Thanks for taking the time to stop by and visit our family blog.
This blog was originally created to post updates on our newborn daughter, which was 4 years ago. God has started using this blog as a ministry and outreach plus a way to record the journey that God is allowing our family to live.
To Our Lord, may He get the Glory and Honor!

Blessings from Shandee

Update: We have been led to further sharing our online journey with posts from the entire family. What started out as a simple blogging journey from a Mother & Wife's perspective has blossomed into a family journey. We now welcome you to The Childress Family Blog.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Prayer Request

Dear Friends & Readers,

I sent this note to our prayer chain email from our church and wanted to share with you.
Thanks for caring!

Blessings, Shandee

This is the note I sent out this morning:

Please add our family to today's prayer list. We need a touch from God in many ways.
Thanks for praying, friends.

~Shandee for The Childress Family

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's Going on in the Childress Home?

*Some are still not well. Our #1 priority is to get everyone well.

*Working hard to accomplish schoolwork, even when some are ill.

*Preparing for our next Clinic Visit At Children's Hospital in Knoxville next week! The thought of this trip makes me nauseous...

(Prayer is needed in this area. Overnight housing is a major concern since we are such a "large family." We need God's provision for our family for this trip and we are not totally at peace on separation for such a long distance.)

*Waiting for Whiskers to give birth to her kittens. How many will she have?

*Praying on the work and annointing of homeschoolcalendar.com!!! Follow on twitter for the latest news.

This is a dream that may just change our life! It was originally planned to launch in October 2010, but our daughter was hospitalized and our life changed; therefore, homeschoolcalendar.com was put on the backburner.

*Working on a Schedule for chores and daily life management for a large family.

*Gardening plans

*Plan for the master bedroom makeover. In our almost 13 years of marriage, we have never had a theme or decoration in our room. We have neglected that and put every other room first. I'm dreaming of Country decor, simple wood, downsizing to 1 chest for clothes, getting our old furniture out(I had it in my room at home when I was growing up-it's time for it to go, I'm a Mommy now, not to mention married!)and warm colors of fresh paint on the wall.

As we work through these things, I probably will not be a great blogger. Forgive me. Be sure to check back often, there's always an adventure around here!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

End of School Year

I wanted to take a moment to encourage all of the homeschool families who are finalizing school for the year. We have "done a hard work." Some days we did not know how we were going to get school accomplished while other days were as easy as blinking our eyes. Your words and teaching will continue throughout your children's lives. Most importantly, you have taken time this year to know and study their hearts and to teach God's word; and to me, this is the fundamental reason for homeschooling. Bless you as you finish this school year and if you live in VA, are beginning to finalize for end of year testing. Enjoy this year, you can never get it back again!

With Love, Shandee

Cracker Barrel

Where's your favorite restaurant? Mine, is by far-Cracker Barrel.
Cracker Barrel is so fun with the shopping and country atmosphere!
I don't have great deals for you on this, but I do have a picture of a new Springtime menu item to share.

Too bad the closest restaurant is an hour away...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Moon Dough Review-You MUST see this post and photos!

During Christmas Season, the grandparents give our children Christmas money and let them choose what they want to purchase. Their father and I encourage purposeful, useful things that they are in need of and then there's some fun items we agree to. One of them being, the great Moon Dough!

Listed are photos from one of the now extinct-moon dough preschool centers during our school days. The girls enjoyed it while it lasted.

"Never Dries Out," exclaims Moon Dough's website.

"Like nothing you have ever played with before."

"You can easily remold surprise animals again and again."

"Moon dough, like no other dough before."

Did the advertisement fail to mention that a sweeper is required after playtime?
I also had originally bought one as a gift for our friend Sam, but my husband told me that if someone knew what this stuff did and still bought it for us, he would not be happy. So, I returned Sam's gift and we settled for Toy Story Color Wonder markers and paper instead ;-)

p.s. No, I did not get mad. I just felt like it was a good laugh and would make a good post. Think I ought to call the company and let them in on this?

p.s.s. I forgot to mention that this cleaned up out of the carpet very nicely with the sweeper. No crumbs or traces remaining or intact on the carpet. For that, I was thankful!

Spring Snow

A glimpse of our backyard this spring morning...it all melted by noon. Believe it or not, our next door neighbors are cutting their grass right now!

Welcoming warm weather this way!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What's New in Sonlight 2011?

Check out this video from Sonlight, explaining new things for this year. The part about high school students sounded great to me!

Blessing others through ministry on Sunday

Today, I had the honor of teaching children up to age 6 today during church service.
It was my first time back since the week I gave birth to our 22 month old daughter. You could say it was my first day back. And, it wasn't good timing, to me... Maybe God has a great purpose, so I trust Him with that.

If you have been checking my blog, you know I became very ill the night before our Women's Retreat. I have been sick for 10 days now. It all started with me and has escalated to my husband and now children. It's very frustrating because we have been ill on and off since last May. Every month. I am as serious as can be. As I've said before, we have been attacked in all other areas as well.

This morning, I dressed and we made the decision that some were not well to go today. I was sad in my spirit because we would not get to go as a family. I was also troubled because of illness and still only about 75% up to par myself. We could not switch with anyone at last minute and also due to schedule conflicts with the weekend of our Knoxville Clinic Specialist visit. I was feeling better than Rick, so I went to teach and of course, it was a blessing to see the sweet little faces. But, it was hard, too because of our family's illness and it truly was a sacrifice to go today. My spirit grieved because I knew it was time I would also be away from my husband. We really only get to spend time together on Sunday. During the week, he is gone from us all day and usually returns home by late evening and is then rushed to eat dinner at the table with us or without if we have had to eat without him. He has only two hours for many jobs; to eat, help get children bathed, homework, evening chores, and squeeze time in with us.  Two hours is not enough time for all of that. He wakes up the next day and it starts all over again with a one-hour commute to and from work each day(which we have been praying about for some time now.) Saturdays are errand days as many times he will stay home so I can go out and run errands without the children such as pharmacy and grocery store/household shopping. I've been doing this lots lately because of illnesses and cold weathers. So, we are eager for Sunday to arrive.

Sunday is OUR day. Our big family day where we just relax in church, enjoying being in God's house and Word. We are all one unit, more than ever on Sunday. One of my favorite parts of that day is coming home after church and enjoying a meal together. It is a real blessing because we are very hungry by the time we arrive home for a late lunch. So, it's a real blessing when we all gather at the table and slow down. Just doing whatever we please for the rest of the day. It's a great day because we are not distracted with chores or any work. And, for one day, out of 7, we really savor getting to be with Daddy. He savors it, too. He can focus and watch all the new little things they are learning and how each one is growing-time to learn their hearts.

As I drove our little red car home, toward our driveway,  I had two cuties seated close to me in the back, I began thinking, this was a sacrifice. 
Not out of pity or selfishness. 
Not of anger.
Not of regret.
Simply just a thought. A thought that this was one time in a while that we have sacrificed to minister on Sunday. Especially, with several  young children and no big helper(she is really, really sick with a fever of 101 so please pray for our oldest daughter.)
I began to think and for a moment pondering of all others that it may be a sacrifice for or those who may have a difficult time getting to church to minister on Sunday. Every Sunday. For a brief moment, in my spirit, I began to pray for all the families that take time to fulfill God's calling to minister on Sunday. Especially those, who do it every Sunday. Bless you as you sow seeds and may you see a rich harvest in what you are doing for God's kingdom.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Homeschooling Moment

I was just looking back at my front page and noticed this photo of big sister and little sister reading, "Sarah, Plain, and Tall." This is from last years Sonlight Core Program. Madison loved this book and we found out on our own that there is a series of these books. We even found the DVD and audiocassettes at our local library. I would highly recommend this book for any elementary aged girl. Her baby sister was very interested, too(even without pictures.)

If you are interested in checking out Sonlight's Curriculum, click here and you will save $5 off your first $50 order. Be sure to give CODE SC20225474.

Happy Homeschooling!

Family Update

I am still sick and Rick as well...but, I will update when all is back to normal.

Kids are well. My 3rd daughter had a fall on Monday and must have an xray now to rule out fracture or break. She still has been complaining of pain all week. I pray she is only minimally injured.

Thanks for checking in on us.

Love, Shandee

Baby Item Must-Have

Often, I think of frugal products that I would like to recommend for daily use and one of those is the Diaper Disposal Bags. I discovered these wonderful sacks of diaper disposal bags at our local Dollar Tree. Price: $1.00 for 75 bags and no later cleanup or extra cost.

(Note: When we were expecting our first daughter, we used a Diaper Genie Disposal System. Our findings were that this was a pricey gadget that costed money for refill sacks and was smelly and gross to change if it was not changed at least every few days. Don't waste your money and time on these diaper disposal systems.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Here's a bit of a note I sent a couple friends. Thank you for your prayers. Rick is now sick, too.
Can't wait to get back to ya'll.
Blessings, Shandee

"Hi Friends,

I am still ill from Friday night and not recovered so we cannot go to gym day or have lunch afterwards... Ms. Shandee is trying her hardest to get better so we can get back! Dr. B, diagnosed me with Bronchitis, but did not give me any medicine, just said to take over the counter meds. I am getting worse instead of better so I called them back today."

Lowe's FREE Magazine

Today, along with some other free samples-I received a Lowe's FREE Creative Ideas magazine. I thought you might like one, too.
Sharing the freebies...click here to request yours.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Books we are Now Reading

The main character in this book is named Esther. That's neat because we just finished studying the book of Esther in the bible and this was not even scheduled. This kind of thing happens often and it just confirms to me, God is in Homeschooling.

I think my daughter is going to enjoy this book compared to the one we just finished reading.

5th grade from Sonlight's Core

Flowers for Momma

Sometimes it's just good to know, us Moms are loved...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Family Report

I know many of you are checking in on us. Everyone is doing good except me. I am still not well.
I had to go see the dr. today. The doctor thinks it is either viral or UTI. I will know the results of urinalysis in about 2 days and they will decide treatment from there.

It is so so hard when Momma is down. Afterall, she is the heart of the home and when she is not well, things just aren't the same even if you have a Godly man giving it His all.

Thank you for checking and praying.

When I"m back, it will be a great honor to post pictures from the retreat.

Gymboree & Little Tikes Savings

Little Tikes Coupon...print HERE and use for a birthday gift coming up or for Spring Toys.

Also, I received an email reminding me that Gymboree Rewards expires on March 26th, don't let yours go to waste-there is no minumum purchase!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I'm out sick, friends.

It hit me Friday night, which I know was an attack. I gathered strength, medicine, and prayers and went yesterday. Same thing this morning because I did not want to miss church today. Also, I heard my family up in the kitchen moving around and I missed being with them dearly so I told myself, "You get up now." I did and have went on with the day. I feel much like I did once when I was hospitalized with a UTI that had gotten into the bloodstream. Rick said I may need to go to the dr. tomorrow. I'm just praying to be healed to avoid all the costs and disruptions it puts on our family when I have to be down.

Prayer Request: That whatever is attacking my body, will stop.

Blessings, Shandee

p.s. the retreat was sweet, and my precious friend Kathy got some photos for me-thank you!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Please excuse my absence this weekend...I will be preparing for the Women's Retreat and Family Night is tonight. See you back soon.

Have a blessed weekend enjoying God's goodness.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

In School

My little Pre-K student is so proud of her writing. Last week, she learned to correctly write her name in the lines. I was so proud and so is SHE!

See, a Pre-K curriculum is not required for good work ;-)

Juvenile Diabetes (Childhood Diabetes): Info About Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms & Dealing with Diabetes Type 1 at Diabetic Care Services

Juvenile Diabetes (Childhood Diabetes): Info About Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms & Dealing with Diabetes Type 1 at Diabetic Care Services

I am hearing from a lot of people that they think the reason for ChildHood Diabetes is too much sugar, one lady even commented to me: "It's so hard for kids these days with all the pop and candy." I felt so sad because I have always been so careful to limit that. This disease is something we did nothing to cause.

Below excerpt taken from the link above:

Understanding Childhood Obesity and Type 1 Diabetes

Perhaps the biggest myth surrounding type 1 diabetes is that it’s caused by obesity (or eating too much sugar). Although scientists don’t know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, they believe a variety of genetic and environmental factors are involved.

Type 1 diabetes is actually an immune disorder in which the body attacks and destroys certain cells (beta cells) in the pancreas. These beta cells produce insulin. When the beta cells are destroyed, the body can no longer produce insulin. As a result, glucose stays in the blood, where is can cause serious damage to all the organ systems.

This is why people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin in order to survive.

The myth that childhood obesity and type 1 diabetes are linked is due to confusion or misunderstanding of the types of diabetes. (Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Women's Retreat

It's that time of year again and I am getting so excited! I'm preparing and praying for a work that God is going to do! Check out Beth's blogpost on it from last year and here's a photo she had taken of me and my dear friend Candace, and her mom.

Children's Place Coming...

Children's Place is Coming to Kingsport Town Center Mall in April!

Woohooo! Go to their website to sign up for your coupons so you'll get them by the time the store opens. You can get some really good deals here at markdown time.

Monday, March 14, 2011

This Week...

This week is a busy week...

School every day(working really hard, still!)

Grocery shopping and household shopping

St. Patrick's Day Event at the Library

Gym Day

Music Lessons

I get to go back to Curves for the first time in a long time!!!

Private St. Patrick's Day school(our class only) event

Madison's Bright Lights class

A women's retreat(will blog more at a later time on that)

Plus all the norm.

Our meter and Hannah

5months after diagnosis of Onset of Juvenile Diabetes:

Here's what Hannah's meter looks like:

Does she get shots and needles everyday?

YES!!! She has to test her blood sugars at a minimum of 4X per day depending on illness or high readings. She also has to take a minimum of 4 shots per day and again, depending on she has any illness or high readings.

One of her symptoms was being irritable and grumpy. We thought it was just her personality or a discipline problem.

All this still seems surreal. It troubles me dearly when she is tired of all the needles and begging us not to do a blood sugar reading or a shot. It's so terrible making your child take shots so many times a day. But, she is cooperative for the most part.

Each time as we prepare for Clinic @ Knoxville East TN Children's Hospital, she becomes nervous about all the lab bloodwork that they do. We are usually in the room for about 5 mins. and then a lab tech. comes in carrying the basket of needles, collection tubes, and the alcohol swabs that has an all to familiar smell to me these days... Then, the awesome lady from Child Life follows the lab tech. with a book and tries to distract her looking for objects in the book. I stand there, wanting to grab my precious little girl and run for it, run for the door, run as fast as I can sneak through that crowded, clostrophobic hospital. But, you see, I can't. This is part of our life now until she is healed or God chooses to use this illness in our-her life. I hate it. Just to be real.

I would like to note that the last time we were there in December(at Christmastime,) she was not given 1 sticker or prize for blood work. This time I am going to insist she gets a prize because I KNOW they have them. She was so very cooperative and patient. If she had thrown a fit, they would have been begging and bargaining with her for a prize so she will NOT walk out of that place without her prize in the next few weeks. I may even put a call in to investigate it.

Sorry for the ramble...

So, that's just a few details on how our days are going with Juvenile Diabetes. There's so much more to tell, but the timer for quiet time is about to beep so I gotta run.

Blessings, Shandee

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Detergent Recipe(again)

Due to the overwhelming response, here is the dishwasher detergent recipe from my blog post.
I have not had to restock since we made this batch in January.

"Do to many requests, I am posting the home-made dishwasher detergent. Thanks to Jennifer@homekeepingheart for the recipe. This has been a great budget friendly and great product. It smells wonderful and cleans very nicely. At Walmart, I spent approximately $11 for all three of the ingredients pictured here. This will last for months because we only use about 1 tablespoon per wash. It's so easy that my 4 year old can make it as we showed in the previous months post.

{The empty wipes container is what I used to store my detergent as Jennifer suggested. To fill this container, I used 3 cups of Borax, 3 cups of Cascade Complete, and 2 cups Baking Soda.}

{I did slightly alter the amount of ingredients with a decrease in the baking soda.}

Borax Laundry Deterrgent
Baking Soda
Cascade Complete Powder Detergent

Mix: 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Cascade, and 1/2 cup Baking Soda

Double or triple for larger batches."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Quote of the week

"Mommy, you are so cute, cute...I want to help you clean your room!!!!!"

~4th daughter

I guess my room needs some cleaning up ?

Friday, March 11, 2011

How to Save Money On Gas

Whew, gas prices have been on our minds around here lately since my husband commutes 2 hours every day that he works and the budget is surely taking a punch. Today, I ran across a great article from Southern Savers with some great ideas on saving gas! Click here to read some ideas.

Thanks, Southern Savers for some great ideas!

A Little Sister is...


...So FUNNY!


A Gift From the Lord for the whole family to ENJOY!

~I thank the Lord for my best friends, who else would I want to share my days with?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Procter & Gamble Coupons

Go over here to request your free Procter&Gamble samples and/or coupons. This is definitely worth the time to fill out.


I usually begin preparing dinner shortly after breakfast or lunch-depending on whether I will be doing the crockpot or not. Today's meal prep began after lunch. We are having herb marinated, grilled steak with baked potatoe, bread, and another veggie(depending on what I have on hand.)

For this recipe: I used one packet of Montreal Seasoning Marinade and purchased my boxed steaks from the frozen section at our local SuperCenter. This will marinade while we finish school and be prepped and ready to grill in no time.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Organic Gardening

Feed Your Garden...

Believe it or not, it is time to start thinking about gardening- in February!
And yes, I do know it is now March, but that is besides the point ;-)

For about a month now, I've started feeding my garden.


Does that sound outrageous?

Of course it does ;-)

Here's what I really mean: I am starting to fertilize my garden with natural fertilizer and here's the proof.

I(and the girls) have been saving eggshells and coffee grounds. After breaking the eggs, I(or one of the girls) mash them and randomly sprinkle them throughout the garden spot. Also, I use my coffee grounds after making coffee. Last year, this was the only fertilizer I used for my garden and I specifically put them near our green pepper. Would you know that we had green pepper flourishing until October?

SO, you can use some kitchen scraps to feed your garden and I'll be sure to post more as I find out. If you are like me and do not have a compost bin(I do hope to have one in the future,) using kitchen scraps works very nicely.

p.s. My girls could not believe I was taking this picture of broken eggs in a Care Bear bowl

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Deal of the Week...out of pocket $8.66 + $3 ECBucks rewarded

I am thrilled at the bargain we came across today at CVS. I couldn't believe my eyes when I found a buggy in front of the store...Remember, years back, I told you that every store has a secret sale aisle! Click here to read about that...

Anyways, I spent $8.66 and got $3.00 Extra Care Bucks back. So, here's my deal for essentially $5.66. It was super cool having the girls with me because I was able to teach them about sales, couponing, money, and math!

How did I get this, you may ask? Coupons, the store's secret sale stash of markdowns, and $1.99 in CVS Extrabucks. Time Spent: approximately 1.5 hours total of online printing coupons, research, and instore shopping time with my 5 best friends!

Stayfree Coupon from a mailer I requested
Carefree from here
$1.00 off Dove from Sunday's paper
$1.00 off Dove from CVS Magic Coupon Machine
Tampax coupon from free sample mailer
A lot of the items were marked down for reduction
$1.99 in Extra Bucks Redeemed
Orbit Coupon BOGO here
Skittles/Starburst Coupon from here

The Big Balloon Race Activities

I found this interesting file for the book that my 2nd grader just read. This book is from one of Sonlight's Language Arts programs that we just LOVE! My 2nd grader just started reading today and finished it all in one day! She will be ready and waiting to move onto the next book.
I won't be doing any of the activities for this book, but I thought it would make a great study! Check it out here.
It has been amazing to discover the talents and personalities of each of my children through homeschooling. I would have never dreamt that my little rowdy, hyper 2nd born would have such a gift and love of reading! Again, I wouldn't miss this journey for the world!

2 For Tuesday

It's 2 For Tuesday @ Pizza King!

You guessed it, that's what we'll get for dinner. I usually serve it with salad or a fresh veggie tray. Also, I order a larger pizza so we'll have some left over for lunch the next day. Not too bad to feed 7 people 2 take-out meals for around $15-18(price if you pick it up.)

Busy, Busy

We have been so busy...

Saturday, we spent the day and night with preparing for the birthday celebrations of our family out of town...then on Sunday, we went to church and later celebrated with family. That was our weekend. Yesterday was rushed every minute. It was a very hard day, maybe I'll blog about it one day, but I don't want to go there today.

It's sooo good to be home and not have to make another long trip this week. We were due in Knoxville in the next few weeks for Hannah's visit, but we postponed that till April. I am really really, hopeful that we can stay at the Ronald McDonald house this time. Surely, it won't be packed like in December...
We will be getting back to school shortly from quiet time then off to music lessons. Never a dull moment around here.

I thank God that we are all recovered from the flu. Naomi's skin continues to itch her and irritate her. She cannot get good rest from it and can get very irritable. I hope she can rest good today.

Thanks for checking in on us! How's your day? Comment and let me know.

Baby Kittens Arriving?

It is appearing to us that our cat, Whiskers may be having babies! Is she getting some weight on her now compared to when she first arrived or is she having kittens?

We're trying to figure it out, but I think that if kittens are growing that it could be a matter of weeks before they arrive. This is my first experience with a cat so I have no idea. The girls and I have seen an orange cat with a raccoon-looking tail sneakin on onto our porch at night. So, did Whiskers get a husband, we are wondering? We'll see if we have orange raccoon-tailed kittens and you know I'll be posting pictures if she does! And, by the way, do you know anyone that would like to have a kitten...?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chick-Fil-A Week Roundup in Kingsport TN

Monday, March 8, 2011 Church Bulletin Night
Buy a medium fry and drink - Get a FREE regular Chick-fil-A sandwich with church bulletin.

Tuesday, March 9, 2011
Kid's Night
Come join us for kid's night! Free 4-pack kid's meal with any combo purchase. Balloons and fun. You never know when the cow will make a guest appearance.

Wednesday, March 10, 2011
Bingo Fun
Do you like to win! Then come join us for bingo every Wednesday morning. You could win your favorite Chick-fil-A menu item for free.

Monday, March 14th, 2011 THIS IS AWESOME!
Luck of the Irish
Today only when you come by from 5pm-8pm, save your colored receipt from your order and bring it back any time in April to receive the items you paid for again for FREE!!!

Disclaimer: This is a personal post and Chick-Fil-A is not compensating me to post this.

Hectic Day


Monday morning chores...

Dr. Appts. 1 hour away...

Laundry Nite tonight...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Restful Sunday

If you have not planned to attend a day of worship on the Sabbath tomorrow, please plan to do so.

I'll be taking the day off to spend with our family out of town and celebrate some birthdays.

Enjoy your Sunday and please seek the Lord with your heart today.

Blessings, Shandee

Couponing Links that I Recommend

Faithful Provisions


CVS coupons

Christian Clippers

Southern Savers

Friday, March 4, 2011

Childress Family Favorite Saturday Morning Pancake Recipe

(I suggest doubling or tripling this recipe if you have a family larger than 4. You can freeze leftover pancakes.)

1 egg
2 tbspoons butter, melted
1 cup all purpose flour(I used whole-wheat only or sometimes 1/2 whole wheat+ 1/2 another grain)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
vegetable non-stick spray
dash cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar(use your preferred sweetener to substitute-I use cane juice crystals)

Whisk: egg, milk, and butter together in a mixing bowl.

Combine: flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and pour into the egg mixture. Stir.

Pour batter onto sprayed skillet or heated griddle.

Cook on one side until bubbles stop popping. Flip and continue. Serve with fruit and bacon or sausage. We now use Lite Pancake Syrup which is less than 1/2 the amount of carbs and sugars than regular syrup.