Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Officially a Bailey Boy!

We finally did it.

Scott & I tackled the dreaded task of cutting Charlie's hair.  It wasn't his first hair cut.  I cut his hair back in March, but it had grown back & was a mess.

His blonde little locks just had to come off.  Scott pulled out the trusty old clippers & began to buzz.  Silly Charlie smiled & giggled & wiggled the whole time, but let us finish his hair.

My sister said it right...He is officially now a Baily boy!  All of our boys, by the time they were 2, had their first buzz cuts.  Charlie has so much hair that he got his a little early.

Here is the after.  Cute as a bug!  He looks more like his brothers everyday.  In fact,they all argue over who he looks more like.  Me?  I think he looks like Charlie with a little bit of brothers sprinkled here & there. :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back to School Giveaway!

For all my homeschool readers!! 
This is an amazing giveaway that I had to let you know about.  If you know a home school mom pass this on to her.

Sponsors of our 3rd Annual Back to Home School Giveaway ~ Ready to Enter? Click here!

Prize Package Details - Total Prizes Valued at $1,906!

How it works: We will draw 12 individual winners - one for each prize pack below.


Hearts at Home Curriculum Store - Hearts at Home is offering a 5-Subject Switched on Schoolhouse Complete Set. Switched-On Schoolhouse is a comprehensive, Christian homeschool curriculum that offers computer-based learning for grades 3-12. With animation, video clips, and other fascinating multimedia, Switched-On Schoolhouse is the perfect Christian homeschool curriculum for today's generation.Winners will select one grade between 3-12. Hearts at Home offers over 200 publishers at up to 30% off everyday! Super fast, flat rate shipping & great service. Owned and operated by a homeschooling family. Total Value - $450

Founders Academy - Founders Academy is an online instructional resource to assist you in your homeschooling. They provide live, interactive and engaging instruction in American Government and Free Market Economics for a variety of ages. Winners will win the following: Sensational Signers of the Declaration of Independence & Choice of ONE: Government 101 OR Economics 101. (Note: Semester of Economics or Government class must be used Fall 2013 or Spring 2014 and has no cash value if not claimed or used. If you have no high school students, you may substitute Economics or Government for the Young Patriot's American History.) Total Value - $221

Bright Ideas Press - Enter to win a year of your choice of Illuminations plus the corresponding science and history books that go with it (either The Mystery or History or All American History and a year of Christian Kids Explore Science). Tired of planning it all yourself? Do you long to teach your kids together at the same time? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the planning you need to do? Do you ever wish you could find all your plans in one place? Illuminations is your answer! Illuminations is an all-inclusive* curriculum plan, covering Bible, language arts (grammar, writing, copywork, spelling, and vocabulary), literature, science, humanities (poetry, theater, music, and art), geography, history, and life skills. Total
*does not include math - Value - $215

Cover Story - From the creator of The One Year Adventure Novel comes a new writing curriculum for mid-grade students. Cover Story takes middle school students – 6th through 8th grade – on a guided tour through the universe of Story. The program covers poetry, short stories, creative non-fiction, interviews, blogs, letters, and much more in video lessons taught by a professional writer. A complete Language Arts program: Writing, Story techniques and structure, Literature, Critical thinking, & Grammar (included but optional.) Total Value - $149

Home School Adventure Co. has bundled an exciting and unique critical thinking collection which includes: Philippians in 28 Weeksâ„¢ - a simple and painless way to memorize an entire book of Scripture, The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Journal Questions - an enchanting fable that unmasks the ugliness of pride and selfishness, and the newly released Philosophy Adventureâ„¢ -Pre-Socratics - designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas. Total Value $148

BrimWood Press - BrimWood Press is dedicated to providing thought-rich, visually stimulating materials that enable children to grasp essential concepts of learning through pioneering methods that engage the whole child. Their package is the "Conversations Worldview Kit" - a combination of some of the most popular BrimWood Press' worldview products: Christian Theology & Ancient Polytheism, Historical Novels for Engaging Thinkers, Introduction to Worldview, & Conversations from the Garden. Total Value - $125

A+ TutorSoft - Multisensory-Interactive Homeschool MATH ONLINE (1 year Access) - Our Multi-Sensory Interactive MATH Curriculum Software makes learning MATH fun and easy by using audio, computer animated visuals and text. It is designed to keep your child's attention. Total Value - $125

Heritage History - The Heritage Classical Curriculum is the easiest, least expensive, and most enjoyable way to learn traditional history. Their "living books" reading program uses narrative histories that were popular with young people of earlier generations and features books of interest to students of all ages. This giveaway includes the following titles: Young Readers, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, British Middle Ages, & British Empire. Total Value - $125

Memoria Press - First Form Latin Set - Written by Cheryl Lowe (author of the best-selling Latina Christiana), First Form and its sister Latin products have been used by more than 100,000 students across the world to learn Latin! First Form's grammar-first approach focuses on grammar forms and vocabulary because these are the skills suitable for the grammar stage student. The First Form Series is for students of all ages because all beginners—regardless of age—are in the grammar stage of learning. Total Value - $115 - Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership with 1-year bonus access to The Notebooking Publisher web-app. Your Membership includes access to ALL of their products on this page PLUS LIFETIME updates...past, present, & future products...all yours! Total Value - $100

Blogelina - The Complete Blog Set-Up/Makeover Package. Have you ever wanted a blog, but you didn't know where to start? Wonder how you can make money for your family by blogging? This complete package is for you! If you already have a blog, get a FREE makeover! Total Value - $79

Write Through the Bible Write Through the Bible is a series of copywork printables designed for an entire school year, combining the disciplines of handwriting, dictation, vocabulary, and Scripture memory into one daily activity. Prize includes The ENTIRE Write Through the Bible Collection along with The Heart of Humility: Teaching Your Kids to Put Others First (A family study of Philippians 2:1-18). The Workbooks will be in both manuscript and cursive & you can choose between ESV or KJV versions! Total Value - $54

Ready to Enter? Click here!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sarah Update. Where Am I?

Here's our latest pic of Sarah.  We haven't heard from her in 2 days and it is driving me bonkers!  I am sure this means they are really busy & just too tired at night to contact us.  In this picture she is sitting outside a coffee shop down the street from where they are staying. This is where they can get wifi.  Keep praying for the team.  Sarah is seeing a real desperate need for the gospel to be shared & lived out in this little town of NewRoss.
Pray for their safety, the youth will be open to hearing and accepting the gospel and for strength & energy for the team.

By the way, I am blogging today over at The M.O.M. Initiative blog today.  I'm blogging about JOY...what's the big deal about it?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: Alpha-Phonics

Publisher:Paradigm Company
Author: Samuel Blumenfeld
Last updated: 2012

If you are looking for a simple, no frills approach to teaching your child to read then I believe Alpha-Phonics will be a great fit for you.

Alpha-Phonics is not a new company, they have been around for many years with too many success stories to list here.  They made Cathy Duffy's top 100 picks for Homeschool Curriculum. Mary Pride has given them her highest rating several times also.  This is a company with a strong, trustworthy reputation.

When you first open the textbook you will see simple lessons in an easy to read font in black lettering.  There are no colored pictures to illustrate the sounds or distract your child.  I love this book because you can go at your child's pace, there is no hurry.  You move from lesson to lesson as your child is ready. Something new they have added is a CD-rom of the book when you purchase the textbook.  This is the text book in CD-rom form.  I didn't use this because I like to do our lessons in places I would rather not take my laptop, but I can see how this would make it easy for a mom who might have a student who could do the later lessons as review on their own.
Sample lesson

This is solid phonics.  I have taught nine kids to read and this method always worked best even for my two children who were dyslexic.  Short vowels are taught first and later the blends.  By the 3rd lesson they are reading simple sentences. You can also use this book to teach cursive writing which has become a lost handwriting.

This does require a parent work through with their child, but there is no preparation.  I loved being able to pick up where we left off the day before and not have to look ahead & prepare.  That is a homeschool mom's best friend...non-prep materials.

You can also purchase the Companion Workbook with more simple pages to help reinforce what your child is learning. I personally didn't use these, but I can see how they would be a good addition.

The 10 Little Companion Readers stay with the theme of no frill, simple learning.  Each book focuses on one learning concept.  These make a great supplement to the program.
All in all, I was pleased with Alpha-Phonics.

My only negative for this program would be the price.I thought it was a bit expensive since it is all sold separately. 

Text book is $34.95 (which includes the CD-rom)
Readers are $24.95
Workbook is $19.95

You can order these at the Alpha Phonics website or click the image below.

teach reading with Alpha-Phonics

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Irish Missionary

Dublin Airport
As I write this, Sarah is sleeping soundly at a friends house in Galway, Ireland.  She has spent the past 2 days with friends she has made over the past 3 years with each return trip.  I'm so thankful for Claire and her sweet daughters who gave Sarah a place to stay and treated her like a queen.  They took her to many places in the area that she had not been able to go to because there wasn't time on her past trips.

Tomorrow she gets back on the train and heads back to Dublin where she will meet the mission team.  They will all travel together to New Ross and minister to the teenagers in the community.  A very hard group of people to minister to in Ireland.

I would appreciate your prayers for Sarah & the prayer team.  If you are friends with me on Facebook, I often repost pictures she has posted from her Facebook page.

She messaged me tonight, because she couldn't go to sleep.  She didn't want to leave Galway, but she was also very excited to see what the Lord had in store for her in New Ross. It was 1:00 a.m. her time. I know eventually, my Irish missionary will move to Ireland.  Her passion is to share Jesus with the people there and her love of the country is obvious.  She has been happier these past few days than she has been in a long time.

The Quiet Man Bridge

Sarah & Claire

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

God's Grip is Tighter Than Mine

It's been a tough week.  That would explain why I have blogged so much.  My whole schedule is out of wack so I am taking advantage of the time and sharing with you what all is going on.

This has been a hard week on my momma emotions.  I have been pressed to the edge and wanted to fall off, but I didn't. 

Morgan is camping in Colorado with friends.  I really miss her. I know she is having a great time though.

Gracie is at camp.  Yes, she is still there.  So, I am hoping that means she is having a fantastic week!

This morning Scott & I took Sarah to the airport.  She is in the air right now as I type, flying from Atlanta to Dublin, Ireland.  According to my "Fly Delta" app she has 6 hours and 27 minutes left in her flight. 

I was doing great this morning until we got to the airport and them my momma emotions began swelling up.  I pressed them down as long as I could. 

Sarah, getting ready to go through security.
Once she was through security, turned and waved at us the pressing down of emotions was not happening anymore.  She turned & walked towards her gate, we turned and walked to our car with me crying the whole way.  This girl has so much faith, confidence and love for adventure; I admire her greatly because I have none of that.

I'm worried.  There.  I said it.  I'm worried something will happen and we won't be there to protect her.  I'm worried she will miss her flight. And my list of worries kept building.

She calls me this afternoon during her layover in Atlanta to tell me she got lost trying to get to the International terminal.  See God!  I told you she doesn't need to travel alone.

She's not alone.

She text me to say the flight is delayed, now she is going to miss her train to Galway.  God, really?  Can't you make this go smoother for her?

I've got it all under control.  She isn't alone.

She calls me an hour after her flight was supposed to leave to tell me they are on the plane, but they can't take off.  They sat there for almost an hour.  Ok God, please make a way for this plane to safely take her to Dublin.

She belongs to me and I am holding her tightly.  Trust me.

On the plane, waiting to take off.
The Lord reminded me many times that he has gone before Sarah.  Yes, she planned everything out, booked her tickets, arranged for friends to pick her up, but the Lord went before her and it is His plans that will be accomplished.  We don't know why her plane was delayed so long, but I know Sarah, she trusts that it is all for a very good reason and isn't worried.  She knows who is in control of her trip and isn't her!

But my momma emotions really got in the way today and I almost missed out on seeing my daughter rise to the occasion and display tremendous strength and wisdom.

Tonight in our Bible Study, I heard Lysa TerKeurst say,
When we praise God in the midst of our difficulties it positions us to see and experience Him in a most amazing way.
I love that!  When I am praising God, I am walking in confidence that He has gone before me and He is in everything, holding it all together.  I get to experience his power, faithfulness and unbelievable love.

So, I am going to bed tonight praying Sarah will get to sleep on the plane & hoping the 11 yr old boy sitting by her sleeps also. I'm praying Gracie sleeps really well at camp & doesn't wish for a moment she could come home.  I'm praying for Morgan  will remember in her dreams that she is loved deeply by her God. I will rest knowing my kids are well taken care of even if I am not there, God holds them tightly. His grip is tighter than mine.

My kids are really Gods' kids and I'm glad to be reminded that He has gone before all of them and will draw them to him so that He may be glorified!  All I have to do is trust him.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Doing Hard Things

For a year she begged to go to our church children's camp.  I was hesitant.  We always made our kids wait until they had complete 3rd grade before we let them go to camp. She had only finished 2nd grade.  But she wanted to go so badly so I signed her up.
She promised she wouldn't cry or want to come home, but I wasn't so sure. She cried every night the last time she went to my parents house without me.

Sunday night was the first meltdown.  I found her in the bathroom, late that night bawling her eyes out.  She didn't want to be away from us for that many days (four days..2 whole days without seeing us).  We talked it out.  She wanted to go, she just wasn't sure about being away from us. "I like being with my family" (Hoping she still feels like that when she is 16)

The next morning she said she could do it & was ready to start packing her bags.  I thought, maybe she is gonna do it.  She was great all day and so excited when she went to bed she could hardly go to sleep.

This morning, she woke up ready to go.  I was combing her hair & it started all over again.

Meltdown #2.

Her big sister stepped into the bathroom and said, "Let's go get breakfast at Chick-Fila and Mom & Dad will meet us at the church."  That helped a little.  She walks out saying, "I'll go to breakfast, but I'm not going to camp!" :)

Scott & I got to the church before Sarah & Gracie did so I grabbed that opportunity to talk to her counselor explaining the situation.  Sarah & Gracie park at the church & meltdown # 3 starts.  I was really beginning to think she wouldn't make it and neither would I.

After talking with Ms. Rebecca (her counselor) Gracie decided she was going.  Dad put her bags on the bus and we found her group of friends.

Posted from my Instagram

She sat down with her friends, I took a picture & started to walk off when all of a sudden she was wrapped around my waist. Yep...meltdown #4 was underway.

Here was her cry.  She wanted to go really bad, but she didn't trust herself to not cry at camp and she didn't want to go unless she knew she wouldn't cry.  Yep, that is my girl!  That is how she rolls through life.  Unless she knows she will do it extremely well, she won't do it at all.  Her name is Gracie, but she hasn't learned yet how to give herself grace.

We hugged and talked a bit more and then Dad walked up and let her know Sophie, her best friend, is in the bathroom crying too!  She is having a hard time too!  In a weird kind of way, that made Gracie feel better.  She now had a purpose, to help Sophie.

She was now able to find the courage she needed to get on that big giant bus.  And that is what she did...with her counselor gently leading her on while quoting Philippians 4:13 outloud,
 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength I need."

She is the shadow above the "R".  Waving bravely, wanting to cry but now she can't because she needed to help Sophie be brave too.

Teaching our kids to do hard things is not easy but so important. We want to find excuses for them like I did for Gracie.  Maybe she isn't old enough.  She needs to be more mature.  But instead we are to encourage them, cheer them on and be their greatest support!  Going to camp was all Gracie's idea and in the end it was all her choice.  We were not going to force her to go, but we knew how badly she wanted to go.

Finding purpose in doing those hard things gives them a whole new meaning.  Jesus never asks us to do something hard that doesn't have an eternal purpose.  It is all for a reason. And it is all to bring glory to God.

Today's hard thing for Gracie was getting on that bus.  Tonight it will be going to sleep without Mom or Dad there.  Tomorrow it wil be something else.  Everyday is a new opportunity to do a hard thing and do it very well, to the glory of God.  Teach your kids the value of this and they will be prepared and excited to take on whatever challenges God brings their way.

I cried when I watched Gracie get on that bus.  I cried because I knew how hard it was for her to do that and I was so proud of her.  I know she will do great.  Her leader will make sure of that.  I can't wait to see her Friday!!  But it would be really great if her leader would text me & let me know how great she is doing. Just a mom thing.


Monday, July 15, 2013

The Mustang

So, what happens when you leave your broken down car in our driveway too long?

Josh is finding out.

It was a great car.  Here is the story.

Josh worked really hard , saving his money and bought himself a truck.  He had always wanted an older truck and that is what he got.  But, this truck needed constant love and attention and that was beginning to get really expensive. Even though he had a job, he didn't save his money very well so quite often his truck would either run out of gas or just not run because he had spent his paycheck.  This old truck of his was getting on his last nerve.

So, when a friend offered to trade with him he jumped on it.  What did he trade his old truck for?  A 1999 Mustang GT. It was nice. It was fast.  It worked. And best of all, he thought he looked good in it. (Because that is really important to a 19 year old guy)

Life was great until one very rainy night Josh was on his way home (in his car that he looked amazing in), hit a deep water puddle & slid into a curb.  The car died and wouldn't start again.  After a friend helped him tow the car to our house, the next morning Josh saw the damage and realized the motor was shot. His nice car was now a none working car needing a new motor.

Fast forward many months.  The car is still sitting in the driveway.  He talks of getting a new motor but we all know he doesn't have the money.  He talks of selling it, but remember that "friend" he traded with?  He had no title to the car.  He told Josh he would bring it to him, but that never happened.  So, Josh is stuck with a car that he couldn't sell or take to the junk yard.

Then one day while on Facebook he saw a picture of his car & read the status above it that Collin (his younger brother) wrote.

Couldn't get a new motor for the mustang so now I am parting it out. 1999 Ford Mustang GT... NO MOTOR, TRANSMISSION, RADIATOR, BATTERY OR TITLE.. Let me know if there is anything you would like off of this vehicle and I will give you a price quote.

Josh read it again & then it dawned on him. His brother was parting out his car!

 "Dude!  That's my car!  You are selling my car!"

So, the lesson is don't leave your broken down car in our driveway too long or a sibling will find a way to make money off of it!

By the way, the car is still sitting in the driveway.  Anyone want to make me a good deal?  Momma needs money for a pedicure!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Life Moments

I couldn't find Gracie.  I had told her to pick up a mess she made on the table and now she was no where to be found.  I walked around the corner to see Gracie & Charlie sitting on the floor together.

I watch Gracie (who is much like a 12 year old in an 8 year old body) sit and read to her baby brother and it melts my heart.  Then I start listening to her.  She is reading from a Bible story book.
"Charlie, this is my favorite story that I have read in the Bible.  It is about a little boy named Samuel.  Not your big brother Samuel, but another boy.  I like it because God talked to Samuel and I know God talks to me.  He helps me make good decisions and tells me when I do bad things.  He talks to me like he talked to Samuel and I think that is really cool."
My heart is melting.  Charlie is so content to sit in Gracie's lap and listen to her. It is a rare calm moment in Charlie's day. He is 14 months old.  Sitting still is not on his personal to-do list.  It is almost like he understood what she was saying was important.

As a mom my day is packed full of life moments.  Some good.  Some bad.  But God orchestrates them all.  And what God does has great eternal value. Even that little moment that I so easily could have messed up because I wanted Gracie to clean up her mess.  Experience has taught me to step back and allow God to work.
God is in the business of preparing us for eternity with him.  That preparation is often difficult, sometimes it is exciting.  It is always a blessing.

What life moments are you missing because you are focused on your tasks?

What is God doing today in your life?

My hope, sweet mom is that you will slow down and learn to see God at work in all of those little life moments. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Tribe

Here is my Tribe.  We had these taken Mother's Day.  It was my gift to myself.  Now that my kids are trying so hard to leave me it is really hard to get them all together for good pictures.

I asked a friend of mine if she could take our picture.  She is 19 and loves photography & I knew she would do a great job!  And she did!!

This is my favorite.  

We joked that this is on the porch of our new house.
My group takes up the whole porch!

Me & all my guys!

Sweet Charlie with his brothers in the background.

Me with my beautiful little women who aren't so little anymore...
except Gracie, she's still little.

This was a Facebook favorite & is still my cover photo.

Love this man!  My cowboy!