Saturday, July 30, 2011


God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 1 Thessalonians 4:7

Holy, an adjective, meaning consecrated; dedicated or devoted to the service of GOD.

For the longest time in my life I never really thought out holiness and how it affected my life.  The only time I thought about holiness was in relation to God.  I totally understood the concept that God is holy; therefore, He is "set apart" from us.

A few years ago a good friend spoke at our church and he used this scripture as his reference.  He spoke about how God has called us to live holy lives.  This was something that I had never considered before.  I had bought into the bumper sticker theology that said "I'm not perfect, I'm forgiven."  While this is true, it isn't the whole truth.  I am more than "just" forgiven.  My forgiveness cost Jesus EVERYTHING.  

The idea that well we all mess up and then God dishes out forgiveness from His big bag of goodies leaves a huge question unanswered.  What about personal holiness?  What is my personal response to God's forgiveness?  

For many years I lived a life that bought into this theology.  I would go along and be "OK" for a while and then sin would creep into my life.  Oh and sometimes it didn't creep, I ran out the door down the side walk looking for it and inviting it in.  After that I would feel guilt and shame.  Guilt is a healthy response to sin.  It is what drives us to make things right with God and with others.  Shame on the other hand is what drives us to bury our sin and hide from others.  Guilt calls us to make restitution and to repent.  Shame drives us to shove everything in a closet and lock the door.  As Beth Moore says "Shame is the Devil's calling card."  I would then spend time praying and begging God to forgive me.  Missing an important element...He already has.  Christ's death on the cross covered all my sins.  Forgiveness was readily available, I needed to accept it.  The problem with systematic sin is that forgiveness doesn't seem to stretch to cover it because we haven't really turned away from it.  

It is really hard to pray "Oh God, forgive my sin of gluttony." while rummaging through the cabinets in search of more food.  It is hard to pray "Oh God, forgive my unfaithfulness."  while chatting with someone on the Internet.  It is hard to pray "Oh God, forgive my lying."  while...well I think you get the idea.  Even when we try to live a "double" life our heart will find us out.  It will whisper to us that it isn't true.  

The good news of this story is this that when we truly repent; when we turn our face, heart, mind and body away from that sin...forgiveness washes over our soul.  Personal holiness is possible.  It isn't easy.  Daily it is a struggle to lay down my life.  Daily it is a struggle to fight the temptation to believe the lies Satan whispers.  Daily it is making the choice to turn away from any thing that draws me away from God.  Daily it is making the CHOICE to live a holy life.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Strawberry Birthday Cake

For most of the birthdays in Tim's family they all get a Banana Cake. The Banana Cake is not what most people expect. The Fowler family recipe is actually a yellow layer cake. In between the layers are butter cream and bananas and the entire cake is covered with cool whip. It is very yummy.

For my birthday it has become a tradition that I have a strawberry birthday cake. I think it started the year we got married and has pretty much happened every year since then. I love strawberry cake. I had a strawberry wedding cake in the days before flavored wedding cakes were in vogue. Back in the day, you had a choice of a white wedding cake and the groom (who made this rule?) had a chocolate grooms cake. Well one thing I didn't want was a white wedding cake. I don't like white cake and since Tim got the chocolate I went with my next favorite strawberry. It was yummy and beautiful.

Back to the birthday cake, this year I had the brilliant idea of taking our Banana Cake recipe and substituting it with strawberries. It turned out very delicious. Here is my recipe.

One strawberry cake mix plus eggs, oil and water
One tub of Brummel & Brown Strawberry Creamy Fruit Spread
One cup of powdered sugar
pint of strawberries
large container of cool whip topping.

Follow the directions to make the cake and bake it in three round layers. While the cake is baking mix the fruit spread (or butter if you want the original) and powdered sugar. Use the milk to get this to a consistency that you can spread between the layers. Slice the strawberries. When the cake is finished let it cool completely. After it has cooled place it one your cake pan or dish you will serve it on. Put a layer of cake and top with 1/3 of the fruit spread/sugar mixture and then add strawberries. Do this will all three layers. Then cover the entire cake with cool whip.

YUMMY goodness. This cake needs to be refrigerated if you aren't going to eat it right away.  I will post the original banana cake recipe when Tim's birthday rolls around and maybe with his I can get a picture of the cake when it is cut and you can see the layers.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our Calendar Noteook

This past year, I decided to try a new method for teaching calendar ideas. I saw this Calendar Notebook and really liked the way it looked. I also liked that it wouldn't take up space on the wall like many calendar centers do.

I looked around and decided that I would use the following inserts for our notebooks. I used the blank calendars, blank 100 grids and Tally marks chart from Mrs. Meacham. I downloaded Written Date Page, Make the Date with Money, Hundred, Tens and Ones, and Weather Graphs from Mama Jenn.

Carissa and Jolanthe both have great print outs and links for calendar boards supplies and ideas. Carissa has some downloads to do color of the week, thermostat temperature tracker, what day is it? Lots of really good ideas.  I like the idea on Carissa's site of using real coins in the make the date and I plan to incorporate that into our notebooks this year as well.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I posted on facebook that I was trying a recipe for homemade dish washing detergent. I had a few people say they would be interested to know if it worked.

I used this recipe. I actually had pretty high hopes. Ultimately, it was a huge failure. I even clicked around to some different tips and tried changing out the lemonade mix for lemon shine. Neither recipe worked well. We create a lot of dishes around here. So I want my dishwasher to work well. I don't want to have to pre wash my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher. A little rinsing is fine but anything more than that is a waste since I could just wash them by hand and be finished.

When I used this I had a few problems. The biggest was it didn't get things clean. Since I usually only lightly rinse my dishes I did the same thing with detergent. If there was any food on the dishes it did  not  come clean. The second issue was it left a white residue on everything. I tried adjusting the amount I used both more and less and still had the white film. I even tried doing an extra rinse cycle which helped somewhat but felt wasteful. The third issue is that the washing soda has a fairly strong soapy scent. The vinegar rinse helped with this but I just didn't like using that on my dishes.

Overall this experiment gets a big thumbs down. I only made a small batch of this but I am not sure what I will do with what is left. If you have any ideas please share.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

We had a few meals "left over" from last week.




hot dogs
chicken nuggets
potato bar



I am also planning on restocking my pantry with a few easy meals with week.

Pantry meals

mac n cheese
chicken noodle soup

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meal Plan in Review

I thought I would post how our meals actually turned out.


Chick fil a



We had friends over and so lunch was a spread and some of this was snacks also.

pbj sandwiches, pb crackers, carrots, broccoli, apples, cuties, cheese sticks, chex mix, last of the chips, pretzels and choclate cupcakes

Moms had Cuban Chicken Salad.

Leftover pizza for dinner



Lunch was snack food for the boys, yogurt, popcorn, tortilla chips, cheese sticks, granola bars and pb crackers. I had leftover Cuban Chicken Salad.

Dinner burgers, rotel dip and tortilla chips. Dessert was ice cream with carmel sauce.



sloppy joes

chicken noodle soup and french bread





leftover pizza and McDonalds

chicken, broccoli and rice


granola bars

chili dogs


We did pretty well the first part of the week.  Friday and Saturday we had some things come up that meant we ate out of the house more than I wanted to.  I plan to make sure that next week we have more sandwich options on hand.

Friday, July 15, 2011

3 John 4

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

On the morning of July 6th, I decided to take the boys to a summer movie. J didn't want to go and as I look back on that I am thankful that this time I didn't push the issue. He decided to stay home with Tim. They watched a video and talked about baptism and Jesus. He has been asking questions recently and we have been praying that God would continue to draw his heart. I walked in from the movie and say Tim and Josh sitting on the couch reading and praying. Amazing to see my husband lead his child in a prayer of faith. I went to our bedroom and cried.

As a parent there is nothing that I want more than to see my children follow Jesus. I know that they will still have trouble and trials. I know that life will not always be easy. I know they will face heart break and disappointment. I also know that all of those things are bearable when you walk in faith. I can't explain it but I know what "peace that passes all understanding" feels like. I want that for my children. I want to know that in the tough times and the times in which there doesn't seem to be a way out, that they will know that there is One who will see them through that day.

On Sunday we baptized this child "Church Plant in Texas" style, in a horse trough in a movie theater lobby.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast ~ cereal with soy milk
pancakes with syrup

Lunch ~ Cuban chicken salad
sloppy joes
chili dogs

Dinner ~ pizza
baked ziti
grilled chicken

I will link to recipes later. I have found several recipes via Pinterest that I have on my too try list.

BTW this is my first post using my iPad and new bluetooth excuse any errors and blames them on the auto correct this time. :-)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Two new favorite websites.

I have two new sites that I LOVE.

The first is Pinterest. I love it. I now have a virtual bulletin board of things that I like, recipes, crafts to try, homeschool ideas, just about anything I find on the web that I want to remember. You "pin" a photo from the website and you have a board of all your ideas.

The second is Library Thing.  A few weeks ago I ordered some books from Amazon.  When they arrived I realized that one of them was a free book that I already had on my iPad.  I hate having to return things!  With Library Thing I can catalog all our books.  Plus, there is a category for books read but not owned!  I signed up for the lifetime membership which costs $25 but you can try it out for free and list up to 200 books.  I also bought the CueCat when I signed up.  This little magic machine is great.

You simply swipe the "cat" across the bar code and your book is entered into your Library Thing library.

Do you have any can't live without organizational websites?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Resources for Year 1 Classical Education

My goal has always been to follow a Clasical Model of education. During the past six years of homeschooling I have gotten off the path but this year decided it was time to go back to the basics and how I believe I should school my children.

In classical education you study using a chronological view of history so year one is the time period from Creation to A.D. 400 or the time period of the Ancients.

In putting together resources to use this year I stumbled across this site with a wonderful list of resources (some free). Ancient History Lessons. She even has a few free ebooks that aren't already in my library!

Be sure and check out the link for "Historical Hats and Headgear" What child (boys especially) wouldn't like to make a Roman Praetorian Guard hat?