Tuesday, March 31, 2009

All Those Secrets of the World - notebooks and cooking

We use notebooks to journal and to keep our work in.  My boys have loved doing this as we row our books.  One of the things that they have enjoyed is making a title page as we start a new book each week.  I ask them to draw something from the story - anything that they want.

We just finished All Those Secrets of the World and here are our "title pages".

A closer look at Joshua's page.

This is Isaiah's page.

We also LOVE the meals in the Five in a Row cookbook!!!  It's a great way to experience foods from a different culture or time period.  I think it's important for children to learn how to cook and this is a great way to tie it into schooling.  It's also a neat way to involve Roger in our week.  He sometimes helps to cook and it's a great conversation starter.

We enjoyed clam chowder and crab cakes to go along with this book.  YUM!

Just a little look at our week. 



Sunday, March 29, 2009

Misc photos

Want to post about our week-end - time with friends and an awesome field trip.  Will do that when I figure out which cords to plug back into the computer so I can download some pictures.  ;-)  Sad being so computer illiterate sometimes, isn't it? 

I wanted to share just a few random shots from this month.  All of my children love riding on the plasma car.  It's not surprising.  I think its fun too!  You make it go by moving the steering "wheel".  Even Eliana can do it!  We have a circular path around the center of our house which is often the path for the car. 

Eliana is such a good sport about being dressed up.  My children have been big fans of dress-up and pretend play and I guess she is just following their lead.

Eliana doesn't wear others shoes often - she barely keeps on her own shoes.  Even then, it's just if it is the one pair that she has not yet figured out how to unbuckle.  I love pictures of children in shoes that are way too big! 

One day when I walked upstairs, this was the sight that greeted me.  I had to stop myself from laughing out loud so I could go back down and get my camera!  This boy loves to read!!!

 I host a Mom's meeting for our FIAR (homeschool) group once a month.  Rebecca graciously made a dessert for us at one of them and I said she was hired for the rest of the meetings.  She has glady taken on this role and has made some lovely (and delicious!) things for us.  Here's a look at last month's goodies.

Praying this week is filled with sweet blessings for you and those you love.




Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Consignment Sale Finds

I have been going to a local consignment sale for years.  I started consigning and volunteering early on too as that meant you could shop early and get better deals.  It has been a wonderful blessing for my family as we have found many nice things there at a fraction of the cost at a store.  It's been a great way to do a lot of shopping all at once too.  (I really don't like shopping and this helps me get a lot done and then not have to do it again for awhile.)

I bought clothes for my youngest 5 - not too much for Rebecca though.  A pretty dress and a shirt.  Each of the boys got 6 pair of shorts and a variety of shirts.  Eliana though - she got a LOT!  What can I say?  It's soooo much fun to shop for little girl clothes!  And the prices are so good!  And did I mention how cute the clothes are?!  Out of all that I bought - probably half was for Eliana.  That's a little embarrassing, but true.

Rebecca wanted to try clothes on Eliana when we got home.  We took a couple of pics.  Her hair is a mess, but she was a really good sport about trying things on.

The sale also has books, toys, games and things.  I was able to buy a couple of things that Eliana has been using in therapy.  One is a great set of stringing beads.  The problem with most sets is that the string is too hard to get through and you have to kind of feed the string through the bead.  Does this make sense?  Well, these had a long wooden "needle" to thread through the wooden farm animals.  So cute - and just right for Eliana. 

I bought a few games and things that I think will be great for our workboxes! 

We also went back today for the 50 percent off and bought a few more games and puzzles to be used during our school day.  Now I just need to find places for everything.  *grin*



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Workbox resources for preschoolers

This is a fun little die that I found at a local teacher store.  You could make your own by covering a kleenex box.  This one is for colors.  If you were making your own, you could do shapes or letters of the alphabet too.

We played an "I Spy" game with the die.  The child rolls the die and then looks for something in the room that is the same color. 

You could play with this in other ways too.

*Food/Fruit - Roll the die and name something from a catagory that is that color.

*If you are learning about a letter of the alphabet, focus on finding things beginning with this letter and a the color that is rolled.

I'd love to hear more ideas you might have on how to use this for more fun!



Monday, March 23, 2009

Fashion Meets Faith

Another retropost - but too good not to share.  We had an amazing event at our church in November.  Shari Braendel from http://www.fashionmeetsfaith.com/ came to speak.  The event started on Friday night with a fashion show.  Rebecca was one of the models.  It was fun seeing the girls and Rebecca enjoyed the opportunity.

Above is Rebecca in her casual outfit.

This is Rebecca's nicer outfit. 

All of the girls with Shari.

While we were there, Shari did a color analysis on each gal there as well as a body analysis.  She talked about colors, styles and more that would look good on each woman/girl.  Because we were a small crowd, we were each able to participate and get a lot of individual feedback.

One of the neatest things though was her emphasis on each person being beautiful just the way that God has made you!  It wasn't just about looks, but about appreciating how we have been created by a loving Father.

Her testimony is powerful.  This is *not* just a fashion show!  It's *not* just for those who are into clothes and fashion.  It's for all women who struggle with self-esteem and how you feel in your clothes (isn't that all of us?!).  It was a time filled with laughter, learning and more. 

If she is ever close to you, I would highly recommend going!  I hope that we will be able to go again as it was a wonderful week-end!



Sunday, March 22, 2009

Field Trip to Noah's Landing on Nov 20

A retropost - just for fun!  We went on another really fun field trip with our FIAR group!  This was to Noah's Landing.  We did this in Nov - just before the holidays - and I'm just getting around to sharing it.  I've had the pictures loaded, just late getting to finishing it.

We had to postpone our trip due to weather and we ended up with a beautiful day.  When we arrived, we were divided into 3 groups.  This site is run by a mom and her 2 grown daughters - one is a vet and the other does educational outreach. 

Our group included my 4 youngest children.  We were treated to see so many different kinds of animals!!!  I couldn't begin to name them all.  We learned about each animal and were able to ask questions.  We were also allowed to touch many of them as well.  We saw lemurs, an armidillo, wolves, a skunk, a porcupine, raccoons, birds, snakes, zebra, llama and so much more!  I highly recommend this place for a visit if you live in NC or are travelling in the area!

Here are some photos from our day!


Eliana really loves animals - even the (to me) yucky ones!

I thought this little guy was cute!  (Hedgehog)

I think that feeding the animals was the highlight of the day!  The children fed carrots to a zebra, horses, donkeys and llamas. 

What a blessing to learn more about God's creation in such an up-close and interesting way!  I love field trips! 



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Day at Elodie Farms

We spent a beautiful day today out with our FIAR group on a field trip.  We went to Elodie Farm which is a goat and dairy farm.  We were met by the nicest man that owns and runs the farm.  When asked about the story behind the name of the farm, he told us he named it for his mom.  It is pronounced like Melody without the "M".  He said a friend told him it is because the "mmmm" is in the cheese.  (I agree!)

We started the tour by walking down the pastures.  It was a lovely, peaceful site. 

When the farmer called, the goats came from a far pasture.  It was fun to watch them coming - and Eliana started signing "dog".  lol  Close - but not dogs. 

We then split into 2 groups with the youngest children going on the first (shorter) tour.  We were shown the areas in which the goats entered the dairy area to be milked.  He explained the milking process - which is done on a platform. 

Then we went into the "kitchen" area and learned about how he made goat cheese.  Someone asked him how he learned and he said he bought a book.  He also has talked often with the author who he said helped him a great deal.  He also confessed that he made a lot of bad cheese his first year. 

The cheese is drained like this.

Cheese by the window drying out.

He makes all varieties of cheese with the exception of mozzerella.  He had samples ready for us to try.  I tried the feta - and it was delicous!!!  So much better than any other that I've had.  He told us that this was because it was fresh.  YUM!  Feta is in the bowl on the left and chevre on the right.

There were a lot of baby goats which the kids had a blast petting and playing with.  Eliana and Daniel liked feeding the kids grass.

The goats liked nibbling on their fingers, hair, clothing - pretty much anything that they could get to.  lol  All of the children enjoyed holding, playing with and watching the goats. 

After both groups of children toured, we stayed for a picnic lunch on his lawn.  He was so very gracious to us!  It was such a relaxing, beautiful setting. 

Rebecca asked if I would like to live on a farm like this and I said yes.  Then she asked if I would like to have goats.  I said yes.  Then she asked if I'd like to make cheese.  Again, I said yes.  The final question was if I'd like getting up early in the morning to milk them and I said that she could have that job.  LOL  I know it's a lot of work!  I loved the setting!

It was another great outing with our group of friends.  If you live in the area, I highly recommend a tour!  And a taste of the cheese of course!



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Planner and St. Patrick's Day

Just a quick post on the planner I am using since Leanne asked about it.

I purchased the planner from Five in a Row and love the beautiful monthly calendar pages and the many other pages in this digital download.

I put tabs on each month for ease of use.  Gotta love those post-it note tabs (which stay on quite well!).

The pages inside each month are a grid for each of my children.  I planned subject areas I wanted to cover at the beginning of the year.  As they do their work each day, I write completed work in my notebook.  Guess it really isn't a planner per se, since I'm really recording in it and not planning.  Anyway, it is working for me.  Here's a picture of the page I'm using.  It's a simple document created in word.  If anyone wants a copy, I'd be happy to send it to you - just shoot me an email.

We just did a few fun things today for St. Patrick's Day.  It was easy for me to add some things into our workboxes and not feel that I was having to do a whole lot of extra planning.  I got everything from either a free download or a website on-line.

We played a shamrock game - which could really be done any time of year.  I printed shamrocks with numbers on them and cut them out.  Then layed then on the floor face down.  The children walked around the circle while music played and when the music stopped, they picked up the card and told me the number.  It's a young game, but still fun.  After playing a few rounds, I had the two youngest boys line them up in order.

We also played some leprechaun tic tac toe.  Who knew such a simple game would be such a hit.  The older children read about St. Patrick, answered a quiz about a variety of things Irish and played some themed computer games.  One of the interesting tidbits we learned today was that 40 percent of US Presidents have some Irish heritage. 

Rebecca is such a good sport to play the games with the boys.  She also made shamrock cookies - slice and bake - for an afternoon treat. 



You Are Special!

I've had several people ask about this since I've posted some recent pictures.  I thought I'd share a little more with anyone reading who might be interested in sharing this tradition with their family.  :-)

Several years ago, Rebecca wanted to go to a pottery place on her birthday (I think this was either '05 or '06 because Daniel was little and Eliana wasn't here yet).  This was the type of place that glazes and fires your pieces.  While she painted, I decided to make a plate for our family.  I chose a square one because it was different.  I painted it red because I thought it made it really stand out - and it reminded me of love.  I decorated it very simply and added the words "You Are Special!"

My idea was that we would use this plate to mark milestones and special events - like when Christopher got his driver's permit.  I also thought it could be used when someone was extra helpful or needed to be reminded that they are loved and valued - not because of what they do, but because of who they are to us and in Christ.

I've been sporadic in using this.  I've used it a couple of times recently though and hope that perhaps this will help get me back on track with it.  I want my family to know how cherished and special they are.  I want them to look for ways to encourage and affirm each other.

To help make this more of a keepsake, I also purchased a journal (at my favorite store - Target).  I wrote a letter to my family in front of it telling about this plate and the journal. 

I started recording the date, person eating from the plate and why they received the plate. 

I am praying that this will be a sweet memory that our family has of times spent together.  I am praying that my children will always know that they are special and loved. 

God said "You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you."  Isaiah 43:4



Sunday, March 15, 2009

A sweet surprise

arrived in the mail for Rebecca and I. 

One of my dear friends from college, Cyndi, sent these beautiful notecards to Rebecca and I.  She and I reconnected after Eliana was born and she has been such a sweet encouragment to me through so many struggles. 

I am thankful for this precious friend and her heart for loving Jesus and others.

Thank you sweet friend!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cooking challenge - party style!

We had a fun day today.  Several of Christopher's friends came over to celebrate his birthday with him. 

They watched the game (UNC v. Florida State), and were disappointed by the outcome.  I was disappointed at the halftime show!  They briefly showed the men that were being honored as legends, but showed none of the ceremony.  It made me very sad that I wasn't there - and just really disappointed to have missed it. 

I talked with my mom later in the afternoon.  There was a luncheon prior to the game.  They showed film clips/pictures of each man and did a Q and A type interview with each of them.  She said it was interesting and very nice.  She also said that there were a lot of cameras there.  I'm so hoping that I can somehow get a copy of this program - and the halftime show.  I was looking forward to seeing my Dad honored and still hope to do that!

Back to the birthday party.  After the game, I had planned an activity.  I wasn't really sure how this would go over and wondered if we should just skip it.  I wondered if after their team lost, the boys would not be in the mood for this.  I'm so glad that we didn't skip it!  Earlier in the week I had asked each of the 3 older boys to give me a food item in each of the following catagories - carb, dairy, protein, vegetable and a freebie (pick what you want).  I typed out each ingredient and put the strips of paper into a hat.  Each boy drew 3 items.  They were to use these to make into a dish.

There weren't many rules, but here are the few we had.

*You could add in two more food items. 

*You could use any condiments and spices that you wanted.

*You had 20 minutes to complete your dish.

They were judged on creativity, plating and taste.

Each of the boys was the chef and they had one of the younger children as a sous chef.  The pairs worked hard and had a lot of fun.  I enjoyed hearing them talk and work together.  It was fun for all of us!

They did a great job presenting - factual, humorous and interesting.  I also really loved the efforts that they put into making the dishes look nice.  Here's what they came up with:

Team 1 - Ingredients:  chicken, parmesan cheese, pasta

Team 2 - Ingredients:  broccoli, bacon, cheddar cheese

Team 3 - Ingredients:  meat (his choice), alfredo sauce, bread

They did a great job!  We had each team present their dish - which was a lot of fun.  Then they divided the food up so that everyone could taste the dishes.

We awarded the food dishes:

Most kid-friendly - team 1

Best taste & most creative - team 2

Best plating - team 3

Overall highest score - by 1 point - was team 3. 

Afterwards, we sang "Happy Birthday" and ate pumpkin bars.  (You can see them in the picture behind the food dishes.  It is a friend's family recipe and we all think is is fabulous!)

What a fun afternoon - with a bunch of great kids.  The teens and youngers all told me that they thought the cooking challenge was fun.  A couple of mine even said that they wanted a cooking challenge for their birthday.

After watching the fun, Isaiah decided to do his own challenge.  He made up a dish from the ingredients on the counter, made up a judging grid and presented his delicious findings to the rest of us.  (It is bacon on top of tortilla chips.) 

I again am thankful for so much - good health, wonderful family and neat friends.  It was a fun day!