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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lilla Rose giveaway!

Why do so many ladies, both young and old, like Lilla Rose hair clips? I think it's because they capture a hint of the past, and so they allow us to enjoy some of that charm in our every-day lives.

I received a package of two beautiful Flexi Hair Clips today in the mail from Heather, a mom of nine children, who has asked me to do a review and a giveaway.

Well, I was skeptical that they would work for us--we all have the straight, glossy type that seems to resist any sort of hair accessory!

Was I surprised at the "grab" these clips have! I believe it must be the ingenious idea of having them "flex" to hold more hair. And they are so sturdy, definitely a totally different experience from using those cheap things I usually purchase from the department store! They are more than barrettes; the little girls naturally call them "hair jewelry."

Of course, we all had to have a go at trying them, so we set up the lamps in the family room and did our own little photo shoot. Here are some of the results:

Little Faith already had braids in, which added something special.

Ellie has a huge amount of hair, so hers was a great test of the "half-up."

She has so much hair that we thought we would try two clips for her up-do. Turned out really neat, don't you think?

The smaller clip really dressed up Sarah's red wool coat. This would be the perfect entrance for a Christmas party!

This is the largest clip we received (there are actually seven sizes, and this one is the third largest), but worked quite well in little Lorilee's hair (she just turned six years old).

Now for some terrific news: Heather Mason is sponsoring a giveaway of any Lilla Rose clip priced up to $16! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post before December 4th to enter! (Please note: the clip may not arrive in time to be a Christmas present--so you might just have to pick one for yourself!)

But wait, there's more! Even if you don't win the giveaway, anyone new to Lilla Rose who buys three clips through Heather Mason will receive an e-mail to make the choice of a fourth clip (up to $16) for FREE! Just be sure to purchase your Lilla Rose products before December 4th to ensure delivery by Christmas!)

If you have any questions, you can contact Heather Mason directly:

Here's an interesting video clip about sizing:

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. 

--Author Unknown

Presi­dent Abraham Lincoln
About a hundred and fifty years ago, Presi­dent Abraham Lincoln recognized what he believed was God’s hand of judgment on America “for our national perverseness and disobedience.” People were falling away from God, and Lincoln declared the first national “Day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” In his 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation, he stated:
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and pros­perity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. …We have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeem­ing and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Perfectly Mellow

All my little ducks in a row
"You must be so organized!"

How many times have I heard that from curious onlookers as they have watched me waddling through the store, ducklings in tow.

Really? Organized? Well, I suppose you could say that my house is usually tidy, and we do eat three meals a day, and we have clean laundry hanging in the closet.

But, if you really saw me at work, you would be scratching your head in wonderment.

Match of the century!
You see, there is a great battle going on inside my cranium, much like the contest between Godzilla and King Kong.

I am what you might call a "creative perfectionist," or a "perfectionistic creative," whichever makes more sense. One side of me is dressed in a Soviet-style uniform and answers to the name Comrade Dobrovska, and the other side is dressed in a long, gauze gown and wears flowers in her hair.

So some days I want to carry a clipboard and a whistle, and other days I just want to sit and philosophize and pick daisies. This means that I have a lot to overcome from the morning on!

I love the flower girl "song"
If you saw how I cleaned a room, you would understand. Comrade Dobrovska tells me that things must be perfect, so I strap on my apron and press my eyebrows together and dig in, and then the Flower Girl in me shows up and I begin to reminisce as I pick up a photo to dust it, and I might grab a small child and kiss her and then talk about the photo with her and, just when I realize that it's almost lunch, Dobrovska shows up and scolds me and I have to start cracking down on the whole house full of kids, who have been hoping that the Flower Girl would rule the day! 

Now, my prefectionistic self loves, loves lists and plans. I will spend hours perfecting them and then printing them out and copying them and handing them out to my troops children and then setting them down while I give the pep talk and set them off. But it isn't too long (sometimes it takes even a few days or weeks) before the creative side of me gets really tired of my new routine, so I have to give it a break and breathe for a while, which is really happy for me until...

...I realize that things just aren't getting done! So I ask Dobrovska to stop by and we consult together.

Thank God, I can still pray. And I have to! This is why I might allude to a schedule around here, but I try (although I have slipped before) not to recommend any certain way that I do things or that anyone else should do things, simply because I am always finding a better, or at least a different, way of doing them myself.

So, if you have come here to find out just how everything should be done, you will have to forgive me; I am still learning how myself!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Homeschool

Before you take your first step, pray. It really amazes me how often we forget this most vital yet indispensable detail!

Then please, please, don't rush out and buy curriculum. It doesn't matter if the publisher claims Einstein would have used it, save your money, your time, and loads of frustration and take the real first step...

...educate YOURSELF! Whether you were publicly or privately-schooled, chances are you have a definite idea of what "education" looks like, but you just may be surprised that it has very little to do with real learning!

Just stop and think for a minute; out of all of those hours of instruction you sat through, and of all the tests you took, how much do you really remember? Besides, if the way we educate today was truly effective, then why are we all so ignorant? Why do employers complain the workforce is so inept, why do we rank so low in academic test scores?

And, here's the most important question, why would we want to emulate a failed system, when we can implement any type of system we deem best for our own children? 

Get a hold of books and materials written by the modern pioneers of the homeschool movement like: Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, Ruth Beechick, Cathy Duffy, Charlotte Mason (via new voices such as Karen Andreola) just to name a few. Also, check out some tomes that break down just what is wrong with education in America, such as books by John Taylor Gatto.

It is also very important glean everything you can from and about these pioneers on the Internet. Here are some websites that may be helpful: 

The Odysseus Group 

The Moore Foundation 

Cathy Duffy Reviews 

The next step is to find out about alternative and creative ways of educating children, such as Montessori, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, Widsom's Way of Learning, Robinson Curriculum, and simply good, old-fashioned McGuffey's style ( I love old-fashioned ways, mixed with a good dose of Charlotte Mason, notebooking, and helped by some modern technology). 

Here are some websites that may be helpful: 

8.5" x 11" paperback now available
Montessori on a Budget 

Donna Young

Charlotte Mason Help 

Homeschool Sanity 

Homeschool Oasis   

"Just what do I do with my child(ren) while I'm busy undertaking all of this self-education?" you may be wondering. Here are a few ideas:
  • Don't allow any video games or television during the day.
  • Get your children to listen to you and to help with chores.
  • Read Bible stories aloud (from the Bible), talk about them, and pray together.
  • Go on lots of nature hikes--even just around the block. You can look at the sky and try and figure out what kind of weather you will be having, or notice the frost on the ground, listen for different birds, etc.
  • Read loads of books out-loud, especially while cuddled under warm blankets together.
  • Go the the Library and check out every book they have on a particular subject that you all want to learn about (such as flowers, clouds, music, Vikings, etc.).
  • Bake cookies and try new recipes.
  • Write letters to Grandmother.
  • Take your children grocery shopping and explain how you choose the food you eat.
Of course, you don't have to do each of these exercises every day! Just live and be sure to include your children. Did you know that teachers of young children go to great lengths to imitate learning at home? If you think of it this way, you are already have the advantage!

After you have spent some time familiarizing yourself with all the methodologies that are available, you can begin to search for "curriculum" items, or even opt for a whole, everything's-in-the-box sort of system.

Hopefully, if you follow this plan, you will have a better idea of what's really necessary to purchase, and what isn't!

Since I have been homeschooling for 24 years and have graduated seven children (with eight more sweeties to go!), I have written quite a lot on the very important subject of How to Homeschool your children.

My new book, Homeschool Sanity, is finally in paperback and is now being sold on!

Many of my friends and loyal followers have been asking me just when I was going to publish my book in paperback form. Because they wanted something to put in their own hands that they could use as a resource that they could easily to refer back to--well it's here now

I asked Mrs. June Fuentes, of A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, to write the foreword for the new paperback version and she generously agreed. The paperback has been totally revised and now contains 178 pages including "full page" homschooling charts, forms and helps--along with several pages of homeschooling resources!

My book gives an overview of the different methodologies of homeschooling along with a brief history of education in America. Some of the subjects that are covered are:


Reading and literature






No fancy psycho-anything here. I've rediscovered precisely why things used to work, and why they're so very broken today.

Readers will discover a catalog of successful methodologies for their own re-education.
After reading my book, you will not feel tired and anxious; you will be refreshed and filled with real hope!

Gain clarity. Find Peace.

You can now purchase my brand new (large) 8.5" x 11" book, Homeschool Sanity, now in paperback for $22.00! Simply go to:

Please let me know what you think of the new paperback version by commenting on my blog.

Here is some additional information on my new paperback:
Publication Date: Jul 18 2012
ISBN/EAN13: 1478164425 / 9781478164425
Page Count: 178
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 8.5" x 11"
Language: English
Color: Black and White with Bleed
Related Categories: Education / Home Schooling 

Below are some links with some of the best articles from the Large Family Mothering blog that I thought would assist you on your homeschooling journey:

Homeschool sanity (the essay that started the book)

It's my desire to lead the way into a fresh effort to bring back the best of the past in order to prepare our children for the brightest possible future!

Here are some more of our products:

McGuffey's Primer Flashcards, Helps & Hints


Ray's Arithmetics Flashcards & Helps


Homeschool Planner! Updated for 2013!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Try Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
There are no turkeys gobbling about my home, no freshly baked pies, and no football on the television. But we continue celebrating thanksgiving each and every day! 

Have we tasted of the precious mercy of God? Do we enjoy sweet fellowship with the Holy Spirit? Do we benefit from the favor of the Lord through His divine provision and protection? These are amazing gifts that the biggest earthquake or storm will never be able to shake or destroy--our security in Him.

We live in a world filled with His glory--from the tiniest, one-celled animal, to the microscopic particles which make up the protons, neutrons and electrons of the atom, leading up to the most magnificent nebulae in the solar system. In all of these--His creative handiwork is undeniably evident.

If you have ever been to a museum and seen first-hand the works of some of the great masters like, Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci you come away awed. Yet each morning the Master-Designer of all the universe paints with love upon His heavenly canvas a brand new sunrise.

God's heavenly canvas of love
And when the sunrise reveals the manly features of one's husband as the breath swells in his chest--do we recognize the handiwork of a loving God? There are wonderful benefits to be realized when we begin every day with thankfulness for each member of our family.

It's so easy to be grateful for the sweetness of a small infant, but can we see in the blemished faces of our young sons and daughters the promises of God? Do we look past their growing pains to the people God has intended them to become?

Thanking God for them, even their rough edges, can give us new hope and breathe new life and compassion into relationships that may presently be strained.

Rebekkah and her family
Even regarding the older children that have grown and moved away, giving thanks for them, just as they are and precisely where they are, allows us to rest in God's peace and trust that He is working all things for the good in their lives. With the intention that, when their names are brought up, joy and peace will come to our countenance, instead of the darkness that stems from a worried, sad or fretful soul.

In its simplest form, fretting is sin. It can't be "gussied-up" to look any better than it is, no matter how we might try. We may describe it as "concern" or even "a matter of deep prayer"--but fretting is still fretting.

David with his new wife Julia
My husband's brother, William, started a street ministry in the Pacific Northwest and planted an outdoor church named, Church Without Walls, for people society has all but forgotten. One of his closest ministry associates is a man with legs that are useless to him--they hang limp as he struggles to get anywhere. Instead of a wheelchair, he uses two shovel-handles (minus the shovel heads) to facilitate his getting around. These are not easy to use, and take tremendous upper-body strength, but he always has a smile on his face wherever he goes.

Anna, Grace and Leah
If anyone could claim to be having a unpleasant life, it would be this man. Yet he is one of the very happiest and cheerful in my brother-in-laws entire ministry and William considers him to be a great blessing, simply because of his humble and thankful attitude!

Sarah, Tim and Joshua
It may seem as though life is rampant with many sorrows and troubles, and undeniably most of us have experienced periods of terrible heartache, however, overcomers simply refuse to allow the sufferings in this life to steal their joy. They choose, as true followers of Christ, to live life in a continuous state of thanksgiving to the God who is so merciful, compassionate and full of unconditional acceptance towards us, that He even desires to have relationship with us, and to forgive us through the atoning death of His only begotten Son, Jesus. As we put our faith in Him, he promises to make a place for us in heaven so that we may enjoy Him forever!

As we humble ourselves, we soon discover that He is completely trustworthy. It is then that we can cast our cares upon Him and  leave our past, present and future in His loving and capable hands--having a thankful heart is the very vehicle which transports us into His presence where the joy of the Lord renews us and becomes our strength. 

Nicole and Patience
Lord, I thank You for the privilege of serving Your people right here in my home. I thank You for my dear sweet husband, that in his manliness he has tried so hard to understand my womanliness. Thank You that he loves to be here with us each day. Thank you for the way we met, and for all of the things we are to each other. Thank You that we have celebrated 30 years together! I never knew anyone could love me this much--but He does. 

Thank You for each child. Thank You for all of the sleepless nights and morning sickness that I've experienced over the years. Thank You for early nursing pain--knowing I was giving them love and life at the same time. Thank You for each cry, each soft bottom, each diaper change. Thank You for each tantrum, each quarrel, each cranky morning. Thank You for the times of watching and care because of sickness deep into the night. 

Faith, Olivia and Eliana together!
Thank You for their oft wanderings and curious wonderings. Thank You for their many questions, and for their sweet acceptance of the answer. Thank You for the times that I lost sight of the most important things, and instead sunk deeply into petty misunderstanding, and even then You spoke to them through this imperfect vessel. 

Now I can also thank You for new sons and daughters that are being added through my children's marriages--I wish they all knew that I love them, too. Thank You for the wonderful blessing of grandchildren that give us plenty of material for laughter as they grow. 

In all these things I see Your hand, as You have softened and grown me up, but there is so much more to be done!

Little Patience
Thank You that You are not giving up on me, not even for the bazillionth time. Your love is so great, and broad, and deep.

I could never run out of ways to praise You, not even for an eternity! Amen!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Radio Interview {Update}

If you ever wondered what a mother of 15 children sounds like, just head over to The Sociable Homeschooler at 12:00 EST  today, November 9th, and find out! (The interview is recorded for later listening in case you miss the live one.)


Update- Here's the link: The Sociable Homeschooler 

Thank you for your patience.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A precious little book

Have you been looking for a sweet book to read aloud to your tiny children, one that will capture their attention and imagination, and yet teach them some great values?

I have just found a treasure just like that, one that spoke to my heart as well as to the hearts of my tiny girls. It is The Racketty, Packetty House by Francis Hodgson Burnett (the author of The Secret Garden and The Little Princess).

This is a book about dollhouse dolls, which is right down the alley of most little girls (although there are many elements that would entertain and bring a smile to a young boy's face). The dolls of a dilapidated dollhouse are upstaged when their owner, a little girl, receives a grand, brand-new castle with new dolls, furniture, etc. and the nurse threatens to put the racketty-packetty house out to be burned.

But the residents of the old house are so sweet, so full of good cheer and kindness, that they continue to encourage each other with high hopes, and then some fairies come to help them!

Along the way my children were taught to be kind, even to those who mistreat you (just as Jesus taught), and that it is the good in heart that receive the best rewards (as those who love and serve God here by being His hands and feet to others will be rewarded by His blessed presence in Heaven).

If you can get ahold of a copy of this book, do! You and your children will be warmed and enthused, and you might even find yourself giggling at the antics of the sweet characters as Burnett has created them.

You can find this book on Google books, Gutenberg, on Amazon, or, hopefully at your local library (the first picture is the front of the 100th anniversary edition, done in 2006, and the rest of the illustrations are from the 1914 version).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Election Fraud By Cindy Koen

Pray for America
United Nations election America! Voting machines defaulting to Obama. Non-citizens registered to vote. Even the possibility of a computer virus stealing the election.

All of these things have a great possibility of stirring up fear in our hearts and minds, but ultimately we must remember that God is in control.

But that is where things get a little troubling. You see, throughout the Bible, God gave the people the leadership (be it kings or judges) that they wanted and/or deserved. God gave Israel wicked judges when the people went astray, following after their own ways. When they repented and turned back to Him, he brought them righteous judges who restored the land. They sought a king because everyone else around them had kings, so even though it was not God's will for them, He gave Israel a king. The people forsook the Sabbath and forgot God, so He sent them into captivity under Babylon and then Persia. And the story goes on.

George Washington
Our founders understood this when time and again they made statements that indicated that our country could only remain a free and blessed people as long as the people of this country were self-governed by their own private morality that came from a deep faith in and obedience to a loving Creator.

John Adams
The foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality...the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained... (George Washington) 

Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. (John Adams) 

Thomas Jefferson
Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God? (Thomas Jefferson)

There can be no doubt that these beliefs came directly from the scriptures which state:  

At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or I might command locusts to devour your crops, or I might send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13-14) 

This nation has allowed the murder of 55 million babies and made it sound like a medical procedure. We have removed God from every part of public life. We have a church (i.e. Body of Christ--not any particular church) where every form of sin is statistically the same as it is for unbelievers. We elect leaders to pad our pockets instead of protect our freedom. Four years ago, we elected a president who has forsaken Israel, mocked God at every opportunity, and instituted a "health care" system that will provide free abortions to anyone who wants them.

So, I ask, what kind of government do we deserve? While the people will be justifiably outraged if we have an election stolen, or God forbid a government takeover at some point, do we really deserve any less?

The previous scripture tells us that when we see judgment, if we who are God's people will humble ourselves, pray, seek God's face and turn from our sin, He will hear us and heal our land. I urge you, brothers and sisters in Christ, to take this seriously. Judgment does not begin with unbelievers, but in the house of God, with the people that are called by His name.

Praying for our nation
If we want to save this great nation, if we want to keep the freedom that so many died to get and many more have died to keep, if we want our children and grandchildren to know the America that we have known, then we must repent. Not just on behalf of our nation, but for our own sins. We must see the things coming and realize that it is something that God is allowing in order to get our attention and we must return to Him!

Go out and vote for righteousness, but when you return home get on your knees and pray like never before because that is what it is going to take to rescue this nation from the grip of the enemy. 

The preceding post was written by Cindy Koen, the daughter of some dear friends of our family which we have known for many years. After reading her recent post I found it to be so well-stated and time-appropriate that I just had to share them here.