Nov 012015

Our-Wood-Home-No-Pants-NovemberWe’ve done some skirts-only challenges before, so it was a wonderful surprise to run into this one, happening right now on Our Wood Home:

No Pants November

You have to start today (November 1) if you want to be totally in sync with them…  But please consider giving it a try, no matter when you discover this post, and this challenge.

It’s fun to participate in a challenge like this with a group of other ladies, because you can read the blog posts, see others’ outfit ideas, and otherwise feel inspired and supported.

Yes, we already wear skirts full-time, so I’m not “participating in the challenge” – but I do hope to participate in being inspiring and supportive!

What have you got to lose?


May 012014

hairToday’s post is really just a link to a post.

After all, if another blogger puts up a terrific post on a subject I feel strongly about, why re-invent the wheel?

Thus without further ado, I invite you to go check out:

The Headcovering Q & A at Joyful Christian Homemaking

Note that if you are reading this post later, you may need to search or scroll down to find this post, as there do not seem to be individual links.



Dec 052013

When I saw this graphic from Being Frugal Sally, I knew it was time for another post about Christmas, and gift giving.

To catch up with what I’ve written about our holiday traditions in the past, you can revisit Celebrating St. Nick.

This year we’ve made a couple of big strides forward:

1. Continuing with gifting on St. Nicholas’ Day, but continuing the move away from “stuff”.

Rather than stay home and focus even on that gift-giving holiday, we’ve arranged to take a mini-vacation. Everyone’s gifting budget is channeled into the costs of the trip, so presents are only a few of the “stocking stuffer” variety, mostly for entertainment on the drive.

This happened a bit inadvertently last year, with our family’s first trip to Disney World. The kids still talk about it often, and we enjoy our photos … while nobody remembers what “stuff” they might have received. Seems like a big win to me!

2. Getting the extended family on board.

I was just sick when my sweet daughter asked if we could have fewer presents to open this year. The extended family doesn’t get to see them much, and definitely has the gifting love language.

This year, when I got a call with a grief-stricken concern that airfare was twice as much as last year, and they might not be able to do as much, I knew it was a golden opportunity.

I presented the idea of giving each child the precious gift of their time. We’ve worked out a plan where they will take each child on a “date”, and do something fun with them (different for each one). Jewel’s “date” will be a sewing project time, so she will have a “gift” built in. For R.T., they will get something small and fun to remember what they did.

I’m sure they will have something small for each person to put under the tree, as well – I don’t for a moment imagine they could resist.

But this is good. This is very good.

And a bonus number

3. The December Kindness Challenge

Each person is challenged to do one act of kindness for someone else each day.

It is, after all, what Jesus would do.

The kids are having fun coming up with things, even though their logistics are somewhat limited at ages 5 and 8. It has already been fruitful, and it’s only December 5th.

Nov 282013

I have a confession: I don’t let people in my house.

My house is a mess. No, not what you mean when you say your house is a mess. I mean, like, halfway to “Hoarders” messy.

There are too many days when it’s all I can do to get out of bed, and make sure the children are fed and safe. So it’s my dirty little secret.

Then, unexpectedly, I found a friend. Someone I really hardly know, but with whom I feel safe. She and her children have been an amazing blessing to me. They even came and worked alongside me to help me do some cleaning and sorting (I am trying to thin out our possessions drastically, and simplify life!).

So, do you know what I went and did?

I invited them over for Thanksgiving.

It all happened rather suddenly, since they originally had other plans that fell through, but now it is done.

Five of them, and five of us, in a house that I never let anyone see? Wow.

Yes, it got a lot better when my new friends helped me start through the sorting. And yes, we’ve straightened up more today, to make a space for a large party dining and socializing.

But it doesn’t look anything like the lovely photos of decorated tables that my friends are sharing on Facebook.

Just good friends, and good food (she is a “whole foodie”, too!) …

I am truly blessed, and truly thankful.

And please, take a moment to be thankful for these folks:

Sep 062013

So, no, not “coming out of the closet” like that. ;)

More like this:

Hi, my name is Tiffany, and I have a debilitating chronic illness.

You’d be surprised how long it’s taken me to be able to say that.

Two years.

I’ve suffered from migraines since puberty, but they were manageable with medication, and very infrequent (ranging from once every couple of weeks, to a couple of periods of a year or more without an episode). But two years ago, things changed.

For two years now, I have had a debilitating headache every day.

Yeah, every single day.

Migraines frequently, but not daily. But on the other days very painful headaches, accompanied by vertigo, extreme fatigue, and other symptoms.

I am under the care of a neurologist who specializes in migraines. We’ve tried at least ten separate treatments so far, including Botox and a wide array of medications.

I have had an MRI, a sleep study, and a detailed eye exam. I know what foods and things are migraine triggers, and avoid them. I have tried chiropractic, massage, and other therapies.

We even moved out of our home and to a more sterile environment in a different neighborhood, in case toxins in the house were to blame.

For a long, long time, I expected it to get better. Every day I thought that even though things were slipping out of control with the housekeeping, the homeschooling, my marriage, my corporate worship, never mind my wishes to sew and garden… it would all get better, because surely tomorrow I’d feel better.

I no longer believe that.

I am still searching for a better treatment. I am still praying for relief.

But I am now able to see that, at this moment, this is simply my lot in life.

I may be able to whip up some butter from the milk we buy, but I cannot commit to a big and long-term project like soap making, or keeping the plants watered.

After trying an anti-depressant medication which was also supposed to be a good headache preventative, I realized how depressed I actually was. It didn’t help the headaches, but after much soul-searching, I am continuing to take it. Maybe this “boost” has helped me to take a more objective look at things, and explore ways to make things work.

I’ve hired a neighborhood teenager to come over and read to my kids for an hour twice a week. It’s an easy job, so she’s not charging much. This is enabling us to keep on track with our schooling. Since we prefer a literature-based approach to learning, and since neither of the Littles is a fluent reader, this was where we were floundering.

Another neighborhood youth has volunteered to come over one or more times a week and help out. He’s not only helping with things like keeping the yard in shape, and washing the car, but he is taking the Littles along and having them work with him – and learn how to do these necessary household tasks.

The small expenditure this entails has been easy enough to work into our budget.

All I had to do was admit that I needed help.

Dec 042012

If you don’t have insurance…

If you don’t believe in insurance…

Or, these days, if you don’t like the morality that the insurance system is supporting…

You might look into something like Medi-Share: Christian Care Medical Sharing. It works similarly to insurance, but it’s truly a co-operative of like-minded people working together to help one another.

And as an added bonus, if you sign up through my link (Medi-Share), you’ll get a $100 Gift Card! Nice!

I may earn commission for purchases made through my links (thank you!). I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

Nov 302012

Advent begins on Sunday (December 2nd)!

As I’ve posted previously, last year I purchased the inexpensive eBook Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands after reading a friend’s recommendation on Facebook.

It’s set up to be a Christmas ornament each day, but we decided to modify things a little and make each project into one page of an Advent Book. I’ve had several people ask me about it, so I wanted to do this follow-up post and show you what I mean.

Shown are Day #2 – Kingdom (by Jewel), and Day #3 – Zacharias (by R.T., with writing by Mama).

I had some heavier-weight paper/cardstock that we had purchased to print greeting cards. It came in four colors, and the kids decided to do multi-colored books. I think having the heavier weight (rather than just paper) is a good call, since some of the projects do have a bit of mass to them. Color is entirely a matter of preference, of course.

A gracious friend gave us some “pocket” 3-ring binders, so that they could do a piece of artwork on plain paper and just slip it in. Obviously, the options for decorating your covers are endless.

We didn’t get all the way through with our Advent projects, and (as you can see) the covers need to be done as well. This year December will be VERY full, so I think finishing up the boos we started last year is a realistic plan.

This year, in addition to the eBook itself, you can purchase a set of printable ornaments from Truth in the Tinsel.

This would speed up the process, be more portable (to work on while travelling, etc.), and also help with the “flattening” if you want to do a book like we did.

However you choose to celebrate the season, I pray that you will remember to keep your focus on “the Reason for the season.”

I received some of referenced items for review purposes, and may earn commission for purchases made through my links (thank you!). I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

Nov 302012

30 Days of Thankfulness

(A reminder to do what we are commanded in Scripture.)

November 30th, 2012.
Day 30.

I am thankful for Disney helpers.

With our Disney vacation just a few days away now, I can more or less look back over the process of getting everything ready… And I realize how important my helpers were along the way. There’s a lot to this planning, and people with specialized knowledge make all the difference!

I am thankful for Disney Dining’s cast members.

Making most of the reservations online was simple enough, but there are always a few snags. How do I book the package with the show reservations? How do I change all of these reservations from 5 people to 4? One call to a toll-free number, and cheerful Disney folk were able to handle it all.

I am thankful for Disney Dining’s gluten free policies, the special diet department, and the information they provide.

Honestly, I think I would be too overwhelmed to try a vacation like this to a place where I didn’t feel comfortable about being able to get “safe” food.

I am thankful for my Disney “Earmarked” Travel Planner.

Again, I could have booked a hotel and bought tickets online myself. But I don’t know which rooms have the best view, much less how to request them. And adding the Free Dining Plan after the fact? Making payments on my trip? Changing things at the last minute due to Wolf’s military schedule?

Yes, I could have called Disney each time, and I’m sure the cheerful folks there would have been able to handle each request. But I can’t tell you what a relief it was to have a single, knowledgeable point of contact who knew and could do everything. And there’s no charge for the hand-holding – agents’ commissions come out of Disney’s part of the bill.

I can’t speak highly enough about Chris at Pixie Vacations, so I want to share her information with you. She did not seek this promotion, and I am not receiving any compensation for it. Please do tell her As For My House sent you, so she knows how much we appreciate her!

Chris Wood
(919) 889-5281
ChrisW (at) pixievacations (dot) com
Her blog / website: Everything Walt Disney World

And here we are… A whole month of gratitude!

Feels good, doesn’t it? :)

Nov 292012

30 Days of Thankfulness

(This meme is really just a reminder to do what we are commanded to in Scripture.)

November 29th, 2012.
Days 26 – 29.

26. I am thankful for Netflix.

I know that may sound a little silly, but hear me out. We don’t have TV service, and have spent a lot of time with just DVD watching for our family movie time. Netflix has given us a much wider range of good choices, as well as the “instant gratification” factor. This is great for family movie nights, as well as sick kids!

27. I am thankful for AWANA – and the people who make it possible.

Naturally, we consider ourselves to be the primary teachers of our children in all things; we certainly don’t consider Sunday School, Church, or AWANA to be a substitute for that. But the kids have a great time socializing with other kids their own age in a pretty “safe” (morally) environment, as well as memorizing Scripture and hearing Biblical lessons.

AWANA this year is also the first place R.T. has been willing to go and stay without us. Hooray for my big boy!

28. I am thankful for Christian music – old and new.

I don’t listen to secular music at all anymore, except in unavoidable situations where it is being broadcast in a public place. I am always blessed when I play (and sing) my favorite Christian artists’ music, which I enjoy because of the worshipful and/or heart-touching lyrics, as well as the music itself. (Who? Casting Crowns, This Hope, Phillips Craig and Dean, The Masters Chorale, etc.)

I am also a huge fan of the classic hymns of our faith. I have come to realize how much I’ve missed being in a church where the worship leader says, “please turn to number 278 in your hymnals…” So many of them are Scripture based (rather than the shallow themes of many modern praise choruses), and really encourage a worshipful heart.

29. I am thankful for modern conveniences.

I know I blog a lot about off-grid living and man-powered machines, and I truly do believe those are valuable and important. But with my health challenges of the last year, it is a tremendous relief to have a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, a KitchenAid mixer, and an Air Conditioner. I can’t imagine how I’d be able to take care of my family without them, right now.

Nov 252012

30 Days of Thankfulness

(A handy reminder to do what we are commanded to in Scripture.)

November 25th, 2012.
Day 25.

I am thankful for homeschooling.

This one encompasses a lot…

  • I’m thankful for a husband committed to the idea as much as I am, so that he’ll do whatever it takes to allow me to stay home with them.
  • I’m thankful for a supportive homeschool community of friends online, and the wonderful Magnolia State Home Educators group locally.
  • I’m thankful for great Christian curriculums (although I hesitate to mention this, as I already gave Sonlight their own day!)
  • I’m thankful for the Lord’s leading that brought us to the point where we feel this is the right path, and for his strength and support when times are tough.
  • I’m thankful for children who are interested and willing participants in the process (and who also each had their own day!).
  • I’m thankful, so thankful, that I have the opportunity to not only teach each child in a way that meets their needs best, but also to teach them about a worldview and way of life that our faith imparts, and protect them from the bad influences and dangers (on so many levels!) that are “out there”.