Category Archives: child training

The Circle of Moms Top 100 Homeschooling Blogs

I am honored to have been a part of this illustrious group of homeschooling mom bloggers.

My blog ended up being #100 out of a total of 219 blogs that were nominated!!

I want to thank all of you.  You are the reason I was even there at all.

Thank you so much!!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

It’s Voting Time… I’ve Been Nominated!

My blog has been nominated for…

The Circle of Moms Top 25 Homeschooling Blogs!

If you have been blessed by this blog, would you consider voting for me?

You can vote EVERY DAY until June 27th, 2012!

If you are seeing this on Friday, June 15th, my blog my still be under the pending tab, but you can still vote while I am in there!!

Thank you so much!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Aunt Mae’s Wild Kingdom with Mallard Ducks!

In our preparedness efforts I have considered possibly keeping ducks.  Due to our HOA rules we cannot keep livestock, chickens… or fowl.  Sigh.  I wish I had been preparedness minded when we were looking to buy a home!  THIS would not be it, as I am so severely limited in what I can raise to provide for my family.  Eggs are such nutritional powerhouses!!  And duck eggs are bigger than chicken eggs… but that isn’t an option here.  I have eaten duck eggs… and they tasted just like a rich chicken egg… no off flavor at all!

Today Arrow & I walked up to the post office to mail a soap order.  When we had returned and before we got into the house we heard a ‘ruckus’ in the ditch.

Lo and behold there were two drakes chasing a female Mallard along the ditch area.  Every once in a while one pair would stop running.

After this happened a few times, Arrow asked me what they were doing.

This question was followed by silence from me.

We watched these antics for a few more moments when he asked me if they were mating.  Yes they are.

One male finally drove the other off and the remaining pair stayed on in our yard!  We were so excited!!  Arrow got some duck treats and I got my camera.

Here they are down near the road and one of the three tiny blue spruce trees Arrow planted for me a few weeks ago.

I walked down to the road and got this picture.  In the foreground is one of the rock towers Arrow built for me.

Arrow also got his camera and took some of his own photos!  They came very close to him as he sat in the grass.

Here they are by the hydrangea bush Arrow recently transplanted.  For those new to this blog, this is THE bush that tripped me and made me break my arm in July 2010.  You can read about that adventure starting here.

The Patriarch thought they must have liked our yard since it was recently cut and would be good access to all those bugs!  Or that they are mallard-justed.

They flew off, probably to the lake.

Arrow named the drake… Mallard Fillmore.

A few hours later they had returned!  Oh joy!!  So we got a container to give them some water.

A pretty duck is like a mallard-y.  ;-)

Then they flew away again.  Arrow busied himself making a surround for a larger ‘water feature’ and a small shelter for the happy couple.  He placed the water containers into holes left over from our tree removal and front yard ‘flattening’ last year.  I guess I will have to fill them with dirt and plant grass seed one day soon.  It blessed my heart to see Arrow take the initiative in caring for these beautiful creations of the Lord.

Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,

but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

Proverbs 12:10

Of all things this pair returned to our yard a third time!  I didn’t get any photos since I was cooking dinner.  I did see them through the garden window.  Ducks are smart birds.  They went to exactly the same spot where the first ‘watering hole’ was!!  Each duck got into the hole and lay there for a brief period.  Arrow went outside to show them where the new water was, which they liked since it is a bit larger.  He then showed them their shelter.  Mrs. Mallard checked it out and they both flew off.

We are hoping for regular return visits!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Other Musings You May Enjoy:

Broken Arm Blessings – The Break

A Spring Walk in the Park

Lemon Lavender Muffins – Gluten & Dairy Free

Spring Has Sprung

This post also linked here: The Better Mom, What Joy Is Mine, Raising Arrows, Homestead Revival, Far Above Rubies, Time Warp Wife, Growing Home, Thankful Homemaker, Raising Homemakers, Wise Woman Builds Her Home, We Are THAT Family, Deep Roots at Home, A Mother’s Heritage, Women Living Well,

Homeschool Curriculum – What I Use & Why I Use It

I am often asked what curriculum we use in our homeschool.  Since the homeschool conference season is upon us I thought it was high time to  get this post posted!  It is easiest to continue answering this question here where it can be accessed easily and whenever it is convenient for you to read, re-read and ask questions.  So go grab yourself a cup of tea, lemonade, water or beverage of choice, sit back and relax.  This is by nature a  l-o-n-g  post.  :-)

When you ask anyone what curriculum they use in their homeschool, they should first tell you what teaching method they follow!  I am first and foremost a Teaching the Trivium proponent.  I then lean towards a classical methodology with unit studies and Charlotte Mason thrown in the mix!!  So whatever teaching methodology you favor will determine in large part the curriculum you will use.  I will elaborate on the Trivium and my mix in a different blog post.

- this book will help you get started on understanding why to homeschool, I consider this essential reading for parents and required reading for our children when they are about 14 or older and preparing for marriage

- this book will help you understand what the trivium is, why it is important and biblical

Before we get started I wanted you to give you hint at what you will find in this post… I hope this helps you find what you are looking for.  There are two sections;

section #1 is curriculum resources with the following categories in this order: bible studies, history/geography/literature/government/bible history/philosophy, reading instruction, handwriting, writing instruction, grammar, math, science, spelling, occupational education, Greek/Hebrew/Latin, art appreciation and music appreciation;

and section #2 is home/school/child management skills and resources.

1. What do I use and why do I like it?

A) Bible Studies:

- Balancing the Sword – I did a thorough review here

- Quite Times for Kids – solid, biblical, meaty studies; children work on their own as soon as they can read; free samples, various studies, can be used for any reading aged child, one study uses Lego blocks to reinforce lesson!, easy to use

-Proverbs by Kevin Swanson – essential character training for all children, good with all children, easy to use

  - Plants Grown Up (boys) & Polished Cornerstones (girls) from Doorposts are full of bibles studies, and various gender specific tasks/lessons to be learned in preparation for marriage.  I love the Doorpost materials!!  These are pretty thorough, varies enough that any child would benefit, CD with all memory verses and printable sheets available, is used from childhood until marriage

B) History/Bible History/Geography/Government/Literature/Philosophy & more:

              -Tapestry of Grace - helps ME teach a Christian, classical education (we emphasize the Reformed viewpoint) using a guided unit study approach with the history of the world as the core organizational theme, students cycle through the material 3 times at different learning levels, detailed lesson plans and discussion outlines make ME the primary teacher and mentor and I shape their biblical worldview, comes in digital, print or you can get both, flexible for different learning levels and is designed for stages NOT ages, assignments for a full 36-week school year which are also broken down into 4 9-week units, every unit starts with a full introduction and end-of-unit celebration activities, each unit is broken down into week plans with the actual reading, thinking and writing assignments as well as tools and teacher helps, online collection of useful and helpful documents that are not specific to any week plan, optional supplements covering a wide range of subjects to make your experience more streamlined and enjoyable, resource book list and book update chart.  Tapestry is a plan of study, recommended books are available for sale, at the library or might already be on your own shelves!  Any books can easily be substituted for those you would prefer to use.  This does take some learning to use, but there are many resources to help you in your learning curve!  Anything worth doing isn’t always easy, but THIS is well worth doing!  There are also free units available for you to try before you buy.

C) Reading Instruction:

- Phonics Pathways100% phonics, uncluttered pages, large type, easy to use, NO prep time for me, a reading readiness evaluation so you are not pushing instruction too early for your child’s development

- McGuffey Readers – no ungodly elements!, endearing line drawings, character lessons in well written stories

D) Handwriting:

- A Reason for Writing – lessons built around bible verses, easy to use, potential outreach by sending out the completed border sheets at the end of the week (we have done this in the past and have had wonderful responses), simple ‘test’ to check handwriting improvement through the years.

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- Startwrite – a computer program that allows you to use any material for handwriting and has both printing and cursive alphabets.  I love using this for bible memory verses, psalms for singing we are working on, quotes from leaders we are studying, poems Arrow is memorizing and much more!

E) Writing:

- Understanding Writing by Susan Bradrick, this is the ONLY curriculum that truly teaches HOW to write!!  The others tell you to write to learn, but that isn’t effective and doesn’t teach you how to write!  There are also examples of simple word games to improve sentence structure and descriptions.  Amongst all the excellent teaching is a mini child training curriculum!  Double bonus to be sure!!  Tapestry of Grace does have a writing component and each assignment is tied to that weeks lesson, but they are just more meaningless writing exercises.  This curriculum has your child writing notes and letters to friends and relatives all while learning the HOW to write and write well.  It is writing with a real purpose.  Most of our students will not be writers, journalists or editors.  But they will need to write notes, letters, and possibly even blog posts!

F) Grammar:

- Easy Grammar – easy to use, you memorize prepositions and it is SO much easier to find subject and verb after that!!  I struggled with grammar all through my school years, with this method I would have had a MUCH easier time!!  Even “I” do not have to use the answer key for many of the answers when correcting work!!  WOW… I have learned so much!!

G) Math:

- Math-U-See – easy to use, very thorough (build problem with manipulatives, write the problem, say the problem, practice, teach it back (really demonstrates whether they understand the concept or not!), ability to make additional worksheets for those times when a concept just does not seem to be grasped and you have used all the ones in the workbook, concepts taught to the teacher first via DVD, addition (& subtraction) taught as general concepts and then the facts are taught in groups (+2, doubles, etc), addition taught then subtraction (not both at the same time), same for multiplication & division, and I love, love, love the manipulatives!

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- 100 Sheep – a skip counting CD to bible stories, this is wonderful!  Arrow puts this in to listen to on his own while doing dishes or cleaning his room.  :-)

H) Science:

- Christian Kids Explore – good early level science, easy to use, specific science per categories (biology, chemistry, etc)

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- Wonders of Creation series – biblical reference, more in-depth look at some favorite science topics, study guides available

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- God’s Design for Science series – from Answers in Genesis, all sets reflect a Biblical worldview, including a young-earth view of creation, four-part series, experiments & activities in every lesson, great photos, easy to use with multiple children at different levels, flexible to use, comprehensive material, makes The Patriarch very happy as he decries the lack of hard sciences taught to homeschooled children

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rock collections for geology from Northwest Treasures – wonderfully full of rocks, books, and all in a great storage case, reasonably priced, very interesting kits (dinosaurs, fossils, Lewis & Clark, glow in the dark (VERY popular!!), and much more, all from a young earth/creation perspective

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- Christian Liberty Nature Readers – from Christian Liberty Press

I) Spelling:

- Phonics Pathways – thorough phonics rules, no need to purchase an additional curriculum (makes DH very happy)!!

J) Occupational Education:

 Plants Grown Up (boys) & Polished Cornerstones (girls) from Doorposts are full of bibles studies, and various gender specific tasks/lessons to be learned in preparation for marriage.  I love the Doorpost materials!!

- Managers of Their Chores – helps you teach your children how you want each chore done, when to do it and then is an accountability system as well

K) Greek, Hebrew & Latin:

  - Little Bitty Baby Learns Greek, Alphabet for Classical Latin (no longer available), Little Bitty Baby Learns Hebrew  – we are just at the stage for a formal Latin but not ready for Greek or Hebrew curriculum yet…, but we know the alphabets of all three!


- Latin for Children series – easy to use, reasonably priced, lots of additions like a history book, CDs, and puzzles

L) Art Appreciation:

- Adventures in Art – NO NUDES!!, larger reproductions of paintings, easy to use, easy to organize the paintings into one large ‘timeline’ of art history to trace how art changed with political ideas through history… OK so when I bought this about 18 years ago I got a portfolio with reproduction paintings this is now an internet curriculum, and will still be WONDERFUL!  Art is the expression of an idea/thought and tracing its history is eye-opening.

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- Child Sized Masterpieces – NO NUDES, postcard sized paintings (get to touch, sort, etc), many levels with lots of beautiful paintings, easy to play matching games, guess the artist and much more

M) Music Appreciation:

- Music & Moments with the Masters – traces music history and how music changed with political ideas through history, music is the expression of an idea/thought/emotion and tracing its history is eye-opening.

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- [Composer] Greatest Hits – we use this along with the story of that particular composer for more of his music than what is given in the previous CD

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- The Story of… – CD series of composers life stories, informative and we use them in the van while driving somewhere… redeeming the time!

2. What home/school/child management skills have you learned to make things easier and more enjoyable?

A) Home Management:

1) Have meal plans.  This helps with KNOWING what will be for lunch and dinner, making sure you have the necessary ingredients, eliminating unnecessary trips to the store (saving money on gas and wear & tear on the vehicle).  This is NOT restrictive but freeing!

2) Have some kind of cleaning schedule.  Don’t wait for it to get dirty, clean it BEFORE it gets dirty!  I clean the shower when I am IN there.  I’m already wet!  I wipe something down every time I am in the bathroom.  This helps KEEP the bathroom clean.  Teach your children to do the same thing!  You are NOT a maid.

3) Eliminate clutter!  This is a biggie and I am still struggling with this one… but each trip to the donation center helps!  Funny thing, I can not usually even remember what was in those bags and boxes after I donated them.  So that is PROOF I didn’t need it!

B) School Management:

– Homeschool Tracker Plus – a planning and organizing software, adaptable to any homeschooling style simply and yet sophisticated, lesson planning, record keeping, flexible and customizable to my (or your) planning and organization style, lesson plans can be reused for multiple students or in different years and can be shared with other Tracker users, affordable and either online or downloadable versions, EXCELLENT customer service & support, online discussion forum with great users who are helpful and kind, oh so kind!!  One of my favorite features is the rescheduling!!  This has helped save my sanity more than once!!!

OK, I heard that snickering out there!  Who did that!!!??!!!

C) Child Training:

  - Raising Godly Children by the Bradricks (DVD series)

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- What the Bible Says About Child Training by Fugate – with certain caveats

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- Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp

D) Skills/Lessons/Tips I Have Learned:

1) START THE DAY WITH HE LORD!!!  Even just a few moments with really little ones afoot.  Aren’t we homeschooling for the Lord in the first place?  We cannot do this without Him!

2) Be truly submitted to your husband.  Ladies, do not deceive yourself into thinking you are in submission when you are not.  Ask you husband, he’ll tell you.

3) Patience, but this came after #2, #1 AND #5 makes it easier!  :-D  Despite what the world thinks (that we must have lots of patience in order to homeschool) it is the process of teaching our children at home that develops that patience!  Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.  A lesson I am still learning… sigh.

4) To study the various educational methodologies and determine which one best fits with God’s word first and our child’s leaning second.  See resources listed at the top of this post.  This helps you eliminate some curriculum which helps in the decision-making process!

5) GO TO BED EARLY, NO LATE NIGHTS (unless you are nursing, then… TAKE NAPS)!  There really is no benefit in burning the candle at both ends… and lots of detriments.  Draining your adrenals is a big one.  You do NOT want to go there.  Trust me on this one.

6) LIMIT computer time, crafts, talking on the phone, and any other activity that takes your focus off your home and family.  There will be a season for more of that when the children are grown.  You will only have them for a short time, don’t waste it with your fave in the box!!

7) Start with obedience training when your children are very young.  You are striving for first time obedience, without excuse, without delay, without complaint.  Doorposts has great help with this area.  Your consistency is a key factor.

I hope you find this helpful.  Some of these resources I liked so well I became an affiliate for them!  I do receive a monetary compensation if you purchase through one of my links.  All these materials I have purchased on my own and I was not paid for this post.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may still have!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Other Aunt Mae Musings that may interest you:

Why We Homeschool

IndoctriNation the Movie

Why We Attend the Christian Heritage Conference

This post is also linked here:

  , Visionary Womanhood,

Why We Attend the Christian Heritage Homeschool Conference

This year’s conference is at the end of this week.  Our excitement mounts as the days draw nearer, ever nearer!!

Why do we attend THIS conference above any others offered in our state?

Let me count the ways!

1) Christian Heritage’s conference is the only Christ-centered homeschool conference offered in my area.  When we first started homeschooling in the early 1990’s I did attend ‘another’ big conference in our area… it was the only thing I knew about at the time.  But it’s sole focus was on the teaching-mom.  There wasn’t a hint of anything that we believed was important.  Anything “Christian” was indicated as so in the brochure… so they could be avoided by the majority attending.  I was starving for the Christian message and sought out those that were specifically Christian!!  ‘That’ conferences biggest draw is the mammoth sized curriculum fair.  But THAT isn’t a draw for me, as I am interested in distinctly Christian materials to support the Christian training we supply at home.

2) Christian Heritage’s vendor hall is FULL of excellent, Christian materials!  This is by far THE BEST homeschool vendor hall I have ever had the privilege to attend.  I don’t have to examine science materials to discover that it is evolutionary based twaddle!  It is a LARGE vendor hall FILLED with materials of substance, quality and Christ.  Lots and lots of choices… so go with a list!!  It can be overwhelming.  :-)

3) Christian Heritage’s conference provides encouragement and teaching for me in my God-given roles of helpmeet, keeper-at-home, and instructor/discipler of the next generation, and for The Patriarch in his roles as prophet, priest, protector and provider for our family.   That encouragement keeps us going through the rest of the year and not become weary in well doing.  Neither of us had any of this modeled or taught to us in our childhood years and this excellent teaching helps us to understand and live out our God-given roles.

4) No matter what questions or concerns have cropped up over the previous year, the Christian Heritage conference has answered them from a biblical basis, there was a concern about college, a science question, each year has been something very different.   God is so amazing and gracious to do this for me… every single year!!

5) The Christian Heritage conference’s keynote speakers have encouraged, exhorted and taught us on a wide range of topics.  Keynote speakers in the past have been 2006: Doug Phillips, Steve Maxwell, Dr. Brian Ray;  2007 Voddie Baucham, James McDonald; 2008 Doug Phillips; 2009Viddie Baucham; 2010 Ken Ham, Kevin Swanson; and in 2011 Kevin Swanson, Geoffrey Botkin.  This year we are privileged to hear Voddie Baucham speak again.  The Patriarch was so blessed by him in 2007 & 2009 that he has been looking very forward to his return this year!

6) The entire Christian Heritage conference is very well organized starting with the greeters at the door, the registration table, information booth, speakers, vendor hall, and including the CD & DVD ordering.  And they get better and better every year!  No matter how big the conference is, or how busy anyone is, there is a sweetness and courtesy not usually found out in town today that is like a cup of cold water to a thirsty man.

7) The DVDs & CDs.  Yes, I know we could just order them online and skip the conference… but I can not imagine missing this conference!!!  The CDs & DVDs are also offered at a special conference price… so it’s a WIN, WIN!!  The CDs & DVDs are a way for me to have all the workshops I wanted, but couldn’t physically attend!  There is only one of me!!  We get to watch the excellent messages again as a family and  listen to various teaching as we drive in the van or sit at home.  I don’t know about you, but as we watch or listen to these presentations again many times I hear something I missed in the original hearing.  The topics are broad ranging and are timeless treasures!

New this year! The CHRISTIAN HERITAGE
“SEASONS OF DISCIPLESHIP” COLLECTION …
Audio Messages to Fit Your Family’s Needs

WHAT ARE THEY & WHERE DO I GET THEM?
This COLLECTION contains 11 sets of past CH Conference messages—selected for their timeless Biblical and practical encouragement for equipping your household:

  • Tailored to meet you where you’re at as you go through the seasons of parenting and as your family’s requirements change
  • 10 CD’s per Set—assembled by topic to suit the many needs of homeschooling families
  • Available at Special Conference Prices at the CHRISTIAN HERITAGE CONFERENCE Booth (#24-25)—along with the popular Father & Son Retreat and Mother & Daughter Teas CD’s
  • After the Conference, available via our CH Online Store at ChristianHeritageOnline.org

OTHER “SEASONS OF DISCIPLESHIP” SETS:
(Click Here to see all Speakers and Sessions in each Set)
~ SET 1 – Christian Heritage Conference Favorites
~ SET 2 – Godly Parenting & Family Relationships
~ SET 3 – Helpful Homeschooling Nuts & Bolts
~ SET 4 – Getting a Great Start
~ SET 5 – Keep Going – You CAN Do It!
~ SET 6 – Moving Forward into Adulthood
~ SET 7 – Conquering Learning Challenges
~ SET 8 – Discipleship Wisdom for Moms
~ SET 9 – Discipleship Wisdom for Dads
~ SET 10 – Encouragement for Sons (& Their Parents)
~ SET 11 – Encouragement for Daughters (& Their Parents)

Great for Personal, Family, and Group Bible study ~
and to Give as Gifts for Any Occasion!

8) We get to see friends we don’t see on a regular basis and meet new friends!

9) During break times, the young men have a football game on the lawn outside the main doors.  There are fellas wearing suits, jeans and everything in between.  It is a great way to burn off some of the pent up energy in young men!  I find it encouraging that the older young men do not shun the younger ones, but cheerfully include them in the game.  That is a rarity these days!

If you are in the neighborhood, please join us April 26th – 28th, 2012 for the

7th Annual Christian Heritage

Family Discipleship & Homeschooling Conference!!

Registration is available at the door.  We would love to see you there!!  :-)

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)


Other posts you may be interested in:

Why We Homeschool

Daily Renewal – When Mothering Feels Too Hard

This post also linked here:

Daily Renewal when Motherhood Feels too Hard

Click here to view more details

I don’t know about you… but I have been so tired lately.  Not just a physical tired, but a battle-weary, need a daily bit of encouragement kind of tired.  The soul-weary and emotionally worn out kind of tired.  Though I do know others who are also stay-at-home homeschooling moms, I still feel so ‘alone’ at times.

I was listening to Kevin Swanson’s 2010 Family Economics Series the other day.  In his talk “A Biblical Economy – The Opportunity of Our Century” he states that over 40% of 5 year olds are latch key kids!  And we wonder why the nations children are “growing up” without any decent character traits…?

As one of a small minority of mothers who does stay at home with her child(ren), I am always appreciative when I find something that will give me encouragement in my God-given job of mom.  It is said that a Navy wife is the toughest job in the Navy.  That is so true, to which I can personally attest.  I would also have to say that a biblical, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother is the toughest job in the church.

Of all places… the church (generally speaking) is the last place where we mothers can even find a modicum of encouragement for the role God has ordained for us!  In most instances, the modern, American, evangelical church is our most ardent opposition.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus

will be persecuted,

2 Timothy 3:12

That is why I am so excited about this new devotional by Kelly Crawford.  In case you don’t remember, Kelly’s home was destroyed in a tornado last April and she had a tiny newborn!

Yet despite these trials Kelly and her family glorified the Lord day in and day out.  I can’t think of another person who would KNOW so intimately the emotional and spiritual weariness of motherhood!!  Can you imagine continuing to love, nurture and school your children without a home?

Here is what is being said about Kelly’s new book:

“When mothers are strong, their children — regardless of the challenges they face — tend to be strong. When they’re resilient and filled with faith, their children are likely to be resilient and filled with faith…The destiny of mankind is in the hands of mothers….” -Neal Maxwell

This book is your comrade in the trenches. It is a life-book, you will want to read over and over, written in small snippets for daily renewal.”

“This eBook is Kelly’s “cup of cold water” to mothers. We all need refreshment and encouragement when the hard days come, and Kelly has provided bite-sized (but meaty and thought-provoking) daily devotionals that urge us to take our calling as mothers seriously but remember at the same time that we are vessels of clay in need of God’s filling. These words are true whether you are the mother of one or the mother of ten! Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your beautiful insights into the calling of motherhood “from the trenches!” -Jennie Chancey

It will be released Monday, 20 February 2012!

Not only will it be available on Monday…

it will only cost $1!!

Though that low price will only hold for one day.

Blessings, Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

I am an affiliate for Generation Cedar.

Praying About Child Training…?

“So why must we pray about whether or not to send our kids away to be trained by  institutions for the best forty hours of every week?  Most parents won’t share their car keys or pin numbers with anyone, yet they’ll give strangers complete, unsupervised access to their most valuable treasures–their offspring–without a second thought.”

from Old Schoolhouse magazine article “The Princess or the Pack Mule” by Denise Mira

By “institutions” that are directly opposed to Christian values no less!

Blessings,

~Mrs. R