Monday, August 1, 2011

Our New School Year is Here!

I just finished ordering the last of our school books yesterday and we are getting excited to be starting school again!  Last year was our "official" start of homeschooling, although we had completed a year of Pre-k  the year before that.

We chose My Father's World curriculum for Kindergarten last year and both Luke and Chloe loved it.  Luke was already reading a little at the start of Kindergarten but he just completely took off.  He is reading on at least a third to fourth grade level now!  It seems he is a sight reader, so he just memorizes the words and that's good enough for him.  The K curriculum wasn't really a challenge for him but he still had fun with it.  My goal was to give him a good phonics base and I was pleased.

Chloe learned her letters, their sounds, and how to write them so she had a great year!  She is starting to read very simple books and I'm sure she will continue to excel with practice.

We are using My Father's World again this year and both children will progress to the first grade.  The reading will not be a challenge for Luke at all but my main goal for him is to have a good foundation for phonics and that will continue this year.  I realize Chloe is young to start first grade but I feel repeating Kindergarten would not be the best thing for her, as she grasped the material quite well.  She is starting the K level for math this year.  We weren't happy with the math in MFW so we chose Math-U-See and love it.

I am completely drawn to the Charlotte Mason style of teaching which is one of the things that drew us to MFW to start with.  If you don't know much about this style I would encourage you to educate yourself.  I think you'll find it well-rounded and "gentle."  

So here's what our year looks like:

Luke (6)
Chloe (5)
  • Math-U-See (Primer Level)
  • My Father's World for History, Reading, Phonics, Science, and Picture Study
  • Rod and Staff Preschool Set-This is considered Rod and Staff's kindergarten level.  We LOVE these books and the kids have had a blast doing the workbooks.  Plus they are super affordable.  We've bought several different things from this company and have been very pleased with everything.
I also adore Sonlight curriculum because they are all about reading.  I am being extra ambitious this year and plan to read their read-aloud recommendations for the K level.  That's roughly 25 books!  I also plan to have Luke read the Grade 3 readers as he breezed through the Grade 2 readers this year without any struggle whatsoever.  Chloe will be reading the Grade 1 readers  as soon as I feel she's ready.

I have found about half of my material needed on .  This is a website where you can search all of craigslist for whatever you're looking for.  It has been a huge money-saver.  There are tons of homeschoolers out there that are selling their used books for a fraction of the cost you would spend new.

I have also utilized a ton.  We are Prime members so we get free two-day shipping on anything that qualifies, which is most everything!  :)  And of course the library is priceless.  Love, love, love the library.  They are used to seeing me weekly there with my huge stack of books all crammed into my Publix reusable shopping bag.

So there you have it.  I hope your retinas are still attached after such a long post!  It's basically a two-in-one post because I didn't write about school last year.  Now we'll just be watching for those last boxes from the mailman, UPS, and Fed-Ex this week so we can begin our new school year!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What Guys Think About Modesty

This is an awesome video about the importance of modesty.  And what better time to be reminded of the need for modesty than spring and summer-when suddenly everyone's clothes seem to disappear because "it's so hot?"  I trust this will be an encouragement to us ladies to choose our wardrobe carefully!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gems in Chronicles...

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people,

Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

~1 Chronicles 16:8-12~

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gratituesday: Spring

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above...James 1:17

I've enjoyed Laura's Gratituesday posts for quite a while so I thought I would join her in writing about something I am thankful for.  I have so many things.....where to begin?!

The radio station said it's supposed to be 80 degrees today!  I love it! The beautiful spring weather has been so wonderful these past few weeks.  It's almost impossible to keep the kids indoors.  They are having so much fun jumping on the trampoline, digging in the dirt, having tea parties, making rivers in the mud, killing ants, target practicing, riding their bikes and Power Wheels, roller-blading, and picking flowers. There's just so much to do!  

Jacob riding the Gator

Digging dirt for the "garden"

Working in the "garden"

 Luke target practicing

Chloe and Asher having fun in the Jeep

Just yesterday I found the bag of pistachios missing only to find out that the nuts were being used as Easter eggs.  They were hiding them all over the yard!  They've been finding them all day today.  Hysterical, these kids of mine.  

Yes, I am thankful for the official arrival of spring with all of its warmth and beauty.  Thankful to be pulling out the short sleeves and flip-flops.  Loving the fact I can leave the doors open to peek on the kids while cooking dinner or doing laundry.  Listening to their laughter while they're having such a good time.

The hard part is to be thankful when there is a brown ring of dirt around the bath tub and I have piles of muddy clothes to wash.  But that's a post for another day!

What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Menu Plan for March 20

We've got a super busy week this week so our menu is plain and simple.  I am working and selling in a local consignment sale Tuesday and Thursday, keeping my friends' two boys on Wednesday, and we are leaving for out of town Friday so that means packing for everyone!  Wow!  Just the thought of all I need to get done makes my heart flop.  I'll have to break out the energy boosting smoothies with all the running around I'll be doing.  :)

Bean and Cheese Burritos
Steak and Potatoes

Egg Salad Sandwiches
Potato Soup

Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Casserole

Breakfast Cookies
Lunch at Mom's
Dinner at Mom's (I'll be shopping and working at the consignment sale from 2:30-9:30 so the kids will be at Mom's)

Cream of Wheat
Annie's Mac n Cheese-Veggies
Dinner out (Leaving for trip)

You may notice several of our meals are repeats of last weeks menu.....if I decide on something different for a meal, I just add it to the next weeks menu!  Hopefully we'll get around to the pretzels this week.  I'm looking forward to trying them, as I haven't actually made them yet.  I always forget to make the dough in the morning so it will be ready in time for lunch!  You would think I would remember since all I do is sit around and eat Bon-Bons and watch the Soap Opera Network.  ;) 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Don't Be-A-Chicken Chili

This chicken chili is fabulous!  You must try this dish.  I made it last night and there was just a tiny bit left.  The recipe is from The Gooseberry Patch Halloween Cookbook, but I got it through their e-mail newsletter.

1 T. oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 onion, chopped
14-oz can chicken broth
2 (15.8 oz) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 (4-1/2 oz) cans chopped green chiles (I only use one to tone down the heat for the kiddos)
1-1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. dried oregano
8-0z. sour cream
1 c. whipping cream
2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Garnish:  cilantro

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat; add chicken and onion.  Saute until chicken is cooked through; set aside.  Combine broth, beans, undrained chiles and seasonings in a large Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken mixture; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.  Add sour cream and whipping cream, stirring well.  Top each serving with shredded cheese; garnish, if desired.  Serves 6-8.

I had cooked a huge crockpot full of chicken pieces yesterday which yielded me 10 cups of shredded chicken!  I used two cups for the chili and put the rest in the freezer to use later.  I used chicken broth that I had made from a previous crockpot chicken batch.  I soaked my beans the night before and cooked them in the crockpot yesterday (I have two crockpots!); used four cups for the chili and put the rest in the freezer for later!  It was easy to bring everything together and now I have lots of good food already cooked and ready to pull out at a later date! 

Sorry I don't have a picture to show you....the chili was gobbled up before I even thought about it! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu Plan for week of March 14

I cannot tell you how much a menu plan has helped me!  I love being able to just look at my plan instead of rummaging through the fridge and pantry, which I was notorious for doing.  It makes life much simpler and that's something I can definitely use more of.

Our everyday life tends to change quite a bit from what we have planned around here so if we don't follow the meal plan for the day I'll just move it to another day or use it for the following weeks plan! 

Egg Salad Sandwiches

Baked Oatmeal
Chicken Chili

Cream Cheese Salsa Dip
Red Beans and Rice

Grilled Cheese
Garlic Chicken Pasta

Out for Dr. Appt.

Yogurt w/Granola
Bean and Cheese Burritos
Venison tenderloin wrapped in bacon

Breakfast Cookies
Philly Steak and Cheese
Fellowship @ Church-Taking Strawberry Cake and ????

Now you may notice I usually only plan the main course for the meal so that leaves me with adding easy choices of breads, fruits, or veggies, depending on what I'm in the mood for.  I usually just buy a variety of fruits and veggies each week and pull my sides from that. 

So what about you?  Do you use a menu plan?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Seven

It's been a while since I've posted a Saturday Seven and there's a lot to share so I'll jump right in!

1)  We've had some sort of stomach bug at our house every two weeks for the past six weeks!  And I got the bug two out of the three times!  Yuck!  I'm sneaking Tummy Tune-Up into everything to try and get lots of good guys in our stomachs so they can hopefully win the next time the bad guys attack. 

2)  It appears that Jacob is potty trained!  Hooray!  He has been dry all week wearing his underwear and is starting to tell me when he needs to go potty.

He will be three in April so he's way behind Luke and Chloe, who were trained around two.  But I take the blame for him not being trained sooner.  I wasn't consistent at all with taking him to the bathroom.  You can't expect most toddlers to start changing their ways all by themselves after they've been used to going in their diaper for two+ years!

3)  Austin's birthday was this past Monday!  He got to celebrate three times (Monday, Wednesday, and tonight) so I'm guessing he's feeling the love.  Hopefully that will make up for the fact that he's starting a downward spiral to "middle age."  :)

4)  Asher now knows how to climb down our steps and I am ever so thankful.  We have a flight of hardwood steps in our house and the kids' playroom is upstairs so he always wants to go where all the whooping and hollering is.  (Now that I think about it, there's whooping and hollering all throughout the entire house pretty much most of the day so.....)

At any rate it wasn't the going up the stairs I was concerned with; it was the getting down.  He may or may not have fallen from top to bottom once.


So he did.  And I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  Literally.  I ran through the house yelling "Jesus, help us!"  And He did.

There was a bump on his forehead and that was it.  It hurt me more than him, I'm pretty sure.  My heart was beating out of my chest and I was shaking like a leaf.  He didn't even cry real tears (I did) and he was totally back to normal in about two minutes.  (I wasn't) By normal, I mean he was trying to go up the stairs again. 

He's now figured out how to crawl down the stairs backwards and he thinks he is hot stuff.  My nerves have settled a bit knowing he is learning how to get down the stairs on his hands and knees as opposed to tumbling down end over end.

5)  I have recently discovered how much I love thrift stores.  There is one less than a mile from the house and they have "Fill-a-Bag for $7" on Wednesdays.  I've gotten some pretty sweet deals with that.  You can cram a lot of clothes in a Wal-Mart bag when you're determined.  :)

Two weeks ago I found two pair of Tommy Hilfiger dress pants, which he really needed, for Luke for $.75 apiece!  I was so excited!

6)  Our dining room looks kind-of like Home Depot's gardening section landed in there.  We have a five-tiered wire shelf in front of our bay window with two long plant lights, two round lights, and over 100 tiny plants growing.

Austin is growing heirloom seedlings for tomatoes and peppers to plant in our garden this year.  I've learned quite a lot about growing seedlings so far.  Did you know that if you rub the tiny plants it helps them to grow stronger? 

Yeah, me neither.  Nevertheless, I've had several phone conversations that have ended with me being asked to rub the tomatoes.  I'm pretty sure "Wilt thou love, honor, cherish, and rub tomato plants" wasn't part of our vows, so who knew?

7)  I recently finished Ann's book and it was more than I expected!  I cannot recommend this book enough.  The Lord used her words, her quest for joy, to help me change my perspective on some areas in my life.  I'm thankful God uses our brokenness to minister to others.

"One Thousand Gifts" reached #9 on the NY Times best-seller list last week so it's wonderful to know that God is using her life, with all it's hurts, to be a blessing to so many.  You should definitely check it out.  It's only $8.94 right now at Amazon for a new, hardcover copy!

~Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The winner is.....

according to random number generator....

number three.....


Congratulations!!  I'll be in touch on getting this out to you.  It might require another late night trip to Kroger for coffee and sharing.  ;)

I would recommend everyone to read this book.  It's a huge blessing to me already and I'm not even finished!

Thanks to all of you for entering.  It was encouraging to see your comments!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

don't forget....

Tonight's the last night for the giveaway!  It will close at midnight so if you haven't entered, you've got a little time.  And if  you have family or friends who might be interested in the book, tell them to pop over and leave a comment to be entered.  I'll post the results tomorrow! 

but God....

One of my favorite phrases in the Bible is "but God."  Such powerful, life-changing words! 

The set of verses that most frequently come to mind are these found in Ephesians 2:

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 

Doesn't that make you want to give a little shout?!  

I was curious to see what other scriptures contained these exact words so I did a word search using my Sword Searcher.  Turns out there are some pretty awesome verses all throughout the Bible that contain that phrase.  I hope you are blessed and encouraged by these powerful words!

     But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good,  -Gen. 50:20      
   But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. -Psalm 49:15

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.  -Psalm 73:26

But God raised him from the dead:  -Acts 13:30 

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.  -1 Cor. 3:7

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:  but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;  but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.  -1 Cor. 10:13

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  -Eph. 2:4

I'm so glad we serve an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever present, non-changing, holy, righteous GOD! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I can't tell you how excited I was to see the FedEx man yesterday.  I almost hugged him. 


While I didn't hug the delivery guy, I did do a little happy dance while hugging the box.  I have read rave reviews about "One Thousand Gifts" and have long been a fan of Ann, so hugging the box which contained her book was entirely appropriate. :)

I started reading it last night and it's wonderful.  Wonderful, I tell you.  Very moving, both spiritually and emotionally.  I was crying in the first chapter.  God has truly given her a gift with words. 

I took a five minute break (okay...maybe fifteen) today during nap to read more and am looking forward to reading more tonight.  I already know it will be one of my favorite books, with dog-eared pages and highlighter marks everywhere.

And guess what?

I bought an extra copy for a giveaway!  That's right, one of you sweet readers will win a copy of "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" .  All you have to do is leave a comment with something you are thankful for.  That's it!

The giveaway will close Wednesday, February 2.  I'll choose a random winner with the help from one of those number-picking websites and post the results Thursday! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

I'm so excited about the new book release "One Thousand Gifts" by my favorite blogger, Ann Voskamp, at A Holy Experience. Her words have encouraged and challenged me for the last couple of years.
It's been quite a while since I've bought a book at the bookstore, but for this book I'm making the exception.  I've read rave reviews about it and can't wait to delve into it myself.  
If you haven't heard of the book, or Ann, or her counting the gifts, watch the video below and dare to begin counting!

**Edited to Add:  For a limited time you can purchase the book at InCourage  for only $10!  And if you order two or shipping!  That's amazing! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scripture Memory

One of my New Year's resolutions was to memorize more Scripture this year. I find myself lacking in Scripture memorization and want to make huge strides in that area of my spiritual life. Perhaps I'll share with you this years goal soon. I'm really excited about it!
This clip by John Piper is so moving and motivational. I get goose bumps every time I watch it. You're sure to be blessed and inspired by the truth he speaks.