Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Works for Me Wednesday

What do you do with a child who is easily frustrated? What about the child who frequently falls back on the phrase, "I can't!" What about a child who just won't try?

Not that I, you know, have children like that.

OK, that was a joke. I have at least, let me count them, yep, four children who occasionally get frustrated or feel incapable.

And then I am frustrated when one of them says (or shouts, depending on the child. Yes, we have some "yellers" among us) "I can't."

I used to say things like, "Don't say 'can't'" or "How will you know unless you try?"

My children were unmoved by such things. So I stopped saying them. Mostly.

Now, when my kids are just about to reach that point or even after they say, "I can't," I remind them of our new saying. (And this is particularly necessary right now with one child who shall go unnamed for the purposes of this discussion.)

Our new statement is: "I haven't learned how to do this yet."

So, when one of my daughters is frustrated that things are just not quite working the way she thinks they ought to, or if she hasn't perfected a desired skill or accomplishment, a little reminder from me is all it takes.

"I haven't learned to do this yet" sounds so much more optimistic than a wailed, "I can't do it!"

Changing the terms works for us. So, next time you're tempted to throw up your hands and cry, "I can't!" Try to say, "I haven't learned how to do this yet." It might improve your day. Math worksheets, new kitchen skills, a craft project requiring finer motor skills... "I haven't learned to do this yet," could apply to any of the above.

(Little side note: Don't miss the MyMemories Giveaway going on now. Entries are low so you have an excellent chance to win some valuable software!)

This post will be linked to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday - Books in My TBR Pile

The actual theme is "Books to be Read This Winter" but I figure my current TBR pile is large enough without considering what I want to be reading in January or February:

1.EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey. My dad bought several copies of this book. Philip has already read it. I love Dave but somehow this one keeps ending up at the bottom of my stack. But I will be reading it - soon!

2.Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God by Joanna Weaver. I'm reading this along with my usual devotions but some days all I have time for is my usual devotions and never get around to this. I'm also evaluating this one as a potential book to be studied in a group setting.

3.How the Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children's Books by Joan Bodger. A travel memoir - of sorts - of a family who traveled to Great Britain on a literary quest. I've read the first two chapters and it's charming and definitely my cup of tea, I just haven't given it priority.

4.The Immigrant Advantage: What We Can Learn from Newcomers to America about Health, Happiness and Hope by Claudia Kolker. I was sent this to review but it somehow ended up midway down my stack. Must get to this soon.

5.The English Air by D.E. Stevenson. One of those vintage British novels of which I am inordinately fond. This will almost definitely be finished this weekend while we travel to see family.

6.From the Library of C. S. Lewis: Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey (A Writers' Palette Book) by James Stuart Bell. Includes writings by Chesterton, MacDonald, Tolkien, and Sayers. Yes, an embarrassment of riches.

Those six are all in my current stack. These are waiting for me at the library:

7.Murder Must Advertise (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) by Dorothy Sayers. I'm really enjoying these mysteries so I hope I can get to this one soon. It will probably jump to the top of the stack. (Some books are tricky like that.)

8.The Pemberley Chronicles: A Companion Volume to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: Book 1 by Rebecca Ann Collins. Because I haven't met my Jane Austen para-literature quota for this year. Which is also why I have the next two books waiting for me at the library.

9.Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doorneboos.

10.Christmas at Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Holiday Sequel by Regina Jeffers. Plus a couple other Austen related books. I probably won't read them all but I'm hoping at least one or two of them will be good.

So, what's in your stack? I'm linking this list up with Top 10 Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish.

Don't forget to enter the MyMemories giveaway - entries are low (try none) so you have a really great chance to win some fun digital scrapbooking software - it could be a Christmas present for yourself.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday - Digital Scrapbooking Giveaway

I occasionally get requests to do sponsored giveaways. I've always said no - until now. Why did I agree to this one?

Simply put, the product interested me: digital scrapbooking software. I've loved scrapbooking since I was a teenager but this was my first try at the digital type.

My Memories offered to let me try their software and (here's the part where you come in) give away another copy of the software to one of my readers. Hooray! They're also giving my readers a $10 off coupon code. (I love a good coupon code...)

Now, I haven't had as much time as I would like lately for traditional scrapbooking but this digital stuff is easy to do. You can sit down and make a page in as little or as much time as you have. You can save your progress. You can walk away from it and make supper - without having to clear all your supplies off the kitchen table. (Not that I've had to do that often or anything. Ahem.)

I've been enjoying the Holiday Simplicity album. The color scheme (reds, blacks, and greys) just goes perfectly with our 2010 Christmas pictures. 

Will this replace my love for traditional scrapbooking? No.
Is this a fun and easy new way to scratch that crafty itch? Yes.

(Want to know a secret? Philip even gave this a try. And he liked it. His page is amazing but I don't think I'm allowed to show you. Maybe someday.)

This is not exclusively photo editing software, but it does have some editing capabilities.
You do not have to have the software from MyMemories to use their scrapbooking kits. I suggest turning your willpower on High because some of those kits are seriously cute.

You can find the My Memories YouTube channel here, if you need some help getting started. I can tell you from my experience with MyMemories that they're great to work with.

So, how about the giveaway? Here's what you need to do:
  • 1. Mandatory first entry: visit MyMemories and window shop all their amazing products. Leave a comment here and tell me your favorite paper pack or layout.
You can get extra entries these ways (leave a comment for each extra entry):
  • 2. Follow the MyMemories Blog 
  • 3. Become a Fan of MyMemories on Facebook 
  • 4. Follow MyMemories on Twitter
This giveaway will run until Sunday night (12/4) and the winner (chosen randomly) will be announced next Monday (12/5). This is my first "real" giveaway so thanks in advance for bearing with me. I've been excited about the chance to share this with you and I hope you'll forgive this diversion from our Usual Blogging Business.

Disclosures: I was given a copy of this software free to try. I will earn a commission on any sales made using my unique coupon code (found in my sidebar).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

The true mystics of the quotidian are not those who contemplate holiness in isolation, reaching godlike illumination in serene silence, but those who manage to find God in a world filled with noise, the demands of other people and making a living.
–Kathleen Norris
Psalm 105:1-7
O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.
He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekend Links - November 26, 2011

Please join me in praying for my blog friend MacKenzie. Her mother, after a long fight, died this morning. This is one of those times when being "blog friends" just isn't enough. How I wish I could sit and cry with my friend, or take her a casserole, or just watch Miss Lucy so she could rest for a little while. Those things can't happen and so I'm much more dependent on prayer. That's probably a good thing.

Please forgive me if I seem too flippant as I move on to these links, that is not my intention.

1. Here's an interesting homeschooling article: My Parents Were Home-Schooling Anarchists.

2. What makes it even more interesting is her mom responded with an article of her own: I Was That Home-Schooling Anarchist.

3. I agreed with this one a little too often: Driving Pet Peeves That Make Me Want to Ram People With My Van. I've been trying to teach Philip the correct way to drive in a parking lot for the past fifteen years. I think we've made some progress on that. (Sample quotation from early on: "What do you mean there's a wrong way?")

4. An encouraging, timely post (at least for me): Spiritual Protection for Your Growing Child.

5. I really loved this post on Homeschooling, Convictions, and the Christian Welcome. The modern day Pharisee is alive and well, I'm sorry to say. (I'm even sorrier to say that I am often that self-same Pharisee.)

6. Here's a nice list of Christmas Gift Ideas for kids (from Sarah at Clover Lane).

7. If you're on a tight budge and you have someone in your family who loves paper dolls, here's a nice supply of Printable Paper Dolls. (Have I ever mentioned that I love paper dolls? I have - yes, still - a rather large collection.)

8. If you're really stuck trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas may I suggest: Colin Firth Up For Sale. I kid, I kid. But still... Wow, what a chance.

9. From the Department of Really Random Stuff: The Amazing History and the Strange Invention of the Bendy Straw.

Pins of the Week:
Love these vintage cameras turned into nightlights:

I think the designer said these would soon be for sale on Etsy.

2. It's a little late for this year but file this away for next Thanksgiving:

So cute and, if done correctly, can be taken apart and made again next year. Unlike all those paper plate turkeys that end up in the trash. (Just us?)

Well, that's it for this week. (And I'm finally caught up on sharing all the links I saved last week!). Did you stumble onto anything interesting this week? Share in the comments.

I'm linking up with Saturday Stumbles at Simply Staci.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness. ~Robert Casper Lintner

The girls and I have this Psalm memorized and quote it often, especially around Thanksgiving:

Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

We wish you and yours a wonderful, thankful day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday - Authors I'd Invite for Thanksgiving

1. Jane Austen. If you've read my blog more than once I bet you could predict that one.

2. C.S. Lewis. He wasn't crazy about America ("That awful place") but I think he would enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.

3. Winston Churchill. Only problem I could see: he liked his alcohol and we're Temperance folk.

4. William Shakespeare. His insults would be much more colorful than our usual snark.

5. Agatha Christie

6. Dorothy Sayers

7. Ngaio Marsh

8. Arthur Conan Doyle

The four above could argue about the finer points of mystery writing.

9. Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder. They could compare our feast to their favorite meals of the past. (Surely I'm not the only one who ends up hungry after reading Farmer Boy?)

10. J.R. R Tolkien. With both Tolkien and Lewis, it would be like a mini-gathering of the Inklings.

So, who which authors would you invite?
This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, November 21, 2011

More on Monday

More links, that is. Didn't I tell you I had saved too many last week?

If you're wondering what I've been doing today here's the list:
  • tidying up from the weekend. Sundays destroy our house. This is one of the lesser known side-effects of life in "the ministry"
  • making some Thanksgiving plans and menu plan for the week
  • helping the girls with school. I gave them assignments to last through Wednesday morning but they've been super motivated today and should have everything done today or tomorrow
  • praying for friends and family in particular need today
  • taking a nap. Oh, yes, I did. I sat down on the couch with my fleece blanket and a good mystery and, though the mystery is good, the blanket won.
So, anyway, here are a few more links, just in case you're having a lazy, browsing kind of day too:

1. Careers for People Who Don't Like People. Actuary, anyone?

2. The Science of Sarcasm. I've often said that sarcasm is my native tongue. Research suggests that children understand sarcasm quite early on. Probably from their parents saying, "You want to do what? Yeah, that'll happen." OK, I made that part up. Maybe I'm the only parent who has ever said such a thing.

3. Interesting discussion on Little Sibs and Hand Me Downs. We love hand me downs around the Charming house. And I loved them as a kid too. "New to me" clothes were always welcome.

4. Really loved this post from The Homespun Heart: On Feeling Small.

5. And a timely suggestion as the holiday season swings into full speed ahead: Don't Be A Charity Sl*t This Year.
    And, just in case you have some travel coming up this week (we will actually be doing our Thanksgiving travel next week. Yeah, we like to stretch things out), here's a really cute printable take on the license plate game:
    What's going on for you on this Monday before Thanksgiving?

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Sunday Thoughts

    The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! 
    ~Henry Ward Beecher

    Psalm 92:1-5
    It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
    To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,
    Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.
    For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.
    O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Weekend Links - November 19, 2011

    Can you say "link happy"? 'Cause I think I went a little nuts this week. I'll save a few of my favorites to share on my new Candid Diversions facebook page but other than that, hold on and here we go:

    1. Love these game cakes (via Sunday Sweets at Cake Wrecks.) They're all great but wow, look at that Hungry, Hungry Hippos cake = amazing!

    2. Philip and I have been trying to step up the income side of our budget, which is the short reason why there have been some changes here at this blog. With that in mind, I appreciated this post: How to Monetize Your Blog Without Selling Your Soul.

    3. My cousin Cindy wrote a great post: Krispy Kreme and God's Providence. I love these kind of reminders that God cares about us and our lives.

    4. I don't want to turn this into a political blog (I've had a taste of political blogging and it is Not Fun) but I thought this was funny: You Know You Spend Too Much Time on Politics When...

    5. This post on Sartorial Slippery Slopes caught my eye. Unless there is an underlying health reason can we just all agree that there is no need to wear our pajamas to the grocery store?

    6. Here's your infographic of the week: Orwell vs. Huxley.

    7. This list of 11 Sounds Your Kids Have Probably Never Heard is great. Great and sad. I am pleased to say that I'm doing my part to teach my kids about  these kind of things since we do own a working record player. The girls love it almost as much as I do.

    8. Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? (Where you attempt to write a complete book in just one month) Whether you are or not, this is an inspiring list of NaNoWriMo Books That Have Been Published. I've never read any of them, so I can't testify as to the quality, but it is encouraging to know that these efforts can end in actual publication. On the flip side, these Rejection Letters to Famous Authors might also be encouraging.

    9. This is old now but I just stumbled across it and thought it was funny: Top 10 Worst Halloween Candy. You people who are still handing out Tootsie Rolls and Mary Janes are not fooling anyone. Gross!

    10. A man found $500,000 Worth of Treasure in a Storage Unit. Stories like this are going to make my dad and grandpa stop watching Storage Wars and join in.

    11. Thanksgiving is coming (just a friendly reminder there) and here's the Science of Leftovers: Why Don't They Taste As Good?

    12. Have you seen the New Theory About Jane Austen's Death? Whatever the reason for her death, it was the world's loss and I dearly wish she had been granted the time to write more. But I suppose that is a primarily selfish inclination.

    13. Let's just put the cameras away, all you YouTube Star Wannabes. Just for a little while. Maybe just enjoy the funny things your kids do and say without a lens between you.

    14. P.D. James wrote a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. And now I am So! Excited! For! This!

    15. And this is why I try to buy local honey: Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn't Honey. OK, that title is just inflammatory, but still - if you think you're buying honey it ought to be real honey.

    16. Funny list: 10 Hairstyles We Hope Never Come Back. Not surprising, the mullet again takes top (low) honors here.

    17. I get a lot of spam (and wow! it is annoying and often obscene) but there's not much to do about it: Referer Spam is Here To Stay. At least I know I'm not alone.

    18. I've recently accepted a couple books to review and this post (H/T Melissa Wiley) really resonated with me: Remember When Viral Was a Bad Thing. I want to give honest reviews (but encouraging, if possible, since someone somewhere did a lot of work), but it is difficult to avoid the reviews and opinions of other people.

    19. Did You Hear About the new German Ambulatory Amusement Ride? A walkable roller coaster? Um, OK, I'll admit right now: I don't get it.

    20. Philip and I have been watching Parks and Recreation recently (this should not be considered an endorsement, by the way) and it's one of the few comedies that we both enjoy. This could be why: A Sitcom That Loves Middle America.

    OK, that was about half the things I bookmarked this week to share with you. As Charlie Brown would say, "Good grief." I'll just share one pin with you to make up for all this wordiness.
    These lion bookends, constructed from dollar store finds, would look fabulous on my shelves. Or, OK, any shelves:
    source: Sweet Suite
    Can you imagine them in black? Or hot pink? Someone get on that.

    Did you stumble on anything great this week? Do you think I spent way too much time online this week? (Guilty!) Fire away in the comments.

    This post is linked up with Saturday Stumbles at Simply Staci. Come share your links and see what other folks have stumbled on this week.

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Finer Things Friday - Togetherness

    Lately during our bedtime prayers with the girls (which is a Finer Thing in its own right) we've been asking them to tell us one thing they're thankful for. (Ack! Ending a sentence with a preposition - someone will revoke my Grammar Snob card. Oh, well. I also plan to use a lot of sentence fragments in this post. In for a penny, in for a pound.)

    The answers to this have been varied and pretty much what you would expect (our family, a house, clothes, all my toys) Then last night Tigger (the picture above is Tigger earlier this year) looked around their bedroom. Their tiny bedroom.

    The bedroom with bunk beds, a toddler bed and a pack n play all crammed together in as artful a way possible. The room that is one of the main reasons we're hoping to sell our house next year.

    "I'm thankful that we all get to sleep together!" She said. Her sisters {well, the ones who talk already. Miss Lili said nothing but she was smiling} all agreed. Despite the cramped quarters, despite the occasional disagreement ("She put her toe on my bed", anyone?), despite the struggle to keep a room which four girls, their clothes and their toys share even remotely tidy: they enjoy their time together.

    Which is definitely a Finer Thing in my book.
    This post is linked to Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Book Review - Practical Genius

    Occasionally I get requests to review books. I've always turned down these chances in the past but the last few requests I've received caught my eye and I decided to go for it.

    The first of these books is Practical Genius: The Real Smarts You Need to Get Your Talents and Passions Working for YOUby Gina Amaro Rudan. The author wants to change the feeling that we're walking around leaving one set of our skills,talents and assets unused (what she calls "de-geniusing" ourselves). She also wants to change the commonly accepted view of what "genius" is.
    The problem with the commonly accepted concept of "genius" is that it's a quality - like creativity - that has a magical, elusive connotation. Most people consider genius to be a gift, a lightning bolt fromt he gods that strikes a lucky few like Mozart or Einstein, but not the rest of us.

    I'm here to tell you that this is simply not true. Every one of us has the capacity for genius.
    Ms. Rudan is obviously what Dave Ramsey would call a "high octane, high protein" go-getter.This comes across clearly in everything she writes. She's unapologetic and she writes like the bossy big sister everyone could use every once in a while. (Yes, I am used to being the Bossy Big Sister, not listening to one.)

    Her advice ranges from the practical (improving listening skills, using correct body language, etc.) to the slightly less usual (telling your story, recognizing people who are operating on the same wave length as yourself).

    A few of my favorite quotes:
    Better to play with ten amazing people than pander to ten thousand morons.

    You don't manage time, you spend it.

    [D]o one thing every day that represents a conscious effort to expose yourself to the extraordinary instead of the ordinary, the profound instead of the pedestrian, the breathtaking instead of the mind-numbing.
    This book is obviously intended for those already working in the corporate world, whether for a Fortune 500 company or in a small business. Even though I'm not really part of that scene, I think the thing I appreciated most about this business book is that it wasn't a "Be like Steve Jobs" or "imitate this business guru" kind of book.

    There has already been a Steve Jobs and no one else will ever be exactly like him. I can promise you that if I tried, I would be a spectacular failure.

    But - and here's the part that I think encouraged me the most - we don't have to be Steve Jobs. We need to be balanced, hard-working, honest, and yes, maybe even genius versions of ourselves. Because no one else can do that.

    I received a copy of this book for review purposes only. I did not receive any other form of compensation for this review. Opinions are my own. This post also contains Amazon affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Words for Wednesday - On Human Nature

    We are all worms. But I really think I am a glow worm.
    - Winston Churchill
    Of course this kind of quote must be held in balance with this type:
    Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.
    - Ludwig Wittgenstein
    But I think there's room for both. We can work (though it is difficult) on not deceiving ourselves to our true natures and yet we can also be the glowing-est glow worms possible and enjoy life to the fullest.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Top 10 Tuesday - Unread Books on My Shelf

    True confession time: it was way too easy to find ten unread books on our shelves. I could probably do a list of twenty or thirty books I own that I haven't read yet but I won't.
    1.Whose Voice the Waters Heard: A WWII Novel. By Robert Vaughan. I picked this up this summer at a library sale because I am a sucker for books about the Second World War (and because, let's be honest, I liked the cover). I still want to read it but it is sitting on the shelf with my other WW2 fiction, sadly neglected.

    2.Embers by Sandor Marai, translated by Carol Brown Janeway. Another beautiful cover. This novel by a Hungarian author about the Austro-Hungarian Empire looks like it would be a fascinating read. I've owned it for ages but just haven't gotten around to it yet.

    3.Emilie's Voice: A Novel by Susanne Dunlap. I picked this up at Half Price Books for a dollar. Paris, Versailles, coming of age, music...still not enough to jump into my "Read NOW" stack.

    4.Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. This is one of those classics I feel like everyone else has read. One of these days I'll get around to it...

    5.The Woman in Whiteby Wilkie Collins. One of the first mystery / sensation thrillers. In my current mood for vintage mysteries (Sayers, Marsh) I expect I'll be reading this one sometime soon.

    6.Watership Downby Richard Adams. Another book I think everyone else has read. I've tried before but, hello, it's about rabbits. Let's just say I have trouble getting past the first page.

    7.The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and:

    8.Ethan Frome also by Edith Wharton. Which just goes to prove that I'm the person who feels I ought to read Wharton but I'm also the person who never gets around to it. In much the same category:

    9.The Ambassadors by Henry James. I've read one James book (Washington Square) and it wasn't really my favorite thing ever. I own several more but this is the one I'm most likely to {eventually} get around to reading.

    10.Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nationby Cokie Roberts. My own mother read this one and passed it on to me, long, long ago. And there it sits on my shelf.

    These are books I own (or have had passed on to me) so this list doesn't even begin to cover the books in my library stack or the other books crowding my shelves that I just haven't quite gotten around to yet. {sigh}

    So little time, so many books, right? Do you have a "still unread" stack? Please tell me I'm not alone here.

    This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish.

    This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own.