Families Again
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Families Again
Thursday, 11 December 2008
It's Back! ThanksUSA!
Mood:  cool
Topic: General

In fact, it's been back since Thanksgiving Day!

Many of you have read about John Allen's and my experience with Vision Forum's Jamestown400 treasure hunt. Well, alas, it doesn't appear that VF is going to have another big hunt again this year. But, I found another treasure hunt that, while maybe not as detailed as the VF hunts, is still fun and educational. Thanks USA is an organization started by two sisters (when they were preteens at that!) that raises scholarship money for children and spouses of our brave men and women in the military. One of the ways that they raise money is with their annual treasure hunt. It always starts on Thanksgiving Day and runs through the summer of the next year. Their website gives this description of this years hunt:

           This year's treasure hunt focuses on the fascinating histories of Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota Oregon, and Rhode Island along with the histories of the U.S. Air Force and   U.S. Marine Corps and the history of ThanksUSA.We will tease you, bend your mind and coax you through crosswords, wordokus, word searches, kakuros, anagrams and more as you seek to find the key at the end of each chapter to unlock that chapter's treasure chest. We encourage students, families and individuals to jump into the chapters and learn important historical facts and concepts in a fun but challenging way in hopes of  winning this year's fabulous educational and technological prizes. The clues and puzzles were generated by  several teachers and supporters of ThanksUSA, including two of our past treasure hunt winners and one of our scholarship recipients!

You can register as either an individual or as a youth or school (including homeschool) group. Each hunt is divided into twelve chapters. If you register as a youth or school group, you have to have four chapters done every  three months (the first deadline is Feb. 20). They then do a drawing of everyone who submitted the correct answers for some great prizes for your organization. If you register as an individual, you have until next Sept. to do all 12 chapters. Prizes this year include $1000 gift certificates for the group winners, and laptop computers for the individual winners. The Grand Prize winner gets a $10,000 treasure chest! It's all free, but they do encourage you to donate to their organization. The hunt can be done entirely online or you can print out their puzzle book and send in the answers. Either way, it's a lot of fun and it's for a good cause. Check it out and do it as a family!

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Posted by tink38570 at 12:06 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, 11 December 2008 12:54 AM CST
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Monday, 8 December 2008
Are you tired of the Malls? Shop through my Affiliates!
Topic: Favorite Links

Vision Forum is Having Another Great Sale!

Read my post below for details on this great company!

Check out this great new company that I just affiliated With!

Last but not least. Another great company!

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:40 PM CST
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Over the River and Through the Woods...
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: General

This is the season for getting together with family and friends. Sometimes that means traveling for long distances. Sometimes it means traveling across town. Unfortunately, this is also the season for heavy traffic and long waits - even if you are just driving a few miles. As missionaries, the Tinkel's have to travel a lot. Sarah and I  learned a long time ago that it pays to be prepared. Unfortunately, we don't always prepare. So, this blog entry is just as much of a reminder to get ready for the trip myself, as it is a blog to share some resources that I have found to help make the adventure a little easier.

One thing that we always do at the beginning of our trip is pray. Recently I read a blog written by a homeschool mom who almost quit homeschooling because it was getting to be a hassle. Her kids would hate to get up and get started, and she would be grouchy. They had lost the focus of why they started homeschooling in the first place. Finally she decided to recommit her homeschooling to the Lord. They began to start the day with devotions and prayer and soon found that the joy of homeschooling began to come back. The kids were more eager and she was less irritable. We've found that the same thing happens when we pray at the beginning of our travels. Not only do we pray for safety, but we also pray for sweet spirits and patience with each other. And it works! I know prayer before the start of a trip seems obvious, but sometimes the obvious is what gets left out. Remember, I'm writing this as a reminder to myself as well as a suggestion to you.

Another thing that we started a couple of years back was the prize bag. This is a bag full of travel type games, foods, books, etc. Some of these things I buy ahead of time, and some I buy along the way at souvenir shops or rest stops. We give the boys a time goal and tell them that if they can be patient with each other and not argue, we will give them a prize from the prize bag when the time is up. They love it and keep asking when the next prize time is!

Many years ago I bought a set of old Lone Ranger radio broadcasts on tape that someone was selling on Ebay. We decided to take them on a trip that we were taking. It was one of the best trips ever. John Allen hardly peeped the entire time and Joshua (a baby at the time) was even content. Recently I found a couple of websites that you can download old records and audio books for free. Kiddie Records Weekly, has old kid's records ranging from "Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood" (one of my kid's favorites) to "Manners Can be Fun" (we're listening to that one soon) to "The Story of Jesus". For our most recent advent night, we listened to "The Story of the Nativity" with Gene Autrey. Two other sites that have books on tape are Storynory and Librivox. We don't have MP3 players yet, but we are thinking about getting each boy one so that we can individualize their listening and perhaps make the trip even more enjoyable.

I recently found Family Travel Gear. I had been looking for a travel site to affiliate with for a long time, but they all had things that I felt were objectionable and would not fit well with goals of this blog. Until I found Family Travel Gear. As I was searching their site, one of the first things that caught my eye were G A Henty books on tape. G A Henty was a Christian novelist who wrote historically accurate adventure books for boys. I figured that if they have Henty books, they are my kind of site. And they are! They have the usual travel gear - things for the car (or plane or train) to make the trip easier, safer, more comfortable etc., but they also have an excellent selection of travel games, books and audio books. The audio books range from simple fairy tails for the younger kids, to classics as well as the Henty books for the older ones. I couldn't find one objectionable thing on the site. Check it out!

I hope this helps in your holiday travels. It was a good reminder for me to begin to get ready now and not procrastinate. Have a great trip and a very merry Christmas and don't forget the real Reason that we celebrate.

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Posted by tink38570 at 9:53 PM CST
Updated: Monday, 8 December 2008 11:40 PM CST
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Saturday, 6 December 2008
Our First Advent Night
Mood:  chillin'

I wouldn't say it was a complete success, but we experienced our first Advent Night last night. We decided to go to "Christmas in the City" earlier in the evening and had a blast, but by the time we got home for the Family Advent Night, Mom, Dad and John Allen were ready but Joshua and Jacob had reached their limits. It wasn't a total loss. The lighting of the candle and the reading of Scripture went fairly well. Unfortunately, after the candle meltdown, we had a Joshua meltdown. The craft was less of a success. John Allen made his own, but I ended up making Joshua's and Sarah made Jacob's. We postponed the story until later, but everyone seemed to enjoy the snack! We learn from experience, and, next time, we will for sure start earlier and not have two big family events planned for the same evening. I'll keep you posted as to how Advent Night #2 goes. Have any of you had one?

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:43 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, 6 December 2008 11:23 AM CST
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Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Joshua's Diagnosis
Mood:  not sure
Topic: The Kids

Well, it's official. We got the diagnosis today. Our middle child, Joshua, has Asperger's Disorder. Asperger's Disorder (sometimes called Asperger's Syndrome) is in the autism family or clinically referred to as in the autism spectrum. We have suspected this for a long time, and even hoped that this would be the diagnosis. We  have (or maybe I should say he has) struggled for so long, and we have gotten so many opinions and diagnosis that didn't seem right. All of our reading about Aspies (as they are commonly called) seemed to fit Joshua. We were hoping that this was it - finally we would know what it was and how to help him. Well, finally we do know.

It's funny. At first I was relieved. Now, having typed it out, the reality has sunk in and I don't know how I feel. I guess kind of sad. I don't know why. Aspies are generally very bright kids and can function very well in society. Many very successful people are Aspies. Bill Gates is one. They just move to the beat of a different drummer. We just have to recognize that and learn how to teach, discipline, and guide to that beat. Some idiosyncrasies we can allow and just chalk it up to him being made from a different mold. But there are some areas where he is going to have to break out of that mold. Some social behaviors he will have to learn. There are some things that he just doesn't "get". He doesn't read social cues or body language very well and sometimes becomes very frustrated when things don't happen the way he thinks they should happen. Aspies can sometimes seem very selfish, but they aren't trying to be. They just don't understand. It's going to be an interesting path that God has given us to take. Please pray with us and for Joshua as we travel down that path.

I have mentioned just a few characteristics of an Aspie. I'm sure in the days, weeks, years to come, I'll blog about many other things. Until then, I have found a couple of articles about Aspies that you can read if you want to find out more. One is a very short definition and found at www.aspergers.com. Another longer but touching article written by a 48 year old woman who just diagnosed with asperger's is found on the CNN website. (Don't tell anyone that I just linked to CNN. I'll be kicked out of the FOXNEWS fan club!)

Thanks for letting me ramble and being a good listener. Please do pray for us. Remember John Allen, our oldest. This whole thing has been tough on him. Jacob, our two year old, just goes with the flow. Remember Sarah as well. She may seem tough on the outside, but she has a tender mother's heart on the inside. She has shed many tears for her children (and for me as well). Thanks, beforehand, for all of your prayers.

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:06 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 4 December 2008 1:15 PM CST
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