Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Angels

We just finished up making bags for sixteen local Angel Tree children, the most our mission has ever done.  We use donations from local people and look for toys and clothes when they are 75% off so we can buy for as many kids as possible.  I am always one of the first to the Angel Tree to make sure I can get kids with the sizes of clothing I have. 

All my girls helped out.  The older ones sorted and hauled clothes and toys.  The little ones especially liked me telling them the childrens' names and what toys they like so they could pick out their presents.  We love this time of year.  I don't know if Salvation Army Angel Trees are national or not, but if you have them in your area, I would recommend you try it as a family.  You will be as blessed as the child you pick.
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Easy Way to Learn Ten Commandments

When I wanted to teach the children at our mission the ten commandments, I looked high and low for an easy way to do it.  Most of the kids we worked with were unchurched, and I needed to make it relevant and fun for them to learn.  I stumbled across a way to remember the commandments with the number, and then I tweaked it for my own use.  Definitely go over the traditional wording for the commandments with the kids, but then use these for easier understanding and remembering.
Now almost all of the kids at the mission can say their ten commandments, even my four year old.  Hopefully this will help other kids too!
1.)  God is number one.
2.) Two gods are not okay.
3.) Be careful with God's three names.  (God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit)
4.) Worship and rest is what Sunday is for.
5.) Honor your mom and dad to stay five alive.
6.) Don't put anyone six feet under.
7.) Keep your marriage promise seven days a week.
8.) Don't steal like the apple Aladdin ate.
9.) Don't lie and say you're nine if you're not.
10.) Don't put anybody else's stuff on your top ten list.
 (Photo at top from

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Activated Charcoal: Cure for the Stomach Flu

You may be thinking,"There is no cure for the stomach flu!"  Ah, that's what I used to think, but now I use activated charcoal.  When anybody in the family's stomach starts to feel not quite right, they ask for black yogurt.  Sounds lovely, doesn't it? 

I just mix a heaping tablespoon of activated charcoal into a serving of the probiotic yogurt and they eat it up.  They were squeemish at first but after finding the yogurt was only a little gritty and made their tongues black, they were okay with it.  They hate to vomit and black yogurt is a welcome alternative.

How does it work?  Well, charcoal sucks up impurities and toxins as it goes through your body and sends them out of the body.  You cannot overdose on charcoal because it does not soak into your bloodstream at all.  It just passes through your digestive tract.  Be aware that you will have black poop at least once.

Activated charcoal may not work every time, especially if you wait until it's too late, but normally it prevents vomiting and at least helps you to be  able to get through your day without feeling half dead.

Online prices are normally better than local health stores.  Do remember to keep your activated charcoal tightly sealed as it will suck up impurities in the air and become useless if left open.

So if you're belly is feeling not so good or your child's best friend just came down with the stomach bug, eat some black yogurt and share it with your family.

(Photo from
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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Free Homeschool Curriculum

Have you ever searched for free homeschool curriculum online after the kids have gone to bed, hoping for a miracle.  Well, I have and a couple of years ago I found Easy Peasy Homeschool.  This website is a godsend for families who need curriculum for several different grades and have little money to spend.  Of course it is great for everyone else too. 

Elective subjects include PE, music, art, and Bible.  Then of course the meat and potato subjects are there too.  History, Science, and Bible can be done by different levels of learners together.  They study the same thing but in different ways.  Many levels actually have the daily lesson with links to whatever videos or online books that are needed.  The kids can do much of it on their own, which is great because independent learning is our ultimate goal.  Check it out!  You won't be sorry!
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Enjoying the Holidays

Christmas will be upon us soon.  We always decorate our tree and get out the manger scenes after Halloween at our house.  Yes, I'm aware that the appropriate time to do this is after Thanksgiving, but we are homeschoolers, and we don't follow the rules.

We put out our decorations early so we can soak up the light and joy of the holiday for as long as we can.  Sometimes the holidays can move at the speed of light, just like this picture my daughter, Mary Margaret took of the tree while she was moving. 

It is our goal to focus on our family and others who need a friend this Thanksgiving and Christmas.   I will have to intentionally slow down and not get stressed over family obligations or baking messes to make this happen.  I will do my best to enjoy each moment, for life is lived in the moments that I too often overlook.

This is one of my favorite parts of Luke 2, the chapter we recite each Christmas. 

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  Luke 2:7

Scratchy straw for a bed and the stench of animals all around her did not make for a wonderful birth, but I know Mary treasured that moment because it says so.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Lord, help me to treasure each moment, the good ones and the not so good ones because they all work together for good.  Amen
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Modern Courting Guidelines

I have two teenage daughters.  Many people have warned about how terrible these years would be, but my girls have brought me nothing but joy.  With most of the discipline out of the way, they are my best friends. 

Since they were little I have told them about courting, and we all decided it would be a better choice than dating.  I was honest with them about my own dating mistakes and how I wanted something better for them.  They have no real interest in boys yet except as friends, but we know that courting may very well begin in a few years, so we have talked a lot about what courting will look like for us.

Here are the Courting Guidelines we came up with....

Key Guideline- Pick a Christian who shares your values and values you as a person.

1.) Wait until you are of an age in which you would consider marriage. (We have chosen 18 as our minimum age.)

2.) Stay away from face-to-face situations in which you are completely alone or in an enclosed area.

3.) For private communication, use phone conversations, texts, emails, letters, or walks in  public areas.

4.) Spend time together on group dates and at each family's house.

5.) Be sure to share your views on marriage, religion, money, housework, and children.

These are not rules I will enforce with my girls, but guidelines they have chosen.  You might notice physical contact is not really addressed in these guidelines, but is discouraged in general by the lack of alone time.  My daughters really want to get to know the hearts of the men they court before they even think of that.

We look to Song of Songs 4:8 for our inspiration. "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Best High School Homeschool Website

Have you ever Shmooped?  You may be asking if this is a new dance move or something, but no, Shmoop is a website that offers some wonderful things for high school homeschoolers. 

Kids can prepare for the SAT for free or pay $30 for an awesome yearly membership to a SAT program that pre-tests , post-tests, and gives them exactly the review they need.  The best thing is it makes everything very amusing and fun.

We also love to watch the short Schmoop videos of classic books or Shakespearean plays.  My girls watch these on their own time, they love them so much.  The videos are so sarcastic and humorous, they help you to remember the plot of the story.  These are especially great if you read something that alludes to a classical work and you want your child to have some knowledge of it, but you don't have time to read it just now.

Schmoop also offers a free Driver's Education program that prepares your student for the test in your state.  It is fun and snarky, so you will get no complaints about it being boring.

There are lots of other great things on Shmoop.  Try it today.  Your kids will thank you.  By the way I am in no way affiliated with or payed by Shmoop.  These are my own real feelings about this website.
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Monday, November 3, 2014

A Sacred Sabbath

When you work in the ministry, your Sabbath is not really a time of rest.  It is more a time of exhaustion.  My Sunday starts early with cooking.  When you serve around 40 people lunch every day, you better start cooking early.  I normally cook chili, spaghetti, soup, or hot dogs; anything I can put into my giant crockpot.  My husband, Billy, leaves the house to get everything set up at the church.   I get the little ones breakfast and make sure they are dressed for the week's theme.  We have a different theme every week.  This week was Mexican Sunday.
Then I throw together my own themed outfit and make sure I have my lesson, serving spoons, and plenty of candy for kids  saying Bible verses.  By the time service is over I have danced and sung with the kids, taught a lesson, served lunch, tried to wolf down my food between dishing up seconds, and helped clean up the sanctuary.  My husband has picked up most of the children  and adults before service and then taken them home again in our minivan.  He has to make several trips. 
When we get home, we would like to collapse, but then Billy has to study for his college classes, and I spend the afternoon cleaning the kitchen I destroyed that morning.  With supper, youth group for my teen girls, and baths for the little ones, the day is gone quickly.
Sometimes I feel sorry for myself that I can't just show up at church and sit comfortably while listening to an inspirational message, but  I know that is not my lot in life.  I believe that the Sabbath is more about your soul resting in the fact that you are doing exactly what God wants you to be doing.  My body gets tired, but my soul gets its refreshment from watching the children and families in our mission grow into the people God wants them to be.  I am so blessed to be apart of God's work in my city.
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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Life Lessons


My stepmom, Liz, married my dad when I was pretty young so she was just like a second mom to me.  She fought against cancer for many years and finally lost her battle.  She taught me many important lessons while she was alive, but I’ll just share the one that means the most to me.  She enjoyed each moment she had and truly focused on the people around her.   She would never be trying to do something else while you talked to her.  She always put aside her busy schedule and just loved on her grand-kids when they came over.  I’m a busy mom and sometimes I catch myself trying to multi-task while my kids are talking to me.  Then I think of Liz, and I try my best to concentrate on the most important thing in life, the people I love.
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Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Candy Deals

Happy Halloween!  At midnight tonight I will be involved in a very scary activity.  I will be at the Wal-Mart purchasing Halloween candy for half price with my Mom and Grandma.  All year long at our mission, we give kids a piece of candy for each Bible verse they can recite before the service starts.  It's amazing how much kids will learn for candy.  I figure the good it does for their soul counteracts the danger of tooth decay.

So if you meander into the Wal-Mart at midnight tonight and see three generations of crazy ladies with carts full of nothing but candy, that just might be us.  Make that four generations.  My teenage daughters just announced they are coming too!

By the way, stay away from the Warhead candy or you might get hurt!

Candy photo above is from Party .com.
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Best Laundry Detergent Recipe

I have experimented for years with making my own laundry soap.   I started making it because my youngest, Amy Grace, has eczema and regular detergents were causing her to itch and break out.   I started out making the liquid kind, but I got tired of the boiling and stirring jello-like detergent.  

Now I make the dry kind.  It is much easier to make, store, and pour.  It is also perfect for my new energy efficient washer because it is naturally low sudsing.  Here is my recipe.   Make some up and save some money today.  (All of these are normally close together in the laundry aisle at Wal-Mart or you can order online.)

1 Box of Super Washing Soda 3 lb. 7 oz. 
1 Box of Borax 4 lbs 12 oz. size 
1 Box of Baking Soda 4 lb. 
1 bar of Fels-Naptha 5.5 oz. (grated)

1 bar of Zote (grated)
1 container of Oxy-Clean 1.3 lb or other Oxygen Cleaner (Keep Box and measuring cup for detergent.)

I grate the soap with a cheese grater while I watch a movie with the kids.  You can also use a food processor.  Dump all ingredients into a large bucket with a lid.  Mix with a long spoon or your hands.  I fill up the Oxy-Clean container,  keep it near the washer, and just refill as needed from the bucket.  I use the Oxy-Clean measuring cup to measure the detergent.  You just need one cup per load.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Teaching Good Character

Need some ideas for teaching character traits to your young ones?  If you're like me, you might be noticing that your little ones have trouble obeying or sharing at times.  I started thinking about why I home school and realized that the biggest reason is to raise Godly children who will grow into adults others want to be around.   Yet many times, those ideals get lost in the shuffle of teaching them how to read, write, and count, and I completely ignore the little behavior problems.  

This school year, I've decided to purposely teach character traits to my four and six year old.  We do a Bible story, a Bible verse, read a Children's book, and some kind of fun craft or game to reinforce the weekly character trait.  Sometimes we even find a cute song on Youtube that goes along with it.  We have stayed on obedience for several weeks because I feel it is one of the most important traits, for safety and sanity.

This website gives great free lesson plans and printables for character trait teaching.  They even have an overview you can print out  and easily see what to do each day.  You can always pick and choose the traits your child especially needs to work on.

This website offers lots of wonderful character training tools for free.  It is a great resource for Bible stories, verses, and games that go with each trait.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

This is the recipe for one of my family's favorite soups.  I also quadruple the recipe and serve it to people at the mission in a giant crock pot.  I don't think I've ever had anyone say they didn't like it, and that is something when you're dealing with kids.  Enjoy this comfort food on a cool autumn night.

2-12.5 oz. cans of Chicken
5- 10.5 oz cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 or 2 sticks of butter (I'm a butter freak, so I add 2.)
Egg noodles (1 lb.)
10 chicken bouillon cubes
10 cups of water
A bag of frozen vegetables cooked (Optional)

Cook bouillon cubes in water until boiling.  Turn down heat and add egg noodles and butter; cook noodles until almost tender. Turn down to simmer and add chicken, soup, and veggies if desired. ( I don't add veggies because I have some picky eaters, but serve salad or fruit with it instead.)  Stir until it is lovely, creamy goodness and serve.  Enjoy!

The photo is from Taste of Home and is not exactly my recipe, but it looks really similar to mine
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Meet Marmee

Hello, I’m Marmee.   My whole family adores Little House on the Prairie and Little Women.  We love the books, the movie, the television series; we love it all.  Since we also have four daughters like the families in these books, I thought it would be fitting to name this blog “Little Women on the Prairie.” 
In the past I have taught middle school language arts in a public school and GED prep and reading skills at an adult learning center.  When my oldest daughter was in first grade, we decided to homeschool.  We love unit studies and interest-driven studies.  We are not big on workbooks, but we enjoy reading, writing, and creating projects.  Two of my girls are in high school and two are in preschool/kindergarten, so we are currently learning everything from counting and letter sounds to Geometry and Shakespeare.
We also run a Christian mission in our town.  Basically we try to reach out to children and families in our community.  We try to meet physical needs by supplying people with food and clothing and spiritual needs by having family services, youth nights, and Bible studies.
Things can get a little crazy with all that going on.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that no matter what the day brings, “This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24  My girls know this verse well since I have many a time recited it through gritted teeth, trying my very best to rejoice in a day gone wrong.  I am not a perfectly put together mom who only feeds her kids organic foods.  I am just a wife and mom, and I don’t have all the answers, but I’m happy to share what I do know, and if I know my girls, I will be learning something new every day!
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