Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Books to read in 2012

The Well Trained mind board has had links to the "book a week" blog for quite a while, and I'd thought of doing it, but thought chances of me crashing and burning were pretty high, but when i saw Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine's post about doing 24 books a year, I thought, now THAT is doable!! Undoubtedly, i'll read more. I'm reading a ton now that I have my Kindle and my Kindle app, which i read mostly on my ipod, but my problem is I tend to read a bit and then forget about it :) So my goal is to FINISH 24 books! Here's my list for 2012 Some i have the real book for and some i'll be buying in Ebook form, and some I already HAVE the ebook of! I decided to make it in list form and not to limit myself to a month for each book since I like to read as inspiration strikes, so i'm just making it one long list. I'll be updating as we do, and i'm also going to try to make a list including all the children's books we read, both for our reference and for accountablity, reading aloud is one thing that tends to suffer around here, and I'd very much like to change that!

Rebecca's 2012 Anticipated book reading list!

Building the Christian Family You Never Had: A Practical Guide for Pioneer Parents

You Can Raise Courageous and Confident Kids: Preparing Your Children for the World They Live In

Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life

Disciple: Getting Your Identity from Jesus (Re:Lit)

Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself (Re:Lit)

For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School

Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning : A Story for Mother Culture ®

A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning

Facing Autism: Giving Parents Reasons for Hope and Guidance for Help

The Simplicity of Homeschooling: Discover the Freedom of Learning Through Living

Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made up

Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life

Changes That Heal

America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams

Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family: Includes So Many Innovative Strategies You Won't Have to Cut Coupons Finished! Jan 3

Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs

Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe

How to Be a Great Wife . . . Even Though You Homeschool

The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Child's Sleep

Sleep, It Does a Family Good: How Busy Families Can Overcome Sleep Deprivation

Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World

Family Driven Faith (Paperback Edition with Study Questions): Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God

The Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year

Autism's Hidden Blessings: Discovering God's Promises for Autistic Children & Their Families

*edited to add*
Ok, so i'm NOT content with just these and i'm going to add on more as I feel the need :)

Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Have I mentioned how much i LOVE Francis Chan??

Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving

Amish Values for Your Family: What We Can Learn from the Simple Life finished sometime in Jan.

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

I will add also that I just signed up as an affiliate for Amazon, to help with our extreme book habit :) and am including this disclaimer so you know “Rebecca Kvenvolden is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.”

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas- to do or not to do.


Christmas is nearly here... and on facebook
you will often see me complaining about Christmas. My hubby is a fedex guy, an extremely hardworking backbreaking fedex guy- and while he works super hard all year, its THIS time of year that really kills us. I say US because while he's out laboring, the kids and I are home laboring. We are going through a really rough time right now, particularly with Asher and we've come together as a family- ALL of us, as this massive labor of love to make things ok with Asher. He requires one on one attention whenever he's not sleeping. Every one of us is exhausted most of the time. we struggle to get simple things done right now, like meals, cleaning, schooling. Top priority is attention and care of all the children and dh. Second priority is schooling, the demands of both public school and our charter school at home. everything else pretty much falls by the wayside. We survive and that's what we are shooting for now. So december is REALLY hard for us, and seeing how wrecked my love is at the end of every day is hard.

Ever since I became a mom (and a Christian) Christmas has been an issue. We have run the gambit from celebrating ALL elements of Christmas, both Christian and secular, to doing absolutely NO Christmas festivities. This year, I was amazingly blessed with the peace of knowing EXACTLY where God wanted us, and how He wanted us to celebrate.

Being a Fedex wife, i get a front row seat to everyone's greed. I've never understood the feeding frenzy of Christmas- going into debt to "give my children a Christmas" and Please, PLEASE don't ever say those words around me, because i WILL grimace, and i MIGHT be tempted to smack you and tell you to WAKE UP!


It pains me to see Christmas reduced to this. You'll often hear me talking about how much i HATE Christmas, and I think i need to be more specific because usually i'll get a comment about how i'm a "scrooge" and that's not true at all. I LOVE "REAL" Christmas. I love celebrating advent, and reading about the amazing miracls that occurred surrounding His birth ALONE, let alone all the miracles He did in his life and of course rising from the DEAD! I LOVE that! i LOVE seeing the generosity and the giving spirit people have toward others at Christmas time.

But there's another spirit present, and its not so beautiful. Its the nagging guilt about if you are buying your children enough STUFF so they can go to school and tell their peers about it. Its the loading more and more on to the credit card that you will take a decade to pay off so that you can fit in with others. Its people referring to "A Christmas" and meaning NOTHING about Christ in that. Its greed- pure and simple- and then, not so simple is the power of traditions and meomories. WE ALL celebrated Christmas as kids, right? I remember having great times, particularly with my grandparents, but with all my extended relatives. It was as very special family time for us. The gifts were totally the focus for me. with only my brother and I, it was a FREE FOR ALL! we got a LOT of stuff. I think most kids get a LOT of stuff!

The thing is, and I don't know WHY it hits me so hard, maybe i'm just able to appreciate my salvation so much because of where I came from Because I wasn't raised Christian, i wasn't in any way on the road to salvation. I could have SO MANY TIMES, even in my childhood, died without Christ. And that impacts me in a huge way. Its serious.

And to turn MY Jesus who saved my life, into a free for all excuse to worship stuff, is absolutely unacceptable to me.

Being a Christian means the Holy Spirit is inside me, guiding my decisions and leading me in the best choices for my family, and what it feels like to me, is this nagging that won't go away, it prods at me and makes me uneasy until we settle on the right choice. Then its gone and i've got this amazing sense of peace. That happened on December 7th when I read this AMAZING article by Ann Voskamp-

When Christmas gets radical: Who's birthday is it REALLY?

I read the article like any other day, skimming through my favorite blogs on my ipod, with my blog watching program, but that one hit me like a ton of bricks. You absolutely MUST read this article! Mrs. Voskamp speaks of an innocent question her young child asked her. Why don't we give Jesus REAL presents? presents that are tangible and require sacrifice? This lead her to entertain all sorts of thoughts. it was this one that jumped out at me-

I’d rather only fill a child’s tummy than fill my house with anymore things.

Maybe that’s always the only choice we have to make every Christmas: feed our own fickle wishes or feed the real hunger of Christ?


I spoke with Andy about it, and he wholeheartedly agreed. This year and for years to come, we are giving gifts to JESUS. It IS, afterall HIS birthday. We did let the kiddos open their one gift each that we'd already gotten, early, but we all agreed that we'd rather give gifts to Jesus with the rest of our holiday funds, and in future years to come.

I challenge all of you who are believers to think about this, really hard. And maybe even to put your money where your mouth is. Everyone in the Christian community, anyway, throws around banter like "Jesus is the reason for the season!" and "I love Jesus more than presents!"

How about giving JESUS the gifts this Year, (or if you've already spent your Christmas budget, next year) How about helping World vision provide clean water in Africa! Or help free young girls from the torture of sexual slavery.

How about giving just $5 to provide God's word to someone who needs it. Or buy livestock or an education to a child through Compassion

Perhaps you might want to spend $9 with Samaritan's purse to feed a hungry baby for a week. What a bargain!

There are so many ways to give REAL, TANGIBLE, gifts to Jesus. Also consider Partners international Gospel for Asia and the Mennonite central Committee

Maybe I don't REALLY hate Christmas after all! My heart is light, with no sense of the sorry substitute for "Christmas" that the world celebrates, thinking about the amazing good that WE can accomplish in HIS name, if we choose to use the money that would normally be spent to gratify ourselves and our families. Think about it! pray about it! I think giving to the birthday Boy could be the most joyful celebration imaginable. While we are on an extremely meager budget this year, what fun we will have Christmas eve picking out presents for our Lord!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Review: Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, NKJV

I've never been a "Bible on the kindle" kinda girl. Ok, so that's a bit mellow dramatic. I've only had my Kindle for a YEAR, so i suppose I'm within a reasonable time frame for starting something new! But at any rate, with Bible apps and whatnot, I've never even really considered the possibility of using a Bible on the Kindle, but when Book Sneeze offered this Jesus Calling, Devotional Bible, NKJV Edited by Sarah Young, as a review product, I jumped on it. That is because I've just started the Jesus Calling devotional and i LOVE it, and thought I might like the Bible as well. I was DEFINITELY right about that!

I have the Kindle version (.mobi) and have enjoyed browsing through the Bible, the features of which are pretty sparse, in number anyway, I did notice a lack of maps, timelines, etc. BUT the real draw to this Bible and the reason you'd buy it in the first place i'm sure, is the presence of the Jesus Calling devotions, interspersed within, in JUST the right places. If you aren't familiar with Jesus Calling, it is narratives, written, as if spoken by Jesus, using pronouns like HE was talking. Its controversial in that sense, so i'm keeping an eye out for anything that might seem "off" but so far, it looks really on the level doctrinally, to me. Anyway, I LOVE the fact that the devotions are included right where you'd be expecting them with the Bible text. Also the delineation between Bible/devotions is really clear.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the Bible. I give it a solid 5 stars, while I'd like to see a few more study features built in, for the price (Kindle) You can't go wrong! I will say that I'd definitely prefer the print version of this Bible. However, for the digital version, I think its a good, solid, Bible and would recommend it to anyone, particularly to someone in my position right now, not a lot of time, yet very NEEDY of quality time with God. If you enjoy Sarah Young's devotions, I say BUY THIS!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book Review: Proverbs Reconstructed

When I saw the book "Proverbs Reconstructed" on the BookSneeze site, I was REALLY excited and eager to review it. I have always been fascinated with Proverbs. From the perspective of it being written by the smartest man that ever lived, to the poetic elements about it, to the vast sum of knowledge contained therein.

This book focuses on that last element, the vast sum of knowledge contained within. In "Proverbs Reconstructed" Gus Dallas endeavored to take this knowledge and organize it in a more effective way. He categorizes each segment of Proverbs into categories- the first four are: Abomination, Adultery, Adversity, Advocate. They are then listed as either "good" or "bad" some categories have both a "good" and "bad" component.

My thoughts:
First, i really liked the idea of this book, and am disappointed that I can't give a better review. I was hoping for a book that I could grab when I'm feeling... say... Angry and look up "Anger" and see the folly of my ways. Well, this goal could be accomplished with this book, I guess. And I will say that having the .mobi version (Kindle)is a good way to purchase this book if you'd like to do so. Each category word is linked so you could reference each word in a super fast, efficient manner.

However, I found this book lacking in several ways. First, the categories listed were just kind of... WEIRD! In addition to the obviously helpful categories there were also ones like, Ear, Bear, Eyes. I guess you could just skip them if you had no use for them. The other thing that really seemed odd and confusing to me was the use of "good" and "bad" as descriptors of each term seemed really random to me and I had a hard time discerning what Mr. Dallas' intentions were in including them. I've settled on the idea that perhaps "good" means praises for doing the right thing, and "bad" means warnings for not doing the right thing? At any rate, I didn't think that was an effective way to sub-categorize the topics.

My final perspective was that I disagreed with the author's perspective that his method of organizing the Proverbs was more effective than Solomon's. That it was too difficult to derive the blessings and wisdom of Proverbs in its original form. My assertion is that this is an incorrect perspective. While Mr. Dallas' attempt to improve on the wisdom of the smartest man that ever lived was a lofty and perhaps noble goal, I would not say that his goal was accomplished. I could easily used free Bible software online to search any term I'm looking for to accomplish the same purpose, without the confusion and bulk of an extra book. Perhaps Solomon actually did know what he was doing when he wrote his beautiful wisdom poetry in a seemingly random way. Perhaps its most usable to us in its original form, flowing and surprising.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, December 16, 2011

My crate project!

Ok, so i had the classic (in my house) dilemma- not enough bookshelves! We live in a 1250 sq ft house- all 9 of us, and we are CROWDED. To add to that, with an autistic 2yo we have to turn his room into a FORTRESS and he is the only one with his own room! but that means we are really really cramped for space, having had to turn the schoolroom into the girls room, and the girl's room into Asher's room. So... i decided to take the hall closet which is always a disaster and turn it into something functional.

Wanna see the disaster?? here it is!

What i WANTED to do was buy two of those 2x4 cube room seperator/bookshelves at costco but they are $125 each and there's only 3 left, so chances are about nill that when i have $250 they will still be in stock. so i decided to do a makeshift bookshelf with all the bazillion crates i have taking up valuable storage space in the shed! totally killed two birds with one stone.

Now, i was impatient, i probably should have just gotten zipties but when i couldn't 'find ours, i just used twine :)

So it is a bit messy but i don't care! i connected the crates that interlocked together neatly together, tying them togther in the front and back, and then connected the two rows of three the same way.

So, the finished product? here it is! it was hard to photograph, being in the hallway and all....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reducing grocery costs

I saw this on Pinterest (Check out my boards if you haven't already! i put WAY too much time into them!!!!) and I'm going to get this, seriously need to reign in the spending. Thought some of you might be interested.

Visit Budget101.com

Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Review: Real Marriage, By Mark and Grace Driscoll

Marriage. It looks so EASY. I remember growing up watching my favorite TV show "Family Ties" and loved the hippy message, "all you need is love!" But being a 17+ Yr marriage survivor, I can say with certainty that you need a whole lot more than love (though you certainly need that too!) And in different stages of Andrew's and my life together, we were largely flying blind. We could have benefited greatly from having read this book earlier, and I'm very much looking forward to reading it again, along with Andrew.

I was blessed to receive a an electronic advanced reading copy of "Real Marriage" by Mark and Grace Driscoll to review by BookSneeze.com. I very much enjoy reviewing books in general. Writing is a hobby of mine, and since I've been so occupied with the children I've not had an opportunity to freelance in ages. Additionally, Mark Driscoll is the preaching pastor of the church I attend, And knowing his sharp-witted, articulate and generally enjoyable style, I was excited to get to read this book!

I will say that i was NOT disappointed. In fact, i'd take it a step further to say that Real Marriage is an excellent handbook that covers SO much information, that having read it once, I know i'll be referring back to it often. Included in Real Marriage, you will find

*The importance of being your spouse's best friend.

*Men- how to be a great leader in your family and husband, complete with practical ideas, not just lofty ideals.

*Ladies- How to be an excellent wife, also complete with practical ideas.

*How prior hurts, particularly sexual assault impacts your married life and WHY it needs to be dealt with.

*Specific info on what is and is not acceptable sexual conduct for Christian couples

*How to focus your marriage on the LAST day you will be married.

I love the format of Grace and Mark interspersing their teaching. They clearly delineate who is speaking, and the husband/wife team approach is particularily effective in a marriage book. I know that Grace understands my perspective as a woman, where as, I'd not necessarily believe that Mark would. That lends much more credibility to the ideas contained within.

One thing to keep in mind is that they are very frank about specific sexual issues, and while they approached the issue appropriately, not in a salacious or erotic manner, the topic IS sex and marriage so you kind of have to expect frank discussion. For that reason I'd not recommend this book to unmarried folks. For example, I'd not have my children read this book prior to marriage. However, once married, I think Real Marriage is a MUST HAVE resource for the Christian couple. I love how the Driscolls treat sex as God intended, a beautiful, passionate, lively, and important element of married life! In a society that treats sex as something that teenagers do, the Driscolls have a counter cultural approach to great married sex!

It is mentioned in the beginning of the book, a good rule of thumb: Take what you can use and leave the rest. This was true of me reading this book. There were some ideas that I disagreed with, but none was so critical that it would cause me to not recommend the Real Marriage or give it less than a 5 star review.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A post NOT about homeschooling! Chloe's Multicultural day

This, I suppose, is what people MY age would call a "Christmas Program" Minus the Christmas of course (wink) this is the 21st century! :) Anyway, it was a great joy to spend the evening at my daughters' school this evening watching Chloe sing and seeing what all the students have been learning about.

OH, and to get off the topic, i wanted to add that i'm so bummed that i've not been able to post what we've been up to lately! its been so so soooo much fun! Nik is studying electricity and hopefully robots this month, and also is working on his comic book art, as we are taking a break from the regular routine for the annual tradition of "December school" and Leif is working more casually with Time-4-Learning, while i still have not figured out what level he's at! DANG homeschooling a neurotypical child is a BREEZE!!! Hoping to get it together soon and be able to post more. i've been busy virtually every second of the day.

Ok, so here's some clips of the songs Chloe performed.

And some pictures <3

This is Chloe's class' display.

And these are the art projects chloe made! Isn't she talented?? she's got such great style...

And here's Little miss Annabeth's project!

Cool huh? it was a very fun evening, and very well done, both by students and staff! I'm glad my girlies are doing so well in school!!