Thursday, September 30, 2010

Busy as bees!

I've been waiting for something fabulous to write about...and we have done some fun things...but mostly we've been BUSY! Especially me. I've been homeschooling Monday through Thursday, having church activities on Wednesday nights, leading Bible study on Sunday afternoons along with church twice that day, and we've gone to Macon the past four weekends. And the pace isn't slowing down! If my calculations are correct, we will also be busy for the next five weekends! Go, go, go!
We have a women's conference this weekend that I will be participating in that I wanted to let all of you readers know about. Most of you probably already know, but I wanted to mention it anyway. It's titled, Imagine Me, Set Free and the key speaker is Pat Layton. We're having a prayer walk tonight in preparation for the conference this weekend. Please pray for this event. We're reaching out to a lot of women in our area and praying that they will come. So far, we've had over 100 ladies sign up. Please pray that God would do a mighty work in the hearts of women who are hurting and need the Lord's healing touch. There are 30 women who have received scholarships to come who couldn't normally afford it. These women really need this ministry and we pray that they would feel comfortable in our church, around the other women who will be there, and that God would do a mighty work in their hearts. Thanks for your prayers!
Other events that we're looking forward to in our home include a homeschool trip to Ellijay on October 8th! We're going to pick apples at an orchard and do some activities there, then spend the night in the area. The next day we're going to Dahlonega and take a tour of a gold mine and go panning for gems. I'm also going to see my best friend, Kimberly Buchanan, since she lives in Dahlonega (yay!). Next week we are studying the letter F, so the mother of the other girl in our class and I are planning a potential trip to the firestation. Hopefully I'll be able to take lots of fun pictures! Our anniversary is October 16th, so we'll probably take a little getaway that weekend. The Perry fair is coming to town next week so I'm hoping we'll get to go there one day.
So much going on! I'm glad that we're able to do so many things together as a family and with friends. God is good to bless us so much!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My first book review assignment!

I know I've mentioned it several times...and the day has finally come! I received my books in the mail from Bethany House about 2 1/2 weeks ago and I have been a reading machine ever since! I was so excited about receiving these books in the mail. When I opened the package, they were all nice and crisp! Ok...I'm a total book nerd! But I LOVE it! : ) I did want to say that Bethany House did send me these books free of THANK YOU to whoever does this review program. I LOVE books : ).
My first book is one that I signed up to get, but I was told that there was a large amount of requests for it, so I might not get one. Well, I didn't. But...our church library had already ordered it at my request! So I got to read it anyway! I thought I'd include it in my reviews.

Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander. I'm a big Tamera Alexander fan. I discovered her books in our church library about a year or so ago and just devoured them! The stories are set in the west during the 1800s, which is one of my favorite times in history to read about. Within My Heart is the third book in a series and I have been waiting for quite a while to see what it would be about. I will be honest and say that you can pretty much figure out, even by the back of the book, who the main romantic characters are going to be. Even with that little bit of predictability, there are always twists and turns in the story that make it exciting and a must-read. This book is no exception. There are some interesting story lines with each of the characters. I think my only criticism of this story is that I wanted to see more about the background story of the main male character, Rand. I also felt like the romance took a long time to develop between the two characters, which I think it was a little more realistic in that way, but I'm not necessarily the patient type : ). Overall, I would recommend it as a great read, strong and interesting characters, and a good ending. The major event at the end wasn't the event I had hoped for, but still good.
The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris...
I did request and receive this book from Bethany House and LOVED it! Another book set in the west, but this one was a good bit different than Within My Heart. This story begins with a young girl who has lived in an orphanage and is now at the age that she must be turned out. The leadership at the orphanage found an ad in a newspaper for a man who wants a mail-order bride. The girl, Emily, is on her way to marry a man she's never met, and on the way she is kidnapped off of the stagecoach. The kidnapper, Luke, is not your typical bandit. In fact, he is better described as a law enforcer in a place where there was no one to enforce the law. He wants to protect Emily from the man she is supposed to marry. Luke is no angel, though. He's definitely rough around the edges and isn't afraid to give Emily a hard time. The story that ensues is one of adventure, danger, some mystery, romance, and I even laughed out loud on a couple of parts. I would definitely recommend this book! It only took me about two days to read it!
Masquerade by Nancy Moser....I have saved the best for last! I do think that even though this isn't my typical favorite setting, it grew on me. Each night I went to read it, I loved it more and more! This book is the story of Dora and Charlotte (Lottie). Set in the 1880s, Dora has been a servant to Lottie since she was 13 years old, but the two girls have more of a friendship than a servant-master relationship. When Lottie's family, who live on a large manor in England, has some difficulty, she feels forced to sail to America and marry a man she's never met. As she gets closer to America, Lottie realizes that she's never had the freedom to experience life and adventure. So she convinces Dora to switch identities with her. What she doesn't realize, though, is how difficult it will be for her once she begins her journey. Through a series of events, Lottie is left penniless and alone. There are so many things I loved about the story. Even though the characters are fictional, the events, descriptions of places and people, dress, and many other things parallel what was real during that time in history. The author even includes some references to the facts in the back of the book, including some drawings of the fashion of that time. I also found it interesting to learn about the different aspects of society, about the conditions and culture of immigrants of the day, and more. The story was also unpredictable. I had no idea what decisions Dora and Lottie would make, which made me turn the pages until late at night! So...I would definitely recommend this book!
The great thing about these books, too, is that they're Christian fiction, so there are no concerns about bad language or sexual immorality. The characters are also seeking God for help, trying to share God's love with others, and seeking Scripture. I am so thankful for writers of Christian fiction! I have already enjoyed my first time being a reviewer and I look forward to donating these books to our church library so others can enjoy them, too! Happy reading! God bless!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

School fun : )

As I've been homeschooling these girls, I've tried to remember that they are 3 and 4 years old. They need to do some fun, interactive things. I've never taught pre-K, so I'm kind of used to doing school with older kids. These girls have done great with paying attention and completing little sheets I've given them, but they need to be able to get up and move around! With that in mind, I've done some things with them the past two weeks that we've all enjoyed. Last week our theme was the jungle, so we went on a "safari" outside (picture with the girls in their "cars" and hats). We used our imaginations to see some jungle animals outside and the girls haven't stopped asking if we could go on another safari. We also did some finger painting yesterday, which the girls enjoyed. This week we're studying the letter C, so I thought...hey...we need to do cookies. What better fun than to make them ourselves!? I knew that I could be asking for a big mess on my hands, but it's pre-K...I've gotta loosen up! : ) Off I was on the hunt for a kid-friendly recipe on the internet. I looked up "cookie recipes for preschoolers" and I found several, but one in particular caught my eye. It was a recipe for honey shortbread cookies. The thing I liked about the whole layout of the recipe was that it gave some great ideas for what you could do with the kids as you were making the cookies. The cookies were also sugar/egg no worries about too much sugar (or I originally thought I would do choc. chip cookies) or egg issues. As we did each ingredient, I let the girls taste, smell, and feel each of them and tell their thoughts. We talked about where each ingredient came from. I let the girls pour the ingredients in and then they mixed it up with their hands. We had to let the dough chill for an hour and then we rolled it out and cut out some shapes. After that we baked them up and tasted them. They were pretty tasty...Sophie and Isaac loved them...especially Sophie! I wanted to pass on this recipe so you can all enjoy it!

Honey Shortbread Cookie Recipe
by Renee Carver
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (left out for 1 hour to soften to room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup honey

Directions: Put flour in mixing bowl. Sprinkle and mix a little salt into the bowl. Place butter in the bowl. Squeeze the ingredients together, mixing it with your fingers until the mix is the texture of cornmeal. Dribble in a bit of honey at a time and keep squeezing and kneading the mix in the bowl until it is thoroughly mixed into one big lump (try not to overwork the dough). Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refridgerator for at least an hour to chill. Dough will be crumbly and stiff wihen it comes out of the fridge. Parents should squeeze and knead it gently until it can be rolled out 1/4 in thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes and transfer cookies to cookie sheet that has been lightly floured or covered with parchment or wax paper (I just sprayed some cooking spray on our pan and it worked fine). Bake cookies at 350 for 12 minutes. Let them cool for 5-10 min. on a cookie sheet before transferring them to a cookie rack to cool completely (I just transferred them to a plate).

(I shortened the instructions, but the ones on the website give more details on interaction with the kids...sorry...I don't have the url, but if you look up the recipe name, I'm sure it'll pop up)
Hope you enjoy this recipe!
God bless!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Current events in the Daniel family

It's been a busy couple of weeks for us! Our biggest "event" lately has been preparing to take Sophie to the allergy doctor. We waited for our referral and appointment, did all the prep work for the insurance (checking and rechecking to be sure we knew how much we were actually going to have to pay), and actually going to the appointment. Her doctor is an allergy specialist in Macon, and from what I've heard, is one of the best. I was probably the one who was the most anxious about the appointment. I was concerned that Sophie was going to get upset, cry, possibly kick or flail her arms...all things that would be legitimate, I was thinking. I've heard from several people that allergy testing can be painful. We went to her appointment last Friday, and I kept thinking and praying. The Lord was faithful, as always. Sophie did a great job! Even if she had cried, she still would've done great, but she didn't even cry. She just sat in her Daddy's lap and let us fan her back with a magazine. The results of her tests showed that she was highly allergic to dust and dust mites...something I didn't even realize she was allergic to! She was also allergic to cats, dogs, and some other outdoor things like trees, weed pollens, and some molds. This would explain some of her seasonal allergy issues since some of those pollens come out in the fall. We were thankful that she didn't have any allergies to some of the foods that are the highest for allergic reactions (milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, tomatoes). We are supposed to go to one more appointment in Macon next Friday to complete her food testing. At this point, though, we think that she probably doesn't have any food allergies. But, this does mean a change...a pretty big change for me, especially. I am going to have to be more diligent in keeping our home as free of dust as possible. This is an especially large undertaking...because I've been pretty slack in the dusting department. We have a lot of books, pictures, and "stuff", all around the house that can collect dust. We also have carpet and furniture, of course, that can also collect dust. Joe and I will have to do some serious thinking about our carpet. We are both getting tired of seeing how dirty this carpet can get with two small kids. There are constant spills and dirt. We do have unfinished hardwoods under all of the rooms except one. We are going to pray about possibly getting these floors done so that we can be carpet-free. I would love that! I also need to start tackling the little "stuff" and organizing along with getting rid of things that we never use. What a job! I would appreciate your prayers in this area of my life. Organization...something I love, but am not very good at!

One other event that I'm very excited about is reviewing books for Bethany House publishers! I signed up through Tamara Alexander's (Christian fiction writer) blog. I have really enjoyed reading Tamera's books and following her blog. When she had a post about being a reviewer, I was immediately interested. The only requirement was that I had a blog in which I could post the reviews for the books I would receive. I waited for a while and thought that maybe it wasn't going to happen because I hadn't heard anything from Bethany House. Well, a few weeks ago I got my first email and it had 5 book choices! I could choose any of the books I was interested in and they would send them to me for free! I would then have to read them and post on my blog and one other site (Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, etc) what I thought about the books within a month. I should be receiving the books soon and off to reading I will go! So there will be some book reviews coming up and I hope you will enjoy reading them!

These are our two most current events. There are always little things going on around here. Lots of activity with church, ministry, homeschooling (which is going really well!), and more. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we continue on our journey!
God bless!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A new Bible study

Today I started facilitating a Bible study at our church. I am SO excited about this study...I wanted to share it with all of you.

As you can see by the picture, it's called, "Women Making a Difference in Marriage," by Lana Packer. I've done this study before, but it was right after Joe and I had gotten married, so I know that I'll probably get something new from it this time around. One of the things that I love about this study is something I read in the leader's guide in the back of the book this afternoon. The author wrote that this study was not to be used to point out the shortcomings in our husbands, but to change us, as wives. To change our attitudes, our responses, our hearts. It's so easy sometimes for us as wives to point out that our husbands didn't do this, didn't do that, didn't help us with this. And when us ladies get together in a group...well...we all know that it's sometimes easy for us to feul each other's fires. That's definitely not what our goal is in this class. In fact, I think we're going to be dousing some of those flames with God's truth. We will be building each other up as women of Christ and asking God to work in our hearts. Only Christ can fill us to satisfaction. I look forward to seeing what God is going to do over the next 8 weeks! Please keep this group in your prayers.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The first week of school

So far this week has gone really well! The picture above is of the girls (Bethany and Sophie) having "center time". I put some books we had been reading and some ABC-type toys on the carpet and they could pick what they wanted and sit in a chair. As you can see, they chose to sit together : ). Both of them have done really well with the material (it's age appropriate) and have gotten along really well, overall. I'm still working with them on staying in their seat and not talking while someone else is talking...but to my surprise, they've actually done better than I expected. Praise the Lord!
This picture is from our first day. They are decorating their letter and number folders. Any color sheets or cut/paste things we do that have letters on them, we put in our letter folder. We are also doing one number/week, so I made them a number book and I'm giving them a place to practice writing the number and then glueing/putting a sticker on that page that corresponds with the amount of that number. Hope that makes sense : ). Another successful routine is doing our days/week and months/year songs each morning. I've been impressed with how fast both of the girls are catching on and really getting into the songs.

Being able to teach Sophie and Bethany has been an answer to prayer for me! From the time Sophie was a baby, I've thought about homeschooling. I've been going to homeschooling conferences and gathering materials. People have been giving me books and things to teach with. I've also wanted Sophie to have a friend and for me to have another mom that could partner with us in this. Bethany's mom has been helping me with Isaac each day so I can teach the girls. That's been great! Sophie has enjoyed having a friend over each morning. A few minutes ago she said, "Mom, where is Befany?" : ) I don't know what will happen next year, but I'm so thankful that this year Sophie can have this experience. It's a little extra time and work for me, but it's so worth it!
If you're interested in the curriculum I've been using, the website is: I'm using the prepatory curriculum along with the letter of the week curriculum. I liked both, and I figured it wouldn't be hard to combine them. It's worked out well.'s free!
Keep praying for us...that the girls would learn, that I would have wisdom and patience to teach them, and that God would bless our efforts! Thanks!