Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Few of Our Eats

Blueberry Crisp--I think I might like this better than blueberry cobbler if that's possible! 
5 or 6 cups fresh blueberries (mine had been picked and frozen)
1 T white sugar
1 cup AP flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Cover with blueberries. Sprinkle blueberries with white sugar and toss slightly. Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown. original recipe from allrecipes
Kielbasa and Veggies
It's exactly what it looks like--browned sausage with a bag of frozen broccoli and fresh tomatoes from our garden--we ate this over seasoned pasta.
Flourless Almond Cookies
I cannot for the life of me find the recipe I used for these amazing cookies--here it is to the best of my memory:
2 1/4 cups of roughly ground almond flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
3 T honey (+ or -)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat butter in a saucepan on low heat until melted. Remove from heat and add honey and vanilla. Mix in baking soda and salt. Add almond flour. Shape into balls and cook for 8-11 minutes at 350 degrees.
note: while searching for the recipe, I saw cookies very similar to this made with coconut oil instead of butter. Sounds yummy and good for you. I also saw similar cookies where the recipe added flax seed--this might be worth a try.
Happy cooking and baking!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Mother's Prayer

Father of All,
I am so very thankful that, though my little life is important to You,
it is not the whole picture--
it is not the entirety of the Kingdom work--
There is more here than what I see
And I thank you that you do see All.
Thank you that in You there is abundance.
And when I am weary and thirsty and hungry,
I come to Your waters and I am renewed.
Oh, Lord, forgive me for not seeking You in my daily life.
I may call on You in the morning and then it's off to my to-do list.
Please forgive me.
I know that I can do nothing without You,
but I forget to live it.
Have mercy on me,
and help me, Holy Spirit, to forsake my ways
And turn to my Father in every minute, every second of every day.
Whether I am teaching or cooking or hiking or swimming or talking or reading or cleaning or playing...
Help me to be running to You. 
Lord, I am so thankful for Your Word.
Thank you that every word that comes from Your mouth is like the 
rain that waters the earth
And makes everything bring forth and bud.
Every one of Your Words prospers and succeeds.
Thank you that though I am weak and sinful and un-able,
You are strong and perfect and marvelously able.
Able to watch over my children
Able to strengthen my marriage
Able to grow my relationships
Able to repair what is broken
Able bring home what is lost
And finish what You have begun.
I am thankful.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spa Bathroom

I've been collecting ideas for a friend's spa bathroom and thought you might be interested in seeing them. As moms we all need that place of total relaxation that we can at least happily gaze at as we speed by the door doing chores. You can pretend you're pouring a bath while the soft music is playing and aromatic candles scent the air...

bath robe (not pictured)

Happy Relaxing!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation

Last year we started with the Goths and Visigoths and this year we've finally made it to one of my favorite parts of history--Renaissance and Reformation. Last year the hubby read to the kids out of Famous Men of the Middle Ages while the kids colored a pic of whoever the hubby was reading about. This year our family schedule won't allow the hubby to stay and read to the kids, so they'll be having history with little old me. The format will be basically the same:

* Read from Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation
* Color pictures copied from the internet of prominent people in the day's chapter
* Discuss said people and review facts in the chapter using some kind of graphic organizer
* Occasionally write small reports on our famous men
* Various and sundry other activities (if famous painter, paint a picture; if famous poet, read and discuss and write poetry, etc.)
* For history read-alouds, read The Beggar's Bible (Wycliffe), Ink on His Fingers (Gutenberg), Thunderstorm in Church (Luther), The Bible Smuggler (Tyndale), and The Man Who Laid the Egg (Koestler) by Louis A. Vernon
If any of you out there are using Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation, I thought you might want a copy of the coloring sheets that I've come up with. Some of them are actually coloring sheets, others are just black and white copies of pictures of that person. There are some of the other activities included as well. When I reached Martin Luther, I borrowed heavily from this excellent curriculum by a 5th grade teacher in Texas. I have tried to give credit to where each picture and idea originated. This PDF includes only my first 21 lessons, which get us through Martin Luther in the Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation. The pages are not quite in order (forgive me) but you will find them numbered by chapter in the Famous Men book and then in (parenthesis) you will find the # of my lesson. For instance Plutarch comes first in the Famous Men book, but he's going to be my second lesson so he's labeled: ch.1(2).

What are curriculum are you using for history this year?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Interactive Notebooks

This year's homeschooling is going to be quite different from last year's--this year I'm going to have lots of help!
The big kids are going to a wonderful homeschool tutorial one day a week where they will get excellent instruction in:
Science (with labs)
Art and
They will be there from 9am-4pm on Mondays.
At home, I will add Saxon 5/4 Math, History, Spanish and Spelling. Their tutorial will send home lots of work for the subjects they are taking there, so we will leave lots of time in our homeschool schedule to handle the home work from there.
The youngest is going to same tutorial that the other two went to for kindergarten. She will have the same teacher as they did. : ) She'll be there Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8-12. This will give the big kids and me some good table learning time on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Wednesdays we will learn together in some fashion--at the table, on field trips, etc. And then the oldest will have her horseback riding lesson in the early afternoon.
I am trying to keep the schedule simple because we will (Lord willing!) be heading to Uganda as a family in October and we will try to keep up with as much as we can while we're there, but I am making no promises to myself about what will happen at home when we get back with two new children.
The one thing I've let myself get really creative about this year is spelling.
They are going to use interactive notebooks, and boy did I have fun getting them started for the older two. (The youngest will have one as well--just haven't gotten to hers yet.) I did two lessons for them, but after that, the sky's the limit! They have ideas, patterns and extra scraps in a bag and they will be in charge of incorporating different ideas to fill 3 pages in their notebooks for every list of words. I had so much fun getting theirs started that I was contemplating doing my own notebook!
The words are from the K12 online schooling program.
So here are some of my ideas for the two oldest:

Check out my SCHOOL pinterest board for this and other cool patterns for foldables!

In that little Scrabble envelope there are little card stock scrabble letters. 

Across the top of my chart I have: WORD, short definition, # of letters, # of syllables, part of speech, fraction of vowels and fraction of consonants

Saturday, August 10, 2013

School Lunches

You might think that since we homeschool, packing lunches is unnecessary. And you might be right, except that when the cook is also the teacher, lunch seems to get later and later in the day as we try to learn just a bit more before we stop to prep lunch.
Pack lunches for home school.
So beginning next week, I'll be joining the ranks of moms around the world packing lunches at breakfast time. When we're ready to eat, we'll just pull out our lunch boxes and dig in.
(As always, my plans are theoretical and highly unlikely to work all the time. Just sayin')
And what should we pack in those boxes? Well in case you hadn't noticed, the world wide web is overflowing with ingenious ideas on this subject as well.
These are all from the talented Lisa Storms.
What I've learned from Lisa:
1. Cuteness factor does matter.
2. Healthy can be fun.
3. Cupcake toppers have duller points than toothpicks and make great skewers for little people.
Oddly enough, these lunches are from another Lisa over at 100 Days of Real Food.
From this Lisa I learned:
1. Apples can be used to make sandwiches instead of bread.
2. Leftovers can make great lunches.
3. Sometimes simple is great! (boiled eggs, why didn't I think of that!)
And now a few from various websites:
From top to bottom:
(we love anything in a tortilla, remember)

And then there are my own home made kids' meals:
first published here and here

There are all kinds of ideas at this website for school lunches as well.
1. Different kinds of noodle dishes can be made the night before.
2. Soups in thermoses make great lunch 
(for us home schoolers, just keeping the soup warm on the stove would work.)
3. There are ALL KINDS of sandwiches to make for school lunches.
One last idea that's pretty much everywhere over our dear old internet is that a school lunch is the perfect place to say "I love you" with a little tiny gift or a note--this would hold true even for us. For this I could make up a stash of different little cards saying "I love you" in many ways:
Happy Lunch-Making!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Girls' Room

Since we made our decision last week and are proceeding toward Africa and adopting two little boys, the shape of our family life has changed into a "get ready" mode. My thoughts are in a complete whirl of preparations. One of the things that we need to change before we bring these boys home is the sleeping situation. 
So on Monday I put the full guest bed on craigslist and almost immediately sold it.
Yay! The guest/baby room will become the girls' room. I think that at the beginning, the girls may be sleeping on blow up mattresses on the floor, but for Christmas, these things (minus the castle, which we already have) will be on their list. If we were to go out and buy everything on this list today, the room redo would still only cost about $700! And that's with two each of A, B, C, D, and E!

(only for the month of August after that it'll be $149.00)

Approximate Total for the Pink and Black and White Room for 1 Girl: 
For my two girls:

*I already have some extra brand new IKEA white curtains on which  I'm hoping to stencil (?) flowers. They'll probably also need another window layer to keep out light. The current curtain rods in their room are black (perfect) and have a spot for a smaller rod to go behind the curtain. I'd love to find a simple black curtain to go behind airy white ones to give help them sleep in during the summer. : )

The girls will need a few other things like a bedside table and floor lamps, but those can all come as they can. I'm excited to be decorating a girls' room again, can you tell?
Happy decorating!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Announcing the New Family Members

Dear blog readers,
If you've been around for a while, then you know that our family has been waiting to adopt for over a year. In the last year and a half we have learned much about God's power and love. We have also learned that His plans are often quite different from our own. We thought we would birth a fourth child, instead He showed us adoption. We thought we would adopt domestically, and after much waiting, He gently nudged us toward Uganda. We thought we were surely supposed to adopt just one, and He placed two boys on our hearts.
After seeing these two boys' picture a few months ago, we couldn't stop thinking and praying about them. Even when we don't understand God's ways, He is beautifully relentless, and we are very thankful that He has again withheld no good thing.
We have also learned that we can do nothing in our own strength. God's hand in this adoption is evident, but we need you as well! Would you pray for us? We need prayer for our travels, for raising the rest of the money and for bringing two very different children into our family. We are excited and scared and in wonder all at the same time.
If you would like to help us raise the $21,000 that we have yet to raise, you can easily go to Lifesong for Orphans and donate using our family account number: #2961.
Thank you so much for reading and supporting Of Such is the Kingdom over the years. I can't wait until we're on the other side of this adoption and I'm typing about how wonderful it is to have five children!