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What's the big deal about Young Living

The Time a Snake Interrupted Our Photo Shoot

A while back my daughter asked me to do a photo shoot while her friend, Carlie, was over.

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So, I put on my “Pretend I’m a Photographer” hat and directed them to do stuff like hang onto trees and walk serenely down the driveway.

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And everything was going merrily along until I saw something wriggling in the corner of the view finder.

snake

So I instinctively did what any loving mother would do. I screamed like a little girl and high tailed it out of there, leaving the girls bewildered until they turned around and did the same thing.

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Then I regained my composure and snapped a picture, like a good blogger.

Have you ever encountered a snake, up close and personal?

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A Modern Day Parable

footprints

Once there was a mother of, let’s say, 8 children.

This mother was a very busy lady, with very active children. Even though she was aware that she should keep her eyes on the end goal, the big picture, she often inadvertently, and to the detriment of her family, found herself focused on short term goals. This tendency played out in a very tangible way one blustery, winter day.

A soccer game had concluded on a bitterly cold, windy November evening. With her children following along dutifully behind, bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves, the mother trudged through one empty soccer field after another toward the large parking complex.

She kept her head down, only looking up occasionally, to keep the wind from whipping in her face. Finally, her feet left the soggy sod and reached crunchy gravel of the parking lot. She looked up to find the big white maxi van, usually easily spotted amongst normal size vehicles.

The van was nowhere.

She looked one way. She looked the other.

Finally she saw the problem. While walking with her head down, she had veered so far off course that she was now 2 parking lots away from her intended destination. Because of her mistake, she had to walk just as far to correct her path as she did when she started the journey back at the benches.

She groaned and altered her course. She strengthened her resolve. This time she kept her eyes up and faced the wind head on. This time she reached her destination and did not waver right or left.

Does this story sound familiar to you?

During my high school days, my drill team team instructor used to shout through her bull horn from the stands, “IF THE BLIND LEAD THE BLIND, YOU WILL ALL FALL IN THE DITCH!!!” when the leader of our 50 member team would carelessly strut past the 50 yard marker, where we were supposed to turn one at a time, one behind the other, and march with precision to center field.

Of course, that meant every single girl would end up in the wrong place, all because the leader missed her mark.

Sometimes we moms are so busy focused on when our toddler will ever pee in the toilet, or our 2nd grader will ever learn to read, or our 9th grader will ever understand exponents, or our high school senior will ever get into college that we forget our real destination.

Sometimes it’s even easy to forget that those milestones aren’t a destination at all. They are simply milestones. Markers on the way to the real goal.

When I’m frustrated by life’s little daily frustrations, backed up plumbing, car trouble, cranky children, it’s so easy to put my head down and try to plow through, just get through that one day, without looking up.

The trouble is those days tend to pile up, end to end. And before we know it, we look up and we are just as far from our destination as if we had never started, with our children following along behind.

As for us, our long term family goal is to be together in eternity. On days, or weeks, or months, when we find we have our heads down and our eyes not focusing on the goal, we readjust and remind ourselves of where we want to be heading.

Are you headed toward your goal, Mama? Your children are following you. What destination are you taking them to?

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Quick Roast Turkey

Quick Roast Turkey Method

Have you ever worked from the early morning hours, into the afternoon, preparing a Thanksgiving dinner only to suffer through dry, tough, turkey? Rest easy, friends. Those days are behind you.

My mother in law found this method of doing Thanksgiving quick roast turkey in her local newspaper a couple of years ago, and it was the best turkey any of us could remember having. It wasn’t like any turkey I had tried before. It was moist and tender and flavorful. I have been doing it this way ever since. In fact, we like it so much that we now have roasted turkey several times a year.

The best part of this method is the 1-2 hour cooking time. That’s right! Only an hour for smaller birds! No more setting your alarm clock to get up in time to get the bird in the oven.

What gives it the moisture that is missing from most of the Thanksgiving turkeys I have had in the past is 2 fold. First, it is soaked overnight in a brine, and second, it is roasted over a pan of water. Those two things in combination with the high heat and short cooking time will produce a bird you will be proud of.

Here you go, girls. I promise you won’t go wrong with this recipe.

Quick Roast Turkey

  1. Soak the bird for 6-8 hours (Overnight is fine.) in an ice chest of water with 2 cups of salt, 1 cup of brown sugar, and plenty of ice. Make sure the bird is submerged.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees.
  3. Rinse turkey and put on a rack in roasting pan.
  4. Stuff turkey with half an onion, some garlic cloves, and half an apple.
  5. Rub outside with butter. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside and out.
  6. Add one inch of water to bottom of pan.
  7. Roast for approximately 1-2 hrs. at 500 degrees (depending on the size of the bird).
  8. Cover turkey lightly with a foil tent if it becomes too brown.
  9. Check water and add more if needed.
  10. Remove when internal temperature reaches 161 degrees or when popper comes up.
  11. Be careful when you take it out. Remember, there is water in the bottom of the pan.

Mmmmmmmm…… I can almost taste it now!

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Trying Out the HTC M8 Harman/Kardon Edition Sprint Phone

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf Influence Central for Sprint. I received sample devices to facilitate this review.

HTC M8 Harman/Kardon

I was so excited to be invited to be a #SprintMom and try out the new HTC M8 Harman/Kardon Edition Sprint phone!

I was able to visit the Sprint store and hear straight from a rep all the cool features of this phone. Here are a few of the things that caught my attention:

  • It turns on with a simple double tap on the screen.
  • When receiving a phone call, you can answer by picking up the phone. No pressing buttons or swiping.
  • All metal parts
  • Screen replacement free, for up to one year
  • Spotify Premium is a standard feature.
  • The phone supports HD music tracks, so the sound is amazing!
  • Beautiful, crystal clear photography
  • FUN, built-in photo editing app

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You can colorize, cartoonize, 3D-ize, and lots more fun stuff.

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These are all straight out of the camera!

I was actually sorta bummed that I already have a phone, so I passed this one along to my 17yo son. You see, we have each been holding out, waiting for the other to buy him his own phone.

I kept saying we don’t pay for teens’ phones, and he kept saying he didn’t need a phone. The trouble is we can’t keep in contact with each other when he is out and about, and his friends keep calling me to see if he is available to hang out. So, we have both been waiting for the other to cave.

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And now that I have this brand new, awesome phone to test out, well, it just made sense to let him have it. The good news is that it comes with a $50/month, unlimited data, NO COMMITMENT service plan!

So, he is stoked to have a phone with an amazing sound system, and I am relieved to be able to text him to ask him to bring home milk after the movie. It’s a win/win!

Do your teens have phones? 

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On Examining the Scriptures With Children

Bible

“Now the Berean Jews… received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

Our goal is to read the Bible as a family every morning before we begin the rest of our academic work. I’ll admit that we sometimes don’t accomplish this if we are rushing to get to co-op on time or make some other appointment. Still, it is a habit we constantly come back to as part of our daily routine.

Here is a short video of how we take turns reading the Bible aloud. You might notice we are not reading a Bible storybook, but the actual Bible. Some of the younger children read from the NIRV since it has simpler words, my Bible is a NASV, and the older kids have NIV, but we all follow along together, and we read at least a chapter at a time. (Our 10yo has requested a King James Version Bible for Christmas, since she wants to read a “more intelligent” version.)

Even though the words are not identical in each version, all the children have become accustomed to realizing that several words can mean the same thing. The children’s version might say Jesus “walked,” while another version will say he “traveled.”

Once in a while, a reader might have to ask, “Where are we?” and someone will tell them which verse was just read. I believe this is excellent practice for reading comprehension, oral reading skills, vocabulary building, and more.

But most importantly, I love this daily Bible reading habit because we are stressing the importance of examining the scriptures for ourselves. We have told our children many times that we love Dr. So and So who is bringing the message to us, and we believe he would never intentionally mislead us, but it is our responsibility to examine for ourselves to see if what he says is true.

This has caused our kids to know much about what is actually in the Bible and what are common misconceptions about Biblical teachings.

It has also brought about many difficult conversations.

Like, “If God is loving, why did He do that? That doesn’t seem loving.”

We try to answer to the best of our abilities. Sometimes the answer is to remind our children that just like parents know what is best for their children, even if the children don’t like it at the time, God knows what is best for us even if we don’t understand or agree.

And sometimes the answer is we simply don’t know, but we are looking forward to finding out one day.

Entire religious structures have been built upon what a single man or several men have told the people what God expects of them. And sometimes the people simply trust and do not look for themselves.

We don’t want our children to ever be deceived by false teachings, but to be in the habit of examining the scriptures daily for themselves.

Winter Summit

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Take Turns Reading Aloud With “Popcorn”

Have you ever watched a pot of popcorn being heated? You cannot predict which kernel will pop next, or when. This read aloud game uses that same principle.

Take turns reading aloud with popcorn

When I taught elementary grade levels in public school for 8 years, the students often took turns reading aloud. This let them practice their reading skills, and one way I encouraged the students to pay attention and keep up with where we were was to play “popcorn.”

Now that I’m a homeschool mom of 8, I use the same approach to let my own children practice those same skills. Even though I am homeschooling grades from preschool through 12th grade, we all read the Bible together every morning, and everyone, from 1st grade up, gets a turn at reading aloud with “popcorn.”

Here’s how it works:

  • Everyone looks at the passage being read, and knows where we are beginning.
  • Mom starts reading, and at a random point, stops and says “popcorn,” and calls a random name.
  • The person whose name was called must begin reading at precisely the point the former reader stopped.
  • After reading for a while, this reader stops at a random point and calls, “popcorn” to choose another reader.
  • (Optional) Stickers can be awarded for children who never lose their place.

Here’s an example of our varied ages playing “popcorn.” Each child must keep up with what is being read in case his or her name is called next.

This read aloud game has many benefits.

  • No one knows who will be called next, so each child must pay attention
  • Each child gets a chance to practice reading aloud, but can choose how long to read. This alleviates embarrassment for the slower readers.
  • There is no daydreaming during reading since everyone is on high alert in case they are called next.
  • The material read aloud is remembered since everyone is paying attention.

We take turns reading aloud with popcorn every day. My kids of all ages love it!

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What's the big deal about Young Living