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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Courageous Dads-Update on Courageous Movie

We would like to remind you that the movie Courageous is still in theatres. If you have not seen the movie, please consider going out and supporting it. We need to prove that these family movies are the kind of movies  that we want to see!  You will certainly be encouraged by it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Picture Perfect Holiday Photo Tips

Wow, is there really such a thing as a perfect Holiday Photo?
written by: Shandee

Hmmmm....let's see, I"ve been a mom now for almost 12 years if you count the time my first child started to develop in the womb(and I DO count that.)  Each year, I make sure that we get a family photo taken because that is precious to me. I can tell you, that our family has never had a perfect photo session. The first year, my daughter was about 2 months old when we had our first-ever family photo taken. Guess what? The studio lost ALL of their portraits that were taken that day and they were never to be found again...so, we had to find a different studio and have them remade! So, if you think I'm going to tell you there is a perfect Holiday photo; regrettably, I am not.  However, I have some wonderful tips and notes of encouragement that I have learned along my 12 years of motherhood. These tips pertain to pictures taken in a professional studio setting.

  • Print out coupons before your photo shoot. Don't go to the studio without them.
  • Shop early in the Late Summer/Fall for your photo session outfits.
  • I recommend having your family photo taken in the Fall when it is still warm and you do not have to bundle children up and get them out in the cold.
  • Realize that there may be delays at the studio.
  • Make sure your child is well-rested, not hungry, and has been for a potty break or diaper change before your session begins.
  • Understand that you should not feed your child a snack while wearing their photo session outfit because you risk it getting dirty before the pictures are taken.
  • If you have 2 or more children, it may be very difficult to get the photographer to capture each child smiling at the same time. We have learned to accept the fact that this is true for most of our family's sessions.
  • For younger girls and babies, put on the hair accessory, right before the session.
  • Know that sometimes it's just not a good day for the child for whatever reason. Just do the best you can. Truly, the most important thing is that you have captured the child's photo at that particular age. Years from now, it will not matter to you if your cutie is not smiling perfectly.
  • Don't overspend at the studio. I used to buy loads of pictures and hang them everywhere. That was one pricey thing that I indulged in. As the years have passed and our family has grown, I do not have enough wall space for all those adorable pictures and they are in a tote tucked away. That makes me sad, but the reality is that we cannot put all the pictures on the wall. Instead, I buy one of my favorite collages or the entire cd. 
  • Have the group photo taken first while children are not tired of the session. 
  • If time allows and children cooperate, Mom&Dad should have a picture taken together for memories.
  • Natural and non-posed are sometimes the greatest photos. (Last year, our photographer captured one of my favorite photos of my husband and myself while we were sitting resting on the steps. Thank you, Neka! I had no idea she was snapping pictures of us! We were so exhausted and tired from a very busy church morning and day.  )

For our family's last photo session this Fall, I spent 1.5 hours grooming and painting 120 nails!  20 nails  times 6 girls(including myself.)  After the session was all done, one of my girls ended up with no hair accessory and the youngest did not smile in the family photo nor did we capture the perfect one of her alone that I had longed for. Nevertheless; we have a priceless family photo, an incredibly cute group picture of the children, and some gorgeous individual photos.

Happy Family Holiday Photos to your family. Get them taken now if you can so you won't be stressing about them  later. 

P.S. Look for our new family photo when we take a new direction with our blog this Holiday Season.

Saving With CVS

In case you haven't guessed by now, one of my local fav's for household shopping is CVS.
I wanted to share about the green bag tag offered about CVS.  iheartcvs has actually compiled a really nice article explaining how the green bag tag is used and how it rewards you. It is definitely worth it! Head on over to iheartcvs  for more information.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mailbox Day

We had a great mailbox day today with FREE samples!  I often blog about ways to save and this is one of those ways. Free samples are shipped to your mailing address at no cost to you!  Plus, free coupons are usually tucked away in the package.  My 5 year old was super excited when she skipped across our driveway shouting, "We got toothpaste in mail today!"

Would you like a FREE sample sent to your mailbox?  Aveeno has an offer for a free sample.

Follow this link to get your Aveeno sample. Here's to you, a great mailbox day ;-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What we are learning about Noah from The Bible

For about a week and a half we have been reading about Noah and the ark. ''The Lord commanded Noah to build an ark with gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it with pitch inside and outside. This is how you are to make it: The ark will be make it 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. You are to make a roof, finishing the sides of the ark to within 18 inches of roof. You are to put a door, in side of the ark. Make it with lower an upper decks.  (Genesis chapter 6 verse 14- 17) I couldn't imagine having to do that, and it would take me a LONG time making the ark.

Noah's neighbors probably laughed and made fun of him. It might have been hard not say anything back. Noah loved the Lord and obeyed God. A song that we do at school for worship says, ''Obey, obey, obeyo, obey, obey, obeyo, obeyo, obey the lord.'' That means to obey the Lord and do what he commands us to do. Just as Noah did.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Direction

We are pleased to tell you that we feel the Lord is prompting us to a new direction with our blog.

We started this blog several years ago as a way to keep in touch with our family & friends and record a newborn's milestones. It later became an encouragement to wives in their roles as being a help-meet, and often times for those seeking real-life homeschooling stories.

That said, we feel a refresh is in order. One that we pray will bless and uplift as we share with you.

With God's provision we hope to unveil our new blog this Holiday Season 2011. Please pray that it will be all that God wants it to be and used for His glory!

Blessings to you and yours.
- Rick and Shandee

Cleaning Accessory

I have been meaning to share this for a long time now.

Something that has really been helpful in more ways than one is our cleaning caddie. This affordable caddie has made cleaning much more enjoyable for the younger girls. They love carrying this caddie around when doing chores because it makes them feel very important and purposeful when toting this black caddie throughout the house. We purchased ours at the local Walmart on clearance for around $2.50. They are sometimes found in the bed and bath section or back-to-school clearance aisle. Caddies are sold at Dollar Stores and your major department stores and range from $1 to approximately $5. Having this caddie around makes our cleaning routine a little fun and cleaning supplies a little more organized when it's cleaning time.

 (We are working on adjusting our home-made cleaner and I'll be sure to post on that in the future once we get it just right.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

BedTime Prayers for Kittens

As you know, on August 3rd, Whiskers gave birth to new kittens. We now have a total of 3 cats and 4 kittens!!  We have been trying to find them a home because our family believes that sending them to a shelter and risking ending their life is not an option.

Anyways,  at bedtime several weeks back, one of the prayers that was sent above came straight from my daughter's sweet lips.
Here it is:  "Dear God, if Whiskers found a new husband and is pregnant, would you please let her go somewhere else and have the kittens?"

I have told the girls that if Whiskers keeps having all these kittens then they are going to become pests to all our neighbors and that would mean trouble for The Childress Family.

By the way, if you know someone locally that would welcome a cute kitten to their home, please let us know. The kittens are very playful and used to children.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Encouraging Your Husband

Lately, the lord has really spoken to my heart to encourage my husband.  I often forget that as my husband's wife-his helpmeet, that i possess in my own self; words, actions, or gifts that build him up or tear him down.  i want to be the best wife that god has called me to be. as wives, we are gifts that the lord has given to our husband. it is our choice whether we act like his true gift in whatever form that god wants us to offer.  let's make our husbands feel loved and encouraged every day.  You know, we affect him more than we realize.

Below is one of my favorite scriptures from Proverbs 31:

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

(Sharing a past blog post below meant to encourage my husband 3 years ago and I pray it blesses him the same today as it did then.)


to my husband

Thank you Rick:

*for being sweet enough to wash my iron skillets because you feel like you are serving me because you know what they mean to me even though it tears up your hands and makes them crack
*for sharing the same sweet idea of giving new life to our family, and for allowing my body to experience morning sickness and getting out maternity clothes again when I did not know if that would ever be possible again
*for making sure crackers are in the house
*for helping get our children in bed
*for allowing me time to email after the children are in bed since you know it is nearly impossible for me to make a phone call
*for being patient
*for running your hands through my hair
*for sacrificing your career and choosing to bring Us home to the mountains of Southwest VA instead of Washington State while you work at Microsoft headquarters,make lots of money, and travel on planes, and hardly see us. The world says go for it, but God tells you something different and I love it!
*for getting children up and dressed, ready to start their school day
*for making every phone call and running every errand that you can so I do not have to do it with the children
*for loving me when I make big mistakes, ex. pittsburgh to pound trip at 1-3 a.m. then turning around to drive it again
*by letting God put it on your heart to usher at church, you know how I feel about that
*for being beside me in everything
*for being honest when I ask you if you can tell my clothes are fitting differently(good and bad)
*by making sure I still have time to go to a haircut by myself
*for learning to build and repair things that you have never attempted
*because you don't give up

Can I name everything? Surely not, but these are just a few and I so graciously thank you for giving of yourself and being my best friend!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Checking In

Hi Friends,

Sorry for the time away.

We've been busy schooling, training, catching bargain sales, travelling to dr. visits, and anything else in between to manage a family with several young children.

This is also a busy time with several ministry outreaches our family is working on for other families in need.

Back to school tomorrow.

Follow Genesis Chapter 7 with us if you want. I am hoping a student will be able to share what she learned during our Bible time.

Blessings, Shandee

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CVS Beauty Club

Visit the CVS Beauty Club page to learn more. It's a FREE program with a payoff-that's how I got the coupon offer for the Dial soap I posted about below.

CVS-FREE Dial Soap Deal

Check your email, if you are a beauty club member, CVS, may have emailed you a $2 off coupon for Dial soap. It is on sale for $1.88 and you get $1 Extra care buck back so you actually will get FREE soap plus a $1 extra buck. This deal only works if you were emailed the coupon. Also, I was at Big Stone CVS tonight and plenty were in stock. My coupon was emailed to me this afternoon.

School News

How's school going this year?

Others ask us this question often these days. Actually, it's going really great. The key to our progress this year is time management. In years past, I always knew what subjects that we needed to do, but I never set a specific time to begin and end. I have learned this is essential to get our work completed each day since I am teaching 4 grade levels and we also have the presence of  our sweet toddler who loves to prowl and mark on everything including herself :-)

One of the most impressive and educational studies is our Bible Study. The first year of homeschooling, I didn't think that Bible was necessary. God changed my heart. One day it hit me, and I realized God's word is the main reason we do homeschool because it has been taken out of the public school so why would I NOT include it in our homeschool? That seems pretty understandable, doesn't it? If you were to visit us, you might hear these words, "If we get nothing else done today, we need to do our Bible lesson because that is really all that matters."
For years, we began our school day with worship and Bible time. This has been the most precious part of our days because we are all learning so much and what a blessing it is to be at home teaching my children God's word!  We purchased Heartshaper Bible Curriculum this year because it was a fun and affordable choice for our family. Prior to this year, I had always created my own or used some free samples, but we were able to cut our curriculum budget in areas in order to afford a Bible Curriculum. We began our school year studying the first book in the Bible, the book of Genesis.
Our first Bible verse is included with the image below. We are currently on Chapter 6 and I'm not sure if we will get through the entire Chapter. Join us and read along each day as we study God's word.
In the beginning, God made the Heavens and the Earth...

Monday, October 10, 2011

"How's Hannah?" Written by: Hannah

For those of you who would like an update, Hannah would like to tell you herself. She has written a note below.  (This was actually not the tone that I expected from her, but this is what she wanted to write.)

i  have   DIABETES  too.   like  other  kids .    
i  hate  it  too.                                                                                                                              

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Homeschooling How-to: How do you do it?

How do you do it?

This is by far, the most popular question asked of me.

The answer is very simple, actually.

I learned a golden rule my first year of homeschooling.  You see, I take my job very seriously!   You could say I get paid by the hour. Technically, I get paid by the minute ;-)
I get paid zero US dollars every week here on Earth.  However; for eternity, my motherly legacy is written by the kind, loving things that I do or the not so kind or loving things that I do with my children and the days that the Lord has given us together.  One day when I stand before God, I long for the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Now that I have gotten all serious on you, I should probably give you the answer that you've been waiting for...

 The golden rule is: cut out distractions!

I told you that was simple.

It probably sounds too simple.

What do I mean by distractions?  Well, that's what you have to figure out. For me, the phone was a big distraction. My first year of homeschooling, I spent many times running to answer the phone and then I would lose my student's attention and there was a price to pay when I did get off the phone. I didn't really want to be on the phone, I wanted to spend that time with my daughter. I really just felt like I had to answer the phone. Honestly, school was wrecked for that day because of me being on the phone taking calls.  Keep in mind that I had;  just moved from two different states, had 3 children age 4, 2, and less than one year old and also expecting. There was truly no time for me to be running after the phone while teaching kindergarten, pottytraining a 2 year old, and taking care of an infant all while expecting another little blessing! Quickly, the Lord etched in my heart that if I am on the phone, then I am not taking my job seriously.  The answer was to get any distractions out of the way- and so I did.

Things that work for our family to avoid distractions during school hours:

  • Focus on the children and their needs. This is their time to give them ALL of my time and attention. This is one of the greatest things about homeschooling. I love making time(all day) just for them during the week.
  • Phone Message-We have a phone message stating that we will return calls after school hours.
  • Timer-the timer allows us to spend just enough time on one thing and allows us not to lose all our time on that one thing. It may be a very educational distraction, but we can't spend all day on that one thing because we would never move on to new subjects, you know what I mean ;-)
  • Playdates-As much as I LOVE our friends like family, we can't visit as often as we'd like because we are taking our jobs seriously. Truly, there's not much time for playdates, so we rarely entertain the idea or notion.
  • Staying Home-When we spend most days at home instead of running errands, our home is more peaceful and structured. We enjoy our home so much more. Some errands are necessary, but we try to limit those as much as possible.
I hope this is help to a family that may be seeking the answer to this very question.


Sidenote:  There are times of emergencies, visitors, and ministry opportunities that present themselves and I am not trying to take away from those things because we are blessed by those things. Simply, these are random circumstances that do not occur often. For the majority of things, daily distractions that can be put on hold are necessary.  We would never want to miss the opportunity to minister or help someone in need!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ministry and Outreach Project

As promised, I would like to share with you the ministry and outreach program that our family is working on.  During Hannah's hospitalization last year, our family was especially blessed with two programs. I will share our stories at a later time, but would like to tell you the name of the programs. One of the programs was the Ronald McDonald House in Johnson City.
RMH has a Wish List if you would like to donate to this program.

The other program that blessed us significantly was the Child Life program at Niswonger Hospital.
The Child Life program is one of the best programs that we have ever experienced in our journey of parenthood and coping with childhood  illness. Child Life is a huge blessing to families and children!
The hospital also has a Wish List if you would like to donate to them.

 The Lord has placed it on our hearts to gather donations and distribute them among these two facilities. I have personally contacted the Ronald McDonald House and Niswonger Hospital and they have directed me to WishLists on their websites. I would like to extend the offer to your family as well.  If you feel led to donate any items on the list, we would be happy to pickup and deliver these items in one shipment. We would ask that donations would be received to our family by next Friday, October 14th at 6 p.m.
You may click on the above Wish List links to choose what you may want to donate.

You may contact us by email, Comment on this blog, or home phone if you would like to arrange for us to pick up your donation.

Shandee for The Childress Family

History Lesson: Civil War from Scholastic

I found this great resource from Scholastic that is about the Civil War. It looks like my students will find this very interesting. If you are a Scholastic News Subscriber for Level 3, this is a good enforcement of the presidential posters that have been included in the mailings these past few weeks.