Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse

After a full month of school, we are settling into a routine.  Here is what a typical day looks like for us...

6:45 am  - alarm goes off, press snooze a couple times because I hate getting up to an alarm!

7:00 drag myself out of bed, brush my hair and my teeth, because otherwise I simply cannot function! Then start waking everyone up - so far not too many issues with grumpy kids.

7:15 everybody is out of bed and busy:
1. having a quick breakfast (they get breakfast at school so I don't give them too much),
2. getting dressed (on Sunday they pick out all clothes for the week, makes it quick!),
3. brushing teeth
4. getting on socks, shoes, and backpacks

7:40 out the door and getting buckled in the van

7:48 have to be driving out of the driveway to get there on time

8:00 arrive at school, sign in and stop at the bathroom

8:05 bell rings and we can head to classrooms.  Usually we drop Sam off first and then walk to the complete other side of the school to the preschool classrooms.

8:20 I am done with school and head off to tackle my very long to-do lists.  The day flies by and I never seem to get as much done as I had planned to, but certainly I finally feel like I am gaining on the disaster of this house!

2:40 get ready to go to the school to pick them up

3:00 usually Ben &Carlee come out first and Sam a few minutes later.  The absolute best part of the day is when their faces light up the moment they see me and they yell "Mommy or Mama" and come for big hugs.

3:10 or so we are piling into the van and all the good behavior they have had all day has come to a very abrupt halt and they start fighting and crying and whining and complaining.

3:30 after school we have a snack and the bad behavior usually is starting to mostly wear off.  I often have to send someone to lay down on my bed until they can have a better attitude, which usually doesn't take long.

3:45 after a quick snack we go through their backpacks and I ask questions about their day.  Sam has homework everyday except Friday that he has to complete so I also have Ben & Carlee do some kind of homework as well.  Homework usually doesn't take more than 15 or 20 minutes.

the rest of the evening is spent playing, eating supper, doing a Bible study (which we have not been very diligent at doing), and maybe watching a bit of tv

7 pm start getting ready for bed!  The days are flying by!!

Sam and Carlee's teachers use an apple system for behavior.  If they have had good behavior all day their apple stays green - they have both had green apples every day.  One day when we were going through backpacks Carlee sheepishly said, with tears pooling in her eyes "Mama, I almost got a yellow apple today because I was playing too much at lunch."  I love this apple system and have started to tell them that if they are bad at home I can tell their teachers to change their apple the next day.  It works!

Ben's teacher uses a fish system and if they have good behavior the fish stays at the bottom of the tank.  Then at the end of the day, both Ben & Carlee's teachers put a sticker on their calendar that comes home to let me know that they had a good day.  Ben had two days that he did not have a sticker.  One was because he was at home with a fever and the other was because he kept throwing his stuffed animal at naptime even after being told not to.  I have told them that if they get into trouble at school then they will get into even more trouble at home.  Well, he had a long time to think about it on the bench and then we made his teacher a sorry card. I told him that he had to say sorry and make it right.  The best part was that when he came home from school that day, his teacher had put two stickers on his calendar!  It was perfect - I was able to tell him that because he did something nice by making her a card to say he was sorry that he made it right and then so did she by putting a sticker on that day! 

After months of waiting one of our chickens finally gave us an egg!  I was surprised at how big the egg was.  I was expecting the first few to be quite small, but this one is almost as large as the large store bought eggs!  Must be from one of the Jersey Giants - can't wait to see how big they will get.

Of course everyone had to be in the picture and holding something!

Fairer Than Morning - The Saddler's Legacy
by Rosslyn Elliott

An intriguing novel from a new author!  It is so well written that I was surprised that this is her first novel!   The imagery in this book was exceptional and I could easily visualize the historic surroundings as the story dramatically unfolded.  I found the storyline to be so suspenseful at times that I could not put it down.  How fun it is to read a historical Christian romance that keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Although some of the subject matter that the author tackles is daring and dark in nature she has managed to balance it with a depth of Christian writing that makes the book a moving and inspirational read.  The faith of the characters is beautifully developed and their spiritual growth is encouraging and thought provoking.  Just put yourself in the position of the main character, Will, and ask yourself if you could forgive the horrors he endured.  Or put yourself in the position of the main character, Ann, and ask yourself if you could be so kind and hospitable. 

I am curious about something though, the subtitle of the book is "The Saddler's Legacy".  Does that mean this will be a series?  Oh, I hope so, the author seemed to leave the door open to be able to continue the "legacy" of this story!
Disclosure: Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their blog tours program.  See the blog tour schedule here.

About the book:

Ann dreams of a marriage proposal from her poetic suitor, Eli-until Will Hanby shows her that nobility is more than fine words.

On a small farm in 19th-century Ohio , young Ann Miller is pursued by the gallant Eli Bowen, son of a prominent family. Eli is the suitor of Ann's dreams. Like her, he enjoys poetry and beautiful things and soon, he will move to the city to become a doctor.

Ann travels to Pittsburgh , accompanying her father on business. There she meets Will Hanby, a saddle-maker's apprentice. Will has spent years eking out an existence under a cruel master and his spirit is nearly broken. But Ann's compassion lights a long-dark part of his soul. Through his encounters with Ann's father, a master saddler, Will discovers new hope and courage in the midst of tremendous adversity.

When the Millers must return to Ohio and their ministry there, Will resolves to find them, at any cost. If Will can make it back to Ann, will she be waiting?

Read an excerpt here: http://www.rosslynelliott.com/books.php

About the Contest:

To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Fairer Than MorningRosslyn Elliott is giving away two fabulous prize packages. The first is brand new KINDLE in her Fairer Than Morning Kindle Giveaway. Then on September 20th she's giving away a $200 gift certificate toward a Custom-Made Historical Reproduction Dress (from Recollections) during the Fairer Than Morning Book Club Chat Party on Facebook! Sigh...romantic.

Fairer Than Morning is receiving wonderful reviews - Library Journal said, "A well-written historical series debut…". Read more reviews here.

Be sure to join the fun and enter the Kindle contest - 

One winner will receive:

* Kindle with Wi-Fi

* Fairer Than Morning (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/19. Winner will be announced on 9/20 at Rosslyn's Book Club Facebook Party. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.

Then be sure to RSVP for Rosslyn's Facebook Party! During the party Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, hosting a book chat about Fairer Than Morning (don't worry if you haven't read the book yet - you could win a copy!) & historical Fiction, testing your trivia skills. She'll also be giving away that $200 gift certificate toward a FABULOUS custom-made period dress from Recollections!

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This Little Prayer of Mine
by Anthony DeStefano,
Illustrated by Mark Elliot

I had high expectations for this book because of a wonderful book called Little Star by the same author and illustrator.  I was disappointed.  Although the illustrations are beautiful it seemed that the book was somewhat lacking in depth and to quote a friend I showed it to - "watered down religion".  Honestly, my kids come up with much deeper prayers all the time!  Don't underestimate what kids can comprehend, they get much more about God and what He can do for them than what is in this book. 

Also be aware the Jesus not even mentioned anywhere in this book!  But the biggest problem I had with this  comes from the last page, and one little line that goes against a major Christian doctrine.  The line is "Please love me God, forevermore."  Why are we asking God to love us? God is love, the entire basis of Christianity is that God loves us so much that he gave us Jesus so we could be saved.  We do not need to ask God to love us, He already does, no matter what!  I do not want my children to ever question that and so I will never read this book to them.

Disclosure: WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their BloggingForBooks.org book review program.

At home after the second day of school, I had Ben up on my lap when I noticed that he had something in his back pocket.  I asked him what was in his pocket and he told me "nuffin"  Of course he was lying, and continued to lie through his teeth for probably 30 minutes before he finally showed me what was in his pocket and admitted to taking it from his classroom.

The next day he had to return them to his teacher who said, "Oh I should have watched out for that because he asked if he could take them home."

So it was even worse!!  Not only did he lie about it, but he took something he was told he could not have!!!

At the end of the day when I picked him up I asked his teacher if she gave him a pat down!  LOL

Thankfully, he hasn't brought home anything he shouldn't since then!!!  If he does he will have to take it back plus one of his own toys.  He did not like that, especially when I told him that I get to choose which toy it would be ;-)

For various reasons we decided not to homeschool this year - I won't bore you with all the details in this post. Instead I will share the excitement the kids had to be going to their first full day of school.

All ready for school! 

Sam at his spot in Kindergarten.  I was concerned that he was going to fall to pieces that day, and even more so after another little boy was crying so hard he was nearly hyperventilating!  But thank God for friends and very thoughtful teachers.  Sam's teacher put Sam across the table from the only other kid he knew - our friend Tara from Sunday school.  As soon as I saw here, I said, "Look Sam, there's Tara - get your school box and go sit with her"  He was fine and even gave me this huge grin to start his very first day!

Then we had to rush all the way to the other side of the school to get Carlee & Ben to their Preschool classrooms.  It was pretty crazy in there and I only managed to get this photo of Carlee.  Before she put her stuff away she started her day & her teachers day beautifully.  In the car on the way to school she had a pen and a notepad so she drew a picture and wrote her name on it to give to her teacher!  Not too many kids starting preschool can write their name!  But I had a tear in my eye because she had done something so thoughtful.  Oh, and when we went to leave Daddy said "Bye-Bye Carlee" and she barely looked at him when she waved him off.  She was on a mission to be at school!!!

Do you see anything odd with this picture?  Check the shirt that he is wearing and compare that to the first picture.  Do you think that when he is older he will notice that he has on two different shirts for his first day of school pictures?  Well, that first day was a pretty crazy day - just trying to get three kids to three different classrooms in less than 15 minutes is quite challenging!  Anyway, by the time we got him to his class on the first day there was not an opportunity to get a photo, so I got one the next day!  I was pleasantly surprised, and relieved, that Ben has been enjoying school, has not been too clingy when I leave, and most importantly has not been getting into trouble!

Blue Skies Tomorrow
by Sarah Sundin

The book is a labelled as a historical romance, but it is really a thrilling drama with an underlying romance theme that pulls it all together.  It is so fantastically written with many obstacles and challenges thrown in the way of the main characters that it will draw you in deeper and deeper until you are entirely captivated. 

What a refreshing and exciting read! It has a plot that builds and twists all the way to the end.  It certainly kept my nose buried in this book with pages turning quickly to see what in the world could possibly happen next. This is one of best novels I have read in a long time!

The author was creative in the way she developed many layers to the main characters as the plot was built. With each plot twist we are taken to a deeper level of these complex main characters. Life lessons are learned through dealing with the many obstacles and lives are dramatically changed through decisions made and the manner conflicts are resolved. More importantly, through the experiences the characters are deepening their faith and trust in God.  We can apply these spiritual lessons learned by the characters to our own lives as we also learn to trust God through all trials we are faced with.

This book is the third in a series called Wings of Glory but from what I could tell it can be read independently from the other two books. I am a sucker for books in a series and I will soon be reading the other two books in this series and will watch for new titles by this author.

Disclosure: Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their blog tours program.

About the book:

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Want more? Read the press release.

About the contest:

To celebrate the release of Blue Skies Tomorrow, the final installment of the Wings of Glory series, Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Vintage Kindle Prize Package! 

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One winner will receive:

* Kindle with Wi-Fi

* Handmade vintage apron for you and a friend (see a photo here)

* Blue Skies Tomorrow (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/10. Winner will be announced on 9/12 at Sarah Sundin's blog. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.

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