Thursday, September 3, 2015

Why You Should Teach Your Kids Their Way Around the Kitchen

It will pay off, y'all.

Last night I went to bed not feeling so great.  I woke up in the middle of the night feeling even worse.  I woke up feeling ROUGH.  My husband doesn't get to just call in. . . he has to go in and see about things and get things situated if something comes up and he needs to be home.  Turns out, even though he planned to be home right after lunch, it was closer to 5pm.    God was good and gracious though, and the baby took a really long nap and everyone got along well.

My 3 year old woke up "tick" too.  She and I lay in the bed all day together watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and resting.  I sat up while the baby was awake until his nap, then I put him in his crib and I went to bed with my sweet girl.  My big girls did their school and their chores plus my oldest spent the afternoon baking banana bread and she made supper for us.  She's 11.  We had a roast, green beans, and homemade mashed potatoes.  She'd never fixed any of those things before, but she's cooked several other things.  I gave her directions and she followed them.

I strongly encourage all mamas to teach their kids some basic cooking skills.

Teaching them easy things builds their confidence to try harder things and may be even get a little creative on their own!  My older two kids can make grilled cheese, pancakes, scrambled eggs, and a few other dishes.  My oldest child can also make her specialty, pineapple casserole along with some other more complicated things.    It will serve them well when they are on their own, or when you need a night off from the kitchen!

Check out our delicious meal on our not so fancy every day dishes!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Themes in Life

It seems when I'm consistently in God's Word, I find themes come up in my study time over and over - not only in my personal quiet time, but in podcasts I listen to, teachings in church and Sunday school. . . all over the same theme can come up over and over.

Currently the theme for me is prayer.  I've been convicted of my prayer life not being all that it could be or should be.  During the last few months as we've been trying to think through building or buying a house, I've tried to stay open to God's plan for us.  I've prayed over and over that God would guide our decisions and keep me from being stressed trying to decide for myself what's best.  I know He has a plan for us.  I want whatever happens in our life to ultimately bring glory to God.

One radio broadcast I listened to one day last week, a man was being interviewed about prayer.  He was saying that we should just ask God for what we want.  Sometimes He will say no, but He knows our hearts and what we want anyway, so we should be bold in asking.  So that day, I prayed boldly...I wanted that house for sale that we'd been looking at and had made an offer on.  I didn't want to make a foolish decision, but I wanted this to be the house for us.  The next day (Thursday) we found out that the counter offer came back and we'd decided that we couldn't justify paying anymore than our last offer, so we walked away.  I was disappointed, but I knew that there was a reason.  I figured I may never know the reason, but I want to bring God glory, and I knew that I had to trust.

Thursday night Joel and I discussed all of the different things we could plan and do. . . what builders to talk to, places to possibly build. . . We went to sleep much later than normal and unsure of the future, but knowing Who held it for us.

Friday morning we woke up to find out that our realtor had agreed to reduce her commission and because of that the bank accepted our offer.  I am so humbled that this woman, who prayed with us over the contract, would make this sacrifice for us.

Speaking of prayer, the new Kendrick's brother movie, War Room, is out, and Joel and I are looking forward to seeing it Tuesday night.  It should fit right in with the prayer theme in my life!

Here is a picture of the 3 big kids in the "secret hideout" in our new house.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

When God Says "No"

Our little family has now grown to 7.  Elijah, our 5th child, was born in February 2014.  3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms is plenty, but we'd like more.  We would like to have a house large enough for all of our kids to come back home with their families and plenty of room for our grandkids to come and stay (I'm counting on that as my reward for not killing these kids some days!).

So, we've been  praying.  We drew up house plans, we have talked to a builder, we've pinned hundreds of ideas.  Then there was a house in our town, just a stones throw out of the city limits actually, came available for sale.  It was foreclosed on, so the bank owns it.  It has everything we need.  5 kid rooms, school room, play rooms, beautiful yard, lots of closets. . . it's perfect.  Well, the 90s counter tops and brass fixtures everywhere aren't so perfect, but that's an easy fix.  We've been through a process - making an offer, countering, etc. all while praying that God would guide our steps.

Well meaning folks have prayed for us and encouraged us and oooohed and ahhhhed over how perfect it is for us.  I've asked God boldly for Him to let us have this house.

Today, we learned that the door is shut.  Prices were just more than we were willing to pay for a 20 year old house that needs some work.  He answered our prayer.  He said no.  I've confessed to God and to Joel that I really, really wanted this house.  I've mentally decorated and filled the closets.  I've set bird feeders in strategic locations, set up my sewing area, and planned my sitting area in the fabulous bay window in the master bedroom.  I've reminded myself all along that God knows what I don't know.  He sees things that I can't see.  My prayer has been that wherever He puts us, it will be a place that will be used for His glory.

The door has been shut, but the story isn't over yet.  I don't know the next chapter.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring in this journey.  I've cried and I've had my pity party.  Then I mowed the grass and sewed a gift for someone.  I've thought about the things in our dream of houses that this one wouldn't have allowed.  Chickens.  Horses.  Goats.  Sunflower patch.

Tonight I won't tell God how disappointed I am.  I'll tell Him thank you.  I'll thank Him for loving me when I'm unlovable (when I'm stomping my feet and whining about not getting my way).  I'll thank him for this room over our heads.  I'll thank Him for blessings that He gives me everyday so that I take them for granted - healthy children, godly husband, friends, food in abundance. . .  and I'll ask Him to continue to direct my paths.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to School 2013/14

This year we are beginning 4th grade for Mary Helen and 2nd grade for Anna.  We will be using My Father's World for our Bible, History, Science, and some literature.  We started using MFW last year with Adventures, and this year we are starting Exploring Cultures and Countries.  The focus is on geography, cultures of the countries, missionary heros, and learning the major religions of various people groups while learning how to pray for those groups.

I sat down today and figured up that when the baby we're expecting to arrive in February (#5) graduates in 2032, I will have taught through the 5 year cycle of MFW 3 times.  So, I thought it would be a good idea to keep a record of what we use, what we do, what we enjoy, etc.  Not only will it be priceless for my family to look back on, but it will serve as a great reminder the next couple of times I go through it!

We are in week 4 right now, so I'll try to catch up and keep going with what we're doing each week.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Camping Out

The girls decided last night to spend the night in their playhouse.  They watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the first one, not the one with creepy Johnny Depp), had their dolls in their pajamas watching with them, had some candy, and did a craft.

The best part of all, Mary Helen said this morning, "I had a pajama party with one of my BFFs" and pointed to her sister.  THAT is such a desire of my heart - to see my kids look to each other as best friends.  It so often seems they are fighting with each other and driving each other crazy!  But, now and then, they realize for a bit that they are FRIENDS!  I imagine there will be arguing today, but that's okay.  I'm one blessed mama!

Here they are this morning after coming in.  Daniel was so excited to see them coming that he started cheering when we saw them making their way through the backyard :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Random Pictures from the last few weeks

I couldn't possibly catch up from the last time I posted. . . nearly 2 years ago!  So here are some pictures from the last few weeks as a way to get started blogging again :)

Anna (6) gets her breakfast in bed one morning

Daniel playing with trains and shows he is turning 3!

Daniel knows how to keep Sarah Beth (8 months) happy - share a sucker!

Some days Daniel decides he needs to "do cool with the guhs" (translates to "do school with the girls") 

Daniel and the sweet neighbor girl playing in the playhouse

Isn't this what everyone looks like when they are getting tucked into bed?

Showing off our science project where we learned that seeds need water  to grow and we need Living Water to grow.

This is what happens when you put big sisters in charge of little sister. . . 

Mary Helen (8) cooks breakfast for our bunch each morning - she's a great cook!

Mary Helen has been learning to sew. . . this is her first quilt, pillow case, and pillow that she made.  We are so grateful for a sweet lady in our church to take time each week to teach her how to sew, crochet, do some hand embroidery, etc.

Happy girl loves her bath time!

. . . and breakfast time!

Little monkeys :)

She thinks just because she is homeschooled she shouldn't have to miss out on sack lunches!

How precious is this?!

Mary Helen got a cute little puppy after months and months of researching and begging. . . 

Well, she's mostly cute!

Sarah Beth hanging out during school time

Sweet sister smooches!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Homeschool Planning

Last year I planned out my school year for the most part for the whole year. Notice I said "for the most part". . . the things that didn't get planned out just didn't get done as well or as often as the things I had planned out ahead. I did the file crate system that I've read about on various blogs, the most popular of which, I believe, is By Sun and Candlelight. She goes all out with hers and takes full advantage of this system for all aspects of her life. I, on the other hand, am only using it for school.

So, I sat down at my dining room table and left all my stuff spread out so I could sit down and work on it whenever I had a small chunk of time. Here's what my dining room table looked like for weeks (there were several day stretches where I couldn't work on it - IDEALLY, I would send the kids off or take all my supplies including my printer to a
hotel and order room service for a couple of days, but you know how that goes. . . ) I actually did most of it on the evenings that the DairyKing was out planting crops and the kids were in bed.

The first thing that I did was to make labels for my folders. Instead of dating them, I numbered them. I have 2 very good reasons for this :) First of all, I can re-use the folders just like they are next year; and secondly, I am not tied to any dates. We never know when we will decide to take a week off, or a couple of days off. This way as long as I keep a pretty steady pace, I will never be behind! If we decide to take a couple of days off we can stretch our week out over 2 weeks, or decide which parts to make up and what to skip (math sheets will probably get skipped because we will be reviewing them in the next lesson anyway, grammar and spelling would just get an extra lesson thrown in for a day or two, I also have a "catch up" week or three scheduled in for good measure)

Then, I went subject by subject and did the whole year's plan for each one. I started with Bible. I pulled worksheets from the student book, printed visuals and other things I needed for each lesson, made anything I needed to make, and made a list of things I needed to gather that either wouldn't fit in the folder or that I would need to buy.

Now, I have my plan for the week written out, and everything I need in the folder. I even tore my math teacher's book apart! I didn't do that with all my teacher books though :)

I did a set of folders for each of the girls, though admittedly I didn't get all of Anna's planned out as well. It does help that she's only in Kindergarten and doesn't have as much ground to cover every day :)

Later I will show you how I organize Mary Helen's daily assignments that she does on her own.