Thursday, December 29, 2011

My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife

I wish I could take credit for that cute title, but I can't. I am referring to the book I am reading by Sara Horn. I am loving this book.

Sara has basically taken on a 365 day challenge of being the "Proverbs 31 Wife." If you are unfamiliar with Proverbs 31, dust off your Bible and take a look. Proverbs 31 describes what every wife should strive to be...and it seems pretty impossible to be all of these things. Sara Horn's book asks more questions than it does gives answers, but I am really enjoying reading about her journey.

I have a few New Year's Resolutions this year. But the most important resolution is to take the Proverbs 31 Challenge...and let me tell you, I am only a few days into this, and it is a CHALLENGE! My biggest challenge so far is keeping my mouth shut. Sarcasm is my weakness and I have realized I use it ALOT with my husband.

For example, last night as I was trying to get Emma Jo, who is 2, into the bath, her rubberband was stuck in her hair and she was growing very impatient with me. Emma suddenly blurted out, "What the hell?!" Oh my!

After Emma and I discussed how inappropriate that saying was, I told Seth about it. "Hmmmm....I wonder where she heard that?" he said.

While I got the boys into their bath, I told Emma to go sit with her daddy. When I walked out into the living room, where Emma and Seth were sitting, I saw that they were snuggled on the couch, watching Boondock Saints. If you are unfamiliar with this movie, that's a good thing, because it is terribly violent and vulgar....and my two year old is sitting there watching it!

So, I (of course) blurt out, "Gee...I WONDER where she heard that?!" Oops...not very Proverbs 31 of me. I guess the appropriate measure would have been to distract Emma and get her out of the room.

But does Proverbs 31 wife not get to correct her husband? Unfortunately, I have not found the verse that says, "She will tell her husband when he is being an idiot..." Darn.

In Seth's defense, I know he just wasn't thinking about it. He was relaxing on the couch, watching his show and his daughter wanted to snuggle. He was tired after a day's work and he wasn't really thinking about how what was on television was inappropriate for Emma.

But my reaction didn't help, because it just caused him to be annoyed with my response, not to think about his daughter's innocent eyes and ears. Maybe if I had removed her from the room, he would have asked why, and I could have more delicately addressed the issue of what was on the TV with him. 

Like I said, this will be a challenge, but hopefully it will be a great lesson for me and help to make me a better person! :)


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

City on the Hill

Once again, I am moved by a Casting Crowns song. The one I am sharing with you today is called City on the Hill and is from their new "Come to the Well" Album. I encourage you to take the time to listen, if you haven't heard it.

I was really touched by this song. It made me think about how we are all made to be different for a reason. God's purpose is for us to compliment each other, but instead we tend to want to surround ourselves with people who are like us. Being a history nerd, I think about the original Christian church, which developed into the Catholic Church and then was split and now all of the many denominations of Christians that exist. We all believe basically the same thing: Jesus was God's son and He died to pay the debt for our sins. But nowadays, you can choose from thousands of different churches to worship in.

"They let their differences divide...."

Not only our churches, but in our own families. We all have our strengths and differences, but so many times families are split "with their made up minds to leave it all behind....."

Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns, says the song is about people coming together and using their gifts for the greater good.

Do you know what your spiritual gift is? I believe that everyone has a specific gift from God - a skill that you possess that not only makes you a better Christian, but can help make Christians of the people around you. If you have never taken a Spiritual Gift Inventory, I would highly recommend it. Here is a link to a good one. It takes some time to sit down and do it, but this link will tally the results and explain each gift, and give Biblical references as well.

My spiritual gifts are: Hospitality, Helps and Healing. The Three H's!

What are yours?


Post Christmas Toy Analysis!

We have said goodbye to Christmas at our house. The tree is gone and the decorations are packed away! I am one of those who is always relieved to get back to some normalcy. I love Christmas, but I am usually ready to move on after it is all over!

You might be wondering how our Made in America toys panned out? Well, I found myself happy and annoyed at the same time Christmas morning. I was concerned that I had not bought enough things for the kids, so Seth went out and bought a couple more items for each of them. He bought Ranch Sets for all three and a fire truck and an Angry Bird stuffed animal for Mann, swords that make a horrible clashing noise when swung in the air for the boys, as well as a Disney Princess tent for Emma Jo. Were any of these items "Made in America?" Nope, not a single one.

The first thing that each child grabbed on Christmas morning were their Pillow Puppets (Made in America...yay!), but then they dove into those Ranch Sets. These sets are a mother's nightmare. They have a zillion little pieces, you have to assemble the barn, put batteries in the tractors, re-assemble the barn because they broke it. And I can promise you that you will step on a fence piece or trailer in the middle of the night and it will hurt terribly!

Here is just part of 1 of these Ranch I said, a mother's nightmare!

Emma Jo's favorite item and is still playing with it at this moment is her butterfly puzzle (Made in America!) I knew she would love it because she just loves puzzles.

As far as the other American made toys, the wooden trucks and cars have seen a little play but have not been deemed a favorite, BUT I know for certain that those toys will be around much longer than any of the non-American items. One of the two swords has already been broken, and I have already vacuumed up several small ranch pieces (Oops! I swear I didn't mean to!;)

I still have two American made Christmas gifts to give, to my brother and sister-in-law, and I hope that they like them.

It is nearly impossible to buy American all of the time, but if you just take the time to look, you really can be saving American jobs. Every little bit helps!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Made in USA: Toy Edition

If you read my previous post, you know I am on a Buying American kick. Let me tell you, it is CHALLENGING!

Let me first clarify that I am NOT throwing out my Samsung smart phone, the Nintendo Wii, trading in my Kia and clearing out my closet for American made clothes only. Countries have traded goods for thousands of years and trade can be good for the economy. But I would like to do my part and Buy American goods when at all possible. 

I had no idea how difficult this was going to be. And the real challenge was finding toys for my kids for Christmas.

When I first considered what to buy the kids for Christmas (before my MADE IN THE USA kick started), I was thinking LeapPads and Wii games, Barbies for Emma, plus a few Cars 2 toys for the boys. But after my new resolution, those things obviously would not do.

So, I went hunting online. At I found a directory of American made toys. After sifting through all of their listings, here is what I came up with:

You've heard of Pillow Pets? Meet Pillow Puppets! I thought these were very cute. This is the one I got for Mann. These are made in Vermont by Vermont Teddy Bear. They also make personalized teddy bears. Very cute stuff on their website. (These were $19.99 each)

This is the one I got for Emma. Obviously, these can serve the same purpose as the Pillow Pets!

I spent a good chunk of money at Holgate Toys.
I loved these Handeez cars. My kids spend a lot of time racing cars and trucks around the house on their knees. These little wooden cars actually have a place for their hands to go, for easy maneuvering! And they are cute! I got one for each child. ($9.99 each)

I also picked up some basic wood blocks for Emma. She loves to build and these are so classic! We can talk about the letters and animals as she plays. ($16)

This is a tanker truck that I got for Mann. ($19.99)

Daniel is into race cars at the moment and he actually caught me looking at this one and so we put it on his list for Santa to bring. ($9.99)

Very simple, but sturdy. That's what I loved about all of these toys from Holgate. They are all made of wood and made to last a lifetime. This toy company has been around since 1789! The history nerd in me finds that totally awesome. That is the year the US Constitution was written!!!
When I cleaned out the kids' toys a month ago, I threw away toys that were only a year or two old because they had broken. And so many of my kids toys require batteries and make obnoxious noise. All of these toys encourage creative and fantasy play. They have to make their own little truck and race car noises, which I would much rather hear than a blaring siren over and over again. Kids are so "plugged in" today, I thought these were a refreshing change.
Buying American toys is especially easy if you have young boys. Wood blocks and trucks were easy to find.
 Girl toys were a completely different story. I was unsuccessful with finding a doll for Emma. Every doll was either imported or way too expensive. For example, Cabbage Patch dolls with the original face are American made and $199, while you can buy the vinyl faced ones for much less and they are Made in China. (The one shown here is an original and is priced at $245, but made in the US. For $245, I am pretty sure I would never let Emma's sticky little fingers touch it!)
American Girl Dolls? Those are made in China as well. Sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it?
I gave up on the doll search online and searched through Emma's room and found this. Meet "Baby." This was my doll that I have had since I was an infant. She was made in 1980, in the good 'ol USA. She is sporting a handmade outfit sewn by my grandmother, Mary Spurgeon. So, as it turned out, Emma has a irreplaceable doll, made in America. I just wish I could buy her one to hand down to her daughter that didn't have "CHINA" printed on the back of her head.

But again, we aren't trashing everything imported. My family is buying the kids some more Wii games and the new Cars 2 movie and they will be thrilled. But I really feel like they will be excited about their new toys on Christmas morning, too. I hope they are! Stay tuned.....
PS - Both Little Tikes and Step 2 toys have some of their products made in the USA, but others imported, so check the label. You may be pleasantly surprised.

You might also check out these sites:


Friday, December 2, 2011

My Newest Kick!

Those who know me well know that I tend to get on certain "kicks" that can last anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months.

For example, a few months ago, I was determined to prove that cell phones were not an essential item and that we could save money by just using a land line. This idea lasted for a matter of weeks....and then I discovered that you cannot even find a pay phone anywhere anymore!

Another kick I got on was cloth diapering. For 6 months, Daniel was a cloth diapered baby. I even bought all newborn cloth diapers for Mann's arrival. And then all of my family and friends went out and bought a years worth of disposable diapers for Mann, and I took this as a polite reminder that while I was on the cloth diapering bandwagon, they were not. Plus shortly after having Mann, I went back to work and cloth diapering is not really feasible for a working mom.

So, what's the newest kick, you ask?! Buying American!!!

This week, in my Texas History class, we were talking about how the Mexican government put tariffs on all American goods coming into Texas so that the Texan settlers would buy Mexican goods instead. In every single class, I would have a student raise his or her hand and we would have a conversation that went something like this:

Student: "What about the goods coming from China?"

Mrs. Scott: "Well, while there was some trade with China during the 1830s, most of the Texas settlers wanted to get their goods from the United States."

Student: "But why? All of the good stuff is made in China."

So, after having this conversation 7 times in one day, the next day I decided to do a little activity. I challenged the students to find 1 article of clothing they were wearing that was made in the US. I had several students jump up proudly, sporting their "American Eagle" hoodies and "Under Armor" shirts, saying "Mine is made here!!!" (without checking the tags, of course.) It was honestly amusing to watch their little faces when they discovered that their "American" attire was made in Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Out of 150 students, I had 8 total that could find an article of clothing made in the USA. That's 5% of my students.

A little more research on my part, and I discovered that 97% of our apparel is made in a foreign country. So, actually my students were doing better than I might have expected.

I am not pointing the finger at all. My shirt that day was from Vietnam, my pants from China, my shoes from Italy. But I did proudly wear a necklace and earrings that were my mother's and had both been made by Native Americans in New Mexico. You don't get more "American" than that! Haha!

So, now I am checking labels and doing my part to try and keep some of our money in the US!

I found this neat website I wanted to share that has a directory of American made products. It is:

As I do some more research, I will continue to share my findings...that is, until I get wrapped up on a new kick! ;)