Nip and Tuck

Welcome to “Pump Day”, where one day a week we homeschool in heels and talk about all things girlie!

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Pump_Day_2I have seen quite a few hair styles come and go, but this was a new one on me. It seems runway pros are setting a trend for tucking your hair into the back of your outfit! Interesting….

Instead of worrying about a fancy hair do, simply nip a hairband around your mane to form a ponytail and tuck the loose ends into the back of your collared shirt or coat. Simple, right?

I can already tell this look is not going to work for me. I do not like my hair close to my skin. It’s a struggle just to leave my hair down, much less tuck it into my clothing. (shudder) When my hair is wet, my mane never sees the light of day; it stays tucked into a bun until fully dry.

The Tuck

For those brave enough, or just not as sensitive as I am, wear this look with high collared shirts and coats. Spritz your hair to keep flyways at a minimum, nip your hair into a band, and then tuck your mane into your clothing.

Time to Chime In: While I will not be sporting this look anytime soon. I would love to hear your take on this new trend. To try or not to try; that is the question.

As always… While fashion is fun, we should remember:

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” – I Peter 3:3-4

‘Fraidy Cat

I used to think that in order to be brave you needed to be free of fear. I quickly learned this was not the case. True bravery is being afraid and still rising to the occasion.

Fear is hard to deal with, even as an adult. To children, fear can often be insurmountable. Taking that first step when cold panic sets in is never easy. As parents, how do we help our children overcome their fear and move forward?

Through Prayer – Kids need prayer just as much as we adults do. When our children are facing a difficult situation, we need to demonstrate the power of prayer.

Through Discussion – Helping our children identify exactly what they are afraid of often helps them to continue on. When we know what we are afraid of, we can battle that monster and conquer the problem. This is a great time to discuss previous experiences that have already been overcome or personal examples of when you conquered a fear of your own. It would also be a good time to draw up a ‘battle plan'; explaining how our children can attack this problem/situation and finish well. Little Feet

Through Action – The first step is the hardest. We need to encourage our children to get moving. Instead of looking at the problem as a whole, think of it in baby steps. Focus on one step at a time and, before you know it, you’ll be there! If that first step is a big one or they just can’t seem to walk it by themselves, perhaps walking hand-in-hand with mom or dad might be in order. After a little initial help, our children will soon learn to move forward on their own.

Through Example – As mentioned above, in our discussions and in our life we should model how to conquer our fears. When our children see us pursue issues in times of struggle and anxiety, they too will begin to face their own fears.

Fear can paralyze both in mind and body, if we choose to allow it. But that is the key… if we allow it! Through prayer, discussion, and action we have the ability to conquer anything put before us; we only need to move forward.

Time to Chime In: What was the last fear your child needed to conquer and how did you help them overcome it?

“The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

Humble Thyself

It creeps up on us sometimes, this sneaky need to have others recognize our hard work and diligent actions. Instead of being content to accomplish our goals, we want others to acknowledge our success.

Every once in a while it is important to take stock of our heart and humble ourselves. When pride takes over, it is vital that we put our lives into perspective; asking ourselves who really ought to be given the glory.

Nothing I accomplish is done of my own intelligence or incredible ability. The knowledge I do have has been acquired through learning what others had to teach; not a world-changing revelation I have discovered. If I have a certain capability, it has been taught or learned from watching others. My pride is misplaced.

It is just as important to teach this principle to our children. We are constantly encouraging our littles and telling them what a good job they are doing. If we homeschool, we often add to this by bragging about how smart they have become and how advanced they are compared to public schooled kids. If we do not balance these encouragements with lessons in humility we will end up with horrible children who think much too highly of themselves. How unpleasant it is to be around someone who can do nothing but talk of their own accomplishments and praises!

Instead of compliments issued out of our own mouths, we should look to uplift others. If acknowledgement is received, let it come from someone else. Admiration means so much more when it is unasked for and heartfelt.

One should also note that asking with the intent of receiving praise is just as unpleasant. “Did I do well?” Now, this should not be confused with the desire for honest feedback. Generally speaking, this question is asked with the intent of improvement or helping to better a performance. However, these tactics are also used when a person simply wishes to hear praise uttered on their behalf. (I have especially noticed this in the littles. ) They are not content to ask once, hoping to receive a truthful answer, but will ask this numerous times in hopes of receiving additional praise by which to bask in the glory.

How do we battle our sense of pride? By realizing that our goal is to point others to Christ and not ourselves. If we live for Him and do all things for Him, we will no longer crave a desire for other’s praise; we will be more concerned about others seeing Christ through us. I believe we can also accomplish this goal by seeking the good in others, instead of focusing on ourselves.

As a parent, nothing is more refreshing than to hear my children praise each other. They do not look to lift themselves up, but wish other people to admire their siblings instead. What a lovely notion! Unfortunately, this does not occur quite as often as every parent would like, but we are still learning and growing.

I want to make sure my heart is in the right place. Praise for myself should never leave my lips. Instead, I would rather focus on the good I find in others and find new ways to encourage them. I want to make sure my requests for prayer are meant to be just that and not an opportunity to brag about ministry opportunities or blessings on our life.

Pride is a hard pill to swallow, one I need to constantly be on the lookout for. Even just a little pride can lead to a world of trouble.

Time to Chime In: How do you deal with the issue of pride in your own home?

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” – Proverbs 27:2

The Craft Table: Tag; You’re It!

Craft-Table_LogoWelcome to the Homeschool Mom’s Craft Table. Enjoy a quick foray into the world of art; join us as we delve into projects, offer helpful tips, explore new tools, and encourage all things creative. Come along and share a world of fun!

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I am one organized gal. Just name an object and I can tell you exactly where it is in my home, down to which side of the drawer it’s on and what you’ll find next to it. Being organized helps keep me sane and is a huge time saver. Imagine my delight when I found a fun, cute way to re-organize my collection loose leaf tea!

I like tea. To be more honest, I should probably state I am obsessed with tea. I own many different varieties and am attempting to collect a decent selection of loose leaf teas. I found myself looking for a creative way to display/store my growing assortment.  I could not see myself sorting through an entire cupboard of little baggies with sticky notes on them. (shudder)

New Tea Labels

My hubby happened to be in the kitchen watching me work out this dilemma and humbly suggested I try canning jars. It seems he uses them to store his pipe tobacco and knew these would be just what I needed for the job. He was absolutely correct!

Now that I knew what to store them in, exactly how was I going to tell them apart? Sure I could write on the jars with a Sharpie, but that somehow lacked in appeal. I wanted something clever and appealing to the eye. Again, my man thoughtfully suggested a tag punch. (Secretly, I think he has been wanting me to get one for quite a while so he can steal it for his own personal projects. But, I don’t mind; more for me, too!)

I am very happy to announce and share that our project was a complete success! I found the prettiest cut-glass mason jars, beige baker’s twine, thin chipboard, and a new tag punch. When put together, the end result is perfect. It has achieved the desired affect, made my tea cupboard (yes, I have a cupboard) more organized, and is too cute for words.

Now that this project is complete, what do I plan to do with my new tool? You would be amazed at how versatile a tag punch can be!

  • Gift Tags
  • Christmas Presents
  • Scrapbooking
  • Labeling
  • Card Making

Punch FunDon’t forget to think outside the box! When using your tag punch, punch one tag. Turn this tag 180º and punch it again, creating a decorative word bubble or trendy label for your project! Keep in mind, you can tag punch a variety of different materials. I have seen people tag punch paper doilies; very stylish!

 

Recently, I discovered tag topper punches. Oh, my! These are designed to make the tops of your tags unique and more pretty. (Like I need something else to buy, right?) They sure are tempting. Instead of punching an entire tag, these punches make use of already cut pieces of paper, punching only the tops of your scraps to create the tags themselves.

Purchasing this tag punch was a wonderful addition to our crafting table. It was very reasonable in price, especially when using a coupon in tandem with Michael’s already great price, and is constantly in use. Now, about those topper punches…

Time to Chime In: Do you own a tag punch? Share with us your favorite ways to use your punch and perhaps a picture of a recent project!

Chanterelle Finds a Family

“Once in a cool, wooded forest lived a puppy. She was smart and very curious. She was also proud and stubborn. She did not need help from anybody.”

Book-Review_logoAnd so begins the story of Chanterelle; a smart, yet curious dog. Living alone in the woods, Chanterelle spends her day with friends, Porcupine and the Beaver family. She enjoys her romps through the woods, but each night returns home, alone. Saddened and curious, Chanterelle wonders what it would be like to have her own family. One day, while exploring the woods and looking her for friend, Chanterelle hears the sound of people talking. What follows is a charming story of discovering family.

When Nicole Brierre was assigned to write a childrens book while studying to become an elementary school teacher, she realized that she did not need to look any further for inspiration than her familys trusty canine companion. The project became a true family affair when Brierres brother and his girlfriend joined on as the illustrators of the book Chanterelle Finds a FamilyChanterelle Finds a Family

Brierre recounts the story of how the beloved pet came to join her family, while playfully imagining the puppys life before she was adopted. The dog at the heart of the story is an independent, stubborn puppy who believes she does not need help from any human or animal.

 This was a cute story with quaint illustrations. It would be perfect for animal lovers and younger children. Chanterelle Finds a Family (published by New Generation, RRP $12.99) is currently available and can be ordered online at Amazon.com and from all good bookstores.

Mind Over Matter

Is it a woman thing; the attack which seems to work its way into our minds? Above all other struggles in life, the one which hits hardest is the fight which takes place in our head. It’s time to rid ourselves of this enemy…

Let’s face it, we all have struggles in life. For some of us, it’s our heath. Others battle money issues or marriage problems. It’s just a given fact that, at some point in our lives, we are going to face problems and should learn how to overcome them.

To me, the hardest battle to fight is the one in my head. These exchanges are not always rational, causing illogical fears which have no basis in reality. Others hit too close to home, causing me to rethink the path which has been set before me. No matter the challenge, mental blows are just as stressful as physical; sometimes, even more so.

If you’re anything like me, you struggle with this on occasion, too. I don’t know about you, but this is not a happy experience. The sooner I can rid myself of this nonsense, the better. But, how does one manage to put the matter to rest and allow our mind to move on in peace?

Through Prayer – Instead of using prayer as a last resort, the first thing I need to be doing is praying. Why try dealing with this issue on my own when the God of the universe can tackle this for me? Let’s start this fight off on the right foot; pray!

Through Scripture – There are so many incredible Bible verses we can bring to mind which offer peace and comfort. In times of need, access the Scriptures for encouragement and help.

Through Action – After praying, I need to determine if there is anything which can be done to relieve my mind. Is there action which needs doing? Is there a problem I need to fix; an act of forgiveness, grace, or mercy which needs to be extended? If working through this issue will ease my mind, this is my next course of action.

Through Busy-ness – Some issues of the mind and heart can only be handled with time. Waiting is not a fun game! Instead of stewing and stirring the mental pot, so to speak, find something with which to distract yourself; get your mind to focus on something else entirely. Be it chores, be it a field trip, be it fellowship; choose to put your mind onto some other activity.

Through Fellowship – Speaking of fellowship, sometimes talking the matter over with a friend or councilor is just what we need. It is wise to hear others thoughts on our struggles and gain outside perspective of the issue. Find someone you trust and admire, ask them for advice and prayer.

Often we battle mental struggles on our own; we assume they are simply moments of anxiety and irrational stress. We need to start seeing them for what they are, attacks from the enemy. Whenever he can, Satan will use fear to prevent us from action. It is high time we started seeing this issue for what it is and putting on our armor.

Time to Chime In: What course of action do you take when dealing with struggles of the mind?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7

A Lash Upon Her

Welcome to “Pump Day”, where one day a week we homeschool in heels and talk about all things girlie!

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Pump_Day_2I admit it; I’m tempted. It’s every girl’s dream to have full, luscious eye lashes and I am no exception. What’s a girl to do?

One of the big runway hits for fall of 2014 is big, bold eye lashes. Think nineteen-sixties, here. Wearing thick, dark lashes adds a touch of glamour and flair to the face. But what’s a girl to do when her lashes are naturally light or rather thin?

Fashion magazines have advised to line our upper lids with black liner and smudge the line. Follow this with three, you read that correctly, three layers of mascara. In between each layer, use a lash comb to prevent clumping.

Feeling bold? Buy yourself a pair of falsies. Instead of wearing the full set of lashes, cut each section in half (which also doubles your investment). Apply glue to each section, allow them to dry for about thirty-seconds and then adhere them to the lash line from the outside of your eye towards the middle. Your lashes are naturally thicker on the ends, so this will make the look more natural. If you find this look is a bit too dramatic for you, try individual lash clusters. Apply them in the same manner, pressing them into the lash line where your natural lashes need a little help.

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Click on the picture above to be taken to the original link.

Whenever I mention this to my husband, he just shakes his head. While might be tempted by this look, my man much prefers me looking natural; the less makeup, the better. Oh, he doesn’t mind the occasional dressing up when we go out on a date, but, generally, he likes it better when he can just see me.

On occasion, I do use liner and darker eye shadow to add focus to my eyes. However, I have not yet tried falsies. There’s always a first time…

Time to Chime In: Have you ever worn falsies? Share your tips for application!

As always… While fashion is fun, we should remember:

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” – I Peter 3:3-4

Leader of the Pack

Leader of the PackPushing all children to be the ‘rock star’, the person out front, can lead to some troubling circumstances. But, let’s face it, some people truly are leaders. As parents, how do we prepare our kiddos to be the leaders God is calling them to be?

Being a leader is a good thing, if that is where the Lord has placed you. However, with leadership comes great responsibility. There are few key things our littles need to learn if they are going to be successful in their endeavors.

Have a Heart To Serve – Being a leader isn’t about bossing people around; it’s about helping. If all you want to do is have power over others, then this isn’t your calling. Your actions should be motivated from a heart which aches to assist and encourage.

Be Diligent – Once a goal has been established, be persistent in achieving it. No matter the struggle, continue to move forward and encourage those with you to do the same.

Be Hard Working – No one wants to follow someone who sits around, expecting everyone else to do the work. Start with a great idea and put some muscle into it. When others see your dedication, they will join in and you become a team.

Be Responsible & Efficient – Don’t start something and not finish it. It would also behoove us to use our resources to the best of our ability. People want to see that we not only follow through with our great ideas, but we make the most of each and every situation.

Know What You’re Doing – Who wants to follow a leader who is filled with enthusiasm, but constantly struggles with getting a job done? Before you can expect others to follow a plan, you must know what the plan is and decide on a course of action. Make the tough choices and find a way to make it work.

Allow Others to Lead, Too – The goal of leadership isn’t to run the world, but to assist others into the same position. We are climbing a mountain with the intent of pulling others up with us. If you are the only one who has authority in your group, something is wrong. Encourage other people to take initiative and responsibility. The best leaders do such a good job, their people leave them to start their own groups, spreading encouragement to yet more people. Be willing to take suggestions and grow with your team; if you don’t bend, you’ll break.

Let Your ‘Yes’ Be ‘Yes’ – One of the biggest struggles leaders have is in knowing when to say ‘yes’ to something and when to say ‘no’. Not every good idea needs to be pursued, at least not at this time. Pray about which choice to make and then… stick with it!

Be Ready for a Fight – Being a leader sounds fun, right? It can be! It also means you are going to be hit and hit hard, from just about every angle. Be prepared for the fight; spiritual, emotional, and physical. Being a leader is no cake walk.

Being a leader is a big responsibility. Raising the next generation of leaders is just as important. How we teach them, what we teach them, and how they put those skills to work is essential.

Time to Chime In: How are you training the next generation of leaders?

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;” – Philippians 2:3

So, What; I’m Still a Rockstar!

In our current society, we are training our children to believe that the person up front is the one we all want to be. We want to be the rock star, the movie star, or the ‘next big thing’. We long for people to scream our names in large crowds, applaud our entrances into rooms, and cry at just the thought of shaking our hands. At some point, however, we must realize that everyone cannot be a rock star!

Let’s face it; some people just seem to be born for the spotlight. Their personalities shine, their charm is attractive, and they are good at keeping people entertained. Without even trying, some people just naturally lead others and have dedicated groupies who will follow them anywhere.

Unfortunately, our children are growing up in a society which teaches them that everyone can become a rock star. With just a little work, some experience, and the right YouTube videos, you too can become ‘the next big thing’. Our kiddos are being taught that the person up front is the one that matters and that is who they need to become. It doesn’t matter how other people view their talent or whether or not they have talent at all. Our children need to find something which sets them apart and push themselves into the limelight. No matter the criticism, you are a rock star and you are going places!

I find this trend very problematic. There is great danger in worshipping the rock star and focusing all our attentions on being in the limelight.

Rock On

First off, this premise assumes the person up front is the entire package; the only one that matters. How often do we stop to think about all of the people standing behind that one person who help to make them great? Why aren’t they applauded for the performance and the hard work? The person up front is just that, the person up front. They are not entirely responsible for who they are or what they have become. It is a mistake to honor only the person behind the mic.

Secondly, it encourages our children to dismiss those who aren’t leading as less than important and not a role model to emulate. Why should we be content being in the background, when we could be up front? (Seems to be the mentality behind this model.)

Third, how discouraging this must be for all those taught they could and should be a rock star who end up only handing out tickets to performances. I imagine a great sense of failure must fill their hearts and thoughts. If only they had tried harder, that could have been them standing on the stage. If only they had done more or been more; somehow the problem lies with them. You might also get the opposite spectrum, “I AM a rock star! Just because the rest of the world fails to see my awesomeness, doesn’t make me less of a star.” Ouch! How obnoxious is the person who believes themselves to be under appreciated and undervalued due to other people’s faults.

Whatever happened to simply training our children to be the best they can be. There ought not to be a comparison against anyone else. There should be no push for all children to be leaders of the pack. Instead of encouraging all children to shine in the spotlight, let us train our children to shape their own place in the world and to be the best, no matter who is watching.

Everything our children do, should be to the glory of God; not man. It doesn’t matter if no one sees their actions, if they never receive recognition for what they do; the Lord sees and acknowledges their efforts.

Just remember, behind every good rock star, is hundreds of people helping to make them what they are. Each person is essential and important. So, what; you’re not the person out front. That doesn’t mean you don’t count and that you aren’t making a difference. No matter where you find yourself, embrace your gift and your role. Not everyone can be the star, but that doesn’t mean you don’t shine.

“For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.” - Habakkuk 2:14

In the Kitchen: Learning from the Pros

In the KitchenWelcome to our kitchen. Here we’ll share our favorite recipes, lament over food failures, test out new gadgets, and discover tips to making kitchen life easier. Join us on this new adventure and share your life experience with the rest of us!

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A few months ago, I mentioned getting lessons from the pros. My kids started free cooking lessons at our local Williams-Sonoma. So far, they have been a blast. We are learning a lot from these valuable classes and greatly benefitting from the discounts received while shopping. My kitchen cupboards have been filling up in recent months.

Taking a note from the same book, Mommy is now going to be taking lessons of her own. It seems Williams-Sonoma also offers technique classes for adults.  While I might not be able to make all of the lessons, I am most definitely looking forward to this valuable resource.

Technique Classes, Williams-Sonoma

Click on the picture above to be taken to the Williams-Sonoma website.

Everything I know about cooking I learned either by trial-and error or my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law is awesome, don’t get wrong. After all, they did own four restaurants in their time. However, I am excited to see what new skills I might acquire through these classes.

If you too could use a brush up in your cooking skills or are looking for a fun outing just for mommy, this might be the perfect fit. Classes are short, but sweet; filled with helpful tips, hints, and samples.

We look forward to sharing all the fun things we will learn through these classes, along with a few tips of our own. Let’s get cooking!

Time to Chime In: Have you ever taken a cooking class? When was the last time and what did you learn?