Friday, December 28, 2007
22. Excited faces on Christmas morning.
23. A shared meal with new friends.
24. The ability to learn and the availablity of knowledge to care for my family.
25. Walking up on a deer and seeing him leap across the creek.
26. Warm herb biscuits from the oven.
27. Jeb remembering what each advent candle stands for.
28. Reading Havve You Seen My Duckling? with Caleb.
29. Covering the boys with leaves and hearing "Mommy do it again."
30. Muddy hands and dirty shoes
31. Dreams given by the dreamgiver (God)
32. Farm-fresh eggs
33. Lora's wet kisses and happy coos.
34.An overheard "I'm sorry, will you forgive me." from Jeb to Caleb.
35. A sweet snuggle under a warm blanket
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Advent wreath and candles-We have been keeping up with this each night at suppertime. The boys enjoy blowing out the candles. Jeb remembers what each candle stands for (hope, peace, joy)
The second candle stands for peace. We used Isaiah 9:6-7 as our scripture.
The third candle stands for joy. We are using Luke 2:8-14 as our scripture.
We are hiding the countdown to Christmas gifts each night and letting the boys look for the surprises with their flashlights. After they find the gift, we read the corresponding scripture. This is by far the most fun activity we do with them. They eagerly await this time each night.
Each night we hang the next ornament on the tree and briefly discuss what it means.
We have let the Jesse Tree activities slip. We kept them up for about a week. After beginning the activities with the book I purchased, I wasn't really impressed with the book. I may do some more of the devotions, but I want to plan this out a little better for next year.
We have gotten to share one of our advent meals with some new friends from church.
Friday, December 7, 2007
22. Alone time with Caleb-playing ball, finding crickets and writing with sidewalk chalk-while Jeb and Lora where still napping.
23. Dinner with friends.
24. Helping the boys and their friends make gingerbread men.
25. Quiet dinner with Chris.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
17. An excited, "You pray, mommy, I already have."
18. Caleb riding up on his tricycle, looking at the sunset. Instead of thanking God for the sunset, he thanks God for the food.
19. Jeb did not have a kiss for me, but he had a hug for me "with my name on it".
20. Lora nursing quietly in the dim room, with coos and giggles.
We are also making a Jesse tree this year. I plan on finding a small limb with several smaller branches and putting it in a flower pot for our Jesse tree.
We are going to hide small gifts in the living room each night and turn off the lights and let the boys look for them with their flashlights.
My mom purchased a set of proclamation ornaments and we will put one on the tree each night and read the corresponding scripture.
Here is our first week of advent plans:
Saturday: Hide small gift for flashlight/treasure hunt Mark 12:41-44
Proclamation Ornament #1-Son of God
Sunday: Jesse Tree ornament #1 stump with branch Isaiah 11:1
Flashlight Treasure Hunt/Grape Gum Candy John 2:1-10
Lighting of first advent candle: Hope (see below)
Proclamation Ornament #2 Seed of Woman
Monday: Jesse Tree ornament #2-World
Flashlight Treasure Hunt/Smiley Face Matthew 5:1-12
Re-lighting of first advent candle/review
Proclamation Ornament #3 Savior
Tuesday: Jesse Tree Ornament #3-Apple and Snake
Flashlight Treasure Hunt/Cut-Out Fish Luke 5:4-7
Re-lighting of first advent candle/review
Proclamation Ornament #4 Born of a Virgin
Wednesday: Jesse Tree Ornament #4-Ark and Rainbow
Flashlight Treasure Hunt/Birthday Candles Matt. 5:14-16
Re-lighting of first advent candle/review
Proclamation Ornament #5 Born in Bethlehem
Thursday: Jesse Tree Ornament #5-Tent and Camel
Flashlight Treasure Hunt/Small Bell Mark 7:31-37
Re-lighting of first advent candle/review
Proclamation Ornament #6 The Way Prepared
Friday: Jesse Tree Ornament #6-Cradle
Flashlight Treasure Hunt/Goldfish Crackers Matt. 14:13-21
Re-lighting of first advent candle/review
Proclamation ornament #7 Teacher
Saturday: Jesse Tree Ornament #7-Ram
Flashlight Treasure Hunt/Cotton Balls Matt. 8:23-27
Re-lighting of first advent candle/review
Proclamation Ornament #8 Deliverer and Healer
Advent Wreath Devotion: Hope
Read: Isaiah 9:2
"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the
shadow of death
a light has dawned."
"But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
Just as Israel was in darkness and needed a Savior, we are in darkness with our sin and our only hope is Jesus! I want my children to understand the hope we have in Christ with the lighting of the first candle. We have hope because the baby named Jesus was born and grew into the perfect God/man who died for our sins. We also have hope for the future because when we come to know Christ, we are part of his kingdom that will never end.
*I would like to invite another family for supper one night each week during advent to share in our celebration.
*A special thanks to Ambleside Year 0 group for all of the ideas and encouragement on advent!
Friday, November 23, 2007
12. Chris will be with us all weekend.
13. A shopping date with Chris today.
14. The excitement on the faces of our children when we go to pick them up from their grandparents house.
15. The nice lady in the mall who looks at me pushing Lora in the stroller and Jeb and Caleb walking on each side and says, "You have a beautiful family."
I am so glad I've started thinking about the gifts God gives me each day.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
7. "Mommy, I love you", in the stillness of the morning.
8. The third day in a row that we have enjoyed a picnic lunch.
9. A much needed nap this afternoon!
10. Rain! Rain! Rain!
Thinking about God's gifts each day is truly a blessing. I am in the midst of planning our activities for observing advent. I have sooo much running through my mind! It's nice to be still and reflect.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17
I need to do this! I must focus in on the gifts God gives me each day. Lately, I seem to be irritable and have been complaining more than I would like. I need to look for the little reminders of God's love and blessings that he bestows on me daily. If I can focus on the daily gifts my mind will be renewed and my heart refreshed.
1. Little, bright blue eyes looking at me in the early hours of the morning.
2. "Hey, Mommy"; "What son?"; "I love you", he replies for no reason at all.
3. Caleb saying a prayer, thanking God for me, Chris, Lora Kate and Jeb.
4. A refreshing picnic on a beautiful autumn day.
5. Fall leaves-gold, red, yellow, orange
Thursday, November 15, 2007
With 21 students in a classroom, using a system is unavoidable. A system looks something like this: I must teach 1... 2... 3.... in this particualar way that I have chosen and mark it off the list as accomplished. I can then quickly access the students for understanding and move on the next item on the list. There is comfort in a system. What I need to do is all layed out in front of me with little boxes for me to check when I am finished.
A method is different in that it gives a goal. My goal is to teach my child to read. The way I go about this goal is left up to my child. If my child cannot move as quickly as I would like I slow to his pace. If a child is learning to read quickly we move ahead building confidence in reading. yet offering challenges. This is what is soooo difficult to do in a classroom. One year I had a kindergarten student reading on a 2nd-3rd grade level. In the same classroom were several non-readers, as well as many reading on a kindergarten level. How in the world do you offer challenges, remediation and teach on grade-level at the same time? I did what I could while working with children in small groups.
Will a system work? Yes, but it doesn't leave much room for children to become passionate about a subject. As soon as this topic has been covered, it's time to move on to the next topic on my checklist.
A method allows children to develop an interest in a particular idea and nourish that idea as much as is needed. A child is making progress toward a set goal, but they way he gets there is more child-directed instead of teacher directed.
I think I would rather my children learn using a method.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I have tried making bread before. I found a recipe for an artisian loaf of bread made in the oven with my crockpot insert! It was pretty good, but not for sandwhiches. (I need to make some more of that.)
I also have some water Kefir grains that I have tried to keep going. I keep it up for awhile and then I start to worry about the alcohol content. I now its probably not much, but when I'm giving it to the little ones, I wonder.
Things I am trying...
I am still trying to make my own yogurt. I have only tried it once. It did not turn out quite right, but I used it in my baking. I'm going to give it another try. I really want to perfect this since we all love yogurt!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I have been thinking about these questions a lot lately. Before I begin any schooling with Jeb I wanted to get the answer to these questions in black and white. The answers to these questions will form the foundation for our home school. I hope to get Chris to answer these questions and combine his thoughts with mine.
Why? Since we are called by God to be good stewards of all that he has entrusted to our care, my children should learn because he has blessed them with minds that are capable and hungry for knowledge. I want my children learning all they can in preparation for the purpose and plan God has for their lives.
What? My children should learn first and foremost about God our Father and his Son Jesus Christ. If they do not learn of God's love for them and Jesus' sacrifice for them, nothing else really matters.
- to love and care for God's creation (understanding that the created reveals the creator)
- to read
- skills to be successful in day to day life (math, investigation, fixing things, the smooth running of a home, communication in writing and speaking, etc.)
- (boys) to be protectors, providers and Spiritual leaders
- (girls) to posses a gentle spirit and a servants heart
How? "We are limited to three educational instruments-the atmosphere of environment, the discipline of habit and the presentation of living ideas." Home Education, preface
My children can learn many things in the natural home atmosphere. Not only, the day to day workings of a home, but also the qualities of gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, and good communication as it is observed in our lives.
When my children become disciplined in the habits of attentiveness, truthfulness, imagination, remembering, etc. learning will be a joy.
When I present my child with living ideas, a passion for learning will be embraced. I do not want my children to be memorizing useless facts all day long to pass a test. I want my children to be immersed in ideas that they feel passionately about. I do not want my children to memorize historical dates, but to experience what it was like to live in a particular time and place. I want my children to watch a caterpillar change into a butterfly and not just observe drawings in a textbook. I want them to use measurements while building a birdhouse, not just read about them in a math word problem.
Most of all, I see so much potential in my children and I want to be the one that nurtures and encourages. I want to be the one that teaches them to read. I want to be the one that takes them on a field trip. My children's unique learning styles and talents cannot be nurtured to their full potential in a classroom setting. I know because I have taught in a classroom!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
- 1 dozen local free-range eggs- 2.50-3.00 (depending on the farm)
We usually go through 4 dozen eggs per week. My boys eat eggs every morning for breakfast along with fresh fruit, oatmeal, toast, etc. Chris takes 2 boiled eggs for a snack almost daily. Sometimes we have boiled eggs at lunch. I also use several eggs per week for baking.
- 1 gallon local raw milk-4.00-6.00 (depending on farm)
Milk can be expensive even in the store for regular non-organic milk, so this price is not too off base, but we drink about 18 gallons per month. Milk and water are about all Chris drinks. So milk can run 72.00-90.00 monthly.
- 1 bag of organic apples from local grocer-5.00
Fruit and veggies in the grocery store tend to be quite a bit more expensive than conventionally grown. I sometimes use the dirty dozen list when purchasing fruits and veggies.
- 1 free-range organic chicken from local farm-10.00
The chickens are sold buy weight so I paid between 9.00 and 10.00 per chicken. I do feel this is way to expensive, but then I look at and smell a chicken house and I can't purchase the chickens from the store.
- 1 grass-fed calf 2.16 per pound.
We just purchased a grass-fed calf from my husbands uncle. We had to buy a freezer last year because we ended up with about 300 pounds of meat. This calf, two deer, and 40 chickens last us one year. We eat meat with almost every meal.
- Joining a CSA cost about 380.00 for a bag of fresh veggies delivered weekly May through Nov.
I may re-think this next year. With the drought we had here in the southeast, I don't feel like I received my monies worth. I may use that money for the farmer's market to supplement what I grow in the garden.
- 1 quart local raw honey 9.00, 16oz. maple syrup 10.00, 1- 2lb bag sucanant 5.00
Natural sweeteners are one of the most expensive things for me. Granulated sugar is so cheap. I still use a lot of sweeteners when I bake, on pancakes and oatmeal, etc.
So, as you can see purchasing healthier products can be more expensive. I am still looking for ways to save money. I would love any tips! If at any time Chris thought we couldn't afford this anymore I would make some major adjustments. He is very supportive of the way I have chosen to feed our family.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
This passage of scripture has been on my mind the last couple of days. Today, I decided to read it and God used it to convict me. I have not been the most patient mom lately. It's just the little things that seem to add up and before I know it I am becoming irritated with the kids.
Yesterday I was getting everyone ready because we had to make another milk run. I was going to drop the boys off at my grandparents and Lora and I were going grocery shopping. We were already feeling rushed to get out the door, Lora was crying because she needed her nap, Jeb's carseat was giving me fits, Caleb kept trying to close the truck door and before I knew it I was quite irritable.
As soon as I got into the truck (Oh by the way, I had to drive the truck with three carseats, because my van is in the shop) Jeb asked me if I was mad. "Why do you think I'm mad,"
O.K. I admit it, I blow under my breath and act irritated if things are not going smoothly. I never really noticed it much until my three year old started pointing it out. Now he always points it out and I always feel like scum when he does.
So, back to the verse. I am supposed to be living by the spirit because Christ lives in me. I need to take the irritating situations as a challenge to exercise my spiritual man because the natural responses that come so easily are wrong! If I am never challenged to become impatient with someone, how will I ever know that I have developed patience? If I am never challenged to react harshly, how will I ever know that I have developed gentleness? If I am never challenged to lose self-control, how will I ever know that I can maintain control? Better yet, how can God refine me if I am never presented with a challenge?
I'm getting on my knees right now and asking God to give me the strength to react with the fruit of the spirit the next time I face a challenging situation.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Friday I traveled to a farm about forty minutes away to buy our milk, cheese and butter. I carry my own glass containers and they fill them with milk at the farm. This time I bought 2 gallons of milk, 2 blocks of cheese, and a 1lb of butter.
The milk comes from mostly grass-fed jersey cows, they are fed a small amount of grain at milking time. It is delicious. The cheese was awesome. This time I bought farmer and pepperjack. I haven't used the butter yet, but I'm sure it is tasty.
Here are the following changes I've made within the last couple of years. Keep in mind that I have implemented these slowly, it takes time to change the way a family eats.
1. Local raw (unpasteurized, non-homogonized) milk, and cheese. (Occasionally butter, if not local I buy Organic Valley from the store.).
2. We buy our beef and poultry from local farmers we know and trust. The beef is grass-fed. The chickens are pastured. We eat wild game (deer) that my dad harvests during deer season.
3. We use eggs from local farmers that come from free-range hens.
4. We use only unrefined, natural sweeteners: raw honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, sucanat or Rapadura.
5. I soak all grains and beans, 12-24 hours before cooking to enhance nutrient absorption.
6. We use organic fruits and vegetables. I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) that delivers fresh organic vegetables weekly. I also shop at the local farmers market. Fruit is a little more difficult to find locally. I buy the organic options in the stores. If money is tight, I use the dirty dozen as a guide. (http://www.foodnews.org/) I also plant a small summer and winter garden here at home.
Coming soon the changes I am working on making and the ones that haven't worked well for us!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
It has been 8 days since I've been grocery shopping. But I do have a freezer full of meat, so I'm not officially entering the contest. Here's my menu:
Grilled Sirloin Steaks
Roasted Cajun Potatoes
leftover Roasted Cajun Potatoes
Cornbread Dressing (made from leftover cornbread from freezer)
Chicken Stir-Fry Stew
(use leftover chicken) add broccoli, peanuts, carrots, rice
Vegetable Beef Soup
I think I'll go back through my pantry and see how many more menus I can make. I'm getting really frustrated with my grocery store spending lately.
Father God, your word says that a wise son heeds his father's instruction. I pray now for Bo, Boo and Shaters. I ask that you would give them wisdom to heed our instruction. I pray that you would make them wise beyond their years. Your word says that he who respects a command will be rewarded. I pray that my children would feel the rewards of a peaceful life and unity in our home when they choose to be obedient. I pray that my children would be honored because they heed correction. I pray that my children would never have to suffer poverty and shame because they have ignored and disregarded correction. I want our guidance and your word to constantly be in their minds and hearts. (Proverbs 13:1, 13,18)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
My freezers are completely full now. As well as, the chicken we have just gotten a calf and two deer back from the processor. I also have a few bags of veggies left over from the summer garden. I love a full freezer. It had gotten quite empty. It will take us about a year to use all of the meat.
Buying meat from local farms and eating wild game is one of the changes I have made to our diet within the last year. I feel much better about what I am feeding my family. As a wife and mother it is my responsibility to see that I am providing the healthiest food possible for my family. Visit http://www.eatwild.com/ for information on eating local grass-fed meats.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
I have decided to go straight to the source of all wisdom, God's unchanging Word. I am going to research every use of the word discipline, correction, obedience, and children that are referenced in my concordance. I also want to look up the meaning of the words in the original language. I will share my insights here.
A few things I will be implementing soon:
1. I purchased some biblical character figures for the boys for Christmas. I plan on reading a story straight from scripture and giving the characters to Bo and Boo so they will role play what they have learned. This playtime will be a springboard for discussions on obedience, truthfulness, kindness, etc.
2. I have purchased a knight's shield and sword for the boys. I plan on discussing the importance of being a gentleman at all times. When one of the boys reacts inappropriately I will give them the shield and sword and we will talk about what it means to be a gentleman and a knight in shining armor We have a CD that the boys have listened to and will re-enforce this wonderfully. (The Adventures of Sir Bernard) This CD talks about the twelve chivalric virtues and how we choose to use these everyday.
"The Lord disciplines those
and he punishes everyone he
accepts as a son." Hebrews 12:6
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The petting zoo was lots of fun for the boys. Bo was especially taken with the baby chicks. He wanted to keep going back to hold them. Of course Boo's favorite part was the antique tractor show. He did not want to get off of the toy pedal tractor.
The boys had a picnic lunch on the grass while I nursed baby Shater.
The wagon ride to the field was fun. We got to pick up some sweet potatoes, and pick cotton. I'll make a sweet potato pie soon.
There was much more to see. But Boo was tired and ready to go, so we made the long trek back to the truck. Boo fell asleep about halfway home and Bo munched on the deep-fried peanuts shell and all.
The day reminded me of our dream to have a farm. I often day-dream of the day that we will grow our own food, have our own chickens and build our log cabin.
"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalms 37:4
I take comfort in this verse because I can't lose either way. If God gives us our own farm one day, I will be blessed. If he doesn't, but I'm still delighting in him, then the desire for a farm will be replaced with a new desire placed in my heart by my God who knows and loves me.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Fast forward 5 years:
I am now a Kindergarten teacher and have purchased three of the Alexander books for my class.
The kids love to hear about Alexander and his tough times. I think nothing of it!
Fast forward 5 more years:
I am blessed with books upon books to read to my little ones. Books that were once read to a classroom full of children are now read in a rocking chair to my boys. I go through a box of books and pull out the Alexander books. The boys are sure to love these. I put them on Bo's book shelf. It's not long before he chooses one to read before nap time. Then another one before bedtime. The once cute story begins to make me uncomfortable. Alexander has a constant frown on in most of the pictures. Alexander hates this and that. Alexander says his parents can't make him move. Alexander is quite disrespectful in attitude and action. He leaves the impression that the world is against him.
At first, I ignore my growing discomfort with the stories and we continue to read them. My once pleasant three-year old begins to frown much like Alexander. He decides to become a bit more defiant. He tells his dad he's having a horrible, no good day. Is it just coincidence? I don't think so. I was ignoring the leadership of the Holy Spirit. These books were not for me or my children. After talking to Chris we decide to throw the books in the garbage.
I pray over Bo that night, that any spirit of rebellion would be taken away and a spirit of obedience restored. I ask God to please pluck out by the roots any negative influence that has been planted in Bo's heart by the reading of the books. I don't want my son struggling with a spirit of rebellion because I failed to listen and obey God immediately.
I'm not saying that no one should read the Alexander books. I am saying that for this family they were wrong. I hope this post will encourage you to listen to God's leadership in that still small voice. Something as simple as a storybook is a no-no when God says it's a no-no!