Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Are Everything ~ Matthew West

Today is a great day! Nothing special going on... My Baby Boy is home sick on only the second day of school. I have a ton of things to do this week... including taking my mom for x-rays and blood tests, making a new budget (blah), and trying to learn to feed my family cheaper, healthier meals. Plus, I want to write on my blog! (Yay!) And with that is the ususal housework, homework, and errands. We won't even mention exercise!

What's great is that no matter what gets done... or not, it just doesn't change the fact that God is in control. And this song reminds me of that... so I thought I'd share it with you.

Love this song... thought you might enjoy it too! :)

God bless and have a great day!
Mary Ann

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ok... My Job Chart... REALLY WORKS!

Six-thirty this morning... my 7 year-old daughter comes into my room and says "I made my bed already, now I'm going to get dressed. Oh, and I bought an ice cream cone yesterday!" Smiles.

Seven o'clock rolls around and my 10-year-old son calls upstairs "Mom, are the dishes in the dishwasher clean?" More smiles.

Oh yes... a mother's dream come true. My kids are doing their chores without being told! Or 'nagged' as some like to call it. :)

Yesterday, I posted this great site called My Job Chart. It's so cool! We spent most of the day adding 'jobs' to their lists. I started by adding the things they do everyday like homework, make beds, put clothes away... then they started coming up with their own 'jobs'. They get 'points' for each job they do that they can use to 'buy' rewards.

They do get a $5 allowance each week... so they have to get 500 points to get that. But extra points can be used to buy or save up for other rewards.

They were really getting into it and still giving me ideas this morning. One of their best was "Be nice to each other - 50 points". I kinda like that idea. My best was "Sleep in your own bed ALL night - 20 points". Worked like a charm. No kids in my bed when I woke up. Suddenly no 'nightmares'... I think they really wanted those points!

As of now... they are compiling their own list of ideas for jobs and rewards. We have a few 'big ticket' rewards like Disneyland for 2500 (got the idea from my niece) so they can learn to save or a new book for 500, ice cream cone for 50, and so on. Now I need some ideas for fewer points like 10 - 20. Got any?

Anyway, we're having a lot of fun with this. I'm sure we'll have to tweak it a bit as we go. Not sure how the point system is going to work yet. I may be offering to many or too few. I don't want to end up 'owing' them every week!

Check it out. You might enjoy it too! :)

Thanks for reading!
Mary Ann :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Job Chart. A Great New Tool For Parents

Ok. I just found this website, courtesy of One Million Moms on Facebook, called My Job Chart. What a great site! And it's FREE!

I logged on.... added my kids' names and gave them each a password.

Next, I click on the chores that my kids normally do and assign a day or days. They have the option of am/pm, daily, weekly, or one time. I can even add my own chores for them if they aren't on the list.

After that, I can now go to the 'rewards' page. Each chore that the kids complete is assigned a point value. With the points they earn, you assign different 'rewards'. Anything from a new book to computer time or eating out... a ton of ideas.

I love it!!!

My kids have asked me for a long time to fill out their chore charts. Sadly, they are still in my cabinet.... blank.

I know from experience that my kids do chores much better with a chart. It's fun for them AND they get the feeling of accomplishment that comes from checking off what they have completed. They love sticking those little 'stars' on their chart.

Now they can log in to MyJobChart.com with their own password, see the chores I have assigned, and check them off as they are completed. How cool is that!

Not that they don't do chores already. We do most of our chores as a family. Everyone lives here, eats, sleeps, uses things, and just plain exists.... so everyone has chores. So their used to it... That's life.

This website is amazing! It's helpful and fun! It actually takes everything that I have wanted to do and put it in an easy to use format. I've read many books in the past with these same ideas, but I could never seem to get started on my own. This is just what I need.

I hope you love it as much as I do! Check it out!

Have a great weekend!
Mary Ann :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"The Jesus You Can't Ignore"

"The Jesus You Can't Ignore" by John MacArthur is a great resource if you want a clear picture of the Jesus of the Bible. He walks you through the Gospels to show how Jesus related to those He encountered. He points out how Jesus stood for truth, not trying to be politically correct, as some do in this day and age.

I'm not sure what I expected from this book. I admit it was a little difficult to get started and for some reason it could not hold my attention at first. But, as I continued on, I did find it very informative. It is a good reference book. MacArthur has shared his views clearly and points to the many scriptures that back it up. He has written a great book dealing with a subject that many Christians are concerned with today.

This is the book to read if you also struggle with the way Christ is being represented today. He is a God of love, this is true. He is gentle. But He is so much more. He spoke TRUTH and He was not worried about offending anyone. He wasn't concerned with tolerance. He was all about His Father's work.

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to dig in and see what scripture really says about who Jesus is... and how He spoke the truth to those He came to save.

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

*Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.-Thanks Thomas Nelson! :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Last Week Of Summer... Vacation.

We are quickly approaching the final week of our summer vacation. School begins a week from Monday. So how can we pack in all the activities that we didn't get to do? Ughh...

It seems funny to me that I enjoy summer vacation more as an adult than I did when I was in school. Not sure why that is. Maybe it's because we got bored so easily, or maybe because we didn't have money. Or maybe neither of those reasons. My kids seem to get bored too and we don't always have money to do what we'd like. I guess it's more because we are better at planning our summers. Or even just the days in general.

I've come to find that I don't function well with the 'play it by ear' approach. Seems that most days drift by without anything meaningful happening. BUT... when I have a plan ... now that's when we can have fun. It's when I start the day on purpose that I can really enjoy it.

It's funny, because my husband is just the opposite. Yes... he does his share of planning. Only HIS plans are subject to change. Anytime. And often. Before we actually end up doing anything. He is a planner. But he is more interested in having fun than sticking to the days' itinerary.

So... for the next week, the last week I have to spend with my kids before they go back to school, I have a plan. I'm sure you knew that. :)

I'm planning to have a relaxing time with my kids. A quiet time. Time to sit and listen to them, help them be prepared for the new school year, and just be together before we get back into routine.

We've planned to have a 'pajama day'. That's one of our favorites. We hang out in our pj's all day... watch movies... order pizza... make smores... or whatever we feel like doing. We just do it all in our pajamas. It's not like a 'lazy', 'nothing to do' kinda day. It's planned. So it's fun. For some reason... I love to have pizza, on the couch, in front of the tv, in my pj's. Just seems to make life a little better. Don't you think?

And I'll be sure to leave a day or two open for my husband to 'plan' his fun with them. It's my way of planning to be spontaneous.  ;)

Thanks for reading!
Mary Ann :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"The Devil In Pew Number Seven"

I just finished reading "The Devil In Pew Number Seven" by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo. It's been a while since I've read a book that I just couldn't put down. But this was it. The more I read... the more I wanted to read. What an incredible TRUE story!

The book tells of the childhood of Rebecca and the difficult trials she and her family endured at the hands of a terribly evil man. A man who's jealousy would cause him to stop at nothing to run them out of town... even if it took years of tormenting them. By age 7 she had witnessed her parents being gunned down in her own home. And from the many years of being terrorized, had grown accustomed to sleeping with the fear that she may not live until morning.

At such a young age she was exposed to trauma in her life that no one should fall victim to... let alone a child. And yet, through it all, she was taught a wonderful lesson of forgiveness, by her parents, who modeled what they believed. It would be a strong example of faith and trust in God that would never leave her.

Her parents chose to trust God and believe that He knew what was best... and what the outcome would be. Several times reading the book I had my own doubts as to the decisions her parents made. Did they take it to far? Were they really hearing from God? But I was brought to tears as I read the outcome. To see what God can make of the tragedy in our lives is nothing short of amazing.

I've heard it said that God uses every trial in our lives for our good... He doesn't waste anything. Rebecca's story is a wonderful example of this and makes it very real to me. She shares from her heart. But to know it's a true story? Wow.

I enjoyed this book very much. It's beautifully written. Her story will stay with me for some time. If you need a lesson in forgiveness... this is it!

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

*Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. -Thanks Tyndale House!  :)


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