Friday, December 2, 2011

Enjoying New Curriculum.

Last year, we used Abeka K5.  I think maybe it was too many books for our first year.  I needed something all-in-one.  Thankfully, I found it (on Craigslist too!).

This year we've been using My Father's World First Grade for our curriculum.  It is broken down by day with daily Reading/Writing, a Number of the Day, weekly Science lessons and Bible lessons, and a weekly memory verse from the book of Proverbs.  You can buy additional books for Art and Music lesson. 

So far I have really liked the lessons, but we go through them so quickly, I have also been supplementing with extra practice sheets and reading.  I can really appreciate the Bible lessons because not only do the kids learn verses (and discuss them for understanding, but they are also learning about Bible history, being introduced to Hebrew and Greek, and learning to use maps.

Here is one of my favorite projects, one that we did while learning Proverbs 12:18:  swords for reckless words, and band aids for healing words.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sisters Word Art

Today I discovered something amazing:  wordle!  I've been looking for some "sisters" subway art and can you believe I haven't found anything decent.  I have this adorable green frame that I stuck in the girls' room that's just asking for some colorful word art.

Anyhow, I was browsing through some stuff on Pinterest, and came across a post that used wordle to design your own Christmas ornaments.  I gave it a quick try and after 5 minutes, came up with this:

Wordle: Sisters

Pretty cute, huh?  You just type in a bunch of text and then adjust the colors, fonts, and layout to your own liking.  You can even choose to make the words horizontal or vertical or more of either way.  I'm going to hang this one as a portrait, so I chose to make most of the words vertical on the layout. 

What a great way to throw together something new and fun in no time!  I think I'll make some for the holidays too!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Things Your Mom Says & Jambalaya Recipe

In an effort to start keeping up this blog again, I'll be adding "what's for dinner" and some of our renovations from the house to keep it all well-rounded. ;)

You know those crazy sayings you heard growing up from you mom?  It turns out that some of them actually make sense!

"Don't count your chickens before they hatch!"

When we started working on this house, we were ready to tear out all the dirty, tar-covered cabinets from the kitchen.  Except we spent all of our "house savings" on paint and refinishing the floors and a new mattress and ... well, we don't have any left for new cabinets.  It's a good thing we didn't tear them out after all (for now!).

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

What we did take out was that very dirty range/oven.  It was a gas oven, but the gas line was cut, and nothing else in the house used gas, so we decided to buy new (or used).  We also decided to rearrange the cabinets and fit the fridge against the wall as it was so very oddly placed and very soon we will begin painting the existing cabinets.  In the meantime, I've been using my trusty crock pot, a little toaster oven, and an electric skillet to cook as the new oven and stove and cabinets haven't been installed (aren't kitchens always the last to finish?!).  Sometimes you gotta do with what you have!

Last night I used the skillet to make one of my mom's go-to recipes:  Sausage Jumbalaya.  It was very easy and everyone loves it!


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped onion*
   1/2 cup chopped green onion*
   1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
   1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley*
1 cup (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
   1/4 tsp crushed dried mint
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 lb. smoked sausage (I used Oscar Mayer turkey sausage)
salt to taste
hot sauce or ground cayenne pepper to taste

In large skillet heat oil over medium heat and saute' onions, bell pepper and parsley til onions are clear.  Stirring, add tomato sauce, garlic, mint and wine, then the rice, salt, hot sauce (if desired) and smoked sausage (half and slice), and enough water to cover rice by about 1 inch.  Cook til most of juice is gone.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 1 hour, don't lift lid for at least 45 minutes.  This makes a red jambalaya.  4-6 servings.
From Justin Wilson's Homegrown Louisiana Cookin'

*I use 2 cups of chopped onions and don't bother with the green onions.  Maybe a tbsp of dried parsley in place of the fresh.  I don't put hot sauce in it while cooking but let everyone add their own individually if desired.  I do not cook it that long; the rice cooks dry pretty quickly after letting the juice cook down before covering, so keep an eye on it and check after maybe 20 minutes.  Consider it done when the rice has cooked dried (and tender).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Like a Racehorse

Tonight we all watched Secretariat together.  I have to admit that for whatever reason, I didn't expect it to be this good!  We all loved it....okay, so Reese wasn't too into it but she's only two. ;)  Rachel asked a few questions at the beginning, and then really got into it, even cheering for Secretariat during the race scenes.

In the middle of the movie, Rachel had to take a potty break.  We paused the movie while she ran to the bathroom; I told her to hurry up and she replied, "okay, I am!  But I'm not as fast as that horse!"  Love her!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gentle Reminders

There is nothing like the innocence of a child to show you non skeptical, non stereotyped thinking.

Over the weekend, my 5 year old spotted a homeless man on the side of the road.  She asked what he was doing, read his sign that said "Need Help", and observed quietly for a few minutes.  Her conclusion about the whole situation had nothing to do with the way he looked or why he didn't have a job, but "why are there so many people passing by him and not helping??!!"

I am guilty of being one of those people.  Sure, I gather items and donate to the homeless shelter and give money to needy kids, but I also sometimes find myself being skeptical of those asking for money or even judging them.  Thank you, Rachel, for the reminder to love my neighbor as myself.

"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20 

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Review: 31 Days of Drawing Near to God

I don't generally pick up my bible, open to a random page and start reading.  I like structure and guidance, so I prefer to have a devotional book that gives me specific scripture to read and helps pull things together and give insight.  I was glad to see "31 Days of Drawing Near to God" by Ruth Myers was available for review. Anything that helps me get nearer to Him is exactly what I need. 

Myers starts with a moving introduction by telling "her story."  She gives an overview of her life up to now with it's many ups and downs including the ups and downs of her faith.  Her daily devotions include more details of her story that point to who He is and who we are in Him.  The subtitle of the book is "Resting Securely in His Delight" and Myers gives wonderful examples in scripture that show we truly are His delight.  The book is full of reminders about the true relationship that we should have with the Father and of our identity as His chosen and cherished children.  I really enjoyed each day of finding or rediscovering the overwhelming love He has for me.  The devotions were just the right length as were the suggested scripture readings.  I would recommend this to anyone, but especially to anyone who is feeling distant from the Lord or who would like to be reminded of His love and drawn closer to Him.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review; however my opinion was not influenced in any way.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Before I forget...

Tonight at dinner Rachel told us, "At church they said when Jesus comes back, we need to be paralyzed."  Of course, she meant "prepared"
but we all still laughed, and it reminded me of what she said a few weeks ago...
trying to remember "image" she asked me, "God made us in his own...village?"
Reese is also quite capable of making us laugh as she can be a total clown...
after we all laughed at/with Rachel at dinner, and then Olivia was saying "Mmmmm" to everyone, Reese decided she had to throw something out there, so she started hitting herself in the head and said, "why you hitting myself on my head?"  which she definitely learned from her daddy.

I love these moments and need to be better about writing them down.  Or at least posting them here...