Sunday, January 31, 2010

Galloping the Globe--Israel

We are trekking through Asia and have gotten to Israel. We are learning so much.

This week we will finish up India and start on Israel...I'm only a couple days behind (which is a great accomplishment for me!)

Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations has plans for week 1 and week 2 of Israel
I found some coloring pages here and here

I like to have Bethany color while I'm reading books from the library. Coloring helps her to focus her attention and she retains so much of what we read. I need to post pictures from last week as we colored rice and made our art from India. In addition we had our Japan meal, which I kind of wimped out on cooking. We settled on Ramen noodles, vegetables and chicken. Bethany was thrilled and I'm thankful that we DID it.

Well, on to planning and printing...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fix our Eyes

It's been a long week and a half! We had computer problems, my hunny had back problems, my girls are having sinus problems and me?? well, just problems! hee, hee!

I went to bed really early last night and am feeling somewhat ready to tackle today. In my Bible study I'm reading Hebrews 12~~especially the first couple verses:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
This week I've been asking myself some questions: such as "What does it mean to fix my eyes on Jesus?" "What do I need to lay aside in order that I can run with endurance the race that is set before me?" "How can I increase my endurance?"

I want to run the race well, and unlike a physical race, I do not know when the end of my race will come. I'm thinking that's where the endurance comes in! I must fix my eyes on Him and ask Him for the strength and grace to run with endurance. For me "fixing my eyes" on Him starts with reading His Word and praying that the Holy Spirit will use His Words to penetrate my life, change my heart and draw me towards Him.

My encouragement to you today is to fix your eyes on Him, the author and finisher of our faith.
All for His glory!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Love Language-Quality Time

I've been reading Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages of Teenagers. Tonight I'm convicted about the chapter on Quality Time. I so want to do better in this area with my kids. I've typed the long quote below directly from the chapter.
Here are eight guidelines for better listening and true dialogue.
  1. Maintain eye contact when your teenager is talking. This keeps your mind from wandering and communicates that the teen has your full attention.
  2. Don't listen to your teenager and do something else at the same time. Undivided attention.
  3. Listen for feelings. Ask yourself, "What emotions are my teenager experiencing?"
  4. Observe body language. Ask for clarification to make sure you know what she is really thinking and feeling.
  5. Refuse to interrupt. Interruptions often stop the conversation before it gets started.
  6. Ask reflective questions. "What I hear you saying is.... Is that correct?" "Are you saying...?"
  7. Express understanding. The teen needs to know that she has been heard and understood.
  8. Ask permission to share your perspective. "Would you like to hear my perspective on the idea?"
Some parents find the idea of asking permission to share their perspective offensive. "Why should I have to ask my teen permission to speak?" The question is not whether the parents have the right to speak to the teenager, they do. The question is "Do you want your teenager to listen to what you are saying?" Asking permission recognizes that she is an individual and has the choice of hearing what is in your heart and mind or not hearing it.
Lots for me to think on....overall I don't think I'm doing terrible in these areas. However I know there is room for improvement! The computer is a biggie for me. I'll be working on something and my girl will come in and start to talk to me. I need to take time to listen to her--either by saying, "I want to hear what you are saying, give me 10 minutes to finish this up and I'm all yours." Or by turning right then and listening to her. We have good communication and I'm so thankful for that. I want to continue to foster that and let her know that I treasure our relationship.

Learning how to be a better parent to my kids is what Works for Me this Wednesday. Head over to "We are that Family" for lots more Works for Me Wednesday posts.

Serve a cup of kindness

As I prepare to teach a mini lesson (for the T & T AWANA class) on kindness tonight, I wanted to share the visual that I'm using. I used a template that I've used before for a different focus. Before it said, "Warm up to a good book." It had a packet of hot chocolate mix and a note card tucked inside. Once they finished the book, they would write a short summary on the note card.

This time it says, "Serve a Cup of Kindness". I am going to talk about the song "I'm a little teapot" and how what we are filled up with will come out when we are 'bumped'. Then I am going to have them give some ways that they can show kindness intertwined with Scriptures that speak about kindness.
Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you."
I'm looking forward to it although I'm a little nervous too!

Note: I used two Stampin' Up stamps (borrowed from a friend) for the teapot and cup.

Homeschool Creations--Giveaway!

Homeschool Creations is having a neat giveaway! She is hosting a giveaway from a company called Little Passports. If I don't win, I may just have to invest in this ESPECIALLY since we are Galloping the Globe this year. Wouldn't that be a great addition to our studies!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Updated Links

I don't have a lot of time for blog reading, however there are so many folks who have really good things to share. When I have a few minutes (or an hour--gasp!) for reading blogs I usually go to the same few that I follow. I've updated the links on my side bar so you can visit them too.

And it's so fun that I now have 9 followers! It's down right exciting! Thanks to you all and to those who read, but don't leave comments or follow. I appreciate you too, really. Too bad I missed the National Delurker's Day--it was January 14. Although, you all, feel free to de-lurk any ole' time you want to.

If you read a really good blog, let me know in the comments so I can visit them also.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Week #3 (in a row) of Menu Planning! I dare say that it's becoming a habit! :) I really enjoy the way it takes the guess work out of "What's for dinner??" at 5 p.m. A couple things that I need to do now are:
  • try to expand our menu choices--make a new meal every two weeks or maybe even every week
  • keep a running list of ingredients that each meal needs
  • take inventory of the pantry and freezer every so often (probably 2 weeks for the pantry and every month for the freezer) so that nothing is getting shoved to the back and not being used.
This week's menu is somewhat bland and even uses one meal that was on the menu for last week. My hunny took me out for our anniversary, so that meal didn't get made. :)

Monday--lasagna **freezer meal** (note to self--next time be sure to set it out to thaw)
Wednesday--chicken and stuffing from last week
Thursday--chili **using freezer Big Beef Batch**
Friday--homemade pizza

Simple, but filling!
For many more menu plans, hop over to Organizing Junkie.

Help for Haiti

My heart is grieving for the Haitian people. In searching for what we can do to help I found these resources:
Money Saving Mom--for every person who blogs and links back to her, she (and her husband) will donate $10. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment or email her. Go to the link for details. She also has a list of about 50 bloggers who are going to also give money for comments and blog links. GO check it out! This is so cool--so many bloggers will give money just for you writing a blog post and linking back to them. Share this with your friends...get the word out.
The Livesay Haiti Blog--a missionary family in Haiti are able to update and give specific prayer requests. Talk about living it first hand...
Compassion International--my hunny and I are going to donate directly to Compassion.

Once you click on Money Saving Mom's post, she gives a superb list of ways to help and then of course, please take time to click on the other bloggers who are also giving through their blogs.

And never underestimate the power and value of prayer. We are praying for hope and peace amidst tragedy and terror that we cannot even imagine.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, "My Refuge and my Fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
Psalm 91:1-2

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Beaver Lapbook

In Science, we are studying about the beaver. What better way to learn and remember than putting together a lapbook!

Here are some resources I found for our beaver lapbook.
HomeschoolShare has a great beaver lapbook for FREE.
Hands of a Child has one that looks great too.
Jimmie gives a wealth of information about creating an Animal Lapbook on Squidoo
Here's a great Squidoo lens on a Beaver Unit Study
National Geographic has a page all about, facts, even an audio of beaver sounds. Be sure to search the National Geographic home page for other information about the beaver. They have a 2 minute video that was good.
Enchanted Learning has a page about beavers

I also had Bethany look through our old (very old) Ranger Rick and Backyard Animals magazines. She found some pictures and stories that we will be adding to the learning. She can also use the pictures to decorate her lapbook.

The Next Study Endeavor

This morning I finished reading The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias. It was a thought provoking book and I enjoyed reading and studying through it.

Next I'm going to read "Romancing Your Child's Heart" by Monte Swan. I bought this book years ago, read a couple pages and put it down. I don't even remember why. Then a couple weeks ago, I came across an e-workbook for the book. So, I'm intrigued. I'm going to read the book and go through the workbook. I pray that it's a good study.

I'm trying to remember where I purchased the e-workbook. I got it along with several other things and I'm sure I can track down the information. When I do, I'll add it to this post.

Do share what you are studying, won't you?

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Menu for this week

Even though it might be easier to just feast off the freezer meals we made on Saturday, I think it would be more wise to continue to make meals and use the freezer ones for busy days. By the way, the freezer meal cooking day was a success. We had fun together and we each came home with 3-9x9 pans of lasagna, 2-9 in pans of chicken enchilada casserole, 2 dozen parmesan chicken sticks, a two cup baggie of big beef batch, and a baggie of the ranch snack crackers. AND, we each paid $27! Of course, some of the ingredients I had on hand and others are just staples that you don't need to buy each time. All in all, a very good deal.

Okay, on to this week of meals:
Monday--chicken and veggies
Tuesday-Black Bean Enchilada Casserole This is a new recipe for us!
Wednesday--Creamy Italian Chicken (crock pot meal)
Thursday--Chicken and Stuffing (our 15th anniversary!)
Friday--Japanese meal (Bethany and I are planning this meal tomorrow. Hopefully it will be a wonderful way to end our study of Japan.)

Check out Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday for more menus sure to please your family.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Freezer Meal Frenzy

I am getting together with two friends on Saturday to put together several different freezer meals. I don't do this very often with friends, but am looking forward to the fun and fellowship that being together offers. To cut down on confusion, I offered to do all the grocery shopping and then we will just split everything 3 ways.

Here's what we are making: (click on the title to go to recipe)
Snack Crackers
Parmesan Chicken Sticks
Chicken Enchilada Casserole* recipe below

The snack cracker recipe makes a huge batch. So I bought two bags of oyster crackers (12 oz. each) and already mixed them up. Even though the recipe calls for 20 oz of crackers, the extra 4 ounces don't seem to make any difference. My daughter Marissa said, "We need those extra 4 ounces--these are GOOD! I divided the crackers 3 ways and hopefully my kids won't eat our part all today. :)
For the lasagna, we are going to make 9 pans (9x9) size.
For Parmesan Chicken Sticks, we are going to make 3 bags (2.5 pounds each).
And for the Chicken Enchilada Casserole we are going to make 6 round (9 inch diameter) pans.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole:
For 6 pans
12 flour tortillas (10 in. size)
9 cups chicken, cooked and diced
126 ounces of cream chicken soup, undiluted*
3 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Assembly directions:
1. Place 1/2 c. soup in the bottom of each 9-inch pan. Spread to moisten the bottom.
2. Tear tortillas into strips. Place a layer of tortillas on the bottom of each pan.
3. Layer chicken (a little less than 1/2 cup).
4. Pour 1/2 c. of soup over the chicken.
5. Repeat the layers, ending with soup.
6. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

Freezing directions:
1. Wrap tightly with freezer paper, foil or place in 2-gallon zip lock bag.
2. Label with cooking directions:
To serve: thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. To bake from frozen stage, add 10-15 minutes extra baking time.

* I don't use that much soup. I use about 1 1/2 cups for each pan, so for 6 pans it would be about 72 ounces. I also use half homemade white sauce and half cream chicken soup. Here is a recipe for white sauce. This is a way to save money and sodium!

I've already cooked all the ground beef/turkey (I used half and half). I'm thinking that we may have left over meat which we will freeze and use for chili or spaghetti.
Next, I am going to cook and chop the chicken for the casserole. Having the meat cooked will help tremendously.

Back to the kitchen!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Preschool Happenings

Maybe this post should be more aptly titled "Preschool is Happening!" Of course, I know kids learn so much without us directly teaching them, however I wanted to be more intentional about the activities I did with Trenton. He loves doing "school" like his big sisters.

I had to get organized or else the days, weeks and months just fly by and I'm left wondering where the time went. Many of my ideas came from the new-er homeschool 'buzz' word:: workboxes. Click on the links below to learn more about them.

Sue Patrick's Workbox System--the official site of Workboxes. (To tell you the truth, I've not read the book yet. Mainly I've just borrowed ideas from others who have read her book.)
Walking by the Way--I've linked to her before because of her posts on activity bags, preschool and workboxes.
Squido talks Workboxes--good stuff
Joyful Mother of Six Children
Homeschool Creations--Jolanthe has some really neat downloads and ideas. I like her blog especially for preschool and workboxes and work folders.

Okay, so those links will give you some information about the workboxes themselves. I'm still tweaking the system to work with our kiddos. (I'll share about how I am using the idea with Bethany in a later post--but to give you a hint...Jolanthe's work folders!)

Basically right now with Trenton, each night I lay out what I want him to work on the next day. I haven't invested in the containers to hold the activities yet, because I really want to buy the 12x12 plastic drawers--and I need at least 6 drawers for Trenton. So, back to what I'm doing right now...laying out what I want him to do each day and then he goes through and does each activity. During the month of December I spent a good bit of time printing and laminating pieces for the system. I'll have more pictures to post later this week.

I am working on a list of activities that he can do and mostly I will just go through the list, pick out 6 and put them in the workboxes. So you can see, it is still a work in progress. He looks forward to seeing what I've picked out for him to do. These pictures were taken yesterday. I found these wooden magnetic numbers at the Dollar Tree over the weekend. I also picked up an ABC pack. I'm excited because I know that workboxes are going to help me be more organized as well as allow Trenton to learn and grow.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week

How about a little menu planning to help the week go better?
Sunday I made the Big-Batch Beef Sauce I froze much of it and the rest I used for tonight's lasagna and still have some left over for a quick spagetti lunch.
Monday--lasagna and cottage cheese bread *recipe below
Tuesday--roast, potatoes and carrots in the crock pot
Wednesday--Chicken Salsa casserole* recipe below
Thursday--Tuna Melts
Friday--Homemade Calzones with cheese with veggies
Saturday--making freezer meals with two friends (recipes and game plan to come later this week!)

Cottage Cheese Bread
1/4-1/3 cup
1 cup cottage cheese
2 Tablespoon butter
1 egg
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoon yeast

Put ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer's directions. I set mine to dough cycle, then shape the loaf and put it in a loaf pan. Put dough in cold oven, set to 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Chicken Salsa Casserole
6 flour tortillas
2 c. diced cooked chicken
1 can cream chicken soup
1 c. salsa
1 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Grease 9x13 pan. Line bottom with small pieces of 3 tortillas. Top with 1/2 the chicken. Mix soup, salsa and broth, pour 1/2 over chicken. Top with 1/2 the cheese. Repeat the layers. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Run over the I'm an Organizing Junkie to find tons of more Menu Plans!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Recap of 2009 and 2010 in a Word

You may remember my post in January of 2009 where I revealed my word focus for 2009--Determined. The word stayed with me all year and definitely helped me focus my efforts and intentions. The one "word" is my answer to "resolutions" which for me always fade before the ornaments are packed away and the New Year's Eve party crumbs are wiped away from the counter. You will see in my recap of 2009 how determination helped guide my year. My recap is in green below.
  • Determined to read my Bible and spend time in prayer. Yes! My relationship with the Lord grew deeper as I made my time with Him a priority. (Thank you Jesus!)
  • Determined to choose joy in my heart (and on my face). I had many opportunities to choose joy and even in the difficult times of losing loved ones, God planted seeds of resting in Him, contentment in His sovereignty and, yes, eventually joy. Honestly sometimes my heartfelt joy was only in the knowledge that He is coming back...
There will be a day with no more tears,
no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
will be no more,
we’ll see Jesus face to face
(Jeremy Camp)
  • Determined to spend time with my hunny and kids; making my time with them intentional and purposeful. I want to spend time with my family (and friends) doing the things that we want to do and having fun doing the things we need to do. Well, is there ever enough time to do want we need to do and want to do with family and friends? However, my determination to spend intentional time helped guide my choices and decisions.
  • Determined to make healthy choices in my eating and exercising. Umm, wish I could delete this one like it never existed in the first place...but it was there, right there on the blog post and now I must face it. Overall I did okay (the good news). I made significant strides in thinking about how I sometimes use food to fill a non-food need (ie emotional eater). I also went through a good Bible study called The Lord's Table by Setting Captives Free that pounded in the truth over and over that nothing will satisfy my soul except Christ. My relationship with Him must become the 'food' I feast from.
  • Determined to make strides toward preserving our memories in scrapbooks and photo albums. I made strides, small, baby step strides, but strides nonetheless. Definitely a work in progress. This year I'm going to research digital scrapbooking. If you have any thoughts or experience with digital scrapbooking--feel free to share your wisdom.
So that's 2009 in review. The word that I can't get out of my mind and the word that I've chosen or rather...the word that has chosen me is

You may be thinking that 'soar' is quite a lofty word, and a lofty goal, however I'll try to explain. I love the verses in Isaiah 40. I want to receive my strength from the Lord, I want to soar on wings He gives me.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

I've also been reading The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias. The subtitle is "How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives". God is in control of my life. Here is a quote from the book and where I got my word for 2010:

Whatever you do, whether it be at work or in marriage, through your language or your ambitions, in your thoughts or your intents, do all and think all to the glory of God (I Cor.10:31) and by the rules He has put in place--rules that serve not to restrain us but to be the means for us to soar with the purpose for which He has designed all choices.

Isn't that fantastic! I love it and that's my prayer for 2010!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Galloping the Globe--India

In my quest to be prepared for school, I'm working on getting the Galloping the Globe countries planned out for at least all of January. That would include Japan, India and Israel. You can view my Japan resources here. By the way, I {heart} Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations. She has made it so easy to put together my weekly country studies.

Homeschool Creations--India, week 1 and week 2
Information on India for a first grade class (I printed off this sheet and Bethany and I will read over it.)

We are going to be truly 'galloping' the globe--spending only one week in each country. Because I wasn't diligent in the fall...we need to buckle down and get busy. I also think that spending one week in each country is fine as my girl is in 2nd grade and will be 'revisiting' these places as she gets older.

Basically my week for each country will look like this::
Day 1--Geography (maps and globe), landforms, flag and stamp passport. We will also start reading the books we've borrowed from the library on that particular country. Each day we will continue reading the books and using the information we find to fill out our country sheet and/or passport.
Day 2--Children Just Like Me book and notebooking sheet (notebooking sheet from Homeschool Creations), clothing and religion. For religion we are using "Window on the World" by Daphne Spraggett.
Day 3--special landform, animal or person from that country
Day 4--traditions, sports
Day 5--Food, art

I may switch what we do on a particular day, but this is the basic outline. I'm looking forward to studying the countries this way.