Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday At Home

JM had a game tonight and informed me as he was going out the door that I was supposed to bring snacks tonight. Eeek! Thankfully, I had the ingredients to make Muddy Buddies which I know everyone on his cheering squad loves so I made two big batches. When I got to the game, he informed me that he was wrong and I'm supposed to bring snacks next week. (sigh)

Here's the recipe if you'd like to try these:

Chex Muddy Buddies
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 9 cups

9 cups of your favorite Chex cereal (Corn, Rice and/or Wheat)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Skippy® Peanut Butter
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Pour cereals into large bowl; set aside. In 1 quart microwave-safe bowl combine chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine. Microwave on HIGH 1 to 11/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring after 1 minute*. Stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over cereals, stirring until all pieces are evenly coated. Pour cereal mixture into a large resealable plastic bag with powdered sugar. Seal securely and shake until all pieces are well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool.

Stovetop: Pour cereals into large bowl; set aside. In small saucepan over low heat melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine until smooth, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Continue as indicated above.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

State Fair and First Place!!

This is JK's painting that she entered into the State Fair. What a surprise for her when she found it had a blue ribbon on it. She was so excited!! The fair is a wonderful place for children to display their talents. Several other children from church entered in various categories and their were lots of blue ribbons.

We have gone to the fair every year since we started homeschooling although we don't go on homeschool day anymore. A few years back it rained on homeschool day three years in a row. After that, we decided to just go ahead and purchase our own tickets so we could watch the forecast and pick out the best day. Yesterday was sunny, warm and low humidity. It was perfect. We even had to go to our car in the evening to get our jackets.

JK brought a friend along since she was the only one going. Both JL and JM had to work. It was the first year they haven't gone with us and it was kind of strange.

Some of the highlights this year were the baby animals (of course!), the BMX stunt riders who were really cool, the Eistein science show, pig races and naturally, the food. Why else do you come to the fair! We brought our lunch and ate it in the car, which saved a lot of money and then for dinner we had............the usual fair fare: cotton candy, candied apple, ice cream, pizza, Italian sausage, and kettle corn. We did well with our drinks, though, because we got smoothies. There's a place where you can get them made and then you get a ticket to come back anytime to get a refill. They were delicious and healthy so I guess that balanced out all the junk, right?

JK and her friend went on lots of rides. They both don't like roller coasters or rides that are too wild so it was a good match. My dh went on a few rides with them and even I did! They were so shocked. I guess I'm too much of an old fogey.

By the time we got home, it was late and we were tired. When the alarm went off this morning, I told JM that his breakfast was on the table and I gave him $3 for his lunch. I was just too tired to make it. I threw a load of laundry in and went back to bed. I will not tell you what time I woke up because it was way late but I will tell you it felt wonderful to sleep that long!

Sleep, glorious sleep!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Happy me!

Today is my 49th birthday and it was wonderful. As soon as I woke up this morning, JK was in my room with a card and presents! She is so sweet. She bought me a new cutting board and a thermometer for my oven. I needed both. My older two said "happy birthday" but that's about it. JM didn't even remember until dh told him but that's ok. JL told me she has a present for me and will give it to me later .

Today was our usual "lunch bunch" with some of the ladies at church so I went to lunch at a nice restaurant. I had a turkey bacon club that was very good. These ladies are introducing me to all these neat eateries in the area and it's been fun. My favorite part is the fellowship! It is so nice to just sit and chat and catch up on what everyone is doing.

After lunch I did some errands while I was out (saving gas!!) and then headed home where I took a nice 30-minute nap. Oh that felt so good! Then JK and I did school. Division is so frustrating to her but I keep on encouraging! She gets the answers correct but not as fast as she would like! When my dh came home, he took me out to dinner and a movie.

Wow--I didn't have to make lunch or dinner. Now that's what I call a great birthday!!
Seriously, I'm so thankful for the family the Lord has given me and for the fact that I am His child. The fact that He would choose me, wretched sinner that I am, is just amazing..........

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;

Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,

For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;

I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
~Charles Wesley 1738

Monday, September 26, 2005

What's for Dinner

Night-Before Taco Bake

1 lb. ground beef
2 cups frozen pepper and onion stir-fry
1 can (11 oz.) super-sweet corn
1 can (4.5 oz.) chopped green chilies
1 pkg. (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning mix
1 jar (8 oz.) taco sauce
3 cups coarsely broken white corn chips
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded Mexican cheese blend

Spray 13x9 dish with cooking spray. Cook ground beef; drain. Add stir-fry, corn, green chilies and taco mix; mix well. Cook 5 minutes or until bell peppers and onions are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in taco sauce. Remove from heat. Spoon 1/2 of the beef mixture evenly in bottom of dish. Cover with 2 cups of chips. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of cheese over chips. Spoon remaining 1/2 of beef mixture evenly over cheese. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Top evenly with remaining 1 cup of chips. Spray foil and cover dish. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 375*. Bake, covered, 20 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Bake uncovered an additional 5-10 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday At Home

Today is our Beautiful Girlhood Friday and JK is learning about organization and cleaning. In otherwords, she's cleaning her room! JM finally gave JK his permission to take apart the huge Lego fort that he's had for years. That has certainly made her room less cluttered! He doesn't have any place to put it in his room because of his drum set. (Long story.....).

I've been thinking about changing some of JK's school work. This weekend I'm going to look over her 5th grade math book and see if I can just move her up into that. The same with Language Arts. I just have to compare the books and see how the handle the subjects she hasn't covered yet.

I found a schedule for the Apologia Astronomy book that will let us finish it by the end of November. I joined the
Yahoo Group for the elementary science books and it is great. I'm on "no mail" because it generates a lot of traffic but what I do like is the files. People have posted different schedules, workbooks, links, etc. for each book and it has really been helpful. I would recommend you join if you are using any of the Apologia Elementary Science books. In January I'd like to start Christian Kids Explore Biology and work until it's completed. Of course, these are just plans and only the Lord knows how they will turn out! If I move JK up a grade, then she'll start the Apologia General Science in September.

Tonight JM has a home game so we'll be going to that. It's about 95 degrees here today and the humidity is high. At least when the sun goes down, it will be a little cooler. Next week promises to be more fall-like. I can't wait!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Monday's To Do List

I thought I would take a few minutes to write down what needed to be done today. I meant to do this early so some of these things are already finished.

pay bills
make shopping list
make banana nut bread (JK)
make pizza dough
update checkbook
vacuum downstairs
clean gerbil cages (JK)
write penpal letters
record Mailbox Club birthdays

Those are in random order and I hope to get most of them accomplished today. I'll check back later!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Quiet Heart

I've been struggling with a situation in my life and was talking about it with a friend tonight. I was telling her that I know I need to trust God more in this area and how hard that is! But I know it's what He wants me to do.

As I checked my mail this evening, the following was in my inbox. Isn't God so good to give this to me? He knew I would need it. Thank you, Lord!!

A Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot

Jesus slept on a pillow in the midst of a raging storm. How could He? The terrified disciples, sure that the next wave would send them straight to the bottom, shook Him awake with rebuke. How could He be so careless of their fate?

He could because He slept in the calm assurance that His Father was in control. His was a quiet heart. We see Him move serenely through all the events of His life--when He was reviled, He did not revile in return. When He knew that He would suffer many things and be killed in Jerusalem, He never deviated from His course. He had set His face like flint. He sat at supper with one who would deny Him and another who would betray Him, yet He was able to eat with them, willing even to wash their feet. Jesus in the unbroken intimacy of His Father's love, kept a quiet heart.

None of us possesses a heart so perfectly at rest, for none lives in such divine unity, but we can learn a little more each day of what Jesus knew--what one writer called the negligence of that trust which carries God with it. Who would think of using the word negligence in regard to our Lord Jesus? To be negligent is to omit to do what a reasonable man would do. Would Jesus omit that? Yes, on occasion, when faith pierced beyond reason.

This "negligent" trust--is it careless, inattentive, indolent? No, not in His case. Jesus, because His will was one with His Father's, could be free from care. He had the blessed assurance of knowing that His Father would do the caring, would be attentive to His Son's need. Was Jesus indolent? No, never lazy, sluggish, or slothful, but He knew when to take action and when to leave things up to His Father. He taught us to work and watch but never to worry, to do gladly whatever we are given to do, and to leave all else with God.

Purity of heart, said Kierkegaard, is to will one thing. The Son willed only one thing: the will of His Father. That's what He came to earth to do. Nothing else. One whose aim is as pure as that can have a completely quiet heart, knowing what the psalmist knew: "Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure" (Psalm 16:5 NIV). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things which happen to us which do not belong to our lovingly assigned "portion" (This belongs to it, that does not")? Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty?

Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.

What do we really want in life? Sometimes I have the chance to ask this question of high school or college students. I am surprised at how few have a ready answer. Oh, they could come up with quite a long list of things, but is there one thing above all others that they desire? "One thing have I desired of the Lord," said David, "this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life..." (Psalm 27:4 KJV). To the rich young man who wanted eternal life Jesus said, "One thing you lack. Go, sell everything" (Mark 10:21 NIV). In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells us that the seed which is choked by thorns has fallen into a heart full of the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things. The apostle Paul said, "One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:13-14 NIV).

A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough. All is grace. One morning my computer simply would not obey me. What a nuisance. I had my work laid out, my timing figured, my mind all set. My work was delayed, my timing thrown off, my thinking interrupted. Then I remembered. It was not for nothing. This was part of the Plan (not mine, His). "Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup."

Now if the interruption had been a human being instead of an infuriating mechanism, it would not have been so hard to see it as the most important part of the work of the day. But all is under my Father's control: yes, recalcitrant computers, faulty transmissions, drawbridges which happen to be up when one is in a hurry. My portion. My cup. My lot is secure. My heart can be at peace. My Father is in charge. How simple!

My assignment entails my willing acceptance of my portion-in matters far beyond comparison with the trivialities just mentioned, such as the death of a precious baby. A mother wrote to me of losing her son when he was just one month old. A widow writes of the long agony of watching her husband die. The number of years given them in marriage seemed too few. We can only know that Eternal Love is wiser than we, and we bow in adoration of that loving wisdom.

Response is what matters. Remember that our forefathers were all guided by the pillar of cloud, all passed through the sea, all ate and drank the same spiritual food and drink, but God was not pleased with most of them. Their response was all wrong. Bitter about the portions allotted they indulged in idolatry, gluttony, and sexual sin. And God killed them by snakes and by a destroying angel.

The same almighty God apportioned their experience. All events serve His will. Some responded in faith. Most did not.

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV).

Think of that promise and keep a quiet heart! Our enemy delights in disquieting us. Our Savior and Helper delights in quieting us. "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you" is His promise (Is 66:13, NIV). The choice is ours. It depends on our willingness to see everything in God, receive all from His hand, accept with gratitude just the portion and the cup He offers. Shall I charge Him with a mistake in His measurements or with misjudging the sphere in which I can best learn to trust Him? Has He misplaced me? Is He ignorant of things or people which,in my view, hinder my doing His will?

God came down and lived in this same world as a man. He showed us how to live in this world, subject to its vicissitudes and necessities, that we might be changed-not into an angel or a storybook princess, not wafted into another world, but changed into saints in this world. The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest. --Lina Sandell, Swedish

Be sure to read the following Scriptures:
Psalms 16:5 Isaiah 66:13 Philippians 3:13-14 Psalms 27:4 Mark 10:21 1 Corinthians 10:13

Friday, September 16, 2005

Thursday at Home

A lot was accomplished here at home today. I sent out almost 50 Mailbox Club lessons today! I decided to run them to the post office since they wouldn't all fit in my mailbox. I pray that the children receiving these lessons will learn more about the Lord and His ways and that any who don't know Him would come to a saving knowledge!

I've decided to make a flyer about the Club and post it at the local libraries. I would like to see more children, especially the unsaved, get these lessons. I believe they can be a real ministry. If I can figure out how to do it, I'm also going to put a sign-up page on my website.

JK was not feeling well so we only did math and language arts today. She finished her school work and then after lunch she went upstairs to take a nap. She read for a while and finished "Queen Elizabeth and the Spanish Armada".

JM came home from school and said that he was not feeling well. He ate a snack (of course) and then promptly went to bed. He didn't wake up until 7:30! After he awoke, he ate dinner, did his homework and went back to bed. I'm so glad he didn't have to work tonight. I hope he feels better tomorrow. I do not like to see any of my children sick!

I finished up the laundry and worked at my desk. You can actually see the top of it now. LOL!

Tomorrow is our Beautiful Girlhood Friday and we also have to run to the state fair to submit JK's painting. It promises to be a busy day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Titus 2/Proverbs 31 Websites

I was cleaning out my "favorites" folder tonight and came across a few sites that I haven't visited lately but that are really nice! If you have time, please stop by and take a look. When I have more time, I will add these links to my sidebar. But for now, enjoy!

A Christian Home

A Virtuous Woman

A Virtuous Woman (2)

Practical Homemaking

Being Virtuous Women

Titus 2 Christian Homekeeper

Monday, September 12, 2005

Monday at Home

Well, here we are on our second week! Mondays are always a little slow around here. It seems there is always a lot of clutter to pick up from the weekend. I'm going to try to get this done on Sunday nights because I don't like doing it on Monday mornings!

I slept in late this morning. I woke JM up at 5:30 and then went back to bed until 8:00! We didn't do school this morning because it was picture day at Maymont Park. A local photograher offers his services to take school pictures for homeschoolers. They were taken in the Italian Gardens, which are very beautiful! Lots of colorful flowers and today there were many butterflies. JK's picture should turn out well.

Walking back through the park we stopped at the herb garden. It smells so good. We noticed a large fennel bush that was covered with Monarch butterfly caterpillars. The more we looked around the bush, the more we saw! It was really neat. JK and I like to visit every herb, rub them on our fingers and smell. My favorite is mint and rosemary. As I was walking out of the garden, I rubbed rosemary on my fingers again so the smell would last longer.

In school today, we started a new section in our poetry unit. JK copied Psalm 23 and illustrated it. She has to memorize it by the end of the week. I noticed in her
Keepers handbook that she can earn a badge for that so I'm sure that will be extra motivation!

Last night in our small group, we talked about "interruptions" in our day and learning to see those as assignments from the Lord. I have been getting better at that but I still have a long way to go. I need to remember that God caused those "interruptions" for a purpose. If I remember that, then I can look for the lesson during those times. There's always a lesson in there that I have to learn!

Chores today were the usual on Monday: laundry and lots of it!! Tonight for dinner is Beef and Tater Bake. Basically a meatloaf with mashed potatoes on topped and then cooked in the oven. It's one of my family's favorites.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Rules for Daily Life

Rules for Daily Life

Begin the day with God
Kneel dow to Him in prayer;
Lift up thy heart to His abode.
And seek His love to share.

Open the book of God
And read a portion there;
That it may hallow all thy thoughts,
And sweeten all thy care.

Go through the day with God
Whate'er thy work may be;
Where'er thou art--at home, abroad
He still is ner to thee.

Converse in mind with God
Thy spirit heavenward raise:
Acknowledge every good bestowed,
And offer grateful praise.

Conclude the day with God
Thy sins to Him confess;
Trust in the Lord's atoning blood,
And plead His righteousness.

Lie down at night with God
Who gives His servants sleep;
And when thou tread'st the vale of death,
He will thee guard and keep.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Beautiful Girlhood Days

On Fridays this year, I am having Beautiful Girlhood days! Our focus on these Fridays will be home economics and learning about being a beautiful girl. Today we started our study of the book, Beautiful Girlhood, by Mabel Hale. I'm using The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood by Shelley Noonan and Kimberly Zach. Today's chapter was "Opening Flowers". That's where JK is right now. She is still a bud but with a hint of color showing through--a promise of what is to come.

One of the things we discussed today was about cheerfulness and how one's cheerfulness (or lack of) can affect the whole family. This is something she really struggles with and something we are have been working on and will continue to do so this coming year. I hope, through the Word and prayer, that she will learn to overcome that fault and realize that the Lord is her strength and joy!

For the home economics part of our day, JK made Quick Coffee Cake from a recipe that was featured on
A Circle of Quiet's blog. If you haven't had a chance to read this blog, please do so. It's one of my favorites. It definitely is "a circle of quiet" in this sometimes crazy world!

On the School Front

School went well today. We did math and language arts today and instead of science, we added history. We'll do history twice a week and science twice a week. Fridays are our Beautiful Girlhood day so JK will just do math and language arts and the rest of the day will be devoted to home economics and the feminine arts.

In history, we read about the different Indian wars of the 1600's. We then read about The Great Awakening and how it was necessary for this to happen so that the colonists, who would soon be charge of their own country, would have a chance to build a Bible-based government. God is sovereign!

We read about John and Charles Wesley from the book, Hero Tales, by Dave & Neta Jackson. Somehow that got into a discussion about time periods. I don't know how it happened but we ended up talking about Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada. I showed JK the Landmark book about Queen Elizabeth and she promptly went upstairs to start reading. I have a feeling she'll be finished by tomorrow !!

BTW, I use
TruthQuest History guides. I'm using the American History for Young Students I and hope to finish by Christmas and then move on to 1800-1865. I'd like to finish all three guides by next September because I plan to use the recommended seven-year plan for the rest of JK's schooling (Lord willing!). Here's the plan using the TruthQuest History guides:

Seven-year plan:
Year 1) Ancient Egypt/Ancient Greece
Year 2) Ancient Rome
Year 3) Middle Ages
Year 4) Renaissance/Reformation/Exploration
Year 5) Age of Revolution I
Year6) Age of Revolution II

Year 7) Age of Revolutions III

Be sure to check out the website and read more about these wonderful guides for history using living books!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

First Day of School

After having the July and August as one big free day we finally started school! Actually we picked up where we left off at the end of June. Here's what we did today:

Math (BJU): learned how to figure the area of a room
Science (Exploring Creation with Astronomy): started a new unit on the moon. JK cut out the various phases of the moon and pasted them into her notebook. This was not even an assignment. I love it when she does stuff on her own.
Language Arts (LLATL, Spelling Power, Italic Handwriting): worked on the poetry unit. She looked up two poems about animals then copied and illustrated them. We started Spelling Power. Today I just did the testing to determine which level she should start. Tomorrow will begin the daily tests. I remember doing this with JL and JM. We had a lot of fun because I always made up silly sentences for the spelling words.

We started our usual custom of playing a game while we eat lunch. Today it was Phase Ten. Since that is such a long game, we just played until someone reached phase four--me! That was very unusual. I don't normally win that game!

That was it for today. Tonight I need to enter my lesson plans into
Homeschool Tracker. I'm thinking about upgrading to the Plus software but haven't made up my mind yet. The free one certainly is doing a good job but I like some of the features on the upgrade.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Taste of Autumn

It doesn't look like the picture on the right at this moment but I noticed tonight when I was out that there was a little (tiny) nip of autumn in the air. It's been a lot less humid lately and the temps at night are starting to dip into the 60's. Everything is still green and the daytime temps are in the 80's and sometimes 90's but it won't be long before cooler days are here.

I'm looking forward to the cooler weather and the beautiful colors on the trees. Fall is my favorite season. There are lots of reasons why but here are a few that come to mind:
~soups and stews
~fall colors in the Blue Ridge Mts.
~pumpkin picking
~marshmallow roasting (hot dogs, too)
~our church's annual missions conference
~raking leaves and making big piles
~being able to sit outside on the swing w/o it being hot and humid!!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

First Place!

After church this afternoon, we drove down to the county fair to pick up JK's painting. She won first place! And three dollars! She was so excited. We already received our entry forms for the State Fair last week so we're all set to enter it there. JK also decided she wants to enter her banana nut bread. I'm hoping that this will start her on learning some more domestic skills. On Fridays this year we're going to have Beautiful Girlhood day. We'll be doing some Bible and character studies and also have a Home Economic time to learn cooking, baking, menu planning, etc. Should be fun!

Tonight is our first small group for the fall season. We'll be studying "Instruments in the Redeemer's Hand". I've only read the first chapter so far but what I've read is good.

Have a blessed Lord's Day!