Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

What's this? 

A time machine!

Yep!  That's right.  While I was engaged by some phone calls and chores the other day, Nina and Luke busied themselves gathering boxes, tape, scissors and sundry other bits and pieces to initiate construction of their long-awaited time machine.

LeapFrog - Talking Words Factory"Long-awaited", of course, is a relative term.  Luke received an old broken keyboard and clock- by his own request - as his "recycle" Christmas gift this year during our "free Christmas" family gift exchange and has been wanting to build his very own new time machine inspired by the Leesa Waldron's Robert and the Dinosaurs book he received last summer and, more recently, by the machines in the Leap Frog video he received as his "free movie" Christmas gift from a cousin.  (And, yes, this is Time Machine, Version 2.  The kids' first one can be seen here.)

So it was that Luke and Nina - my industrious engineers - moved from imagination to creation and back to imagination, enlisting my help as an assistant who could rip duct tape and tape "electric", "wings", "seats" and other components as they directed me to do so.  All the while, I mused:  "Perfect timing!"  A time machine just before the New Year.  and one they have continued to make adjustments and additions to morning, afternoon and night, since they first constructed it.

Time travel has been the main entertainment in our living room for the past few days.   Here's hoping Time Machine 2010 can move us both back for some wonderful reflection and ahead for great fun, learning and blessings in between taking us "to the North Pole, of course", which was Luke's first planned stop!

Wherever Time Machine 2010 takes us, we know we will experience adventure, grace and wonder.  And, we pray that as you bid adieu to 2010 and welcome 2011, your days remain filled with all things beautiful and blessed as well.

Here's to a bright 2011, filled with grace and gratitude.  May your New Year be rich in reflection and rejoicing, smiles and simple pleasures, prosperity and productivity, love and laughter and, of course, the wonder of pausing to take life at the pace of a child now and again.  What fun I had the other morning doing so with ours! 

The Evolution of Free Christmas

Grampy Santa and some of his elves before the exchange...

As a child, at extended family Christmas parties, we did the usual family name draws and Yankee Swaps.  But, over the years, as party attendees transitioned from grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins to parents, siblings, nieces, nephews and children, we found our traditional exchanges changed as well.  My siblings and I decided it was more fun to watch nieces and nephews excitedly tear into gifts meant just for them than it was to see them open "whole family" gifts or silly swap ones.  That said, as the number of nieces and nephews increased without a corresponding increase in each of our family's coffers, we knew we could not afford to continue buying separate gifts for each child.  So, the Inexpensive Store Draw Christmas Exchange was born.

My brilliant sister came up with the idea.  At Thanksgiving, each family would draw the name of one inexpensive store -- the Dollar Tree, Target's Dollar Spot, Ocean State Job Lot or the Christmas Tree Shops.  Then, we would purchase gifts for every member of the extended family at that store -- with an emphasis on "silly" or "thoughtful" and a cap of no more than $5 per person when making gift choices. That way, our budgets would not be strained, yet fun would still be had on Christmas day and - bonus - time shopping could be abbreviated since all the gifts would be purchased at a single location.

The idea worked!  Our Inexpensive Store Draw Christmas Exchange elicited many smiles and a fair share of laughter for all both while we shopped for gifts and when we exchanged them on Chrismas day.  But, then, da da da dunnn...  Economic woes hit each of my siblings families and mine even more.

What to do?  Face limitations but keep a spirit of fun by adapting our extended family gift exchange even more:  We made it FREE!  Yep, free.

How?  Well, at Thanksgiving, each person came up with an idea for securing free gifts - freecycled items, recycled items, something from your personal toy box, a prayer, a recipe, something from the beach, something from the woods, freebies from stores and so on.  We wrote these on slips of paper and each aunt, uncle, niece and nephew drew a slip.  Before Christmas, it was each person's responsibility to come up with gifts for everyone else in the family based on their slip - interpreted however they wished, but with the primary "rule" of not spending any money.

The result?  Much thought and creativity during Advent and one of the funniest, warmest Christmas exchanges we'd had in a long time.  A true hit for all -- and a new tradition born.  One that encourages a plethora of shared laughter and inventive thought while de-emphasizing materialism.

Sharing a joke from a Freecycle book...
And so it was, our family enjoyed Year 2 of Free Christmas this year.  The Mike, the kids and I had fun coming up with gifts for the categories -- Freecycle, Recycle, Nature, Poems and Memories -- and the whole family enjoyed Christmas Day.

Yep, Free Christmas is a keeper in our family. It helps us share love and laughter with one another -- two things for which we are eternally grateful!

This post is being shared at Life as Mom's Frugal Fridays. Check out the links there for other ideas to keep your life and learning budget-friendly.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Still Enjoying a White Christmas

When Luke woke up on his birthday a few weeks back, he looked out the window and said, "It's not my birthday. It's not snowing." Yep, our boy "loves the coldness", really wanted snow for his birthday and was quite disappointed that none had come down to welcome him into his fifth year. And, Nina? Well she loves anything that provides tactile fun, so even though she wished for snow, too, she made do with the shredded paper snow that came in Luke's mailed gift from Papa and Nana on Luke's birthday while awaiting the arrival of the real thing!

Well, patience is a hard concept to develop in a preschooler, but Mother Nature, ruled by God, helps us learn to wait -- and to delight when what we have been waiting for finally arrives.

So it was that this past Sunday night, in sheer delight, that the kids opened the door shortly before bedtime to see snow - coming down and piling up! Luke was so excited, he raced to get his outerwear and new snow boots on, begging to go outside. A bit of heavy work before a late bedtime? Why not? He was all muscle and smiles as he "helped" Daddy shovel.

Nina, on the other hand, clambered out the door with smiles, but crawled back in but a few moments later with shivers-- tired and crying from the cold. Jack? He just blinked a few flakes off himself with a smile.

Well, Nina must have slept off her snow-reluctance. For, oh dear, a week ago Monday morning, as I was finishing up changing Jack's morning diaper, I heard the front screen door open and shut.  Much to my horror (and, okay, amusement, too, for why else would I have grabbed the camera just as I went to corral her inside to put on more sensible gear!?) our little girl had raced from the potty to don her boots and run outside, laughing and stomping in the snow on the front walkway.  Oh, our silly, excited-by-the-snow girl!  She balked when I dragged her in to get on warmer clothes, but cheered when big brother awoke and we were all able to go out to play.

Since then? Luke, who rarely dresses himself without help has been making great strides in independence when motivated to go outside in the snow. And, we have been enjoying the seasonal joys of making painted snow angels, going on wolf walks, catching snowflakes on our tongues, eating snow, sledding, marveling at snow-laden branches, shoveling and, of course, building a snow people, dogs, cats and reindeer - some complete with bird feed.  Day after day, snow fall after snow fall, we have been enjoying this white Christmas season.

 As I reflect on it, I cannot help but to repeat the words Luke said during his bedtime prayers the other night: “I thank God for snow!" Its arrival this year has been very timely for us, allowing us delight in a white Christmas season.

We pray, despite occasional blizzard-like conditions, high winds and icy roads, others in white-Christmas areas have been feeling blessed as well.

This post is being shared at Grace Alone's Thankful Thursday.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grasshopper Kit Review

Simple, specially-designed for skill-building and sensory-friendly. We just love this new-to-us find!

Grasshopper Preschool Prep Getting Our Hands Ready Kit
During the time our computer was down, we received a Grasshopper Preschool Prep Kit: Getting Our Hands Ready Kit for review at Sensational Homeschooling.  We've been having so much fun with it that I wanted to review it here, too.

When the kit came in, the kids dove right into it and have been enjoying semi-structured learning and play with it since.   Truly, we find the kit simple, yet awesome.  Why?
It contains stretchy dough (different from both the store-bought and homemade playdough we have used before), dough stamps, a dough roller, a Mr. Crunch head, a mini set of bug figures, a full set of mini-crayons, two sheets of re-usable stickers, a sticker board and coloring sheets.  It also contains an illustrated guidebook that can stand up so the kids can follow along with the step-by-step illustrations for each of the activities, while I browse the easy-to-read formatted text that helps remind me why certain activities are good for age-appropriate skill building and how to adapt the activities to make them easier or more challenging.
Also, it meets some basic criteria for any activity that becomes a hit on our household:
-         It provides multi-age challenge and fun.  Yep, the Grasshopper Kit is challenging enough for our now-five year-old Luke to enjoy while being easy enough for our still three-and-a-half year-old Nina to use right alongside him.
-         It causes less arguments than it does enjoyment.  Indeed, the Grasshopper Kit has enough components to offer a variety of choices in one self-contained, low-to-no-mess “set”, meaning lots of focused play with little reason to fight over things.
-         It can be open-ended as well as independent.  The Grasshopper kit involves creation and coloring – key features in Luke and Nina’s enjoyment-quotient book.  And, the tasks can be done step-by-step as directed or used in more self-initiated ways.
-         It is sensory-friendly and age-appropriate.  The activities in the kit inherently provide fine motor practice and tactile input – which are so important at Luke and Nina’s stages of development.  Plus, it is low-tech.  (I do love toys and activities without batteries, voices, flashing lights, bells and whistles, especially at this time of year when the opposite seem to lurk everywhere you go!)
Plus, there are stickers involved.  And re-usable ones at that.  Oh, how the kids love stickers!

So, it is that  we have been thoroughly enjoying our Grasshopper Kit during post-dinner wind-down time, long, cold afternoons and other times by request.  It’s living up to the promises made on the Grasshopper Kit site by providing hours of fun without a worksheet in sight!  Plus, I think Grasshopper Kits are very Montessori and workbox-friendly and great for folks who like hands-on activities to “get kids ready for school all through play: no workbooks... no pencils... 100% fun.”  In my book, that makes them Reggio-friendly and Charlotte Mason-friendly as well -- open-ended enough to ignite some emergent curriculum, hands-on enough to be handiwork friendly.

Yep, we give this product two thumbs up - or, perhaps more accurately, whole hands in!

Grasshopper Preschool Prep Kit: ABCs and Following DirectionsGrasshopper Preschool Prep Snip, Glue and Grow KitI know we will be putting the ABC & Following Directions and Snip, Glue and Grow Kits on our wish list while continuing to enjoy the Getting Our Hands Ready one.

Thank you so much to Grasshopper Preschool Prep Kits' Rachel Rudman,  the talented Occupational Therapist with a specialty in Pediatrics who created the kits, for sending us one of your awesome products for review. We had so much fun with it and will continue to build skills and enjoy learning through play for quite a while with it.  We think others will love it, too and encourage them to check out your Grasshopper Kits facebook page for news about the product, occasional giveaways and your many great tips.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas!

Regular readers might recall the Life of Mary 3-Part Sequencing cards I made last year.  I had hoped to make some Nativity ones to use this season, but living a couple weeks without my own computer and now a couple more without a printer has put a damper on that.  Still, we've been enjoying the Christmas story simply through reading books, enjoying dramatic play and  using our Fiesta Crafts Christmas Story Advent Calendar for re-tellings.  (We scored the calendar at a consignment shop a couple years back and absolutely love it!)  And, the kids are looking forward to putting Jesus in the manger of our creche scenes in a mere two days.

Two days?!?  How has Advent passed so quickly this year?  Indeed, how has the entire year passed so quickly?  I am not sure.  All I know is that it has brought an abundance of blessings.  Yes, day-to-day, there are challenges and frustrations, but they are far outweighed by BLESSINGS!  The BIGGEST, of course, being the GIFT of Jesus and His love for us, in us and shown through each of us.  May we all enjoy celebrating that love throughout the entire CHRISTmas season and the whole year through.

Blessed, happy, merry CHRISTmas to one and all from us!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mike Writes...We All Learn

As parents, it is easy to get so lost in the day-to-day of life's joys and challenges that we forget to take time for ourselves.  As homeschooling parents who spend so much time trying to feed our children's minds, bodies and souls, along with simply trying to maintain sort of balance between work, homemaking and the rest of life, time for personal pursuits seems even more elusive.

Now, this is not a problem in and of itself. Each season of life has its priorities and the one we are in now - which includes homeschooling our young children - is necessarily scant on leisure time for parents.  That said, when Mommy or Daddy start feeling stressed, unsatisfied or otherwise depleted, the lack of personal time becomes problematic.  Plus, how can we teach our children to take the time to enjoy and share their unique gifts and interests if we do not?

Mike recognized this recently and decided to carve out moments to pursue an old love of his -- writing!  In doing so, he has re-embraced a passion for thinking about and sharing prose about topics that interest him (sports and politics) while demonstrating to me and the kids how consistently taking a few minutes for yourself can really pay off.  For while the kids are too young to read Daddy's pieces, they are not too young to see him pursuing an interest with heart and being infused with satisfaction and energy from it.  Awesome!  And me?  I am remembering how important it is to have both personal time and partner time.  As people, partners and parents, we can only grow if we are given time, right?

And so it is, I am taking a moment today to record how proud I am of Mike.  For while I cannot say I agree 100% with all he has to say in through his writing, I certainly think that he makes his arguments well and hope that our children model his writing style in many ways as they grow.  I also pray that Mike continues to lead our family in recognizing and practicing the importance of  "down time", "breathing out" and pursuing personal interests and talents.  So often, tasks and to-do's overshadow such things.  They should not.  God gives each of us unique gifts.  It is such a blessing to be able to unwrap them slowly..

It is also a delight to discourse with others through writing.  So, if you'd like to share in what Mike's been writing, leaving him your own thoughts, please do.  He'll be encouraged to see others enjoying (or arguing for or against) his ideas and opinions.  Here some recent ones are:

The Professional College Athlete
With the Cam Newton allegations taking center stage, the college football world is once again caught in the debate of whether or not college athletes should be paid. Many people think that they should because of the amount of money generated for the universities by the teams. I say, "Nonsense! College athletes shouldn't be paid!"

First of all, for every Notre Dame, Ohio State and University of Florida football teams that are cash cows, there are many schools where the football team drains the school budget. Therefore, do only the players from the big schools get paid? Or, do all players on every team at every university get paid? What about other sports? Does the Notre Dame women's field hockey team get paid just as much as the men's football team? Or, does only the men's football team get paid and the women's field hockey team not? If so, I see a Title IX lawsuit in the cards.

Read on.

In Defense of Athletes
"Athletes make too much money!" I've heard this statement a million times. Usually, it's from some meathead with a severe case of alcohol-induced halitosis. He rambles on about teachers and nurses being underpaid while "some guy throwing a football makes millions." His speech turns into a slobbering incoherent diatribe that ends up blaming the Free Masons and Halliburton for global warming and his scoliosis.

I've also noticed that these types often own an obscene amount of sports paraphernalia, equal in value to the GDP of Botswana (roughly $12.5 billion, US dollars). Guys like him are incapable of seeing the direct correlation between them wasting their kids' college savings on team hoodies and Peyton Manning earning a fat paycheck. It's pretty simple: if you don't go to the games and buy all the league-endorsed crap, the athlete won't make seven-figured salaries. But, you know what? That guy won't quit buying it. Why? Because he's an un-athletic, tub-o-goo stuck in a dead-end job that finds himself living vicariously through those "spoiled" athletes.

Read on.

I'm an Ugly American
Have you ever seen a news column, a comments section, or some American-bashing website that gives the same regurgitated commentary about Americans' lack of geographical acumen? This banality is sometimes lumped in with some rant about Americans being too obtuse to understand the intricacies of that beautiful game, football. (We American rubes call it "soccer.") They see great strategy and technique; we see flopping around and players acting like girlie-men, whining for a red card.

But, I digress.


Read on.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Family Work Time

We are still seeking our ideal rhythm here at Jammies School.  Or, perhaps, I should say, Mommy is still seeking the "right" balance of fun and work... productivity and pleasure.  To that end, we have begun including "Family Work Time" as a part of our Morning Rhythm.

This idea was seeded by cyber-friend, Shannon, from the Reggio Inspired Toronto yahoogroup I belong to.  Shannon is not only interested in Reggio, but also in Thomas Jefferson education -- an approach that is now on my list to look into further at some point.

In one of Shannon's posts at our yahoogroup, she explained how her boys attend to Morning Cards that  she has made, which include personal care things (such as breakfast and getting dressed) and simple family contribution chores (such as feeding pets, putting away flatware, etc.).  As they do these tasks independently, she moves through her own morning chores, such as laundry and kitchen tidying.  Then, together, they begin Family Work to get needed housework done, all while teaching responsibility, the value of hard work, stick-to-iteveness, how to work through interpersonal problems, how to care for a home, etc.  During this Family Work time, they typically attend to basic household maintenance, such as floors, bathrooms, windows, cleaning the car, etc.  And, they sometimes tackle deeper cleaning -- such baseboard cleaning -- when the rest of the house is in decent shape.  Cooking also plays a part of their Family Work.

While the Morning Card and Family Work ideas are not a revolutionary concept, for some reason, the way Shannon framed it clicked for me.  I like the idea of her Morning Cards, which are very concrete and provide accountability - somewhat like the Morning Routine cards we used to use.  They encourage independence and personal responsibility.  I also like the idea of the Family Work Time following independent tasks-- to encourage team work and a time for mentorship.  Thus, we are borrowing and adapting Shannon's ideas.

For Family Work Time, basically,  every morning for 15 minutes or so, the kids and I (and Daddy when he is home) work together.  At first, we do the same tasks in the same room together (with tasks and rooms changing daily).  As such, Daddy and I guide the kids every step of the way in learning how to do particular cleaning and maintenance tasks.  Then, once the kids show they are adept at these, we stay in the same room doing other tasks while the kids enjoy their new found capabilities at the ones we have taught them.  That way, we are present to help if need be, but also encourage the kids' independent contributions to a team effort.  Eventually, we hope to lengthen our Family Work Time and become able to be in different rooms, doing different tasks, as need be, but all enjoying the satisfaction of working as a team to keep our home clean and welcoming.

So far, it is going well.  Although, admittedly, we have yet to get in the groove of actually doing this every morning, and Nina is a more willing participant than Luke on the mornings we do participate in Family Work Time.  That said, Luke loves spraying and wiping, while Nina likes helping with most things and has almost mastered vacuuming all by herself, even with a vacuum bigger than she is.  Yep, the other day, Nina watched me vacuum, asked to do it together and, then, confidently requested to do it on her own.  What joy she demonstrated as she pushed the heavy vacuum over her bedroom rug and how proud I was!

Truly, Family Work Time is something we can delight in.  It's great to work together toward a goal, talking, learning and laughing (okay, with some balking from a certain 5-year-old) along the way!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We're Back with Some U-Play Mat Fun and a Review!

Hoorah!  We have my computer working again (even if it seems we lost all of our files and photos since June with the hard drive crash).  So, I will be catching up on computer stuff and posting a bit more as I can between regular life stuff, homeschooling and the important delight of taking time to enjoy the Advent and Christmas seasons.

U-Play Mat: Learning to Talk & Understand Can Be Fun! STARTER SET - Use Your Own Home Photos as Well as Our Cards!But, one thing I wanted to do today was to let all our Training Happy Heart readers know about a 15-hour giveaway going on over at Sensational Homeschooling for a U-Play Mat.  Yep, today, if you hop on over to Sensational Homeschooling, you can read my full sensory homeschooling-based review of the U-Play Mat, which Play This Way Every Day recently was kind enough to offer me for review, as well as enter to win one.  (Today only for that!)

Here, I will give a little run down of the U-Play Mat's use here ar our home:

The U-Play Mat is a simple, fun and beneficial learning system that Luke and Nina have fallen in love with.  It fits nicely into Jammies School by offering us a chance to focus on a number of our goals:

·        loving others – by providing a fun one-on-one way to learn and play together
·        loving moving – through the kinesthetic nature of playing with the mat
·        loving playing – both through using the mat in the ways suggested in the booklet that comes with it and in coming up with our own game adaptations
·        loving working – since the work of childhood is often play and learning, which the mat encourages
·        loving learning – which we are doing – color reinforcement, phonics work, simple spelling, using manners when asking for and receiving things, etc.

And, the U-Play Mat is also adaptable to many of the homeschooling philosophies and methods that interest us.  For example:

·        Catholic Studies/Faith Formation:  I am so excited at the possibilities of using this mat for Saint Study guessing games, Liturgical Object identification, etc.
·        Montessori:  For some reason my kids like the fact that you can slip the cards into the clear pockets of the U-Play Mat so much more than they like simply lining cards up Montesori-style on a mat, so I definitely can see us using it as a tool for generating extra interest in three-part cards.  (I will caution, however, about the one thing I was not 100% pleased with the U-Play Mat.  A couple of the picture cards that come with the U-Animal mat are anything but realistic, for example, a green elephant.  These can easily be swapped out for realistic drawings or even photos, though.)
·        Charlotte Mason:  While not in keeping with strict CM principles, the U-Play Mat can certainly compliment Cm studies.  First, it’s durable enough to be used outside for families like ours that are trying to increase our outdoor time.  Second, the cards in it could easily be traded for 4x6 nature sketches or photographs for nature identification games.  And, third, it is fantastic for foreign language studies.  The cards sets picture familiar objects and are simple, with no words written on them, so they can be adapted to any language you like.
·        Classical:  Again, enter the foreign-language study option. Also, sign language.  We have been wanting to get back into our Signing Time videos to encourage both regular literacy and a refresher on baby signs for Jack.  The U-Play mat could be a great tool for signing games.
·        Workboxing:  The U-Play Mat makes a great with-parent or with-sibling activity for a workbox.

And, did I mention that the U-Play Mat was invented by a mom?  It was.  Dr. Jen is a parent and pediatrician who noted a need for her kiddoes and let invention take off from there.  I love when moms create products like this.  It is both inspiring and helpful.  Moms know what kiddoes need and by sharing their ideas, other families can benefit, too.

So, if you want to win your own U-Play Mat today, head on over to the giveaway at Sensational Homeschooling (and forgive the fact that the kiddo pictures are the same.  I lost all the ones we took when my hard drive crashed but ahd these two on my camera still.) Or, if you want to guarantee getting one for yourself, simply order one at Amazon.

U-Play Mat, At-Home Speech and Language Development System for Toddlers & Preschoolers: Deluxe SetTruly, I think Play This Way's U-Play Mat is a simple, yet effective educational toy suited for children of varied ages and abilities. Aimed to facilitate interactive play, it also can be used independently, making learning fun either way.  We sure have been having a lot of fun with it at our home in the past few weeks!  And, being low-tech, it won't disappear like all my files and photos.  Gotta love items that have no bells, whistles, batteries or mechanical malfunctions. :)

works for me wednesday at we are that familyThis post is being shared at We Are THAT Family's Works for Me Wednesday, because, as you can see, the U-Play Mat works for us! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why No Posts?

I have been trying to focus more on family and home lately, which means limiting my Internet time.  Still, I was planning to put a fall review together with loads of gorgeous pictures we took this fall of the kids during learning, play and trip time, along with explanations of what the kids have been learning and loving.  But, it seems I am learning something myself instead, or two somethings to be exact: 
  1. Always back up your computer!  Even after the virus and hard drive problems we had last spring, which, thankfully, were resolved without loss of data, I have been neglecting to back up our files.  (One of those things that gets lost in the array of things that beckon for limited time and attention.)  Well, our new computer's hard drive has gone already and it looks like I might have lost everything on it -- yes, everything to include all the photos we have taken from Jack's birth through his fifth month birthday, which was yesterday, save for the tiny versions of a few photos I have put on this blog.  Needless to say, I am very sad about this (and angry at myself, too.)  And, I would appreciate it if any family and friends have pictures of Jack, Nina or Luke from May forward, that you send me them on a disc.  And as silly a thing as it may seem to pray for, I ask that you join me in saying a little prayer for our computer guy's expertise (and God's hand through it) may prevail over my stupidity in not backing up files and the inevitable failure of man's technology.  I know photos, business files, personal thoughts, to-do lists and all the sundry things I failed to back up on my computer are mere "things" and ones that have very little importance in the grand scheme of things, but we would still love to "save" them.
  2. Focus more on things that don't involve a computer.  When we had computer problems in the spring, it made me realize how "addicted" I had become to our computer.  Though not connected to it 24-7, I realized I had been, perhaps, spending too much time blogging, gathering information, writing, etc. as compared to the time I had been spending doing other things.  Since then, I have tried to limit my computer time.  However, I recently recognized that both my urge to have "me time" on the computer and my actual time tapping away at the keyboard were on the increase again.  Hmmm...Perhaps my computer's unexpected hard drive crash is an obvious message that I need to take another look at how I balance the time gifted to me each day.  So I am praying, and asking you to pray with me, for a heart that is continually more aligned to God's will for me, one that struggles less with time management of all things because I willfully place priority where it should be, when it should be, with loving God and loving others above all things all the time.  The computer can be a wonderful tool for fulfilling the call I hear to being a wife, mother, homeschooler, homemaker, etc., but it can also be a hindrance.  I pray for the good judgment to know the difference.


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