Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Goals for 2012 Updated

Here's where I'm at with my Book List so far:

The New Testament of the Bible  (ongoing)

The MoneySaving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine  EXCELLENT!

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis

The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson   Our Pray and Play group did this from Jan-April
An incredible book!

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman   Most inspiring book I've read all year!

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Unplanned by Abby Johnson

Pocketful of Pinecones and Lessons at Blackberry Inn by Karen Andreola 
(Having an awful time finding copies of these to borrow or buy inexpensively.  If you have them and wouldn't mind shipping them to me, I'd ship them back!)

Entre Leadership by Dave Ramsey

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges

A Sweet and Bitter Providence by John Piper

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Cansfield Fischer

The Vine and the Trellis by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne

Heaven at Home by Ginger Plowman

A Stolen Life by Jaci Dugard   This book was the most heart-wrenching and horrifying book I've read all year, especially since I have daughters.  Warning:  Very, very graphic in nature and probably not a good read for most because she doesn't hold back at all in describing how she was tortured by her kidnapper.  Please exercise great caution/wisdom in whether or not you should read this memoir.

Somewhere More Holy by Tony Woodlief

A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola   Half-done and LOVING it!

5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney

The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg skimmed this one.  The first one, The Tehran Initiative took so long to read and I didn't find it beneficial to my life in any way, so I just skimmed this one, to save time!

The Tehran Initiative by Joel C. Rosenberg

Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer  Really interesting!

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp

Give Them Grace by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson

The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov

The Husband Project by Kathi Lapp  Our Pray and Play group went through this in April and we LOVED it!  Our hubbies loved it even more and they asked us to continue doing it for the rest of our lives =)

Cool Beans by Erynne Mangum

Putting God in His Place by Matt Whitman (OUR PASTOR!!!), Matt Ostercamp, Aron Utecht, Mark Coddington  Reading now

The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnaum

Chasing the Light by Ibarionex Perello

On Being a Photographer by David Hurn

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

Photographic Composition by Grill and Scanlon

Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

Portrait Photography Tips

Potatoes, Not Prozac, Are you Sugar Sensitive?    Half-done, but very interesting book on health issues!


The Worn-Out Woman by Dr. Steve Stevens and Alice Gray

Radical by David Platt

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husband by Dr. Laura  One of the best books on marriage...ever!!!

Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman

Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman  Read all the highlights, and while I took away some good from it and practical ideas for dealing with our kids, I much prefer the heart-focused mode in Don't Make Me Count to Three as a Biblical approach to child training

Once a Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg  Skimmed

She's Gonna Blow by Juli Anne Barnhill     Half-done, love this book!

Mother by Kathleen Norris

Read-Aloud to the Kids

Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John    One of the best read-alouds for kids....ever!!!

The Tanglewoods' Secret by Patricia St. John  Reading now!

Star of Light by Patricia St. John

Stuart Little by E.B. White

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

I'm sure many of you would benefit from various books on this list, but I'd like to gently encourage you to read this book, "Mother" by Kathleen Norris, if there is one book you read this year and you are a mom, or hoping to be a mom someday. It is so beautiful, simple, easy-to-read, and powerful in encouraging you as a mom. I have read it a few times in the last decade and plan to read it a few more. It only takes a couple of hours to read and it is WELL WORTH the time. If I could, I would buy one for every friend and blog reader I have!

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Father's World--The Letter V (Vegetables)

For V week we studied vegetables and our key words were "God gives me all that I need."

Though we haven't had a garden of our own yet, we are thankful to be able to participate in Bountiful Baskets food co-op.  In a state with a very short growing season and very limited produce options, this co-op has made an ENORMOUS difference in our eating habits.  Every other Saturday when I get my baskets, the kids help me wash and sort the fruits and veggies.

Justus is a cheerful produce-washer.  He especially loves cherry tomatoes and can eat a whole container in one sitting if we let him!

We tried painting with various fruits and veggies while listening to Mozart.

Sometimes a homeschooling mom has to treat herself on a rough day!  Melted Ghiradelli chocolate and fruit kabobs are a luscious snack!

It's high time Katri learns to clean up messes, since she is so good at making them!  I gave Ali the responsibility of helping to train Katri and they had lots of fun together while cleaning up our living room!

A while back I purchased 4 visors on clearance for about a quarter each.  I whipped them out and gave the kids lots of stickers and jewels to decorate them with.  They wore them around all week and called themselves the Adventure Scouts and formed a little club together.

Proud of his veggie painting

I've made my life and workload simpler by serving lunch (and snacks too) outside and using paper plates more often!

One day I did some bulk cooking and was completely overwhelmed by the enormous load of dishes covering my counters and filling my sink.  I knew I could either throw in the towel and not do them at all or enlist some help!  The kids were bickering anyhow so by asking them to help with dishes I killed two birds with one stone!  They happily washed dishes outside for an hour while I shuttled them in and out and rinsed and dried them.  After an hour, the 3-4 dishwasher-loads-worth of dishes were done!  Hurray!

Alathia, always crafting, made this paper chain one day.  I took this pic before she finished it.  It ended up being twice as long as it is shown here!  The first 50 loops were made from hand-made construction paper.  She forgot we had colored paper in the homeschool closet so she colored her own from computer paper!  What a girl!

We babysat Jed and a few other friends while their mamas had dentist appointments one day.  We drew the alphabet with sidewalk chalk and played games on it.  I had Ali spell words by hopping from letter to letter and had the boys do an alphabet hop.  My nephew Jed thought it was hysterical to see Auntie hopping around on letters and he couldn't stop laughing!

One huge excitement we had during V week was Box Day.  If you are a homeschooler, you know how exciting it is to receive your new curriculum!  We got the My Father's World basic Kindergarten pack with a couple of extras (the ant farm and butterfly garden) and the MFW 2nd Grade Deluxe set.  I'm excited to look through it this summer and prepare for the next school year!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Father's World--The Letter X (foX)

My Father's World curriculum uses the word fox to teach the letter X, because so few words start with the actual letter, especially words relating to nature studies.  The key words are, "God's Word makes me wiser than my enemies."  We learned facts about foxes and charted the differences between foxes and dogs together after reading about foxes in our Animal Encyclopedia.  A really cute book I found last summer and had stashed in my "X file" in my homeschooling file box was "Fox Tale" by Yossi Abolafia.  It was about a fox who tricked all of his friends and so they cleverly tricked him and got all of the goods back that he stole from them. 

We ran around the yard playing the game: A-Hunting We Will Go.  Katri giggled like crazy as I chased the older kids while holding her in my arms. 

I found a simple fox drawing online and drew it on the whiteboard for the kids to copy.  They colored their foxes on their binder pages red.  Jer did some worksheets on the letter X and practiced reading simple words.  Ali worked on her First Grade stuff and in her free time begged me to do Hangman word games on the white board.  She loves solving word puzzles, much like I did as a kid!  I was a big fan of Wheel of Fortune, from 3 years old on!

In addition to the verses on being wise and shrewd, I went over personal safety rules with the kids during Fox Week.  It was a good time to point out the sneaky tricks that some not-nice folks use to lure children away from their parents or into their vehicles.  You can't be too careful these days; just reading the news will make your heart sink most days if you are a parent.

Ali helped me prepare for a baby shower we hosted on the weekend for a friend.  She was a big help with making the fruit pizza and helping me get the place cleaned up.  We also attended our nephew Jed's belated First Birthday Party at my parents' house.  He is part-Honduran so my mom had purchased a pinata in the shape of a cowboy boot, which was great fun for the kids, and took all of Grandpa's strength to break open!

I can't believe I didn't take more pictures of our week studying the letter X!  I took so many pics on the frog lessons the week before, but only 1 pic this week!

My Father's World--The Letter F (Frog)

Mid-April (yes I'm very behind on posting this), we studied frogs.
It was a fun week!  We babysat a friend's daughter for 3 days to help her out in a pinch and we went to the local Children's Museum.  We got a new slide for the yard (from Great-Grandma's yard via my folks), and got to see my brother and his family, who returned from furlough visiting in Florida.

Our active little ones spend hours each day playing on the new slide and in the yard.


My kids think kiwis are the best thing EVER!  They just can't get enough, so they loved these froggy snacks made from kiwis, grapes, and apples.

We colored and cut out froggy puzzles I found online.

They colored frogs to cut out and paste onto their binder pages.

The boys had so much fun looking through our books on frogs and listening to mommy read to them from our library books about frogs.

Ali had her final Plaster Casting class that a friend of mine taught for homeschoolers.

The bowl she made

Her duck, which lil' sis tried to steal and run off with!

We had a VERY hot day in the mid-eighties so Daddy said the kids could have a pool party in the afternoon.  They were thrilled!  I don't ever recall pulling the pool out in April before! 

We go for lots of bike rides as a family and/or with one parent and the older kids.  A tag-along on Daddy's bike for Justus to ride and a baby bike seat on mine for Katrielle enable the 6 of us to cycle together.  Jeremiah is a crazy, wild, fast biker.  He goes up and down all the hills at the bike park and scares me to death!  It's good P.E. for them though!

I pulled a froggy out of the closet that I had found at a thrift sale.  It looked brand new, hand-sewn, and has boots, mittens, socks, raincoat, pajamas, clothes, hat, scarf, etc.  I let the kids take turns dressing him and naming the clothing items.

We got to see fire-bellied toads at the Children's Museum

The kids also enjoyed digging through the sand for "dinosaur bones"

Sisters coloring together at the museum

Brothers doing magnetic marbleworks together

Our library has a pass you can check out to go to the museum for free so it was a fun, educational, and even frugal trip in our homeschool week!

Outdoor lessons--my favorite place to do school!

Ali reading her Bible reader

Jer, making things from his wooden shape pieces

I demonstrated on the white board how to draw a frog using basic shapes.  Ali and Jer's turned out very cute.

Ali writes a 3-sentence summary of the Bible story she reads each day.

Katri, "the unschooler" , making mud pies in her pj's in the playhouse while the other kids do school.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Mobile Hospitality--Taking a Meal to Someone

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to bless a new mama with a hot meal.  I enjoy doing this, because I appreciated it soooooo much when I had my new babies!

One of my favorite meals to take a new mom are Ali's beloved "Ham and Cheese Pockets."  Here I used my favorite roll recipe (you can use frozen Rhodes rolls too).  You put Canadian bacon slices and cheddar between two flattened circles of dough, or on one circle and fold it in half to make a crescent shaped pocket.  You let them rise for a little while and then bake until golden brown.  They are super simple and delicious!

Since the mama of the new baby has two little boys, I thought it would be fun to bless them with "Happy Meals."  Ali enjoyed helping with the project and decorated the bags for them.
Someone gifted us with a few garbage bags of clothes and toys earlier that day so we washed up some Hot Wheels cars from that load and put them in a baggie for the Happy Meal toys.

Their meal bags included orange slices, fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies, a foil-wrapped Ham n' Cheese Pocket, a napkin, a disposable fork, a folded paper plate, and a little bottle of milk.

Owen and Samuel loved them!

At a recent Pray and Play (my weekly Mom's Group) we discussed how we could do "New Mom Meals" to truly bless one another and not be a burden.  If the mom feels that she has to clean, entertain, or if there are tons of dishes to wash and return, the meal feels more like a burden than a blessing.  So, we agreed that when we do meals for one another we will use disposable containers.  I found foil containers at the local grocery store for $1 for a pack of 3.  I packed all of the goodies in a cardboard box, and included some Ghirardell chocolate for my friend!  I let her know that I wouldn't be coming in the house (no need to feel burdened to clean it), but would drop it on her doorstep at 5pm!
(However, she did invite me in for a minute--her house was clean and she had a new haircut so she was feeling up for a quick visit!)

I know many people get stressed out about taking meals to others.  It is definitely not one of my mom's giftings!  For those of you who really struggle with this ministry, here are some tips to help you.

*Find your area of gifting and serve in a different capacity than on the meal ministry team.

*If you feel strongly obligated to take a meal to someone, even if you aren't excited about doing so, opt for giving a Pizza Hut gift card, grabbing a bag full of Taco Bell, picking up a Rotisseri chicken from a nearby deli, along with a bagged salad and frozen pie, or have a meal-in-a-bag handy in your pantry (Bear Creek Soup mix, loaf of French bread from the freezer, package of store-bought cookies, canned fruit or veggies) that you can run over to someone quickly.  Even if it's not homemade or ready-to-go it will still be a huge blessing and easier than having to think up a meal plan or purchase it themselves!

Some of our favorite meals that people have brought us when we had our babies were:

*Hamburgers off the grill
*Hot dogs and Mac n' Cheese
*Tacos (with homemade flour tortillas)
*Chicken Casserole
*Pizza Hut pizza or Dominos (you can order online and have it delivered saving yourself a trip out!)
*Rotisserie Chicken, bagged salad, fruit, ice-cream
*Beef Stew and a bag of cheddar cheese bagels from a favorite bakery in town
*Roast, rolls, Jello salad, cake
*Lasagna, corn, french bread
*Vegetable/Beef/Chicken Noodle soups and rolls and cookie

When you have a plan, you can make mobile-hospitality a fun family project to bless someone else, even in the midst of a busy life!

Hot Apple Pie for Little Ones

When making apple pie, you can make mini-apple pies for the little ones using a muffin tin!  It helps the pie crust go farther for potlucks and picnics and they are delicious!
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