The History Princess

Doesn’t every student wear a tiara to take a history test?

The BreakOut Girls

Oh happy day! Mary Anneliese has started her first big girl Bible study. She’s actually two weeks into it, and she is LOVING it. A group from our church is studying Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Faith for Kids. If you are unfamiliar with Strobel, he is a graduate of Yale Law School and was legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. As an atheist, he began a two year investigation trying to disprove that Jesus existed. Through the process, he became a Christian and is now a prolific Christian writer and teacher. He has served as teaching pastor at both Willow creek Community Church and at Saddleback Valley Community Church.

So SisterGirl has started his Bible study, and MommyGirl cannot be more excited about this. You who know me know how much I love God’s word. It is life to me. I want it to be life to my children and their friends. Memorizing scripture is big, big, big at our house. You might remember this post about that very subject and this post on how to go about it. 
It is my prayer that this generation will be so dependent on God’s word that it will take top priority in their lives.
May they memorize it.
May God grant them wisdom to understand and apply it.
May it be true in their lives.
May they walk in it.
May they desire it above all things.
May they honor it at all times.
May it impact their choices.
May it direct their journeys.
May they try it and test it and find it trustworthy.
May it be their Sword of the Spirit and may they know how to wield it in battle.
May it protect, sustain, and enrich them.
May it bring down strongholds in their lives.
May it give their lives true abundance.
May it be LIFE to them.

(This post linked to Sweet Shot Tuesday at Life With My Three Boybarians.)

PattyCake Goes to See Miss PattyCake

My girls LOVE Miss PattyCake. We have watched and listened to her since we had VHS and cassette tapes. They have grown up learning about God’s love and singing Miss PattyCake’s little praise songs.  We had the privilege of taking our little ones to see miss PattyCake live at her PattyCake Pajama Party last weekend. She was fabulous! She did about 45 minutes of PattyCake Praise, which was as much as little ones can sit for. Then we went downstairs to the fellowship hall of the church where she met with each little one for pictures and visiting. Even my timid little PattyCake sat on her lap and got her picture made with her namesake.
Jean Thomason has been doing Miss PattyCake for fifteen years. She began making up songs for her own children to teach them about God’s love. She was invited to a few MOPS groups. An
d thus began the life of Miss PattyCake, who has been blessing little ones and their parents for many years. My girls have learned so much from her ministry.
She was so kind and gracious in person – just like you would envision Miss PattyCake to be. She said that she didn’t know how long she would continue, but she will go as long as the Lord tells her to.
If you have never seen or heard of Miss PattyCake and you have little ones, you need to check out some of the DVDs on her website. Our favorites are Egg-Strava-Ganza, Treasure Chest Surprise, and Hullabaloo Zoo.  

I Heart #25

It’s that time of year again, folks! That’s right, we have had our first soccer game. Saturday was the inaugural game of the raging Fire, which is an appropriate name since that’s how hot the weather felt. The cool fall weather of last week had us tricked into believing that the raging hot days were long gone, but it was not to be. I have the soccer mom tan to prove it. Sunglasses lines, chest burned, flip-flop marks on my feet. But it was worth every bit of discomfort to see my #1 girl play the game she loves.
I was able to snap these sweet posed shots before we realized that the team was on the field practicing. Oops!
This year we have a really great group of young ladies who are pretty good at kicking the soccer ball around. MA is going to learn a lot on this team. These girls challenge her to step up her game.
This is the first year we have had numbers on our jerseys. I’m not sure why that makes me so happy, but I want to have my own t-shirt made that says “I love #25”. That idea brought an eye roll out of my girl.
We have coaches this year who each have three daughters. Needless to say, they are the sweetest and yet most challenging coaches we have ever played with. We are grateful to have them, because I know that it’s not easy making time to coach a soccer team.
“Put me in, Coach! I’m ready to play!”
In the end, the raging Fire fell 8-7 against the Gators. It was a good opening day, and we look forward to the rest of the season.

The Coupon Craze

It seems that shopping with coupons is the new trend.  Coupons are all the rage among my friends, and our discussions are laced with terms like “doubling,” “stacking,” and the debate between manufacturer vs. store coupons. Honestly, I never knew that saving a few bucks at the grocery store took so much time, concentration, and the ability to sort through the complicated maze of terms. There is a method to it all, and it’s quite an involved method. There are websites that can help you ( is my favorite). There are even workshops that you can attend to learn how to be a coupon “extremer”. Who knew!?!

One of the first concepts I learned is about the three month rotation. Apparently, coupons and sales run on a three month cycle. When you see an item on sale and you have coupons to stack with it (making the item a STEAL), the you buy enough for three months. Then, three months later,  it will be on sale again and you will have more coupons. In other words, you stockpile. Sounds easy enough, right? I mean, it all makes good sense. The only problem is that your basement will begin to look like this…

In case you can’t see them all, there are 39 boxes of cereal in that picture.

Yes, I said 39.

Overboard much?

I think I still have a few things to learn about the couponing process. Like maybe how to buy only what we need.

Anybody want to come over for breakfast tomorrow? I hope you like Cheerios.

Happy Labor Day

Thank you, Lor, for a day of rest! We needed it! Jonathan is off work today, and just fired up the smoker for baby back ribs. The weather is gorgeous and fall-ish in The Ham today, so I’m out for a good long walk. Got Travis Cottrell going on my iPod. I’m walking, worshipping,and writing, all at the same time – the trifecta!!! Hope you have a restful day planned. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST.” Matthew 11:28

Because I Know How Much You Love a List

1. Jonathan and Mary Anneliese are gone on a little Daddy/daughter date. They are at a Samford soccer game. He’s been waiting for the season to start so that they could do this. Precious!

2. Today I made a salad from lettuce (of course), shoe peg corn, black beans, a chicken breast covered in BBQ sauce, fresh cut cilantro, and homemade ranch dressing. I might eat it for lunch everyday next week. Cilantro is delightful in a salad.

3. I bought a new Nike sweatshirt at Academy Sports this week. I have worn it everyday since. It might be the best investment I have made in my wardrobe in years. It is the perfect fit and the perfect weight. And it was on sale. Maybe I should go pick up another one. 🙂

4. Jonathan is smoking baby back ribs tomorrow for our Labor Day meal. I am inappropriately excited about it.

5. I have been using The Message translation of the Bible for my Bible study lately. I know that translation purists (like me, sometimes) scorn The Message. After all, it was translated by one person as opposed to a team of scholars like most Bible translations. However, it reads so beautifully that I have really received a tremendous blessing by reading it. I think it definitely has a place in a balanced Bible study time.

That is all.

Chattanooga Adventures

Boy, has it been a while since I blogged! Thank you for sticking with me and checking back in! We have started the school year off with a bang and a whole host of extra-curricular activities. Now that we have figured out our schedule, maybe I can schedule some time for blogging. I have missed writing!
One of our first activities after the start of the school year was a little family vacation/field trip to Chattanooga. What a fun town for a family get-away! Friends had told me previously about what a great spot Chattanooga is for a family vacation, and we fell in love with it!
We stayed at the Residence Inn downtown, which we HIGHLY recommend. It was withing walking distance of the Tennessee Aquarium, the Children’s Discovery Museum, the river walk, and many of the downtown restaurants. The staff was friendly and helpful. It was a little more expensive than the historic hotels, but they are farther away from the attractions we wanted to visit, so we thought it was well worth the extra money.
When we arrived, we parked the car at the hotel and walked over to the Tennessee Aquarium. It was FANTASTIC! First of all, the contemporary architecture of the building is incredible. The aquarium sits on the bank of the Tennessee River, and they have a second floor enclosed balcony with rocking chairs that overlooks the water. I could have sat there all day!
The aquarium is housed in two buildings, one for ocean life and one for river dwellers. Of course, they have the standard sharks and sea turtles and sea horses and rainbow trout, but they also have some of the most interesting animals I have ever seen. Have you ever seen a leafy sea dragon? It is one of God’s most creative creations!
I loved the underwater viewing bubbles that they have. They are so great for allowing kiddos to get up close to the sea life.
PattiGirl was enthralled by the penguins. I have to admit that I was pretty enthralled with them myself!
This is the only shark cage I want to be in!!!
The next day we walked from the hotel to the Creative Discovery Museum. Now, as members of the McWane Center in Birmingham, I had high expectations for this museum.We have been all over the South and used our reciprocal membership privileges to go to many children’s museums. The one in Chattanooga is one of THE BEST that we have seen. They had room after room of fun educational exhibits that engaged kids in learning. They had a fabulous art room with tons of different hands-on activities. Mary Anneliese really enjoyed the ones on printmaking and animated movie creation.
One of the great things about the Creative Discovery Museum was that they had plenty of activities for the little ones, too. Patterson had a ball learning about and playing the musical instruments. And she was so cute doctoring the baby dolls at thee medical clinic.
The next day we headed out to see Rock City, Ruby Falls, and to ride the Incline Railway. Y’all, I have known my entire life that I am afraid of heights and I have a touch of claustrophobia, bu this day about sent me into a panic attack. Don’t get me wrong, Rock City is absolutely gorgeous…
but do you see how close my dearest loved ones are to the edge of a MAJOR cliff?!? It makes my stomach turn to look at this picture!
And my baby going all by herself across the swinging suspension bridge that is, oh, SEVERAL HUNDRED FEET OFF THE GROUND!?! I almost can’t take it! I am glad I was able to pull it together to enjoy the day, but OH MY WORD!!!
Since visions of falling off a cliff wasn’t enough excitement for one day, how about we walk a mile into the heart of an underground cave in the most narrow passageway you can fit through? And just for kicks, let’s carry the toddler the ENTIRE WAY because she’s “tired of walking”. Actually, my prince of a husband did most of the carrying because, let’s face it, I was about DONE IN by that point.
After that kind of nerve-racking day, I needed some down time before bedtime so I could sufficiently unravel my nerves. We walked around the downtown area and found the coolest feature at the aquarium. They have a staircase that they have turned into a fountain/splash area for visitors. The water was freeeeeezing, and my girls had a ball.
We knew it was time to go back to the hotel when little Pitter Patter looked like this…
On our final day, we headed over to Lake Winnepesaukah, an 85-year-old amusement park just outside of Chattanooga. Patterson has never been to an amusement park, and when I showed her the brochure, which had pictures of the rides, she was FIRED UP! She was so hilarious! It was sooo past her nap time, but she hung in there and was a very good sport about it. Both girls LOVED Lake Winnie. Mary Anneliese even said it was her favorite part of the trip.
I can’t recommend Chattanooga enough if you are looking for a fun, affordable family vacation. We had a fabulous time and will return again one day soon!

Beach Trip

I have just returned from four days at the beach with eighteen of my girlfriends from church. What a great group of crazy, fun, Godly, intelligent, fashionable, thought-provoking, beautiful-on-the-inside-and-out friends God has blessed me with. We have laughed and stayed up way too late. We ate tons of seafood and slept late. We solved the world’s problems, or at least a few of our own. The water was gorgeous and the weather was hot, hot, hot! It was a delightful time!

I’m home just in time to unpack and repack for a little family outing this week. Be back later to tell you about it!

To My Birmingham Readers

Our school year at Hill Prep has started again! Today was our first full day, and it was so good to be back into our regular schedule. We are still tweaking our schedule of activities, and I came across a fun opportunity today that I wanted to let you know about.

The Birmingham Zoo’s Education Department offers homeschooling science and art classes for 1st-12th grades. They also offer classes for younger children. You can view info about the classes online at Of course, all of their classes involve animals and their habitats.

Fall classes start on September 7th and run through December 10th. There is a fee for classes, with a discount for zoo members. At $8-10 per class for zoo members, I feel like this is a good deal. we will definitely be participating in some of the art classes, as well as a few science classes. Both of my girls will love it.

Some of the science topics include:

  • Tropical Rainforests
  • What Is A Wetland?
  • Cycles In Nature
  • Grasslands
  • Living Earth
  • Population Dynamics
  • Taiga and Tundra

Topics for the art classes include:

  • Tints and Shades Desert animals
  • Cut Paper Aquatic Animals
  • Acrylic Painted Predators
  • Chalk Drawing Prey Animals
  • Acrylic Painted Birds
  • Line Drawing Australian Animals

For the preschoolers:

  • Alabama Animals
  • Water Birds
  • Monkeying Around
  • Down On The Farm
  • Fuzzy Animals
  • Lined Pattern Snakes
  • Print Making Pigs
  • Mixing Pink Tempera Painted Flamingos
  • Cut Paper Animal Masks

Does this sound fun, but you are not a Birmingham reader? Check the website of your local zoo. I bet they have similar offerings.