Friday, January 29, 2010

Moments to Melt a Mom's Heart

Five year old boys are so special, aren't they?  My five year old is full of mischief, striving to be so manly, but still needing cuddles with mom.  This week he picked out a children's Valentine book at the library and Devin read it to him one afternoon. He then proceeded to make Valentines for me and Devin.  He hid mine in my top drawer and asked me upon awakening the next morning if I had gotten dressed yet.  Still in my pj's, I replied in the negative, but quickly found my precious boy's gift.   Devin's was copied straight from the children's book and said, "Kisses for Francine".  He gave that to her amid lots of giggles.

Jeff is at the Creation Museum this week working on some details with AiG so Jackson told me he would sleep with me last night.  I told him no---he would sleep in his own bed----His reply, "Mom, I have to sleep with you 'cause you're MY woman!"  Lots of chuckles, but he slept in his own bed.  Before turning in, though, he whispered to me as he gave me a good night kiss "You'll always be my woman."  Sigh....

This morning when I awoke (late...Jeff is gone, so we slept in) Jackson came in my room already dressed.  I was impressed and asked him who told him to get dressed.  He replied, "Nobody.  I got dressed 'cause it's the right thing to do and you shouldn't wait until you're told to do something that needs to be done."    I wish they would all act on this ALL the time!!

Last week when he was sick, he had been using the nebulizer and was putting it away.  I had noticed he had been putting it away after each use lately (we generally leave it out as it is used multiple times daily).  I started thinking, "Maybe he is putting it away because he isn't finishing the treatment."  This time he hit his head on the cabinet door.  He was crying, so I walked over to check on him and checked the nebulizer's medicine cup.  Sure enough, it still had medicine in it.  I told him that the Bible says that your sins will find you out and he shouldn't try to deceive his mother by hiding the fact that his treatment wasn't finished.  His crying only got louder and he said, "But Mom, you know I can't read!"  Obviously he shouldn't be required to know this fact because I haven't taught him to read yet.

I recently told Jeff that I need a portable recorder so I can keep track of all the things that Jackson says.  A lot of his profound sayings come when we are traveling.  I try to remember exactly what he said, but I have a hard time keeping up with it in my 45 year old brain and I can't write it down because I am driving.  I don't have a cell phone or iPod, so need to find something to have with me at all times so I can repeat his sayings immediately.  Any suggestions?

Relishing this time with Jackson and the rest.....

(add-on here!)  My mom read my post while on the phone with me and let me know of a couple of typos.....I think she needs to proofread for me every day!  Thanks, Mom!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Abiding:  dwelling; remaining; continuing; enduring; waiting

(from Webster's Amercan Dictionary of the English Language--1828)

Our hymn this week was written by Henry Lyte in 1847.  The tune is EVENTIDE by William Monk, written in 1861.

Abide with me;  fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens;  Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me!

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joy grow dim, His glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me!

I need thy presence ev'ry passing hour;
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who like thyself my guide and stay can be?
Thro' cloud and sunshine, O abide with me!

Hold thou thy cross before me closing eyes;
Shine through  the gloom, and point me to the skies;
Heav'ns morning breaks and earth vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!

O, Lord, please dwell, continue, remain and endure in me, with me and for me.  I need Your help, Your changeless Presence, Your guidance and Your direction each and every day, each and every moment.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Eat Your Wheaties!

Ok, my kids have never had Wheaties and I rarely buy boxed cereal except for the oat rings that my baby eats and crunches on the floor and the occasional box of rice cereal that we mix with melted marshmallows for a delicious treat.  When I do buy any other boxed cereal it only lasts one day.  Seriously, they we scarf it down like there is no tomorrow!  So, if I rarely buy the boxed stuff what do we do for breakfast?

Well, on Mondays we have homemade muffins.  Generally we have our favorite applesauce muffins.  Our recipe makes a ton of muffins, so we have them for snacks for the next couple of days as well. Sometimes we have a maple crunch muffin or a blueberry muffin.   On Tuesdays we have bagels or English muffins, if I was nice and bought some on my Sam's run.  We might have some bacon or sausage, eggs and grits, if not.  Yesterday, we had crockpot oatmeal and baked oatmeal for those who won't eat the mushy stuff.  Wednesdays are homemade waffle days except for my egg allergic children who get Van's eggless waffles 'cause eggless homemade waffles don't work on my Belgian waffle maker.  Thursdays are generally a repeat of Tuesday, Fridays are pancakes and Saturdays we pull out all the stops and make a REAL breakfast of homemade buttermilk biscuits, bacon and/or sausage, eggs and grits.  Sundays are usually homemade cinnamon rolls.  I do make a granola that we keep in the freezer for quick breakfasts occasionally.

With the exception of bagels and English muffins and the eggless frozen waffles for my allergic children, everything else is homemade.  NO MIXES are used in the preparing of breakfast in our home.  It's just as quick and easy and much less expensive and better for you to make things from scratch.  Really!!  Oh, and did I mention I don't cook breakfast?  Devin  usually prepares breakfast for us, but Aaron and Kaelan are handling the pancakes on Fridays.   Jordan steps in once or twice a week to help with bacon and eggs and any other help that Devin needs.

Devin has been making the mornings a little easier for herself by preparing batter in the evenings and keeping it in the fridge until morning.  She also prepares the baked oatmeal this way and just puts it straight from the fridge to the oven.  Easy-peasy!!

A money-saving better-for-you idea that I have used for more than a dozen years is making our own syrup.  My granny used to make "hot syrup" for us when I was growing up.  She served it with biscuits. It was just plain sugar and water, but we loved it!  My version is pretty much the same, but we add maple and/or vanilla flavoring.  Jordan likes it with a touch of real molasses as well.   This is really easy and is so cheap to make.  Plus you don't have any guar gum and other yucky additives.

Homemade Syrup for Waffles, Pancakes and Biscuits

2 cups of sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple flavoring or 1/4 cup of molasses

Heat on top of stove and let boil a few minutes.  Watch and don't let boil over.  Let simmer to keep warm.  If you boil too long it will get too thick.

I posted a new recipe for crockpot oatmeal, but thought I would post Jeff's favorite baked oatmeal today. It's not ooey-gooey and has a much firmer texture than stove-top oatmeal.  You can add chopped fruit or berries as well.  This recipe is from Beverly Lewis' Amish Heritage Cookbook.

1/4 cup cooking oil                                                  1 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup white or brown sugar                                  1 1/2 c. quick or rolled oats
1 egg                                                                        1 c. milk
1 t. baking powder                                                   1/2 t. salt

Beat together all ingredients with mixing spoon; pour into buttered 9 x 13 pan.

Bake at 275 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

Now I'm off to eat delicious Belgian waffles topped with homemade strawberry topping.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crockpot Oatmeal

I love to use my crockpots.  They can really be timesavers and during the hot summer months it seems they don't heat up my kitchen quite as much as the oven.   I have recently been inspired to use the crockpots for breakfast dishes.   I found this recipe in Fix It and Forget It Lightly.  We had this Sunday morning replacing the apples with dried blueberries.  This morning we had it with applesauce instead of apples.  We don't do raisins so omitted them and the walnuts.  We also omitted the half-and-half.  So we really didn't use this recipe at all...LOL!!   The recipe makes 4 servings.  Some of my family won't touch oatmeal unless it's baked or in a cookie, so this is enough for us.

Overnight Apple Oatmeal

2 cups skim or 2% mild
2 T honey or 1/4 brown sugar
1 T margarine (we use butter)
1/4 t salt
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 cup dry rolled oats
1 cup chopped apples
1.2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1.2 cup fat-free half and half

1.  Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.
2.  In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except half and half.  Pour into cooker.
3.  Cover and cook on low overnight, ideally 6-8 hours.  The oatmeal is ready to eat in the morning.
4.  Stir in the half and half just before serving.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back to the Old Ways

I am realizing that some of the things I used to do were actually good and useful and I am trying to get back in the habit of making plans.  I had been trying to make things a little easier on myself by using a textbook as a spine for our history studies for my middle students, but failed to check out how the text handled a key segment of history and found that it was contrary to our viewpoint and we have had to go back and do some reading and listening to others who use primary sources as the basis of their teachings on the subject.

I am also going back to using more of our KONOS activities.  My kids just learn better and are more interested in learning when they can have more discussion and hands-on activity that just book-learning.  And I don't want my younger two to miss out on the fun and the memories that we have from using KONOS, so it's back to the tried and true.  This week in our American history studies we will focus on the Dutch settlements in the colonial period.    We will make cottage cheese, cook over a fire (this may be on the grill if the ground is too wet), make a beaver hat, read Hans Brinker, declare a Dutch cleaning day,  and learn how the Dutch women were very industrious and use our time wisely.  We are also studying about Africa so will pull out the KONOS for that as well and spend a few weeks in the deserts of North Africa reading a Ballantyne book, The Pirate City, about Algiers, study Islam and the Tuaregs and do lots of map work. Individual reading and writing assignments will be based on the history and geography topics.

I set  and met a goal to eat out of the freezer and we did!  My freezer that holds our ready to eat meals was almost empty.  Only half of a smoked turkey remained and I think the kids were going to revolt if I served turkey again.  This weekend I prepared three meals of a Mexican chicken mix (I made chimichangas for Friday night and put two bags of the mix in the freezer), four meals of spaghetti sauce, two pans of lasagne (one we ate Sat. night) and two meals of bbq pork for sandwiches.  This week I will do several chicken dishes and cook up a 10 pound bag of Northern beans and a five pound bag of black beans to have as quick meals in the freezer as well.

I did make a menu for this week.  We should have a more "normal" week, but Jeff has a three day trip  to the Creation Museum later this week.  We decided not to travel with him this time.  We were up there last year-exactly a year ago, in fact.  During the terrible ice storm that caused much of Kentucky to loose it's power for many weeks.   See--

 Here are my plans-

Monday-grilled chicken and mushrooms (cooking lots of chicken to add to the freezer), green beans and baked potatoes

Tuesday-chicken breasts in mushroom sauce (freezing some as well), rice and green beans

Wednesday-bbq sandwiches, baked beans and cole slaw

Thursday-spaghetti, salad and bread

Friday-potluck with our homeschool group--taking crockpot mac and cheese and meatballs

Saturday-pork fajitas (making extra for the freezer), mexican rice and salad

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rolling with the Current or Being Thankful in the Midst of Chaos

It's been a rough, tough, crazy, chaotic, normal week around here.  I have seen recent posts from a young mom who just had her fourth baby and is trying to find a new "normal".  All I can tell her is GOOD LUCK with that!   I don't think we have had a normal  day since back in the 1990's, seriously!!

Our lives look so normal on paper.  I can write out a plan for the day, week or month, make up a color-coded schedule that looks terrific on the wall, but none of that is what actually pans out.  This week has been a doozy as far as rolling with the current goes.  Lauren and the grands came up Sunday to spend a couple of nights with us.  We are always glad to see them, but having them here does add another dimension in our normally chaotic lives.  I tried to maintain our school pattern on Monday and we were all congregated in the den for our group time that afternoon where I was reading from several books and we were having a time of questions and answers.  I was trying to read so that everyone could hear over the three little boys ages 2, 1 and 10 months.  They were like little puppy dogs rolling around the floor, playing and carrying on.  Lauren looked at me at one point and asked if things were usually this chaotic.  Well, not quite as much, but adding in three more people and two of them very little ones does add another degree or two of chaos.  She was  homeschooled her entire life and has only been out of our home for a little over 4 years.  Has she really forgotten?  But I am so very thankful that they can come and visit with us.  Thankful that Caedmon loved having his two nephews to play with and that the older ones can help Lauren out with diaper changes and feedings.  Thankful that Lauren and I can sit and talk while we both nurse our little ones.  Or is that a little weird?  Caedmon was so cute trying to climb in Lauren's lap and love on her.  It has made me a little sad that he didn't arrive until after she was married.  In fact, neither he nor Jackson will remember her living here at our home.

Jackson has been sick with a croupy cough, congestion and wheezing.  He has been wired up all week from the steroids and breathing treatments but is feeling better now.  Caedmon has been having some of the same in addition to TEETHING.  I don't remember the others being quite as fussy, but I have been dealing with teething babies for over 25 YEARS now and my memory is getting a little foggy!

To add another layer to our chaos, Jeff has been working 14 or more hours each day this week.  The Homeschool Channel is extremely busy this week with webcasts and filming/hosting seminars here in town.  Jordan is also getting in extra work.  I don't think they will get home tonight until after 11.  On top of his work schedule being longer this week his truck is also in the shop.  Thankful that he has use of an AFA van or this would have been even more chaotic.  Devin uses our one other car and she has three trips to Memphis this week and teaches all day on two different towns.

So what have we done?  Well, something happened to the Windows program on my IMac on Monday so Aaron and Kaelan haven't been able to do any of their computer school...Teaching Textbooks, Quarter Mile and Typing Tutor, since Monday. I am hoping that my resident IT man will be home long enough this weekend to find out the problem and fix it.   They have kept up with copywork, handwriting, Daily Gram and reading.  They are doing geography on their own....looking through an atlas and labeling a map of Africa and making construction paper maps of the African countries.  Aaron and Kaelan have each read storybooks about Africa to Jackson and I also overheard Aaron giving Jackson a piano lesson yesterday!  They have played several rounds of Mancala and did some work on African maps using Geosafari.  Today I hope to have them work the Africa map puzzle again and play 10 Days in Africa.  They have continued with piano and violin practice as well.  Jordan has been working on some layering and texturing effects on PHOTOSHOP (the above photo is one of his) and started his MATH-U-SEE Stewardship course this week.  He has had lots of reading for history to catch up on, but with his work schedule this week I don't think he has gotten very far.  Jordan has decided that he wants to start doing a little cooking so I am eager to  turn over either Monday or Friday evenings to him.  With his work and school schedule, though, I am not sure how much time he can really devote to this.  I am very thankful that he wants to learn more in this area, though.

So what am I thankful for?
-a married daughter who will bring her babies home for a visit
-other daughters and sons who are willing to serve in our home--cooking meals, folding laundry, entertaining little ones and continuing to "do school" even during chaotic times (disclaimer here---they still make messes and leave them, they argue and tease each other too much--we are ALL works in progress)
-one vehicle that is running
-a husband who has not one job but two and is willing to work hard to do what it takes to keeps us going
-a son who gets to work with his dad and meets so many interesting people while learning real life work skills
-a house that is standing
-running water
-food (and lots of it)
-clothes and shoes
-medicine as needed
-children who are interested in learning

I think most of us should be counting our blessings this week.  It is so easy to get bogged down by the chaos and troubles that come into our homes.  However, when you look at what is going on out in the world our troubles pale in comparison.  Take some time to count your blessings, pray for the people of Haiti and other areas who are hurting and living in true CHAOS, and hug those who are near and dear to you a little closer.  I'll take my normal chaos over the real chaos that is out in the world any day.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What Is Copywork?

I have used copywork off and on for several years to teach my children grammar and spelling and to introduce them to good writers.   We have used portions of books that we were reading, poetry, hymns and great documents.   Before Christmas I invested in two books written just for copywork use by Sandi Queen.  I am using Copywork for Boys for Aaron and Copywork for Girls for Kaelan.  Each day they are assigned a portion to copy in their neatest handwriting.  I then check for misspelled words, punctuation, capitalization and for form.   The children then make corrections.  In two weeks Aaron has misspelled only 3 words and Kaelan two.  I dropped a formal spelling program for them this last year as we discovered that just by reading and writing (a lot) they had become good spellers.  Yesterday I looked over the last couple of weeks of assignments and called out words to each of them that I thought might be difficult for them to spell.  Kaelan missed none and Aaron only missed one.  Good work, kids!!  Aaron's copywork for the week was a poem.  I think I am going to have him memorize it next week.  I am including it here for your enjoyment.

Lord, Make a Regular Man Out of Me
by Edgar A. Guest

This I would like to be-braver and bolder,
Just a bit wiser because I am older,
Just a bit kinder to those I may meet,
Just a bit manlier taking defeat;
This for the New Year my wish and my plea-
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

This I would like to be-just a bit finer,
More of a smiler and less of a whiner,
Just a bit quicker to stretch out my hand
Helping another who's struggling to stand,
This is my prayer for the New Year to be,
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

This I would like to be--just a bit fairer,
Just a bit better, and just a bit squarer,
Not quite so ready to censure and blame, 
Quicker to help every man in the game,
Not quite so eager men's failings to see,
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

This I would like to be-just a bit truer,
Less of the wisher and more of the doer,
Broader and bigger, more willing to give,
Living and helping my neighbor to live!
This for the New Year my prayer and my plea-
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Did You Ever Wonder?

Yesterday was a good day at our house.  We were able to really get a lot of good school time in and play catch up from our busy Monday and Tuesday.  I thought I would give you all a little peek into what a "good" school day looks like at my house.  I do have to confess, though, that my house is a mess and we will be doing lots of clean-up this weekend.  Floors need to be mopped, bedrooms  and bathrooms thoroughly cleaned and groceries purchased, but "school" is going well.

The children start waking up around 6 to begin their Bible reading.  Devin makes breakfast unless Kaelan and Aaron volunteer.  Everyone then gets dressed, showers and/or works on their chores.  At 8 Aaron and Kaelan take turns on my computer doing Teaching Textbooks.  Then they work on their language assignments which consist of Daily Grams, copywork and handwriting.  Jordan worked on his list of literature (Frankenstein in Learning Language Arts through Literature--English lit) and American history (Carson's Basic History of the US).  Some days he begins his school work at 7 AM and works on it again in the evenings.

At 9 I gathered everyone for our "group time".    We all sit in the den with Bibles.  I gave Jackson a couple of Bible verse coloring books to color in quietly will we took turns reading Proverbs 13.  Caedmon played in the floor.  We sang our hymn of the week "All Praise to God Who Reigns Above"  We are reading one chapter each week from Douglas Bond's book, Mr. Pipes Comes to America and learning the hymn from that chapter.  From our memory box, we reviewed our root cards (English from the Roots Up--one root per week) and our memory verses.  We listened to a cd of Gregorian chants for our studies in A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers (this was background music until it started bothering me---we are noisy enough without background music!).  Devin was then dismissed to clean the kitchen or do her reading (either John Piper or AW Pink, not sure!).  The rest of us have begun a study about Africa (my brother is moving to the Democratic Republic of Congo this summer) so we read a chapter about David Livingstone in Missionary Stories with the Miller's.   Then, because we didn't finish it last semester during our study of South America, we crossed the Atlantic and read two chapters of Martin Rattler by Ballyntine.

We took a short clean up, bathroom, move the laundry break and then continued with geography by  identifying 6 geographical terms  and defining 10 terms specific to African geography.  We are using Around the World in 180 Days, but we are doing it on MY terms--180 Days is more like 360 or so for us.  We pulled out atlases and the children sat in the floor with their books and found the highest mountain, the largest lake, etc in Africa.  Jackson (5) has his own geography notebook and busily copied down Sahara, Indian Ocean, Asia, Africa,  and Nile River.  He has no idea what he is writing, but he loves to write and is copying from the Bible as well.  So cute!  He has started several notebooks and has one he uses at church.  Jackson then moved to the dining room to do some of our activity bags with Devin while Caedmon enjoyed a snack of Cheerios.  The other three and I continues in our geography studies by reading about Egypt in Abeka's Old World History and Geography (we don't do the whole book!!  I just use it as a resource!!!)

Then it was time for lunch.  I had set out a bag of chili to thaw and we had that with tortilla chips, cheese and onions.  Jordan left with his dad for work.  He works with his dad on The Homeschool Channel editing programs that will soon be shown for  your encouragement!!!  Aaron and Kaelan each practiced piano while I moved some more laundry and did "school" with Jackson.  He and I  read from If You Lived in Colonial Days and he did some narration for me, worked on letter recognition and handwriting, did a few pages in Explode the Code and Singapore math.  Aaron and Kaelan worked on a map puzzle of Africa (from Timberdoodle) while I finished with Jackson.  I don't remember what Caedmon was up to at this time.  Devin was practicing her violin.

We then went back to the den where Jackson and Caedmon played with plastic African animals while I read three chapters from Animal Stories from Africa.  We then switched over to American history and I read two chapters from The Light and the Glory regarding the Puritans.  After a clean up break the children watched Living Free, the sequel to Born Free about lions in Africa while I did some work at my desk for The Homeschool Channel.  (it looks like my children didn't read anything on their own, but I promise you they did!  I had to ask them to take their books off the table at lunch because I didn't want them getting chili on them!)

Devin made up some dough for flatbread and she and Kaelan baked it on our tortilla press while I continued with the laundry and got the others to do a few chores and shower.  I baked some garlic, made hummus, opened a can of olives and heated up some chicken and rice for dinner.  We ate VERY quickly   and made it to church.  After church the boys and Devin cleaned up the kitchen and we all collapsed into bed.  On non-church nights we have family worship with Jeff leading.   He teaches from the Bible and uses Balancing the Sword after we have a time of singing.

So, that's a look into our day and life.  Time to get everyone rolling around here!   We have another busy day ahead of us.   May you have a blessed and productive day!

Monday, January 11, 2010

To Be One

I recently watched a DVD entitled To Be One.  This movie shows three young couples who discuss the process they took to get to the marriage alter.  In this day and age of dating beginning at 12 or so, it is refreshing to see young couples who are saving themselves in heart and mind for the one to whom God would lead them.  Each of these "premarriage" stories is different and each of the weddings have very different elements, but that's ok.  We are all unique people and don't have to do every thing this same way as our neighbors.  Praise God that we are all different.  What a boring place this world would be if everyone looked and thought the same.

If you have  young people you are training to keep themselves pure in heart and mind until marriage, I recommend watching To Be One.  It is so great to see real people who are going through the process and to get some insight into why they are walking this path.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Highlights of 21 Years of Homeschooling

My family has been homeschooling for the last 21 years.  This May will mark 22 years that I have been at home with my children.  Where did the time go?  It seems like just yesterday that we embarked with trepidation on our homeschool journey equipped with a small box of preschool material.  I was a very young mom of a four year old and a newborn and wife to a seminary student.  I had so very much to learn....and still do!

Some of the memories that stand out for me are teaching 5 of my children to read.  There were some bad moments in the early years especially, when I would push the older girls to do more than I should have, but I learned to slow down and watch for readiness cues from the children and not from "the experts".  I am very thankful that, in spite of my many mistakes, all 5 of those children love to read.  I look forward to teaching the two little boys to read as well.  Caedmon will already sit down and "read" a book to himself and Jackson has loved books for years.

Another highlight has been the times that my children and I (and sometimes Jeff) have spent reading great books together.  We have sat outside on a swingset reading about American history from The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall.  We listened to Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington when we studied the War Between the States.  We have read many biographies of missionaries and historical figures.  We have snuggled together while reading about The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (and all her other books).  When we finished all of Wilder's books we traveled to her final home in Missouri and saw the little desk where she actually penned her books.  Jeff took the children along with him for a fun trip through The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham and to the cold Antarctic on an adventure with Shackleton on the Endurance.  So many adventures we have had through reading together.

We have traveled to many Civil War sites across the south and to Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown when we completed our studies of early American history.  We went to Washington and stood in awe of the Washington Monument and walked our feet off trying to see as much as possible in one day.  We explored Mount Vernon the beloved home of George Washington and spent several nights in a planter's house built in 1850 on the James River.  We have explored caves in Tennessee and Arkansas and driven through the endless miles of corn fields in Iowa.  We have enjoyed several museums, aquariums and historical sites in many states.

We have enjoyed cooking the foods of other cultures and time periods and have discovered some tasty dishes that became regulars at our dining table.  I have taught my children many cooking skills as we experienced the flavors of other worlds and times.

We have shared our lives with other families as I coordinated KONOS co-ops for nine years.  We dressed in period costumes, reenacted battle scenes. practiced public speaking, did oodles of interesting crafts and made lots of friends.

Just this past fall, Jackson and I were reading a book while sitting on the swing in our yard.  It was a quiet day and we were reading Paul Showers' book The Listening Walk.  The author wrote on the last page for us to close the book, close our eyes and just listen.  So we did.  We began to hear a rustling in the leaves behind us and we opened our eyes just in time to see two deer running out of the woods just behind us.  I know I will always remember that moment.  I hope Jackson will too!!

I know all of you have some moments of your homeschool journey that will always stand out to you.  Some of you have only been on this journey for a short while and others have been traveling steadily on for several years.  I would love to hear about one or two of your favorite moments.  It's good to look back and set these memories in stone so that on the days when things don't go well we can look back and see the benefits of keeping on.  These special highlights encourage me to continue our journey.  We have many more years to go and I want to finish the race well.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eating from the Pantry and Freezer

I gave up on regular menu planning a while back.  It's just too easy for me to get off track and it frustrates me if we can't follow the menu.  However, getting dinner on the table is not a chore as we can usually set something out from the freezer to thaw in the morning and cook a veggie or two in the late afternoon and we are set.   This week I have stuck with cooking with foods that I already had on hand.

Sunday night we had a chicken-broccoli-rice casserole and leftover beef tips from the kids' dinner on Saturday.

Monday-seasoned white beans, brussel sprouts, stewed squash and onions with homemade bread----all pulled from the freezer

Tuesday-Devin used 8 chicken thighs to make braised chicken with potatoes and carrots--Jeff and I had a meeting that night and the next day I also discovered the kids pulled the chocolate chess pie from the freezer and ate the whole thing!!

Wednesday--bbq chicken strips, seasoned field peas, corn, and home fries

Thursday--I pulled the turkey broth and cooked turkey from the freezer to make a big pot of soup---added garlic, onions, carrots and potatoes.  It's snowing here today so this will warm up my snow babies!  I will add some homemade bread pulled from the freezer as well.  Tonight we will have leftovers from the last few nights.

So far so good!!  I did stop at a local grocery the other day.  I bought three family packs of chicken breasts at 99 cents a pound, breakfast sausage at $1.59 and bacon at $9.99 for 10 pounds.

How are you doing?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Come On, I Dare You to Take This Challenge!!


Saturday I listed the contents of two of my freezers with the thoughts of not spending much on groceries during this next month.  I also have a well stocked pantry and plenty of baking supplies.  What a blessing!!  Then, I came across the Eat from the Pantry Challenge on Sunday and thought I would participate.  However, we generally try to keep up a good stock of food and are getting ready to develop more of a stock pile.  I do need to use up the freezer items first, though, so we will participate in the challenge and see how it goes.  I love a challenge!!  My problem will be looking at all the sale flyers with great deals right now....chicken breasts for 99 cents a pound call out to me!!!  And they are on sale right now at a local grocer.  Sigh!  We will probably eat from my list and add items for future use as I find them on special.  I think the real lesson here may be preparing a pantry and freezer stockpile that can see you through a season of hard times.  The wise woman in Proverbs always plans ahead.  Having a well-stocked food supply is just being wise, especially if you take advantage of sales and closeouts to do so.  So come on and join me, if you dare!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Making a List and Checking It Twice

A little late with the list, right?   No, I'm not making a Christmas gift list, but am taking inventory of my freezers.  Today we cleaned out a much-neglected freezer and, because I can't stop at one, I had to clean out the fridge freezer and go through the LARGE freezer as well.  Good thing I did!!  Here is my stash of food finds.  I knew these things were in there, but it's nice to have it all written down.  Most of the meat was purchased when on sale.  Taking stock of all the freezers and food cabinets helps us realize how blessed we are!  I don't think I really NEED to buy any groceries other than milk and fresh produce for several weeks.  I didn't even list the fruits and veggies.  I know that there are tons in there along with lots of homemade bread, muffins, cookies and granola.   Now, if Jeff and the boys could get one or two of these deer that roam our property we would really be set.

3 packages of a half smoked turkey
3 packages of small pork loin
1 LARGE pork loin
ham bone
seasoned pinto beans
buttermilk pound cake
taco meat
sausage and peppers ready for pizza
2 large containers of turkey broth
2 containers of chopped turkey
giblet gravy
white beans cooked with ham
2 pounds of ground pork
3 packages of ground beef
buttermilk pie
chocolate chess pie
Italian sausage
3 packages of chicken breasts
24 chicken thighs
3 pound bag of chicken tenderloins
1 large bag of chicken leg quarters
1 large turkey

What a blessing to start the New Year off with!!  Now,  if all of this was cooked!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

And the Winner Is.......

The winner of The Homestead Blessings DVD set is Missy!!!  Check out Missy's blog at

Congratulations, Missy!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...