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Friday, 17 December 2010
Give a Friend a Goat for Christmas!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Compassion International

Not a real goat...well, someone will get a real goat but not your friend...let me explain.

You know that I've been promoting Compassion International on my blog for some time now. I know that many of you would love to be involved, but just aren't able to financially support a child monthly. Well, here's a way that you can still help no matter what your budget is.

Compassion International has put out a catalog called the "Gifts of Compassion Catalog" where you can send a one time physical gift to a needy child or their family. They have items ranging from $10 to $5000. Like I said - they'll fit anyone's budget.

What did I mean about your friend getting a goat? Here's how it works. What you do is look through the Gifts of Compassion catalog by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links. Then you pick the item(s) that you would like to purchase. In return, Compassion will send you a gift card along with information on how your gift will be used. You give this card to your friend explaining what you did in their honor. What's really neat is that the Gifts of Compassion catalog has suggested gifts to give to your friend along with the card. For the goat, you might give your friend (or family member) some goat cheese, a cheese cutting knife and the card that explains that you've purchased a goat to give to a needy Compassion International child's family. Isn't that a neat idea?! Of course, you don't have to give the extra gift, but it is a cool thought.

Like I said, they have all kinds of gifts for any budget. You can buy mosquito netting for $10 to help a child in a malaria plagued country. You can give $150 to help a child's father open up a car mechanic business. You can spend $500 to give a computer to one of Compassion's child development centers. You can even donate $5000 to help cover the costs of major surgery that some of the Compassion kids need.

There are loads of other things that you can purchase as well from soccer balls to farm equipment. After your money has been spent, you will get a report explaining how your money was used. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to get to the Gifts of Compassion catalog. Thanks for caring and giving a Gift of Compassion this year.

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:29 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 18 December 2010 1:57 PM CST
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Thursday, 16 December 2010
This is One Fantastic Game! And I'm not Playing Games Here!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


Occasionally the members of the TOS Homeschool Crew receive a product that is not exclusively an educational item. When that happens the kids are always excited. So far, each one of these items has been a hit with the family and this one is no different.

When I found out that I was going to be sent Wits & Wagers, a game by Dominic Crapuchettes and distributed by North Star Games, I wasn't sure what to think. You see, when I checked out the website, the only thing I could find was the Wits & Wagers Party Edition and I wondered how I was going to review a party game.

Well, God has a sense of humor. We weren't given the party edition, we were sent the new Wits & Wagers Family game! But, since an upcoming game night had been scheduled at the mission that we direct, we decided to use it with the folks that come to the mission. So, we received a family game that we decided to use at a party! Boy was it a hit!

It's hard to describe Wits & Wagers. It's kind of a trivia game, but you don't really have to know any trivia. The game begins by someone asking a question that has a number answer. For example: "What's the world record number o tennis balls a dog has held in its mouth?" The individual players or teams then write down there guesses on a wipe erase board, put them in order in the middle of the table. They then take their game pieces, called "Meeples" (one large and one small) and place them on the answers that they think are closest to the correct answer (without going over). The pieces don't have to be both put on the same answer, and they don't have to be put on their own answer. After that, the correct answer is read. The answer closest to the correct answer gets a point, if you put your large "Meeple" on the closest answer, you get two points, and if you put your small "Meeple" on the closest answer you get one point. That's it!


I know my brief explanation doesn't give it justice, but it really is simple and a lot of fun. We had folks of all ages playing and everyone thought it was great. How many times have you tried playing a game with a large group and everyone loved it? Well, in this case they did! Every single person gave it "two thumbs up". It is truly a game that the whole family can play and like. The rules are very easy (ignore my babble above), you don't have to know correct answer (just be a good guesser) and everything you need is included in the game (even the wipe erase marker and the reusable scoreboard). What more could you ask for? 

So, how can you get this fantastic game? Most online game sites sell North Star Games. After doing an online search the lowest prices I could find were for around $16. You can also go to the North Star Games website by clicking here or on any of the hi-lighted links above. They are working on a feature where you can find a store near you that sells their products.

If you want to know what the other TOS Homeschool Crew families thought about the Wits & Wagers Family game, click here.

Have fun!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free Wits & Wagers Family game in order to try out and review on my blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 1:58 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 16 December 2010 3:09 PM CST
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Tuesday, 14 December 2010
And Now Presenting - Cooking With Tim!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: General

I'm going to let you in on another one of the Tinkel family secrets. This one is a Holiday tidbit. Here it is...are you ready...it has been a family tradition ever since I can remember to make Chex Party Mix every year for the holidays. Some of my earlies memories are of making Chex Mix in our small kitchen in Pennsylvania. What good memories!

That's why I was so excited when I was asked by Pssst! to do a Chex Mix Party and try out some new recipes with my friends. The folks at Pssst! sent me a serving bowl and serving spoon to help with the party and also a nice canvas bag to give away to one blessed party guest. They also sent a box of Rice Chex to use along with a $10 Visa gift card to buy extra ingredients. Also included were coupons and recipes for three different Chex recipes.

Now let me tell you, these aren't the Chex recipes that we made when we were younger. These are totally different! The one that they really wanted us to try was "Chex Lemon Buddies". Other recipes included "Chex Apple Pie Snack Mix" and "Tex Chex Party Mix"! We were to make them up ahead of time and have a Chex tasting party for our guests.

Well, rebellious me decided to do things differently. I'm liable to be kicked off of the Pssst! team for this one. Most of you all know that my wife and I direct a ministry to the low income housing folks in the town where we live. Part of our ministry includes once a month cooking classes for the people that come to the mission. Well, I decided to have a "Chex Mix Cooking Class" and attempt to make three...yes I said three...Chex recipes in one hour or less...yes I said one hour! I decided to teach the folks how to make the "Lemon Buddies Mix", the "Tex Chex Mix" and the "Traditional Chex Mix".

I gathered all of my ingredients, bowls and utensils. Had my recipes and coupons waiting and was ready for action. Nearly 20 people showed up and we got started. As usual, I had a lot of audience participation. I never do things all myself. I had people involved with stirring and shaking and measuring.

We began with the Lemon Buddies. What a great mix! It was very easy to make and was delicious. This was probably the favorite of the folks.

Next we attempted the Tex Chex Mix. It is similar to the traditional chex mix but you add a lot of hot spices and a few more tasty ingredients like corn nuts and taco chips. This one was popular with those of us who liked spicy things, but many said that it was too hot. It was hot, but I loved it!

Finally we made the Traditional Chex Mix. As usual, it was a hit. After all, anything that continues to be a success after 55 years (it came out in 1955) of being around must be good.

So did we make the hour deadline? Let me first tell you that we made all of these in the microwave which cut down on the time. But, let me also tell you that we made huge batches. We made enough of every mix to feed at least 24 people if not more. Well, each recipe took about 15 minutes to make. That, along with tasting and passing around, took almost exactly 1 hour! At the end, I showed the people how they could make up a batch of their choice of Chex Mix, put it in a decorated zip-lock bag or canning jar and give to friends as inexpensive but delicious gifts.

The party was a hit. Everyone enjoyed it and took some good ideas home with them. They were even talking about other ingredients that could be added to make different flavors and custom mixes. I loved it. Pictures are posted below. To get the recipes for the above mentioned mixes, visit your local Wal-Mart for recipe cards. They're delicious.

Whipping up some Lemon Buddies

Audience Participation

Taste Testing

And more of me - aren't I handsome Wink!




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Posted by tink38570 at 11:38 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, 15 December 2010 12:40 AM CST
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Saturday, 11 December 2010
Good Morning, God.
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

For years I have prayed for my three sons. I've prayed that they would grow up to be Godly young men and adults. I've prayed that they would love the Lord with all of the hearts, souls, and minds. I've prayed that they would look to the Lord for answers and as an example of how to live. Those are not just prayers, I feel that they are God given goals that I have for my children. I am constantly looking for good Christian material that will help me accomplish those goals. That's why, when I received and read through Good Morning, God, a new children's book from Apologia Press, I was very excited.

Good Morning, God is a beautifully illustrated book geared toward children ages one through eight written by Davis Carmen and Illustrated by Alice Ratterree. The book itself is hard covered with a wonderful assortment of black and white and colored illustrations scattered throughout. The pages are not only beautiful but are made of very high quality paper. The book itself looks like the type of book that would be treasured for a lifetime. However, that is not the real reason why I like this book so much.

The real reason is that it simply states the exact goals that I have for my children - to love the Lord God with all of their hearts, souls and minds! The author takes us through the typical week of a young energetic boy. Each day teaches how we can worship  God, love God, learn from God and pray to God in a different creative way. Your child will learn that he can worship God in ways such as what we think about and how we play. The book even teaches how we can worship God in our prayers. It is subtle but straight forward at the same time.

But that's not all! At the end of the book there are questions and suggestions regarding the days reading. Of course, you don't have to break it up into days, this short book can be read all in one day. In fact, the introduction gives several ways that you can use this book with your children. This book really is fantastic!

So, how much is this wonderful book? Only $14.00. You can find this book by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. There's even an accompanying coloring book that you can purchase for $4.00. As you can see, I am a new fan of this book and would recommend it to anyone but, if you don't want to take my word for it Wink, you can read what the other crew members had to say about Good Morning, God by clicking here. And, since this book can be used by homeschooling and non-homeschooling families, I'll close by saying "Happy Home Educating"!

As a member of the TOS Homeshool Crew, Apologia Press sent me a free copy of "Good Morning God" in order to use and review on my blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 8:41 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 11 December 2010 9:26 PM CST
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Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Missionaries Aren't Perfect...
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Family

What is that old saying...Christians aren't perfect just forgiven? Well, that's kind of the way I feel as a missionary right now. No, not as a missionary. Really as a parent.

Every year I try to do something special as a family for Thanksgiving and for Advent. I want my boys to know the real story behind Thanksgiving and not the watered down, revisionist, public school version. I want them to remember the real meaning of Christmas among all of the decorations, business, and secularization of the holiday. For Thanksgiving I always read accurate stories of what happened with the pilgrims and indians. For Christmas I always try to celebrate Advent, the days leading up to Christmas, in a special way. A couple of years ago we actually had Advent candles that we lit along with an Advent story and craft. One year I made them each an advent calendar. This year, I found a great 25 day Advent devotional called A Jesus Advent Celebration written by Ann Voskamp. Ann, who blogs on A Holy Experience, takes us on a journey through the Old Testament as she reminds us of how everything in the Old Testament prepares us for the birth of Christ. After each wonderful devotional, there is a beautiful ornament that you print, cut out, add yarn and hang on your Jesse Tree.

Jesse what? Jesse tree:

 1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
   from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
   the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
   the Spirit of counsel and of might,
   the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:1-3

Of course this passage is talking about Jesus. Jesus came from the line of Jesse, David's father but the analogy goes much deeper than that. As Ann explains, we are like stumps. We have sinned and, just like a fallen tree, we have been cut off from God. But we can live again. A Saviour is coming! We are counting down the days and, as we do, our Jesse tree is becoming more full.

So, what is my problem? Why am I saying that I'm not perfect? Well, it seems that the holiday season always makes me reflect on God and family. It urges me to be a better father and spiritual leader in my home. That's why I try to have Thanksgiving and Advent devotionals. Unfortunately, my good intentions don't bear much fruit the rest of the year. My children aren't used to sitting down for even 10 minutes each evening to devote some time to the Lord. Hence, we always have some problems. Oh, it's to be expected. Joshua's medications are wearing off by that time and it is always close to Jacob's bedtime. Still, though, I should be more faithful, and, therefore, my children may get into the habit of evening devotions as a family.

You would think that it would be easy for a missionary family to have some family time with the Lord. After all, we are missionaries aren't we? We should be used to this. Yes, we are missionaries, but all missionaries are Christians. And, what is that saying that I eluded to above? Christians aren't perfect...just forgiven. Well, I'm sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but I'm not perfect. As much as I try I don't have nightly devotions with my family year round.

But, this year is a new year. It's a new holiday season. Perhaps Ann Voskamp's Advent devotional will lead to better things. Please pray with me that it will. In the meantime, it's never too late to start an advent tradition with your family. We didn't begin on the first day, so for the first few days we doubled up on the short devotions (less than 5 min. each) until we caught up. You can still download and enjoy A Jesus Advent Celebration this year with your family. It's free to download! Just go to Ann Voskamp's blog by clicking here - A Holy Experience - and you will find instructions on how to download this great ebook. Hopefully you too will start a lasting tradition with you family this glorious season. Enjoy!

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:09 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 9 December 2010 12:02 AM CST
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