Monday, September 29, 2014

W is for Water- 8 Easy Steps

Did you know that about 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by water?
Or that around 60% of the adult human body is made of water?
Or that the average person should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day?

You do remember that I am a homeschool mom, right?

Anyway, water is important.  And because we do not drink a lot of anything else in this house, water is especially important to our family.  Which is why I have looked longingly at water filters for a long time now.  Berkey filters, specifically.  

They are cool!

And pricey!  (but, yes, worth every penny I believe!)

But you know men.  They like to create. And play with tools. And challenge themselves.

So with the encouragement of Farmer Dan, my hero husband decided he could make a comparable water filter.  A man has gotta do what a man has gotta do.

Two stainless steal pots, 2 Berkey filters, a Step bit, and a spigot later- he was ready to create!

The short of it-
1- Use two Stainless steel stock pots, your choice of size.  We used 16 quart ones and one lid.
2-  Drill two holes on the bottom of one pot to attach filters.  This will be your top pot.
3- In bottom pot, drill a hole on the side for your spigot to attach to.
4- Prime filters according to directions that come with them.
5- Attach filters and spigot.
6- Place pot with filters on top of the pot with the spigot, the rivets of the handles will keep the top pot from sliding too far down into the bottom pot.
7- Fill with a little bit of water to ensure no leaks, and then add more later.
8- Enjoy- CLEAN WATER.

And now we have a Clarke-E!

And it works!

And we love it!  And it's creator.


Ben and Me


Family Toolbox Giveaway!

I have had the privilege of being part of a review team for Family Toolbox for the past several weeks.  Let's face it- good, strong families do not just happen.  Raising kids is not easy.  Being a spouse takes work.  But with the help of good resources (and yes, a whole lot of prayer) you can be better equipped.  Look for my full review of this awesome resource on October 13th , with a Facebook party full of fun and prizes on Thursday, October 16th, but until then here is the opportunity to win a bundle of great products from Family Toolbox.  You won't wan to miss it!


 The Family Toolbox is a DVD/video-driven program that brings parents and teens together for constructive dialogue around significant issues of discipleship. Conversation is sparked by engaging video clips. Sixteen Life Success Principles are communicated through eight lessons that give parents and teens biblically-based, practical topics for discussion. The format grabs teens and gets them interacting. The Family Toolbox has 8 lessons. Each one has a 1-2 minute scene of a family living life and experiencing common challenges in their relationships. A discussion guide prompts dialogue between parents and teens and a 10-minute teaching session for parents featuring Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN gives practical tools to use right away. Family Toolbox Giveaway
I am excited to be joining with the National Center for Biblical Parenting (NCBP) to bring you a wonderful giveaway to celebrate the release of the Family Toolbox.  The giveaway includes a $50 Amazon Gift Card + a bundle of biblical parenting resources from NCBP, including: 

The Christian Parenting Handbook and Companion Guide

The Christian Parenting Handbook contains nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.  The Companion Guide is a workbook of 50 lessons along with 50 audio tips to take you through The Christian Parenting Handbook step by step. 

Cultivating Responsibility: Parenting Wisdom for Ages 9-12 Years

The later elementary age years are among the greatest times to build responsibility in children. Heart transformation takes place when parents use other tools than behavior modification. Sometimes though, bad attitudes, disrespect, and a lack of cooperation can muddy the waters. You’ll want to learn from the experts how best to navigate these years. Your children are making significant developmental leaps in their cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual growth. Understanding how best to help children through these years is essential.

Family Heart Moments

The Family Heart Moments book is a treasure. Over 70 inspirational true stories from parents who are eager to connect with their children's hearts. The heart is a special place in the life of a child. You don't want to miss it. This book will give you practical ideas for touching your kids in the deepest place.

Family Time Activity for Teens

Teenagers are in an exciting time of life. They're learning a lot about themselves and the world, and they need lots of spiritual guidance. The activities and applications in this book are designed specifically for teens. The object lessons and games are captivating and the biblical lessons are timeless. Walking Billboards, Fear Factor, and Gender Differences, are just a few of the titles. Nineteen lessons are included, all unique and powerful. Make Family Time a regular part of your family's spiritual growth. 

Learning About Sex: Love, Sex, and God

In a natural, conversational style, this book answers tough questions that help teens separate sex and love facts from myths. Straight facts on dating, marriage, sex, and sexually transmitted diseases are presented here.

Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining and Bad Attitudes, in You and Your Kids

It affects the way people think, the way they act, and the way they treat others around them. Honor motivates parents to treat children differently. It gives children more constructive ways to interact with their parents. It helps siblings develop tolerance and patience. Honor builds incredibly strong bonds that, in turn, benefit all members of the family. This book shows you in practical ways and shows how honor can transform your family. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is open internationally to those age 18 and older. a Rafflecopter giveaway   Also, please join us for The Family Toolbox Facebook Party on Thursday, October 16, 8-10PM ET where there will be even more great prizes, an opportunity to ask your parenting questions, and lots of fun and fellowship! The winner of this giveaway will be announced at the Facebook party! RSVP for the Party here:

  Family Toolbox Facebook Party

Friday, September 26, 2014

Angry Words- 52 Weeks of Family Scripture Memorization

Today we are adding on to our verse from last week.  Go ahead and try- you can do it!


An emotion that can get the best of us, and our children if we are not careful.  

My youngest knows this well in our home.  His natural tendency when angered is to lash out.  When he first came home at age 21 months he would slip into times of rage when he did not get his way, when he was frustrated, or when he was scared.  At times is was terrifying.  Praise The Lord, most of that behavior has subsided, but he still battles with controlling his temper.  

Words slip out of his mouth that are hurtful and harsh sometimes, and I have to remind him that while it is ok to feel angry, it is NOT ok to use hurtful words.  Let's just say, we work a lot on the "catch your words" concept.  That once you say things, you cannot take it back.  That once someone hears something, you cannot make their ears forget what they heard.  Words spoken in anger hurt other people.

Oh, how many times a day does God wish I would "catch my words?"  It is not just a little kid problem.  It is a human problem.

I see it in Walmart when a parent yells at their child for disobedience.

I see it on the street when a driver yells at someone who accidentally cut in front of them.

I see it on Facebook when someone responds to a post with harsh words because they disagree.  

I see it in spouses who are suppose to love and respect each other.

Honestly, I see it in me more times than I care to admit.

And it always leads to evil!

This week, let's hide God word in our hearts and remember to "catch our words" as we teach our children about God and His love.  His words are the BEST!

Blessings, Michele

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I Choose Joy!


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Essential Fridays Linkup

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sewing Through August

Ha!  August and September, that is!

I am just going to tell you right upfront that none of the projects I am showing you are mine.  Big surprise, huh?  NOT!  I do have several waiting in the wings if I can ever find the time to get myself in the sewing room and turn on a machine.  It is seriously pitiful, ya'll.  I have big aspirations, but just cannot seem to find the spare time.  

I am going to figure it out!  Eventually.

On the other hand, my seamstress daughter is busier by the day.  Hour, maybe.  She is now the only seamstress for a local dry cleaner.  (Did I tell you that already?)  She picks up work three times a week and does a two day turnaround.  She had become quite the expert in hemming pants and replacing zippers.

She also sent this cute outfit to a cousin.

And taught a friend how to make a jean skirt out of jeans.  

And finished her sister's Eowyn (from Lord of the Rings) dress.  Yes, that is all hand embroidery.

Oh, and has continued to work for a friend who sells beachwear.

And made herself a shirt one day because she liked the fabric.

And still does custom orders for people as well.

Hmmm, maybe my lack of sewing is not about the lack of time, but the lack of space for me in the sewing room.

Yes, I am sure that is it!  ;)
yep, my space!


Did I mention she just got a job at a local Bridal shop sewing for them?

Monday, September 22, 2014

V is for Very Blessed

OK, honestly, the V thing was hard for me this week, but I decided I would share with you and tell you how I am counting my blessings this week. The idea actually stemmed from a question our family pondered last night as part of our time together- "What makes you happy?"  As our kids have gotten older, they love to pick a question to talk about.  It started at the kitchen table, but you will often find us pondering life anytime we are all together.

So what makes me happy?

These peeps!

Even Mr. Frowny! ;)

I love my family.  They make me happy.  They bless me.

I love how my 7 year old cracks up about something and will laugh so hard he cannot catch his breath.  He has come from some hard places and it thrills me he can still laugh better than the rest of us.  He is growing up and I am so proud of him.  Adoption is hard, friends, and this kiddo is proving he can handle it and come out on top.

I love to see my 12 year old take interest in his father and how they have found hobbies together that they are passionate about.  Seeing the two of them working side by side thrills me.  Boys need their dads around and I am blessed that we are in a season of our lives that my hubby is around to be an active participant in the boys' lives.

I love to watch the face of my 16 year old light up about anything theater.  To see her face when she walks into a performance of any kind fills my heart with joy.  It is like watching a young child on Christmas morning. To literally feel her joy as tears run down her face in just about every show we see, to hear her belt out Disney songs and to laugh while she quotes whole scenes from movies- she steals my heart.

I love that my oldest daughter is finding her way in the world with such grace and devotion to God and those around her.  Her joy is back and she is walking an exciting path. (more on that soon, I am sure) I love how hard she has pushed herself through school even when things got hard, how she is going to graduate 3 semesters early due to her diligence and perseverance and how she is embarking on some neat, new projects.  She inspires me.

I love that my husband loves and takes care of this family with such amazing devotion.  He is an awesome father and husband.  He puts people first in everything he does.  I love how his face lights up when someone asks about his career and flying helicopters, how he laughs when he plays with the kids and how he gets fired up when he mentors young men and women in the military.  He is my hero on a daily basis.

Yes, I am feeling very blessed.
How about you?  What makes you happy?  We would love to know!


Ben and Me