Thursday, April 30, 2009

One Silly Little Question

Why is it that little boys love to chew the little, rubber tires off of all the toy cars/trucks they can get their little hands on? Jaden has mastered this, and I'm not quite sure how to get him to stop....oh, and there's more where these came from....much, much more! You should see the firetruck....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spiders and Jello Jigglers

We've had a couple of fun art projects for school this week. We had studied about Africa a couple of weeks ago, and we never got to do one of our art projects that week, which was to make Anansi the Spider. If you've never read any of the Anansi books to your kids, I highly recommend them. Anyway, Jacob finally got to make his version of Anansi this week. He had a lot of fun with it.Really all it took was 2 styrofoam balls, 2 toothpicks, some paint, pipecleaners for the legs, and of course a couple of googly eyes, unless you decided to give him 3 eyes.Then, today, we decided to get in the kitchen for art, so we made Berry Blue Jello Jigglers. Both Jacob and Jaden had a blast; I think they ate more than they actually made.:)Gotta love making memories with these two; boredom seldom hits this house.:)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday- Quick Yummy Snack

My sister was recently here visiting, and she had a snack that she shared with all of us....graham crackers with a layer of peanut butter and a layer of marshmallow cream on top of that. I know what you're thinking, calories galore, right? Not too fast. I'm always on the hunt for a snack that will be filling, yet not put my caloric intake way up sky high. So, I decided to make this snack just a little bit healthier, with less sodium, less calories, less carbs, and less sugars than with a graham cracker.

quaker man Pictures, Images and Photos

Quaker brand Rice Cakes now come in a Chocolate Crunch I take one of these chocolate rice cakes (who doesn't love chocolate?! even better), and put a thin layer of peanut butter, then a layer of marshmallow cream. Altogether, this snack should be about 160-180 calories, depending on how thick your layers are. Really not bad for those days when you crave something sweet, but you don't want to go all out by munching on cookies or snack cakes. The peanut butter is where you'll find most of your calories, but I love peanut butter because it gives me energy. Anyway, a great snack can go a long way....enjoy!

For more Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, link up with Blessed with Grace.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Motivate Me Monday- Little Blessings

When I started thinking about this post, I wanted to tell you about how much weight I lost in my first week of really working out and eating right, but yesterday while at church, my thinking took a 360. As the service was starting, our pastor got up and announced that we needed to pray for a family who lived next door to a couple in our church. They had gone to wake their seven year old boy up that very morning, and he wouldn't wake up; he was simply gone....God had taken him home. To me, it was just a blow to my mind and heart, just thinking what that family must be going through; our Jacob is just seven years old.I kept thinking of the times I've put other things ahead of my boys, times when I've been too harsh; times I've let them go without hugging them or telling them how much I love them. Tears started to form, and the church became so silent, you could have heard a pin drop; then whispers started all over. The shock of it all hit home for most of hit home for us to love our children....enjoy what time we have with them. They are "little blessings," little people who need our love and guidance. Something like this may cause us to question God's timing and His plan, but in the end, love your children today. Spend time just talking to them, getting to know them, teaching them, loving them, hugging them and showering them with kisses. Make every second and every moment count because we just don't know when it could be our last, or sadly, incomprehensibly even, their last. Love the "little blessings" in your life today.

For more Motivate Me Monday, link up with Sarah Mae.

Daybook April 27, 2009

FOR TODAY, Monday, April 27, 2009...
Outside My is rather dreary with rain showers and thunderstorms popping up every now and then.
I am thinking...that today is the perfect day for cozying up under a blanket with a good book or movie....oh well. (Sigh)
I am thankful for...the rain, which helps our plants to grow and everything to stay green.
From the learning rooms...this week Jacob chose to learn about black bears in science; we're working on halves/fourths/thirds in math as well as learning our 13 addition family and a little bit about graphing. I'm thinking we might start studying plants in science soon, so he can maybe have his own little plants and learn how to care for them.
From the kitchen...tonight is Chicken Fried Rice.
I am sweat pants with a white Barbados t-shirt.
I am creating...ok, so I finally got my dining room wall done, so this week is definitely the throw pillows.
I am going...nowhere today, hopefully.
I am reading...The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down (I'm really slow because I have to find time to read); and my new copy of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
I am hoping...that going through the Wordless Book with Jacob this week will help him to understand more....he's just not quite there yet.
I am hearing...Jaden is watching Word World, and Jacob is working on math.
Around the house...we have to dust, vacuum, and mop today, and I have the wonderful job of cleaning out under the couches today; some little boogies like to stuff lots of toys under there.
One of my favorite a rainy day; it's almost restful in a way.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: School; tomorrow, we're going to the big library book sale in Springfield; working out and hopefully kickboxing; Jacob to Tae Kwon Do; Friday, maybe go to the Country Petals nursery and pick up a few flowers to pot, and go see Mom; errands; etc.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
For more Daybook, link up with The Simple Woman.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Ok, so this post is a day late, but seeing as we just went out to Dad and Mom's tonight to celebrate, I still had to say, "Happy Birthday, Dad!":)Oh, and I love the new hat....I really do. My dad is THE BEST! Don't let him sitting in that recliner fool you....he can hardly stand to sit still.If he's not out driving the truck (which is what he's done for a living for as long as I can remember), he's out on the farm, mending fence or taking care of the livestock or even getting stuck in the field (I'm really not giggling right now, because I know it's really not funny). If you want a wheeler-deal or a great bargain, stick with him, because he'll find it. He's always been there for me, and Dad, I love you so much! I'm so glad God gave me you for a father....I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Jacob and Jaden get so excited when they know they're going to get to go to Papa and Grandma's.So, Happy Birthday, Dad! Lord willing, there will be many more!:) We love you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Things I Love Thursday- Neighbors and Porch Swings

Today was one of those warm spring days when all the neighbors are starting to come out of their houses and sit on their front porches. Windows are open, dogs are barking, lawn mowers are running, and neighbors are chatting. One of our neighbors is Sylvia, who is always asking us to come over or bringing us treats to eat. She is one of those neighbors that everyone loves.She loves to sit out on her porch swing when it gets warmer, and tonight I didn't get to go over, since I was at the grocery store, but Dan and the boys went over to chat with her and visit.Dan told me later that she told him to have me come over some evening and sit on her porch swing with her. I'm thinking that is a wonderful idea, and I can't wait for another warm evening!

TOS Wee-Books

Today I was able to review three of the Wee-Books that are available at The Old Schoolhouse Store. Two great things about these books are that they are short and to the point, AND they are only $1.95. Oh, and they are completely downloadable, so you don't have to wait for them to ship to your house; the second you hit the Confirm Order button, they are ready and waiting for you to add to your many resources on your computer.

There are actually 39 Wee-Books available right now, ranging in topics from classical education to living naturally to building communication skills to deepening your walk with God. I actually chose 10 Big Reasons Not to Send Christian Kids to Public Schools Today, Simplifying Classical Education,and Play What You Mean- Creative Ways to Teach Communication Skills.One thing that impressed me was that the books were very efficient and stayed right on topic; even though each book had several points to cover, it all flowed together well. The authors also used Scripture throughout to give spiritual concepts and meaning to what they wrote. Seeing as the books are very short, I was left with the feeling of wanting more, wanting to know more about that specific topic; but each book ends with links to more resources and places to go to study and research more, which was really helpful.

For newer homeschoolers and those thinking about homeschooling, at the end of each book is a section on "How to Begin Homeschooling," which lists everything from the different approaches and styles of homeschooling to resources and support organizations, with links! I wish I had run across something like this when I first started homeschooling our son, honestly.

So, for $1.95, how can you go wrong? There's a topic for everyone, and each book is like a bite-sized piece....enjoy!

HomeWork: It's Not What You Think

As a homeschooling mom, I find myself looking for resources all over the internet, and one overflowing resource for homeschoolers everywhere is The Old Schoolhouse Store, which is where I was able to download an ebook, HomeWork: Juggling Home, Work, and School Without Losing Your Balance. This book is 96 pages full of helpful advice on not just homeschooling, but also working a home business or working from home. If you are feeling that urge to help out your family financially, but you don't know where or how to even start, this is a wonderful resource.

The book is divided into different sections, based on the kind of at home work you are interested in, including crafting/sewing, travel, bed and breakfast, computer-based business, writing, bookkeeping, and many more. The best part is that all of the different sections are written by real homeschooling moms who operate their own businesses and work from home. They share many tidbits of wisdom, including how they started out in their work, as well as advice on how to handle both working and homeschooling, while at the same time managing household tasks. One thing a lot of the moms did was to give a run-through of what their day looks like, which I think helps to give a healthy portrayal of what that particular line of work is going to take and how much of your time it is going to take. Within each section, there were links to that mom's website and even some helpful links to get started with certain work.

At the end of the book was probably one of the most important sections that deals with not only organizing your business/job, but also organizing your home. Record keeping and bookkeeping can sometimes fall between the cracks if we let it, and this section just gives some very helpful tips and things that you should know before you ever start, including knowing your tax laws, since most work at home moms take care of their own tax withholdings, retirement savings, etc. It talks about how prioritization is a key concept with not only time but everything that we do. The very end of the book has 3 pages of interesting links to help you in your research and quest for that work at home job you've been dreaming of.

All in all, this book is definitely worth its weight. The cost is really very affordable at $12.45. It's so helpful and just opens your eyes to possibilities in being able to stay home with your children, but also help with the family income, especially today with so many families having to scrimp and save every single penny. If you want more information, head on over to The Old Schoolhouse. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vote for Squeekers!

This is my sister's cat, Squeekers. If you wouldn't mind, head on over and vote for her picture.:) Squeekers is quite the kitty from what I hear, and she's just like a part of the family. I know she'd appreciate your vote.:) Thanks a lot!

Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays- Rainy Day Chowder

With spring showers upon us, this chowder just hit the spot and instantly became a family favorite....enjoy!:)

Rainy Day Potato Veggie Chowder

4-6 potatoes, depending on size of your family
1 bag frozen corn
1 onion, chopped
Couple handfuls of baby carrots, chopped
2 tsp chicken bullion granules
2 turkey sausage links, chopped
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Peel and cube potatoes, and put in large saucepan or Dutch oven pan; cover with water. Add corn and onion and carrots, making sure there is enough water for all, and boil. As it boils, add the chicken bullion, and let dissolve; then add chopped sausages. Let simmer until potatoes are soft. Use potato masher to crush up potatoes and carrots somewhat. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Then add milk, and let simmer just until heated through. Makes a great chowder soup to just warm you up inside.

GratiTuesday- Lest We Forget

After watching The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, I am so thankful for my children and being able to just be with them and talk to them and hold them in my arms and protect them. I'm thankful that God saw fit to bless our lives with Jacob and Jaden. I'm thankful that we have the freedoms we have, so that we can keep our children with us in safety and peace. I can't imagine the pain and suffering that so many Jewish mothers and children must have gone through. Those mothers had to be so strong to be able to let their children go; their love must have transcended anything they felt inside. I have read that Irena stated that she would never forget the cries of the children as they were leaving their mothers's such an emotional thing to think about. The Holocaust was a horrible time in our history, but nevertheless, we cannot afford to forget that it happened. We cannot put it behind us and never think about it. We must remember; we must tell our children the stories and history lessons that have been passed to us. "We must never forget, lest history repeat itself." Thanks to Irena, 2500 children were rescued and placed with families or in safe places.

Irena Sendler Pictures, Images and Photos

So, today, I'm thankful for my children, Jacob and Jaden; and I'm thankful for the courage and love of not only people like Irena Sendler, but also the Jewish mothers who showed us what true and unconditional and unyielding love giving their children a chance to live. God forbid history repeat itself, but may God give us the courage and boldness if ever we should face the same.

(Mom, if you're reading this, I accidentally deleted the movie from the dvr; please forgive me; it was going to be waiting for you, if you should come to visit; I could so kick myself right now; it comes out in June, so we will get it....I'm sorry!)

For more GratiTuesday, link up with Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Daybook, April 20, 2009

FOR TODAY, Monday, April 20, 2009...
Outside My is sunny and bright and 63 degrees!:)
I am thinking...I have a lot to do today, but I'm feeling very motivated....I feel like life is returning....:)
I am thankful for...Nancy, who I'm blessed to call a wonderful friend/sister.
From the learning rooms...we're working on finding unnecessary facts in story problems (this was quite the concept for him), carrying in addition, and finishing up our cursive alphabet this week. Plus, we get to study Egypt in history and moose in science.:)
From the kitchen...tonight will be Macaroni Shepherd's Pie.
I am wearing...khakis and light blue polo with yellow tank top.
I am creating...throw pillows this week and possibly decorating my dining room wall.
I am going...possibly to Homeschool Convention this weekend....depends.
I am reading...The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down; The Well-Trained Mind.
I am hoping...that Brittany gets to come home from the hospital today.
I am hearing...Jaden playing and the dryer running.
Around the house...have to dust, vacuum, and mop today; would like to clean out my kitchen food cabinets.
One of my favorite things...hearing the lawn mowers outside and the sounds of spring.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: School; decluttering/cleaning; working out and possibly kickboxing; Jacob to Tae Kwon Do (his next step is green belt!); errands; Dad's birthday is Thursday; possibly Homeschool Convention on Friday/Saturday....not sure yet; oh, and an assignment due very soon; and trying to list several books on Ebay.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
For more Simple Woman, check out Peggy's blog.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Must See Movie- Australia

australia Pictures, Images and Photos

Wow! I am almost speechless. When we first sat down to watch this movie, I wasn't sure what to expect....I was almost afraid of it and what it would contain. First of all, I only remember one curse word throughout the whole movie; of course, I was completely mesmerized by it, so I may have been so engrossed that I might have missed others, but I really don't think so. There was one "adult" scene throughout the whole movie (along with an innuendo or two), which is super easy to fast forward through. With that said, you have to see this ifs, ands, or buts about it. With both Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, this movie had all the right pieces to make an epic. It is full of suspense, thrills, comedy, and even romance. In the beginning, it held some comedy, so I wasn't sure what to think; it almost had a sort of Vaudeville feel, but as it went on, it just got better and better. My heart absolutely got caught up with little Nala. As a mother and as a fellow human being, my heart just broke for him, and I just wanted to reach into the television screen and take him under my wing. Right about the time you think the movie ends, it begins a whole new dramatic story, with the Japanese threat to Australia during World War 2. I will not give the end away, but I was practically almost in tears, because this is the one movie that I have watched recently, that I felt ended so appropriately; it was very was an epic. So, go to Redbox, or get on Netflix, and watch this movie with your husbands; plan a date won't regret it!:)

Australia, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Funnies- Piece of Humble Pie, Anyone?

This video is funny, but not in the way that you might think. It's actually priceless in that when Susan comes out, everyone is so cynical, not knowing what to think. Even I was not sure at first, what with my experience in watching American Idol; but the funny, priceless part is in the looks on everyone's faces the second her voice rings out....especially Simon's. Just watch, and enjoy!:) (I tried to embed the code, but it has been disabled, so you will have to click on the link below to watch; believe me, it is so worth it!)

Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009 (With Lyrics)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Things I Love Thursday- The Zoo

We love going places with our kids, even just to see their faces light up with wonder and excitement. Yesterday, Jacob had his dentist appointment, so we decided to go to the zoo afterwards for a field trip, since he's been studying animals in science. It turned out to be such a fun time. The boys absolutely loved it, even the "itty bitty" train ride that took all of about 5 minutes.

We got to see the hippo,
who wasn't going to budge out of that mud for anybody, even the zookeeper.:) ( I don't blame him; that muddy water didn't look so hot, but he looked awfully comfy). Jacob and Jaden both got to see their, as Jacob calls them, "monkey-brothers." (Dan used to tell Jacob that he must have a monkey for a brother, since he climbed everything and would jump off of it, like Superman....) This little guy was so hilarious, almost posing for the camera. Jaden was so funny; he would see the animals, and he would start pointing at them and waving his hand, jabbering.
We even had a wildcat that was seriously looking like he was wanting to hunt Jacob, as we were walking by the cage....made me a bit nervous with his pacing and then his hunkering down like he was going to pounce. Must have been Jacob's red hat or something. My personal favorites were the elephants and the cheetah. Then, of course, Jacob got to feed a giraffe, who almost stole his hat off his head. Last but not least, who could pass up the reptiles, so fascinating for some young boy I know....Jacob wasn't too sure about getting up close to the window with this one....I think it was either a Boa or a Python. I still can't get over the size of the Anaconda, which I failed to get a picture of. Ewwwww (shiver), I'd hate to meet up with one of those. Then, of course, the poison frogs (blue dots; they were honestly fluorescent blue and yellow, really beautiful).:)I'm thinking with the next dentist appointment, maybe the Discovery Center?:)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Expect Great Things

Today, we made a trip to Springfield for Jacob's dentist appointment, so we decided to just go for it and spend the day doing a little shopping and visiting the zoo, which the boys absolutely loved, and pictures will follow tomorrow.:) Anyway, we went to Kohl's, and I just had to share my awesome bargain findings with you. Kohl's has these amazing racks called the 80% off clearance. I found two pair of perfectly good pants, Sonoma brand, for $4.00 apiece. That's right, $4 apiece! Isn't that awesome? Who could resist that price? I was so excited! Right now is the perfect time to grab those clearance clothes for next winter; the stores are full of them....I'm thinking that if I go back in a couple weeks, and they still have a couple sweaters I was eyeing, I may not be able to resist them like I did today! Love it!:)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept

Ok, ladies, here's a challenge for you. How many times have you totally cared for your families and children and all of the other people around you, but you have totally neglected yourself? Let me tell you, we have all done this, whether it's putting off checkups for ourselves or even feeding our children healthy snacks, while we ourselves gorge on chocolate me, I've been there.:)

Anyway, today, I finally took a step....actually, yesterday, I took the step to actually make the appointment, the appointment I'd been putting off and procrastinating on for probably about six to seven months. I made the call to the hairdresser. Yep, and I went and got my hair cut today; then, I came home and dyed it....and may I just say, that it is simply AMAZING what a fresh "do" can do for you? It just makes me feel so much lighter and better, refreshed! I hestitate in saying this because it's online for the whole world to see, but I'm just going to say it in the spirit of keepin' it real....I feel sexy! Yep, that's right!

So, here's a challenge for you. Whatever it is that you've been putting off for yourself, go put it in your schedule right now. If it's a haircut, go make the appointment; doctor's appointment, get it scheduled; or maybe it's just a bubble bath you need with some quiet reading time. Go schedule it, sister, because you are worth it, and you will be so glad that you did! (Pssstttt....your family might be glad you did too!:))

Monday, April 13, 2009

Daybook, April 13, 2009

FOR TODAY, Monday, April 13, 2009...
Outside my is kind of cloudy and dreary today; perfect reading weather.
I am thinking...that a vacation would be so perfect right now.
I am thankful husband.
From the learning rooms...we're starting the 12 subtraction family this week; Jacob wants to study Tarantulas in science this week (eek!); and we're finishing up our study of Ancient Africa.
From the kitchen...tonight will be Crispy Mustard Chicken with Carrots.
I am pants; tan tshirt with tan button up sweater.
I am creating...Easter eggs with the boys this afternoon (Hey, better late than never); new throw pillows for the living room.
I am going...probably nowhere today; but on Wed, Jacob has a dentist appointment, and I think we are going to make a day of it and go to the zoo.:)
I am reading...The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down.
I am hoping...Dan does well with his service call job today in Springfield.
I am from Sarah's blog and Jaden clunking around in his cowboy boots.
Around the house...we have to dust, vacuum, and mop today; laundry is going; trying to get my desk cleaned off, since Dan put up a new shelf for me.
One of my favorite things...the warm sunshine on my face in the spring weather.
A few plans for the rest of the week: School; Dentist appointment and Zoo; Grocery shopping; Ride out to McCarter place with Mom; I have an assignment due very soon that isn't even started yet; yadayadayada.:)
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...(My Man:))
For more Simple Woman, head on over to Peggy's blog.

Motivate Me Monday

Sarah Mae over at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee is hosting a contest to see who can come up with the best tag line for her blog. One thing that motivated me in this contest was the "transparency" she talks about herself having in her posting, and you can definitely see this as you's very inspiring. So, with that being said....

I too strive to be as transparent and real as I can in posting; I don't want to be fake at all. So, I need to get real here today. I've still been in a sort of funk lately. It seems as if it's getting better at times, but then I turn around, and it's still there. As a mom, but also as a blogger, I find myself almost comparing myself to other wives/moms out there through what we write and do in our every day duties. Sometimes I beat myself up for things I think I should be doing. But you know, one of the most important things I'm starting to learn is that my life is not the same as theirs....God doesn't want me to be like every other mother on the planet. He wants me to be me. He knows I have flaws, and He knows I'm going to mess up, and He doesn't expect me to be perfect. He expects me to learn from my mistakes, and He loves me no matter how I might clean my house or how I might feed my children. So, that's one of the things I'm grappling with right now, is not judging myself off of other women's perspectives, but to try to learn what I can and use what I can, what God speaks to my heart about.

Second, I have to admit, this one/two year Bible plan I've been trying to follow has me somewhat overwhelmed at this point, and I am so behind. No, I don't want to give up, but I also don't want my personal time to become a race to get to the finish line. I want it to be very personal and just a real growing time, a time I can just sit still and listen for His voice. So, I am going to slow it down a notch.

And third, my funk with church right now is slowly becoming a little less and less. I still am struggling with this one because I don't really feel "at home" in our church.... I'm just trying to trust God that He knows all, and He is in control. I think with just everything that's been going on lately in our lives with Grandma's death, life changes ahead, etc., that it's come to a head, and I just have to learn to give it to God. I don't feel very motivated lately; in fact, I feel like throwing in the towel at times, but I know if I do that, I'm just giving up....and I can't do that.

So, how's that for transparency? Is there something that you need to get real about, something that might help minister to other women out there who might be going through a similar experience? Share it; it can actually be a very freeing experience.

And now, for the tagline for Sarah Mae's blog. I'm thinking, "Like A Warm Cup of Coffee, Savoring Every Detail In Each New Day." What do you think?:)

For more Motivate Me Monday, or to enter the contest, link up with Sarah Mae.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Revel In Him

What better way to celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour tomorrow, than to revel in God's beautiful creation? Last weekend, we all went out to Grandma's farm, and with the trees budding and the green grass growing, it was just so beautiful. Spring is upon us with all of its splendor; how can we not see God through His touch upon the beauty of our earth right now? Revel in it; revel in Him!:)

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