a perfect fit for every family or situation. I really enjoyed getting review ALEKS and overall, I think my kids liked it to.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. As such I have received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review of this product. I have not received any additional compensation for my review.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hanukkah thoughts

The Hanukkah story is about a group of people, all zealous for the One True God, who would not bow down to an evil king who would have them forsake the commandments of their God for the religion of the king. King Antiochus Epiphanes was a very powerful ruler, he commanded the greatest army known to man at that time, the Syrians. They were feared by all who knew of them. They were powerful.

The king had set his eyes on the holy city of Judea, as it was known at this time. He wanted the people of God to worship him, he saw the incredible love and devotion these people had for their God. He coveted their adoration and determined to have it be his own. He set forth some laws beginning with a conversion from being Hebrews to becoming Greeks. And this is some of what the laws entailed:
  • worship statues of Antoichus
  • speak Greek
  • learn the way of the Greeks, customs and holidays etc.
  • circumcision forbidden
  • do not observe the Lord's Sabbath
  • do not keep a kosher diet
  • do not study the Torah
  • do not keep the Festivals of the Lord
As the story continues, the Maccabees, meaning hammer, rose up and gathered others who were zealous for God and His ways, they were a regular group of people from everyday walks of life. They turned anything they had into weapons, they prayed, they trained and they took on the most formidable army in the world. And by the grace of God, they won.

When they had won, they restored the temple, replaced all of the defiled instruments, and re dedicated it back to the Lord. That is where we get the name Hanukkah, it means dedication. This feast is also called the "Feast of Dedication" and you will find Yeshua celebrating it in John 10:22-23. As the traditional Hanukkah story goes, the Israelites found a single cruse of oil and it burned in the menorah for 8 straight days until more oil could be pressed. Sadly, there is not written documentation of this miracle. So for me, it is a fun story, but traditional.

However there really was a miracle at this time that should be celebrated and remembered! This band of regular everyday people, just like you and I, overcame the most powerful army in the world! They had full faith in their God and with His mighty hand, they WON! This is a promise for us to hold onto for today as well as for the future.

Just as in the past, this story is destined to be relived. There is coming a time, when a ruler will require people to live by rules that are against God's ways. Antiochus is a picture of the future anti-christ, what he did, the future anti-christ will do again (and I am sure a great deal more) ....refer to the laws mentioned above. Another one will sit on the throne of God and proclaim himself deity, just as Antiochus did. Can you see a relation between this story and the prophecy in the book of Daniel? Read Daniel chapter 11.

God says in Isaiah 46:10 I make known the end out of the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

If we look to the past, we will better know how to be prepared for the future. We will have better discernment of what is God's way and what is man's way. We can walk boldly into this future, with confidence as we remember His awesome acts in the past as they are a promise and a reminder of a God who does not forsake His people.

During this season, it is a good time to rededicate your life to God and His ways. To discern between what is man's idea of loving God and with God's idea of loving Him. (Deut. 5:32, John 14:15, John 1) It is a good time to let go of the traditions of man and embrace the life giving path of the One True God.(Deut 30:19) Choose this day who you will serve, choose life.

Happy Hanukkah!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Master Ruler Review

Master innovations, LLC is a company offering homeschool families and classroom settings alike a wonderful new way to learn about units of measurement. I was looking forward to receiving this product for review, and my anticipation was nicely rewarded. The program I received "The Master Ruler" , was very easy to use, and my 10 year old daughter enjoyed the fun, quick projects to do in the workbook.

Items received for this review are: 1 workbook with 24 pages, 2 Master Rulers (which could be used for years to come), one for metric and one for standard measurement. We also received basic directions on how to use the product.

So, what makes these rulers special or different? Each ruler is layered, having clear plastic pages so to speak. Each layer giving a different measurement value such as inches on the inside layer, 1/2" on the next page, 1/4 inch on the next until you get down to 1/16 of an inch. This way he person using the ruler is able to see all the breakdowns in an inch at a glance, decreasing confusion in measurement.

The workbook is simple, black and white pages with different measuring projects to do on each page. Any given project never took our daughter more than 10 minutes to accomplish. It was a fun little addition to our homeschool day and she did enjoy her time learning.

Now, my only issue I have with this program is the price. The set I received retails for $41.25 (which does come with an additional teacher ruler, that I did not receive), but this is a bit steep for one minor subject in our homeschool life.

On the upside, on the back of the master ruler packaging, the creator has shared a wonderful testimony of how the Lord brought this idea about and what a blessing and encouragement to use a product inspired by the Lord.

Overall, I would say this is a fun product, a bit pricey, but also a blessing to help a local company and small business produce products that are meant to be a glorification to the Lord that inspired them.

You can find out more about Master Ruler and their variety of other products from Master Innovations though their website. It is filled with video testimonials and lots of wonderful information, check it out!

Disclaimer: I am a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. As such I have received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review of this product. I have not received any additional compensation for my review.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday - Verse Update

“I am the Aleph and the Tav,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

Love this...He is the aleph and the tav - teh beginning and the end, or in Greek He is the alpha and omega. However, He would never had said the Greek....His language is Hebrew. This word Aleph Tav in Hebrew is pronounced "et". It is the most commonly used word in the Hebrew scriptures, however it is never translated. The two letters themselves signify the Strong Covenant or Head of the Covenant. There is so much to these two little letters...and they are everywhere throughout scripture.

Here is a link to an interesting article by my favorite Hebrew researcher, Jeff Benner:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday


So, this last week was pretty good...I am using SparkPeople App for Itouch, and I am really loving it! I am using it to keep track of my food intake as well as my calories burned from my workouts. It is fun to have a gadget to "play" with while working on this goal.

So, I don't think I met my water intake each day, sadly it seems like when I focus on one element another one gets lost. So, my goal for this week is to keep ALL my elements going strong, not dropping one to focus on another. I am sure I got close to my water intake, but just didn't quite make it.

I did great on not eating after dinner 5 nights out of 7. YAY!

I did all my workouts for the week. Which consisted of my pilates day, loving it still! Weights, cardio workouts combined with toning and today I went out and went for a walk/run. I am really enjoying the higher intensity of running in bursts throughout a strong walk.

I ate all my fruits and veggies each day...and I find it really helps make me more aware for my whole family. As of yesterday I decided I am going to work on getting lots of colors in our f/v intake as well. I can easily get stuck in a rut and I am trying to break out to get more great things in us! So, we bought pomegranates, yellow squash to go in salads, of course the usual suspects, such as green beans, peas, salads, etc.

Speaking of, here is a FABULOUS recipe for green the fat in it, it can get a bit high if you are not careful.

Steam green beans in basket steamer until tender crisp. Meanwhile, chop up garlic cloves (as much as you like!) In a frying pan pour in a little olive oil and about a tablespoon of butter, warm these together. When green beans are done, add them to the frying pan along with the garlic, stir until garlic is tender. Season with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. OH MY YUM!

I did my no sugar day, it took two tries, but I accomplished it. I am becoming so aware of just how easy it is to eat sugar. I cannot believe how many things it is in. How do people do it that have no sugar at all??? I have to start looking at my menus and foods I am buying. But jeepers, it's in catsup too!?

So, I am not telling you all how my goal of weighing is going, I am going to give a final tally on that at the end of the challenge. But I will give you a heads up...the scale is moving in the right direction. I just really didn't want this to be all about weight...more about my health.

Thanksgiving is coming up, my goal for this next week is to maintain all my current goals, up 3 of my days working out to 45 minutes instead of just 30 and to not overdo it on Tday. I will let you all know how it goes on Friday. Do you have any goals lined up to help get you through without blowing all your hard work?

Ok, that's my check in! I pray you all have a fabulous week, be strong, this week is Thanksgiving! I will be thinking about you!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday

Update...well, this last week went OK. Here is the breakdown,
I ate all my required fruits and veggies each day. I also successfully checked off my no sugar day, YIPPEE!! That one is a HUGE challenge, so I was quite pleased when I got it out of the way early on.

I did all my workouts as planned and even bumped it up a notch. I have an app on my itouch that has workouts for the treadmill or walking outdoors on it. It is great, I set it for a harder routine, headed off to the gym and ended up running for about 15 minutes at different intervals, the other 15 minutes were spurts of walking intermixed with uphill climbs. It was GREAT!! I also have to say, I am LOVING doing the pilates thing once a week. What a difference in how I feel overall when I get that day in. I almost feeling like doing another after because I feel so good. Notice: I said almost.

I have been drinking my water! This one is not too hard, but I can forget when I am not focusing on it as part of a challenge. Really all I drink is water for every meal....but I do like an occasional treat such as my Zevia pop. If you don't know about it, google it, great stuff.

I did my bible verse as you all saw! I love having a new one up each week, they sit right at my kitchen window so I see it all throughout the day. What a blessing that has been.

Ok, here is where I fell down, skinned my knees and sat there crying about it for a while. Well, not literally, but I broke my no eating after dinner rule 3 days this week. ACK! I did great last night, which I am very happy to report, since I had no reason to get back on track other than I wanted to, but it had not "payoff" for me like helping me win this challenge. I did it because I knew I needed to and I am very glad today I did.

So, today was weights day, it was great! I am finding this change up in my workout schedule to be very refreshing.

So, I am hoping everyone else had a good week too!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Apple picking

Last year we went apple picking and it was such a fun family activity! I was so excited when we were invited to go again! This time we went to our local pumpkin farm where they have apple orchards and were able to pick a big bag of apples. It was a lovely afternoon for being outside and enjoying our friends as well as some delicious apples.

Birthday Moments

So, I turned the big 4 0 this year, how weird is that?! It was a wonderful birthday for me too. My family and friends all came together to make it a special and memorable time. I will start off with my birthday at my moms, which was a wonderful and very special evening. You will see the table set beautifully by my mom and my daughter. My mom made tacos, spanish rice and beans. It was delicious and brought back memories. It was such fun to sit around the table and just enjoy the company. There was also an incredible cake for dessert!

Scott & my mom went in on an Itouch for me...what a wonderful gift! I really was surprised, even if I did figure out what it was before opening it! That for me, is just part of the fun!

On Sunday, my sweet friends coordinated a surprise birthday tea luncheon!! What a wonderful surprise that was! We enjoyed a full tea service, and lots of fun together. And I was truly utterly surprised when I walked in that room and saw if full of family and friends.

My children also went out of their way to make me feel special this year. Atira, my sweet and very thoughtful daughter, gave me a beautiful red wallet that can double as a purse so I can carry it while shopping, hands free! Jordan, my wonderfully conscientious son bought me slippers, he knows how much I count on and love my slippers each fall and winter season.

It was a wonderful birthday and turning 40 was no big deal. I am thankful for this age, there are so many blessings that go along with this time in life....I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday - Verse Update

I know it is really late...but at least it is here!!

The Write Foundation

The Write Foundation is a Christian company offering curriculum designed to help reluctant writers. They offer three levels of study in their program:
  • Level 1, Sentence to Paragraph Writing; Suggested ages 11-13
  • Level 2, Paragraph Writing; Suggested ages 12-15
  • Level 3, Essay Writing; Suggested ages 14-17
I received Level 2, Paragraph Writing. I will start off by telling you about their amazing customer service. My package arrived badly damaged, however the materials inside were in tact. Even so, the company wanted to make sure I had the best quality in the materials and offered to replace them immediately if I desired. They also decided to make changes in their shipping envelope choice. Their heart truly appears to be in helping their customers have the best experience with their product. It is a joy to work with a company that cares.

Now to the nitty gritty. I have to be honest from the start here, this was not a curriculum for my family. As I read through the instructions on how to use this product, I found myself frequently confused, and I hate to say it, but a bit bored by the style in which the information is shared. And I am not sure if it is just me or not, but I had a difficult time understanding what I was supposed to do with this curriculum. I finally decided to just jump in and see if it would start to make some sense if I was in their "getting my hands dirty".

I am happy to report, it did help....some. We got in there and started the work, my son really enjoyed the "Mind Benders", a game that you play here and there throughout the curriculum. We then moved on to lessons, I noticed that the instructions frequently reference group activities, I feel this may have been written more for a co-op than focused on a home setting. I also want to mention, there are many abbreviations and key words used throughout the curriculum, which I needed to memorize, I found this made the curriculum a bit more difficult for me as my poor brain is just filled to the brim with things I am supposed to remember!

Now, for the upside, as we did get into this, I could see the light shining in the distance. I can see how this curriculum offered some wonderful ways of teaching writing, that really helped my son see the mechanics of a well written paragraph. I believe if I dedicated some serious time to wrapping my brain cells around this curriculum, it would be very beneficial. And the passion the author has in sharing the beauty of writing is evident.

For more information, check out their very well equipped website. You can see free samples there, find out more about the author as well as so much more.

The Write Foundation offers this curriculum and level 3 for $65 plus tax/shipping/handling. Level 1 is sold for $100 plus tax/shipping/handling.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. As such I have received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review of this product. I have not received any additional compensation for my review.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday

A day late...oh well.

So, it was a GREAT week!

Again, I met my goal of exercising 5x, but actually I went an extra day to the gym with my hubby! Amazing! I did my day of pilates, my day of weights and a I went one day in the middle of the week and did Zumba! That was a lot of fun, although one song the lady played was a bit disturbing....

I did not drink my 8 glasses of water everyday. Almost everyday, bummer.

I did my no sugar day! And that is a tuffy for me. I had one day where I started out doing it, then without thinking I popped a bit of banana bread in my mouth, one bite and it was over. Ugh. Don't worry though, I made up for it, I ate a few more sugary things before the day was through, heck, if I am gonna blow it, why not just keep going? I know stinky attitude, but it was all within my calorie goal for the day and it was not true junk food, just things like jelly (which has sugar added) and other such silly things.

I did not eat after dinner 5 out of 7 days...YAY! I think this is one of my biggest accomplishments. I struggled for a very long time with night time snacking. Thank God for challenges like these that help me avoid that! And I have to say, brushing my teeth right after dinner is a huge deterrent!

And of course, I posted my bible verse...will work on another for tomorrow!

Can't wait to see how all you ladies did!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday - Verse Update

Isaiah 43:18-19
Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
It will even make a roadway in the wilderness
Rivers in the desert.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday

Checking in! Week 1 - I did GREAT!

Worked out 5 days, did 2 pilates days AND 2 days with weights in addition to a cardio day....and one pilates day I ALSO did weights/cardio workout! WOO HOO!

I ate my 5 fruits and veggies every day, it helped that I made a big ole batch of veggie soup at the beginning of the week, so I had a big ole bowl everyday for addition to other things each day.

I chose Tuesday for my no sugar day, wanted to check it off early in the week. To often I have waited to the end, and then accidentally forgot I was not supposed to have sugar, eating it, then losing my challenge opportunity. So, I did good, no sugar day accomplished!

I did not eat after dinner 5 x per week! This is such a good challenge for me and I truly feel so much better when I do this.

And I reflected on my verse each day, it sits in my kitchen window. I will come up with a new one this weekend.

Not a bad start, feeling great! Thanks ladies for making this challenge possible!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PG Key Review

I would love it if my kids could surf around the internet without worry, but that is just not the world we live in. My children do a lot of digital scrapbooking as apart of their homeschooling, as such we find images from the internet to add to their pages. The problem is, I cannot allow them to surf through pictures without supervision. The general rule around here is, I look for a page of images, I scan it and after I let them look through. You never can tell what will pop up under a seemingly innocent search title.

When PG Key arrived for review both myself and my children were excited at the possibility that they would be able to do some hunting around for themselves, and from the reviews I read about this product prior to trying it, it seemed like a very real opportunity! Here is a little snippet from their site:

"Simply plugging PG Key into a child’s or teen’s computer allows parents to follow the advice so often given by law enforcement and parenting experts: 1) Control when and how long the computer is used, 2) Properly setup your system with filters and web site blocking, 3) Create the “over their shoulder” environment that encourages kids to act the same way “on line” as they do in every other part of their life.

Simply put - PG Key does NOT replace parenting with technology - It ENABLES parenting with technology.

PG Key is so easy to install, that any Parent or Grandparent, – no matter how “technically challenged” can plug it in, and within a few seconds have everything they need to apply their parenting skills and strategies, to their kid’s “online” world."

It seemed like something we could really use around our home. And SO simple to use. Sadly, this product did not work for us. There seems to have been some glitch between our computer and their product. However, since I am not able to give an adequate review on the product due to this glitch, I do want to take a moment to highlight their customer service.

Now, this is a good area for me to review, as I highly value good customer service. I feel the customer is the life blood of a retail establishment and as such there should be mutual respect between customer and representative. Let me just say for PG Key, their customer service was impeccable. They did everything they could to help me with this product and have asked me to further help them in working out this glitch so other customers never have to experience it. They were friendly, patient and kind. I am truly sorry this product did not work for us, but I am so glad I can give their customer service team a glowing review. And for informational purposes, when I would first call in I would never tell the rep I was a reviewer of their product, I wanted an unbiased representation of their service. They get an A+ for doing a great job in this area!

So, PG Key can be purchased for just $49.99, total price, no subscription needed. If you would like to try it before you buy it, check out this free trial they offer! You can also head on over the The Old Schoolhouse Magazine if you would like to read more reviews on this much needed product.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. As such I have received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review of this product. I have not received any additional compensation for my review.

Monday, October 25, 2010

10 Week Challenge!

It's not like I don't have enough things on my schedule...I do not suffer from boredom, yet here I sit taking on a challenge with some wonderful ladies. It is a good one and a goal I seem to be constantly working on; health. So, I have to write up my personal goals for a 10 week Fit Mommy Challenge. It begins today and ends December 31. What a great way to start the new year right? Have your "resolutions" checked off already? Love it. So here goes:

I am beginning this challenge in level Two: This level is for those who are already exercising at least 3 times per week on a regular basis. Goals here might include one additional 20-30 min workout each day/week, or incorporating a new exercise or tool (kettle bells, stability ball, bands, dumbbells) into your fitness routine, etc. It should also include some sort of nutritional goal.
  1. Exercise 5 days per week, one day with weights and one day pilates, the other three days are cardio (which can be mixed with weights). I have a tendency to want to do all cardio forgetting that the other aspects are just as important. Each day I will exercise a minimum of 30 minutes.
  2. Eating 5 fruits and veggies 5 days per week. I need a couple of days to not be perfect at it, but I will try. Doing it 5 out of 7 days is a good goal I think.
  3. Drinking 8 oz of water a day. Water is my first choice of drink, I just don't always get enough if it is not laid out as a personal goal.
  4. Lose 8 pounds by the end of this challenge. That would be wonderful!! :)
  5. Each week I will have a no sugar day - sugar is in EVERYTHING, and I want to work on not consuming it so often.
  6. No eating after dinner 5 days per week. I will brush my teeth after dinner and be done for the day! Nighttime snacking is a serious downfall for me.
  7. I want to have a bible verse I can reflect on each week of this challenge. I will post my new verse each week on my blog.
Here is my verse for this week:

Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
1 Chronicles 22:13

I think that is it! So, let the fun begin!! I will be checking in this coming Friday and let you all know how it went!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Siritual Seasons

Recently a fellow brother in Messiah was sharing how he was feeling "spiritually unfit" lately. I thought that was a great way to put it. I know I have those experiences as well, times when I feel very connected spiritually and times when I am feeling rather lost, and unsure of where my connection went. Interestingly, I have been really digging into the principal of the seed from a biblical perspective and thinking a lot about seeds, how they produce like kind, which can be either good or bad. How so much in the world both spiritually and physically is rooted in this very basic principal. When I thought about my friends' comment, that they were not feeling so spiritually fit, the thought popped in my head it is like the seed again, sometimes the seed has grown and is in full bloom, sharing it's God given beauty with the world, then the season changes and the bloom dies off and it returns to seed again, where it is hidden in the earth being nourished by the soil waiting for the seasons to continue so it may again sprout forth through the earth and push up toward the sun, once again coming into bloom. God's cycles are amazing....and there is just so much to learn from there. I would say during those tougher times, when we feel more disconnected, we could possibly be in the part of the cycle where we are in the earth, being nourished by the rich soil....waiting for the season to change. It's not a bad place, it's just a part of the cycle. However, I can't wait to be blooming again though, because when we bloom for Him, it is quite magnificent! Shabbat Shalom.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Sukkot Moments

Last night was a wonderful celebration to end the festival of sukkot. We sat outside, the night could not have been more perfect, beautiful and warm. We enjoyed dinner out in our sukkah, a little singing, a little wine/grape juice (depending on your age in this scenario) and a wonderful time sitting out under the stars remembering God's amazing promises. After a delightful time outside, we moved this little family party inside where we put on some music, some good bumpin' music and had a dance party for about another hour or better! It was a total blast! Finally we were all pooped and ready for some couch time, we closed up the evening with an inspirational movie and some desert. Perfect evening, such fun memories, what a blessing.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Foundlings Review

Let me just start by saying how excited I was to be receiving this book for review. Both of my kids are voracious readers, they bring books on 10 minute errand runs. They always want books with them. The difficult part of that is finding literature that is both quality and appropriate. And today there seems to be a shortage of those qualities to be found in modern books. I loved flipping the book over and finding the words: "No Magic, No Evolution, and No Humanism" printed clearly on the back...."great start" ran through my mind.

Here is a brief synopsis from the website about Foundlings written by Matthew Christian Harding:

Foundlings, book one of The Peleg Chronicles
is Historical Fiction that takes place in the
time period of Peleg, soon after the tower of
Babel dispersion. In its pages we meet
dragons, giants, false priests, the death hunt,
an under-city of the Dwarven Brotherhood,
and many memorable characters.

The story begins with Lord McDougal and his
faithful shield-bearer, Fergus Leatherhead,
departing their lands with giants at their
backs, while before them lie in wait denizens of
the bog-land and forest.

Ever ready to protect and serve others, they
gather in tow an assortment of displaced
adventurers and find themselves embroiled in
a mysterious search for the foundlings:
orphaned Thiery with his companion Horatio
the white wolf, and Suzie who has been
deceitfully retained by the thieves Elvodug and

I decided to have my 15 year old son read this book and here are a few of his opinions:

"It's a good book, well written and kept me interested. The book was set in the time of Peleg, just after the flood of Noah, but there were elements that in actual history were centuries apart. For example they were wearing plate mail and that wasn't invented until the Roman empire. I believe it's better if the technology is time period accurate. But it is still a good book and I would be interested in reading the rest of the series."

My son is all about history, he loves it, reads about it for fun, not just homeschool. So for him, these kinds of details really matter. I would find him enjoying the book but then having moments of frustration at the inaccuracy of the time period and events happening that would never have gone together. He would also mention how the speech of the characters did not align with the time period as well...details, but like he said, it would not stop him from wanting to read more of the series.

From my personal perusal of the book, I found it to be fun and engaging. Personally I felt weaving together the Genesis account with another time period of chivalry and heroism was entertaining. I would recommend this book to my friends and family however I would definitely add in the thoughts my son has shared as well. The best written? Probably not, but overall a fun read. I am thankful for believing authors that are taking time to produce books for our kids to read. I look forward to future releases from this author and publishing company, I want to encourage a publisher working to bring better literature to the world.

In addition to the story in the end of the book there is a section entitled " The Gospel of Jesus Christ". This portion is filled with verses about coming into repentance and a relationship with the Lord. It includes verses on baptism as well. I like that there is no commentary offered in this portion, just a listing of verses. I might suggest, however, that there be guidance to the child reading this to talk to their parents if they have any questions about what is being shared here.

Foundlings is 239 pages long. It can be purchased from the Zoe & Sozo Publishing website for $11.95, the recommended age range for this book is ages 10 and up. Currently, books one and two are available for this series.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. As such I have received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review of this product. I have not received any additional compensation for my review.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Salem Ridge Press

I love to get books, check books out of the library, borrow them from friends, receive them as gifts and especially have them sent to me for review! We just LOVE books in our home. There is one problem, in a world that seems to love vampires, magic and overly mature relationships for young people, finding good quality books can be quite difficult. So, I was very excited about receiving and reading books from Salem Ridge Press.

I had done a little look see over there website to get an idea of what we would be receiving. I was so excited about the prospects! Here is a little snippit from there site:

"Here at Salem Ridge Press we know how challenging it can sometimes be to find wholesome books for your family. Well-written books that teach godly character and high moral values are hard to come by. Many books written during the late 1800's and early 1900's fit this criteria, but it still takes time to search them out and preview their contents. We purchase many old books, often using leads from old catalogs, and carefully evaluate each one, republishing only the best of the best."

These are just the kinds of books we are looking for. And this is one of the books we read, cover to cover when it arrived...

Dearer Than Life, a story of the times of Wycliffe, by Emma Leslie. Wonderful story! The kids and I really enjoyed learning about the life of Dr. Wycliffe and the reality of life under a church that ruled all aspects of life. It gave us such a wonderful understanding of what Dr. Wycliffe and his "poor priests" endured as they tried to spread the truth of God's word to a people who only understood the church to be the final authority on all matters. It was certainly a time of revival.

As much as we learned and enjoyed this book, I would have to add, we did find the language difficult at times. Because of the Old English we would find ourselves lost in the story. However, with that aside, we still understood the overall story and enjoyed the language. One thing that we found very helpful as well, at the bottom of each page is a list of words from Old English and their translation into modern English. This was fun to learn some "old" vocabulary.

In addition to this book we received two books in e-book format:

Sign Above the Door - Story Synopsis
"Young Prince Martiesen is ruler of the land of Goshen in Egypt, where the Hebrews live. Eight plagues have already come upon Egypt and now Martiesen has been forced by Pharaoh to further increase the burden of the Hebrews. Martiesen, however, is in love with the beautiful Hebrew maiden, Elisheba, whom he is forbidden by Egyptian law to marry. As the nation despairs, the other nobles turn to Martiesen for leadership, but before he can decide what to do, Elisheba is kidnapped by the evil Peshala and terrifying darkness falls over the land. An exciting tale woven around the events of the Exodus from the Egyptian perspective!"

The Captives - Story Synopsis
"The Druid priests are as cold and cruel as the forest spirits they claim to represent, and Guntra, the chief of her tribe of Britons, must make a desperate deal with them to protect those she loves. Unaware of Guntra’s struggles, Jugurtha, her son, longs to drive the hated Roman conquerors from the land. When he encounters the Christian Centurion, Marcinius, Jugurtha mocks the idea of a God of love and kindness, but there comes a day when he is in need of love and kindness for himself and his beloved little sister. Will he allow Marcinius to help him? And will the gospel of Jesus Christ ever penetrate the brutal religion of the proud Britons?"

Salem Ridge Press offers a nice line of books, and I would have to say, using this book as an indicator of quality, we will be sure to return for other adventures. What they offer is quite extensive:
  • Church History (historical fiction)
  • American History (historical fiction)
  • World History (historical fiction)
  • Adventure Books
  • Allegory
  • Books for Young Readers
And within these there are many options. You can get many books in hardcover or soft cover, and books range in price from $12.95-$22.95. Their website is also very user friendly, you can search by subject, age range, author or alphabetical. And while you are there, don't forget to check out there "About Us" page, sweet photos of this family and a lovely testimony. This is a family committed to offering excellent literature for our children.

I would highly recommend taking a look at Salem Ridge Press . I know my family will be heading back for more wonderful books on subjects we will be studying in the future.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. As such I have received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review of this product. I have not received any additional compensation for my review.