Dear Amy Wilson Carmichael,

Dear Amy Wilson Carmichael,

I recently purchased several books in the series Christian Heroes Then and Now for our homeschool library. They do an amazing job giving life to the history of those whom God has used in our long line of Christian heritage. I was so thankful to see the book about you, Ms Carmichael was the first that wound up in my 9-year-old daughter's hands.

You see, I have dreams of how God will use the tiny humans he's put under my charge. I want to equip them for the tasks He has by giving them tools, relationships, and opportunity. These true tales of how men and women, chasing after God's own heart, have accomplished unthinkable things for their Lord is where it's at. Not for their fame, but for the aid of those less fortunate, in search of justice, in the name of mercy, and to do nothing but further His kingdom.

Your love for studying the Word, for teaching it to others, and caring for children is just what my girl needed to flame the fires God has started in her heart. Thank you for braving new world and being an amazing example for girls and women for centuries after you by simply spreading God's love as you were going. Thank you for humbly disciplining us, Amma!

Sincerely, Julie Rothacher

P.S. My daughter also let me know today that, even as a mother of over 100 girls and more than 80 boys, YOU always found time to write everyday. Challenge accepted. 

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eShakti Dress Review

eShakti has a wide variety of customizible fashion.

Most, if not all {I didn't click into EVERY item they offer} comes with options to change parts of the style from neckline, sleeve type, and length- HELLO Modest ladies! You can even input all your measurements to get the perfect fit.

So when I was offered to review an item in exchange for an honest review, I couldn't turn it down. Not only for my closet, but for YOU. We HAD to know if this was a For Real thing!

After scouring the options I was given, I ask for my hubs help in narrowing down my favs. Here's what he picked:

I hope he remembered I wasn't oober classy when he saw this... Even when I try, I'm just super silly.

I chose a high neckline; I typically wear tshirts because it's difficult for me to find shirts that I'm comfortable in due to coverage. I went with the sleeveless option so I could wear it year-round but they are a bit big. I'm not used to thinking through the length of dresses on myself because I don't really like how dresses fit my "square" body type so I went with right above the knee...maybe I'll look taller. LOL I even got to add POCKETS! Who doesn't want pockets on everything!?

After putting in my order, it took a bit to get the dress in the mail but it was totally worth the wait for a customized item. The packaging was great and the fit was just as ordered. The material is high quality.

Things I've learned over the different seasons of wearing this dress since April:

  1. I don't know what I look good in; I usually just buy what's on sale, so it was hard to choose the right option(s). While the high neck is nice, it's almost too tight. I'm also not a pro at measuring myself so I think I may have erred a little too small across the bust/back.
  2. I think I should have forced myself to choose rather than letting my hubs, I might have ended up with one I loved more. While I like the denim, jeans go with everything right?! I feel like this dress gives off a baby doll vibe.
  3. The flare effect makes me feel like I'm wearing a maternity dress but works well to hide my "leftovers" and still looks fun by itself or with a cardigan, jacket, or scarf. Dressing it up or down is very easy.
  4. This dress is very versatile. Winter: tights, jacket, scarf, and tall boots, Spring: hat and rain boots, Summer: plain with flip flops or tennis shoes, and Fall: cardigan, knit leggings, and ankle boots.

overalll, I was pleased with my customized dress dress. I would totally recommend this s site to  a friend, especially those who have a hard time finding clothing to fit their uniquely created body type.

It is a bit pricey for my cheap self but it doesn't be seem overpriced compared to most clothing stores.

I also think this could be a fun option for things like bridesmaid dresses. Coordinating but customized, giving each friend a chance to look and feel awesome. Plus, you could choose something that they could wear again we the event.

eShakti also just emailed me to share that you can mix and match FABRICS now! Like the lrint but  the style? Like the make but not so much the type of fabric. More customization options- winning!

What would you choose if given permission to customize!? CAN you think of other benefits?

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How to Organize An Operation Christmas Child Packing Party

This is the fifth year we’ve hosted an Operation Christmas Child Packing Party at The Valley church so we’ve learned a few things each year. I've also done some research via Pinterest and Facebook OCC groups to try to improve our parties each year. From the first year of packing with my kids in my living room to becoming more and more organized, we have grown our passion for this ministry.

I would love to share with you some of thing logistics we've learned.

Collection

We choose to only “officially” collect items the month [5 weeks] before our packing party. Some like to collect all year-long and we are looking into creating a housing space at our building for this but we have several other out reaches we focus on throughout the year.

The week before collection starts, we announce what Operation Christmas Child is, what we will be collecting each week, and when our packing party will be held. We do four main focuses: Hygiene, School Supplies, Accessories, and Toys. The fifth week is a catch-all and that evening is our party.

We also have an OCC info table set up that hopefully answers any questions someone might have as well as provides resources to help get people excited. Of Course, people can bring any items during these weeks, we just try to help narrow the focus. Next to this table we have a collection space designated- the past two years it has been this big blue shipping trunk. Each week we empty it, sorting items into bens.

On the last Sunday of collection, we take inventory and try to spot areas we might be short, comparatively and announce those needs via social media so people can bring them on our catch-all week/Sunday morning of the party.

 

Prep

Several of us {sometimes me and my children} go through all the bins and take everything we can, out of it’s packaging. If we need to, we open packs of crayons, markers, and colored pencils and divide them up into bags. This not only helps items go further but it also makes sure crayons aren’t melting onto other items in the boxes.

While doing this, we sort even further into gender and age groupings [2-4, 5-9, 10-14] if possible. Bagging things ahead of time helps your party flow better and sets you up for quality assurance.

We have always gone with an assembly line format- folding tables in a long line, filled with sorted items. This year, we added very visible signage using small orange cones wrapped in green garland with wording printed on cardstock and taped to paint stir sticks sticking out of them. These were placed at the beginning of each category to help make sure those packing packed items from each section.

I spoke with several others to make sure I was thinking through everything and we decided on a flow and through items we would need to help that layout work.

Layout

We chose to set up in our main room so we thought through making the experience flow in a giant circle. We had stations that everyone worked through to make sure we covered everything.

FOOD

You can’t have a party without food, right!? We set up a small pot-luck along one wall with eating tables right next to them. This is a separate space from packing, even if in the same room, because we don’t want to send crumbs with our boxes of awesomeness.

PHOTO BOOTH

We LOVE sending pictures with our boxes so we hired a friend to run a photo booth for us. This is at the beginning of the layout because we ask that everyone take a picture Before they start packing to give the printers time to print them while they load items.

PACKING

Our long line of tables full of goodies was broken into the same categories as the collections weeks but with a couple added sections with the essentials at the start: boxes, labels [tape and markers for selection and attaching], hygiene, school supplies, accessories, WOW items, and filler toys.

NOTE/PRAYER

We set up separate tables on the opposite wall from the food full of writing utensils, specialized postcards, blank printed info pages, blank Christmas cards, and stickers.

DROP OFF

We designated the wall near these tables for drop-off and had signs hung to help sort boxes by age and gender so we could see which needed more as we went.

Start again

PARTY

FOOD

You can’t have a party without food, right!? We set up a small pot-luck along one wall with eating tables right next to them. We had a group from our local drop-off location come to share with us about the process after we pack boxes. Everyone finished up eating while they shared.

PHOTO BOOTH

We LOVE sending pictures with our boxes so we hired a friend to run a photo booth for us. This is at the beginning of the layout because we ask that everyone take a picture Before they start packing to give the printers time to print them while they load items.

PACKING

Our long line of tables full of goodies was broken into the same categories as the collections weeks but with a couple added sections with the essentials at the start: boxes, labels [tape and markers for selection and attaching], hygiene, school supplies, accessories, WOW items, and filler toys.

NOTE/PRAYER

We set up separate tables on the opposite wall from the food full of writing utensils, specialized postcards, blank printed info pages, blank Christmas cards, and stickers.

Follow Up

We have invited any family that would like to join us, to deliver the boxes to our local drop off location and we've also complete 2 different tracking labels so we can learn where our boxes went, pray for them. Most boxes have addresses in them in hopes of building relationships with ministries dispensing and or individuals receiving boxes.

I hope this was helpful. I'd love to hear about your passion of OCC, how you pack, and maybe even how you follow-up to enjoy this passion all year-long.

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Labor Day Unit Study and Gifts for Community Workers

I am a big fan of unit studies. It helps me organize the overwhelming world of educational options. Plus, the kids like everything relating.

We have always started Rothacher Academy the first week in September but surprisingly this is our first year to do a Labor Day unit study, along with a fun "service project". We LOVE a good excuse to give gifts and make others feel appreciated!

Check out my Pinterest board, The Ones about Homeschooling to find some links to lots of Labor Day fun. Keep in mind, we will NOT be doing all that is pined, because...reality. These "community helpers" were free printables from another bingo game but when cut up, they fit nicely into the guess who board. Now we can ask questions like, "do you drive as part of your job?" "do you wear a hat as part of your job?" as well as "are you a girl?"

Monday's are when we go to pickup our groceries. We chose to give RedBox codes and bags of popcorn to the sweet workers who serve us weekly by shopping for and bring out our groceries to us. This could be a fun Labor Day gift for lots of people who serve us.

And here are some FREE Printables for if you'd like to join us in honoring those laborers who are likely still working on the Labor Day holiday, ie checkers, gas station clerks, servers at restaurants, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do on your long Labor Day weekend!?

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Scavenger Hunt or Errand Day


Today's "scavenger hunt" was loooong but ended up being a success!

The valley is hosting a City Wide Water Day in the park this Saturday. We already have a slew of small water guns but where hoping for some more water-fun options.

The kids and I headed out at nap time on our mystery adventure. They were supposed to keep their eyes closed until we got to our first destination; aka mission Ellie take a nap.

We eased south, about 40 minutes from our house to hit multiple stores in he way home. We arrived at the first store and went straight to the restrooms like any other trip to the store with lots of kids.

While hey we're in the stalls using the bathroom I slipped pictures clues I'd ripped in 1/2 under each door. I got one smirk, one confused grunt, and two excited squeals.

We finished up, washed hands, and their next clue was found in a section of the store we NEVER visit. I sent them on two aisle where I could see them easily and then got caught scattering the other 1/2s of the clues. Oh well.

They all rushed to put their pieces together and confirm what we were shopping for- water guns/toys! This plan is also my way of making their participation in this errand running more voluntary and hopefully fun.

After finding out what we were hunting for, we quickly talked about how we were going to RuSh in and out of stores, discover where clearance and toy sections are located, scan the sections for appropriately priced water toys, and then purchase those that fit our needs. And GO!

We found a pool water shooter at the first store. When we were checking out, the sweet checker gave each child a sucker in their favorite color. Crazy sweet. We found a backpack of water balls and a frisbee at the second. Before heading to the next town, we broke out our snacks and water bottles. The third stop, we found nothing. The fourth stop, we found 20 larger water guns and two packs of water balls. The fifth place we stopped we found nothing. The searched and searched, talked to some employees and still found nothing at our sixth stop. We met some friends to add to the adventure at our seventh and eighth places where we found nothing. Our ninth, and closest to home stop, we found a gazillion water shooters and snatched up a few.

Our last couples stops, we'd used up a lot of our good but made it through and ended up home just in time to make a picnic dinner!

How do you run errands with your kids? Do you have to spice it up occasionally?

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