Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Thanking God for His faithfulness, love and watchcare during 2008 and praying for His continued mercy for 2009.

Side note:
I'd hoped to make it to a milestone post before the end of 2008, however I didn't. So when I come back in 2009, I'm going to make it a fun give~away blog post. Come back and see what you could randomly win. :)

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

2009 in a Word

Last year you may remember I had come up with a word (okay, two) that I put before me as my "vision" for 2008. Those words were: Obey and Joy.

I am currently pondering my word for the upcoming year. I've got a few ideas, nothing nailed down though. Visit this site for the original post and a post on honoring your little word for the year. And be watching for me to post my new word soon. I'm also going to post how my 2008 words helped me focus and press on during the year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Pictures

Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful time as a family yesterday despite being totally sick with the stomach flu. My hunny and I were up most of Christmas Eve night taking care of our little guy who sadly declared he kept "burping". I'll spare you the details, suffice it to say, he wasn't burping.

Our kids had a great time opening their gifts. So fun to see them enjoy each and every gift. They had extra gifts under the tree this year due to the fact that we are not traveling to see family. Our thoughtful families sent boxes to add to our Christmas morning fun.

The rest of the day we weren't able to do much since my Hunny, Marissa and I were suffering from the flu. We slept a lot and the little guys played with their new things. Marissa is feeling a bit better today, so I'm hoping that we are all better by tomorrow.

Praying that you had a good Christmas Day also (minus the flu!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

For the most part we are enjoying the Christmas season. We are definitely enjoying celebrating Advent and reading Jotham's Journey. I'm still trying to get the Christmas cards finished. I've got some baking to do. And I've got some gifts to wrap. Hmm, it looks like I've got my work cut out for me.

I am praying that we are NOT getting the stomach flu. Little Bethany was up most of the night sick, therefore, Mom was up most of the night washing laundry and bringing water to my sick girly. So far the rest of us are still feeling okay....little nauseous, could it be the power of suggestion??

Anyway, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I pray that you take time to celebrate the greatest gift of all...our Savior.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Highlights of the Game

We had a great time at the game yesterday! The weather was great and the 2 mile hike to the stadium wasn't too bad. We had good seats although there were some seriously rowdy guys in our section. Marissa and I agreed that our favorite part was the first step into the stadium--the enormity of it all! It was great.

My team...well, didn't win. Guess you knew that though. My hunny had the audacity to cheer for the Other team. I suppose I can't blame him; Cincinnati is his hometown, me--I'm just the wife. Just kidding, we really did have a great time together.

[When I get the pictures downloaded I'll update this post. Pictures added December 23rd.]

In other news: we will be putting our Christmas tree up tonight. Yes, I know it's December 15th and I really like to have it up by the first weekend in December. It just didn't happen this year, and that's okay. It will be going up tonight and we are all looking forward to the fun that goes along with that.

Bethany started her nativity lapbook today and it is coming along nicely. We are using bits and pieces from here and there. Below are some of the links we've used:
Coloring pages for kids
Nativity Lapbook by Angela Frampton
Christian Preschool Printables--a great resource for mini books, coloring sheets and more!

Well, I'd better start making dinner. Anyone else in a dinner slump? Ideas?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Going to the Game!

My hunny is a social worker at a local hospital. One of the doctors there gave my hunny 3 tickets for the Bengals/Redskins game tomorrow in Cincinnati. :) We are super excited...mainly because I am originally from Maryland and am a life long Skins fan! And to go to a professional football game has been on my hunny's list of "Things I'd like to do while on this earth." Thanks, Dr. for your generosity.

So picture it...Hunny, Marissa and I are at the game with our earmuffs, hand warmers and blankets, on the Bengals side (who are not doing well at all), cheering for the Redskins. Hmmm, I'm not sure that's such a pretty picture. So, if you see me on tv on the Bengals side, don't be fooled, I may be sitting with 'em, but my heart is with the Skins!

Update to come...unless I'm hauled out of there for letting out a whoop! for the wrong side.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Tradition

This evening, our family enjoyed the sights and sounds of Christmas in a quaint nearby village. We invited along some friends, bundled up in several layers and strolled up and down the sidewalks eating cookies and laughing. It's a tradition we enjoy each year and this year was no different.

Coming home, my Hunny put in a CD, got the little ones bathed and in jammies. The house is quiet and I'm listening to the CD Conversations by Sara Groves. Really a thought-provoking CD with so many good songs. We've had two opportunities to meet Sara Groves--she is so personable and kind hearted.

The song that has spoken to me tonight is Going Home.

I’ve been feeling kind of restless
I’ve been feeling out of place
I can hear a distant singing
A song that I can’t write
And it echoes of what I’m always trying to say

There’s a feeling I can’t capture
It’s always just a prayer away
I want to know the ending
Things hoped for but not seen
But I guess that’s the point of hoping anyway

Of going home, I’ll meet you at the table
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be home

I’m confined by my senses
To really know what you are like
You are more than I can fathom
And more than I can guess
And more than I can see with you in sight

But I have felt you with my spirit
I have felt you fill this room
And this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home

Going home, I’ll meet you at the table
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be going, to be going home

Face to face, how can it be
Face to face, how can it be
Face to face, how can it be

Cuz this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

AWANA Patches

My kids enjoy AWANA and I do too. They learn to hide Scripture in their hearts, along with other things. My only big problem is affixing the patches onto their vests. Seriously the patches vexed me until a friend told me about Aleene's OK to Wash-it. I'm so glad that I no longer dread my kids coming home with patches. :)

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to Shannon's Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jeans Giveaway!

I know I've already posted today, but I found a blogger, Karla at Looking Towards Heaven, who is giving away 10 pair of jeans! And I get to enter twice if I comment on her blog and post about it on my blog. So that's what I'm doing, but don't go running over there and enter...because I want those jeans and I'm selfish like that. (Not really, but it's past my bedtime.)

Celebrating Christmas

Christmas is such an exciting time for adults and kids alike. We are celebrating Advent and I wanted to share some of the resources that we are using this year.

Jotham's Journey by Arnold Ytreeide. This is a devotional story book. We just started it last night at church. Our church had a dinner (over 400 in attendance!) and we all had advent wreaths on our tables. The first candle was lit and a lady read the first chapter in this story. Each night there is another reading along with Scripture verses at the end. The story is very good and I'm trying not to peek!
Little Acorns Treehouse--she has an explanation of their Advent celebration here.
A Blessed Christmas--unit study approach to Christmas Symbols by Kathryn Martinez

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Time of Thanks

I love Thanksgiving and honestly try to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving all year round. An attitude of gratitude as my kids and I are studying right now.
Here is a partial list of what I'm thankful for:
  • My loving, dedicated husband
  • My children--loving them, training them, enjoying them
  • The love and care of my heavenly Father
  • The amazing grace bestowed on me each and every day
  • Family members near and far
  • Friends (I love my friends.)
  • The freedom we have in America
  • All the comforts of home
  • The military men and women of our great land
  • The church--both local and universal
Certainly not an exhaustive list...I heard a message by David Jeremiah the other night and he told the story about a lady who started writing down things she was thankful for each day. Over the years she recorded notebook after notebook of 14,000 things she was thankful for. Since those notebooks have been published into a book called 14,000 Things to be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer. Simple things, profound things, forgotten things, favorite things; I think of it as remembering to take time to 'smell the roses'. Here I found a website patterned after the book. I do not know anything about the author of this book and website, however I know what the Bible says about thankfulness.
Just a quick glance...
I Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything give thanks for this is God's will for you, in Christ Jesus."
Ephesians 5:20 "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ:"

Come, ye thankful people come.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

These are the best of days...

I'm thankful for the opportunity to have my children at home. So much goes on in a day and the kids & I would certainly miss a lot if circumstances were different.

Lately Bethany has been sick with a bad cold which flares up her asthma. I've spent extra time curled up in blankets reading to her and cuddling her. Trenton is healthy and busy. He's the first of the kids out of bed and ready to tackle the day. Marissa is continuing to be diligent in her school work. She also is a huge help around the house. Today we are hosting our monthly middle school literature club.

This month the book was Redwall by Brian Jacques. Very long book, but good. Marissa did a combination of reading and listening to a dramatized audio of the book. Her recent eye exam showed that she needed reading glasses again. She is also having eye muscle issues--which makes it difficult for her to read and comprehend. Her glasses have been ordered and we are paying them off little by little. (We had to order Bethany glasses too. She looks so cute in hers! We are hoping to get both glasses really soon. They both have similar eye focusing issues. Glasses might help, however the eye doctor said the vision therapy will also help tremendously.)

Back to Redwall, I really enjoy 'theme parties' and literature club for me has been a once-a-month theme party. Very fun! The main setting for Redwall is a castle. So I've got small cardboard parts that make up a small castle. I'm going to light candles everywhere and a friend gave me this great wall piece that looks like an old church or castle window. I can't explain it, but when my camera is working again, I'll take a picture of it.

The girls have different roles--Connector, Geographer, Quote Master, Vocabulary Expert, Literary Chef, Illustrator, etc. This time Marissa is the Literary Chef. We could have gone all out as this website shows, however we opted for simple...cheese and crackers, apples dipped in caramel, and ginger ale.

Here are some other sites pertaining to Redwall
Redwall Official Website
Coloring pages for Redwall characters
Discussion Guide by Carol Hurst

So, today I'm thankful to have these days and times with my kids. If I looked at all the things that are not going well, I'd just crawl back in bed and pull the covers over my head. Instead I'm choosing to be thankful and focus on the positive.

Share what you are thankful for, would you?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

International Day of Prayer

Tomorrow is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. There is a lot of information online. I'm humbled reading and thinking about the persecuted church. I have so much--so much freedom. I read on one of the websites that the persecuted Christians are encouraged and feel others praying for them. Isn't that amazing. I don't feel worthy to pray for their suffering. Why do they suffer and I have so much freedom?? Feelings aside, the Bible says that our prayers help struggling believers (Romans 15:30-33). The Bible also makes it clear that God is sovereign; it's beyond my understanding--it's faith.

So take time today (and every day) to pray for the persecuted church. I found great resources for adults as well as children here on the IDOP official website. There is a map you can print out, prayer requests, devotions for kids, etc.

Also, a couple weeks ago our pastor mentioned Ken Boa's website as a resource for strengthening our walk with the Lord. I visited the site tonight and it is great. There are tons of archived articles, resources and Bible reading guides that you can download. I saved some and I signed up for his daily growth devotional. It will be delivered to my inbox each day!

Please share neat sites you've found that help you in your spiritual walk!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Recipe Swap

For one of my Works for me Wednesday posts I showed you all my bread that I'd made into bread crumbs. Today I thought I'd give you the recipe for Oven Fried Chicken--why I didn't give it to you way back when, I don't know. I received a comment on that bread crumbs post that prompted this recipe...and it's Recipe Swap day over at Randi's I have to Say. Thanks Randi!

Baked Parmesan Chicken (Oven Fried Chicken)

Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a bowl.
1 slice whole wheat bread (1 cup)
¼ c. minced parsley
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. garlic powder
Wash and pat dry 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (I cut my chicken into “nugget” size pieces.)
Dip pieces of chicken in nonfat milk, then coat with bread crumb mixture.
Bake on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour or until done through.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Tales of Runaway Bunny

As I said earlier, Zoey ran away two nights ago. She picked a fine time to leave was cold and rainy. I felt really bad, because I think I was the one who didn't latch her door all the way. The next morning--no Zoey. I searched the neighborhood to no avail (although I did meet another neighbor that we hadn't met yet). I looked under neighbors' sheds, decks, in bushes and behind trees. I even stepped in major doggie do-do with my good gym shoes. I realize I shouldn't have had my good gym shoes on, however, when you are responsible for losing the family pet, you pull on the closest thing, run out of the house pre-shower, looking feverishly for the bunny.

The kids were sad, but as Trenton said, "Maybe she went looking for her mommy and daddy." How can you argue with that?

She was gone all day--the kids proposed that she was out having an adventure (I was just hoping she wasn't the adventure!) Bethany said that she probably ate grass and hopped around. Trenton said that maybe she saw other bunnies...maybe she did, hopefully she didn't.

Then at bedtime, my hunny looked outside the backdoor only to see Zoey in our empty garden. She ran back through the crack in the fence over the neighbors, so you know where we went....yup over to the neighbors again. There may be some Ms. Manners violation when you visit newly met neighbors twice in one day--the very day you met them. We are in their yard, looking, Zoey.

To bring this story to a close, everyone went to bed except Marissa and I. We saw her finally at 11:30 hopping through our yard. 20 minutes in the freezing cold...we caught her. She is safe and sound in her cage. She knows who her momma is...she knows who feeds her and waters her. :) I'm glad she's home. I didn't realize bunnies had that sense of home like dogs and cats do.

Oh, Bethany made "Missing" signs as soon as she found out Zoey was gone. The above writing is my sweet 6 1/2 year old trying to find our bunny.

What Works for Me--Laundry Edition

I have a couple favorite laundry products. First I must share with you that I love things that smell clean and fresh. That means if the laundry soap doesn't smell fresh and clean, I'm leaving it on the store shelf; if our laundry comes out of the dryer smelling less than fresh and clean, it's going back in the get the point.

So these are some products that I feel are worth their cost for the job they do.

  • Tide--need I say more? I realize I may spend a little extra, however I use less and our clothes come out fresh and clean. I guess I did need to say more.
  • Borax--this box of powdery freshness makes me smile each time I sprinkle some in my washer. This is an excerpt from their website:
"For over 100 years, 20 Mule Team® Borax has been a staple in millions of homes. Whether it's giving your family's laundry that extra kick or cleaning and freshening your home, 20 Mule Team® Borax is the essential multi-purpose solution for every home."

Are you smiling yet?

Visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for more Works-for-me-Wednesday ideas. One last comment--If you do not enjoy doing laundry as much as I do, please don't despair. We all have our 'favorite' things to do, mine just happens to be laundry. To be fair, I don't like putting away the clean clothes, but washing, drying and folding are satisfying tasks for me. And the clothes smell so good.

Runaway Bunny

Stay tuned for The Little's version of this title...
Our bunny, Zoey, ran away from home two nights ago. I know that you are on the edge of your seat, so I will tell you that the story has a happy ending.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I've heard this song by Sanctus Real over and over lately. I had to look up the lyrics so that I could really read them and think about them. I like the chorus--it feels like chaos, but somehow there's peace. I really like the part that says "time to reevaluate who I really am, am I doing everything to follow Your show me what it is that You want me from me."

Somehow this song is related to my post here. I need to take time to think it through--although as a wonderful friend reminded me--not to think too much. She knows me well enough to know that I can tend to overthink things and belittle myself. No need for that, now is there? However, praying that God would show me what He wants me to do and praying that He will give me strength to keep my priorties in place...there's a need for that...everyday!

“Whatever you’re doing” - Sanctus Real

It’s time for healing time to move on
It’s time to fix what’s been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong
It’s time to find my way to where I belong
There’s a wave that’s crashing over me
And all I can do is surrender

Whatever You’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there’s peace
It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see
but I’m giving in to something Heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything I surrender…
Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out

That I’ve wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears
Whatever You’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You’re up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly
Whatever You’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This is something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly
Something Heavenly
It’s time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out

Pumpkin Unit Study Plans

The Pumpkin Runner The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Great book featuring a good-nature sheep farmer from Australia. This book is a Five in a Row book that teaches different character lessons as well as lessons about Australia.

View all my reviews.

I've started a Goodreads account on the recommendation of my daughter. I've only just begun to list the books I read. We are reading the above book next week in conjunction with our Pumpkin Unit Study.

For the first week we are going to study Pumpkins using living books as our base. The next week we will start The Pumpkin Runner along with the Five in A Row curriculum. Our study of Australia is going to be really neat.

I am using Galloping the Globe and Evan-Moor's Australia to help with planning our unit. Gail Gibbon's The Pumpkin Book is one of the books we are using.

Here are some links I found for our study:
Activity Village has a whole bunch of links for Australia.
Education World has a lesson titled Where in the World is Australia.
Lapbooks by Carisa has many lapbooks--including one on pumpkins.
Map Library has printable outline maps of states, countries and continents. Great resource.
HomeschoolShare has a Five in a Row lesson/lapbook on The Pumpkin Runner. Wonderful! All the lapbook components are here, free!

We are going to watch the Wiggle's Safari and visit a pumpkin patch as well as carve a pumpkin. A good friend of Marissa's taught me a song to help remember the longitude and latitude lines. It is 'sung' to the same tune as "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around".
Latitude, latitude, round and round--move hips around like you are using a hola hoop.
Longitude, longitude, up and down--move up and down.

Cute, huh? Then she said put your hands on the equator--and put her hands on her hips. :) Bethany will definitely love this little song.

After we've enjoyed the carved pumpkin, we are going to let the pumpkin get all rotten. I'm going to have Bethany chart her observations as the days/weeks go by.

I'll try to take time to post pictures after we visit the pumpkin patch and finish our lapbook.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Truths in the Midst of Lies

Have you ever had a time when you just felt like a failure, a dud, a person who can't manage to get anything accomplished?? That's me lately. It can't be the winter blahs already--fall just got here. I won't go into all the sad, pitiful details (especially since I'm trying to get something accomplished), however let it be on the record that lies are deadly. Oh, that's right, there's already a record of that, in Genesis, I believe. Eve listened to Satan's lies and we've been listening ever since. I've been listening double time lately.

So what is are the truths in the midst of the lies? Well, the first truth is that God made me and He loves me very much (to quote Bob and Larry). Secondly, this life isn't all about me; I need to get my mind off myself. The more I think about all the blunders, miscommunications, failures as a parent, financial stresses [mmmmmm, zipping my lip now] the worse I feel about myself, the less I'm able to do what's before me and the less I'm able to honor God.

The last truth that I'll talk about today is "Do the Next Thing". So many times, I find myself saying what is the next thing that I need to do. At the "Do the Next Thing" link you will find a transcript of a radio program by Elisabeth Elliot (when she was hosting Gateway to Joy). Even though the circumstances are different, I need to rely on the Lord to guide me to my 'next thing'.

I found this Elisabeth Elliot newsletter titled "How to Simplify Your Life" which is equally inspiring and helpful.

Well, I'm going to get something done on my daunting stack of papers.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Husbandy Post

I enjoy listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Recently I was looking around the Revive Our Hearts website and found this prayer guide: 31 Days of Praying for your Husband. It is a 4 page pdf which I printed front to back and put in clear plastic sheet holders. Now, I can use it to pray for my Hunny!

We went on our date night last Saturday night and we went to see Fireproof. Amazing movie. It really touched on so many real aspects of marriage. It also had a clear presentation of the gospel. Amazing.

The only downfall to the date night was that I ate M & M's and licorice (true confessions of the weak at heart). I paid the price joints were aching so bad. I should have taken my almonds and raisins. I also should have taken Kleenex, but that's another topic. It was great to be out together.

A Quilt Giveaway

You read right...Pigtails and Snails is giving away a beautiful quilt of her own design. Run right over and leave a comment to have your name added to the drawing! Hurry, ends tomorrow Friday, October 17.

Thanks Heather for letting me know about this one!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Studying Beethovan

My girls are doing a composer study with a couple other friends. They are starting out with Ludwig van Beethoven. I've been searching to see what I could add to the study. Here's what I've come up with so far...

Making Music Fun has this homeschool lesson plan for Beethoven
Making Music Fun also has this great coloring sheet.
Kidzworld has this information available.
Here is a pdf of what was happening in the world during Beethoven's life.
Classics for Kids has a lesson plan for Beethoven.
Classics for Kids has this short, concise biography of him and timeline figures.

I'll add more as I find it. I know there are sites where you can listen to the music, however with dial-up we are better off checking the CD's out of the library.

Enjoy a symphony today!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Coming off Sugar

I am doing my best to stay away from sugar. Just a little tidbit about me...I love chocolate. Problem is chocolate doesn't love me. I have been feeling awful--achy joints, headaches, tired, tired, tired (did I mention tired?). I've begged the Lord to take the sugar craving away from me or give me the fortitude to just say no! He didn't take the craving away, but He is giving me the strength each day to make healthier choices.

Today makes 11 days. Yippee! Pass the :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Recipe Swap

The topic for today is Lunchtime Favorites. I guess since you don't need a recipe for peanut butter and jelly, I'd better give you one of our other lunchtime goodies. These work well for lunch or could be an after school snack.

Pita Pizzas
You will need:
pitas--we use whole wheat mini pitas (found at Trader Joe's)
spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese
any toppings you like--we use turkey pepperoni

1. Cut the pitas open.
2. Spoon on the sauce.
3. Sprinkle on the cheese and toppings.
4. Bake in hot 450 degree oven or toaster oven.
Watch carefully--these only take a couple minutes to bake. They will burn easily.

Check out Randi's blog, "I Have To Say" for more lunchtime recipes. Her recipe looks wonderful and the pictures are beautiful.

Soccer Season

We have had a good soccer season. Praise the Lord, my girls have had no significant injuries. I'm also praising Him for the growth in character and skill that I have observed. My little Bethany is a dedicated, hard working soccer player. She has the unique ability to watch where the ball is going to go...and get there (rather than getting in the middle of a 6 girl pile-up!) She is so fun to watch.

My Marissa has really practiced and played hard this year. She is in the oldest division, so it's a regulation size field. She has grown in her ability to encourage the other players and even help instruct them when needed. She has also shown herself a versatile player, playing each position well (except goalie, she has NO desire to play goalie!) Last night, her team won their tournament game. An exciting game, 0 to 0 the whole game, into overtime, 30 seconds into overtime, my Marissa scored the only, winning goal!! Very exciting! Now they play Saturday.

I'll try to post a picture of Marissa soon. Funny how as she gets older, I get fewer and fewer pictures of her. She seems to duck out of pictures.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shh...the prince is sleeping

Parenting sure isn't for the weak at heart. These days baby boy is requiring lots of training, which I know is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. That being said, he is wearing me out. I'm thankful because he is still wearing himself out. I took this picture a couple days ago. He climbed up on my bed, pulled the cover up and fell fast asleep.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Buzzing Fun Bee Trail

Bethany found a bee hive in our mail box. It was dead (including the bees still in it). This sparked a 'bee trail' for us. She wanted to learn more about bees. So last week we did. It worked well, because a local park was having a honey extraction which we went to . It also has tied right into our apple unit study.

We ate honeycomb cereal, and we listened to "The Flight of the Bumblebee". I made ribbon sticks out of popsicle sticks and streamers. Bethany and Trenton used these to dance to the music.

Here are some of the sites I used for our bee study.
lesson plans
Letter B, arts and crafts including bees
Enchanted Forest has a 'hive' of activities

Bethany is an excited learner. She frequently will come ask me if we can study this or that. Currently on her list is Curious George and ice cream. :) I love this kid.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Good End to the Week

Today was a really good day...
we went on a fun field trip. The kids each attended a class, we ate lunch outside, toured the rest of the place, stopped at McD's for an ice cream treat, rested, ate dinner as a family and now I'm listening to the fun sounds of my kids and hunny outside playing soccer.

I'm thankful to God for the good things He has given me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Lewis and Clark Adventure

I am busy planning a Lewis and Clark unit study and I thought I'd share some of the goodness online and also books that I've used....

First some links:
Homeschooling on a Shoestring lists lots of links and books for Lewis and Clark
Homeschool Helper Online offers a free lapbook
Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation has lots of information as well as puzzles in pdf
Smithsonian Education has lesson plans suitable for grades 3-8
National Geographic has a interactive game for kids to play as well as an interactive journey log. Lots of information and pictures here.
Lewis and Clark Trail--map and lots of information
National Parks website has a with lots of teacher resources broken down into grade levels.
Jetihoja Academy posted links as well as pictures of her kids' Lewis and Clark study.
I found information and lesson plans here--on the Weekly South Dakotan site.

Here are some of the books that I've found helpful: I don't have time to link them back to Amazon or somewhere you can buy them...I found many at our local library and I borrowed many more from a kind friend.
Lewis and Clark for Kids: Their Journey of Discovery with 21 Activities by Janis Herbert
The Lewis & Clark Expedition: Join the Corps of Discovery to Explore Uncharted Territory by Carol A. Johmann
Going Along with Lewis & Clark by Barbara Fifer
Lewis & Clark: An American Journey by Daniel B. Thorp
Lewis and Clark: Explorers of the American West by Steven Kroll
Streams to the River; River to the Sea by Scott O'Dell
The Journal of Augustus Pelletier: The Lewis and Clark Expedition A Dear America Book
A Picture Book of Sacagawea by David A. Adler
Animals on the Trail with Lewis and Clark by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent; she has also written Plants on the Trail...

I've learned so much studying about this adventurous time in America's history; hope you do too!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Lasting Legacy

A dear, sweet friend went home to be with our Lord today. She was 94 years old. She taught me many things; a few of them are:
  • To love the Lord faithfully
  • To protect my time with Him
  • To serve with dedication and commitment
  • To laugh often and smile more
  • To serve tea and cookies to everyone who comes through your door
  • To let the little ones play--they grow up very fast
  • To cherish your friends and family
  • To celebrate the small things
I cry because I miss her, but I smile because she is with her Lord whom she loved so faithfully. Welcome home, Mrs. Jeanette.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lighting the Fire of Learning

That's what we are aiming to do, right? We want to ignite the passion of lifetime learning in ourselves and our children.

A friend called me just a bit ago with a great example of this very concept! Her children are also studying presidential elections. She has a son, almost 13; daughters, 11, 8 and 6. Her older two kids decided they wanted to build an election booth (out of a big cardboard box), set up a mock election and everything! She said the kids are so excited...they are getting ahead of themselves in the unit study...asking what are political parties, party platforms, etc. They are going to have two stuffed animals "run" for president. They are going to come up with what each animal stands for and make speeches.

Take pictures, I reminded her. This is learning at it's best!! I'm giddy with excitement.

My Bethany asked me yesterday if we could do something similar, however today she got more ideas listening to me tell about our friends' election fun.

Visit this site for a free sample of paper doll figures of Obama and McCain (scroll down about halfway). You can also sign up for free weekly Dover Samples.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pictures from the Sprayground Park

The last two days we have spent the afternoon at a sprayground park. The kids have had a wonderful time. It has been so fun to watch them. Right beside the sprayground park is a playground and the kids can go between the two of them. Little guy enjoyed doing just that...he'd play in the water for a while, then go run and play on the equipment for a while. Bethany spent most of her time in the water, although she had her fair share of running back and forth.

The kids were tuckered out, as was their mom, after each day. Tomorrow we'll be home, catching up on chores and school.

School is going well. Both girls are studying presidential elections and The Young Peacemaker. We've added other subjects too and next week, we should be full speed ahead. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What I found today

I found a fabulous website for homeschooling--free printables, curriculum, a great blog and probably a lot more. I found this website while I should have been working on another big project...can anyone say procrastination?? Anyway here it is...
Our Los Banos

Check it out and let me know what you found!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer Winding Down

We've been busy lately, really too busy. I've had lots of projects to complete. Thankfully most of them are finished (except school planning and our local homeschool group, both will be ongoing). I have to say that I'm looking forward to the routine of school days. I've been doing a lot of planning and Lord willing it will pay off. We started the beginning of August with one subject for each girl. Then the second week we added another subject. We stopped there because I'm finishing up child care for a school-age boy and it would be too difficult to do much more school than we are doing.

We are doing The Young Peacemaker's book by Corlette Sande. It has been good so far. I'm actually doing that book with all the children and praying that we all benefit from the teaching. Even my little boy has memorized the two key verses: Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God", and Romans 12:18 "If possible, as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." I'm excited about this study. Check out the website I linked to for the 12 Key Principles for Young Peacemakers. We are finishing up #2.

Bethany is doing Math-U-See, Alpha. She loves school and looks forward to it each day. Although I have to mention that when she sees her brother and the boy I'm watching playing, she has struggled to keep her attitude cheerful. It's been a good lesson, not easy, but good.

Marissa is doing her Presidential Unit Study. It is going very well and I'm proud of her progress. She is also a huge help with the kids each day.

Here is a picture of baby boy's 3rd birthday. (His birthday was a month ago.) He had so much fun and so did we. He's a character!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Carson Dellosa Free Clip Art

Did you know that Carson Dellosa offers Free clip art? Well, they do and you can find it here!
Just had to share that with you all. (Be sure to read the user information.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Studying the Olympics

I have found some great lapbook and notebooking links for the Olympics. I have also found other links for the Olympics and thought I would share them here.

Marissa loves the Olympics and is so looking forward to watching them.

Homeschoolshare has a terrific lapbook on the Olympics.
You can find notebooking pages here.
Jelley Jar has several good resources for teaching the Olympics.
Debbie's Digest has a great post on Olympic sites and resources. Be sure to scroll down to view all she has linked to.
A Joyful Keeper has created simple notebooking pages and is offering them for free.

I'm considering having Marissa plan Family Olympics. Several of the sites that I looked at had ideas for that. Have you ever done that? Give me ideas and pointers if you have!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Fullness of God

The summer is moving quickly by. It's been 6 weeks already since I tore my calf muscle. I'm still in physical therapy and it's going well. I'll be very thankful when I'm able to walk for exercise again. Makes me remember to be thankful for so many things I often take for granted.

I read this in my quiet time last night and I thought it was so good. It reminds me of the Amy Carmichael quote that I posted here.

Ephesians 3: 14-20
v.19 "and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

"Filled unto all the fullness of God...this idea suggests the idea not of a completed work but of a process, and of a growing process, as if more and more of that great fullness might pass into a man [or woman]."

"Take a water-bottle, and if that water bottle be only half full, every time you move the bottle, the water in it washes to and fro. Why? How is it that it feels every motion? Because it is not full. But if you fill that water bottle right up till it cannot hold another drop, and then cork it in, you may turn the bottle which way you like, and the water within it will not move. There is no movement, no washing about. Why? Because it is too full to be agitated. The reason why you and I live such poor restless lives is that we are not filled up with the fullness of God."

From Great Texts of the Bible edited by J. Hastings

My prayer is that I'll be so full of God and His goodness that I won't have any room to get agitated! That's a big prayer! My part is to be in His Word...daily. I certainly can relate to that water bottle--the one that's not filled up the whole way. I feel whishy washy in my decision making and child training, I feel empty and lonely, longing for fulfillment (just to give two examples). This ties in with the book I'm working through called "Satisfy My Thirsty Soul" by Linda Dillow. I'm on chapter two; moving slowly because I'm working on the study questions in the back of the book. Talk about challenging! Although so worth the work and effort. God is faithful.

To catch you all up on what else is going on:
We started school today--just one subject for each girl. Marissa started her Presidential Election Unit Study and Bethany started Math (Math-U-See). It went well for both. We will add 1-2 subjects each week until we're in full swing (somewhere around the beginning of September).

(Just a quick note about the Presidential Election Unit Study--I pulled several resources together and came up with my own unit study. I'm excited to go through it with Marissa and will be working on a primary version for Bethany. )

I'm helping out with a bridal shower and I'm making the invitations. My scrapbooking friend, Deb, helped me figure out what to do. They are going to be pretty. I'll show a completed invitation when I get that far.

Our local homeschooling group is gearing up to start in a week or so. I've got a number of responsibilities to take care of for that.

A good friend is coming over tomorrow and we're going to make freezer meals together. Much more fun to cook together.

I'm tired just thinking about it all!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Can't Get Away

I've shared with you before how my Trenton loves music. Any instrument, most any song, he's singing it, strumming to it or drumming it. This week, he's been a little stinker-pot and he's about done me in. Today, he was headed to the bathroom for a sp*nking (not his first for the day and probably not his last). At the same time his crime was committed (throwing a toy and hitting other child in the face!), he also wet his pants. We were in the bathroom and I was trying to get him cleaned up and dressed, so I could administer his punishment. I was hunched over him, pulling on his pull-up and shorts...and he started singing...

"**Can't get away, can't get away, I can't get away, can't get away, I keep running into you"

These are the moments that keep a mom from tearing each strand of hair out of her head, one by one. The kid cracks me up. (By the way, he still got his sp*nking.)

**Rush of Fools

I am an arrow, I am a rocket
I am a river and nothing can stop it
Cause You are the target and You are the atmosphere
You are the ocean that keeps pulling me, You're pulling me here

And I, can't get away, can't get away
Can't get away, can't get away
I can't get away, can't get away...I keep running into You

I am a beggar, You are the table
I am so helpless, God You are so able
And when I get turned around You change my direction
You're so perfect, I'm so broken, here You come with arms wide open
Chasing after me down every road
You're always waiting there


Even when I close my eyes, I can't help but see
There's no place that I can hide, You're such a part of me
I can't get away cause I keep running into You
I can't get away...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Crochet Coasters

I'm making some birthday gifts and found this pattern.
Hopefully I'll whip them right up and post a picture. :)

Here are some other websites I found for crochet coaster patterns.
Crochet Pattern Central
Craft Designs 4 You--cute sun shaped coaster
Crochet Me--crocheted coasters out of plastic bags; I'm going to have to try this!
Colorful Felted Coasters--this pattern could be used for any occasion/holiday

Okay, on to crocheting!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Homeschool Area Makeover

The long awaited unveiling of the Homeschool Area Makeover! Here is the before picture.

Hard to believe I'm willing to put that out there to the world. Our computer desk was ready to break and fall into a heap and we just needed some serious organization. As much as I've tried in the past, I still didn't have a good system. Bethany had constant and excessive paper on her desk. She couldn't ever use the desk part. And that's with me doing a "sort and pitch" about once a week.

Saturday morning after the girls and I returned from our trip, I was looking through mail. I came across the Lowe's Creative Ideas magazine. Rarely do I find a project that jumps out at me, however this one did! I quickly pitched the idea to my hunny who graciously said, "Okay, sure." Then I said, "How about today?"
"Yes, today! And can we be done by the time our company arrives?"
"Yes, Monday."
Off to Lowe's we went. We changed the design a little to fit our needs and this is the end result. I love the towers of organization. I also like the fact that two or maybe three of us can sit at the table at the same time. I love the blue little bucket from Walmart ($1.98). It's the only one they had or else I would have bought more. I'm using it to store my pens, pencils, rulers, etc.

I'm getting all giddy just sharing the transformation with you!

Bethany's desk is under the table and it is serving as an extra support for the long board. She still has access to the drawers and uses the board as a table top. We still have some things that I'm not sure what to do with, but at least it's mostly contained.

I'm really thankful for my hunny, who helped me complete this project in two days. He certainly supports our family so well in so many ways.

Note: please visit and click on the recent magazine (Jul/Aug.08). It's a pdf and I didn't have time to wait for it to load. There are some other neat projects in there. At some point, we must have signed up for a paper copy because we get ours in the mail.

House guests

We had some very good friends visit TWO times--once on their way through to another state, then again on their way back home to their state. What a treat for us! We've known these friends for 11 years or so and it was hard to watch them move back to their 'home' state 8 years ago. God has done a marvelous work in each of our families individually and together as friends. We are still very close and so are our children.

One day this week we had a total of 11 kids in the house and 5 adults (plus one dog, one rabbit and 2 guinea pigs). Amazing! Everyone got along beautifully even with me not able to get around. I had to let go of my want to be hospitable and settle for directing from the couch. No one else seem to mind--especially since there were so many people I was able to delegate without putting too much on any one person. Although, the husband is a wonderful cook and I did rely on him to make dinner. That was a real treat. The wife was a servant as well--getting drinks, napkins, cleaning the kitchen and a myriad of other duties. We also tried to get in some talking time (of course!:)

We miss them already, but enjoy keeping in contact through phone calls and emails. Hug yourselves R Family...we love you guys!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Homeschool Ideas

I've been catching up on some blog reading and saw this post on Little Acorn's Treehouse. In clicking on some of the Mr. Linky's I found this list of advice from a veteran homeschooler, Heart of the Prairie. I liked her advice about the pencils and erasers. I also liked her idea about the steno pads for spelling. I've used steno pads for assignment books, vocabulary notebooks and spelling notebooks. They are handy, although I seem to get confused when I start turning pages--I can't tell the beginning of the book from the end.

Soon I'll be posting our homeschool room makeover! It was very fun to do and not too hard. I'm very thankful that we did it before I hurt myself or else it wouldn't have gotten done. I still have a few things to find a 'home' for, but other than that, we are organized. :)

Please share your homeschool ideas, leave a comment or post it on your blog and let me know. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas and enjoy reading what works for other people.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What slows me down

  • a traffic jam
  • super hot weather...I think I wilt in super hot, humid weather
  • an illness of some sort
  • a torn calf muscle

I'm a do-er. I have trouble sitting down and doing nothing--especially when there are things that need to be done. Okay, I admit it, I'm a "Martha". Remember this post where I was running hard after Him? I said "God is good to continue to reminding me of what He wants from me." I really said that. (Boy, blogs have a way of keeping you accountable for your words!)

Now back to the list of what slows me down...the last one reads "a torn calf muscle". Yes, that's me, right now, since Monday evening. I've always said that exercising is hazardous to my health and now I've gone and proven it. I was just starting out my workout at Curves when I felt a pain in my calf similar to a 'charlie horse'. I tried to stretch it out and started working out again. Then I heard a SNAP. Then a pain I'd like not to describe. The snap was like a rubber band and that snap was my calf muscle completely tearing.

The doctor said no weight bearing (okay, good I'm tired of carrying this weight around anyway). I'll be recovering for at least 4 weeks. Of course, God is still good and I'm trying to learn what He has for me for the next month. It's been so difficult to be down. However, when I am up (like to use the bathroom) the crutches are going to do me in. I'm pretty much a mess--I've got pain all over my body from my head down to my toes. My hunny is concerned that I'm going to do more damage to myself (or someone else) with these crutches.

So, I'm slowing down--who am I kidding---I'm down. I start physical therapy next week and hopefully then I'll be able to put some weight on my left leg. My right leg is rebelling--kicking and screaming that it has to do all the work. And as for my mind, I'm trying to slow it down as well. To use my time wisely and focus on what I can my Bible, write letters, work on lesson plans, etc.

My sweet kids are really pitching in and keeping the house in order. Marissa is doing a fantastic job with the cooking and cleaning. And, I'm trying not to be too much of a nag from the couch.

I've got more to share with you especially about our out-of-town friends who will be visiting; however I've got to go elevate and ice my leg. If you hear a big crash, it's just me on my crutches.

Seek and you will find

My Bethany is very sensitive and I've watched her sensitivity to the Lord grow over the past year. She has a sweet sincerity before the Lord that just melts my heart.

A couple days ago, she asked me where her Dora lantern was. Her great-aunt Sheron gave it to her and she wanted to take it to bed with her. I told her I didn't know and she said "that's okay because we learned in Sunday School yesterday that if you seek you will find."

She is applying God's Word in her childlike ways. She did find her lantern too. :)

(Note: I don't have any affiliation with the Dora lantern link--I just found it and linked to it to give you an idea of what Bethany was looking for. )

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's the Brady Bunch!

As I said yesterday, I'm helping my sister as she is recovering from surgery. She has a great family with a husband and 5 kids. It's a blended family (hence the Brady Bunch). The kids are ages 12 and under. Mixing in my kids, we had quite a housefull today! They all did great though. The kids mostly played outside--the bottoms of Bethany's feet bear the proof of that. :) Marissa said that the washcloth will never come clean...what a pessimist...or is that a realist? 

My sister is doing very well and is a good patient. She is walking around appropriately, taking her medicine and resting adequately. It was really an easy day. She had me psyched up for heavy duty parenting--rather "aunting" and the kids did wonderful. 

Some things you should know about my sister: 
  • she is extremely giving--she had 4 bags of clothes and goodies waiting on me. Hand-me downs from her kids and her husband plus yard sale finds. 
  • she is the queen of yard sale shopping. She finds the best deals and the best stuff. She gave me a pyrex bowl that is so fun! It's yellow and squarish. When I return home, I'll take a picture of it. 
  • she is tons of fun and has a great laugh.
  • she thoroughly loves my kids and hunny. 
What more could I ask for in a sister? 
It's been my privilege to help her (although honestly I didn't feel like I was doing much today). 

I did make this dish for of them and one for my grandparents and aunt, whom the girls and I are staying the nights with. It was yummy. 

Ham and Hash Brown Casserole
3 cups of frozen hash browns
1/4 c. butter melted
1 cup diced cooked ham
1/4 cup diced onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Press hash browns in bottom and sides of 9 in. pie pan. Drizzle with melted butter and bake in 400 degree preheated oven for 12 minutes. In bowl, mix ham, onion and cheese. In another bowl whisk eggs and milk. Put ham mixture in pie pan, then add egg mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes in 350 oven. 


Monday, June 23, 2008

Driving adventures

My girls and I are on a vacation of sorts. 

We spent a couple days with a good friend of mine from high school. We had a good time. She lives in a beautiful area full of mountains. 

Now we are spending a couple days with my family. While driving here today, we had an interesting adventure with a bottle of Sprite. The bottle would not come open, so after much twisting and smacking it smartly--it opened. And all I have to say to the driver of the brown jeep, I'm sorry we sprayed your windshield with Sprite. I'm sure glad that Marissa hung onto the bottle or I might be making a different apology from behind bars.  And to set the record was my doing. I had to hand the bottle off to her quickly so that it didn't spray all the van. 

Okay, enough said. 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Momma's Brag Post

Bethany loves to draw and craft. This spring she took an art class and LOVED it. Here is her watercolor painting of the farm. My sister was so kind as to give Bethany sidewalk paint. I'm not sure who had more on them--the sidewalk or Bethany. :)
Lastly, here are my two characters. Bethany dressed Trenton in this suit and her in the dress, so that they could "sing and dance". They had so much fun.
I haven't blogged much about my littles, although they keep giving me blog material! Trenton is potty training and it's hilarious. He's got it down for the most part. But he makes some funny comments--like the first time he went standing up he said,"Wow, mom that was awesome!"

And Bethany is gearing up for a trip we are taking and she has packed so much stuff, I'm not sure she'll be able to fit. She assures me that it is all stuff she 'needs'. She's taking two babies because they are twins...and doll clothes, books, paper, etc. the list goes on.

They are neat kids and growing up fast. I'm trying to enjoy each day with them.

Running Hard after Him

Lately I've been reading some good books. One is called "Satisfy my Thirsty Soul" by Linda Dillow and the other is "A Young Woman after God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George.

A friend of mine recommended the first one. And another friend is working through the second one with Marissa and I. Really neat! Marissa and I had our first get together with my friend. I'm very thankful that I have good friends who invest in the lives of my kids.

Today, we were challenged to make our time with God a priority, meditate on choosing the best--not just the good or better and lastly to commit to giving our day and our lives to God each day. Romans 12:1 says to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.

So, my resolve is to make sure I've spent time reading God's word and praying before I jump into my day. If I can make time for other disciplines (like exercising) then I can make my time with God a priority too.

It's neat to see how the other book "Satisfy my thirsty soul" fits into this. This book focuses on giving God the worship He deserves and the worship He wants from us. Worship as a lifestyle. On page 30, Dillow says, "Come learn about worship as a lifestyle. As you understand how to bow your words, work, pain and every area of your life, obedience will become a joy." Did I read that right? Obedience a joy?? Not only does this sound like my two words for 2008, but it also is something I continue to struggle with. God is good to continue to reminding me of what He wants from me.

And by His strength, I can do it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Teaching about Presidential Elections

Marissa is studying Presidential Elections over the summer. I'm also going to do a smaller study of elections with Bethany. I am looking forward to learning myself--there are parts of the election process that I do not understand, nor remember learning about. Sorry, Mr. Michael.

Here are some websites I've found that have good information.

This blog post has some good insights about Teaching Kids about the Presidential Elections.
This site has a free Presidential Lapbook.

Well, this is what I have found for now. My plan now is to organize the information and books into a logical sequence, then plan out day to day what we will study.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nature's Fury

After I posted this serene story about the shade and it's deeper meaning in my life, and my sweet friend, Naomi, left a sweet comment....I can barely bring myself to share the violence that took place there. Yesterday evening, Marissa went outside to find bird head and feathers scattered all around. It was pretty awful. Thankfully, my hunny went out when he got home and cleaned it all up. And, I'm so thankful that the kids stayed inside in the afternoon which is apparently when the crime took place. Marissa said that was God's doing because the kids practically live outside when the weather is good.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Father's Day Ideas

As Father's Day quickly approaches, I found these neat ideas.

Just call me Jamin! has a great post on Father's Day Lapbooks.

This site has a whole list of Father's day activities, worksheets, games, crafts, etc.

Let me know of good ideas you have for the special father in your life!


We all enjoy the cool shade of a tree on a hot summer day. I was out playing with the kids this morning and pushing Trenton on the tree swing. As I was out there reaping the benefits of the tree, I thought of how my time with God is like that shade.

As I spend time in God's Word, I'm calmed, cooled and refreshed for the "heat" of what comes next in my day.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Little Drummer Boy

Our little guy shows great musical interest and ability. He was thrilled to watch a friend play the drums and even more thrilled when that friend let him play. We were at our friends' house for their boys' 16 birthday party and in their garage they have a drum set and an electrical guitar. There were also some sort of speakers because I'm sure they could hear us in the next county. :)

Trenton had so much fun. He really gets into it.

Aside from the music, we had a wonderful time. We've been friends with this family for over 10 years. We've watched their boys (they have 3 altogether) grow all aspects. They also homeschool and have been an encouragement to me. Trenton enjoys hanging out with them, in fact our whole family does.

This evening, I'm thanking God for good friendships.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Weigh-in Day

Oh me, oh my, my weigh-in day at Curves. (Just a quick side note: I love Curves. I love the 30 minute work-outs, I love the circuit training--resistance training and cardio, I love that my body is not quite so achy, I love the accountability--I paid my money--you can be sure I'm going to be there.)

I've lost a total of 3.5 pounds and 5 inches. :)

Pretty good, seeing how I still indulge in the occasional hot fudge sundae from United Dairy Farmers.

I am trying to get better at keeping track of my eating and limiting sweets. Looks very easy when I type it. Harder to live it.

Here's to livin' healthy and being a bigger loser next month.

Sweet Strawberry Sweetness

Yesterday my girls went strawberry picking with a friend. I stayed home and napped the little guy (yeah, I'm a wimp when it comes to 90 degree heat and high humidty!) But thankfully they braved the heat. The reward was sweet strawberries. Lots and lots of them. The u-pick strawberries were only $1.29 a pound!

This morning I made 10 8-oz jars of freezer jam. Yummy! This winter we are going to enjoy the strawberry sweetness so much.

I'm going to try to go once more next week. I'd like to freeze some strawberries whole for smoothies. And of course, we are enjoying them straight out of the colander.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sitting in Worship Service

Our 6 year old, Bethany is sitting with us in the Sunday Morning Worship Service. Last fall, my hunny and I attended a seminar about this very topic. The speaker was informative and had some good ideas for helping children learn to worship God and give back to Him during the service. She had an article published called Worship Wiggle Busters (Christian Parenting Today, Nov/Dec 2000). You can read the article online here.

I'm in the midst of making Bethany a notebook--part of it is her prayer notebook and the other part will be her church/sermon notebook. Her prayer notebook has the week divided up and she prays for different things each day. I've included pictures of family, friends, pastors, US leaders, etc. as well as pictures for things we are thankful for so that as she prays she can direct her focus. I'm also trying to figure out a way to put pictures of different attributes of God, so that she can express her praise and worship to God for who He is.

The sermon/church part of the notebook will have a place for her to draw words in the sermon that she understands and as she learns to read and write, she will also begin to write words and sentences.

Some other books that you may find helpful on this topic:
Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman
The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer

I also remember hearing Elisabeth Elliot recommend practicing at home by listening to a sermon CD or on the radio. Have your kids sit with you on the couch, listening as they would during a sermon.

I'm going to get busy on Bethany's notebook, so I can show it to her before Sunday. What a fun way to prepare to worship the Lord together with our church family.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer...around the corner

We've had a beautiful weather week. The sun has been bright and the skies have been mostly clear. And I had a breath of fresh air today...a friend came to visit! I called her this morning to see if she had ideas on how to get adhesive off the inside of my silverware drawer. She had some ideas, then we got talking about what we were planning on doing today. It was decided that she and her four kiddos would come to our house. Very Fun! It's been a long time since we've done that and our kids played well together and we were able to do some fun school stuff. (I'll tell you about that in a minute.) After she left, I realized how refreshing it was to spend a few hours with her, talk about things that concern us--or what just down right makes us laugh, and let the kids play. So, friend, thanks for coming over today!

She introduced me to "mini office lapbooks". They are lapbooks that contain all sorts of information that serve as reference materials to your children. It's sort of like a "Trapper Keeper" from the '80's or an office cubicle. It can stand up and help focus your child in his studies and it can serve as a wealth of information. For example, my kindergartner's mini office lapbooks will consist of one math and probably two for reading. This website, is terrific and were my friend got most of her printables (free, I might add). In one of her mini reading offices, she has:
  • Alphabet chart
  • all kinds of phonics charts--blends, vowels, digraphs, etc.
  • chart of the months
  • days of the week
  • color words
  • and on it goes :)

I'm having a blast with lapbooks and so are my kids. I'm even getting friends excited about lapbooking. So fun. When I'm finished compiling the girls' mini offices, I give you a peek.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Grandma's Cinnamon Raisin Bread

It's been so long since I've posted a recipe, you all probably thought I'd stopped cooking altogether. I found this recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread and it is scrumptious!! I checked out the book, America's Best Bread Machine Baking Recipes, from our local library.

Grandma's Cinnamon Raisin Bread
1 1/4 c. water
1 egg
1/4 cup skim milk powder
1 1/4 t. salt
2 T. packed brown sugar
2 T. butter
3 3/4 c. bread flour
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. bread machine yeast
3/4 c. raisins

1. Measure all ingredients except raisins into baking pan in order recommended by the manufacturer. Insert pan into bread machine.
2. Select dough cycle.
3. Add raisins at "add ingredients" signal.
4. When finished, dump out onto lightly sprayed counter. Shape into loaf and put in lightly sprayed loaf pan.
5. Place in cold oven. Set oven temp. to 350 degrees. Set timer for 25-30 minutes.