Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reminder: February is Black History Month

We plan to set aside blocks of time during the month of February to address racial issues and explore AA history. More on that later. For now, I wanted to post a "heads up" and post a recent series by John Piper to get us to begin thinking and praying about what the Lord Jesus wants each of us to do in our homes to become aware of and work on racial issues.

For Families and People of All Ages:
Plain Talk: A Century of African American Speeches

For Adults:

When is Abortion Racism? Part 2
Desiring God Radio

When is Abortion Racism? Part 1
Desiring God Radio

The Reformed Faith and Racial Harmony Part 2
Desiring God Radio

The Reformed Faith and Racial Harmony Part 1
Desiring God Radio

For Kids:

Black History Month for Kids

Self Care Idea - Hydrating Facial Spritzer

I love the natural, "naked face" look of mineral make-up, but the minerals can leave my face feeling a little dry. The Everyday Minerals gals suggested using a natural, herbal spritzer to set the foundation. It seemed like a great idea,
until I priced some spritzers! Yikes. $25 for an 8 oz bottle of tea spritzer is more than this mama is willing to shell out. (By the way, Everyday Minerals offers free samples and their make-up is high quality and much less expensive than the mall brand - highly recommended!)

So, I came up with my own recipe! I wanted something fragrant and hydrating for my skin. I'm sure there are more "correct" spritzers, but I make due with what I have on hand.

Tami's Hydrating Facial Spritzer

  • 24 oz clean, fine mist container - like you use to mist plants
  • 8-12 ounces (or a giant tea cup!) of herbal or green tea made with distilled water- use something fragrant
  • about 1/8-1/4 cup (more or less, depending on level of toning you want) of Witch Hazel
  • about 2-4 Tbsp Glycerin (skip this if you have oily skin, and use MORE for mature skin)
  • distilled water to fill 24 oz mist bottle

Brew tea in a large tea cup and let cool. In the meantime, add a couple of ounces of distilled water along with the witch hazel and glycerin to spray bottle. Shake well. Add cooled tea to bottle. Add distilled water to fill bottle to top. Shake well and refrigerate.

Spray to hydrate and rejuvenate skin during the day and to set your make-up. Mmmmm - love the fragrance. Experiment with ingredients and have fun! Let me know how you like it and whether you have any suggestions to improve the recipe.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Do It Yourself Natural Mini-Spa

I didn't realize how dry and flaky my skin has gotten. It must be the time of year. Since I didn't feel like spending money on beauty products, I decided to give myself a facial using ingredients already in my kitchen.

Ingredients for my mini-spa:
Baking Soda (use oatmeal if you think soda is too harsh)
Olive Oil

Step 1 - Cleanse & Exfoliate
1) Start with a clean face
2) Put a small amount of baking soda in your hand (1 Tablespoon?) and mix enough olive oil to make a paste
3) Gently scrub your entire face. I even carefully did my under eye area, since it that area has so many lines and dead skin.
4) Rinse and pat dry. My skin felt wonderfully soft after this!

Step 2 - Mask to tighten skin
1) Apply honey to your face and let it dry 15-30 minutes (Mmmm! Smells so nice.)
2) Rinse with cold water to close pores.
3) Apply a toner followed by a rich moisturizer and voila!

Mint Toner Recipe

1 peppermint tea bag (I used Sleepytime tea, a mint blend by Celestial Seasonings because I had it on hand)

1 cup boiling water

1-2 Tbsp witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, or vodka (Vinegar irritates my skin, and I did not have the others, so I substituted the juice of one orange)

1 Tbsp lemon juice
***I also added just a tiny bit of mint mouthwash as a preservative and for scent, since I had no essential oil or peppermint leaf, and the orange-mint fragrance I ended up with is heavenly!
Place tea bag in boiling water and steep for 15 minutes. Discard tea bag and allow liquid to cool. Add witch hazel and lemon juice and store in glass container in the refridgerator. Apply daily after cleansing face.

This toner is best on normal or slightly oily skin. It will remove any residue of dirt or make-up and close pores. I am storing my home-made toner in a sterilzed 5.5 ounce bottle in the refrigerator (recycled from store-bought toner).

To maintain a soft, clear complexion without expensive, toxic cleansers, I am experimenting with using olive oil. Olive oil is massaged into the skin for 2 minutes, then a hot towel is applied for a few minutes to steam dirty oil and impurities out. It's inexpensive, toxin-free, and it leaves skin supple and clean! It easily removes all of my make-up without drying my skin. Surprisingly, this cleansing method also tightened my pores! Read more about the Oil Cleansing Method here.

When I finished my mini-spa, my skin felt so soft and smooth, and the price was right! Raid your kitchen and do your own rehab, and feel what a difference it can make. Find more home-made beauty recipes HERE. This time of year, our skin needs a little extra TLC. This was my first try at a home-made, natural facial, and I will definitely do it again SOON.

Friday, January 25, 2008

KEEPERS Meeting - Weaving Skill/Badge

We had our second KEEPERS meeting this morning. Here is a run down:

Opening: Prayer & Devotions
  • We presented the girls with their earned "Scrapbooking" badges from last meeting.
  • After a short prayer, we sang "Take My Life and Let It Be" together.
  • Discussed how our hymn relates to our current character trait, "Meekness."
  • Read the second chapter in Beautiful Girlhood.
  • Girls recited memory work from Romans chapter 12.
  • Discussed the lesson from our Meekness book, and looked up and talked about the meaning of the Scriptures listed. The girls copied Galations 5:22-23 into their notebooks.
  • We made "Meekness" notecards with personal notes and put them in our Bibles to remind us to pray for God to help us learn and apply this character trait every day.
Skill/Badge Time
  • Moved to the dining room table where Mrs L. has weaving materials ready for the girls. She demonstrated the skill and taught the girls some of the weaving vocabulary outlined in the Keepers Handbook.
  • Girls completed a woven coaster and began a woven placemat. Each girl will complete their placemat at home, and bring it to show everyone at our next meeting.
Lunch & Friendship Time
  • Enjoyed a delicious and healthy lunch that Miss A prepared for us. Afterwards, Miss A cleaned up and we all visited a while before ending our second meeting. Another great time of fellowship and fun!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday
The End of an Era - One Ponytail's Passing

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Date Night Challenge!

Now be honest. When was the last time you had a date night with your husband? Second question.When was the last time you changed your makeup routine? This post will encourage you in both of those areas. Make your husband feel special this month by making a date and remembering your sexy self!

Here's the challenge: Make a January date night with your husband, and wear a new, cute outfit and new make-up routine. I don't go out on dates with my husband with my hair up in a clip haphazardly. I don't wear shapeless shirts or clunky clogs. I already know what you're thinking, "My huband doesn't care if I don't wear any make-up, and he LIKES turtlenecks!" Well, try a new, super-chic outfit and a dramatic make-up for your next date, and get back to me on that. : ) I double-dog DARE you! Our husbands are worth the extra effort!

If your not sure what to wear, I would say move toward a new fitted shirt that shows off your curves and is fitted at the waist. Try something with a little sheerness or sparkle to it! Get something really attractive that you don't wear in Everyday Life. If you find a new pretty shirt that is too revealing for your comfort zone, get a lace-trimmed camisole to wear under it and go forth boldly. Get new, pretty undergarments. If you must wear jeans, put on some slender heels instead of clunky flats. No clunky shoes are allowed on Date Nights!

No clue how to change (or begin) your make-up for a Date Night? Try Sandy's Smoky Eye technique. I was able to do this after watching the video a couple of times, and wore this look to our Date Night last Thurday. This was a real dramatic change for me, because I don't normally wear ANY eyeliner or much in the way of make-up. I think the key to pulling this off is a nude lip and very light cheek, keeping all the focus on the eye. Also, blend, blend, blend!

This video makes it easy to break out a little! If I can do it, so can you. I put a pic of my first attempt at a Smoky Eye look on the About Me pic. It's not something I'd want to wear everyday, but drama IS the point here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: In Which Mama Says "NO"

Friday, January 11, 2008

KEEPERS Kick-off

Our first Keepers At Home meeting was today. We are meeting with one other family twice a month to work on homemaking KEEPERS skills, promote character development, and spur each other on to memorize longer Scripture passages.

My friend opened up the meeting at 10 am by explaining the KEEPERS purpose and motto and praying the KEEPERS prayer.
Our young ladies were presented with their KEEPERS charm bracelets with pink hearts and first membership charms attached. Each time a girl completes a skill/badge, she will get to add a charm to her bracelet. The girls were excited to put on their pretty bracelets and eager to earn more charms! Next, we read the girls a chapter from Beautiful Girlhood and discussed the character trait we will be working on as a club, "Meekness." We ended our devotional time by looked up some Scriptures suggested in the Keepers "Meekness" book, and writing responses in our notebooks.

Then came badge/skill time. We moved to the dining room table where scrapbooking materials were waiting for each girl. We used the "Easy Patterns" section of a "Creating Keepsakes" magazine for our inspiration. Working page by page, we completed a 5-page album! The catch? Our first meeting lasted 5 hours, counting Bible study, lunch, skill/badge time and short breaks between pages!!! We decided to go ahead and finish our projects today, rather than have homework or have a second KEEPERS scrapbooking session. It was a long meeting, but an awful lot of fun!

This is a really easy Club to start, either within your own family, or with friends/church group. It is a wonderful, Christian alternative to Girl Scouts. Even if you don't form a Club, I highly recommend the Handbook as an all-inclusive home-ec program and record of all you have accomplished with your child!

Here are the pics:

Week 19 Report - Beginning 'Russia'

This week we began our "Russia" home-designed unit study. Unlike studies done in younger years, this unit is high on reading/writing and lower on crafty activities. We are using Russia by Eyewitness Books as a spine - and the book is gorgeous!

Here is what Miss M completed in her thematic studies this week:

Cultural Studies

Eyewitness Russia
- selections

□ “Early Russia” □ “A varied land” □ “Peoples of Russia” □ “Wealth of a nation” □ “A life of serfdom” □ “Orthodox religion”

  • VIDEO: "Russia Land of the Tsars" - Disc 1
  • Russian Fairy Book by Dover - finished
  • Peter the Great by Diane Stanley - finished
  • Catherine: The Great Journey, Russia, 1743 (The Royal Diaries) - 1/3 of the way through

  • researched and gave an oral mini-report on the gray wolf of Siberia

  • Wrote a narrative story about "a day in my life" as a peasant (serf) in old Russia
  • Copywork from Eyewitness Russia
  • Using Eyewitness Russia's photographs as a resource, sketched a portrait of herself dressed as a peasant in Old Russia

Additionally, she completed daily lessons in Language Arts, Typing and Math.

We plan to take a field trip to a local Russian market in the next weeks, so I'll post about that when and if we go! We will likely be studying Russia for the next 3-4 weeks before resuming our usual, non-thematic "CM" studies. It was a fun week, and a very simple unit to implement.

Blessings to you!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Let Us Highly Resolve

One of my New Year's resolutions is to take more daily time for both Bible reading and wider reading. I will read fiction, I will read fiction,
I will read fiction! I bring my book bag everywhere I go, and sneak a few minutes here and a few minutes there while I'm waiting in line, waiting at an activity for Miss M, etc.

Here are the books in my book bag.

The Endless Steppe (Ok, this is homeschool-related, and not exactly FICTION, but...baby steps.)

The Attributes of God by Arthur W. Pink - this is a little 100 page book with short little chapters full of meat. I can't wait to get into this book more!

Chosen By God by RC Sproul - this is an apologia for the difficult doctrine of predestination and explains why salvation is by grace alone. I am starting the third chapter and this book is an extremely refreshing and easy to read. Sproul's reasoning from the Scripture is compelling.

The other resolution this year is to control the Paper Monster and to get more organized. To that end, I created a Paper Control Journal. I named all the paper piles and made a tab for each one in a 3-ring binder. So, in my Paper Control Binder there is a tab for each of the following "hats" that I wear: my church, my homeschool co-op, class I am currently teaching outside the home, KEEPERS Club I am in, FLY Lady, and curriculum ideas. I'm sure the tabs will grow and change, but at least it is a start! Hopefully, this will help me tame the Paper Monster and quickly locate information.

Also am attempting to go further with the Fly Lady home management system. I have my morning routine and meal planning routines down, but I have a LONG way to go in other areas. I am hoping to get more done with the ZONE work and to add an Before Bedtime routine. All of this to try and get more organized and to create a more peaceful, well-run home. This is a tall order for a Side-Tracked Home Executive like me, but...let us highly resolve to build two new attitudes related to home organization: NO EXCUSES, and NO WHINING. : )

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I am so excited! My best girlfriend and I decided to start a
KEEPERS At Home Club with our girls this semester. Meeting twice a month for two and a half hours, we are going go try to learn 2 badges/skills a month and memorize Romans chapter 12 as a Club. On their own or with family, the girls will read a specific portion of Scripture and earn the Bible Reading skill/badge. The first four skill badges we will learn as a group are: weaving, scrapbooking, paper quilling and cake decorating. During Devotions time, are going to focus on a character trait and look up verses on th
at trait, starting with the character trait "Meekness." Moms will also be reading and discussing a chapter from Beautiful Girlhood with the girls.

Mom/daughter teams are going to take turns hosting, teaching skills for badges, and leading opening devotions. Each week, the hosting girl will also prepare lunch for everyone, and then the girls will clean up themselves. What a great way for the girls to use and develop their cooking and hospitality skills while earning their Cooking badge at the same time. I can't wait for our first meeting! I like the idea that the skills learned are practical and that an obedient life of service to God and others is the focus.

If you've ever thought of starting a Girl Scouts club, consider a KEEPERS club instead! If you have a KEEPERS handbook sitting on your shelf unused, why not call up a girlfriend and start your own KEEPERS Club! All you really need is a handbook, and you can get started with this wonderful program! See my KEEPERS right sidebar for a few helpful links.

Please do not be intimidated. I am certainly not the most skilled, domestic Mom on the planet, so if *I* can do it, so can you! (I have no idea how to decorate cakes, but there is always a Michael's class and a stack of library books!) We are all learning and growing together, and my friend has many skills that I don't have and (hopefully) vice-versa. Get with another Mom and just get started. I believe that God will bless our efforts, however imperfect. My goals are to be more submitted to God, to learn new skills with my daughter that will serve others , and to devote myself more to Christian fellowship and breaking of bread. I am bubbling over with excitement like an over-filled glass of champagne!

I'll post how our first meeting goes.