Monday, December 31, 2012

An Awesome Instant Blog!

Have you been thinking about creating a rockin' cool blog about all of your homeschool adventures? 
If so, I have a great way for you to save time and snag a very classy look at a very low price.

This is a screenshot of what could be yours. It includes a custom banner, blog button, custom background and three matching favicons.  

I also googled "Home's Cool"(C) and checked blogger to see if the name is being used. I found nothing. I'm noting it here, thereby claiming the copyright. This gives you a completely unique and marketable brand name instantly. Use it on blogspot or on your personal domain.

It's all yours for only $50 or get all this plus a FB cover to match for ONLY $75.

Contact me at I will invoice you through Paypal and send all graphic files immediately after payment is received.

(Note: it will cost extra if you need me to install everything for you)

There you have it. A beautiful new blog just waiting for you. What's your excuse now?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This Mommy is Fired Up!

I just read this article. I guess it’s gone viral. Unfortunately, I can relate to the author’s description of her son. I’ve experienced mood shifts in my son much like the ones she describes. We call them “Katie Kaboom” moments.

I won’t lie. I’m horrified by the similarities between my child’s occasional behaviors and those exhibited by others who have grown to commit heinous crimes. It’s chilling and it brings me to my knees.
It sounds like the mother in this article cares highly for her son. She is clearly doing everything the experts tell her to do. She is obeying the system, following the “rules” and jumping through every toxic hoop they throw in front of her. She trusts in the knowledge and authority of others.  Many parents do.

I do not.

I have grown to understand that parenting my son is a task that I was uniquely chosen for. It’s a role I’m perfectly equipped for (even when my mind is spinning and I don’t know feel all that confident).  The reality is that no one knows him like I do. No one, (regardless of the size of their psychiatric library or extensive degrees) understands his heart like I do.

Why do we parents doubt ourselves?

Let me be clear. I’m not a better parent than the one who wrote the article. I started out just like her, following the flow and heeding all the advice “professionals” could give. I came to a conclusion:

 Unfortunately, this system does not work to build healthy children. It builds criminals. It takes a negative approach devoid of hope and lacking in love.

Love? What does love have to do with it? Everything.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 International Standard Version says:
4Love is always patient;
love is always kind;
love is never envious
or arrogant with pride.
Nor is she conceited,
5and she is never rude;
she never thinks just of herself
or ever gets annoyed.
She never is resentful;
6is never glad with sin;
she’s always glad to side with truth,
and pleased that truth will win.b
7She bears up under everything;
believes the best in all;
there is no limit to her hope,
and never will she fall.

Did you catch that?

Love believes the best in all. When you surrender to the system and “give in”, you stop believing that your child could change. You stop hoping and, though your mind is reeling and your heart is breaking with love, you actually stop demonstrating your love merely by your doubt.

The only difference between this mom and myself is that I now refuse to follow the system, to surrender my expectations for my child’s future and follow every bit of advice I’m given. He has a future and I will fight for it to the death.

There are dynamic individuals with gifting and talents to reach children like ours. Unfortunately, they aren’t readily available. We have to search for them, do the hard work and never settle for less. You have to advocate for your child until you are surrounded with the right professionals who won’t give up or back down but will truly make a difference.

I will surround my son with professionals who speak life into him. They won’t say things like “the only thing I could do was to get ____ charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

Not gonna fly. I will be heard because my love is loud.  His needs will get attention because I won’t back down.

I had a psychiatrist tell me to make plans for my son’s future, that I should seek long term care for him and apply for social security because he would probably live with me through adulthood. I dropped that doctor like a hot cake.

See, it gets daunting believing the best when you are surrounded with doubters. It’s exactly the same for my child. I chose to surround him with hope that he may feel it and act accordingly.

What many of these children lack is a parent who sees through the “experts” and advocates for the good of their child (even if that isn’t the solution presented). They need a parent brave enough to go against the flow and fight for what matters.

I chose not to see things merely as they are, but how they will be. (Romans 4:17)

The mother in the article says we need a conversation about mental health. We do. We also need awareness. Moms like us need support and understanding from those around us. Our children need the opportunity to achieve despite their challenges. Not every child with these serious issues will become a violent criminal or a mass murderer. We can’t surrender them to that horrible future, but must guard their hearts diligently. They need to be labeled with our love and positive expectations, not compromised by societal misconceptions. Fear cannot rule parents of children like these. Fear will not rule me.

December 18th, 2012

Do you watch Parenthood? Take a look at Max. I bet he entertains you, right? True, children with special needs have unique gifts and special qualities to offer their families. Can I be brutally honest though? It is so stinking hard to raise a child who cannot rationalize in a "normal" fashion. 

You know what makes it harder? Parents with "perfect" children who judge our parenting tactics because they seem unorthodox.

My child wigs out and we do "twirling robots", make human tacos or blow bubbles in milk. He kicks holes in the wall and we patch them. People look at me like I’m a flaky new age parent who lets everything slide. Umm, not true. I pick my battles.

He "runs away" and we call the police and find him in minutes because we know all of his hiding spots (including behind the abandoned church across the way) but understand that if he sees us he will run. I guess one of his gifts is running. He should be on a track team. 

He loses control and we take a trip to the hospital. We don't ignore or wish it away. We confront it even when it hurts.

We spend three hours a week watching our child suffer through intensive therapies to learn simple things like how to hold a pencil correctly and breath properly (without panting), to speak clearly and practice motor planning.  We dole out medication like candy and nothing changes. Years go by. It feels hopeless. It feels frustrating when your child screams "I want to die" and you know he really means "life is hard and I need help" but lacks the reason to ask calmly.

Yesterday I found the hole in the wall. Words can’t express how upsetting that was. This is destruction of property. It’s out of control and there are no good answers from counselors or anyone in the medical community. We are flying by the seat of our pants and there is a lot of turbulence.

Today I’ve done laps through my house chasing him through tantrum after tantrum.  It is exhausting. I get ten minutes of peace and he’s mad again. He ran outside. Now, I have called the police four times this year to help me recover Caibry. I can see him when I call. He’s in my view and totally safe, but if I approach him he will run and I can’t guarantee his safety then. You know what? I am sick of explaining my life to police officers and doctors, watching them evaluate me as if I’m the problem then go home to their ordinary lives.

That’s why, when he ran out of the house today in his socks, I let him go. I stayed inside and even locked the doors. I let him cool down and watched him from the windows as he walked to his favorite hiding place. I saw him every moment. I knew he was safe. I saw the red car pull up beside him to ask if he was okay. I watched the mother with her perfect teenager park in my driveway and get out of her car to come give me a “talking to”.  I watched my son run to the porch and ask calmly to be let in.

Yes, stopping for a child in trouble is kind. Judging the parent for what you think you witnessed is not. 
Let’s be honest, my tactic worked. I have a calm child taking a time out on my bed right now. He is actually humming to himself at the moment and has probably forgotten why he was even mad in the first place.
Me, I am typing this rant to calm myself before speaking to him so I don’t raise my voice or get physical though my blood is boiling.  I’m coping.

My parenting doesn’t make sense to the woman who stopped or the other parents in my neighborhood who no longer allow their children to play with mine.  Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you either.

It doesn’t have to.

Simply put, my children come first. They always have and they always will.  I’ll do what works.  I’ll fumble my way through. I’ll look like a nut to keep the delicate balance of sanity active in my household.  I’ll do the hard things and be an outcast for it. Would you?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Sweet Tea: A Night at the Museum

Yesterday my head began pounding. Actually, it was more of a stabbing pain on the right side of my head. It definitely wasn't my typical migraine. I took my migraine meds but they didn't help at all so last night I took two Tylenol PM's hoping it would cut the pain. One is normally more than enough for me. Two is too many. I woke up and my body felt like jello. Oddly enough my head still hurt.

That's where my amazing husband comes in. The kids were worried they's miss Sweet Tea Sunday (I love that they already view it as a traditional weekly special time with mom.

While I continued to sleep the morning away, my husband and my oldest daughter, Chloe, were busy preparing a Night at the Museum themed tea party.

The kids chose Bigelow Green Tea.

They paired it with some hard boiled eggs (dyed to look like dinosaur eggs) on a bed of spinach with toast crumbs (for dirt).

Stan was playing "Larry", Caibry was a lion, Nevie was Sacagawea and Sadie was a mammoth (that sock on her nose is a trunk).

I'm so excited that Sunday Sweet Tea is something my children look forward to each week. I hope yours are enjoying it too.

Speaking of you, It's your turn. What's in your cup?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty

Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty

Secret Keeper is a modest little book, tiny in size and packed with power.  Dannah makes it her mission to make modesty attainable. She strips away the myths of fashion trends and appeals to a female's reasoning while gracefully incorporating Biblical revelation.  Dannah teaches modesty with fun little tests that include visual demonstrations.  She also shares some advertising tricks of the trade with deep and profound  relevance to women.  I also enjoyed her explanation of sin as "missing the mark". She explains that though a woman can hit the target with her attire, is she really hitting the mark of God's best?

This book would be great for young adults and unmarried women. It stresses the need for purity, preserving ones self for one man forever. 

This is a super fast read and a beautifully designed book. At times text overlaps with images and that becomes sort of distracting and makes the true text more difficult to read. Some of the design element of the book is a little too much, but the heart and message is wonderful.

I would like to read more from Dannah. I encourage you to look for this and other titles written by her, especially if you have a teenage daughter.

I received my free copy of Secret Keeper via Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Thin Film of Lies

Product Details

Last weekend was a haze. You know why? 
I could not put down this fantastic book!

First, let me offer a surprising disclaimer: I am not a mystery fan.  A Christian Crime novel didn't really pique my interest, but as the Operations Manager of The CWA Review Crew I had a free copy to peruse. Yeah, I said peruse. Let me be clear though. If you pick up this book you will not simply peruse. Your life will be in a paused state until you reach the last page. It's just that good.

My initial disinterest is exactly what made my pleasure in this book so profound. I literally could not stop reading. Susanne Lakin has the incredible gift of description. From the introduction I was hooked, simply by her language and the vivid images they evoked. 

Holy cow! It was like noting I'd read before. Let me tease you with the beginning:

I wasn’t there the night Libby Denham was killed but believe me, I can fill in the details. Being a photographer, I was taught to have an eye for detail. So here’s how I would have captured her death:
The first shot: Libby in her Pontiac Firebird. A beat-up old car, periwinkle blue. I’d shoot the angle from the front, straight through the windshield with a 50mm lens, capturing her flashy eyes and the way her thick red hair tumbled down her shoulders. She’d be wearing her oversized tortoiseshell glasses and, of course, the purple angora sweater. However, the look on her face would imply more than exasperation at trying to find a parking space for her clunker.
Here’s the beauty of the expression: you couldn’t tell if Libby was excited or fearful. A person would wonder—what was the source of her abnormal agitation? Why were her hands gripping the steering wheel so tenaciously?

See what I mean? It reads almost like a film script. Camera angles, intrigue, suspense. You get so much detail from the author that you actually believe you know what's going on, but you don't.

The reader becomes like the character, Alisa, evaluating the evidence and putting pieces together. Alisa is a woman who has just learned of her husband, Mike's,  infidelity via the ominous envelope filling her mail box. Oh, and if she had any doubts of its authenticity, there were pictures and love letters in her husband's handwriting. Can you feel the tension? It seems pretty cut and dry.  However,  it was far from simple. The day the letter arrives, the illicit "lover" is discovered dead, possibly victim of a hit and run.

Now two detectives are on the case but ultimately it's Alisa whose heart is on the line, in more ways then she can even understand.

A Thin Film of Lies is a fantastic book! 

In all the reading I do I certainly give plenty of positive reviews, but seriously, this goes beyond a good book. I thoroughly recommend snagging a copy. You can purchase online at Amazon.

You can also try before you buy: Sample Chapter PDF.

This book is only $4.99. That's a great price for a great book.

I am definitely eager to read more from this author.

C. S. Lakin is a novelist and professional copyeditor who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. The first four books in her seven-book fantasy series, The Gates of Heaven, have been released (AMG/Living Ink Publishers) and she is also the author of 5 novels of pyschological suspense and YA sci-fi.

 I received a free copy of this Ebook Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sensational Haiku Wednesday: Search

Join the fun!

This week's theme is: Search

What was I seeking?
The object eluded me
The search was a flop.

My eyes grew tired.
My mind reeled with questions.
Where had I left them?

Just a helpless search
a hurried, frantic disgust
the loss brought delay.

Time moved quickly
I begged, in silent anger
Where were my glasses?

I couldn't go now
not without vision to see
blurry, angry search.

Everything on hold
A cold day turned upside down
by glasses hidden.

Okay, confession: I actually missed a doctor's appointment last week because I couldn't find my glasses. You know where the turned up? Wrapped up in the blanket I slept in. I'm glad I don't roll a lot  in my sleep.  The depressing part was the realization of just how much I need them to see. I remember back when they were optional reading glasses. Times change.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11th: Top Ten Tuesday

I missed last week. It was hectic one.

This week's theme is: Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012

  1. Susette Williams, author of Falling in Love. You can read my review here.
  2. Faye Bryant, author of Ramblings From the Shower. You can read my review here.
  3. Susan Lakin, author of A Thin Film of Lies. I just finished. My review is coming. Loved it!
  4. Joel Gross, author of The Books of Rachel. I can't put it down.
  5. David George Richards, author of A Fine Woman. A fine book.
  6. Karen Cantwell, author of The Chronicles of Marr-nia
  7. Ruby Alice Side-Thompson, author of World War 2 London Blitz Diary. I felt voyeuristic, but this lady was hilarious. Her rants about her husband had me rolling.
  8. Dannah Gress, author of Secret Keeper. If you have teen daughters you need this book!
  9. Julie Cantrell, author of Into the Free.  It was strangely mesmerizing.
  10. Carrie Dawes, author of Crossing Values.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blue Monday #3: Sentiment

I'm not sure if my parents were dating or married at the time (I believe just dating). In any case, my car fixin' teenage dad decided to take on an unlikely project. He began making my mother a quilt. He used bits of the families old clothing and, I assume a pattern, of some sort. He had no thoughts of me when he sewed the pieces together. I wasn't even a twinkle in my mother's eye. Yet, what he created was a beautiful blanket that would someday wrap me in love when his arms couldn't.

My parents married (after all, who could turn down a guy who makes you a quilt?).  
Eventually I became a thought. A breathing, cooing thought.
I was three months old my dad went out for a ride with friends and didn't come back.
One of his friends had been drinking and so had the couple they hit.
My dad was the only fatality.

It's winter time and I'm keenly aware of the increase of alcohol at Holiday parties especially as we draw closer to a new year. 

Please be aware that one moment, one careless decision can steal everything. 
Choose wisely.

Okay, Public Service Announcement over.

Want to see what my daddy made 30+ years ago? Keep in mind it's now dry rotted and we have cut it into squares to display behind glass and store away for my children. 

A beautiful sentiment in Blue.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sweet Tea Sunday: Winter Tea

It's Sweet Tea Sunday and I'm getting a late start. My head is yucky today so I won't be in any pictures. I'm still in my pjs. You do not want to see that. :)

Okay, so today's tea featured 
Homeschool Mommies: this is a great time to teach your children about this helpful herb. 
I recommend Herbal Roots Zine. This is a back issue from 2010 and costs only $7.99.

Chamomile is super calming and the aroma is so smooth. It's a lighter tea in color but don't let that fool you, It's a very filling drink. I could only do one cup this time.

I also served small tea sandwiches along with a small bowl of Easy Chocolate Pudding 
(a recipe from Marlena at 
The recipe features avacado, water, cocoa powder and NuNaturals Vanilla NuStevia Liquid.
I am reviewing several products from NuNaturals on behalf of the CWA Review Crew. I am so impressed with the flavor and quality. No after taste and just enough sweetness to curb my craving equals perfection!

I was in the mood for adventure so I also made Avacodo Lemon Pear Mousse 
(This recipe from Selah at
for the kids who preferred sour to sweet.

This recipe featured avocado, pear, lemon juice and NuNaturals Lemon NuStevia Liquid.

Though it wasn't the prettiest to look at, I preferred this second dessert over the first. It had a perfect balance of sour and sweet and I'd actually take it over lemon merangue pie.

So the kids, I bet you wonder what they thought. 
Well, they tried both desserts and voted.
 Chloe and Caibry liked both and I could force a decision out of them. 
Nevie like the lemon and Sadie preferred Chocolate. 
All agreed the tea was not a favorite. I thought it was great, but then I was banking on the relaxing effects.

So now it's your turn, what did you do for Sweet Tea Sunday?

Link up with your direct URL below.

Be sure to add comments too. We all love comments.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sweet Tea Sunday: Cinnamon Orange

For Today's Tea Party we chose a Royal theme. Everyone dressed up even Grandma 
(though you won't see her, she was operating the camera).

Our tea of the day was Bigelow's Cinnamon Stick Tea

This created a super yummy Orange spice sweet tea.
I also served a cherry pecan cheese ball (featuring Roka Blue) with crackers.

The point of Sweet Tea Sunday is to share my love of tea with my family while creating special time memories together.It looks fun doesn't it? Next week I will include a linky at the end of my post. I hope I have inspired you to jump in, participate and create this special occasion with your children.

I realize some of you worship on Sunday. You can always prepare your post ahead and just pre-schedule it to post on Sunday's so that it doesn't conflict with your family's routine. 

For me, we attend synagogue on Saturday. That's my day of rest, so I'm not online on Saturdays. If you see anything posted here on a Saturday it's safe to assume I scheduled it ahead. 

Sunday is my day of play with my kiddos. I'm hoping our new activity together will be an exciting time with mom that they will look forward to each week. 

Next week: You're Cordially Invited
Start thinking now about your theme and what tea you plan to serve then blog/ photograph it an link up next Sunday.
My kids will so get a kick out of seeing other children enjoying tea time.