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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Crochet with T-shirt yarn

What is T-shirt yarn?

tshirt yarn

There are some great tutorials about how make T-shirt yarn. If you don’t know what T shirt yarn is, it’s basically yarn made out of… you guessed it – T-shirts! I spent a few days cutting a huge pile of T-shirts and made lots of yarn. Now… What to do with it? What’s your favorite use? What would you make? Leave some ideas in the comments! When I have lots of ideas, I’ll share them in a future post! If I have enough requests, I’ll also feature how to make T-shirt yarn!

Stuck in our homeschool

School starts back in four weeks. We have not completed last year’s work. Some work will get finished just-in-time. Some won’t.

And I’m ok with that.


But I feel like I’m stuck. How do I get out? I need a shovel.

I will confess… I had a moment of stress. Rather, a whole day. The only thing that did was keep me buried. Then I reached out to a fellow home school mom on facebook. She shared with me some great tips and listened to my venting. (shovels!)

Through all of my stress, I didn’t pray.

God still took care of me. He gave me a tremendous idea about how to dig myself out of the hole. (Prayer is the biggest shovel of all. If only I’ll grab the handle…)

To get out of this hole, I have to look hard at what I’m doing. I know what’s working. I know what’s not.

I know what needs to change.

Now it’s time for implementation.

1. Schedule. I had a great schedule last year. But I changed it too many times. I didn’t keep a hard copy of the original to show the kids where they were and where they were supposed to be. I didn’t hold them accountable. I changed our schedule so many times it became invalid. (Shhhh… don’t tell the kids, but their days might just be scheduled as well!)

2. Accountability. Dad will have a hard copy of the schedule. I will check work daily. Instead of asking what was done, they will show me and I will grade it. Then the hard copy will get checked off. Dad will stay informed. (We had our first ultra official parent/parent/teacher date meeting this week.)

3. The work that did not get finished will get done, based on relevance and in keeping with the academic standards. Not every page of a text book needs to be read. Some worksheets can be skipped.

4. There are some non-essential work that did not get finished. Instead of completing the traditional textbook work, we will take field trips and reports will be written. It might not happen next year, but it will happen. Living history is always more effective than just reading about it.

5. Admit my mistakes. Learn and move on.

No more stress.

No more guilt.

It is what it is.

A chance to grow.

Maybe I’m not as stuck as I thought I was!

How are you doing in your homeschooling? Ready for the new year? Hmmmm… another topic I’ll be looking at all-too-soon!

The Kombucha FAIL

Sipping my cup of Kombucha today, I realized it’s been a year since I started. I still love it as much as the first day. Probably more. However, there is one thing I tried that I did not like. It was a huge FAIL.

Kombucha Vinegar

When my Kombucha brewed for a week or two longer than needed, instead of throwing it out, I searched the good ole internet for a recipe. I found out how to make Kombucha vinegar. Why not? I decided to try it and followed the directions perfectly,  bottling a few gallons of the stuff. When I ran out of apple cider vinegar, I opened a bottle. Ewwww. It wasn’t vinegar. It wasn’t Kombucha. I don’t really know what to call it. Except – a fail.

Kombucha FAIL

Looking back on the whole idea of using Kombucha for vinegar, I’m almost embarrassed I even tried. You see, I wanted to use vinegar for cleaning and to try it as a rinse for my hair. Why not use Kombucha vinegar? The base of Kombucha is tea. Tea stains. I don’t think I want to use it on my white counters or in my strawberry blond hair. Plus, it was more like stinky mess rather than a cleansing vinegar. UGH.

There it is. My Kombucha fail. What do you do with your overbrewed Kombucha?

Lecture but Listen

It was late. We hadn’t heard from her. Finally a text.

Can u pik me up? at (friend) g-ma house?

Really? That’s kinda far! Now? it’s LATE!

What I wanted to do was tell her “Sorry! Spend the night!” What I did was jump in the car.


I reminded myself that she was a good kid and all she did was fail to notify me of her plans. Many parents were worrying about their children who weren’t where they said they would be and into drinking, drugs, and the like. I was mad because she was late calling me and I had to drive farther to pick her up. REALLY?

Thankfully, I composed myself. I did the motherly lecture on responsibility. I set ground rules for if plans change and you aren’t where you thought you would be after dark… then I relaxed. I lectured, then I listened. And we talked. I enjoyed the conversation on the way home and when we arrived, wanted to linger in the car for just a bit longer.

Time is running out. They are only children for a short time.

I can let my anger overtake me when I have to go out of my way or when things don’t go as planned. I can rant when they don’t do what they say they will or aren’t where they say they will be. I can push my children away with my anger. OR I can relax and begin a conversation. One where I calmly state the facts and what needs to happen differently with possible consequences, then – just talk. Enjoy the time left.

Tonight I chose to enjoy and talk. Talk we did.

I am so thankful.

There Is Good… Even In Diabetes

I am excited to introduce you guys to Jeremiah. He’s an amazing kid with an amazing outlook. And it’s for real – his attitude and how he trusts God. How do I know? I’ve heard his prayers. He’s one of my kids from church. Be blessed by his story.

Whole Family Strong

Hello, my name is Jeremiah. I am almost 10 years old and today is my 6 year diabetes anniversary. At my house, we celebrate my dia-versary every year. Here’s some pictures from last year. It was really cool.

Why do we celebrate? Well, we could go past the day and not remember it, or remember it as the day I got a really bad thing that’s super hard, or….. we could remember it as the day that God gave me something for my good, something to be able to encourage other people with, something that makes me stronger.


Sometimes, I think diabetes is the worst thing in the world. From the human perspective it can be. I have not liked diabetes a ton of times. I’ve probably not liked diabetes more times than I’ve checked my blood sugar, which is a whole lot of times. That’s when I ask God if…

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Appreciate a Working Mom

Working Moms

I glimpsed the life of a working mom for a week. It’s tough, y’all.

Away all day. Home in time to cook, then on to the chores that didn’t get completed that day. Or not. Only to have to walk around piles and ignore clutter. Falling asleep on the couch, only to have to wake up early… and it starts again.

I only had to do it for a week. And now I want to give a shout out to all the working moms –

You guys rock. 

I have a whole new appreciation.

Encouragement for the working mom

She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:24-31

The Boys Bathed in the Mud that Morning – Shelley Faust

There are some people who cross your path for but a brief moment – and without knowing exactly why, you decide you could really hang out with them. I haven’t had the opportunity to hang out with Shelley, but I follow her on facebook (not in a stalking kind of way). I met her at a writer’s meeting and know our paths will cross again (in a real-life kind of way). And I look forward to it. She’s such an encouragement, and know what? You can follow her too!

This is one of my favorite posts from her blog. This is the mom I want to be… if I had boys.

The Boys Bathed in the Mud That Morning

It was Spring Break and the boys bathed in the mud that morning. They also peppered the living room and hallway with forgotten toys and left-over crumbs from their microwaved lunch. But as I stared at the carton of chocolate delight all I could think about was surprising them with a double-decker, Rocky Road, waffle ice cream cone.

I walked outside and there they sat. Dirty and right in the middle of a home-made fort, built with broken pieces of outdoor furniture, leftover lumber, and any salvageable yard debris they could find.

My heart was giddy as my hands carefully held their dripping surprises behind my back. Certain my smile would give me away I tried to make small talk on the way to their newly constructed site.

“Whatcha doing, guys?”

“We’re just sitting in our fort.”

“That’s a nice fort. How about an ice cream break?”

Their eyes lit up when met with chocolate bliss and a gasp of happiness escaped their eight and nine year old mouths.

My heart overflowed in the midst of their messes.

Isn’t that how God is? He finds us dirty, sitting broken and scrounging for leftovers. And He finds joy in blessing. His Father heart desires to surprise us with extravagant gifts. Showing up when we least expect Him,He offers grace and opens mercy in the morning.

God sees you.

No matter where you are or what is going on, He knows.

And His heart overflows with love FOR YOU.

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 

Shelly Faust is a wife, mama, writer/blogger, aspiring author, and Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team Leader. Her heart is to encourage, inspire, and love others while sharing Jesus through her words and her life – past and present. You can connect with Shelly on her blog (, twitter (@shellyfaust) or facebook (

Topp Paleo Flatbread

 I eat mostly Paleo. My biggest cheat is a package of these amazing tortillas that you buy already made, but still raw. All you have to do is cook them, and oh my…

Problem – they are NOT Paleo. They are NOT gluten free. They have no nutritional value. Also, they are NOT good for my daughter. It’s cruel when we eat them, because she can’t have them and misses them. But they are my weakness.

This is the ONE thing I haven’t been able to replicate. Until now.

Rhonda, from A Journey to Embrace, gave me this recipe. It’s a keeper! Thanks, Rhonda for allowing me to post this!

Paleo Flatbread

1/2 cup Blanched Almond Flour   (I use Honeyville)
1/2 cup Arrowroot Flour
3-4 egg whites
salt to taste- (I use Himalayan)
pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp water. (the batter should be thin)
Coconut oil to cook your flat bread

Note: You can replace the Almond Flour with 1/4 cup Coconut Flour and increase your water to 1/2 cup -3/4 cups.  

Topp Paleo flatbread

Mix all ingredients together. (except Coconut Oil)

Heat coconut oil in skillet. Remove your skillet from the heat source while you add some of your mix to the skillet. This way you will have time to spread it all out before it cooks. With your spoon form your tortilla shaped bread. Cook just like you would a pancake.Your flat bread may be a bit stiff when you first remove them from the skillet and you will think no way is it going to be flexible and bend.  After they have cooled a bit, they become more pliable and hold up rather well.  (I noticed the ones I made with coconut flour were never stiff.) This made 2 flatbreads but if you made them smaller you could make 3.  Adding the extra egg white or another tablespoon or two of water helps make them thinner.  The first couple of batches I made were round, although not perfectly round and were a little thick.
Rhonda Topping is a Wife, Mom, Nana, Homeschooling Mom, Military Mom, Christian, Paleo, and Gluten Free Warrior. After she was failed by Conventional Medicine, she started on a journey back to health with a Functional Medicine Doctor and a Paleo Lifestyle. Follow Rhonda at

The Cheerleader and the Misfit by Gindi

Meet Gindi. Her words hit home this week. Not just because they are so relevant for today’s girls, but because I knew her back then. Back when her knees knocked and she wore a back brace. I almost cried when I read her description of herself. I knew her then, but I didn’t really know… In fact, I was intimidated by her. She is so impressively smart. (To be totally honest here, I’m still intimidated.) Back to her blog – I hope it touches you – enough to live it for your daughters.

The Cheerleader and The Misfit

I went out one night this week with a dear friend who also has a young daughter.  As our conversation inevitably turned to our kids, we found common ground in that sometimes our precious beauties turn….MEAN.   It surprised us both that girls forming cliques and excluding others can begin at such a young age.  Her darling girl is a couple years older than mine, but we have both seen some unkind behaviours that we are none to happy about.

In the course of our conversation, I said, “What I think a lot of moms would like is for their daughter to be a cheerleader that is kind to the misfits.”  Because the reality is, while I will not tolerate unkind or exclusive behaviour from my little one, I also don’t want her spirit crushed by others excluding her or being mean.

Growing up as a girl is hard.  It is hard today, but it was always hard.  As a teenager, I was the misfit.  Well, maybe misfit is too strong a word, but I was the poor girl, new to the community, with recently divorced parents, and no network of friends when I started my new high school.  I had late ’80s hair and a big space between my teeth and my knees knocked together in fear everywhere I went.  My junior year I couldn’t walk (as the result of a degenerative muscle disease), and I spent most of the school year being tutored while homebound.  If I thought my freshman year was hard, coming back as a senior with a back brace and medicine regime was harder.

But there was a girl named Missy.  She was a beautiful popular cheerleader.  While I’m certain she didn’t feel confident as a teenage girl, she seemed confident.  Even more remarkable, she had an unlimited reserve of kindness.  And we became friends.  We were Chemistry partners and I would study at her house and we’d laugh at funny Dana Carvey SNL skits.

It made that year okay.  It made me feel included.  It helped me become brave.

This is the girl you want your daughter to be.  The one that doesn’t check social status or bank accounts when befriending a classmate.  The one that finds those who are uncertain and gives them the confidence to step out and bravely develop new relationships.  The one who speaks kind words instead of words designed to isolate.

This is also the girl we should want to be.  I read a remarkable post by Lisa Jo Baker this week .  Entitled the Untruth About Cliques, Lisa Jo says, “No one can make us quite as unsure about ourselves as another woman.  We can stand knee deep in witty conversation holding cup cakes in one hand and our cell phones with brilliant Twitter commentary in the other only to retreat to our rooms and whisper in quiet tears to our husband or roommate or best friend or mom how left out we felt. We want to matter to the people we think matter.”

Oh, does that take any of you back?  Does it make you retreat to the awkward, unsure, insecure version of yourself?  Maybe you are still sitting in that space.  Never having had someone turn and tell you how wonderful you are and how much you do belong.  I am sorry.  I know how hard that is.

But she goes on with this encouragement, “We can fight to find a way in or we can love on the women where we’re at.  We can obsess over who didn’t talk to us or we can focus on the woman we’re talking to.  We can keep looking for a seat at a more popular table or we can pass the bread basket and an introduction to the women sitting right where we already are.  Everyone is on the outside of something. But that is only half the story.  We are all on the inside of something often without even realizing it.”

Sigh.  We are all on the inside of something.  Can we teach our daughters to rub out the distinction between inside and outside?  Eliminate distinctions between valuable and worthless?  Develop meaning instead of mean?  We must show them that if people perceive they are part of the “inner circle,” then they have the power to expand that circle to include everyone.  And if they feel like they’re on the outside, then they stand there with so many others and can develop a new, more inclusive, circle.  And sweet momma, me included, the only way our girls will learn is if they see us doing it.

I know it’s not that simplistic sometimes.  But sometimes, it is.

Gindi Eckel Vincent is a full-time attorney for a global energy company and a part-time speaker and writer, particularly for working moms. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and precocious 3-year-old triplets. She blogs daily at www.gindivincent.comand her first book on leadership, “Learning to Lead,” releases in August.

Building a Culture of Honor

Beware: The words in this video are convicting.
They were to me, anyway.

This is a struggle in our house. In all honesty, it’s our biggest struggle. In fact, days before this message, I knocked on the door of the guy who gave this sermon asking for some parenting advice. This guy is the real deal. The advice was not easy to hear.

It starts with me. I need to show honor. Not only that, I need to listen to my kids about how I can honor them.

Good job Michael – Thank you for being real. Church, it’s time to be real. It’s time to honor.

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