Nature Walk September 2016

I've mentioned this before on my blog, but we live near some really beautiful hiking trails and state parks. About a month ago (takes me forever to post here!) we took the kids on one of these beautiful trails. :) It's about 20min from our house.

 Buddies :)

 I really love these kids. 
See the cool root system behind them? :)

 SO many fabulous mushrooms!!!

 I can not believe how athletic this girl is! Doesn't get it from me or her father! She can literally climb a pole. Or at least a tree that is very pole-like. :o)
 I tried so hard with my phone, to get a good picture of this plant. I had no idea what it was--just thought it was pretty! And such a bright, cheery orange!

We're reading "Fall Is Here" during our Circle Time right now, and in that book, weeks after our hike, we learned that the above orange flower is called a Touch Me Not (or Jewelweed) and according to the book, if you touch Jewelweed, it will actually shoot out its seeds! So cool! #connections

We've been meaning to go back to the trail and see if it works. :)

Do you love her outfit or what?! :)

 Love that man. <3 #nexttimeheshouldcarryme

We only have a few more nice days coming here in good ole' Wisco. This Mama HATES the cold. I'm hoping we can make the most of them!


Glimpses and Snippets, Oct 17, 2016

Welcome to Glimpses and Snippets! Where I share a little bit of what's going on 'round here. :)

- I woke up at 3am this morning with a(nother) headache. I don't have too many complaints about this pregnancy so far, but the headaches! Grr. I've spent way too much money at my chiropractor the last few months. I'm not even sure alignment is the issue right now; I think it might the pregnancy? Anyway, several times a week, every week, I get a horrible headache that keeps me from sleeping and may or may not go away with OTC meds. Pray for me, if you think of it! :)

- I've started Nesting. I'm fairly confident that this will be my last pregnancy (unless the Lord intervenes) so I've been getting rid of things faster than you can say Bob's Your Uncle! And my energy is back (Hello, Second Trimester!), so finishing up a few things each evening is taking top priority! The only downside is my husband and kids have to participate in Let's Keep this House Clean, much to their dismay.

- That leads me to my next point... what kinds of things are you getting rid of, you ask? BOY things! Yep, that's right!  

It's a girl! :) 

The girls are very excited! They can't wait to have a little baby girl to play with. It's really quite sweet. I'm a little nervous about the amount of estrogen that will be floating around up in here, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there!

20 weeks prego

- We've taken sugar and gluten out of my 6yo's diet. We were having some issues in regards to her behavior; lots of emotional responses (beyond normal childlike behavior), forgetting EVERYTHING, and not being able to fall asleep well, among other things.
These two are such good pals :)

The good news is, we've noticed a difference! :) She's been much more manageable and reasonable since removing sugar and gluten from her diet.  For the first two weeks, she had absolutely NO gluten or sugar, because I wanted to see if it would have an effect. After I noticed, that yes, it was making a difference in her attitude, I talked to my husband and we decided that as a rule, we'd be mostly SF and GF at home and let her have a little of either for special occasions, like birthdays, even then though we'll still limit the amount, "No, you may not have 2 pieces of cake." :)

Surprisingly, she's taken it very, very well. I first explained to her that we would take sugar and gluten out of her diet to see if it would help her feel better. I think she could understand that something wasn't quite right. And now that she's noticed a difference, her response when I tell her she may not have something is pretty good! It helps that I have alternatives for her--we've made lots and lots of black bean brownies. We've also had GF crackers and pasta.

Of course, this has meant that our whole family has lowered our sugar and gluten intake, which has been good. We eat pretty healthy in general, but too much sugar isn't good for anyone! I'm thinking it might be good to figure whether it's the sugar or the gluten that is making the most difference, but I'm a little nervous to try it at this point. Things are going pretty well and I don't want to shake it up!

- I've added my weekly planner and traceable calendar to my Free Printables page. Go check it out! :)

- Every year a good friend of ours has a wonderful birthday party, complete with a bouncy house and face painting. The girls love the face painting.

- We live in an area where there are lots of art fairs, festivals and fests. #artsyfartsy
I love it. :) Last weekend was the annual "Farm Art D'tour." There are lots of fun things to look at and cool places to visit, along with yummy food!

- The following weekend, after the Farm Art D'Tour, is the Fall Art Tour! We were able to see a local artisan at work, which was really fun.

 - Last school year, the girls each started an embroidery project as a handicraft. Well, we've finally finished them! :)

 More pictures:
 Circle Time shenanigans.

Drawn narration of different kinds of bees, from Christian Science Reader #2.

 Keeping Littlest busy with a rice and bean sensory bin. :) It lasted about an hour or so!

 Our small town has a yearly Fire Department open house, complete with firetruck rides!

Reading lessons with Middlest.

That's all I have for now! What's new with you? :)


Our Circle Time Binders (My first vlog!)

I love reading what others are doing in Circle Time/Morning Time. I get so many great ideas from those that have shared their selections. I hope you get a few ideas here as well.

Instead of writing a super long and confusing post with a thousand pictures, I thought I'd try a video. I think it went well! My first vlog! EEK! 

A few things about this video.
  • It was fun to make and SO MUCH EASIER than typing it all out. I can see a future for me in vlogging! Maybe.
  • My voice sounds super nasily. (Is that how I really sound?!) 
  • I also really sound like a Yooper. #heyyadontchaknow
  • I have fat, pregnancy fingers. #sausagefingers 
  • I pause a lot to think of hard words like, "section" and "plastic sleeve."I'm blaming the pregnancy again.
  • I say, "I'll talk to you later" at the end, but the truth is I might not actually talk to you later. Sorry about that.
  • My 3 year old also has his own binder. His has a lot of the same things in it, but I need to make him a complete one, because every morning he wants to be on the SAME EXACT PAGE as the rest of us and he gets frustrated when he can't find it! :) 
  • When I watched this video on my blog is was very blurry--sorry about that!! Hopefully you can still get an idea of how the binder is organized. :(

I forgot to explain a couple of things:
  • Before the school year starts, I make a chart (again, thanks Mystie for the inspiration!) with the entire year's CT work on it like this: (click on it to enlarge).
  • We don't know ahead of time the Shakespeare passages because that is a part of our CM group, Excelsior Guild and one of the other moms picks a play out each term. And I have an "Other" section in case I think of anything else later. 
  • In the video I couldn't remember how many passages we memorize each year and it's 6; 2 per term. Our CM community meets once a month so we do 1 hymn and 1 folksong each month all year. 
  • IF we don't have something memorized after 6 weeks, I play it by ear. If it's a poem, I move it to the review section anyway, but things like the Apostle's Creed, we'll work on till we've got it down. If we've memorized something earlier than planned, I move it to review.
  • I made all the printables myself. Yes, it takes forever a while, but I enjoy it. I love finding the poems and pictures to go with them. :) Call me crazy! (I'm happy to share any, btw)
  • Instead of having a "Daily, Even, Odd and 1-31 days" tabs like the Simply Charlotte Mason memory system, (I started out that way) I've done a "Daily" and each section (Passages, Poems, Bible, etc) tab. This takes much less time to go through and isn't as tedious.And honestly, we don't need that much review--once every week or so is enough!
Here's a close up of our Circle Time schedule:

Here's a link to my calendar printables: (let me know if the links don't work)

Links to resources mentioned:
And resources I use but were not mentioned:
If you have any questions, please ask!

What are your favorite resources for your memory work/Circle Times?

And here's a preview of my calendar.

This post contains affiliate links.


Should Christians Read 'Jesus Calling'?

I only recently even heard of the book (and received as a gift!), Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It came out in 2004. So I'm a little late to the bus, obviously. But apparently, there's some controversy on whether or not Christians should read this book because Young is "speaking for Christ."

Now, as I'm not a theologian and don't have time to go to school for theology quick before I write this, I hope you'll take what I say with the understanding that I'm just a girl lady woman who loves to learn and reads a lot and has an opinion. These are just my thoughts. :)

Should Christians read Jesus Calling? My answer is, it depends on your perspective.

When I read a passage from her book, I don't approach it the same way I approach the Word of God. I read it like any other devotional. I read it with the understanding that a human wrote it and God may or may not use it to speak to me. I read it in hopes that I might learn more (from someone who has taken the time to study a certain topic more than I have) about God's character and what it means to be a Jesus Follower.

If you're reading Jesus Calling with the same mindset that you read Scripture, then it's not Sarah Young's fault--it's yours. I don't believe (and I think she makes this clear in her intro) that she expects her readers to approach her book in the way that we approach God's Word. In my understanding, she has taken what she feels God spoke to her and shared it with others. We can take what we want from it and let God use it (just as He uses other devotional writers) or not.

Here is what she said in an article from CBN:
 Let me begin with some cautions. It's essential to remember that the Bible is the only infallible record of God's speaking. Always subordinate your personal listening to absolute biblical truth. If something you "hear" is inconsistent with biblical teaching, don't write it down–it's not from God. New Christians, especially, need to be cautious about listening to God in this way. I had been a Christian for 20 years before I began this practice. On the other hand, believers are instructed to "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). I believe there is immense value in learning to wait quietly in God's Presence. For me, the main benefit has been coming to know God intimately, rather than simply knowing about Him. This has increased my love for Him, my trust in Him and His unfailing love (Psalm 13:5), and my awareness of His Presence with me always (Matthew 28:20). (emphasis mine)

As with any "Christian" book, blog, church, etc. we need to ask ourselves, does this line up with Scripture? Now in full disclosure, I've not read the whole book yet, but so far, what I've read does not contradict Scripture in the least. I'll keep you posted.

As an example, here is one of the entries for September 19th:
There is a mighty battle going on for control of your mind. Heaven and earth intersect in your mind; the tugs of both spheres influence your thinking. I created you with the capacity to experience foretastes of heaven. When you shut out the world and focus on My Presence, you can enjoy sitting with Me in heavenly realms...
I don't think anything in this contradicts Scripture? (correct me if I'm wrong, please!) To me, it's just an encouraging passage to remind me that I can experience the presence of God. That's how I read it.

It seems to me that her critics are assuming that most Christians aren't smart enough to discern between something that is actually from God and something that is what someone else has heard from God and wants to bless others with. It's rather insulting. We should do with this what we do with everything, as the Bereans: (I know everyone knows this verse, but here it is anyway...)

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

Can any of us say that God has not spoken to each of us in certain situations without quoting Himself from the Bible? I remember clearly when I felt like God spoke to me on several occasions, but His 'words' weren't Scripture verbatim. I still believe it was God that I heard.

I come from a very legalistic background where the wrath of God was taught very heavily and church doctrine was considered Truth. I usually tend towards the "tough" stuff. I love a good, convicting, tell it like it is author, pastor and teacher. So this book is a breath of fresh air to me. I don't consider myself to be in a group of people who are at risk of misunderstanding Young's point.

If you come from a grace-heavy (read: it doesn't matter how you live) background or a lukewarm Christianity, this may not be the book for you. You might want something a little more...serious or strict.

I think the critics should give Sarah another chance or at least let those of us who are blessed by the book and don't think it's akin to Scripture be ok with reading it. :)

What do you think? Have you read it? Do you think Young is actually speaking for God?