December 23, 2009
Now I can blog with pictures again! And video too, this camera takes great videos. I hope to have one to share soon. In the meantime, here is a photo of my 'lil girlies.
A Merry and BLESSED Christmas to you all! I pray you all enjoy celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior with your families!
December 5, 2009
Today we are getting back to our furniture moving project! The bedrooms are at the point where we can begin moving the furniture today. The girls are so excited and so am I! This morning after breakfast we'll move the beds. Then after I wash and braid the girls hair (if my energy level is as high as I think it is, LOL!) we will then move the toy boxes and other things. This project might take another day or two to finish, but just getting it going again is a happy thing for us.
We will be getting some much needed school work done in the week ahead. Then we will start Christmas preperations. Since I was sick for such a long time, we won't be doing as many things as I had hoped this year, but we are just praising God that we will be together as a family and enjoy celebrating the Lord's birth together.
I hope everyone is enjoying a blessed holiday season!
November 25, 2009
We are so thankful for so many things... our lives, God's provision and mercy, our wonderful children, family and friends. There is just too much to name. I pray that everyone has a truly blessed Thanksgiving!
November 18, 2009
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Psalm 19: 7-11
Be blessed today!
November 14, 2009
The girls cleaned their room pretty well so it should not be a very big job to get all of their things moved. We really need to shampoo the carpets but that is going to have to wait till after the first of the year.
It's funny how just moving things around can make it feel like you have a brand new living space.
I'm now making a list of the things we will need to buy to fill in the new empty spaces left from reorganizing. A couple of table lamps, a couple of throw rugs, curtains, and a humidifier for the second girls room. Otherwise everything is set. I will get some pictures up when it's all done.
November 11, 2009
Our third bedroom is used as an office/guest room/play room but since the master bedroom is very large we have no problem moving our computer in there and letting the third room go to two of the girls while the other two share the girls current room. I have been procrastinating this change for a while because not only will it take me a few days to get it all done, I just couldn't figure out how I wanted arrange all the furniture.
Well, today I finally took the plunge and began to prepare for the big move. I had to clean out the master bedroom closet because not only was it really out of order, there are some things that I want to store in there and needed to make room. I also did a really good cleaning of the master bedroom (sorting/organizing/vacuuming, etc.) so I can move my gazelle glider, the computer desk AND my sewing table in there. (It's amazing how much space can be freed up when relocating a two year old).
My girls were such big helpers. They helped to sort a lot of things, helped me move some things out to our garage and whatever else I needed done. They had a great time and are so excited to have more bedroom space when this is all done.
Today we did the following...
- cleaned out the master bedroom closet
- cleaned out the built in shelving unit in our hallway
- rearranged the bookshelf in the master bedroom
- sorted out our "junk basket" that sits on the kitchen island (my 9 year old took the now empty basket and put it on a red bandana on the living room coffee table and now it holds our remotes, it looks so much more pretty there)
- sorted a big pile of paperwork sitting on the hall shelving unit
- took several items that were broken or not being used out to the garage
- washed two loads of laundry (about to do two more before bed)
- added some cute decorations to the master bedroom
God has really been calling our family into ministry and hospitality is a big part of that. With a nice fresh feeling house we will be much better equiped to welcome visitors into out home.
Tomorrow I am going to take apart the computer and reassemble it on a temporary table in the master bedroom until my husband is off work and can help me move the desk. I would move it alone but it's a solid oak desk and I know I risk puling my back out if I try to do it alone. Then hopefully we can get the girls beds moved tomorrow as well.
It seems like most people seem to like to organize and clean in the spring but for me fall is the time of year to get things in order. :0)
November 5, 2009
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Have a blessed day!
November 3, 2009
November 2, 2009
We are praising God for our baby girls salvation! God's Spirit is at work in our young ones lives and His saving grace is from them just as much as it is for us adults. I pray that God will bless her each and every day as she begins her walk with Christ.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
October 24, 2009
I've been doing a lot of fall cooking. I made a couple of sweet potato pies with my 9 year old. I also made baked apples, black bean soup and gingerbread cake. I love the tastes and smells of fall.
We did finally find a new home church, praise God! We are settling in and very happy.
I am still in the process of having a series of sleep studies done to figure out why I am not sleeping well. Praying that God will reveal what the problem is so I can get that under control and get back to my regular more energetic self.
Praying everyone is having a super blessed weekend!
October 8, 2009
We are in the midst of lots of change around our house as well. My husband's job just cut off almost all of the overtime that is offered. We are going to have to tighten the budget a bit based on that fact. Although the chance to earn a little extra is always helpful, we are so happy that daddy will be at home more often. That in itself leads us to making some schedule changes as well as plans to do some things we have either been putting off or not able to do for lack of time.
One of the things on our agenda is to re-arrange some of our furnishings. We are finally going to turn our office/play room into a bedroom for our two oldest. That way two year old can leave our room and room in with her 5 year old sister. I've been making up some plans on how we can arrange things. The girls are very excited about this change since they will have more bedroom space to play and store their things.
Another big change we are facing is looking for a new home church. We have been on this search for some time now and we do see the end in sight. If you're reading this today please pray for us as we make this transition. God has big plans in store and we want only to follow His lead, not our own.
Finally, I was so blessed this morning to receive this award from Tina at Over In The Meadow.
Thanks so much Tina, your blog is always a blessing and inspiration to me!
Here are my replies to the question... "Share 7 things about yourself." Since I did a similar list for another award in a past post, I thought I would share some different fun facts here :0)
1. I love morning. I am a total morning person. Watching the sun rise gives me such a rush. I don't wake early enough to see it very often but I do love the morning.
2. My favorite leisure activity is cooking. Even though I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day, I spend even more time there when I have free time and not much else to do.
3. I want to go to Italy. I'm not sure why, I don't have any family there or anything but it just seems like ti would be a beautiful place to visit!
4. I've been blogging for 4 years. Wow! It doesn't seem like it has been that long but it has.
5. I love tea. My girls and I always find excuses to have a tea party. Tea is comforting and reminds me of my mom.
6. Summer is my least favorite season. Probably because it is very hot where we live. I always dread summer and am happy when it comes to an end.
7. I love tropical things. Pineapples, warm breezes, the smell of the ocean... Ahhh! Tropical things make me relax. I want to decorate our home like an island resort, LOL!
I am supposed to nominate 7 people for this award. However, I would like to offer this award to all of my blog readers. You all bless me so much when you take the time to leave comments and encouragements. So if you are reading this today and you have a blog of your own, please take this award and leave me a comment to let me know that you stopped by!
May God Bless you all today,
October 2, 2009
Menu planner sheets, blank grocery sheets, handwriting paper, Scripture memory system, etc. Lots of goodies!
September 30, 2009
So tonight, I sliced up more sausage and added it to the dish. Then I put it all in my lasagna pan with some extra spaghetti sauce added. Then I topped it off with some Italian 5 cheese blend and lots of Parmesan and covered it and put it in the oven. Viola! A dish I know everyone will enjoy and I think we have enough for dinner tomorrow night as well. Good deal!
September 26, 2009
My husband came home last night with a sore throat and said he felt bad and might even call off work for the next day. I asked if he's be willing to try a home remedy (although it tastes bad it might really help). He said sure and drank it down (with a slight frown, LOL).
I am happy to say this worked very well and he was feeling better within about 30 minutes after taking it. He's back to work today. He suffers from really bad sore throats when he gets them and normally I would expect him to stay home because he is so miserable.
I made this recipe up based on ingredients that I know work well for colds based on my own experience and information I found searching on-line for home remedies.
Homemade Sore Throat Remedy
1 cup boiling water
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup raw honey (you should be able to find this at a health food store)
1/4 c. raw apple cider vinegar (I use BRAGG brand)
2 Tbsp. c. white grape juice
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut into pieces
1 tsp. Mexican oregano (found in small packets in Mexican foods grocery aisle)
a healthy dash of cayenne pepper powder
Boil water and add ginger, garlic and oregano. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Add remaining ingredients and shake until well blended. Allow to sit a few minutes until all the bubbles settle. Give 1/4 cup as a does as needed for sore throat. Store in refrigerator.
September 24, 2009
I began to search on-line for natural cures for coughs. After a lot of reading I came up with this cough remedy that allowed all of my girls to sleep through the night last night without coughing. It is easy to make and two out of three enjoyed the taste as well :0)
Homemade Cough Remedy
1 cup water
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup raw honey (you should be able to find this at a health food store)
3 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar (I use BRAGG brand)
1/4 c. white grape juice
Boil water and add ginger pieces. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Add remaining ingredients and shake until well blended. Allow to sit a few minutes until all the bubbles settle. Give 2 Tbsp. as a does as needed for coughing. Store in refrigerator.
September 20, 2009
It's been ages since I have posted our weekly menus. I always write them out on paper but rarely find time to sit and type them out.
One thing I had been wanting to do for some time now is to get a months worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus all written out with no repeats. I finally got that all done and that list is what I am posting today. This way I can have a master list of menus to work from when I plan out my usual two week menu plan. I can also use this master list to rotate meals so we don't keep preparing the same things over and over.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. I have many, many more dinners that I could have added to this list but these are the most frugal as well as the simplest.
I like to make out menus but I also keep in mind that I will most likely mix and match the combinations of breakfasts, lunches and dinners based on how much time I will have to cook as well as what seems to be the best combination for that particular day (allowing for company, etc.)
Here are 4 weeks worth of menus...
B: Muffins and fruit
L: Deli Wraps and fruit
D: Chili Mac with corn on the cob
B: Omelets and fruit
D: Chicken Spaghetti and salad
B: Oatmeal with apples
L: Quiche and fruit
D: Italian turkey sausage with peppers and onions, penne pasta and broccoli
B: Buttermilk pancakes
L: Deli sandwiches and fruit
D: Pinto beans, collard greens, corn bread
B: Buttermilk biscuits and gravy, fruit
L: Homemade pizzas
D: Lentil stew and salad
B: Crepes with strawberries
L: Tuna pasta salad
D: Spaghetti and salad
B: Breakfast burritos
L: Homemade macaroni and cheese
D: Jerk Chicken, brown rice, broccoli
B: English muffin sandwiches
L: Ramen noodles, fruit
D: Jambalaya, salad
B: "French Breakfast" (French breakfast muffins, scrambled eggs, sliced ham, fruit)
L: Bean burritos
D: Homemade "Beanie Weenie" in the crock pot, Rice
B: Waffles, fruit
L: Cheese tacos
D: Scalloped potatoes with ham, green beans
B: Granola with fruit and yogurt
D: Ground beef stroganoff, noodles, green beans
B: Baked Oatmeal
L: Deli pasta salad, fruit
D: Potato and Corn Chowder, homemade rolls
B: French Toast
L: Baked Potatoes, fruit
D: Chili, rice
B: "Daddy's Day Off Big Breakfast" (Scrambled eggs, bacon, grits, toast, fried potatoes)
D: Chicken sour cream enchiladas, refried beans
B: "Big Mexican Breakfast" (Chorizo, scrambled eggs, tortillas, fried potatoes, refried beans)
D: Roast Chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed vegetables, rolls
B: Cream of wheat with fruit
L: Tuna sandwiches on toast, pickle
D: Chicken burritos, refried beans
B: Cold cereal
D: Meatloaf, roasted potatoes, peas
B: Breakfast casserole
L: Homemade chicken and rice soup, crackers
D: Chicken Pot Pie
B: Breakfast Sweet Rice
L: Pigs in a blanket, fruit
D: BBQ MEatballs, Mashed potatoes, peas
B: Baked French Toast
L: Grilled cheese sandwiches, pickles
D: Tostadas, refried beans, calebacitas
B: Apple Dutch Baby
D: Lasagna, salad
B: Breakfast cookies, fruit
L: Bagel sandwiches, fruit
D: Beef Curry, California style veggies, rice
B: Breakfast bars
L: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
D: Deli rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls
B: Johnnycakes, applesauce
L: Ham and cheese melts
D: Enchiladas, refried beans
B: Ham and potato hash
L: Pizza pasta
D: Shepherd's pie, salad
B: Breakfast pizza, fruit
L: Taco cups
D: Teriyaki chicken, soba noodles, Asian style veggies
B: Coffee cake, fruit
L: Pinwheels, pickles, fruit
D: Beef and broccoli, Asian style veggies, rice
B: Sausage pigs in a blanket
L: Chilaquilas, refried beans, fruit
D: Jamaican red beans and rice, salad
September 18, 2009
Usually I am awakened twice each morning. First at about 3:30 am when my husband is getting ready for work. I don't wake up for the day as early as he does but I can't help waking up when he is preparing for work. After he leaves for work I go back to sleep until my 2 year old wakes me at around 6:30 or 7 am. Sometimes I wake up before she does but usually she is my clock, LOL! I have had some MAJOR problems sleeping for several months now (long story) which is why I tend to go to bed early and sleep in later than I would like. Prayerfully this problem will be solved very soon with some medical intervention (another long story LOL) and I will begin to wake up the same time my husband does, which is my intention.
Anyhow, I digress... :0)
Once awake I get myself and two year old dressed and ready for the day. If my other girls are still sleeping then I will do a quick email check and then start laundry, put away dishes from the dishwasher and then start breakfast. I will let the girls sleep no later than 8 am. I let two year old wake them up because she really likes to do that and they love it too. Once the girls are up I remind them to do their "morning list". When they are done with their list they are allowed to read or play until breakfast.
During breakfast we read from a Children's Bible story book or my Bible. Right now we are reading from the Rod and Staff book called Bible Stories To Read. My two oldest girls have a Devotion book they are working through right now as well as a Scripture memory system and a Bible Study book for homeschool ... as well as an AWANA class they go to so most of the Bible stories are fairly simple for them (but they still enjoy them). After we read our Bible Study we then read a chapter or two from our current Read Aloud book. Right now we are reading On The Banks Of Plumb Creek.
After breakfast we clear the table and start our chores. Usually the girls will fold and put away a basket of laundry or vacuum one room each. Chores vary from day to day depending on what needs to be done. I start a new laundry load and wash dishes and do any dinner prep that is needed. Then we have a 10 minute break. At this time I check email again because that is how my husband and I usually communicate during the day. If I have any important phone calls to make this usually when I make them.
After this break we start school. This is the most hectic part of the day because often the girls just don't want to work on school work yet and are restless. Also, my two year old is still not able to sit still and quiet for very long so there are plenty of interruptions and distractions for the other girls as they try to concentrate on their work. But we work through as much as can during this time. I aim for us to get at least two subjects finished during this morning block of school. Once we finish lessons for the morning it is usually time for lunch. During lunch we will read another chapter from our read-aloud or sometimes we will call my mom or sister and chat with the speaker phone on so all the girls can talk as well. My sister's little boy is just starting to talk so the girls love to talk to him on the phone and hear him say their names and babble his cute little non-sense words.
After lunch the girls have another short break while I get 2 year old down for a nap. They often go outside and play at this time. I also start a new load of laundry at this time. I do my best to take a basket of laundry with me as I move from task to task throughout the day so I can fold throughout the day but sometimes the clean things will pile up and we will do a big folding session in the morning and put things away. It really all depends on the day and what we need to get done.
After this we have our afternoon school session. This is when I give spelling tests, help the girls with lessons they don't understand and work on learning to read with my 5 year old. Once the girls finish all their lessons for the day they do a quick clean up of books, supplies and toys then they have some free play time. 5 and 7 year old usually take out things to play house or doll house and 9 year old usually opts to read a favorite book. Weather permitting they go outdoors at this time. This is when I take a break, blog, rest or do some other relaxing activity for a few minutes to refresh before the evening.
After a quick break I start a new load of laundry and work on food prep. I get dinner going and make preparations for the next day if any are needed. I might also work on a grocery list or menus for the next week. Once this is done, I sit and watch the kids play while I grade their school work for the day.
Once 2 year old is awake, I get the girls to clean up from play time and get bath time started. After bath time we might watch a DVD or eat dinner (if my husband is going to be extra late getting home from work). Once Daddy is home we either eat with him (if it's an early night) or just spend with with him if he's late and it's close to bed time.
Then it's bed time for the girls and my husband and I spend a few minutes together before he has to get to sleep. I then finish up any things that need to be done before I go to sleep, such as packing my husband's lunch for the next day and getting in some quiet Bible reading and prayer time. I try to get to bed by 9 pm to get enough rest.
Now this is what our average "work day" looks like (unless we have to grocery shop or do a run to the library or something like that). On days my husband is off work things vary from day to day. We usually do all our shopping and errands together as a family so each day off is unique.
Hope you enjoyed reading about our day! :0)
September 12, 2009
September 11, 2009
Do my children have some special abilities that other don't? Absolutely not! I just try to teach them things whether they (or I) think they will be able to accomplish them or not. If they are able to do what I am teaching then that is great! A new skill has been learned. If they are unable, I tell them they CAN do it, it will just take some time, patience and practice to get it just right. And we keep right on working on that particular skill until they master it.
Here are some examples of things I have taught my girls to do.
All my girls began to learn to sew at age 4. I love to do hand sewing and a curious child will always want to try something new if they are watching. So I offer a small rectangle of fabric, folded in half, and a threaded needle. I am sure to explain that it will hurt if they prick their finger but not to give up, just to be more careful. I then show them how to take stitches (my hands over theirs). Once they get the idea, I let them try on their own. After a while, I go back to my own project (sitting right by them) and am available to undo any wrong stitches or mistaken knots them make. Soon they have it all stitched around with a small opening left that I instructed them to leave. Then together we turn the pillow right side out and stuff it and the child closes the hole with a few more stitches. Not only has the child learned a new skill but her favorite doll has a new pillow. A love for sewing has begun! I have no need to coax them to practice, they always ask on their own!
Cooking is a smilier task that I start very young. My two year old helps put ingredients into the bowl when I bake and always lines the muffin pans with paper liners when we make muffins or cupcakes. She stirs with my hand over hers and I always lift her to see what's cooking on the stove. By the time the girls are 5 or 6, they can easily assemble a crock pot lasagna or similar dish, as long as I brown the meat and open the jar of sauce. Wow, it gives them a good feeling to tell Daddy that they made dinner that night. And it helps me A LOT when I am sick, I know all I need is to have my husband brown some beef and let the girls put the meal together and they have fun doing it and feel a great sense of accomplishment.
At two years old I also start children as laundry helpers. I let them put clothes into the machine and dryer along with me. I let them fold and put away wash clothes and their own clothes. Neatness in folding can be learned along the way, I just want them to get the basic idea of how the job goes and that it can be fun! At 6 years old they know how to run the washer and dryer and can easily do a load of laundry on their own.
My 5 year old started helping me with dressing and caring for 2 year old when she was 4. She could change a wet diaper and help 2 year old into her clothes easily. My 7 year old and 9 year old can easily bathe their two year old sister, help her brush teeth and help her to bed, complete with a good night story read to her.
It really is amazing the abilities that children posses. It's easy to do things for your children without realizing how much they are able to do on their own. Teaching children basic life skills at a young age not only boosts their confidence, it can be an invaluable help to parents when they need help from their children during times when life gets very busy or parents get sick and must stay in bed to recuperate. Children's abilities are often far greater than we realize and it is a blessing to the entire family to take advantage of teaching them as much as we can as soon as they are able to learn a skill.
September 10, 2009
The curriculum we are using this year is from Rod and Staff and it is called Art With A Purpose. Each grade has it's own "Artpac". Each Artpac contains a list of each project with instructions for the teacher to guide the student. There are also photocopied pages for just about every project that are consumable. The sheets are loose-leaf so a two-pocket folder is helpful in keeping it in order.
There are several things I like about this curriculum.
It is very inexpensive. Each Artpac is around $8. There are enough lessons to do one each week for an entire school year.
It is practical. Most of the supplies are things that any homeschool family will already have on hand and if you do need to buy anything it is usually simple and inexpensive. Many of the projects only use pencil and paper or crayons, construction paper and scissors. The lessons teach simple principles that can be applied to various projects.
With most projects, children can work independently. There is always something pretty and decorative or useful to show for their efforts.
My children enjoy this art curriculum so much! They are always eager to work on their projects.
In the past we have tried so many different things for art and usually we either put it aside because we don't have all the supplies or can't find them at a local store or the projects are so time consuming that we just don't have time to do them every week.
If you are looking for a simple way to do art in your homeschool I would highly suggest giving Art With A Purpose a try!
September 5, 2009
There are a couple of things that I really find that helps with keeping everyone focused on what we need to do on a daily basis, whether it be chores, school or getting ready to go out for a day of family fun. The right approach always seems to make a world of difference!
Start of with a "meeting" - I always have everyone sit down and explain exactly what is going to happen and what we need to do in order for that to happen. Outline your expectations for each child. If it is a cleaning day I explain that our goal is a clean house and I have a list ready of tasks we need to do. If we are preparing to go on a day trip, I have a list ready as well and explain that we can't leave until we accomplish the list first. I answer any questions and also delegate each task accordingly. If I expect team work I put an older child in charge of a younger one. I also go over what is expected as far as behavior. Children like to know what is expected of them ahead of time.
Work TOGETHER - If we have a lot to do, it would make sense to send each person in a different direction to get several things done at once. That actually does not work well. If I take that approach I will often find things not finished later on or find children playing instead of doing an assigned task. That is why we work together all in the same room on each task until it is done.
Offer a treat - This might sound like bribery (LOL!) but really it works well. Today we had a HUGE job ahead as we had several large cleaning jobs to get done around the house. Jobs like this can get boring for children over a long day but I find that if I offer a treat they keep on task much better. Today it was a simple thing. I said that I would buy a box of popsicles for everyone if the girls did a good job of helping. Sometimes I will offer to read a favorite book. Other times we will watch a family movie when we are all done. It doesn't have to be something you buy, just something you know your children will enjoy as a reward for a job well done.
Stay Focused - Try to eliminate phone calls or other distractions until all work is done. If your children see you focused on what you are doing, they are more likely to stay focused as well.
Make It Fun!- Play a cleaning game or dance to music while you work. Take breaks when needed, have snacks ready and enjoy your time together.
I find that in general, keeping my children close by me, in the same room, on a daily basis is what helps them to keep the best attitude and be the most willing to work on what they need to do. Whether it be school or chores or cleaning up behind themselves, if I am near by them they work together much better. Sending everyone off in a different direction just causes division and does not promote working together. Children learn to work together and work well by working together and seeing their parents working well on any task they do.
August 26, 2009
Now, let me say, I am not talking about the kinds of idols that compete for your attention on TV nor the ones that were made of wood and worshiped by civilizations of old. No, I am talking about the things of this modern age which take our focus away from the things of God.
Idols cam come in the form of anything from too much TV or computer time, too much emphasis on sports or in our case, too much STUFF!
This morning I was looking around the house realizing that not only were behind on some much needed daily cleaning tasks, we also were beginning to suffer from a case of "stuff-itis". A.K.A. clutter and junk that needed tossing. I made a note to myself to tackle this mess over the next several days but my main objective today was to get the girls bedroom done and get them in the proper mindset to be on board with me on this cleaning mission.
I began by telling them that the mess in their room was not acceptable. Our oldest two are very good at cleaning and really know better than to shove things under the bed or in the closet instead of tossing them or putting them away (which is what I found today). I reminded them of what then need to do when they do clean up. I went on to explain that if we own to many things or fail to toss our trash out, we are creating an idol for ourselves because we will be spending way too much time on managing our mess than on the things of God. I also told them that my job as their mom is to train them how to manage their things and we then went on to start the cleaning project together.
I accepted no arguments on why they wanted to keep any particular item. I decided what to keep and what to toss. They quickly were on board with me and happily tossing things that were honestly just trash and needed to go.
The room is now looking much better and the girls are happy that they now won't be wasting their time on sorting and managing all the things we threw away.
My husband and I area also planning to have a family meeting with the girls this weekend. We are going to discuss these things in more depth as well as setting some new guidelines on the things we will be keeping or bringing into our home. We really purpose to keep "things" to a minimum around here as to have a better learning environment and more time on our hands to serve others and spend our time on things that honor God.
August 22, 2009
I notice a lot of people don't really concern themselves on certain attitudes that their children have. They brush things off as being "just how kids act" or say that "they just don't understand". So often I see children in stores or other public places throwing fits to get their way. The parents of these children do very little to stop the fit, they often times seem to just give up or ignore the behavior. This is a dangerous things to do. Children understand much more than we give them credit for and they are able to be taught and trained from birth.
Today I had to tell my girls that due to Daddy's work schedule we will miss church AND their AWANA class this week. We will still have a devotion time as a family but they will not be able to participate in their two very favorite activities for the week. This is something they of course look forward to all week.
Now, some people might expect some pouting and whining when having to make such an announcement. From very little ones they might expect crying. Maybe a tantrum?
That is not what we expect nor is that what happened. All four of my girls nodded politely when I told them and went back to playing smiling and happy.
How is it that their behaviour was not what seems to be "the norm"? Honestly it is because we make it a point to guide our children to the mindset of God, to seek after His kingdom and to cherish what he cherishes. My children understand that Daddy's job is a blessing for our family. They know that at this particular time in life, two days of overtime is a HUGE blessing to us and will help our family a great deal. They know that God is above all, then their family, then their friends and others. They have been taught to take joy in life when they see God's hand at work blessing us and allowing us to bless others.
Proverbs 22:6 says "Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it"
As Christian parents we need to be sure that we are holding our children to a high standard just as our Father in heaven holds us to such a standard. Never assume a child is too young to understand. Teach them concepts that are above their understanding and continue to teach those things, reinforcing them, until they do understand them.
Also, remember that younger children will try to imitate the behaviors of the older children. Encourage your older children to display behavior that will encourage and train your younger children.
August 21, 2009
August 15, 2009
This year I bought separate schedule books for my 7 and 9 year old. I plan to fill in one month at a time and each day they can see what assignments they will be working on. They really like this. I list all of their workbook assignments, science experiments and art projects as well as suggested activities sch as learning to type, working on craft projects or cooking.
I can see that our biggest challenge for my 9 year old is going to be the Language Arts program that I chose. It is harder than what she is used to. I think this is a good thing because she enjoys being challenged and it is really helping her learn how to really study. She's always been a very bright student and not had to put too much effort in as far as studying things goes.
My 7 year old has really blossomed as a student. She works very independently now. Many times I set aside time to sit with her and work on school, she has already taken it upon herself to do certain pages on her own and has done very well. Her biggest struggle right now is math because some of it seems boring to her, although it really is drill work that is reinforcing her memory of facts.
Our 5 year old is loving being a "school girl" this year. She loves working on school whether it be listening to me ready, reading with me, practicing her handwriting or doing a math workbook page. Her drawing skills are really blooming and I think her biggest challenge is going to be having patience while I work with her sisters and she has to wait for her turn to have my undivided attention.
2 year old is just "being two". She is at a stage of challenging us on everything and testing her limits and boundaries. So there has been a lot of training going on with her in the area of behavior and self control. She loves to sit and color or play with blocks when we have school time.
2 year old is also VERY ready to potty train and I am hoping to get her started this week or next. She is not at all afraid of the big toilet and loves to try to use it any chance she gets. I guess we have started unofficially... I am just nervous about officially starting because one thing I am not good at is potty training. I am praying that God give me extraordinary patience to push through and help he succeed. If anyone has any great potty training tips I would love to hear them, especially night time training!
Tomorrow we will be having a family devotion time instead of church because three of the girls have colds and need to stay home to rest.
Life is very busy right now but full of so many blessings!
August 8, 2009
Our family lives in a fairly conservative area with lots of other homeschooling families around. Many moms stay home. Generally people understand that having mom stay home is a normal thing to do, not some strange, alien idea that makes no sense to their secular mindset. However, I still often encounter people that look at me strangely or often times in awe when I explain that yes, I do have four children and yes we do homeschool. They say things like "You have a BIG family" or "Oh, I could NEVER to that" or "Oh, bless your heart, you must be so tired!".
Why would anyone stand in awe of me for doing what God has commanded me to do? Since when is hard work that bears amazing fruit something to be shocked about?
Ephesians 6:4 says...
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
And by the way... why do so many people think that 4 children is a BIG family (and what's wrong with having a BIG family anyhow)?
Psalm 127:3 says...
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
God has given us a duty to raise and train our children. God has entrusted their lives to us and we are to nurture and grow them. I personally don't think that sending them off to a government school is fulfilling that mandate.
Here are some misconceptions that many people (yes, even other Christians!) hold about homeschooling and my response to them...
Your children will not be socialized - My children are much more social that most children I know. They are not afraid to socialize with anyone, not matter their age. They can hold an intelligent conversation with any person and they take great phone messages as well. They love people and socialize quite normally.
I could never do that, it's too hard! - Wrong! Listen, I am NOT a trained school teacher. I am not even a GREAT teacher. There are many methods, curricula, books, forums, etc. available to any person wanting to homeschool their child. If you can do enough research to decide which cell phone company to choose, which car to buy or which neighborhood to move to, then you certainly can find a way to homeschool your child that will suit both your personalities and help them learn to their optimum level.
Don't you want your children to be "salt and light" to the world - Yes! Of course I do! And they have plenty of opportunity to be just that without us sending them out into the world when they are not yet fully mature in their faith. We give our children every opportunity to witness to to others and when they are adults and have been properly taught in their faith they will certainly have even more opportunity to be salt and light.
I wish I could AFFORD to stay home and teach my kids but we need my income - I beg to differ. There are many ways to cut corners and live on less. Often times the choices we make determine how much money we require to live. I personally know many families that make less money than we do and have more children and still "afford" to homeschool. The Internet is a wealth of information on how to save money in every area of life.
No, homeschooling is not always easy but unfortunately our society is often so very enamoured with what is easy or what makes life more enjoyable or fun. Self serving ideals reign supreme and selflessness is unheard of. What happened to laying our lives down for Christ? What happened to putting others before ourselves? It is rarely done any more, at least not without whining and complaining and a "poor me" attitude. To honor God is to crucify our flesh and do what is best for others, especially the children that God entrusted to our care.
Trying to prove to others (especially working mothers) that we as homeschool mothers "work"... this is not something that I try to do. Whether your work shows any fruit in your life or the lives of others will reveal the true value of your work.
If I leave my home to go to a job so that we can afford more THINGS which sending my kids to a public institution every day then those THINGS that I am working for have become my idol. They are more important that my children. I am blessed with an able bodied husband that is more than able to go out and earn a living to support our family (as God would have him do as the head of our home) so there is no reason for me to go out and work so that we can afford to have the American Dream while someone else educates my children.
Here are a few more verses regarding teaching your children...
Isaiah 54:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
August 3, 2009
OK, Let's see...
I am God's child. Made in His image, saved by the blood of His Son, redeemed by faith and sanctified by His amazing and Holy grace. I love Him above all else.
I am am a non-denominational Christian in my doctrinal beliefs. I believe God has given us liberty as His children and although I have attended churches of various denominations over the years, I hold to none 100%, only to the Bible, the truth of God's word.
I am a growing Christian, seeking to learn and grow in God's word. As I continue to read the Bible I learn so much more each time I read, God's Word is so alive and dynamic, it always fills my soul.
I am always praying that God use me in any way He see fit to further His kingdom. Whatever he has for me to do I am willing and ready.
I am a wife of an amazing husband, totally dedicated and still so much in love after 10 happy years.
I am a mom that is in love with her babies and very protective of their lives and hearts.
I am a serious person. I do love to smile, laugh and joke (and I do so often) but in general I take things seriously and ponder them deeply.
I am a lover of all things culinary. Cooking is not just a hobby of mine, it is a passion and I have to keep myself in check otherwise I would spend all day in the kitchen and get absolutely nothing else done.
I am a music lover. Especially Christian hip-hop which has a special place in my heart. However, I also love old hymns, popular worship songs, instrumental music and so much more. Music always brings me joy.
I am a quilter. I have made hand-made quilts for more than half my life and every time I make one I love making them even more.
I am a homebody. I love to be at home, doing things at home, just enjoying our home. Home is comfortable, safe and warm... always.
I am a list maker and planner. I am always making lists, they can be found all over our house and in my purse. If I don't have a list I am lost.
I am concerned about the health of myself and my family which is why I love to make healthy foods from scratch and encourage us all to get outdoors for fresh air and exercise.
I am a bibliophile. I adore books and have to restrain myself as to not spend too much money on them.
I am a a person who wishes to garden. I wish so much for a garden but have not yet had the opportunity to start one. One day... one day... :0) I do grow herbs in pots and mini roses as well.
I am a lover of people. I make friends easily and love to meet new people. It is a joy yo be able to share with people that love that God has shared with me through Christ.
oh... and here are a few things I am not...
I am NOT a good dancer. I love music with a passion but dancing... uh... NO!
I am not patient. I am much more patient than I used to be and God is working with me on my patience but naturally, I am not patient.
I am not perfect! I will be the first one to say that I have my faults and they are many, but praise God He is working with me on them and I am making improvements.
July 31, 2009
Math Speed Drills
Starfall (Learn To Read)
Learn To Type For Kids
PBS Kids Electric Company (Phonics)
Preschool and Toddler Crafts
On-Line Spelling Bee
July 30, 2009
After a lot of research and advice from other homeschooling moms, I decided to try lapbooking. If you have never heard of lapbooking, check out this link. There are lots of free resources all over the web including lots of tutorials on youtube and other video based websites.
Today we made our first lapbook and the girls LOVED it. I chose to teach them about the Full Armour of God (Ephesians 6:10 - 18) and it was the perfect topic for a lapbook. I got the basic idea for the project here and added a little of my own ideas to round it out.
I still don't have a digital camera so I can't show any pics at this time but when we do get a new camera I will be sure to upload some and continue to show pics of furure lapbook projects.
I am planning to make lapbooks to help my girls with their math facts as well as grammar rules. We also may do mini-lapbooks for each of the 50 united states.
July 27, 2009
I had posted our homeschool plans a few months ago but have since made some changes. After looking at our budget and our time each day I felt it better to go with some different publishers for various subjects which would allow my older girls to work more independently on some subjects while I work with reading and math with my soon-to-be 5 year old.
That being said, I posted the new plan in the left sidebar. The daily schedule and chores will stay the same.
Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!
July 20, 2009
This year our keynote speaker was Dr. Voddie Baucham. If you have never heard Dr. Baucham speak, check out this video. Dr. Baucham also has a website with lots more info and videos.
July 11, 2009
For dinner I am planning to make homemade noodles and ground beef stroganoff. Maybe a salad too if I can find some lettuce in the fridge.
Tomorrow VBS starts so the girls are extra excited today.
My parents will be here on Thursday for a visit. They are staying until Sunday and going to our homeschool convention with us, so that will be fun too.
I just started reading a book called "The Metabolic Typing Diet". I'm really excited to see how the principals in this particular book will help us in our continued quest towards good health and eating.
Well, I have a stinky 2 year old here so I had better go for today.
Praying everyone's weekend is blessed!
July 7, 2009
We got a great start today and got one entire book shelf cleaned off and organized. I also cleaned off and am almost finished organizing the "teacher desk".
I am about 2/3 of the way done with my list of books and supplies we will be needing to buy. I have had to make some changes to our plans since my last post so I will post our new plans soon. I am going to buy a lot less at the start of this year and add more as we need it. I went WAY overboard last year and we still have things we didn't get to finish up.
We did a major sorting of everyones clothes last week and now just about everything is washed and folded or hung up. It feels so nice to have things more in order.
Yesterday I made up a batch of homemade laundry soap. My husband happened to be home and he was amazed that I was MAKING laundry soap. LOL! I explained to him how much money it is saving us and how little is needed. He had never noticed this new kind of soap in our laundry room because we still have about 1/2 a bottle of liquid detergent left whenever he does a load he just grabs that.
Yesterday I also made up a huge pot of refried beans. We had burritos last night and will have them again tonight (my family could eat burritos for every meal and be happy, LOL). Last this week I am going to make up some meatballs for the freezer.
I was going to do some baking today but the temperature is supposed to top 110 so I think that will wait till tomorrow morning when it's a bit cooler.
I pray you are all having an enjoyable day!
July 3, 2009
Today we are making preparations for July 4th. There will be a fireworks display in the next town over from us so we will be attending that. Since my husband has to work tomorrow we will be getting dinner ready while he is at work. We don't have a grill at this time so I will be doing an indoor version of cookout food :0) Hot dogs, a potato casserole in the crock pot as well as potato salad, veggies and some cookies and ice cream. The girls are excited, they didn't get to see any fireworks last year so this year is just that much more exciting!
Today I have a bunch of little items to tend to like a few phone calls to make, laundry to fold and a little research on some homeschool items I am considering purchasing for next year.
Next week we will be spending most of our time in preparation for the week to follow. The third week of July brings VBS for the girls, a music concert we have been long awaiting to attend, our annual homeschool convention and a visit from my parents. It will be a busy and exciting week!
I probably won't be blogging a lot in the days to come but I will be back as soon as life settles back down a bit.
Praying everyone has a blessed and safe 4th of July!
June 27, 2009
I was then blessed to find this site. Here you can download the Bible in MP3 format. Some versions like the KJV offer you the entire Bible for free in MP3 format and others like the NKJV offer the New Testament for free and the entire Bible for a fee.
What a blessing this has been to me Now when the girls are playing or otherwise occupied and I have chores to do, I can fill myself with the Word of God at the same time.
If you'd like more time in the Word check this out! If you don't own an MP3 player you can pick one up with enough capacity to hold the Bible download for about $30 at Wal-Mart. If your budget is a little larger than that, you can always buy a pre-loaded MP3 player with the Bible already on it. These type of players cost about $80 but they have more advanced search features. This one is on my Christmas wish list :0)
June 26, 2009
June 25, 2009
Today I have one big project to tackle. I am going to sort our clothing and take out all the things that done fit the girls any more any all the things that hubby and I have been hanging onto that either don't fit or are worn out. I'm doing the same for the linen closet. Then all the drawers and closets will be organized when we put everything back.
This morning I put a roast in the crock pot for dinner and started some yams baking in a smaller crock pot. I'll use those for muffins later on this week. Later on I'm going to start a batch of yogurt in the tiny crock pot. (Yes, I know I have a LOT of crock pots, LOL!)
The girls are playing Speed Stacks in the front room and 2 yo is filling any and every things she can find with water from the water cooler and pouring it all over the floor. I often wonder why someone doesn't invent a lock for those coolers to prevent little ones from flooding the floor. Hummm... maybe I should invent one! :0)
June 22, 2009
I had the massage therapy appointment after church while my husband spent time with the girls. The massage helped me so much, I had a wonderful therapist and she said I had two very large knots in my upper back which was probably the reason I was in such pain and that it lasted so long. Today I was just praising God because I was able to get down on the floor with the girls with no pain for the first time in years and I was able to bend over to pick things up without pain which never normally happens for me. My neck and back feel totally normal and I am just so thankful.
Thanks for everyone that was praying for me, God heard your prayers!
June 20, 2009
The doctor said that I have a lot of tension in my back and neck muscles which is causing the pain I am experiencing. Tomorrow I have an appointment for a deep tissue massage which I am praying will help me feel much better. So after church it's off to the massage office then home to spend a relaxing evening celebrating Father's Day.
I woke up this morning praising for for this new day. The weather has been BEAUTIFUL here for the last several weeks. Normally at this time of year it is in the 100's already and edging up to the 110's. Not so this year! The girls have been able to go outside often and I am so thankful for that. The summer is not usually the most fun time for outdoor activities where we live.
My sweet husband leaves early for work and he let me sleep in because he knew I wasn't feeling well. I am thankful for that as well because sleep is certainly necessary for good health. I was able to get up and make some bread dough this morning and make the girls breakfast as well. Then my lovely young ladies took over for lunch as I began to braid 7 yo's hair with my heating pad in tow.
I was also so blessed this morning by my sweet sister in Christ, DeNiece. She awarded me with this lovely blog award.
Thanks so much DeNiece, your blog is such a blessing to me and I am honored that you chose me for this award.
As I read on DeNiece's blog, the "rules" for this award are that you list 7 things that you love, link back to the person that gave you the award and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers. So here is my list of what I love and who I would like to bless with this award.
1. Above all I love God. He is my salvation, my strength, my healer, my provider and my comfort in all things.
2. I love my husband. I am eternally thankful that God has allowed me to share my life with him.
3. I love my children. They are precious little gifts and it is a joy to watch them grow and learn.
4. I love my family and friends. My parents, sister, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, all of my friends etc. I am blessed with a big and loving family and loving friends and for all of them I am thankful.
5. I love it when it rains! Especially in the summer. The fierce thunder and lightning coupled with the cool drizzle of falling rain is God's power incarnate.
6. I love freshly baked bread. Any type, if it's warm from the oven and topped with butter. Mmmm!
7. I love blogging. Getting to know others and being edified by them and encouraging them is such a blessing.
I would like to pass this award on to the following bloggers that have truly blessed me...
1. Bethany at Happy To Be Called "Mommy"
2. Crystal at Homemaking Homesteader
3. Linda at Homeschooling 6
4. Erika at Tummy Treasure
5. Sharon at Keeper of The Home
6. Donetta at A Life Uncommon
7. Dawn from On A Quest For Plain Living
Praying you all have a beautiful and blessed weekend!
June 18, 2009
I'm sure any mother knows, it's tough around the house when mom is sick. Yesterday I had a bad flare up of pain right around my 2 year old's nap time. I asked my 9 year old to help her get into the crib for her nap as I lay down on the sofa with a heating pad. I explained to 2 yo that mommy is not feeling well and her sister would help her to bed for a nap. She seemed fine with this at first but the crying began as soon as 9 yo left her room. It took us about 15 or 20 minutes to get her down for a nap with me calling out to her from across the house to quiet down and take her nap and I would see her when she woke up.
Even though times like this can be trying, it is a great opportunity for learning and training your children. My 7 and 9 year old have taken over most chores the past three days. I have been very tiredand achy so after just an hour or so of housework I am spent and have had to lie down with my heating pad. The big girls took over with no problem and had a great attitude too. My 4 yo enjoyed playing "baby-sitter" when 2 yo was awake and felt like such a big girl watching and playing with her baby sister. My 9 yo was so happy when I had one pretty good day and went out shopping for groceries. I told her that even though I was fairly ok, I would need a helper to lift things and put large things under the cart. She was a huge help! Daddy watched the youger three girls and reported that they had been extremely well behaved when we got home.
I also believe that when mom is sick it really teaches children to learn how to serve others. Parents naturally serve their children all day but children don't always get a chance to really serve their parents, especially when they are young. When my girls see their daddy helping me when I am unable to do something or when I ask them to help and compliment them when they do a good job or have a good attitude, it really helps them to learn to have a servant's heart.
Prayerfully, I will be just fine after tomorrow's consult with my doctor but in the meanwhile it gives me such peace and joy to see the love of Christ shine through my children.
June 13, 2009
My own hair is not as curly nor as thick as theirs so styling their hair has been a learning experience for me. I can easily wash, condition and air dry my hair and it looks just fine but not so with my girls. They must have their hair in braids, plaits or twists or it will get very tangled and be impossible to manage. Not to mention that each of them has a different texture to their hair so it requires different treatment. I once received a comment on this blog asking why I don't style my girls hair. That actually hurt my feelings because I spend TONS of time each week on the girls hair and I really try to make it look nice. We spend almost all day Saturday on hair.
What I do each and every Saturday is wash each girls hair. My 9 year old washes her own hair. If I wash their hair more often it will become very dry and break easily. I wash and deep condition then apply some sort of hair oil Usually I use a product called Hair Pudding which my good friend Tanisha makes. Here is a link to her site. She and her family some great products! Sometimes I use Alberto VO5 (the oil in the small tube). I am also planning to buy some products that I found which I think will work well for my 9 year old and myself and possible my 4 year old. It is from a company called Mixed Chicks. It is kind of pricey but if it works then it will be well worth it!
Once I wash, condition and oil their hair I usually do 9 year old and 4 year old first. Their hair is has the loosest curls so I usually give them each two braids or plaits. Sometimes I get more fancy with 4 year old and give her several plaits on each side so she can pull them back into a pony tail. This usually lasts for about 2 or 3 days. Then I re-do them. Rarely I make 4 year old puffs. She loves her puffs but they don't last and her hair gets more tangled when I do it this way. She's got her puffs on the photo in the sidebar. They are loose puffs because her curls are so loose.
I do 2 year old after that. Her hair is so short it's fairly easy to do at this point. I like to keep her in two braids but if she's restless I just make her two puffs which can be easily re-done daily.
7 year old has the thickest and coarsest hair so it takes much longer. Her hair is very delicate and falls out or breaks off easily. I have to be very gentle with her combing and section it off into small portions to get it nice and tangle free. I then put it into many small two-strand twists all over which she can pull back into pony tails or I put it into 4 or 6 braids on each side which she can also pull back. This usually lasts 4 to 6 days then I re-do it. Her hair takes about 2 to three hours from start to finish. The re-do only takes about 45 minutes because it's already nice and smooth from being in braids or twists already. Most days I just un-do any braids or twists that look "fluffy" and re-do those and leave the rest alone.
I have been reading up a lot about multi-racial hair care and I am going to be buying a spray bottle so I can give them an all over spraying with an oil (olive oil) and water mixture every day to retain more moisture in their hair.
Does anyone else have children with very curly or multi-racial hair? I'd love to hear about your hair routine!