Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Meal Planning

It's not the weekend but we wanted to get our grocery shopping done early. With us living close to Los Angeles and the concern in regards to protestors possibly creating problems on Saturday (Nov 4th) and base possibly getting locked down, we wanted to get our shopping done early to make sure we have plenty of food in the fridge, just in case.

For this time around, we opted to plan for 12 meals.  So here's whats on the menu for the next two weeks.

Tuesday -  Grilled hamburgers with chips

Wednesday - Homemade Shake and Bake Pork Chops with Mac and Cheese and salad

Thursday - Pizza night

Friday - Farby's (Fake Arby's Beef and Cheddar) Sandwiches with homemade steak fries

Saturday - Chicken Fried Chicken with white gravy, green beans and salad

Sunday - Alice Springs style Chicken with buttered lima beans and rice pilaf (recipe from Aunt Bee's Recipes)

Monday - Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole with Salad

Tuesday - Breakfast for Dinner with Waffles, bacon, eggs and fresh fruit

Wednesday - Cajun Shrimp with Tomato Alfredo Pasta  (recipe from Jo Cooks)

Thursday - Chili (with Fritos style chips and cheddar cheese)

Friday - Homemade Crunch wraps with Salad and pinto beans

I may possibly blog my Farby's recipe when we get to it to share with my readers.  It's super easy to make in the crock pot and is one of my husband's favorites (and saves me lots of money since we have an Arby's here on base!!).

Happy Eating Everyone :)

Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Many times, when we want our kids to learn something, we spend large amounts of money on high-end curriculums in the hopes that a bigger price tag equals a better learning tool.  However, sometimes, less is more.  The kids have been learning and understanding more about God through a few very simple tools that were included in the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack from Let the Little Children Come

The Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack is a package that contains ten simple but effective tools that capture children's attention while delivering powerful messages of God's love.  

Each Sampler pack includes the following:

  • John 3:16 Animated Tract
  • Gospel Buttons FlipAbout
  • The Most Amazing House Pop-up Tract
  • Wordless Bracelet Kit
  • The True Story of Christmas Animated Tract
  • The Lost Easter Egg Pop-up Tract
  • John 3:16 FlipAbout
  • Silicone Salvation Bracelet (Medium)
  • Where’s Everybody Going? Animated Tract
  • Wordless Book

Everything came packaged neatly in a zippered bag along with additional paperwork that tells gives suggestions how to use each item with children along with Biblical explanations for each tract. 

Right out of the package, the kids wanted to look at and play with the various pieces included in this sampler pack.   Without a doubt, the Animated Tracts were the most popular. 

The animated tracts are small booklets that at first glance have strange blurry illustrations. 

Each tract also has a small piece of black stripped plastic that tucks neatly inside the booklet.  When kids take the plastic and place them over the blurred illustrations and slowly move the plastic sideways, the blurred images then become a recognizable image and appears to move. 

Here's a video of the kids checking out the animated tracts that shows how the animated aspect works. 

Ashleigh really enjoyed the Wordless book, the wordless bracelet kit, the Salvation bracelet and the Gospel Button FlipAbout Tract.  All three of these tracts use colors to represent an important part of the story of our Salvation.  Gold (yellow) represents that God wants us to be in Heaven with him, Black represents the sin that keeps us from being with God, Red represents the blood that Jesus shed to take the punishment of our sins, White represents our sins being made white as snow from Jesus's sacrifice for us on the cross, and Green represents growing in our relationship with Jesus. 
Both kids also really enjoyed the FlipAbout books.  These are 2 inch by 2 inch square foldable "books" that work like something origami. Kids simply flip, fold and unfold these little tracts in order to create new images that help to tell the story of the tract. 
Here's Garrett with the John 3:16 tract. 

And Ash really liked the pictures with the Gospel Button tract that uses the same
message as the wordless book and bracelets. (Ashleigh is wearing the Silicone Salvation Bracelet in this photograph).

Garrett really enjoyed the two popup books that were part of the sampler package.  One is about the true meaning of Easter while the other is about the house that God has prepared for us when we join him in Heaven.  This one was Garrett's favorite out of everything included in the package. 

Each of these tracts are great tools for spreading the story of salvation to young children throughout the year.  The True Story of Christmas animated tract could easily be placed in stockings, gift bags or even as part of a Shoebox for Operation Christmas Child while the Lost Easter Egg pop-up book could be put in Easter baskets.

#hsreviews  #ShareTheGospel #evangelism

For more information on the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack as well as other products, visit the Let The Little Children Come website. You can also find them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LetTheLittleChildrenCome/   
Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools {Let the Little Children Come Reviews}

Thursday, October 26, 2017

AWANA Thursday

It's Thursday, so that means it's time for the weekly AWANA report.

However, this week, there was not an AWANA meeting as instead, the chapel held it's annual Harvest festival and Trunk or Treat event.  Last year, we attended but this year we decided to decorate the car and pass out candy to all the kids in attendance.

Since the rule is that costumes cannot be scary or gory, zombies were out of the question, so we just recycled the costumes from last year..

Ashleigh was Supergirl..

And Garrett was a police officer.

And here they are together in our trunk or treat display.

This year, the them for the cars was Disney Movies and TV..  We decided to go with Hunchback of Notre Dame.  We hooked up a projector to a portable power tank and looped a video of "God Help the Outcasts" on a screen along with a handmade stained glass window back made on parchment paper and backlit with Christmas lights.  Chalk and black poster boards, some LED powered candles and a flat sheet to look like a floor and our look was complete.

Here's a video showing how it looks all together in action.  
A Lilo and Stitch Car

Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs

Finding Nemo

Star Wars

Along with a very authentic looking Dark Vadar

And here is Alyssa, dressed up as Esmeralda ready to pass out candy to all the kiddos.

While Alyssa passed out candy, the littles and I went ahead and did their trunk or treating and played a few games. There were two bouncy houses for them to enjoy, which they ended up spending most of their tickets to do ;)

There seemed to me many more kids this year than last year.  I always get a kick seeing all the wonderful costumes that the little kids wear. 

The little mermaid car. 

The kids did spend some of their tickets playing games to win more candy.

However, the bouncy castle ended up calling them back for more.

This is the trophy given to the car with the most votes for Trunk or Treat.  We don't know who won yet, but I have a feeling that Darth Vadar will probably end up with this on his shelf ;)

As the event began to wind down, the kids decided to hang out in the car, listening to "God Help the Outcasts" and enjoying their Halloween treats.   And we even had a nice surprise when we heard the Challenger driving through the parking lot and realized Dad had shown up to come see how things were going :)

You can see the Power Tank sitting in the back seat of the car that was running our whole display. 

It seems like the Harvest Festival was a huge success and I was happy to see so many people out to support the base chapel.  It's an excellent outreach program and I know the kids had a blast.

But that's not to say that we've been slacking off on our memorization.  We have spent this week with Ashleigh memorizing the first 20 books of the Bible as well as memorizing Genesis 12:1-2 and Proverbs 1:7 to recite next week :) 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sex By Design (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Having an adult daughter is hard, especially in today's society. Having an adult daughter who has graduated high school and held on to her purity while doing so, is even harder.  I'm proud of my daughter for sticking to her convictions, but there have been situations where boys she has been in relationships with entered into relationships with her with less than honorable intentions. So when I was given the option to review Sex by Design from Abby Ludvigson, I thought it would be a great opportunity to sit with Alyssa, reiterate the reasons why she should continue to hold to her chastity as long as possible and discuss ways in which to counter situations such as what she had already encountered.

About Sex By Design

The series consists of three parts; a 7 part video component, two companion guidebooks (one for the parent and one for the teen) and a website with additional resources with articles, book recommendations, and printables.

There are seven sections to this study:

1) Plan Ahead: Living Pure in a Sex-saturated Culture
2) Counting the Cost: Every Decision has a price tag
3) Dating: Doing Relationships God's Way
4) Sex: God's Purpose and Plan
5) Modesty: God Cares What I Wear
6) Pornography: Its deception and Steps to Get Out or Stay Out
7) Secondary Virginity: Running Back to God

How We Used It and What We Thought

Let me start by saying that discussing sex, abstinence and topics such as pornography are not foreign to us. I have always had an open and honest relationship with my daughter and have never approached her questions regarding relationships and intimacy with embarrassment.  My daughter has also observed how infidelity and pornography have negatively impacted marriages in our family.  So, without hesitation, we sat side by side on the couch with my laptop and our books so that we could watch the videos together.

First, for the good points. I really liked the books that accompany this series.  The parent's guide provides a great platform for discussion for what could be uncomfortable topics.

I really wanted to like these videos and hoped that Alyssa would away from them with some very helpful information in regards to navigating dating and sexual temptation.  However, I will be honest; I felt that there were MANY missed opportunities and important topics that weren't covered in any real depth, if at all.   For example, there was very little discussion about sexual pressure and what to do if one is in a relationship with someone who is pressuring one into a sexual relationship. These videos constantly make reference to what God wants from us (sexual purity) but there wasn't any discussion in regards to things like "if a person really loves you and respects you, they will respect your decision" or that any person who continues to pressure you into a sexual relationship once you say no, they are in the relationship for the wrong reasons. Telling a young person who is full of hormones and confusion to find answers in the Bible doesn't really tackle the fact that the relationship is severely flawed and they should move on. Of course, being able to talk with Alyssa when she's sitting right beside me, I can counter this, but I felt that there wasn't as much practical information that could and should have been provided.

I also found that some of the factual information presented was wrong.  An example being Abby says in the 1970s, there were only 2 known STDs but that there are over 25 today.  However, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and gonorrhea were all known long before the 1970s and students who have taken a health class will probably be aware of this as well. This may seem like a very insignificant point, but it makes one question the validity of other claims such as statistics about teens who regret guilty after having sex that Abby makes, especially when discussing a topic that many teenagers are going to approach with a closed mind to begin with.

Abby's suggestions for tools for purity include a purity commitment card, purity ring, writing letters to your future spouse and a half-filled picture frame.  But these tools provide very little guarantees when a teenager who thinks they are "in love" and being pressured.  Yes, God does indeed say we should wait till marriage, but when Christian youth with purity rings on their fingers have just as high of a teen pregnancy rate as their non-Christian counterpart, being armed with a quiverful of scripture doesn't seem to be making a difference.  A real arsenal of tools are needed to counter today's sex-driven society and I just felt that this series failed to provide that information.

Abby seems like a really nice person and I give her all the credit for holding to her values and remaining abstinent until marriage.  I do feel some guilt for writing such a negatively influenced review because she does seem like a genuinely nice person who wanted to provide a tool parents can use to help their children to remain pure till marriage and the concept is great.  It might be that we have a pastor who is extremely open in regards to talking about sex and abstinence but still provides the tools necessary to avoid temptations and how to recognize a toxic relationship. But I just feel that abstinence is about much more than a contract of purity, it's also being aware of situations and how to recognize when someone you're dating isn't honorable. It's about having a rescue plan. 

Because of these reasons, I would say this is a great series for those who have teens who are not yet dating. Because this is not a sex ed course, the material is not graphic or detailed but is more about reasons why one should abstain from sex before marriage.  If one is wanting to strictly introduce their children to the reasons for abstinence, this is a great platform for that.  However, for those who have children who are thinking about serious dating, I think this makes a good argument for purity but that additional discussion between the parent and child is necessary to discuss these other issues.

For more information about Sex by Design, please visit the website. You can also find more information on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Sex-by-Design-188984727830789/.

Sex by Design {Abby Ludvigson Review}


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