30 September 2013

Annual Pumpkin Picking

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Apples, too.


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We met some wonderful new homeschooling friends from Riverside. All the kids played together so well. Here they are, putting on a play for us.


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They reenacted the Nativity story.


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It’s amazing how the camera caught this beam of sunlight coming down on Sierra as she recited John 3:16. She’s holding up a stick that the kids found. It actually looks like a cross.


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Here’s a better look at the cross.

We always look forward to our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. This year was no exception.

We enjoyed the fresh mountain air and all the lively festivities this season brings.

Although we missed coming with our dear friends this year, the Lord graciously provided us with the fellowship of new friends and some sweet moments to remember.

A fantastic day up at the farm!  

27 September 2013

McCallum Theatre Field Trip Series


The girls and I were excited to attend the first of many shows we’ve been invited to this year at the McCallum Theatre Field Trips Series. Last year, we really enjoyed the caliber and the variety of performances presented.

Occasionally, if it works out in his schedule, even daddy gets to go!  



So fun to meet up with other homeschooling friends.



The best part about the field trip series, all the shows are FREE!!

Looking forward to another fantastic year at the McCallum!

Backyard Blessings



















It’s beginning to be my favorite time of year. That season where it’s cool enough to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and take advantage of all our community has to offer. One place we like to visit from time to time is our own, La Quinta Resort. Located at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains, the grounds are absolutely breathtaking and the Spanish architecture, gorgeous.

We got down to the 80’s this week and celebrated by enjoying happy hour at Adobe Grille (one of the resort’s 7 restaurants) and wearing pants for the first time in 6 months.

With al fresco dining, live music, and an evening stroll… we were practically on vacation!

Palm Springs Life… gotta love it!

25 September 2013

The Pride of Life


The phrase “pride of life” is found only once in the Bible.

“For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, comes not from the Father but from the world.” ~1 John 2:16

The concept of the pride of life, especially when linked with the “lust of the eyes” and the “lust of the flesh,” appears in two more significant passages of Scripture— the temptation of Eve in the Garden and the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. The pride of life can be defined as anything that is “of the world,” meaning anything that leads to arrogance, pride in self, egoism, or selfishness.

Another word that comes to mind is narcissism. Better defined as someone with an inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love, vanity.

I believe the greatest sin of all mankind, continues to be the pride of life or narcissism.

For example…

Do you always need to be right? Have you ever felt the need to correct people, no matter the cost? Have you ever felt superior, smarter, or more spiritual than your neighbor? Have you ever judged others for their choices instead of loving them right where they are? Do you crave attention and respect? Do you need constant recognition or compliments? Do you have a hard time admitting when you’re wrong? Do you get upset when treated like a slave? Have you ever felt someone was talking about you or thinking about you when the truth is, they could probably care less?

     I am guilty as charged.     

Starting with the angel, Lucifer who was kicked out of heaven for thinking of himself higher than God, the human race has been doomed by the destruction of pride. The problem with pride—it’s a vortex and it leads nowhere but down.

If you think about it, pride is also the catalyst for war, politics, divorce, prejudice, poverty, abandonment, abortion, lust, greed, power, and fame.

And yet, the bible does not mince words.

God hates pride.

Because of Adam and Eve, it is inherit in ALL of us, although its deception can be very subtle. For some of us, we don’t even notice it anymore. Just like the serpent deceived Eve, we’re easily coerced into thinking we need to be more and do more, constantly trying to add our name to the top of the list and earn the applause of other sinners. And rather than living in freedom, we’re actually kept in bondage, day after day.

One thing is certain...

Pride kills.

Oh Lord, please forgive me. Help me, a sinful prideful person, pursue humility by Your loving grace. Teach me how to love others and cultivate a servant’s heart, for your glory— not my own.

Remind me daily, that I am loved, worthy, and beautiful, not because the world says so but because You say so.

And help me Lord, teach my children to fix their eyes on You and guard their hearts against the pride of life, which comes to steal, deceive, and destroy.  

The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.” ~Isaiah 2:11

Busy Hands

So, lately, the girls have taken to sewing. This is not a new request by any means. For the last couple of years, they have always talked about wanting to make clothes to give to the poor.

I supplied them with scraps of fabric, some thread, a needle, and scissors. I taught them how to thread a needle and secure the thread with a knot. The rest was up to them.
They’ve been spending a couple of hours a day, coming up with different projects on their own. It’s been so fun to see the satisfaction and joy on their faces when they’ve completed what they set out to do. 
Here’s a look at their first project.

A pillow for Froggy. He looks happy.

“Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.” ~Proverbs 31:19

Young Artists

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“He is not impressed by the strength of a horse… The Lord values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love.” –Psalm 147:10-11

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! -2 Corinthians 5:17
These are the latest pieces from our young artists.
When our friend, Ms. Marsha heard about the adoption fund the girls had started for their little brother, she generously offered to contribute to their cause. She has always enjoyed the girls’ drawings so she sent them a little a note and commissioned them to provide some new artwork for her home. They, in turn, could use the money as a donation for their adoption fund.
(I can still hear the squeals of delight, ringing in my ears, as they read her proposal).
We delivered the finished pieces yesterday and Marsha was of course, extremely generous.
Praise God for the sweetness of caring friends and those who lovingly inspire our budding artists.  

24 September 2013

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Yesterday, the girls went outside in the morning to ride their bikes and they immediately came running back in the house yelling, “It’s fall!! It’s fall!! It’s FALL!!!!”
That, and the fact that apparently, they needed a jacket for the first time in months.
The jacket only lasted about 5 minutes before they took it off but hey, at least we’re getting there!
Thankfully, the girls share my enthusiasm for anything fall or pumpkin spice related. That’s why I knew they would love this Pumpkin Spice Smoothie.
What a perfect way to use up that canned Organic Pumpkin Puree and start the morning out with a cool autumn breeze… Hallelujah, it’s fall.
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any milk you have)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 T honey (or maple syrup would be great, too)
This recipe is so versatile. You can even add yogurt for a thicker version but we enjoyed ours just the way it was. Yum!

20 September 2013

Hello Fall

everything fall

Guess what?

This Sunday is the first day of fall and to say that I’m looking forward to everything fall would be an understatement. You see, by this time, all us desert rats are pretty much D-O-N-E with summer.

We had glimpses of cooler temps this week and I must say, the slight change has been absolutely divine! Each and every morning, we’ve enjoyed family bike rides around our neighbor-- all the while, praising Jesus for the promise of a new season!

Tomorrow, our cozy home will begin to reflect that change as well. The few seasonal decorations I have will be placed and hung. Who knows? The delicious smelling candles might even be lit.

I’m thinking Sunday supper calls for something Pioneer Womanish. Every Sunday for the past several weeks, we’ve been enjoying dinner at ‘the big table’ in our front room. I decided this makes more use of the space we have in our home and occasionally, it even encourages us to invite some friends over.

First day of fall menu: PW’s pot roast, scalloped potatoes, and blackberry cobbler... There’s just something about Sundays and comfort food.

Another thing I’m hoping to do this weekend: Halloween costumes. Yes, it’s that time again.

Each year, my quest is to keep things simple, inexpensive, modest and pure. We’ll see what unfolds as I make a trip to Joann’s tomorrow. Wish me luck!

May your weekend be filled with hope. Hope of a new season, a new life, or a new challenge you may be facing. May you find a quiet moment to reflect on God’s promises. Let them sink in a while, replacing every anxious crevice of your soul. May you be reminded we all go through changing seasons in life and yet with God, nothing ever goes to waste. May the harvest of your blessings make you full. 

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

18 September 2013

IKEA Spice Rack {TURNS} Bookshelf

Ikea Spice Rack
Here it is. A $4 spice rack from IKEA. Nothing special, right?

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We painted ours white.

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A little weekend project.

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Which turned into a bookshelf… for our bathrooms!
So, the toilet happens to be one of the girls’ favorite places to read. For about a year now, books have been habitually piling up in the bathroom. Although I love that my children are avid readers, I did not like the fact that the books ended up on the bathroom floor. Yuck!
Not the most ideal place for cleanliness OR clutter.
I finally decided to come up with an easy way to get the books off the floor.
Enter Pinterest…
Many of the bookshelf ideas were great but they were more designed for a bedroom. I needed something compact and low profile. This fit the bill perfectly!
We waited for weeks to visit a nearby IKEA (our closet one is 2 hours away). Last weekend, while visiting my family, we were finally able to make a stop into the Carson store.
We now have a bookshelf in each of our bathrooms. No more books on the floor!! Yippee!!
Happy Reading!

17 September 2013

The Family Vision

Family Vision Newsletter

This summer, we were so honored to be included in Vision Forum’s newsletter, The Family Vision. Vision Forum is a ministry which seeks to glorify the Lord by casting a vision for the godly biblical family. Over the years, we have gleaned so much encouragement and insight from all the resources they provide on discipleship and education.

We first met Doug Phillips, President and Founder of Vision Forum at the last CHEA convention, where he spoke as one of the keynotes. Subsequently, he shared he was writing a piece about sanctity of life and adoption and asked if I would be willing to write a brief description of what adoption has meant to us. Of course, I was delighted to have an opportunity to encourage others towards adoption!

I know the snapshot above is hard to see. However, my quote read… 

“Adopting our children has given us a deeper understanding of the gospel. God loved us so much, He sent His one and only Son to buy back our lives, to redeem us. And now, we have the joy and privilege of being called His very own children. In many ways, this parallels the adopting of our own children. Adoption can be risky, costly, and outrageous but we serve a God who's in the business of restoring and redeeming lives. Not because we deserve it but because to Him, we are worth it. That's true love.” 

To view The Family Vision, click here. The specific article is on page 12.

The Family Vision

Glory to God!!

16 September 2013

Fall Is Almost Here Individual Apple Crisps

individual apple crisps
Sunday dinner included my feeble attempt to usher in fall with these individual apple crisps.
Having your very own small portion of anything makes things extra special, don’t they? 
Even though we’re still well over 100 degrees here, we’re getting very excited about the prospects of some cooler weather starting next week! 90’s here we come! LOL
Individual Apple Crisps
(serves 4)
  • 2 apples, diced or sliced. I used granny smith but any will do.
  • 2T Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 4T brown sugar
  • 2T butter
  • 4T GF quick oats
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (divided)
  • dash of salt
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
Dice apples and toss with lemon juice and half the cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and salt. Cut butter into little cubes and work into mixture until coarse crumble. Add oats and cinnamon. Top each ramekin with crumble mix.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 mins.
Enjoy your little portion of autumn!

13 September 2013

A Few Things Well

It’s Friday afternoon already. That means I’m looking forward to more family time with my hubby, a sweet visit to my extended family in OC (which means Korean food, here I come!), and of course, the fellowship and teaching we’ve been so desperately craving and grateful for on the Lord’s day. 

Have a lovely, grace-laced, intentional weekend, friends!

I’ll leave you with these poignant words from Ruth… I pray we all choose to do a few things well.  

It’s simply not worth it…

If we get our kids in a ton of activities,

but we never spend time with them.

If we serve everyone else,

but not our own husbands.

If we attend every function we’re invited to,

but barely function at home.

If we tend to other gardens,

while weeds spring up in our own.

If we spend time running around,

when our homes are running circles around us.

If we offer pieces of ourselves to everyone,

and forfeit the peace of being everything to just a few at home.

If we have joy and laughter for friends and outsiders,

but those inside our homes experience something very different.

If we sing praises to the Lord on Sunday,

but repeatedly sing tunes of worry and doubt throughout the week.

If we please everyone,

and fail to please the Lord.

If we have lovely things

but have not love. 

“And so, I’m choosing to live a quiet life, work (diligently) with my hands, and to strive to do a few things well. The few things that matter. The few things I’ve been given to do. The few things that count for eternity.” ~Ruth @ Gracelaced

12 September 2013

Teaching the Most Important Subject

Although there are many good and worthwhile subjects to learn, theology (the study of God), is by far the most important subject we teach our children each and every day. In fact, it’s not so much a subject, as it is a way of life.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. ~Deuteronomy 6:5-7

This passage in scripture exhorts us to intentionally seek God’s perspective on everything, at all times. How do we do this? By studying and growing from the most valuable textbook we own, the Bible.

C.S. Lewis said, “The­ol­ogy is prac­ti­cal: espe­cially now… Every­one reads, every­one hears things dis­cussed. Con­se­quently, if you do not lis­ten to The­ol­ogy, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones.”

Establishing a biblical worldview from which everything else in life is filtered through is what we are commanded to do as Christ-following parents. If we fail to do that, we have done our children a grave disservice. We have set them off in the wrong direction. Hence, no amount of history, science, or mathematics is going to help them.

Our desire is that our children will be able to stand on biblical truth, using godly instruction, and spiritual wisdom.

We want them to be able to rightly discern and judge all things in the light of Scripture. Christian education fails if we do not pattern our thinking after God’s words and logic. If a child learns to think in terms of himself, his decisions regarding right and wrong, truth and error, reality and fantasy, will be humanistic or naturalistic. Without realizing it, he will be acting as his own god, determining for himself good and evil (Genesis 3:5).

Therefore, we are grateful that for us, learning at home not only provides the most natural environment to grow, it gives us more time to focus on the eternal matters at hand, together.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. ~Proverbs 9:10.

Of course by fear, the bible means something much deeper than “respect.” You can have respect for many different kinds of people. We are talking about reverential awe, worship, and wonder.

But how do we teach this?

“You can’t give what you don’t have; you can’t teach what you don’t know yourself.” ~Peter Kreeft

One of the best parts about our homeschooling journey is the fact that we, as parents, have become students ourselves. We must humbly and regularly commit to studying God’s word, not allowing for excuses, scheduling conflicts, or satan to prevent us from that which we need most.

Growing in truth while being admonished, challenged, and refined…

All the while, lavished in His tender grace.

Our children get a front row seat to watch us, intimately, live out this life, for Him.

It hasn’t always been pretty or easy, but it is real.

Of all the countless reasons I could list on why homeschooling has been awesome for us, perhaps this, this is the greatest blessing we share.

Dear Moms,

Let us encourage one another to pursue God’s word with reckless abandon. Let us not settle for simply meeting together for a lite-version of spirituality. Let us spur one another towards deeply knowing and loving the One for whom we were created.

And let us lead by example for our children, the godly hope of the future.  

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