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!

August 21, 2008

Homeschool Daily Schedule

We have a kind of crazy schedule at our house. What I mean by that is my husband's work schedule changes often so it is very hard to stick to a daily schedule. However, to try to keep as much sanity as possible around here I have come up with what I hope will be a workable schedule for the days that he is at work and the kids and I are at home doing school. This schedule is designed so that we can do this 4 days a week. The other days will be more flexible and we will do things like church, visiting, having friends over, baking, do the girls hair (that can take all day, I'll post about that later), do craft projects, go to the park, field trips, errands, grocery shopping, doctor's appointments, etc... Here is what I have come up with so far. I will post the chore chart and Morning List and Bedtime List another time.

Morning Block (7 am - 10 am)


Wake Up
Wash Up/Brush Teeth/Dress/etc.
Prayer Time
Clean Up 1 year old/Dress her
Wake Kids
Help 4 year old dress
Make Bed
Start a load of laundry
Start a load of dishes
Make breakfast
Eat Breakfast/oral Bible Lesson or read-aloud while we eat
Table Clean Up
Dinner/Food prep
Chores (varies by day, see chore chart)

--8 year old--

Morning List (see morning list)
Quiet Reading Time (Bible Devotion)
Table Chores
Daily Chores (varies by day, see chore chart)
Play with or read to 1 year old

--6 year old--

Morning List (see morning list)
Quiet Reading Time (Bible Devotion)
Table Chores
Daily Chores (varies by day, see chore chart)
Play with or read to 1 year old

--4 year old--

Morning List (see morning list)
Quiet Reading Time (Bible Devotion)
Table Chores
Daily Chores (varies by day, see chore chart)
Play with 1 year old

--1 year old--

Wake up/get washed up/dressed
Baby Bible (look at or read to by a sister)
play time
"Quiet sitting training" during Bible Study or read-aloud

Morning School Block 11 am - noon

--Me --

Help kids with lessons

8 year old - Copywork or cursive, Spelling, Read To Mama, Language
6 year old - Copywork, Spelling, Read to Mama, Language
4 year old - play with 1 year old, color, blocks, Sunshine Market, books, play kitchen, baby dolls, doll house, etc.
1 year old - play with 4 year old, color, blocks, Sunshine Market, books, play kitchen, baby dolls, doll house, etc.

Lunch - noon- 1pm

me - make lunch, eat lunch/read-aloud during or supervise hands on Bible Lesson while I make lunch
kids - eat, listen to read aloud during lunch or do hands on Bible lesson while I make lunch

Afternoon Block - 1 pm - 5 pm


Help kids with lessons
Change laundry load
Blog/email/make grocery list/sort a box/rest/phone calls/sew/etc.
Make dinner if needed or warm up leftovers, make side dish for crock pot meal

---8, 6 and 4 year old---
Math, History, Science
finish up any un-done chores
play time

---1 year old---

Evening Block - 5 pm - 8 pm


Make dinner
Wash a load of dishes
Change laundry load
Eat dinner
Table chores
Bathe little ones
Put away some laundry
Talk time with husband when he arrives home from work
read kids a story/family time

---8 year old---
dress for bed
eat dinner
table chores
play time/story time/Daddy time/family time
bedtime list (see bedtime list)

---6 year old---
dress for bed
eat dinner
table chores
play time/story time/Daddy time/family time
bedtime list (see bedtime list)

---4 year old---
dress for bed
eat dinner
table chores
play time/story time/Daddy time/family time
bedtime list (see bedtime list)

---1 year old---
dress for bed
eat dinner
play time/story time/Daddy time/family time
bedtime list (see bedtime list)

Night Time Block 8 pm - 10 pm


change laundry load
shower/prepare for bed
prep for next school day/check papers
Bible reading
time with husband
go to sleep by 10 pm

---all children---
go to sleep

August 20, 2008

Bible Study: Romans (Part 2)

As I continue to study the book of Romans, I am so blessed by God's grace and His mercy. I am going to pick up where I left off in the last Bible Study. If you're not reading Romans right now, don't worry. This is not meant to be something that you have to follow along with, but a study that anyone can read and I pray glean something from.

A lot of times these days, it seems like churches don't want to talk about how we can DISplease God. Of course it makes us all feel so good to know how much God loves us but what about knowing that we can offend him. And that if we do offend Him, He will punish us. If we choose not to be as He would have us be ... choose not to proclaim His truth, chose not to show ourselves as holy, then that will bring forth His wrath on us. Godly wrath is a just punishment for our sin. God gave us His truth, He justified and sanctified us and to deny this and act other than holy will bring His wrath on us.

(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;

(Rom 1:19) because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them.

Even though God's wonder and glory can be seen in and through His creation, often people choose to deny him. Our sinful hearts and our pride cause us to deny His glory and not to give thanks to Him as we ought. Man's sin caused him to turn away from God to sinfulness such as idolatry and homosexuality.

God actually gave man up to these sins because of his wrath against them. How sad that we human beings can be so prone to sin that we don't even see that not only does God LOVE us, He will let out His wrath on us as punishment for sin.

(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:

(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.

(Rom 1:24) Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves:

(Rom 1:25) for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

(Rom 1:26) For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature:

(Rom 1:27) and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due.

We can be so blind that we turn our backs to God for a myriad of sins.

(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:

(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 often look at Romans 1:29 and am reminded of our frail human minds compared to God's all knowing sovereignty. God holds those of us that are haughty or disobedient to parents on the same level as those of us that murder. Isn't it amazing how God does not see sin in "levels" as we often do, but to Him all sin is the same and worthy of His wrath?

I'll continue this study next time starting with Romans chapter 2. If you'd like to, read along with me!

Presidential Election

If you're like me, this election year is sadly disappointing in the offerings of candidates by the traditional two main political parties in our country. Watching the mainstream media doesn't really help in making a decision either, as all mainstream networks have their liberal views as well as their own political agendas.

I was surfing GodTube this morning and found these videos which at least offer a view of the major candidates views on issues that mainstream media does not care to cover. The videos are from The Saddleback Civil Forum series . This is an event which was held at Saddleback Church’s main campus in Lake Forest, CA on August 16, and was hosted by Dr. Rick Warren. Here is a sample of one of those videos just to give you an idea of the kinds of questions asked to the candidates. You can click the "these videos" link above to see the rest of the videos as there are several.

If you'd like another choice of candidate when you go out to vote this year, here is a candidate that is worthy of considering. Check out the third largest political party in this nation, The Constitution Party. This is their candidate Chuck Baldwin. Listen to what he has to say...

August 14, 2008

Homeschool 2008-2009

Here's what we will be using for our homeschool studies for the year 2008-2009. Our plan is to work with our one year old until she can play quietly so we can begin our school day at breakfast. Currently, we work mostly when she is asleep. Our schedule will be flexible until we are able to get to the point where we can work while she is awake. I'm working on a daily schedule and will post that later this week.

8 year old and 6 year old

Language Arts


  • various books from Usborne about drawing and painting, play dough, modeling clay, etc.

Various books for Read-Alouds, independent reading time and narration.

Time permitting, we will participate in homeschool co-op group field trips.

Time permitting. we will also add music lessons (piano or guitar) and Spanish (Rosetta Stone) during the second half of the school year.

4 Year Old

  • Will work on teaching her numbers and letters by sight recognition, simple addition and subtraction and learning the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.
  • We will use various workbooks by Rod and Staff as well as manipulatives.
  • She will listen in on read-alouds as well as have books read to her by mom, dad and older sisters. She will participate in science experiments as she is able as well as art projects.
  • She will listen in/participate in all Bible related studies and memory verses.

August 13, 2008

Crockpot Recipe

I had a couple of nice comments on Menu Planning Monday asking if I could post a couple of recipes. Here's the first one. I will try to post the Japanese Style Beef Curry Rice recipe soon!

Orange Hoisin Chicken
(from "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook")
2 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 c. honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
3 slices fresh ginger, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
6 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (do not thaw)
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. cold water
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds (optional), toast in a dry skippet over medium heat until fragrant

In a zippered top plastic bag, combine the orange juice concentrate,
honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. One at a
time, put the chicken pieces in the bag, seal, and gently shake to coat
with the sauce. Transfer the coated chicken to the slow cooker, then pour
the remaining sauce over the chicken. Cover and cook on LOW until the
chicken is tender and cooked through 5 to 6 hours. Transfer the chicken
to a warm platter. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a
small saucepan. In a cup or small bowl, stir together the cornstarch
and cold water. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat, add the slurry,
and cook, stirring a few times, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour
some of the sauce over the chicken and pass the rest on the side. If
desired, sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.

Bible Study: Romans

I thought it would be great to share the Bible studies I am working through here on the blog. Lately I have been reading Romans and have been really gleaning a lot from it. I certainly am not an expert on the Bible, but I attempt to do as I feel God would have me do, which is to read His word and continue to do so, learning more each time I re-read that which I have already read. It is amazing how I can read a verse over and over and still gain new insight each time, through the Holy Spirits guidance.

OK, let's start off with Romans, chapter 1. Today I am reading Romans 1:1-17.

One of first verses that strikes me in the book of Romans is:
(Rom 1:5) through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name's sake;

I love that Paul starts off by telling us who we are in Christ. We have grace... we have apostleship BECAUSE of Christ. Not due to any of our works, but through Christ alone do we have these things. Our faith is part of our obedience to God, to mirror Christ in us. By being faithful to Christ we obey God.

Next Paul speaks of our calling as Christians...
(Rom 1:6) among whom are ye also called to be Jesus Christ's: (Rom 1:7) to all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are called to be Christ's, we are called to be saints. What an awesome calling from God, our Father!

In verses 8 - 13 Paul speaks of wishing that he could be with his Roman brethren, and also the fact that as Christians they are comforted by one anothers faith. Just as we today should and can be a comfort to our fellow Christians, if only simply by our shared faith in Christ. Paul also encourages fellow Christians to bear spiritual fruit that it might be evident.

I really love this verse...

(Rom 1:16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

How many people today claim to be Christians and are ashamed to proclaim the Gospel as pure truth? Too many I think. It us such a shame because God's Word IS truth, it is THE truth. And it is also power, because without the power of His Word, without reading His Word and hearing His Word, we could be saved. To hear His word is power and to believe (along with confessing and turning away for our sins) brings us salvation.

It is by faith in Him that we live...

(Rom 1:17) For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith.

I'll be continuing this study in Romans on my next Bible Study post. Please study along with me and feel free to leave any additional thoughts and insights in the comments section.

August 12, 2008

New Skirts!

Our third daughter turned 4 on Monday. She received a package in the mail from Grandma and it was a new skirt, handmade by Grandma! Of course, like most Grandmothers, my mother can't send a gift for one grandbaby without sending one for all. So, all 4 girls now have pretty new skirts! I really love these because not only are they colorful and bright but they are nice and long and modest. It is so hard to find pretty modest things in the stores any more, we are always happy for clothes that the girls can not only feel good about wearing but that will cover them nicely.

I have found a few cute skirts at Wal Mart recently. We also love to use the culotte pattern from Christian Womanhood. Their patterns are only $1.00! I have one in each girls size and have made several for them. I also like to use old pairs of jeans to make skirts. What I do it take the jeans and cut them off right below the pocket line in back, just straight across. I then attach a piece of fabric that I have seamed together and gathered across the top and hemmed across the bottom to the jeans. You can add two layers of fabric (one longer than the other). There are so many ways to make cute skirts for little girls, there is really no reason to give in to the immodest fashions that are available in stores today.

August 11, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

I was blog surfing recently and saw this event on Organized Junkie and thought it would be fun to participate. I don't always plan my menus on the same day of the week but it just so happens that his week I am doing so on a Monday. I have been menu planning for a long time now and although it's easy for me to do it's always nice to see what other are planning and get new and fresh ideas.

My challenge this particular two-week period is that the budget is a bit tighter than normal AND we have a birthday to celebrate this week. Here is what I plan to prepare for the next two weeks. I plan to use my crock pots quite a but due to a long list of things to do before we get under way with our new homeschool year.

Monday - Lentil Stew, Homemade Bread
Tuesday - Pizza for the Birthday Girl (Her choice, store bought or eat out)
Wednesday - Spaghetti, Garlic Broccoli
Thursday - Chili Burgers, Corn, Mashed Potatoes (Crock Pot)
Friday - Orange Hoisin Chicken, Brown Rice, Asian Mixed Veggies (Crock Pot)
Saturday - Pinto beans and butter beans, Greens, corn bread, rice
Sunday - Leftovers
Monday - Green Rice Casserole, BBQ Pork -n- beans with hot dogs (Crock Pot)
Tuesday - Chicken Parmesan, broccoli, linguini
Wednesday - Chicken Sate, cauliflower, Rice and Peas
Thursday -hot dogs, scalloped potatoes, Green Beans (Crock Pot)
Friday - Homemade Pizza, Salad
Saturday - Japanese Beef Curry with Rice, Asian Mixed Veggies (Crock pot)
Sunday - Leftovers

August 9, 2008

Funny Girl

Sometimes I wish I could video tape my children all the time. Some of the things they do and say are so funny!

Our 1 year old still sleeps in our bedroom. When she was put to bed tonight, I ended up going back into the bedroom to get something. She was still awake and when I left the room I left the door partially open. She then began to call "Mama! Mama!" I then returned and asked her what was wrong. I checked her blankets and fluffed her pillow. But she began to say "Out!' So I asked if she wanted to get out. She frowned at me and said "Mama out!". I asked, "Do you want Mama to get out?" She then says "Yeah, Mama out!" So I left the room closed the door and all was quiet. I guess she just didn't want Mommy coming back into the room while she was trying to settle down and go to sleep.

I can't believe I was kicked out of my own bedroom by a one year old! LOL! :0) Babies are so funny!

August 8, 2008

Following God's Call

Sometimes it takes me a while to really hear God when He calls me to do something... Was it just me? Did I just imagine that I heard Him call me? Does He REALLY want me to do that? It certainly is not just my imagination! But often times my flesh gets in the way and I fail to heed His call. Today was a day like that.

I've had a recipe blog for some time now and I enjoy working on it. But I continue to feel convicted in my heart that now that my time is more limited I should combine my recipes and all other thoughts, ideas, feelings, knowledge and such about life as a Christian woman (wife, mom, friend, etc.) all into ONE blog.

It wasn't just today that I have had that thought. As you can see if you look at my blog archive, I stated this blog some time ago. That was when the conviction started. However, due to the normal routine I had fallen into in our daily lives and the relaxation I felt when working on an "already established" blog on my favorite topic (food), I neglected to update this one. I felt it would be too much work to create something new and different than I was used to.... felt that I didn't have the time. How wrong I was!

I know that if God desires something that it is up to me to follow His calling. And so today I humbly return to this new blog with many ideas and a vision to continue chronicling our day to day lives... our comings and goings. Our successes and failures. Our joys and defeats. All those things that make up a Christian family that is seeking to follow that Lord in all we do. It may take me some time to get things in order here but I know that God will provide the ideas, time and inspiration as I supply the effort and obedience that He desires.

If you're a regular over at Chef Michele's Adventures, I pray you will continue to join me here. My goal is to post here frequently on various topics and I may just include a recipe here and there as well. :0) Stay tuned...