Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Celebrating a day of rest!

What a special day we planned for last weekend.  Though we didn't do it on Friday, leading into Saturday, as it would have been done traditionally; we really enjoyed our day of rest very much.  We celebrated on Saturday evening and throughout Sunday.  However - it did not come without much preparation!!  We spent time in the week prior preparing by making a centerpiece out of pie tins, cork, and wick to float in a beautiful bowl passed on to me from my aunt.  The kids also really enjoyed painting a challah bread cover for the ceremonial loaves.  We carefully made our shopping list and headed to the store to buy what we needed as well.  The preparation was well worth it - we were ready to prepare the feast when we woke on Saturday morning!

We spent the day preparing golden yoiche soup, challah bread, carrots, brown rice, streusel, candlestick salad, and cholent.  We also prepared tea, kept all the dishes washed and spent time cleaning the house.  By sunset on Saturday evening, the table was set and 4 of our 6 children were there to enjoy this time as a family!  That in itself made our feast that much more special!

We spent time in traditional prayers as well as the lighting of the candles to represent creation and redemption. Our little historian passed the bowl to wash our hands to show gratidude to God for his sanctification.

Sunday was wonderful too; everything was prepared and clean.  We went to church and then came home to the cholent (roast beef, potatoes, and carrots) in the crock pot.  We enjoyed the closing ceremony with the Havdalah candles, closing prayer, and extinguishing the Havdalah candles in the over-flowing cup of wine.
The kids really enjoyed the feast and one of our sons, in on weekend leave from the Marines, took many pictures while we feasted.  He even captured a memorable shot of himself as he feasted on homemade challah bread (ok - so we aimed for reverence, but lets face it - being silly is just part of our family tradition)!!

This was a wonderful way to kick off our year and to wrap up our week of learning about creation and celebrating the day of rest that God preserved as a gift to us!

Father's prayer


Mother's prayer

The Sabbath table before the feast (with our candlestick salads at each place)

Here is a picture of the blueberry streusel we made for dessert!

This is our challah bread! little artist and I kneaded it together and prayed as we kneaded our love into the dough!

This is our centerpiece and candles we left burning late into the night.

This was a very nice celebration that we would have never thought to have done without My Father's World homeschool curriculum.
Blessings, Ashley

Saturday, August 27, 2011

MFW Experiences, Week of 8/22 - 8/26/2011

What a great first week we had with My Father's World curriculum.  We began Creation to the Greeks this week and continued 1st grade (we'd already started a few days of it in the summer - my little artist couldn't wait).  This week was incredible and we are really excited about it continuing into the weekend.

For the first art project in "God and the History of Art"; we had an unexpected project.  The children were told about the amazing story of Joni Eareckson Tada and how she became parylized in a swimming accident and has learned to paint holding the brush with her teeth.  Our topic was frustration in art and we also talked about several famous artists who experienced frustration, including Michelangelo and Monet.  (By the way - did you know that Monet was never truly satisfied with his work?  That surprised me as I have always enjoyed his work!)  After we learned about these things the children were instructed to draw a picture of a butterfly, duplicating the one in the book, but to do it holding the pencil in their teeth.  No hands allowed!  My little historian struggled for a minute and then completely surprised me by beginning to enjoy the project.  He actually went on to try his hand...I mean his teeth...on a ladybug!  My little artist also surprised me as she became incredibly frustrated.  Usually she is so proud of her work - but this was very difficult and she just couldn't make it work at first.  She ended up in tears.  We had a nice talk while she rested her head on my shoulder about everything I knew that Joni E. Tada had done, in spite of her paralysis.  She was fascinated to hear about the camps and programs that Mrs. Tada has spear-headed for other disabled people.  This really got her attention - and she decided to give it another try.  This time...she was able to complete the task - and presented her picture to me with a smile on her face!

Above are some photos of them drawing, while holding the pencil in their teeth.

All week we have been preparing for a very special event we will be doing over the weekend.  We are studying biblical feasts this week and will be preparing a special meal for sundown on Saturday (supposed to be Friday - but we are going to do this on Saturday into Sunday).  For Saturday night, we will be baking homemade challah (Sabbath bread), golden yoich (a homemade chicken soup), candlestick salad, baked fish, carrots, tea with lemon, wine (or juice) and strudel.  For Sunday lunch, we will prepare cholent, which is a pot roast dish.  We will be cleaning the house and preparing all the meals prior to sundown on Saturday night and getting ready for a time of rest and togetherness as a family.  Our focus is to spend time reflecting on what God has done for us.  We will be learning some traditional prayers and spending time together as a family.  This week, as a special centerpiece, my little historian cut the tin into the shape of the Star of David and glued thin pieces of cork underneath.  We pierced these and will place a wick into the holes.  These will float on water covered with oil and burn until the fire extinguishes itself.  We also spent time painting a cloth napkin we already had to make a special challah bread cover for our feast.  The kids really enjoyed doing this together.  My little artist painted they bible (& used Sharpies when I didn't have enough colors of fabric paint - she loves color) and my little historian painted the candlesticks.

These are some photos of them painting the challah bread cover and of the finished project.  This will be a cherished memory in our house for years to come.

They have really enjoyed the story in "Dinosaurs of Eden" and my little historian even said math "isn't too bad".  We also enjoyed learning the Greek root 'biblos' and many derivatives we have from that word.  We have really enjoyed our first week in My Father's World curriculum and we are excited and really looking forward to the rest of this year!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Update on the baby bunnies!

Just a brief update on the sweet bunnies that have been born under our playground.  They are growing and their eyes are open.  They are starting to get out of the tiny little hole and hop around the clubhouse.  They still sleep most of the day and prefer to stay huddled together.  Here are a few pics so you can see them!

This is the nest; the mother is leaving is no longer covering it with grass when she leaves.

Here is a close-up; they are still tiny enough to sit in the palm of my hand.

Praying for them to become independent and be ready to move on dog, Diesel, really wants his backyard back!

Friday, August 19, 2011

What a sweet problem!

We have new residents in our backyard...they have been discovered under our playground set my hubby recently added onto for the kids.  Take a look at our precious new find!

Tiny hole with baby bunnies!

A tiny little hole, covered with grass containing 4 sweet baby bunnies!  They are adorable; my children are so excited.  So why did I call this a sweet "problem"? my other resident who usually spends his days in our backyard - and only his nights in our laundry rooom...Diesel!

Diesel peering out through the fence.

Diesel enjoying his ears being scratched!

Diesel is a very active pup who adopted us several months ago.  I had just put him out on Wednesday morning and was brushing my teeth when I heard him barking very excitedly.  My bathroom sink has the window right over it and a perfect view of the backyard, so I could see he was very animated over something under the playground 'hide-out' room my hubby recently completed.  Fearing another skunk was in the backyard and would fragrance our excited pup, I walked out to see what he'd found...very carefully.  As I approached he became even more excited as tiny, little, brown, creatures started hopping up and pushing up on the grass covering a bit.  At this point - he moved from the slatted side of the 'hide-out' to the open end and charged in after them...but I grabbed him in time.  He really was about to have his second breakfast.  I put him inside and went back to assess the situation.  First I will show you the playground...this is the slatted side peering into the tiny rabbit nest:

The nest is behind the slats (right under the slides)

This is the opening - clearly making it impossible for us to protect the tiny bunnies:

The opening allows the children - and Diesel - easy access to the hide-out!

And now - poor Diesel has limited reign of our backyard - he has to be taken out on a leash.  I am terribly sorry for him, but I don't have the heart to move the bunnies...the mother's pink eyes can be seen at night if we shine the flashlight out the window.  She arrives after dark to take care of her babies and leaves before dawn.  I'm afraid she wouldn't find them if we move them.  And with all the coyotes around our backyard - they wouldn't have much of a chance outside the fence anyways!

One of the tiny little rabbits; though not the best pic.  Their ears are still laid back on their heads and eyes are just beginning to open - but are still usually closed.

So...for now - poor Diesel...but look at these precious, tiny babies!

Just thought I'd just isn't everyday we find these little things - we usually find them somewhere outside the fence and often they are taken by wild animals so they don't make it.  Hopefully they'll be ready to move out soon so Diesel can have his daytime home back!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Practical tip...healthier, budget friendly popcorn on family movie night!

Last night was movie night in our house.  The kids love when I say we are doing that and they always want popcorn.  It is just so easy to keep a box of microwave popcorn on hand, but it is expensive and I have no idea how much salt, fat, and who knows what else is in it.  As a homeschool mom, I'm always on a budget, but I love things to be simple.  I have been doing this for years - and it really is easy on the budget (not to mention, I have a small kitchen - so keeping an air popping appliance was not convenient either).

Here is what I do... I keep a bag of regular popping corn on hand all the time (the kind you put in a skillet with oil, you know)! 

1.) Place a small pat of BUTTER (you can use MARGARINE or OIL) into a LUNCH SACK
2.) Add a small scoop of POPCORN (probably 1/4 - 1/3 of a cup)
3.) Toss in a sprinkle of SALT
4.) Fold down the top of the bag a couple of times
5.) Pop it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (listen for popping to slow down to 1-2 seconds between pops)  That's it!!! 

Everyone can have their own personal size bag of popcorn...and I think you could personalize the flavors too!  My friend did something with caramel in hers when I told her about it...yum!  Maybe she'll jump on here and let you know what she did!  Hope you have fun with your next movie night.  This also makes an inexpensive afternoon snack for the kiddos.  If you try some fun sure to let me know! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fun day at the DMA!

We had such a great day yesterday at the Dallas Museum of Art.  They held 'Free First Tuesdays' this summer and we had not been in a while so we went to check it out.  I absolutely love that museum; and it is such a great way to enjoy a hot, summer day.  I took a few pics...though not nearly enough to really capture some of the cool things you find there...but I just thought I'd share!

They loved making fans for the "Beat the Heat" theme!

We really enjoyed the fourth floor exhibit...they have a collection of beautiful antiques donated by Wendy and Emery Reves.  Such a step back in time to see the library, salon, bedroom and dining room as you stroll through rooms  that look like they just beg for the butler to be called in to bring a tray of tea and crumpets! 

We also enjoyed some very cool historical art.  My son LOVES American History - and what boy doesn't love the Samurai?

My daughter adored a completely silver vanity - and what little girl wouldn't love to lounge on a panda papasan?

Having studied Mexico and South America this past year as we covered the globe when we studied countries and cultures in My Father's World ECC...both of my kids enjoyed some of the art from Mexico:

Mexico - Monkey Bowl
State of Oaxaca, Zapotec Culture, 400-100 B.C.

Mexico - Aztec
Snake, 1200 - 1521 A.D.

If you haven't been in awhile or if you ever visit the Dallas's a wonderful place for a sketchbook and watch the creativity be ignited in your child.  They also have some cool activities in their children's area.  I wish I had more pics of the very cool exhibits there!  I had taken two extra kids, inlcuding my friend's toddler I was watching - so my hands were pretty full.  We also saw a wonderful marionette show in Horchow Auditorium - they did Hansel and Gretel - it was very enjoyable.  Even the 16 month old in my lap clapped through the show several times!!