Subway Sandwich Contest Excludes Homeschoolers

Thanks go to my pastor for the head’s up on this latest offense against home educators. Check out the World Net Daily article, Subway sandwich contest: Homeschoolers not wanted.

Subway Sandwiches has teamed up with Scholastic Books in offering a writing contest open to all school aged students, grades preK-6, except for homeschooled children. One could assume that this exclusion is based on the $5,000 worth of athletic equipment being awarded to the contest winner’s school of choice. However, as noted at the blog, Capturing Today, this money prize could make a difference even in the hands of a homeschooled student.

“Excuse me, but there are MILLIONS of homeschool students in this nation and this is just discrimination. A homeschool student could easily donate the athletic equipment to their homeschool athletic association, local park, athletic center, neighborhood center or the like. I realize they are doing this to have a mass marketing effect, but they could have just as great a media response from a charitable homeschool student donating the prize.”

Exactly!

Here are some links that may be of help or interest:

Subway Contest Rules

For the scoop on the contest, their four story starters and an online entry submission form, check out the above link. My oldest loves to write and is working on a story to enter. We’ll let Subway sort it all out. I’m not suggesting that the millions of homeschoolers out there swamp their contest.  Really.

Contact Subway

And when you do, please don’t be rude. We don’t need to take the malicious road here, though they do need reminded that technically, every homeschooling family out there is a “private school” entity. And we do eat at their restaurants, and just might be among Scholastic’s biggest customer bases.

The link for the online submission form to boycott Subway

Whether or not you choose to take it to this level is up to you. Boycotts do effect change. As Christians, we can turn the other cheek and show them grace, but I can’t help but see this as a purposed dig at my choice on how to educate my children. Home education is already under fire in California and other places. Some issues are important, others aren’t. My freedom to view homeschooling as a viable choice for my children’s education is being challenged here.  So here’s what I think: If my children’s essays aren’t welcome in this contest, then as a home educator, I really don’t feel welcome in their restaurant.

Subway is perhaps our favorite fast food restaurant…and we have only three or four to choose from in our small hometown. Come on, Subway! What were you thinking?

Any thoughts on this?

Summer Slush Recipe

Want an icy treat to keep handy in your freezer for family and unexpected guests? I’ve got the perfect recipe for you! Go to Weekend Kindness and read about my “Slush Shop”…

And I apologize for not getting much blogging done here lately. In between finishing up the school year, nieces’ graduations, traveling to nephew’s wedding, painting my house, helping dh build a chicken house, and keeping up with all my CHICKEN CHORES (good grief the little ladies are a full-time job!)…well, and all the time I’m spending working out (I’ve lost 15 lbs!!)…

More than blogging, I miss reading your blogs! Hope and pray  everyone is having a wonderful May!

God and Sports

Children Playing Soccer Which is more important to the average Christian today, God or sports?

This is probably a touchy subject to cover here, especially this time of year. Most of our friends and family members are gearing up for the early summer blitz of ball practice-filled afternoons and evenings, several games a week (multiplied by however many children they have participating), not to mention all the drive time and day long tournaments, etc. It makes me tired just reading the schedules my sister-in-law emails me. And I do see the draw, don’t get me wrong. Sports are a fun & challenging way to keep our kids in shape and teach them some invaluable lessons about teamwork. But I think active pursuit of sports teaches our kids more than the above.

Growing up, we had a family rule regarding sports. If a game fell on a Sunday morning or evening, or on a Wednesday night, we didn’t go. Non-negotiable. Church always came first. You see, when church becomes “optional”, or when we make exceptions to allow for sports, we’re saying that some things are more important than God. At least in my humble perspective.

I know some parents who view children’s sports as a training field, something they hope may eventually pan out in the form of college scholarships, etc. If only we viewed the spiritual journey of a child’s life in the same way. Planning for their successful future as God’s emissary, rather than hoping they’ll “go pro” in the big leagues where so many players catch headlines with drug charges, DUIs and disorderly conduct at bars. I mean, really, which future does God want for our children?

I know, I know. It sounds like I’m totally against sports. I’m not. We haven’t signed our kids up yet, for the main factor that the hustle and bustle of it doesn’t appeal to our preference to keep life simple and unfettered by spiritually insignificant activities.

My resolve deepens with every Superbowl Sunday. Fans in the pew anxiously eye their watches in church, wanting to get home and get lunch over with before the pre-game show. Evening services are canceled to accommodate this every year. Something in my soul hurts when I see how excited the millions in the stadium get, cheering their teams on as if this game will change history and be more than a blip on the screen when compared to eternity. There is definitely something addictive about sports. Sports are probably more central to conversation among believers than scripture or ways that God is working in our lives. That is so sad! Am I the only one bothered by this?

Matthew 16:26,

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Why do we actively pursue the things of this world and idly stand by while our loved ones die without Christ? Yes, we need Christian athletes out there making a difference for Christ, especially in this culture that worships the arena…but the question remains.

If a stranger spent a day with you, by day’s end, what will they have noticed? Will our speech and passions and collections reveal Christ, or is He just something we reserve for Sundays…if we even give Him that. If a stranger can see it, our kids sure can. What a message. And I know for some of us, it’s not sports, really. It could be our job, our hobby, a person in our life, a different addiction (computer, TV, books, food).

Does He delight us, or is our primary happiness found in other activities? Dangerous questions, and I for sure don’t have all the answers. But I do know this:

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33, NASB

God doesn’t require that we pursue Him only. But He does require that we seek Him first. It’s a case of keeping prioritized. Not always easy to do, is it?

Eating Less, Moving More

That’s what it’s been about at my house this past couple weeks. Hubby and I finally purchased our dream exercise equipment, after watching eBay carefully for the perfect deals. I’ve wanted a Gazelle Supertrainer for years, and he’s wanted a Total Gym…you know, the kind Chuck Norris endorses? Well, I couldn’t get to town to utilize a gym membership, so we brought the gym to me! And I’m loving it, especially when dh works out with me!

And all this exercising is really making me aware of the foods I’m eating. After all, who wants to spend 45 minutes burning fat to put it back on again during a ten minute snack fest? So I’ve been cutting my meals in half, and the first week I lost a whopping 9 pounds! I’ve lost two more since then, and it’s blowing my mind how much food I used to eat. In trying to analyze it, I think “eating more” during my years of pregnancy and breastfeeding (I bf my girls more than a year when possible) became a habit that I never realized. I’m not a big snacker, but I do love real food. In becoming cognizant of eating only until I’m satisfied–not quite full, but not hungry, I’ve noticed that I’m losing the familiar “urge” to eat more. It’s great stuff!  

I’ve also been reading helpful weight loss tips, some from magazines, some from the net, and have gleaned some from friends. Here are the ones I’ve found helpful:

Paul McKenna’s 4 Golden Rules

I knew nothing about this man before a friend began talking about some of his techniques and “golden rules” of weight loss. So I looked him up online and began reading his site, and the forum comments. Gleaned a bunch of goodies. I really liked his tip of squeezing the thumb and forefinger of your left hand together and thinking nasty thoughts about the foods you’re craving when those inevitable desires arise! It works! We ate at Pizza Hut after church this past week, and I opted for salad bar only…watching my family eat slice after slice was hard until I tried this and my stomach actually ceased growling at me! For motivation, and more on these ‘rules’, definitely visit www.mckenna.com.

The Maker’s Diet

My friend Deborah perked my interest in this one, and I immediately got my hands on a copy of the book. You can check Jordan S. Rubin’s book and testimony out at this link: The Maker’s Diet. It’s based on Biblical guidelines for eating, cleansing, etc. I just finished the book, and highly recommend it. Jordan Rubin was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and after seeing over 70 doctors and health practitioners, he looked like a concentration camp survivor…definitely at death’s door. He regained his health 180% by in-depth study of the Bible and following God’s prescription for diet and health. Fascinating reading! And an especially informative Appendix at the book’s end contains simple and delicious sounding recipes, resources (books and websites) for places to purchase organic foods, essential oils (Biblical ones!!), sweeteners, grains and flours, popcorn…non-toxic household cleaners and odor removers…it’s unbelievable what’s available out there. Informative read!

Don’t Get Distracted

Savor each bite. We’re aiming for chewing this a few more times (25-30 or more) than your normal mom-in-a-hurry bite-and-gulp routine. Concentrate on your meal, and on stopping when you feel satisfied. This has really worked for me. That and drinking a ton of lemon-water if I don’t quite feel satisfied when I’m determined to stop!

Get Distracted

Sometimes you just have to let a little time go by and your common sense will overtake those cravings. Get busy doing something else. I REALLY wanted one of the homemade biscuits I’d made to go with supper the other night. I reasoned that I’d skipped the mashed potatoes and gravy, and only had half a piece of the chicken fried steak, so one little biscuit wouldn’t hurt anything, right? Well, I put it off, thinking it would be a nice treat after we’d cleaned up the kitchen, but I kept eyeing the ziplock bag of leftovers, wondering if it was really worth it. By the time we finished clean-up, I was glad I hadn’t gone for it. There are still biscuits in the bag two days later, untouched by yours truly! (Can you tell I don’t feel at all deprived?)

Be Too Smart to Be Tricked

Foods with the appealing titles of “Home-style Fried Chicken” or “Grandma’s Sticky Buns” tempt us, saying that the food must “taste better”…nah, probably not. Think how long you’d have to work out to burn those calories that you’ll forget minutes after having consumed them!

Keep Track of What You Put in Your Mouth

I haven’t been doing this, but I think it’s a great idea to help us be more aware of how much mindless consumption we’re guilty of. One article I read advised to write down every food before you put it in your mouth.

I’ve never been a calorie counter either, but my Gazelle keeps track of how many calories I’ve burned and a 30 minute workout on there says I’ve burned 160-300 calories (depending on how fast and furious I’m going!) so I got online and started researching some of the foods I’d been eating at CalorieKing.com. Yikes! Go get educated…the bottom line is that most fruits and veggies have barely any calories, while the hamburgers hubby fixed for us the other night each contained 218 calories, plus the 70 calorie slice of cheese, the 1 calorie leaf of romaine lettuce, two slices of tomato at 3 calories each…equals an almost 300 calorie meal. I skipped the bun and ketchup, but had a little mustard at 0 cals. Think I’m obsessed? Well, it’s been interesting correlating the two, burning calories and consuming them. (Yeah, I’ve never seriously dieted before!)

Keep Healthy Snacks Around

I’m snacking more diligently to keep from “starving” between meals. Baby carrots, watermelon cubes, celery sticks, bell pepper, broccoli, two or three tablespoons of tuna fish with lime juice and garlic (as a veggie dip), 6 oz of V-8 Juice…things under 35 calories per serving. They’ve really taken the edge off.

Stay Away From Fat-free and Sugar-free Products

I just read a very informative book called Sweet Poison on the dangers of Aspartame. Really wanted to review it on the blog but ran out of time. If you or anyone you know likes diet pop, or diet/sugar-free/fat-free anything, you need to read this book. Really. It could save your/their life. Did you know that Aspartame is even in children’s Tylenol? It’s in most of the available yogurts, sugar-free gum (both things we consumed prior to reading this book), etc. The author’s  compelling testimony of being diagnosed with a fatal thyroid disorder, Grave’s Disease; she was about to have her thyroid destroyed by doctors (irradiated) when she did her own research and found that her devastating health problems (hair loss, vision problems, migraines, weight gainall tracked back to her daily diet pops and overuse of Aspartame. Within 30 days of giving up Aspartame products (de-toxing, essentially) she was back on the road to good health, and her doctor eventually announced her cured of Grave’s disease, which is uncurable. Anyway, visit the link, it’s much more convincing than I am! (My girls are mourning the loss of sugar-free gum…b/c we don’t chew gum otherwise!)

Well, there’s a lot of “thought for food” to keep ya’ll busy! I do want to stress that it’s not about starving yourself, it’s about moderation! There are SO many ways to cut back, as I’m discovering. I’d love to hear your favorite tips in comments!!

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Sorry, Snoopy, had to steal your great line there.

Ran into problems tonight on my way home from our Monday night VBS workshop…thunderstorms and driving rain, that is. Not normally a problem if you have two working windshield wipers, but alas, hubby stole one of my windshield wipers in a pinch to use on his work truck and I didn’t realize rain was in the forecast when I chose our more-economical-on-gas-mileage vehicle, the Saturn. Couldn’t even make use of the one good wiper, as the other one’s metal base would have gouged the windshield!

Talk about a crazy drive home. What normally takes us 30 minutes took 55, easily. Picture me, nose to the steering wheel, trying to keep between the lines…trying to SEE the lines, especially when other traffic approached from either direction causing the wet pavement/road signs to glare everywhere. I kept thinking that I was so focused on the yellow and white lines that a deer could cross the road, or the road could be flooded, and I wouldn’t realize it till it was too late. Thank God we made it home.

You know me though, there’s a moral to this tale.

In the storms of life, keep your eyes on Jesus. My yellow and white lines kept me on the road tonight and gave me a shot at making it to the end in one piece. We had our moments of terror, panic, tears, anxiety, hilarity, of doubting that God heard our pleas for the rain to stop, or the oncoming traffic to be light, but I just gritted my teeth and didn’t let my eyes waver from that yellow center line down the highway. My worst moment came when a vehicle had been following me, unable to pass because of the curvy, hilly highway…his lights in my rear made the visibility even worse, and then ahead I saw another vehicle approaching. Boy, we thought we were goners for sure! And then my daughter said, “Mom! It stopped raining!”

And I could see clearly again. So hang in there through the ups and downs. God’s there, He’ll keep you between the lines…if you follow Him!

Make a May Day Basket

Sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies are packed up, ready to go, and I just got all my baking sheets washed and cooling racks in the dishwasher–it’s time to wake up my 3 year old and get a move on. But first, I wanted to get a quick post up to tell you all Happy May Day!

I told my girls a sure fire way to get company to drop in is for me to get outside and make a mess of myself scraping the house! I’m working on the exterior of our back porch and was covered with paint flecks when my sister and her kids showed up yesterday…then this morning, it was a good homeschooling

friend and her family sneaking by to drop off a May Day basket!

What a treat, and it caught on! I’m so ditzy these days that when I flipped the calendar to this new month last night, I actually looked at the date and tried to remember what was special about May 1st. You see, I used to leave baskets at people’s houses every May Day, but kind of lost the tradition. Our Mom’s group even got together on May Day, bringing baskets and any little neat things we had around the house to use as fillers. Stick some home-made cookies or mini-loaves in a small basket lined with a dishtowel or bright tissue paper, tuck a few flowers from the green house in the middle and a devo book or a candle and you’ve got a good excuse to go bless your neighbors! Get your children involved, they can make the Happy May Day cards…

Your neighbors will be astounded, and what a great opportunity it is to reach out to those around us!

It’s not too late in the day, either! I’ve got to get a move on, we’ve got goodies to deliver!