Friday, September 25, 2015

#musesofamom: My Easy Tips for Having a Successful Garage Sale

As we start to look forward to cooler weather here in Central Texas, we will begin to see another season of garage sale shopping. With the kids back in school, it's the perfect time to clean out closets as new back to school clothes take up space.  If you are taking advantage of the cooler season to have your sale, here are 24 great tips to get you started toward sale success. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Book Review: It's Good to Be Queen by Liz Curtis Higgs

In my bookcase are books from many authors, but there are a handful who I truly adore and will buy their newest title as soon as it's released. Liz Curtis Higgs is definitely one of those writers.  One day I hope to meet her, because she is so authentic in her books, she's a great rapper and I can totally relate to her. (Besides the fact that she would be a super FUN girlfriend!)

"It's Good to Be Queen" is another one of her non-fiction, historical books that relates God-given wisdom through a biblical character. This time Liz brings to life the account of  the Queen of Sheba, who was on a quest of wisdom during a visit with King Solomon.

Liz takes the account in I Kings 10:1-13 and gives ten different applications of how we can use this story of the Queen of Sheba in our own lives.  She takes each verse and breaks it down into smaller pieces to digest and study, and adds her own special interpretation through a first person account from "Sheba" herself.

This book would be an excellent choice for a book club or bible study; there are discussion questions and full study guide in the back of the book.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

#TexasHistoryRoadTrip: Enchanted Rock State Park

The second stop on our #texashistoryroadtrip was to the Enchanted Rock State Park, 18 miles north of Fredericksburg, Texas and about a 2 hour drive from the city of Austin. With weekends and holidays extremely busy at the park, we planned our trip for a Friday, arriving about 10:30 AM, when the heat was not yet at the peak of the day.

Miss our first #texashistoryroadtrip post? Read about the Lyndon B Johnson Presidential Library.

Enchanted Rock is a pink granite dome, the second largest batholith in the country, second to Stone Mountain in Georgia (which is quartz monzonite).  There are several hiking trails, but the most popular is the Summit Trail, which goes to the top of the dome.

There is history to Enchanted Rock, although it isn't anything that is visible. To learn about past inhabitants and visitors, read this history of Enchanted Rock from the Texas State Historical Association "Handbook of Texas." This is information that we are adding to our Texas History notebook.  

We also had our science lesson while at the top of the dome, learning about the how all those divots in the rock are "pioneer communities" (see photo below).  We also learned about vernal pools that can be seen in the park. Read more about the Geology, Plants and Animals of Enchanted Rock. 

Things to know if you visit:
  • Entrance fees are $7 per adult; kids 12 and under are free.  
  • If going on a weekend, go early and arrive early. The park closes once it has reached capacity for the day, which can happen early. There is a sign on Ranch Road 965 that flashes if the park has been closed. 
  • Carry plenty of water. 
  • Take a picnic lunch. We were starving once we descended the rock and the boys wouldn't have been able to make it back to Fredericksburg!  
  • Dogs are allowed on the trails; take plenty of extra water for them. We almost wished we had booties for our pup's paws to protect her from the hot granite she experienced on the way down the rock.
  • More nearby geologic attractions to visit are described on Texas Through Time. Another easy stop on the way back to Fredericksburg from Enchanted Rock is Cross Mountain.  
We spent some time exploring at the top of the dome, but after a hot and tiring descent, we didn't go on any of the other trails this visit.  

After a quick sandwich picnic, we headed out and back through Fredericksburg,  Although we have been to Fredericksburg many times, and plan to go back to see other historical sites, it was the steeple on a church that caused us to make a quick right turn for a look.    

This is St. Mary's Parish, which dates back to 1846 with the arrival of German settlers to the area. The new church next door was built in 1906. Both churches are still in use today. It was interesting to note that the first parish steeple is designed more like the old missions, while the new church has the traditional steeple of the early 1900s.

Fredericksburg is known for peaches, and although it was at the very end of the season, we hoped to find a place to pick up a few fresh peaches. Outside of Fredericksburg on Highway 290, we found a peach stand that was still open, where we picked up a dozen fresh peaches.  A little farther down the highway, we saw our place for dessert: Bariloche Farms. This was our first visit, but we can attest that the homemade peach ice cream and peach cobbler is just the best!  It has a wonderful gift shop with canned foods and specialty items along with baked goods.  

It was an exhausting day, but another great #texashistoryroadtrip! If you have visited this location, why not leave your comments and suggestions below for others?  Another exciting adventure will be posted soon! 

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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

#musesofamom: How Should Christian's Respond to the World's Ridicule?

Yesterday on my personal Facebook page, I shared an article that reported results of a survey, claiming that secular parents were raising their children just as good, and actually better, than Christian parents.  Secular parents do a better job, the survey concluded, because their kids have "rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of  'questioning everything' and, far above, empathy."  As a result, these kids will have better morals since "morality comes not from a book, or a guy up in the sky, but from the idea that how you treat people matters, because how people feel matters."

As a Christian, this upsets me. I witness how the morals of this country are actually declining because of this secular thinking.  I realize how certain groups, representing just a small minority, are forcefully pushing their own secular agendas forward, regardless how the majority of other Americans feel about it.  I see how these same groups are grabbing the attention of politicians who then feel that they have to "give in" to this minority just to be politically correct.  I certainly do not perceive that people are being treated any better, nor are they given any more empathy, than before.  

Even more frustrating is that Christians are becoming the target.  We are continually being scolded and reprimanded for believing what we believe.  When we stand up for what is right, we are bashed and smeared for being insensitive and fanatical.  When we fail, we are ridiculed and condemned as hypocrites.  

Does it upset you too?

Monday, September 07, 2015

#TexasHistoryRoadTrip: Lyndon B Johnson Presidential Library

Since we decided that 7th grade was the year we would do Texas History, we couldn't wait to get started! We did not purchase curriculum, but instead, we are doing a unit study I designed (which will start going online soon) along with a series of road trips. We are fortunate to live in the central Texas area, so many historical spots and museums holding the basics of Texas history are local or a day trip away.

This week we made the first stop of our #texashistoryroadtrip at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidental Library, located on the University of Texas campus in Austin.