Addie and Vinnie in Tennessee #3!


Hi Everyone!

It’s us–Addie and Vinnie!  We sure have been having fun with Alison here in Tennessee.  But it has been much COLDER than normal.  In fact, Alison tells us that this is the coldest winter her family has had ever since they moved here–and they have been here for almost seven years!   Lots of mornings Alison asks her mom for oatmeal for breakfast–yum!  Alison likes LOTS of things on top of her oatmeal–fruit, flax seed meal, walnuts, brown sugar, and she usually even asks for some raw oats sprinkled on top!  Her mom thinks she is silly for that, but since oats are healthy she usually gives in and lets her have them!  One morning we helped her eat her oatmeal, and we were sure full!




Tuesday we had just settled down to help Alison on her homeschool, when what do you think happened?  That’s right!  SNOW!  First just a couple flakes started drifting down here and there.  Then more and more, and finally homeschool was called off for a SNOW DAY!  Those who live where it snows all the time might laugh about schools and businesses being closed due to a couple inches of snow here in the South, but lots of time there is a layer of ice underneath the snow, and they do not have very many snow plows down here to help plow or salt or sand the roads, since they do not need them very often.  Also, a lot of roads around here are really steep as they go up the sides of hills or mountains, so people’s cars slip and slide a lot when there is ice on the roads!



Wednesday morning when we woke up the snow was still here.  Even the college where Alison’s daddy works and her big brother goes to school was closed!  But the boys still had school work to do.  Fortunately, Alison is homeschooling so her mommy can decide that she does different things on snow days! 🙂  One of the first “assignments” her mommy gave her was to make up some food for the birds.  They had already filled their bird feeders the day before with seed, but when it is THIS cold the birds need extra fat to help keep warm.  So Alison made up a batch of high calorie stuff for the birds to eat.  They have a little tray that they put this on, and the birds come to eat it.  The wood peckers especially love it!  If you want to make some for the birds at your house, here is the recipe.

First melt together in a microwave or on the stove top with your mom’s help:

1 c. vegetable shortening, 1 c. peanut butter

Then add in 1 c. flour.  After that is all stirred in, start adding in cups of yellow cornmeal until it gets too thick to stir.  This will usually be somewhere between 2-4 cups of cornmeal.  Alison put in 2 cups of cornmeal.  Then you can either put a pile of this stuff on a platform feeder out for the birds, or if you want to you can press it into some container like a freezer container, freeze it, and then pop it out and it will be a nice little square shape that fits into the regular wire suite cages that the bird feeding stores sell.  The part that you do not put out right away, put a lid on the bowl and keep it in your fridge.

Finally Alison was able to get wrapped up in warm clothes and go outside and play in the snow!

She tried to make a snow angel, though they really did not have enough snow to make a good one.  She had fun anyway, and you could see the angel shape, so we think it worked!


Yesterday we stayed inside with Alison’s mommy, since we do not have proper snow clothing.  But this morning Alison insisted that we needed to have a chance to play in the snow so we did just for a little bit.  Brrrr!  Our toes got cold!  Maybe we need to travel someplace warm and sunny!

Well, that’s all for our snow day.  We will try and fill you in on some other activities we have done, because we are heading out soon for our next stop!

Addie and Vinnie


Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum Choices

When a family makes the decision to homeschool, generally they take a look at the wide variety of resources available for the task.

Homeschool curriculum companies offer a great deal of programs,
lessons, and resources. Wading through stacks of homeschool catalogs
can be a daunting experience. It is important to formulate a plan or
approach to homeschooling before you get pulled in by shiny pages and
colorful ads. Developing a homeschool philosophy and basing it upon
the needs and abilities of your children is important. Sometimes it is
helpful to study some of the research of those who have spent a
life-time learning about children. Often, a homeschool parent can find
that child development experts have done helpful research in that can
assist them as they plan a curriculum that is tailor-made to the needs
of their kids. Jean Piaget is one such researcher and his studies can
be helpful  as a foundation for one’s homeschool philosophy and how it
is implemented in teaching style and curriculum.Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist and philosopher who studied
children from birth through adolescence. He lived from 1896 through
1980 and was influential among educators for decades. He was known for
many things, but possibly the best for his theory of cognitive
development and the way he advocated for delayed academic studies. His
research forms the foundation of educational method that some
specialists have built upon in the development of their own
educational theories. Dr. Raymond Moore, the ‘grandfather of
homeschooling’ in America, and his belief in delayed academic learning
is one example of someone who used Piaget’s theories in the
development of their educational theory.Piaget believed that the way
children processed cognitive thinking was different than that of youth
and adults. He studied children by several methods. One was by
researching and charting standardized test scores. Another was by
studying his own three children and recording how they developed from
birth through to adulthood. He observed children through all ages and
stages, both in a learning environment, at work, and home.His ultimate
conclusion was that all children develop in stages and that each one
will exhibit very distinct and certain patterns of cognition in each
period of their growth and development. These patterns can be
recognized as sequential and predictable for each age. He identified
four developmental stages. As his theory advocates, they are:
1.) Sensorimotor stage (birth to age 2 )At this stage a child learns through sensation and movement. It is
important that they experience touch, smell, taste, hearing, and
things to see (colors, shapes, and faces). It is also important that
they observe and experience movement at this age. Rocking a child is
vitally important during this phase of development. Children in this
stage are extremely self-centered and cannot see the perceive the
world through the eyes of another. They let their needs be known by
crying and requiring immediate attention.

2.) Preoperational stage (ages 2 – 7)

At this stage, a child cannot use logical thinking. These years are
sometimes known as the years of magical thinking. Children from two to
seven are beginning to master symbols such as language and are
starting to be able to form conclusions based upon past experiences.
Although initially egocentric at this age, this trait weakens as they
grow older. During this stage of development, children are developing
their motor skills. It is important to allow opportunity and
experiences for this growth, and to not rush a child onto the next
stage before mastery of motor skills is achieved.

3.) Concrete operational stage (ages 7 – 12)

Children of this age are very concrete in their thinking. In fact,
their thinking is limited to concrete experiences. They learn to
generalize by drawing conclusions about one situation and applying it
to another. As they mature through this stage, they begin to think
logically, but that thinking is still very concrete in nature and with
practical tools to assist them. Children at this age are no longer

4.) Formal operational stage (ages 12 – adult)

Children in this stage can now deal with abstractions, mental
speculation, and the formation of hypotheses. Abstract reasoning
occurs and they are able to think logically. They can keep watch or
maintain in their thought processes. Abstract reasoning opens up the
world of thinking to children at this stage.

The rate or speed of passing through these phases may vary, but the
sequence of stages is consistent for all children. When choosing or
designing curriculum for children, the method and materials should
match the cognitive level of the child. It is important that these
principles are applied to how a parent-teacher chooses to home educate
their children so that natural, purposeful, and successful learning
can result. Rushing a child through one stage to the next can be
counter-productive and effectively cause burn-out and learning
difficulties for the child. From the studies of Jean Piaget we can
conclude that it really is ‘better late than early’ when it comes to
academic instruction.

7 Ways to Lead Your Child to Jesus

I grew up not knowing who Jesus was.

In my home, “Jesus Christ” was a term for when you were upset or angry. It was a step down from swearing, but gave the same message.

In my home, there was frequent mention of God. Not in a reverent, prayerful, calling out to Jesus kind of way. “Oh my God,” was something we said about everything. I never even thought about what it meant until I met God for the first time.

I was still a child at 18. Immature, lost, and fully in the world in every way an 18-year old could be. I looked to fill the hole in my heart with alcohol, sex, and worldly experiences. It was then, when the world would have said I was the most lost, that I was found.

Jesus picked me up gently out of the mess I called my life and set me down on the Rock.

Today, I am a Christian missionary serving in South America with my husband and two children. I strive daily to give my son and daughter opportunities to know Jesus. Having no idea what that really looks like in childhood, I can assure you we’re a work in progress. And that’s OK.

If you, like me, didn’t grow up in a Christian family and lack an example, or if you just need some ideas on how you can help your child cultivate their own relationship with Jesus, here are seven ideas for you. Every family is different. Whether you’re able to use one idea or all seven, remember to do what works for you and don’t be afraid to try new things.

7 Ways to Lead Your Child to Jesus:

Be their example. Model behavior you want to see in them. Easy enough, right? Try your hardest, get what resources you need, and pray, pray, pray. Chose your battles wisely. It’s not always important to be right, it’s important to be like Jesus. Involve the whole family by having morning – and if possible, evening – worship. It’s OK to keep it simple, especially if you have young children.
Need ideas for family worship?
My Bible First
Kids of Integrity

Encourage personal devotion time everyday. Make sure they have their own age appropriate Bible. Until they can read on their own, try to read to them from their Bible once or twice a day. Teach them to have Jesus time. Make it special by sitting in a special chair, make a Jesus time spot, or try to incorporate something meaningful to them. Once they can read, let them. And talk to them about what they read as often as you’re able to. If they are old enough, encourage them to journal about what they read, what it means to them, and what they think Jesus might be saying to them through His Word. Try to have Jesus time routinely and consistently as best you can.
Need ideas on what kids can do on their own?
Beginner’s Bible
Sabbath Kids

Be on the lookout for object lessons. Look for ways to make Jesus real and relevant to them. Pray for Jesus to show you object lessons. Read Christ’s Object Lessons for ideas of where to look for Jesus around you. Let these lessons come up in conversation naturally. Let your child make the connections to Jesus through your gentle leading.
Need more ideas?
Print out this list of things to on Sabbath
Get Christ’s Object Lessons here or get it free on your Android or iPhone

Reach out. Teach your child that Jesus is at work all around them. Take them on mission trips. Feed the homeless. Serve at the soup kitchen. Let them see the hard things in life and let them ask questions. Let them see the results of sin, and the triumphs of Jesus.
Need more ideas?
Google opportunities in your area

Get real. Be real and honest with your child in all areas of life. Of course this will look different for different ages, but let your child see that you struggle too. That you need forgiveness too. Share your testimony with them. Ask them for pray for you in certain areas. Don’t hide your problems – don’t burden your child by just telling them all your problems and not offering more – teach them that our struggles are our offerings to Jesus.

Keep track of Jesus. Write down prayer requests and leave room to write down the answers as they are given. Make this part of your family worship. Teach them both to rely on God for their needs, and to be reminded when He does. This is a great way to help your child through a tough situation, “Remember that time when we prayed about ___ and Jesus answered by ___?”
Need more ideas?
See how to make a prayer journal here

Pray, pray, pray. Don’t stop praying. Jesus is with you, Mama. Stay connected to Him. If you do your part, He’ll do His. Keep in mind that you can’t make the decision for your children to live for Jesus or not. They will have to do that one on their own. And even if they chose another path, keep hope, Mama. Pray all the more. It’s not over till it’s over.


What are things your family does to help your children cultivate a relationship with Jesus?





Lucy Miller: The Girl Who Waited for Jesus

Last time I wrote, I shared a book about Ellen White’s girlhood. Today I will talk about another book to enhance your study of early church history. This book is about Lucy Miller, William Miller’s daughter, Lucy Miller: The Girl Who Waited for Jesus, by Carolyn Byers.

From the back cover of the book: When Lucy was a little girl the neighborhood doctor called her father, William Miller, a “monomaniac.” This sounded like a strange disease, but it actually means a person who can talk about only one thing. With William Miller, that one thing was the second coming of Jesus. Lucy and her brothers and sister were caught up in the message, believing it and sharing it in their community. As they impatiently waited for the day when Christ would come, their great hope helped them bear bravely the taunts of unbelieving neighbors. When her much-loved little sister died, Lucy was comforted by the thought that Jesus would waken the child soon. Then, as a teen-ager, she, with thousands of others, face bitter disappointment when the sun rose on October 23, 1844, and Jesus hadn’t come to take them home.

I’m still in the process of reading it aloud to my youngest. It’s a bit of a challenge for me, because the print is a tad fine for my poor old eyes. (One advantage of ebooks: I can adjust the font size! 😉 )

The book was written in 1977, and appears to be out of print now. Perhaps your local church library has a copy you can borrow. Or perhaps you can search online for a used copy. The copy I have was my first husband’s, from his childhood.

Carolyn Byers also authored the Forever Stories, which can still be purchased through your Adventist Book Center.

Addie and Vinnie in Tennessee #2


Hi Everybody!

We thought we would take a minute to let all of you know what we have been up to with Alison!  Boy, last week when we arrived in Tennessee we “thought” we would have lots of time to write about our adventures.  Afterall, it wasn’t a holiday and Alison was not going on vacation or anything.  Well, turned out we were wrong!  Even though we are just going along with Alison in her daily activities, she is one busy girl!!!

We have been helping her with her homeschool.  The first class Alison’s family likes to have in the morning is Bible.  Always a good way to start the day!  Alison and her mommy have been working on some Bible memory verses.  They are posting these up on their bulletin board and then quizzing each other to see if they are remembering them.  We first helped quiz them both–can you see us hiding in the above picture?

Next we helped Alison fill out her Bible worksheets.  We reminded her to slow down and use her best handwriting!

Surprise!  Did you see us hanging out in the colored pencils?  We had fun helping Alison choose what colors to use!

On Wednesday, we went on a short “field trip” with Alison.  The college where their family lives has a program called “Christ in My Life.”  This is where some of the teachers or staff share how Jesus has led in their lives. These programs usually take place at lunch time, and everyone brings their lunch and eats while listening to the speaker.  This week the speaker was a professor of Alison’s brother!  We all enjoyed listening to him tell of how God led him to be a Chemistry teacher at this Adventist college, when HE wasn’t even planning on going into Chemistry!  Sometimes God has different plans for us than we plan for ourselves–but God’s plans are always better!

Well, we will write more soon.  The days are speeding by–we cannot believe that we will be moving on at the end of this week!

More later!

Addie and Vinnie