Saturday, July 30, 2011

Check out my curriculum...I have updated my list for 2011-2012

I can't wait to get started this fall!  My son is good with waiting, but my daughter is already making her own lapbook for 1st grade!  It is begun & is a work in progress...and she LOVES the wooden pattern blocks that came with the MFW 1st grade curriculum - but she builds all kinds of things with them besides the pattern animals (she likes to make those too)!

If you are curious about my curriculum choices...check out my curriculum page.  I really enjoyed using My Father's World last year...and I have just about everything purchased for 2011-2012...these are posted so click over and take a look.  We will be using My Father's World 1st grade and My Father's World Creation to the Greeks.  (Click on my "Curriculum" page)

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen." 2 Peter 3:18

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An article I enjoyed today - What NOT to say to a weary homeschool mom

I stumbled on this article today....and though I am feeling ok today on my homeschooling journey...there are days when I do get frustrated.  I enjoyed this and definitely can relate to some of the things this author spoke of in her article...

Maybe you will too!

Thanks for stopping in!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Well...I have taken on a new venture - as if I needed more to do - but I found that I love this.  I have a friend who has asked me to tutor their child in order to get them up to speed before school starts.  I am running a trial of a 'math camp' already with my children and my neighbors (more on that at a later date); so it is a natural fit for me.  The little boy started yesterday - and I must say - this was fun.  Don't ask me why - math was never my favorite subject when I was in school - but I really enjoy teaching it!!  I guess, since it was such a struggle for me to understand the "why" of math, my goal is to help my children (and now other kids too) see how it really fits into our life.  I also quickly realized, back in my waiting tables, college, young adult days, that I really needed mental math.  Business men and women on their lunch breaks do not want to wait while you figure out how much change they are due back (and their tips will reflect it if you hold them up).  Because of this - I am also trying to help children see how to quickly figure out math problems, by breaking them down into smaller pieces. 

I wish my 'Papa' (my grandfather) were still around...I had to be banished to a little study desk, on our enclosed back porch, when I was in the 3rd grade.  I had to study every night before dinner for about three weeks.  After dinner, Papa would use the multiplication flash cards.  It was not until I had them memorized, and passed each table of tests at school, that I was freed to play in my room again!!  Who would have guessed that I would be grateful for that?  (Oh the things I would take the time to thank him for if I still could...sniff, sniff.)

Because this is entirely new for me, I am creating my own program.  I would love to hear great ideas from anyone else doing this (or who may have tutored in the past).  Currently, I am working on things he should have mastered in his last year of school to ensure he has a good grasp of those things before moving on.  I have spoken with the administrators at his school to see what their goals are before entering the next grade.  To keep things fun, I am using some math games that help drill and teach the concepts we are working on.  We are also creating a math lapbook (thanks to my friend Lori for the inspiration)!  This is my first ever lapbook and I am really working on ideas for it...but I did come up with a few and all will emphasize the concepts he needs to have covered.  I've been wanting to try lapbooking and I think I am going to enjoy it.  I welcome great ideas though - so jump in with any comments you may have!

Anybody ever observed all of the numbers and potential for great math problems there are in the bible?  This passage alone, has four numbers and two descriptions of multiples (people and years) - fun stuff!

"Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.  In these lay a multitude of invalids - blind, lame, and paralyzed.  One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.  Whe Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be healed?"  The sick many answered Him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me."  Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk."  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.  John 5:2-9

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Freezer Jam Day! Preserve a bit of summer!

I was blessed with a large box of plums yesterday, and by large, I mean probably 20 pounds of plums! Beautiful, summer plums that I want to hang onto this winter when these aren't around anymore!!  They smell wonderful.

I've never canned before and just wasn't brave enough to try it yet, nor do I have any equipment!  So I started hunting a recipe for freezer jam...seemed like the perfect way to start out canning.  I found one that looked here goes - I'll show you what the kids and I did:

Before we started, we rinsed clean, plastic containers and lids with boiling water.  Then we dried them thoroughly.  Then we were ready to follow the recipe.

First, we washed the plums and cored them...this was easier than I thought - my corer did the job beautifully!

Then we tossed the plums into the chopper to chop them up.  My little history buff enjoyed helping with this.

Once they were chopped, we measured them...our recipe calls for 3 cups of prepared plums per batch of freezer jam.

The prepared plums were put into the saucepan with 1/4 cup of water (I actually wanted to break a little of the sweetness, so I used lemon juice).  These were brought to a boil, then I reduced the heat to low, covered and simmered them for 5 minutes.

After this, 3 cups of prepared plums (exactly) goes into the bowl and I stirred in 5-1/2 cups sugar.  (I wanted to reduce this a little, but every recipe warned that this would cause it to not set.)  This needs to be allowed to stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While this was standing, I stirred 1/2 cup of water and a box of pectin (1-3/4 ounce box) in a small saucepan.  I brought it to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly.  I continued boiling and stirring 1 additional minute; then this was added to the fruit mixture.  We stirred for 3 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy.  (A few sugar crystals could remain.)

I also made an un-cooked version, it is the pale colored jam on the right.

We filled containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops.  Wipe off tops of containers; immediately cover with lids.  These were left on the counter to stand at room temp for 24 hours.  The jam is now ready to use!  Yum.  It can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 weeks or in the freezer for 12 months.  Thaw before serving!!  Enjoy!! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My afternoon coffee break (without breaking the bank)!!

I don't know if you are like me...but meeting a friend for a yummy coffee treat at the local coffeehouse is truly a luxury!  I love to do it....but sometimes with a house full of kids and a purse not so full of money it's just not something I can do everyday!! solution is simple!  I love to mix up my own version of iced or hot coffee.  I preserve a precious few minutes in the afternoon, right before I start preparing dinner and keep the kids busy with something (usually I send them to do their chores at this time)!

In the summer I make a little extra coffee in the morning to use for iced coffee later, in the winter I prefer to have it hot.  Flavors are what makes it fun and a treat.  Sometimes I put about one half teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract into the carafe before I brew the coffee.  I use different things to flavor my coffee to keep it interesting...turbinado sugar, brown sugar, granulated sugar, chocolate syrup (I like to make my own sometimes too) honey, a dash of cinnamon, half and half, sometimes even condensed milk if I make a chicory style coffee!  My favorite is just a little chocolate syrup and half and half.  You can play with flavors and find what you like best.  Stir it up - add some ice for iced coffee (or blend it for a blended iced coffee if that's your preference) and enjoy a few minutes with a good book before you move on into your evening.

Espresso yourself!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blessed beyond measure: encouragement

Today was tough.  It was just one of those days when nothing seemed really wrong, but nothing seemed really spectacular; you know those days.  Getting ready for church this morning I started having a pain just under my shoulder blade...I've done it before - but I used to 'do' something to cause it.  Today - I did nothing - I was just getting ready and there it was, a kinked muscle for no apparent reason.  Even then, I realized, if that was the worst of my complaints I was abundantly blessed.  No fun - but life goes on.  I did get to come home and take a nap after church, which was nice, but overall my mood was a little 'ho-hum' all day!

I've really done some thinking about these very 'boring' days and realized that I am truly blessed beyond measure!  First, I woke up.  I have life, I can thank God everyday for whatever He has in store for me.  It may not always be what I want, but I realize it is not really about what I want.  Today we read in Jeremiah, Job, and Habakkuk.  Today, and every day, I can do that.  Today I realized that my abundant blessings sometimes lead me to take them for granted.  We should be motivated to encourage others everyday.

"But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today", that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."  Hebrews 3:13.

Today, I was encouraged by others; and for that, I am very thankful.  I ask that tomorrow I do a better job of being an encouragement to others.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Welcome to my new site...

This is very much a work in progress...and due very stretched time - I will have to work on this a little at a time!!!  Check in later to see what I've done (as I learn to do it)!!!