Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Something Daring

I've done something daring.

I realized that I still had preconceptions about homeschooling.

And I threw them away.

I was still viewing homeschool as the ordered process that "the state" has dictated for children everywhere. And ultimately forgetting our main reason for homeschooling - as parents, we know better than the state.

I spent most of our last school year feeling horribly guilty for missing so many days because of how my pregnancy was going. So guilty in fact that I had lost all motivation by the time we started this school year.

With much praying, talking to other homeschool parents and reading some great homeschool blogs  I started understanding that this is our life. Homeschool is not something you do for a few hours a day... it's a day-long process and a way of life. When I take my five year old shopping, I have her pick out the less expensive toothbrush, my three year old measures ingredients and my two year old is already learning chores (the baby gets to watch all of this). I was thinking that I had failed in teaching if we missed a day after the baby kept me up all night... but I was still teaching them life lessons. 

After coming to grips with this... I did a 180 and cleared all of the dates from our lesson plan.

Now if we're a week behind who's going to know (or care)? If school runs into the summer - GOOD - the kids will have something to occupy their time! 

So this school year will be a little less stressful, maybe a litttle more fun and maybe I'll pay more attention the next time I try making a problem where there wasn't one before...


Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Little Closer to Proverbs 31

I'm not perfect. Raise your hand if you are...

Put your hand down and don't come back to my blog.

: ) But I do believe that we should aspire to be like the woman in Proverbs 31. She assisted her husband by putting her hand to a spindle and making linens to sell in the marketplace.

With the economy that we're in and four children to support, I feel it's my duty to assist where I can. I have NO intentions of going back to work or of earning a lot a money. But I do have the ability to craft and craft I will.

So. Head on over to my brand spanking new etsy shop, A Little Imagination, and try not to critique me too much! http://www.etsy.com/shop/alittleimagination

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our Pizza Endorsement

We have what some people consider a large family. Really? More than two or three kids is large now?

So we have to provide enough sustenance or the poor dears will fade away. : )

I normally prefer to make homemade pizza but on those nights when I have had an awful day I practically leap for joy when my husband says those magic words "Why don't we order pizza?" 

Pure magic, I tell you.

In steps Domino's with their lovely offer for 2 medium 2 topping pizzas + for only $5.99 a piece. You can also get this deal with hot wings under the feeds 6+ section. Three of these feeds us for only $21 with taxes.

Domino's Coupons

Just wanted to share the savings. Let me know if you've found something better!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Homemade Soap Giveaway

Head on over to Lamp Unto My Feet  for a Handmade Soap Giveaway from Soap n Such.

Included in the giveaway:
Raspberry Cheesecake
Grandma's Kitchen
Chocolate Almond Delight
Lemon Verbena
Field of Dreams Lavender
(a $27.00 value)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I may have unintentionally lied. It would seem that I AM going to try all of the Pioneer Woman's recipes at once. : )  I can't help it... the pictures just make me so hungry and when I'm done with the menu plan it seems that I blacked out while writing all of her recipes down.

Go to www.orgjunkie.com to check out more great meal plans!

Monday - chicken strips, baked potatoes and salad

Tuesday - homemade pizza

Wednesday - boiled eggs, sausage and toast

Thursday - chili cheese dogs

Friday - bean and beef burritos

Saturday - olive chicken, fettucini alfredo and steamed veg

Sunday - leftovers

Monday - colby-bacon chicken sandwiches

Tuesday - sloppy joes and fries

Wednesday - bacon, egg and cheese toasters

Thursday - mexican flatbread pizza

Friday - marlboro man sandwiches

Saturday - stir fry and steamed rice

Sunday - leftovers

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Salt and Pepper Tip

Okay... my goal is not to embarrass you here.

I want to save you from the embarrassment I went through when my husband pointed this out to me....

You know those "disposable" salt and pepper shakers from Morton?

I used to get these and when they were done, I would throw them out. Till one day my hubs sees me doing it and asks why I didn't just pop off the top and refill them. HUH?!? The top POPS OFF? That's right... just pop it off and refill.

Now you know... and knowing is half the battle. : )

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Birth of Jesus Figures

I made these figures a few years ago for our Christmas bible stories in homeschool...

Now, I am NO artist so no critiques please : )

They're not really print worthy - I just wanted to show you what is possible as a way of teaching/entertaining young kids. My daughters LOVE listening to the HIStory of Jesus's birth... We repeat everything they've learned so far and then the new part so that by Friday they can use the little figures to tell ME the story.

Day One - An angel comes to Mary and Joseph

Day Two - Mary and Joseph travel on a donkey and looks for an inn

Day Three - Jesus is born and the angels herald Him to the shephards

Day Four - The wise men follow the star and give Jesus gifts

Day Five - The kids re-enact the entire story

I drew these with colored pencils on a paper bag, cut them out and laminated them. I got the idea for them from a children's Christmas book (don't remember which one) so if you've read the book, you may notice some similarities. You may notice that the inn, baby Jesus, and the star are missing - after much abuse, they have been lost to us. It only took about 5 minutes to make each one so it won't be hard to redo them.

Mary and Joseph


angel and shephard

wise men

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Easy Crockpot Chili

{this is what happens when you get tired of measuring : D}

2 lb ground beef
2 great big cans of diced tomatoes, undrained *teehee*
2 teeny cans of tomato sauce
1 pouch McCormick chili seasoning
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
half an onion, diced 

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet with onions.
2. Dump ground beef and everything else into a crockpot.
3. Heat on high for an hour or low for 2-3 hrs.
4. Serve with cheddar cheese sprinkled on top and say TA-DA! for added effect.

Make some cornbread to go with it and supper will be a hit.

Go check out more recipes at Good Cheap Eats

Monday, August 16, 2010

Month Printables

I could have just printed some boring old month signs out to use on our morning board... but I don't like boring. I like pretty : )

And I wanted to share some of that pretty... Hopefully I will have some Day of the Week printables soon.

 Click on the images to open to full size and print through your browser.

I just cut these out and laminated. You can attach to your board with either small velcro stickers or thumbtacks. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Completing Him Challenge: Week Nine

Ta-da! Last one!

The week nine challenge is...

"Kiss him like you mean it!"
I, for one, do not think this means to write him notes or pray for him...
We're talking about forgetting about the dishes you need to do, the letters you need to send off, the kids that you didn't have enough time to bathe, the floor that needs to be swept in the morning... FORGET all of that and just use all of your energy to love on your husband. 
With a sick baby in the house (waking up all night because he's congested) and feeling not so hot myself, I'm going to need to put a good deal of effort into this. But I can tell you that I'm usually feeling so much self-pity by the end of the day that I normally don't. I'm sure I'm not the only wife/mom/homemaker/homeschooler that throws a pity party at the end of the day. I think that for the sake of my marriage, I can leave a few things undone so that I'm NOT so exhausted by the end of the day... 
I just got my copy of Heidi St. John's The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance in the mail and I believe that NOW is a good time to put down Mansfield Park and start reading it... : ) 

Completing Him Challenge: Week Eight

Here's another catchup -  week eight of the Completing Him Challenge over at Women Living Well

Week Eight's Challenge is to R-E-S-P-E-C-T Your Husband! Ephesians 5:33 says "Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself and
the wife must respect her husband."

I really thought this was going to be an easy challenge.

*whack forward*

What was I thinking? I'm flawed just like everyone else!

After reading Created to Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl and becoming aware of the bible truths of womanhood that were not taught to me during my childhood and adolescence, I had a great work done on my heart and mind by God. I thought certainly after THAT that I wouldn't backtrack into that stupidity. Duhr. The Bible speaks to that exact circumstance several times - that the faithful Christian can lose focus and need to be brought back to God.

I don't raise my voice to my husband, I don't roll my eyes at him, I don't tell him no, I always defer to him in front of the children, I don't ever call him names or say anything disrespectful to him or about him. And I don't ever directly disagree with him.

So where's the problem, you ask?

I don't ever directly disagree with him.

My husband is no idiot... When he talks about a way to do something and I "suggest" another way that I may have seen on tv or read about... he knows that I'm not really suggesting. I'm telling him that I know a better way and he needs to do it that way. My way or the highway right?

One of the MAIN principles of Created to Be His Helpmeet is that your husband needs to make his own mistakes.

He will never be the driver of your family unless you let him drive the car! So I need to stop grabbing the wheel from the passenger seat. That doesn't mean get into the backseat... I just need to keep my hands to myself.

So lesson learned again - THANK YOU LORD! - and hopefully we can get on the right path again... 

Completing Him Challenge: Week Seven

Wow I've got a lot of catching up to do... just on the blog though - I've been doing the challenges. : )

For week seven, the challenge was to:

Support his vision. Discuss his vision for your family. Where does he see your family in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. Share with us how you let your husband lead.
One Year: Further homeschooling in First grade and Kindergarten, potty-train our toddler, continue paying bills enough to relieve us from majority of medical bills, complete current home remodeling projects, spend more time enjoying each other, have a nightly bible study as a family and teach our children more of our Christian heritage. 

Five Years: Transfer dh's job back to Texas and find (another) great community and church family and get to a financial position where we can give back to God increasingly.

Ten Years: See Noah (my step-son who lives in Texas) graduate from high-school and prepare for his higher education with everything that we have been able to enjoy, to be wise in the teen years of our daughters, start homeschool through high school, and enjoy sports and activities (all kinds of vacations!) as a family. 
All of these seem very easy to me to follow because they revolve around our kids and our home and are things that I share in want with my husband. Were they to differ greatly with what I want... I have to confess that I might not be so obliging. That's VERY MUCH something I need to work on. My husband is the leader of this home and were he to want us to go somewhere I didn't want to I would have a lot of praying to do. Mostly because I'm not too comfortable with change... but sometimes God needs us to change to be where He wants us in His plan. 
In fact, I could probably start praying about this now - that the Holy Spirit root out all of that in me that is resistant to God's plans... : )

Homemade Pizza... in all it's awesomeness

Homemade Pizza 

1. Start with this perfect crust from Money Saving Mom - I usually double for two round pizzas. (My step-mom also suggested that the crust would make great breadsticks - I would brush with butter, garlic salt, a pinch of Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese)

-- Oops - I almost forgot - dust the pizza pan with some cornmeal and a teeny bit of flour before tossing the dough and putting it on.

2. Poke crust all over with a fork and bake for about 10 min (so the middle isn't undercooked). Remove from oven.

3. Brush crust with olive oil (I like to use my Pampered Chef basting brush)

4. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. (just enough - don't overdo it)

5. Spread one jar of pizza sauce over pizzas (I just started making my own and it is AWESOME - if you don't want to be too Betty Crocker, just purchase a bag of pizza sauce canning mix from your canning aisle)

6. Add toppings. I usually add a small bag of mozzarella cheese to one pizza and add on either Fiesta blend or Monterey Jack/Colby blend for a plain cheese pizza. My husband and kids get pepperoni added to that and if I'm lucky enough to have my own, I'll add slices of tomato, onion and bell pepper.

Menu Plan (Tues)Monday

A little late... I've been reducing my blog/facebook/swagbucks time lately and have been a good deal more productive around the house and with homeschool... go figure.

You might see a change in my menu plan... because I. DISCOVERED. THE. PIONEER. WOMAN.

Why didn't anyone tell me about her? I had caught glimpses of her through slight references on other blogs... always immaterial and taunting me... but never enough whatfor to make me want to go out of my way to find her. And now I have. And I am IN LOVE with her recipes. They're "down home" enough to remind me of my Nana's cooking, the rundown is hilarious and they're just plain pretty to look at. I'm limiting my intake to three recipes this time (I didn't want to use them all up at once) but definitely plan on seeing more here. There is tons more on her site too - homeschool helps, tickling confessions, photography that will make you wish you were born talented, and some decorating and remodeling.

And since no one told me, I'm telling you - GO CHECK HER OUT!

Monday - sloppy joes & potato wedges

Tuesday - homemade pizza

Wednesday - breakfast burritos

Thursday - grilled ham and cheese sandwiches & chips

Friday - tacos

Saturday - bbq chicken, crash hot potatoes, vegetables

Sunday - leftovers

Monday - stir fry and steamed rice

Tuesday - bean and beef burritos

Wednesday - bacon, egg and cheese toasters

Thursday - chicken strips, salad & garlic bread

Friday - hamburgers & fries

Saturday - crockpot chili (recipe follows) & cornbread

Easy Crockpot Chili
{this is what happens when you get tired of measuring : D}

2 lb ground beef
2 great big cans of diced tomatoes, undrained *teehee*
2 teeny cans of tomato sauce
1 pouch McCormick chili seasoning
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
half an onion, diced 

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet.
2. Dump ground beef and everything else into a crockpot.
3. Heat on high for an hour or low for 2-3 hrs.
4. Serve with cheddar cheese sprinkled on top and say TA-DA! for added effect.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Preschool and First Grade Curriculum

This is our first year homeschooling more than one kid - eek! As with all things homeschool, I'm sure that it seems a lot scarier than it is and we'll be old hands in no time : )

Not Back to School Blog HopPhotobucket

Each "class" takes no more than 15-20 minutes at this level and should only last around 2 1/2 hours. (unless the baby is screaming or the children are running around like lunatics) I am sometimes forced to bribe them with snacks to keep them occupied until lunchtime... forced, I say.

click to open to full size

Here's a snapshot of our first day - I make the lesson plan in excel and print it off as we go to put in my "teacher notebook"
click to open to full size


Primarily, we're using Ann Ward's Learning At Home: Preschool & Kindergarten : A Christian Parent's Guide with Day-by-day Lesson Plans Using the Library As a Resource (this was a lifesaver when we first started and I had no idea what I was doing)

I'm using the same Bible curriculum for both - this will need to change once my first grader's curriculum gets more advanced in the third grade.

They are also sharing the same Art, PE and Health, Manner's and Responsibility

HM&R is mostly from Learning at Home - it can include anything from setting the table to brushing teeth to remembering your address or dialing 911. There is also time set aside to learn personalized chores and responsibilities. And I will be adding in some practical skills like tying knots/bows, first-aid, camping skills and tools.

English will be learning letters and their sounds, coloring letter shapes and Golden Books Before I Write.

Science is completely from Learning at Home and uses the library as a resource.

Math is learning numbers and basic counting, in addition to the Brighter Child Sequencing and Memory, Golden Books Shapes and Colors and Golden Books Before I Do Math workbooks.

First Grade

Bible - Explorer's Bible Study Homeschool Curriculum

Music - Pfeiffer House Music

Art - Rod and Staff Art

Science - Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy

PE covers running distances, headstands, stretching the right way, ballet, somersaults, balancing, taekwondo and then some

Health, Manners and Responsibility is same as above.

Math relies a good deal on practical applications like counting money and measuring ingredients but I also use workbooks (my daughter loves these!) Master Skills Math Grade 2 - 2 because of where her skill level is.

English will be pulling from a few different sources... getting everything ready during our summer break makes this much easier than it sounds. Most of our reading and grammar will come from Accelerated Achievement (A2). Sentence building and penmanship/copywork will come from workbooks -Master Skills English Grade 2 and Scholastic Writing Practice Grade 1. She will also be reading books independantly and using the personal-size chalkboard and dry-erase boards to work on her spelling words.

Introductory Latin will be finished up this year, completing the second half of Memoria Press Prima Latina: Introduction to Christian Latin, which we started in Kindergarten. We complete one lesson over a week - working on the memory words daily and using our Latin days to learn the lesson and do the worksheet, respectively.

Geography - Cantering the Country has been divided into two years, taking two weeks to cover each state - we'll be finishing the second half this year and will move on to Galloping the Globe in second grade. We also add in map skills and some navigation (practical use again).

Here are some other sheets I've made for my teacher book

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