Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Work boxes

I recently converted our home school system to work boxes.  I have no idea who came up with the original idea but it is awesome!  I love work boxes!  It seems to be more fun for the kids and they can see their progress throughout the school day.  It makes it easier for me and it's very organized.  I can easily throw the next days work in the different boxes the day (or night) before school. 


                           Here is a picture of our work boxes in the home school closet.

I purchased three of them at Walmart.  (The last three they had).  So that gives Benjamin (my 1st grader) six work boxes and Elijah (my preschooler) three work boxes.  

I cut out construction paper and wrote numbers on them and got them laminated.  Then I put magnets on the back of the numbers and on the work boxes.  When they complete a box they move the magnetic number to the other side so we can see that it is finished.  They enjoy doing this as well!  The only hard part is keeping my toddler out of this closet!  But I do suggest keeping your school bins in a closet if you do have a toddler.

In Benjamin and Elijah's first box is Bible time and devotions for the day.  We made notebooks that they decorated at the beginning of school and I put paper in them.  I copied several lists of character qualities and definitions, etc.  I read over them and explain them and they draw a new character quality each day.  Some times I make them write out the date or the definition.  I teach Elijah his shapes and how to write his name on this notebook as well.  Each day they love to do this part of school!

Then I read them their Bible story for the day out of a devotion I bought from christianbook.com.

Then I read either Storytime with the Millers or Wisdom with the Millers.  It has stories about Bible verses in Proverbs and teaches character (which is my main goal for home schooling).

I teach them to memorize Scripture and we answer his Bible question for coop.

Box 2 for Benjamin is reading.  We use A Beka and other readers also.
Box 2 for Elijah is either a memory card game and his calendar time or a puzzle.

Box 3 for Benjamin is his math lesson.  I put his ruler in the box and whatever he would need.
Box 3 for Elijah is learning the letters either through flashcards, a book or Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD.

Box 4 for Benjamin is his math worksheets and tests.
Box 5 for Benjamin is his spelling words and sight words, including writing.
Box 6 for Benjamin is two worksheets on reading and language.

I also try to teach him piano as I am learning independently.  They also have free time, recess, snacks and meals of course through out the day.  They like to take turns being my "kitchen helper".  We do not do all the boxes straight through with no break.  It takes about four to four and a half hours to do school not counting recess, soccer (gym) and eating, etc.

When I had to go shopping yesterday the work box system made it so easy for my husband to help the kids do their school!  Try it out if your school system is chaotic right now.  
We love it!

 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Encouragement Comes

The Lord always knows when to send encouragement my way.  Yesterday our church gave us a "pounding"I don't know if I spelled it right but it's a new term I learned here in Kentucky.  A pounding is when the church members bring canned food items for the preacher as a gift.  October is Pastor appreciation month (and I do hope you remembered to encourage your Pastor this month).  They do a lot for their flock that goes unnoticed at times.  Anyway, our church is so sweet and they surprised my husband with a lunch and pounding after church.  It was nicely decorated with streamers and fall decorations and cards and a banner (in our other  Sunday School building).  We had some good food and good fellowship!
Thank you all so very much!  We love you!    

 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Priority Check

I must confess that I have been very overwhelmed the past few weeks.  There are many reasons why, but I will spare you.  When I get overwhelmed it usually goes back to the fact that I have not put the Lord as my first priority.  When the Lord is not my first priority in the beginning of my day then my other priorities eventually get out of whack too.  I want my priorities (that word is hard to type!) to be: 

God, my husband, my children, home school, the house and outside ministry.  

Recently my husband and I were talking and he shared with me what he saw my priorities to be.  They were out of order.  Cooking had become my first priority and then cleaning and schooling.  I realized this had happened and I was working on getting them back in order.  After we talked it helped motivate me to quickly get back to first things first.

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you"  Matthew 6:33

I want to display this verse in my home on the wall so I will be reminded of this truth.  So today and yesterday went much better as my mind was on the Lord and on my family (rather than the food and dishes).  There is a time for everything as Ecclesiastes says, and sometimes its time to leave the house dirty, eat fast food and spend time jumping on the trampoline with your kids or snuggling on the couch to read or watch their favorite movie.

Everybody says they grow up fast, enjoy them while they are young.  (And while I am young:))     

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Aloha Chicken Did Me In

Okay, so yesterday I absolutely LOVED pureeing vegetables and cooking up a storm...but today...not so much!  Ha!  I am one of those women who can love something and then hate it that quick I guess.  (Although I don't do that with things that matter, like my husband and children:)) Anyway, I think my problem was because:

I didn't spend time with the Lord in the morning and commit my day to Him

I woke up late because I have been going to bed too late

I have been out of the house a lot the past couple weeks and am still trying to catch up on everything 

We had five people stop by the house while I was cooking (at three different times)

I was trying out three new recipes that I'd never made before at one time (I don't recommend this)

I was somewhat watching three to five small children on and off (and trying to prevent a fork stabbing throwing fight between my youngest two boys)

I was having bad cramps which made me want to be mean:)

I am complaining aren't I?  Today I was reminding my sons about how it is wrong to complain because the Bible says to "Do all things without murmurings and disputings" (Phil. 2)   (Does that include cooking and cleaning?)  Our devotion just so happened to be about how the children of Israel complained and then faced bad consequences.  It's hard to teach my children something that I have not quite mastered yet.  They know this and they see that I am not perfect.  They see me apologize to their Dad.  They see us kiss and make up and say we are sorry and forgive each other.  They see and hear me ask God to help me not to complain or worry or fear.  They also see all the answers to my prayers and I remind them often. 

Well, after I made a mess of the kitchen and a mess of my emotions I was ready to say "Aloha" to the Aloha chicken!  (Doesn't Aloha mean hello and goodbye in Hawaii?)
I sat down to eat and my husband loved the food (with the hidden sweet potatoes and pineapple in the chicken and the cauliflower in the macaroni and the stuffed acorn squash and bok choy salad).  No wonder I was in the kitchen four hours not counting the clean up time afterward (but I had energy to do the dishes bc I ate my veggies:))  Well, I did clean some as I cooked...and here is a quick pic of my frozen purees...



                                      It will be worth it, here is my motivation...

                                                           Healthy Boys

                            My niece and nephew (I have more that aren't pictured, sorry guys!)

                                                            How Sweet!








Thursday, October 18, 2012

Carrots and French Toast

I wanted to update you on my new adventure in the kitchen...hiding veggies in our food!  I am using the book/cookbook called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. 

So far I have hidden carrots (pureed) in french toast, cauliflower in mashed potatoes, and carrots in muffins.  Everyone, kids and hubby alike, all said that the french toast tasted the best ever!  The recipe was so yummy and it had carrots in it! Wow!  Who would've thought to put carrots in french toast!?  The cauliflower mashed potatoes were wonderful as well and you could only taste the potatoes!  The muffins has peanut butter and jelly in them as well as carrot puree so they were creamy and I did not let them cool long enough so mine were mushy on the inside (but still good).  After I let the rest of them cool they were more "sturdy".  Here is a picture of the PBJ muffins we had today...


It doesn't look the prettiest but I wanted you to see the jelly in the middle.  I use whole grain flour which makes 'em brown:)  My husband even liked these and he's not really a muffin man.  No pun intended...


I am LOVING this whole food adventure with whole food!  It is so much fun (minus the dirty dishes).  I have spent tons of time in the kitchen making a TON of purees.  I have pureed (with the loving help of my kind, sweet, loving husband:0) broccoli, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, squash and zucchini.  Some of which we have already used and the rest is in my freezer in small freezer bags.  I put half a cup of puree in each bag and labeled it with the date and type and quantity of food.  It just makes me feel so good inside knowing I am doing this for the health and benefit of my family.  Cause some people, especially kids, just don't like to eat their vegetables.  (I used to be one of 'em until I got married 8 years ago and expanded my palate!)  Now I enjoy eating a variety of foods but I still was not getting my share of vegetables everyday.  I love knowing that as I ate my creamy mashed potatoes I was also getting a serving of cauliflower with it.  (And, for those of you who know me I am the Sloooooooooooowest eater ever...so this helps me eat more faster too haha:)!!  There are just benefits all around with this!

So, if you are not a veggie lover or eater, try this.  Start with the mashed potatoes and add half a cup of cooked (preferably steamed) and pureed (in a blender or food processor) cauliflower (it looks like white broccoli if you're wondering, and broccoli looks like little green trees...veggies are so much fun:))

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Grocery Shopping with 3 small Children

Today I took ALL three of my boys grocery shopping at Walmart (yes, you read it right, all three).  I had to because my husband could not go for me like he usually does.  He enjoys doing the grocery shopping!  What a blessing!  We used to all go grocery shopping together as a family but John and I would usually end up in an argument over which item to buy, the health of it and the price of it, etc.  So John decided to go alone so I could have time to home school and plan, etc.  However, this time was different because he could not go.  I had to go because we needed food to eat, go figure.  I also had some nonfood items that I needed from Walmart.  I thought about what to do about this scenario....

so, I called a friend to see if she wanted to go with me,
but she couldn't, 

then I remembered Elijah had a birthday gift card to Walmart, and Benjamin had money to spend too,
so I told the boys that if they behaved in Walmart the whole time (key word:whole time) that they could buy a toy with their money before we left.

They loved the idea and could not wait to go!  I just did not have a way to bribe my almost 2 year old:)

I fed them lunch before we left and made them go to the bathroom.  I ate lunch too so I wouldn't want to buy everything I saw.

I gave them their money and we loaded up into the car.


                                              Here they are, count em 1, 2, 3...






I made them change clothes before we went.  I knew we would already draw too much attention to ourselves, especially if they were dressed like this!





I just couldn't decide which picture to post:)  Notice how the little one watches and imitates his big brothers!  Food for thought.

Anyway, are you curious to know how my shopping trip went with these fellas?

We got to Walmart and I prayed (out loud) in the parking lot that the trip would be great and that the boys would behave and that I would find everything I needed.  Little John was asleep when we got there so I put him in the stroller and let my (now) 4 year old push him.  My oldest son pushed the buggy (or as you say, grocery cart).  I carried my purse on my shoulder and led the way.  They walked behind me in a nice, long row as everyone watched us in the store.  I was so proud to be their Mama!  One older lady even said "Good job!"  Now, normally my trips are not this good.  Normally people look at me and say "You have your hands full."  (I think they still told me that, though.)  

They were a big help in the store.  Little John woke up before we made it to the food side.  I fed them all pistachios to snack on and then a smoothie and string cheese while I shopped in the food section.  The little one finally wanted out of the stroller so I had to hold him.  My troops kept following me and sometimes asking when we would be done.  We were there for a LONG time.  Benjamin told my babysitter later that day that we were there for 7 hours:)  It must have felt that long, poor thing.  They got to buy their toy in the end and a lady helped put some of my food on the check out counter for me.  The lady in front of me gave me one of her extra boxes of graham crackers (that was about the only thing I couldn't find).  God blessed our trip to the store!  I also had enough money to buy everything I needed...haha:) 

Hope this helps you with your grocery trips! 





 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Life's Passing

We had to make an unexpected trip to Georgia last weekend because my husbands grandmother died.  She was 87 years old.  Her name was Elizabeth Mason.  She lived with my husbands parents for the last 10 months of her life.  Before that she lived in an assisted living home.  I can't imagine what it must be like to grow old.  Today is my birthday and I am only 29...however, all week I have been freaking out about being almost 30!  Then I remind myself that that is NOT old at all, right? ;)

I was wondering today how people grow old with grace.  You meet people who grow old and never complain about it.  They are a joy to be around and full of wisdom.  Growing old must be difficult because there are so many changes in every way.  The way you look and feel and sometimes where you live even changes.  I can't imagine having to leave the house that you called home year after year.  And being dependent on other people to help you do everyday things like bathing.  Yet Grandma Mason was not bitter or upset or angry.  She just sat in that chair and looked out the window.  She would read or watch movies and talk.  She listened to Pops sing and play the guitar.  Grandma (Elizabeth) would call Pops "King David" and he called her "Queen Elizabeth".  My husband would often call her and get the updates on all the cousins and she knew what everybody was into.  The night before she died she told Pops that she was tired of living this way.  She closed her eyes in sleep after her daughter kissed her goodnight and then she woke up in heaven without a struggle.  The Bible says that the death of saints is precious to God.  


 

Her memorial service was sweet as her two grandsons preached and sang and her son-in-law (my husbands father) preached. 


It is sad and we will miss her but I know where she is now...in a REAL place called Heaven that you can only get to through Jesus.  Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by me" John 14:6

This life is short, be sure where you are going when you die.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hiding Vegetables

So, I told you about my exciting new vegetable coop in an earlier post.  My husband and I have loved eating the fresh vegetables almost any way I cook them....however, my kids are a different story.  They don't always like to eat their vegetables.  I have to sneak them in their food sometimes so they get the nutrients they need.  One way I do this is by putting pumpkin in chocolate chip muffins (see my recipe on my blog under muffins), or butternut squash in a sweet bread.  I also put kale in smoothies along with flaxseed or coconut oil or whatever healthy thing I have on hand.  I was coming to a road block and needed some new ideas when I saw this cookbook sitting in my living room... 
Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.

I bought it at a yard sale cheap and had not read it yet.  I started reading it and it is JUST what I need!  I love when the Lord does that:)  Jessica tells you the importance of feeding your kids vegetables and teaches you how to make purees to hide in your kids everyday food that they like (ex. butternut squash in mac and cheese)The book tells you how to equip your kitchen and your pantry before you begin making the purees.  (I already had everything it listed except for a rice steamer).  Anybody getting rid of theirs?  Anyway, I am so excited to try these new recipes with vegetable purees in our food.  Yummo:)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Essential Oils



I love essential oils!  Once you become familiar with all the uses and benefits of essential oils they will become ESSENTIAL to you and your home.  I became an Essential Rewards member of Young Living awhile ago and we are reaping the benefits of using these oils daily in our home and in our body!  I am now an Independent Distributor of Young Living products and it is so easy because all I have to do is use their products (which I love) every month and I build up reward points for FREE products to use or share with friends to try.  

This week I have been diffusing Cassia (Cinnamon) Oil throughout my home and rubbing it on the bottom of our feet.  This is good to do if you feel like you are starting to get sick or catch a cold.   

I use peppermint oil when I need a quick boost of energy, to help my sinuses, and to help digestion issues.

I use lavender oil to calm the kids down and help them fall fast asleep.  Also, if they have a cough I rub it on the bottom of their feet and they stop coughing!

The other day I could tell my body was getting sick so I grabbed my Thieves oil and rubbed it on my belly and took a swig of my echinacea tincture and I was feeling better within the hour!  These oils really impress me and my hubby too.  That says a lot for him to like something natural!

I am very impressed with their DiGize Oil I use this one a lot too.  Whenever I get a stomach bug I immediately rub this on my stomach and it stops the "bug" from escaping your body (if you know what I mean).  It has worked within five minutes every time except one time it took a couple hours to work.  This helps with any digestion issues.  


They have oils for emotional health as well as physical health.  They have one called Peace and Calming that I just ordered.  They have an oil to remedy just about anything you could possibly be dealing with.  I love natural cures for all ails! 

Did you know that in Bible times they used essential oils all the time?  Remember frankincense was brought to Jesus as a gift.  It is valuable!  Look in the Bible and find all the references to oils...you will be surprised. 

Young living oils are of the purest quality and are not made with cheap artificial fillers.  They are so pure that you can ingest most of them in a drink or food.

Check out their website to browse the oils and learn more about them.  www.youngliving.com
If you decide to order anything you will need my Member number which is 1288141.



Monday, October 8, 2012

Softly and tenderly

Last week we had fall break and did not do school for a few days.  It was soooo nice.  But, you can't always stay on break and today was the dreaded MONDAY.  We were back to the daily grind and routine of school and chores and cooking and chasing a toddler and... and.. and....

At one point during the day I was talking to my son trying to get him to finish a worksheet but he kept walking off because he had better things to do that grabbed his attention
 I was silently getting frustrated with him and was thinking to myself, "Ugh, why doesn't he just stop and listen to me!?"   

At that moment the Lord spoke gently to my heart and said, "That's how you are with Me.  I want to have your attention all day long but you have "better" things to do that grab your attention"  Oh, the Lord is so soft and tender sometimes when He speaksThat was all it took for my heart to break over the thought of how I made Jesus feel when I turned aside to other things.  Like the old hymn says "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling old sinner come home..."  My devotion the other day was on supping with Jesus.  It said that Jesus is always there waiting at the table to dine and sup with you.  It is you (and me) who have to choose to come and dine with the Master at His banqueting table.  Who doesn't want to go to a banquet?  I mean, when you get invited to a fancy banquet don't you want to go?!  I do!  I enjoy it and get to eat good food and enjoy good fellowship.  How much more so should we desire to go to God's banqueting table!  Every time I spend quality time with God, good one on one fellowship with Him, I always leave feeling so FULL of JOY and satisfied.  I leave full of vision and purpose and a burden for the souls of people.  Oh friend, there is so much God longs to tell you but He is waiting on you to come to Him.

"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Butternut Squash and Chicken Curry Stew


As some of you know, I like to eat healthy as much as possible.  I used to spend a lot of time researching natural health before I had three kids.  I still remember a lot of what I read and I try to stay refreshed through weekly emails from Dr. Mercola (drmercola.com) and reading other material on health and wellness.  I knew that one important thing to do was to eat locally grown organic food.  Well, we moved to Kentucky from Georgia about a year ago so I had to get reacquainted with where the farmer's markets were, etc.  We had been shopping mostly at Kroger and Aldi's and had slacked off on our healthy diet.  As I was pushing my buggy (or grocery cart, whatever you call it)  it was full of "food" from the grocery store that I knew was not the healthy, organic locally grown food we needed.  I said a quick prayer to the Lord asking Him to show me where and how to eat healthier where we lived.  In a week or so we got invited to a healthy eating feast by some new homeschooling friends.  It was there that I met a sweet couple who has an organic sustainable farm.  I was able to join their vegetable coop and buy good local food for our family:)  God is so good and He cares about what you care about.  I take everything to the Lord in prayer!  Anyway, I got this recipe off their blog and made it with the organic squash...oh so yummy!  I had to share it with you for you to try!


Butternut Squash and Chicken Curry Stew
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed1 small onion, finely diced
1-2 lbs chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks

24-32 ounces organic chicken broth, low sodium (depends on how thick you like your stew)
1 large or two small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

3/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp yellow curry powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar

½ cup raisins

-Heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven.  Cook onions and garlic until slightly browned then add chicken and cook thoroughly but don’t let it get dry or burn.

-Pour broth over chicken, and then add butternut squash.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour (or turn it on low and leave it for a LONG time). 
-When the squash is very tender and a few pieces have fallen apart, remove ½ cup of the liquid and combine with remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Whisk together thoroughly and return to the Dutch oven.

-Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes, remove from heat and serve.

Optional
- stirring in 1-2 cups of chopped kale, tatsoi, or spinach when you add the cubed squash is a great way to boost the nutritional value of this stew and it’s delicious.  I always do this if I have greens on hand.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I love kale!

I love kale!  (the food, not a person).  I just made kale chips with only salt and olive oil (sometimes add a little vinegar) and bake 350 for 10-15 min.

I add kale raw to smoothies and the kids don't even notice!

I put kale in a quinoa dish a few days ago.

You can add it to eggs and omelets too.

Greens are soooo good for you.  Add em to your diet this week.
Did you know that when you blend up your greens in a smoothie it gives you great nutrients that help your hair not to turn gray as soon!  I told that to my husband when he found two gray hairs but I don't think he believed me...

Go eat your greens and feel good:) not gray 

Apology

I am so sorry I did not blog in September!  I had some computer trouble but now I will just have to share computers with my hubby!  Stay tuned for more frequent posts!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Worldly Woman vs Wise Woman

Let's compare the Proverbs 7 worldly woman with the Proverbs 31 wise woman...

                A Trouble Lady vs A True Lady 

A worldly woman is Prov. 7:5 flatters with her wordsFlatter means "to praise too much or without sincerity.

A wise woman has kindness and wisdom on her tongue in Prov. 31:26.

A worldly woman dresses in the "attire of a harlot" (Prov. 7:10) while a wise woman dresses modestly in 1 Timothy 2:9.  Remember beauty is vain (Prov. 31:30).  Your clothes reflect your heart most of the time.

A worldly woman is subtil of heart meaning "shrewd, clever and sly".  The world often extols these characteristics but they are wrong...
A wise woman is sober.  Sober means more than just not drinking alcohol.  Sober is defined as "serious in mood or disposition, quiet tone, sedate."  Don't think this means you are to walk around sad and depressed all day.  God's Word tells us to have a merry cheerful heart and be full of joy!

The worldly woman is loud and stubborn (Prov. 7:11) while the wise woman has a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4).   The definition of meek is "moderate, patient or long suffering".  A scenario comes to my mind of a woman choosing to either yell and loudly accuse and nag someone about what they are doing wrong (loud and stubborn) versus a woman quietly praying about a situation with a person and being patient with them like the Lord is with us (meek).

The trouble lady's feet are not at home (Prov 7:12) while the true godly lady is a keeper of her home (Prov 31:27, 13-14, Titus 2:5).

The trouble lady is aggressive and not discreet as she "caught him and kissed him" (Prov. 7:13)  We have a problem now in our culture of aggressive girls, not just boys.  Keep this in mind as you teach your girls to be ladies.

The true lady is discreet and has good judgment and is "capable of observing prudent silence".  She is chaste; "pure, modest, virtuous and innocent of unlawful intercourse". 

A trouble lady is also "religious" like Jezebel (Prov. 7:14).  But a true godly lady has good works.  1 Timothy 2:10 alludes to godliness=good works.  See her good works in Prov. 31:15-19 and 31:24-25.   

The trouble lady pursues men (Prov 7:15) while the true lady reaches out her hand to the poor (Prov 31:20).

The worldly woman is impure (Prov 7:18-20) while the godly woman knows her body is a temple and she is bought with a price.  She is precious, valuable. (1 Cor. 6:18-20).

A trouble lady causes peer pressure (Prov 7:21) but the godly woman does not put herself in bad circumstances.  See Titus 2:3-5.  Compare Prov. 7:19 with Proverbs 31:11-12.

A worldly lady reduces a man to a breadcrumb.  She wounds the man. (Prov 7:22-23, 27, 6:26)
But the wise woman's husband is known in the gates and well respected.  He praises his wife.  Does your husband praise you?  Are your actions and attitudes toward your husband respectable?  Would your actions and attitudes make your husband want to praise you or hide from you?  (Prov 31:23, 28, 31)

"Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised" Prov 31:30

Do not be like this worldly lady in Prov. 7:25, be like the wise woman in Prov. 31:10 and 31:30.

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." Prov 31:10 

How do you apply all this?  How do you live IN the world and not become a worldly woman?  Read your Bible and pray and memorize scripture. 

Psalm 119:9  "Wherewithal (how) shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed (really doing) thereto according to thy word."

Romans 12:1-2 "And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God"

"Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee"  Psalm 119:11