Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why I Became a New Fan of Pinterest

This is a continuation of an article about Evernote.  To read that article, click here.

I started reading about Pinterest a couple of months ago. I visited the site, and initially wasn't too excited about it. It looked like visual overload to me. Kinda like looking at the community bulletin board at the library: a collection of mishmash that looks like a random mosaic. I don't know about you, but it wearies my mind to think about looking at each item. That's what Pinterest reminded me of.

However, I read that a number of people LOVED it, so I requested an invite to use it.  Later I read about how you can put a "pin it" in your bookmark toolbar. I put one in half-heartedly. A few days ago, I tried it, and was instantly wowed.

I don't recall which article was, but I hit "pin it" on my bookmark toolbar. Up came a new popup window showing all of the pictures on that page.  Below is a screen shot of when I hit Pin It for a blog post telling about how to make slime.

I selected a picture, and clicked on Pin It. Another popup allowed me to write a caption for the picture and put the pinned photo into a board (category).

Later when I viewed the board, I clicked the picture that I had pinned, and it took me back to that article!  This is the one thing that I didn't know about Pinterest.  I just thought it allowed people to collect pictures of interesting things.

I immediately saw the advantage of using Pinterest over Evernote for items that contain photos.  Rather than use up a limited amount of space allowed on Evernote, I can pin it to Pinterest which uses very little space since it's essentially a link to the original article and picture.  (Note:  I just read that there is a limit to how many pins and boards you can have, but I do not know what that limit is.  I also read that a quick way to tag things you like is to "like" the pin rather than "repin" it.  You can later go to your profile page and categorize the pins that you liked.)  I do still like to use Evernote for text-based information (such as recipes).

For you fellow iDevice users, there is now a free Pinterest app!

For bloggers, you can possibly increase traffic to your blog by pinning a few pictures from your posts.  Use caution as it goes against Pinterest etiquette to overuse this strategy.

If you would like an invitation to try out Pinterest, please email me at
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recipe Review: Crispy Chicken

I read about this recipe, Crispy Chicken, on my friend Valerie's blog.  Unfortunately, on the day I made it, I didn't have all of the ingredients, so I had to "make do" with what I had.

The original recipe calls for:
1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal, coarsely crushed
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves.

I did not have any crisp rice cereal, so my version shouldn't even be called Crispy Chicken!  I used corn flakes instead.  Corny Chicken?  Flaky Chicken?  Hmm....sounds more like a description for the sleep-deprived mother.

I also did not have any poultry seasoning, but Valerie had posted a link which said that the following could be substituted:  Make your own by combining equal amounts of the following dried herbs: rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme.  I did not have all of these herbs, so I used what I had and added a couple more of our family favorites.

So, my variation of the recipe used the following ingredients:
1-1/2 cups corn flakes
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup butter (unsalted), melted
4 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves

The technique was the same:
In a shallow bowl, mix together the corn flakes, herbs, and flour.  Put the melted butter in another bowl.  Dip the chicken into the butter, then roll into the corn flake mixture.  Place into a greased (I used Pam spray) baking dish.  Drizzle with the remaining better.  Bake 20-25 minutes, uncovered, at 400 degrees F or until juices run clear.

The Final Verdict:  Robert LOVED it!  He made me write out my version of this recipe so that I can make it again.  I still want to try the original version, too, though.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Doctored-Up Store-Bought Pizza

I love pepperoni!  I also love pizza!  In my opinion, you can't have too much pepperoni on a pizza.  All too often, there is not nearly enough pepperoni on a store-bought pizza.

A year or two ago, I started doctoring up my store-bought pizzas.  Of course, I add more pepperoni, and I also add a new must-have ingredient, Italian Seasoning.

 (Don't you just love the milk glass spice jar? Upcoming post on this great find....stay tuned!)

When I first tried it, my husband really raved about it (especially adding the Italian Seasoning), so now I do it every time.

As Gracie would say, "Mmmmmmm!"

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blog Post Roundup (8/25/11)

Yeehaw! Here's the latest Blog Post Roundup!

How to Use Google Reader in Real Format -- This allows you to use Google Reader for your blog reading and be able to see the whole web page!

Free Water! --  My friend Valerie posts about their church giving out free ice water and the opportunity to get free Living Water at the Watermelon Festival in their town.

Adding a "Like" Box to Your Site -- The directions didn't exactly work for me, but I did find where I could do it.

How We Keep Our Marriage Fresh -- Fun and practical ideas.

Questions to Ask When Criticized -- Pastor Paul Chappel shares some questions to ask when you or your loved ones are being criticized.

Say "Hey!" If You Love Andy -- A missionary friend of mine visits the real Mayberry with her family.

Lesson Learned From the Sneetches -- Using books to teach character lessons. Oh, and Mom learns a few things as well!

We Are "Uninsured" and We Like it That Way -- I can also recommend Samaritan Ministries.  My former pastor has used it for a number of years.

5 Things Every Homeschool Mom Should Carry in Her Purse -- Please note:  Bible verses are not KJB.

The Child Who Delights in Another's Discipline -- My pastor mentioned this negative negative situation that exists among adults as well tonight in church while teaching about the Proud.

How to Insert a PDF into a Post or Page -- This is for WordPress users.  I googled and found the following for Blogspot users:  Embed PDF File into Post

Honoring Our Husbands -- My friend Lori writes about a particular trend in women speaking about their husbands.

5 Highly Effective Habits Homemakers Have To Keep A Clean House -- I liked the OHIO method.

A Girl's First Domestic Domain -- Training your daughter how to keep a clean room.

Create a Custom Facebook Username -- I'm pretty certain that your page has to have a minimum number of people liking it before it becomes eligible.

Quote of the Week:

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy LessonsI have been curious about this book after having read about other bloggers using it with their children.  What really caught my attention was when a lady said she was starting it with her two-year-old daughter!  I happened to find it at the library when I was perusing the section for Parents and Teachers.  I decided to bring it home and take a look at it.

First of all let me say I don't know a thing about teaching a child how to read.  My major in college was Science Education (with emphasis in Physics and Chemistry) for secondary school.  I have next-to-no training in teaching young children.  I did teach in my church's Christian school for three years and received on-the-job training, but I did not teach any of them reading. Secondly, I was not formally taught how to read.  My mother, from my earliest of memories, read books to me every night before going to bed.  From the time I could sit up, she had books available for me to play and read.  Basically, I taught myself how to read when I was five years old.  Most likely, though, because I did attend kindergarten at my church (before kindergarten was instituted in Mississippi's public schools), I probably did have exposure to phonics which would've helped me to figure out how to read.  I just remember that my favorite book was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.  I remember being placed in the advanced reading group in first grade, along with other friends who also attended the same kindergarten with me.  I have always loved reading, and I attribute that to my mother who exposed me to a lot of books and encouraged me to read.  She bought many books for me and my brothers; I have had a lifelong tendency to collect books (thought I am trying to go all digital now with few exceptions).

Even though I know next-to-nothing about teaching reading, I've always been a strong supporter of phonics-based reading programs.  It just makes sense to me.  Sight reading is a waste of brain cells and energy.

I am hoping to teach my daughter to read before she starts school.  We will most likely be sending her to our church's Christian school, but I will be working with her in the meantime.  After having read the introductory pages which includes narratives regarding their philosophy of reading education and looking over the lessons, I have decided that I will be purchasing this book to use with Gracie when she is a little older.

Included in their introductory chapters are reasons for why traditional reading methods do not work.  They also state that any child who has an IQ above 70, of four years of age or older, can learn to read well with this program.  They say that we need to get rid of labels put on children, that they are a deterrent to a child's success.  I find this very encouraging.  I've worked with a number of children who have struggled with their schoolwork, and I wonder if they have a stumbling block in their mind because of labels being applied to them.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if children could have no clue that they have certain labels (ADHD, learning disabled, etc.) and could just learn to read and read well?!  I've always believed that, to a large degree, I could learn anything I wanted to simply by researching on my own.  I do believe that there is a place for formal education (whether it be homeschooling or private schooling or even public schooling).  Teaching is so much more than imparting knowledge and skills....but that's another topic for another day!

This program goes from step zero of teaching vital pre-reading skills with gradual step-by-step changes towards learning to read.  The first lessons all deal with learning the sounds of certain letters and combining sounds of different letters.  They use an altered orthography (which just means some of the written letters look funny) to help with consistency. Although a couple of words are read in the first few lessons, but reading words doesn't really begin until Lesson 9.  It may seem slow, methodical, and rather tedious, but research has shown that this method works!

One thing that they stress about the program is that the key is good communication.  There must be good communication from the teacher to the child and from the child to the teacher.  In every lesson there are explicit directions for the teacher to follow as well as helps for how to correct the child when he responds wrongly. 

All in all, I'm very impressed with the book and am excited about using it in the future.  If any of you use this book or will use this book, I would love to hear your comments.

UPDATE:  Here is a post from the mother of a 4-1/2 year old girl:  Reading Lessons
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Monday, August 22, 2011

My Home = Fit to be Featured in a Magazine?

Have you ever thought about what kind of magazine would feature your home? Maybe Better Homes and Gardens or Country Living? If you're like me, you're thinking, "Umm, yeah, right!"

I tend to look at the perfectly-arranged display of trendy furniture and oh-so-vogue accessories, and think, "Do people really live like that?" I know that 95% of the featured photos have been worked over and staged just-so by professional decorators and photographers. After all, they're getting paid to produce something to support the accompanying article.

I read a number of blogs, some of which focus on organizing the home (one of my interests). I'm amused by some of the blog writers (one in particular) who use the same exact photos of her picture-perfect rooms over and over in her posts. I guess it's easier to do that than to restage another shot.

All of us, as keepers of our homes, desire (though maybe not openly or even consciously) to have a lovely, home, and even would love to know what it's like to have a magazine-worthy home.

Instead, we may have some of the following hindrances....

A lovely leather bench that has the top removed and toys and paraphernalia piled within...
But that's OK, because it means that God has blessed us with material things that we can use, love, and enjoy!

Shoes in odd places all over the house due to the shoe-loving girly girl...
 But that's OK, because it means that God provides us with our needs!

A dining room table that almost never stays clear of projects, receipts, purses (both Mama and daughter's), and other sundry items...
But that's OK, because it means that we are busy and industrious rather than lazy and unproductive (OK, well, most of the time!).

Artwork that probably is not in style but is loved nonetheless for happy memories of the grandmother who originally owned it...
But that's OK, because "the memory of the just is blessed."

Mismatched furniture in the living room...
But that's OK, because it means that we are able to be comfortable and enjoy our company together.

Overflowing food and cooking stuff in the small kitchen that also doubles as the laundry room...
But that's OK, because it means again that God has showered many blessings of abundance upon us, and we do not struggle for our daily living as others do.

Books stacked in all sorts of places...
But that's OK, because it means a sound academic foundation is being laid for our daughter.

A towel in front of the water cooler to help catch the spills of a zealous toddler....
But that's OK, because we have a servant in training who takes pleasure in getting water for Mama and Daddy.

Mending laying in wait (and wait, and wait, and wait) on the sewing machine...
But that's OK, because it means that God has given the skills to do it so that we do not have to pay someone else or waste otherwise good clothing.

Best of all, we have not a house, but a HOME.  I love this Amish proverb that I recently read:  Love, peace and happiness in the home are infinitely more than honor, fame and wealth.

Just as a funny, I read this cartoon blog post that goes along with my post:  A REAL House Tour with Amber of  C***** Pictures

[Just as a warning, you may find some objectional content/language should you decide to look at her blog further.  She does seem to capture life with toddlers quite well, though!]
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

How to Add a "View Mobile" Link to Your Blogger Website

If you'll notice, I have added a new link on my menu bar that will allow mobile phone users to view my site in the Mobile version that Blogger has available.  I really like how the mobile version looks on my phone and it's MUCH easier to navigate and view.  I don't get to see all the extra stuff in the sidebar, but I can always click on the View Web Version that's at the bottom of the home page.

Here are a few examples:

Left to Right:  My blog in regular Web View, my blog in Mobile View, my blog in Mobile View scrolled down so you can see how it lists the articles, a particular post in Mobile View

Left to Right:  My friend Valerie's blog (The Bishop's Wife) in regular Web View, Valerie's blog in Mobile View (I think the print is small due to the header graphic), One of Valerie's posts in Mobile View.

How to Add a "View Mobile" Link to Your Blogger Website

While in the Blogger Dashboard, I clicked on Edit Pages.  I then clicked on New Page.  I titled it View Mobile.

I kept it simple, typing in only "Click here to view this site on your mobile device."  I put a link for the words Click here.  The link is comprised of the URL for my blog followed by the characters /?m=1

I do not know if the same procedure will work for WordPress or other websites, but I do know it works for Blogger sites.

If you would like to add a link to your website and have no way of trying it out, email me with the link to your homepage, and I will try it out on my phone.

Here is an even easier option:  Change your settings!

Go to Settings, Click on Email & Mobile,  Change Show mobile template to Yes.  Done.  Now, you don't even need the View Mobile Link.  However, I'll keep mine for "just in case" someone needs it.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Recommended: Christian Womanhood magazine

Latest Update (1/26/13): Christian Womanhood magazine is now being published by Roundup Ministries (The Walker Family).  It is available in digital form only for $10 per year.  I have seen the sample issue, and it is excellent!  I will be (re-)subscribing soon and look forward to continuing to read this wonderful magazine.

Latest Update (10/25/12):  Unfortunately, Christian Womanhood has sent out its last issue and will no longer be publishing.  If you have a subscription, please go to this link.

I've been a subscriber to the Christian Womanhood magazine for over ten years.  It is my most favorite magazine.  When it comes in the mailbox, I (usually) make a point of reading it cover to cover the same day.

Mrs. Cindy Schaap (former editor), pastor's wife of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN,  became the editor after founding editor Mrs. Marlene Evans went to Heaven about eleven years ago.  She did a great job with the magazine and made a lot of improvements, making it modern and fresh while staying true to their mission of "Teaching Women Biblical Principles."

There are a variety of different articles:  Christian living, For Mothers, For Wives, Soulwinning stories, recipes, funny children anecdotes, and For Teen Girls, just to name a few.  There's something for each member of the family to enjoy!

Outdated Information: The subscription has gone up in price ($29.95 a year), but they have added several pages to each issue.  The cost is well worth the wisdom gleaned from its pages.  I have kept all of the issues since 2004, so that I can refer back to them.  I have given subscriptions as gifts to people -- and they have actually renewed before I had a chance to renew for them!
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blog Post Roundup (8/18/11)

I'm going to give y'all a few links to posts that I've read that I think are worth the time to read.  (Basically I'm going through the posts that I've starred in Google Reader.)

First Day of School Survival Kit for Teachers

Books and Your Family's Spiritual Health

Griffin Launches $49 iOS-Controlled Helicopter -- This looks really cool!  I'm thinking about getting this for my husband for Christmas (Shhhh!).  The video is worth watching even if you're not interested in getting the toy.

Creating A Facebook Page & Syncing Your Page With Twitter {tutorial} -- Please note that part of the directions didn't work for me, but I was able to figure it out.

Top 10 Swap and Save Services -- I have not tried any of these yet, but they look interesting.

It's Never Too Early to Start Homeschooling -- great post about starting with your babies and toddlers.

It's Here!  The Kitchen Cabinet Tour -- This is one of those posts that inspire me somewhat and baffle me somewhat because it's like a dream that can't possibly be reality.

Bloggertunity (free e-Book) -- How to start up a blog and get it going.

Learn the Days of Creation -- I'm not sure what age this is for.  Free resource available.

Teaching Our Children What is More Important Than Modesty 

Your Child's Spiritual Markers

The Duggar Family's Personal Picasa Photo Web Album

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

DIY Canvas Art

I read about a project a couple of months ago where you can make your own canvas photos.  I know that canvas photos can be very expensive when you order them.  This was a very simple project that was fun to do.

Here's what you need:
  • artist canvas boards (8" x 10" or any size you want)
  • photo prints the same size as the canvas
  • paper trimmer (optional)
  • Modge Podge (I used the matte finish)
  • a styrofoam brush
  • paper plate

1.  Using the paper trimmer, cut the photos to size if necessary.  My photo prints were slightly larger than the canvas.  My husband suggested cutting enough so that there was a border around the photo.

The photos are of my grandfather, Gus Bounds, who is 88 years old, and my daughter Gracie who is 18 months old.  These were taken at my grandparents' house a couple of weeks ago.

2.  Pour some Modge Podge onto the paper plate.  Using the styrofoam brush, apply Modge Podge to the back of your prints and then place the prints on the canvas.  I pressed down on the prints and then turned the whole thing upside down and pressed.

3.  Apply more Modge Podge on top of the photo, covering the entire area.  I used vertical strokes for this first coat. Let it dry.

4.  Apply a second coat of Modge Podge.  I used horizontal strokes for this second coat.  Let it dry.

5.  If you want, you can add more coats, but I just did two.  It leaves an interesting texture to the surface which is visible in certain lights.

6.  Put somewhere and enjoy!

I'm not too crazy about the border around the pictures.  I think next time I will leave it hanging over and MAY try to wrap it on the sides.  The overhang is very small, though, so it might not do very well.  I'm not sure how it would look, either.

Another alternative would be print the photo in a larger size (11" x 14") but have a border around the photo so that the photo itself measures 8" x 10" (plus the measurements of the canvas sides).  If the canvas is 3/4" thick, the photo should measure 9-1/2" x 11-1/2".  The extra border can simply be cut off or wrapped to the back side.

This would be a fun project for older children to do to give to their grandparents or other loved ones.  I've even thought about using prints of nature photos as decorations in my home.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Be Ye Kind One to Another"

"Get over here!  No, you don't need that!  Leave him alone; give him some breathing room!"

These are a few of the phrases I heard from the mother of a toddler and preschooler this morning.  Gracie and I were waiting to get her hearing tested (The state of Tennessee requires that we have her hearing tested every six months until she turns three as a preventative measure since there is a "family history" of hearing impairment.).

This morning did not start off very well for me.  First of all, I couldn't get to sleep until about 3:30 in the morning, so I only got about 3 hours of sleep.  I needed to be up-and-at-'em by 7 so that we could be there for our 8:30 check-in.  I woke up at 7:12, stumbling and with a headache.  I hurriedly got Grace up, gave her some milk and leftover hashbrowns from Chick-Fil-A (you know you have days like that, too!), put her on my bed (one of her fun places to be), jumped in the shower, got dressed, got her dressed, and headed out the door, only to find that I didn't have my keys.  They were not on the key hook, not in my purse, and not in the car.  I figured, "Well, I can lock the door from the inside, go out the garage door, and close the garage door from the car."  I put the baby in the car, went back in the house, did another lightning-fast search for my keys, and found them on the table buried in stuff.

As I was going back to the car, I remembered that even though the hospital where the testing takes place is less than 15 minutes away, they are doing serious road construction and traffic is likely to be tied up.  I checked Memphis Traffic on my phone:  sure enough, yellow and red highlights on the map.  So I had to do a detour.  I arrived at the parking garage on time, but the path to the check-in place (PD's PERCH - it stands for something cute, and the doorway is decorated like an owl's home) is a convoluted route where I have to take the elevator down, go across the street, enter in on the first floor which is actually the second floor of the building, go down a long walkway, take an elevator down, walk down the long walkway under the original walkway (If I did not have Gracie in a stroller, I could have simply walked down the steps.), and finally enter into PD's PERCH.  So, I was a little late for my check-in.  My actual appointment was not until 9:00, so at least we were on time for that!

The PERCH has a nice little area with toys for children to enjoy while they are waiting.  A mother and her two-year-old son were there.  He was playing with the count-the-colored beads thing.  I let Gracie out of her prison stroller, and she headed for the little kitchen.  She seemed to really like the kitchen, helping to cement my resolve to get her one for Christmas this year.

Another mother and her two children, a toddler and a preschooler, came back to the waiting area after having talked to the check-in lady.  She was somewhat young, probably still in her 20's, very highly likely a single parent.  Her two little girls (I'm pretty sure both were girls.) were quiet, not unruly at all.  I had noticed that the little kitchen only had one pot, so I went in search for more dishes.  I found a bin on top of a cabinet and rummaged through it, finding a couple of little bowls and a lid for the pot.  When I turned around, the little toddler was behind me, so I gave her the bowls, and then the pot lid, and then a little blue figure of some unidentifiable critter, saying, "Do you want this?  Oh, do you want this, too?  Here, you can have this, also.  There you go!"  Gracie was occupied and not really wanting anything at the moment.  The child's mother said, "No!  You don't need any more!"  I decided I'd better leave her alone, went to sit down at one of the little chairs and talked with Gracie as she was playing.  When she came over to the table where the bead thing was, I said, "Let's count!  1, 2, 3...."  The preschool girl chimed in counting, so I praised her, "Oh, you can count!  Great job!"  The little toddler had found another little boy and was tagging along after him.  His mother yelled at her, "Get over here!  Leave him alone!  Move back!  Give him some breathing room!"  That continued the whole time we were there, and she added such phrases as, "Yeah, you need your hearing tested."  It made for an awkward time.

I always wonder what people are thinking when they talk to their children.  Do they really think that being mean is going to help train them?  If the child does have a hearing impairment, doesn't that warrant a little more understanding and patience?  The Bible says in Proverbs 31:26 about the virtuous woman, "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."

In the young woman's defense, she most likely,
a) was nervous about the test and perhaps was a little self-conscious about it
b) did not have a good pattern in her home life to follow
c) had not been taught good child-rearing principles
d) feels self-conscious about her parenting skills and wants to try to prove that she is trying to make her kids behave

Not that I've "arrived" in the field of mothering -- far from it! -- I have much to learn and areas in which to grow.  Observing this mother and her children does give me a kind of pop quiz in my own life.  Am I careful to speak kindly to Gracie?  When she does need correcting, do I do it lovingly and with purpose?  Do I micro-manage every little move she makes or do I simply let her find her way and guide her when she either misbehaves, is bothering another, or is about to bring harm to herself?

I also wonder, "How can I help these mothers whom I see in public who are struggling to maintain control of their children?"  To be honest, there's not a whole lot I can do except teach by example ("That they may teach the young women .... to love their children." Titus 2:4), invite them to church ("Go out .... and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Luke 14:23), and be kind and courteous to them.  One of my teachers at Hyles-Anderson College, Mrs. Frieda Cowling, used to say often, "Unsolicited advice is seldom heeded and never appreciated!"  It would not be wise to go up to them and start giving child-rearing tips!  Especially if you want to get them to come visit your church.

Mrs. Cowling has a lot of wisdom.  I have kept my notes from her class "How to Rear Children," and have read her books on childrearing (Recipes for Rearing Children and Rearing Kids with Character).  If there is interest (let me know), I can share some of the things I have learned from her.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Review: Unplanned by Abby Johnson

I have been wanting to read this book for several months, ever since I first saw it advertised in a LifeWay Christian Bookstore catalog.  I have always been a staunch and devout Pro-Lifer.  I remember the first time I ever heard the word abortion.  I was ten years old, and we had recently moved to California from Mississippi.  Someone on TV mentioned it, and I asked my brother, "Abortion? What's that?"  Tony very bluntly told me that it's when a mother kills her unborn child.  I was horrified, and thought he was lying.  You know how big brothers can be.  So, I went tattling to my mom, and to my utter shock and dismay, she confirmed that that's what the word meant.  My little anecdote doesn't really have anything to do with the book review, but it was very much a vivid memory and somewhat of a growing-up milestone in my life.

Abby Johnson was recruited by the Planned Parenthood organization when she was a junior in college.  They knew the right things to say that would appeal to her compassion and desire to help women in need.  I know that sounds contradictory -- at least it does to a Pro-Lifer -- but she honestly thought that by teaching women about preventing pregnancies and providing them with birth control, she was helping to lower the abortion rates.  It took her eight long years to realize that she was actually a part of the problem.  Her turning point came when she, for the first (and only) time, was asked to assist in an abortion procedure.  She viewed the abortion on an ultrasound screen.  That day, she was shocked into full realization of the truth.  She now is a part of a Pro-Life organization, Coalition for Life, that works to truly help women in need.

"...people who befriended me and stood by me for years even though they did not agree with what I did at Planned Parenthood, even though they did not believe in abortion.  Those people modeled for me something far deeper, far stronger than situational friendship: they loved and accepted me even when I was (or am) doing something they found morally objectionable.  They didn't just talk about love -- they put flesh on that concept." (p. 220)
This quote is sums up one of the best parts of this book.  The people who worked for Coalition for Life would stand outside the fence surrounding the Planned Parenthood clinic and lovingly tried to help not only the women coming in for medical attention, but also the volunteers and staff.  I believe that more good can be accomplished through loving people rather than judging, condemning, and trying to correct (especially if it is not your place to do so!).  Bro. Cary Schmidt of Lancaster Baptist Church recently tweeted a great quote that goes along with this: "Grace is God's response to your sin.  Grace should be your response to the sins of others."

I probably did not really learn anything new from reading this book, except for the personal details of the story.  However, it was a good read.  If you like reading true-life stories and if Pro-Life is of interest to you, then you would like this.

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  All opinions are my own.  I borrowed this book from the library.
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Friday, August 12, 2011

Movie Review: Soul Surfer

I have heard several people give great review for the movie Soul Surfer; I rented it from Redbox, along with another movie for my husband.

I don't know what I was thinking before I got the movie, because I was surprised by all the skin and bikinis showing.  Our family does not participate in "mixed swimming" and do not believe in dressing immodestly.  This was a definite concern of mine.  The other concern was the music, some of it worldly, so-called Christian music.  I had to mute the sound a number of times so as not to listen to the music.

Aside from those two deviations from our personal convictions, the story was a good one.  The girl showed a lot of courage in the face of adversity and great determination in going after her dream.  (Not a dream that we would hold up in high regard to our daughter, by the way.)

Overall, if you share the same convictions that I do, you probably would not want to watch this movie.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The EASY Way to Change Closed Captioning for AT&T U-Verse

We have only had AT&T U-Verse for a short time, about six months or so.  We love the new service, but there is one thing (besides the fact that we do not get the Hallmark Channel!) that we do NOT love:  the tedious process we have to go through to turn closed captioning on and off!

Although I am hearing impaired (since infancy due to being born three months prematurely), I don't usually need the closed captioning, but it does make it easier for me at times.  Plus, I like catching their mistakes!  My husband doesn't really like having the words on the screen -- especially when he's watching his financial news shows, in which case he turns it off -- but he tolerates it for me.  We have to switch back and forth and this is a 30-click process!  You may wonder why we do not do it from our TV.  That is because we have an older, tube TV and I have not ever been able to find the option using the TV menu from the original TV remote control.

Then, last night, my darling 18-month-old "wonder child," was playing with the remote and to my GREAT surprise, activated the TV Closed Captioning!  The funny thing was that the TV started showing double closed-captions -- from both AT&T U-Verse AND the television!  Makes for a crazy case of double vision!

I immediately started trying to figure out she did it (fortunately, she was pressing the same buttons) and discovered that turning Closed Captioning on and off is now a simple 3-click process!!  Gotta love that!

Now here's how YOU can do it, too!

1.  Using your AT&T U-Verse remote control, press the TV button at the very top (just to the right of the AT&T button).

2.  Press the Exit to TV button that is located to the "northwest" of the yellow triangle.

This will make "TV CC: Off" pop up on the screen as shown below.

3.  Use the right arrow key to change "off" to "1" as shown below. You can cycle through the whole selection of Closed Captioning options, but this is the one that I use.

There you go!  Closed Captioning has been activated.

One thing to note is that when you turn your AT&T U-verse off, it will automatically reset the Closed Captioning to "off."  Now that you know how, it's a simple 3-click process to turn it back on!

Another advantage is that now we can have closed captioning for when we play DVDs rather than going through the process of turning on subtitles which may or may not be available on the DVD.

This may not work for all TVs (if not, leave a comment), but hopefully, it will work for you!

UPDATE:  I did try this procedure when I watched a DVD that we own and it worked fine. However, when we rented a couple of movies from Redbox, it didn't work at all!  I could change it to 1, but it wouldn't do it.  I don't know why.

UPDATE #2:  One of my Anonymous readers posted this great tip in the comments:  "If you press the ENTER key at the bottom right of the remote, it will bring up a VIEWING OPTIONS menu on the side of your screen. Scroll down to CLOSED CAPTIONS and hit OK on the remote and then choose ON or OFF for the captions. Fewer steps this way! :-)"  That pretty much made my day!  I can't wait to show my husband!
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Young Picasso or How to Remove Crayon Marks from the Wall

My 18-month-old daughter loves to play with crayons. When she "decorated" my wall (for the first time, hopefully the last), I was actually in the same room with her, but my attention was diverted elsewhere.  It sure didn't take her long to produce this masterpiece.  I quickly sent out a "HeyYou" on Facebook:  Quick - does anyone know how to get crayon off the wall?  I googled the same question and found a number of things that are supposed to work.  One is Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser. I don't have any of those, though I will by tomorrow!  I tried what I had on hand, dishwashing liquid, Zout, and finally Lestoil.

Lestoil is a grease remover.  I learned about it from a blog that I no longer follow.  I've used it to remove stains from clothing, though it doesn't always work.  With a little bit of elbow grease to go along, the crayon marks came right up.

I also tried baby wipes, and they worked, but I had to use a lot more elbow grease.
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