December 27, 2008

Two Days After Christmas

Praying everyone had a blessed and wonderful Christmas. So much has been going on here that I haven't been online very much lately. The week before Christmas my husband was sick so most of my time was spent taking care of him and of course my 'lil girls. He recovered pretty quickly but a week ago I came down with the same sickness and mine did not begin to vanish until today. I spent Christmas Day in the Urgent Care center. Praise God, I am doing a lot better now and we are slowly getting our house back in order. It's amazing what Christmas and a sick Mama will do to make a house quite messy! My girls were wonderful about helping out all they knew how and now my two oldest are sick and I am doing my best to take care of them as I continue to recover. They spent the morning watching cartoons which I finished off the Christmas cards. So much going on I never did get them out on time. We still need to bake the rest of our cookies too and probably will do that next week.

Despite all the illness we did have a nice Christmas. We celebrated two days early because my husband was going to be working Christmas (who knew he'd have to take the day off to take me to the doctor!). My girls enjoyed their gifts and having lots of time to just relax with mommy and daddy which we don't often have.

Well, little one is napping now so I should go rest up a little while I have time.

December 12, 2008

Holiday Time

I can't believe it's been so long since I have posted here. We have been so busy lately I rarely find time to sit and enjoy any time on-line unless it's to pay some bills or search for information for the girls for school. Today we are taking a much needed break. The girls are happily playing in the front room and I am taking a little time to unwind before we have lunch.

We are late in starting our Christmas preparations this year. Next week we will be putting up our decorations and making cookies. Dh has to work on Christmas and Christmas eve this year so we will celebrate a couple days early.

My girls are going to be singing in a Christmas Program on Sunday so if I can get my video camera to work right I will try to get it uploaded to YouTube so I can share it here. I can't wait to see them, they love to sing!

I haven't even mailed any Christmas cards yet or bought any gifts. I was telling my husband I feel kind of stressed due to those things still needing to be done and he had to gently remind me that those things are not what Christmas is all about anyhow and to just do what I am able and the rest will just have to wait. It is so true, we get all caught up in the holiday spirit often forgetting the real reason we are celebrating.

Just in case I don't get back here before Christmas, may you all have a lovely and blessed Christmas with those you love.

In Him,

November 29, 2008

Happy Late Thanksgiving!

We've had sick little ones in our house this week so I didn't get to post on Thanksgiving.

We had out Thanksgiving meal on Tuesday this year and it was a nice and quiet time with our family. My husband and I and the girls enjoyed a cozy meal together and then spent some time just hanging out and enjoying each other's company.

I pray everyone had a wonderful and blessed day!

November 21, 2008

Getting Ready

My husband always works Thanksgiving Day so we always have our meal ahead of time or the day after. This year it will be either Monday or Tuesday so I am gearing up to cook this weekend. I've already made dough for rolls and put that in the freezer and also made my pie crusts which are in the fridge. It will be a simple meal this year but as always, full of good things and love.

Tonight I made homemade pizzas so the kids are happily watching "Kung Fu Panda" and eating right now.

We're going to take next week off to de-clutter the toys and papers around here. Our town just started a new recycling program so the kids are really anxious to fill up the big blue dumpster that was delivered to us. So since they are in "toss out mode" I thought I had better take advantage of it!

School is coming along slowly for us this year... I am thinking of going through all the texts and seeing if we might just skip ahead on some things. My 8 year old seems bored with her math sometimes and spelling too so I am going to quiz her on some things to make sure we are not holding her back too much. Both 8 yo and 6 yo have read way ahead on the readers they have for this year so I will most likely be doing some major book shopping at the start of the year. It's often hard for us to keep up with their veracious bibliophilic tendencies :0)

Well, I better head off for now. 1 yo just came in holding her diaper sand saying "Ewww!" so I know what that means. :0) Have a blessed weekend y'all!

November 18, 2008

Bible Study: Romans (Part 6)

(If you missed the previous posts in this study click here to catch up. Sorry for the delay, we've been without Internet for a few days due a problem with our ISP.)

One of the outward signs that the Jews had to show their faith in God was circumcision. Paul is speaking about the significance of that outward sign. Circumcision was a sign that they were God's chosen people. It had nothing to do with their own faith in Him. (Romans 3:3)

God will judge us according to His standards, not ours. We can only be justified if we speak according to His Word. We can't assume we are more righteous than God nor can we continue on in sin "knowing that good will prevail". God wants us to do good in all things no matter what, our liberty in Christ doesn't allow us to freely sin. God will still judge all sinners. We have no room to judge others as we are all sinners. God is our only judge. (Romans 3:4 - 10).

Romans 3 : 11 - 18 really show what the world's attitude is towards God. How the "average" person thinks and acts. Really, all of us, Christians alike can have these attitudes at times because as we know there is not one person that is perfect in this world. Only God is true perfection.

"The law" as spoken of in the Bible refers to God's law (Levitical law) that was written in the Holy Scriptures before Christ was born... God's word spoken through the prophets. As we know, Jesus came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17), therefore Christians are not "under the law" so to speak, we are to follow the teaching of Christ as he taught when her was here on earth to fulfill prophesy and establish Himself as God's Son on earth. The law speaks of God's judgement of people on the earth. There are many works people were required to do in order to avoid God's holy wrath. No one had been justified as of yet because Jesus hadn't been born yet. The law teaches what sin is. By knowing the law, people would know what things were sin in God's eyes. (Romans 3: 19-20)

We are all sinners and fall short of God's glory. As believers, however, we are righteous in God's eyes and justified by our faith in Christ who came to fulfill the law. God freely gave His son and justified us because He wished to (by His infinite grace). (Romans 3:21-24)

God has shown His righteousness to us through Christ, by forgiving our sins that have YET to happen, through Jesus' shed blood. He shows us His justice and He justifies us. (Romans 3:25-26).

We need not seek glory for our works. It is not by works that we are glorified nor justified, it is by our faith in Christ. Whether we are Jew or Gentile, we are justified by our faith and not some outward act such as by the law. However, we aren't to abandon the law, we are to hold up the law and stand by it. (Romans 3:27- 31).

November 9, 2008

Long Week...

Wow, it sure has been a long week here, I am just blessed to have some time tonight to sit and blog and enjoy a few quiet moments.

Our oldest daughter has been sick all week. It's a bit of a long story but the main point is she suffers from some digestion issues that cause her stomach pain and she also feels weak and tired a lot. She was on a medication that was supposed to help her problems (it did while she was on it) but the doctor has weaned her off and the withdrawal symptoms from getting off are seeming worse than the initial problem itself. She has been having flu like symptoms along with stomach pain for almost a week now. She is getting better slowly, but she is still not well enough to do her school work or to play like normal with her sisters. We are praying for healing and that by the end of this week she will be past this withdrawal period and feeling better. Please join us in that prayer.

It's amazing now much we can take for granted with our kids. I honestly didn't realize how much of a help my daughter was to me until she was sick. I mean, I appreciate her so much and I honestly do realize that she helps me a lot, but the extent to which she helps is amazing and I am so blessed to have her. She is a wonderful, sweet and helpful girl!

Our one year old also chose this week to start "acting two". That is what we call it when our children get into a phase where they are around two years old and show signs of what people call "the terrible twos". Basically, she has spent the week being very demanding and crying for me all the time (when she normally would not) and just being generally challenging in all areas.

So, sitting down right now with a cup of hot tea, a bag of my favorite chips and a bowl of salsa and spending a little time on-line is wonderful. The girls are all nicely tucked into bed and my wonderful husband is enjoying a karate movie that he's been wanting to watch all week but has been to tired to enjoy.

I'm going to work on the next installment of the Romans Bible study, so if you've been reading along, look for the post tomorrow.

Praying you're all having a blessed Sunday and that you will enjoy a blessed week as well.

November 5, 2008

Vegetable Gardening - Planning

I tend to plan things WELL in advance... that's just the kind of person I am :0) So today I was in the mood to think of next years garden. This year was my second attempt at an indoor herb garden. We did *ok* with it... a very nice basil plant and a reasonable sized cilantro plant were the fruit of our efforts and both were well cared for and well used as well. Next year we plan to go a little larger scale.

Seeing as we are in the desert southwest (a.k.a., the HOTTEST and DRIEST part of the country), it can be a bit challenging to plant a garden. We can't really afford to re-do our entire backyard with potting mix to plant an in-ground garden.

That being said, I have been looking into "box" (or container) gardening. I'm planning to buy 3 Garden Patch boxes and several bags of soil in preparation for our new garden venture.

We have several seed packages we have been saving so we are planning to plant tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, okra, cucumbers, squash and herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, chives and mint).

My next step is going to be researching organic fertilizers. It may be really dry here but we sure do get lots of bugs!

October 31, 2008

Christmas Planning

Ok, ok... I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet. But I am one of those people that waits till the last minute every year to start thinking about Christmas.

We try to keep things simple and make sure our children remember the real reason for Christmas. One thing I like to emphasize to them is that we should take more joy in giving than in receiving. So this year I thought it would be nice to find something we could bless family and friends with that would be fairly simple to make (handmade gifts are always best!) and not too expensive either.

I saw these in a magazine the other day and thought we might just make them. I'm hoping to find some really pretty boxes to package them in. Of course we will decorate them nicely was well! It's a really easy recipe and they look SO GOOD! :0)

October 28, 2008

No more "ba"!

I am so happy to say that I think I have finally weaned 1 year old from her nightly "ba-ba". My baby just could not go to bed without a bottle! It really worried me because of her teeth. I didn't want to let her sleep with a bottle and ruin her teeth, but she is VERY stubborn and in order for anyone in the house to get sleep, we chose to give in to her.

A couple nights ago, we came home really late and I honestly forgot about the "ba". I put her down and she slept straight through. Last night I gave her a cup of water and she slept until 4 am, at which time I did give her a bottle of milk because she was honestly hungry (she's always hungry, LOL!).

Tonight, she went down fine again, as long as she had 6 yo's baby doll and 4 yo's stuffed puppy. They were happy to loan them to her for the night.

I plan to have a bottle ready for her for the early morning but if she wakes up tonight I will offer her water.

So far, so good... let's just pray this will last!

October 16, 2008

Great Deal!

We decided yesterday that it would be a good time to go shopping for winter coats for the girls. Where we live it doesn't get extremely cold in the winter but we do like them to have nice warm coats for evening time and outdoor activities. I figured for 4 children we would likely spend about $150 to $200 for coats. However, I was so happily surprised when we went to a Ross store and found the coats for $15.99 each! The larger ones are coats that retail normally for $70! So for under $100 they are all warm and ready for winter now. Here is a picture of what the coats look like.

I chose the larger style for all three bigger girls and the smaller one for 1 year old. They are all nice and warm and cozy with a furry type lining and hoods. The smaller one also has a zip out liner that can be worn as a light jacket. If you live near a Ross, go take a look and maybe you will find the same deal!

October 9, 2008

Our Evening

My oldest daughter and I were sorting beans to soak for dinner the next day and I just had to take a picture because she looked like such a little lady helping me out. Isn't she sweet? :0)

While we were working with the beans my other three daughters decided to have some Bible reading time on the sofa. Too cute! :0)

We had such a nice evening waiting for Daddy to arrive home from work.

Praying your evening was a blessed one too!

Bible Study: Romans (Part 5)

Today I'm continuing the study I have been doing on The Book of Romans. If you missed the past part you can find it here.

Without God's law there is sin and there is still sin with his law. Sin did not "go away" when God gave us His laws nor when Jesus came to earth. Sin still exists. (Romans 2:12)

His law is what we will be judged by. Hearing (knowing/reading) the law is not what makes us justified, it is obeying His law that justifies us. Obeying God's law because of "intuition" shows us that God's law rules His creation, whether we "know" the law or not. His law is within us as His creation, He put it in us to recognize His commands because we were created by Him. He speaks directly to us with His law which is in us by nature. (Romans 2:13 - 15)

God will judge us - by what we have done, even though no one else may know about it He knows about all that we do. God's people need to know His law, and learn from it... obey it, and use it to teach others about Him. We need to realize that the truth is in His word. (Romans 2:16 - 20)

We also need not be hypocritical, we must "practice what we preach". Being hypocritical about teaching God's Word is blasphemy. We do not show ourselves to be Christians if we are hypocrites. Non-Christians could theoretically be mistaken for Christians by their actions (if they are "good", so to speak) and can actually judge Christians because of their "good deeds". (Romans 2:21 - 27)

Although we are commanded to obey God's law, our actions are not what makes us a Christian. It is our hearts. Our commitment in our hearts to Christ. It is not by men that we are to be judged but by God Himself. Yes, we need to obey God's laws but not to the point to thinking that that is what leads to our salvation. Our hearts need to be turned to Christ to be saved. (Romans 2:28 - 29)

I'm really enjoying this study, I hope you are too. I'd love to have some comments and hear your insights as well.

October 6, 2008

Our Homeschool Journey

After homeschooling for 4 years now, getting up every day and teaching my kids is just a way of life. I really don't give it a second thought. "School" is just what we do, it's how we live. When I get into the topic of homeschooling with a non-homeschooling parent and it really gets me thinking. Why did we decide to homeschool?

Our homeschooling journey started when our oldest turned 5. We were planning to send her to a Christian school, but our finances ended up not allowing us to afford to do so. We have many, many reasons why we don't want our children to go to a public school, to our only option was to homeschool.

I had no idea what homeschooling entailed when we started off. I felt that I could do it, at least in the younger grades. My cousin's wife was homeschooling their children so she gave me some basic information on what I needed to do to get started. I had no idea how many curriculum were out there nor had I ever attended a convention or met any other homeschooling parents. That first year was a very hard one. I second guessed every thing I did and didn't really have any mentors to help me along. We eventually joined a homeschool support group which was a big help to us. I began to meet other homeschool moms and get a little home insight into how others manage their homeschool day.

We then began to attend a church that has a very high number of members that homeschool. This was a realy turning point for me in our homeschool journey. I really began to see more older children that had been homeschooling and were so well mannered and articulate and just plain smart. It was so encouraging to our family.

Every year of homeschooling has gotten better for our family. I think my biggest challenge has been to create structure in how we "do school". I have also really had to work hard to break myself out of the vision of teaching as it is done in a classroom setting.

This year we are doing things in such a more relaxed manner yet we still maintain structure and are able to get things done. My children are becoming more confident of their abilities and I am learning how to work with each one of them as individuals while still being able to work on certain subjects with them in a group.

The reasons we continue to homeschool are so numerous. Having my children with me and knowing what they are learning and helping them shape their beliefs and knowledge is priceless. Being able to teach my kids not only "book knowledge" but "life knowledge" means so much. Watching my older girls help each other learn as well as watching them learn to care for their baby sister is such a blessing.

We also love to watch our children prove all of the stereotypes of homeschoolers wrong. I keep hearing people say that homeschooled children are not social. That just amazes me! Whenever I meet a homeschooled child (not just my own!) they are so articulate and social, it is a delight. Most children (especially teens) that I meet from public schools are often quite introverted and really have no idea how to relate to other aside from peers of their own age group.

Knowing that my children are receiving one on one attention from a teacher that truly cares about their education (me!) means so much. Choosing books for the girls, based on what they enjoy and watching them get so excited about learning is wonderful. I could go on and on but I really need to get to sleep because we have school in the morning. :0)

Have a blessed day!

October 3, 2008

A Matter of Prespective

God's blessings are so good, I always wake up every morning thinking of how much God has blessed me and my family.

I didn't always think this way. When I was a "baby" Christian, I had just come out of a bad state of depression. The negative thought patterns that had developed in my mind, over the course of many years living a worldly life still continued in some ways even after I gave my life to the Lord. I spent a long time continuing to worry about things and trying to "fix" them myself. However, with God's grace and His word to guide me I am now so aware of every little way He blesses us each day.

Lately I have been reading all the news reports about the economy. We have also been feeling the pinch here at home and watching the struggles that friends and family are enduring because of hard times financially. The funny thing is, despite any struggles we face we feel so amazingly blessed and are happy and joyful every day. In fact, I have honestly never been quite as happy in my life than I am now.

God is just so good and I just felt tonight that I wanted to share my feelings on His blessings. No matter what we may endure, money problems, health concerns, losing a family member, etc, God is bigger than all of those things and can give us joy despite them.

O my soul, thou hast said unto Jehovah, Thou art my Lord: I have no good beyond thee. (Psalm 16:2)

Here's one of my favorite praise songs, I hope you enjoy it too...

October 1, 2008

Kitchen Fun

My girls and I are about to have a fun day in the kitchen! We are making a meal for a family at our church that has a new baby and is moving. We are also going to be making coffee cake, chocolate chip cookies and a cookie pizza (a recipe given to me by a dear friend) so that we will have treats ready for the next several days. I'm going to freeze the cookie dough so we can bake a few at a time as we need them for dessert and snacks. When I do this, I then take out just as many balls of dough that we need then let them thaw on the cookie sheet and then bake as the recipe calls for. It should be a fun day!

September 28, 2008

Menu Planning Monday #3

It's been a super busy week here. All 4 of our girls have been sick and 1 year old is teething AND sick with a cold. Not fun, but we are pulling through and getting slowly back to normal. I've got to do some grocery shopping tomorrow so thought I would jump in on Menu Planning Monday and get myself organized for the upcoming two weeks.

With the cost of food going up so quickly I really need to keep myself in line with the menus this time as to stick to our budget. I took a very specific inventory of what we have on hand and have planned around those items. This is what I have come up with, in no specific order of day as to allow for schedule changes and such.

  • Lentil Stew, Oatmeal Pan Rolls
  • Lasagna, Salad
  • Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Refried beans, lettuce, sour cream, salsa
  • Chicken Stir Fry, Rice
  • Jamaican Red Beans and Rice, Salad
  • Shepherd's Pie, Salad
  • BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (Crock Pot), Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, Chicken Noodles
  • Beef Stew with Dumplings
  • Pinto Beans, Collard Greens, Born Bread, Hot Dogs

Bible Study: Romans (Part 4)

I can't believe it's taken me so long to get to this post, I do apologize to those that are following along with me in this study.

We did not go to church today due to our children having colds. We are about to do a Family Devotion Time so I thought I would quickly add to the series that I have been doing on the Book of Romans. We finished Chapter one last time so today I am starting in chapter 2. If you are new to this study, you can read the previous posts here.

OK, let's get started...

In Romans Chapter 2 we are first warned against judging others because we too do the same things as those we judge (maybe not the "same things" but sin in general , we too are sinners so we should not judge others sins). We are told that God judges according to truth. God will judge us that judge others. This is something we really have to be careful of as Christians. It is very easy to fall into the trap of holding others in judgement without thinking of our own sinful nature.

In verse 4 it says that it is God's goodness that leads us to repentance. Judging someone and condemning them of their sin can't make a person change, it is only by the goodness of God that a person can change their ways. God will judge us righteously according to our own works (verse 6).

We are told in verses7-11 "how" God will judge us. If we have patience in doing well, look for glory and honor and incorruption, we will gain eternal life. However, if we are factious and do not obey God's truth we will receive God's wrath.

Let's keep these things in mind as we continue to study the book of Romans and as we have opportunity to fellowship and spend time with our brothers and sisters in Christ. More on Romans to follow VERY soon... :0)

September 23, 2008

Sick Day

Yesterday night my 4 year old kept telling me she had a "sticky throat". She was saying it with a funny face and laughing so I thought she was making a joke. She seemed fine and I didn't think too much about it. Well, this morning she woke up with a fever and I realized she must have been getting sick yesterday. So, today we had a "sick day". She (and her sisters too of course) got to have popcicles and watch some morning PBS TV shows and generally relax a while.

She is still a little feverish but doing somewhat better and so far no one else in the house is showing any signs of the illness. Praise God!

I'm hoping to get the next part of the Bible study on Romans up before the end of this week. We have had a busy past several days and I haven't been on-line much. It has been such a blessing for me to read through Romans again, I pray this study is blessing all who are reading along with me.

Hope everyone is having a blessed week!

September 19, 2008

Cheesy Ham and Veggie Chowder

September is when I really start to think a lot about warm meals. Even though it can still get quite hot outside around here, I begin to crave nice warm comfort foods. My kids really like potato soup. I found a copy cat recipe on-line for the potato soup at Wildflower Bread Company and I changed it up a bit and my girls love it.

This time I made the soup, I wanted to come up with something a little more hearty since my husband is a person who likes to have meat with all his meals. After taking a peek to see what we had on hand, I came up with this variation of the recipe that we all love. This recipe makes A LOT so be prepared to freeze some (it freezes great!) or serve this at a get together. Your guests will love it!

Cheesy Ham and Veggie Chowder

1 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb. bag frozen corn
2 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 lb. bag frozen cauliflower
1 lb. bag chopped frozen broccoli
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
1/4 head of cabbage, chopped
1 lb. diced ham, smoked turkey sausage or crumbled bacon
4 Qts. chicken broth
1 stick butter, divided in half
1 c. whole milk
1/4 c. corn starch
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1 block cream cheese
Season salt and pepper to taste
sliced scallions for serving

In a large (8 or 12 Qt.) stock pot, melt 1/2 of the butter. Add onions and celery and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until veggies are soft. Add broth and vegetables. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Mash a few of the potatoes right in the pot to release the starch as a thickener. Stir the corn starch into the milk then slowly pour into the pot while stirring. Stir in cheddar cheese until it melts. Cut cream cheese in small pieces and stir in until it melts. Stir in dill. Stir in ham or sausage or bacon. Season with seasoned salt and pepper to your taste. Finish by stirring in the last of the butter until melted. Serve garnished with bacon bits and sliced scallions.

September 18, 2008

The ABC's Of Homemaking

I saw this on Girly's blog and thought I would participate, it was fun! If you want to play too, post it and leave me a comment.

Aprons--y/n If y, what does your fave look like?
I only own one right now, I made it and it's a bright red/brown/gold pattern. I have another cut out with a pattern of grapes that I need to sew up.

Baking--Favorite thing to bake?
anything! I LOVE to bake!

Clothes line?
I wish we had one, we have an electric dryer.

Donuts--Have you ever made them?
No but I would love to try!

Everyday--One homemaking thing you do every day?
laundry, dishes, cook, vacuum

Freezer--Do you have a separate deep freeze?
No but I want one!

Garbage Disposer?

Handbook--What is your favorite homemaking resource?
The Internet

Ironing--Love it or Hate it? Or hate it but love the results?
Hate it and never do it unless it for a sewing project. My hubby is the best at ironing and doesn't mind doing it either.

Junk Drawer--y/n? Where is it?
2 in the kitchen

Kitchen--color and decorating scheme.
eclectic, homey

Love--what is your favorite part of homemaking?
being at home with my family

rarely but if I have to I will

Nylons, machine or hand wash?
rarely wear them but I machine wash them when I do

Oven--do you use the window or open the oven to check?

Pizza--What do you put on yours?
pepperoni, bell pepper, onion, black olives

Quiet--What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Internet, read or just sit and think.

Recipe Card Box--y/n? What does it look like?
yep, and a binder and a blog

Style of house--What style is your house?
it's a sort of generic style around here, most of the homes look the same

Tablecloths or Placemats?

Under the kitchen sink--organized or toxic wasteland?
petty organized, could use a little work

Vacuum--How many times per week?
2-3 a day, we have carpet under our dining table

Wash--How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
too many to count!

X's--Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
yep, I have lots of lists

Yard--y/n? Who does what?
not much out there but rocks, the kids pick up their toys and hubby pulls weeks or hires someone to do it

ZZZ's--what is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
turn on the dishwasher

Anyone else want to play the ABCs?

September 16, 2008

A Blessed Mess

Have you ever looked at your house when it was messy and thought of how blessed you are? Normally, that is not my first reaction. But last night it was. We had a very long day, running errands all over town and came home to quite a mess which it was much too late to tackle. I just stood there and thought of how much God has blessed us. The fact that my kids have all these toys that many children only wish they could have... the fact that there were lots and lots of groceries to put away that many families cannot afford... the fact that the laundry was piled up reminded me of all the people who are in need of clothing in the world. I didn't see the mess, I saw the blessings bestowed upon us by a mighty and awesome God!

We spent a lot of time last week organizing things. Bookshelves were sorted and reorganized in anticipation for several packages of brand new books that are due to arrive any day to add to our homeschool library. Closets were sorted and organized in anticipation of an upcoming shopping trip for new winter items, the kitchen was cleaned and organized for yesterday's shopping trip.

This morning the house is still a bit messy and my girls and I are off to clean it right now so we can spend the afternoon learning.

It's easy to feel down when faced with the never ending job of keeping your home in order, but when those kinds of thoughts try to get you down, just remember that all that needs to be cleaned up and kept in order are true blessings from God.

Pray you are having a blessed day!

September 12, 2008

Relaxing Afternoon

This is the first time in a while that we have taken the afternoon off just to relax. The girls were just tired today so I thought the afternoon off would do us all good. I am catching up on some of my favorite blogs while they watch one of their favorite Strawberry Shortcake videos.

I'm planning to post the next Romans Bible study installment in a day or two, stay tuned and have a blessed weekend!

September 8, 2008

She did it!

All of my babies were bottle fed. One thing I wore I would never do is to let a baby go to bed with a bottle. I know how bad it can be for their teeth and all. That was before I met my youngest daughter. Let's just say she is VERY stubborn :0)

So, now she is a year and 4 months old and STILL wants her "Ba" at night.

Last night my husband and I were just discussing how this is not good for her and trying to come up with some ideas on how to wean her from it.

When I woke up this morning I found a FULL bottle in her crib. Looks like she is starting to wean herself. Praise God! :0)

Potty training and weaning from night time bottles. Two of the things in life that I am NOT good at.

September 6, 2008

First Week of School Re-cap

We've had a great first week of school! We finished up today because Monday is always our day off since my husband is off work that day. We tend to do errands on Mondays as well. On Saturdays we do a couple cartoons and pancakes for breakfast in the morning, then chores and while 2 year old naps we do a light school day and prep for church the next day. Usually a lot of reading and then a worksheet or two while I prepare food for church lunch. After that they can go outside and play or read or play whatever they like while I sneak in a little craft time.

I'm really pleased with our choice for math this year. The girls love the Horizons books and always want to do math first. What a blessing!

I'm taking things really slow and easy for our 4 year old for preschool. Some mornings if we have time we watch Sesame Street. She also loves We use different methods of teaching her the alphabet and numbers. Her older sisters love to work with her with flash cards or a large white board or just some plain paper and crayons. She also loves all of her workbooks that have things to cut and paste as well as having all of us read to her.

Our 2 year old is loving being read to as well and also is having fun learning to use crayons.

6 year old and 8 year old are both very eager this year which I am very pleased about. It makes our school day go by so much faster!

September 4, 2008

Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes

Have you ever heard the song "Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes" by The Wiggles? My kids love that song and they love The Wiggles. So after taking a look around on-line I found a recipe to make the Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes. We made them today to have with our lunch and they were surprisingly good!

I'd suggest a double batch for a large family, although they are quite filling. The recipe was found on the Wiggles website.

Here's the song in case you have not heard it, it's really super cute for kids :0)

September 2, 2008

First Day of School!

Today is our official "First Day of School" and we spent all day yesterday getting ready. We do a lot of our schoolwork at our kitchen table which is in an area that also serves as our dining room, an area to sit and read and relax and for me to sew. It us a very multi-purpose room that we really have to keep on top of cleaning or it gets messy really fast. Yesterday the girls and I spent a good part of the day getting the bookshelves organized so that we'd be all ready to start this morning.

Here's a little tour of our dining/school area...

The picture above is of two of our bookshelves. We keep all of our school books on these as well as some of my husband's books and Bibles as well as my cookbooks. Up top I keep a carousel of scrapbooking scissors, a globe, a road atlas, some sets of crayons, colored pencils and markers and a toy for 2 year old that is just for school time. Each of our school aged girls has her own shelf for books, folders, binder, etc. The table to the left of the shelves is an extra one in case I need to separate my talkative little ladies in order to get them more focused on their studies. :0)

Above is the dining table and by the window are a couple of pots of herbs... cilantro and basil. Our basil is growing really fast, I really need to trim it back! On the wall we have an alphabet chart and another chart with letters, numbers, colors, etc.

Here is "Daddy's Chair" next to our storage cabinet. Inside of it we keep various school supplies, coloring books, crayons, and pencil boxes for each of the school age girls. If they kept those on their personal shelves then our 2 year old would surely empty them several times a day. :0)

Finally, above you see our sofa that the girls love to cuddle up on to read. Next to it is a laundry basket full of books that don't fit on the shelves. On the other side is a bookshelf full of reading books and games. We have the play pen all ready but it might get stored away if we don't end up using it. 2 year old is in an "in between stage" where she loves it at times and really doesn't like it at all other times. I'm sure by the end of today I will decide if we need it up or not. It would be nice to take it down and enjoy some extra floor space for playing :0)

Hope you enjoyed the tour! :0) I better get going so we can get started!

September 1, 2008

Bible Study: Romans (Part 3)

If you missed any of the posts I have done on the book of Romans, check my left hand side bar and click the link under Lables that says Romans. That should catch you up to where we are now.

As I said, Romans shows us that God wants us to be aware that not only is He a loving God, but we do need to remember that he will show His wrath against us if we do not obey His commands. God's truth can't be hidden by anyone, no matter how much they try.

(Rom 1:18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness;

God's truth can be seen through all that He has made, that is why it cannot be hidden.

(Rom 1:20) For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:

We need to keep careful watch on nour minds and thoughts. Pridefulness, vanity and turning away from God can only lead to foolishness and idoletry.

(Rom 1:21) because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. (Rom 1:22) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (Rom 1:23) and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

If we fall into this trap God will surrender us and we will fall into sin. Leaving your mind open to false teachings which go against God's Word can only lead to sin.

(Rom 1:28) And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; (Rom 1:29) being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, (Rom 1:30) backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, (Rom 1:31) without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful:
Being in sin like this or consenting to those that are in such sin can only lead to death.
(Rom 1:32) who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.

I'm really enjoying reading through Romans because it's so full of sound doctrine and straightforward truth. There is no denying God's Word and Paul certainly does not mince his words in getting across to us the expectations that God has for our lives and Christians.

I'll pick up next time with Romans Chapter 2.

August 31, 2008

Menu Planning Monday #2

We've got a tight grocery budget again this payday so I wanted to use what I could find on sale at the grocery store along with using up all the things we have in the house already before buying a lot of new food items. Here is my menu plan for the next couple weeks. Some of these will inevitably end up giving us plenty of leftovers so I have not assigned a specific day to any of them. I like the ability to change my mind on which dinner menu to use based on how much time I have available or if we have guests and such. For breakfasts we will have things like oatmeal, pancakes, breakfast burritos, quesadillas, etc. For lunch we will have things like sopita, sandwiches, wraps, bean burritos, Ramen noodles or other simple things I think up along the way. We usually always have fruit with breakfast and lunch and veggies or salad with dinner.

frozen pizzas
hot dogs, homemade baked beans, rice
tandoori chicken, peas, potatoes and rice, curry cauliflower
pinto beans, greens, rice
Jamaican Style red beans and rice, corn muffins
potato soup, salad
Jambalaya, salad
Italian sausage, with peppers and onions, penne pasta
spaghetti with Italian sausage, broccoli
chicken spaghetti
homemade pizzas

August 30, 2008

Cleaning Day

In anticipation of getting back into our full time school schedule on Monday I decided to do some serious cleaning today. The main areas of focus were the kitchen and the laundry.

Normally, when I decide to do a day of cleaning, the one area I choose will look great but unfortunately, unless my husband is home to keep an eye on the girls, once they finish their chores, the rest of the house can go downhill really fast. Playing while Mama is busy is hard work after all! :0)

The cool thing is today was not like that at all. For some reason my girls thought it would be fun to help me! They have been working hard right alongside me all day and all I can say is that I am one proud Mama! :0)

Here's my 8 year old organizing the closet in the girls bedroom.

Any my 6 year old tackling Mt. Laundry in the front room.

And my 4 year old organizing the DVD pile under the TV.

I'm so proud of them! Did I say that already? I think I did. :0)

While they were attending to these jobs I was hard at work in the kitchen. I still have a few things to do like really scrub the stove top and put away a couple of piles on the island, but for the most part I'm pretty happy with how it is looking.

I'm especially happy about the sink! I love an empty sink. I rarely if ever see the bottom of mine. In fact I honestly don't recall the last time it was totally empty.

Well, I'm off to handle a few more odds and ends around the house and prep for dinner then I think the girls and I will relax a while and enjoy a movie together. I pray you all are having a blessed day!

August 28, 2008

No More Nap Time?

A couple days ago I went to put our one year old down for her nap and was very surprised when she just cried and cried. I figured maybe since my husband was at home that day it just upset her routine and I let her get up and have some time with her daddy. The following day we woke up late and my husband was home so I let her skip her nap and then yesterday we were out all day so she missed her nap again. I thought that today she's probably be VERY tired and want to nap longer than usual. However, I was wrong. Not only did she cry (she finally fell asleep after 30 minutes) but she slept only about an hour. I am having a hard time believing that she might be ready to stop her daily afternoon nap. She is only a year and a half old so I would think she'd have at least a year before she would not need to nap every day any more. Maybe I am jumping the gun. I will have to see how she does over the next several days. I may allow her to stay up a little later and wake her up earlier to encourage her to continue her napping because I know she really needs the rest. My baby is growing up too fast!

August 22, 2008

New Chores System

Chores can be a tricky thing to work out in a household. I am always changing how we do our chores. For the most part we have always just worked together to get things done. My girls help according to their ability. However, that doesn't always work well. My 8 yo will get upset because the 6 and 4 yo are not doing as much as she is. This also often leads to children taking it upon themselves to be "in charge" of their siblings to make sure that things are coming along "fairly". Which always leads to spending more time settling arguments than actually getting the chores done.

I have also tried having a rewards system for chores, however this often leads to children asking if they can earn a reward for things like brushing their teeth or throwing our their garbage. My husband and I feel as if those are not things that they should be rewarded for, but instead they are things that they need to learn to do as training for their adult lives. However, we do like to offer rewards of some sort for other chores as an incentive for them and to make things more fun. How can we find a balance?

This week, since I have been working on the homeschool schedule and charts we will be using for this school year, I decided to re-vamp our chore system. Here is how we will work our chores.

First of all, the girls have two lists on their bedroom wall. One is called the "Morning List" and the other is the "Bedtime List". Those lists are for things that each girl needs to do each day and these are not things that will gain them some kind of reward, but things they just have to do. They are also required to pick up after themselves throughout the day, there is not a reward for doing that. The lists I made look like this:

Morning List

Wake Up and get up
Make Your Bed
Put on glasses
Brush Teeth
Get Dressed
Put away your PJ’s
Put your Pull-Ups in the trash
Put any dirty clothes in the laundry room
Take your water cups to the kitchen
Straighten your room
Straighten your bathroom
Turn off your nightlight

Bedtime List

Brush your teeth
Turn on your night light
Put on PJ’s and Pull-Ups
Put dirty laundry in the laundry room
Get 2 dolls and a book
Get a cup of water
Use the potty
Kiss everyone good night
Say your prayers
Get in bed, under your covers
8 pm is time for lights out and go to sleep!

I made the lists on MS Word and added a cute graphic on top of each list.

The next things we will be doing is a reward system for chores not listed on this list. I made a master list of all of our household chores (daily, weekly and as needed). I will now assign a point value to each chore.

Each of my girls have a sticker chart to keep track of their points. For each point earned they will get one sticker. At the end of the week they will be able to cash those points in for "Daddy Dollars" and "Mommy Money". These "play money" bills that I will design on the computer and print out will be able to be cashed in for various things that the girls enjoy such as picking the movie we watch for a family movie night, a turn on the computer to play games, a chance to choose the family treats when we grocery shop, etc. I will have a list of what I will offer for the Mom Money and my husband will have a list of what he will offer for the Daddy Dollars. We will assign a point value to each of these special things.

We will also have a list of things that the children will be "fined" for if they don't do as they are supposed to such as having a bad attitude towards parents or siblings or leaving a mess for others to clean up or not finishing their school work.

My girls really thrive on these kinds of rewards systems. They love the competitive nature of it as well as the excitement of a fun reward at the end of it all. My husband and I think it is great teaching tool as well.

I can't wait to see how this all works out! We have been doing a sort of trial run of this type of system for the past few days and the house has never been cleaner and the girls are getting along really well with very minimal arguing!