Thursday, July 31, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Every once in a while when my strong-willed daughter gives it all up and starts to melt down, I've started to recite wisdom that I need to hear also. “Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."- Christopher Robin to Pooh by A.A. Milne -- Someday the CR in her life will need to remind her of that more/less often than she'd like. We all need those CR's words of wisdom.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I've registered!

I'm set to be at the Revive Our Hearts True Woman conference October 9-11th. I'm thrilled! I've even scheduled the "first quarter" of home schooling to end that week, so there is a natural break when my kids won't wig out that mom isn't around to corral them. You can register too and join me for a carpool.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

North Pole: discovered by Pooh. Pooh found it.

This is the day that the Lord is made and we will rejoice somehow and be glad in it. Please pray that these brilliant young scholars will be enticed by all that lays ahead of them today.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Sound of Music

The Dupage county fair did themselves proud by including Jars of Clay and Steven Curtis Chapman. My children enjoyed themselves with the fair activities, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry & the bovine class. I've seen so many 4-H projects and ribbons in my time. I've also seen Steven Curtis three times now and finally, I've enjoyed this third time. I don't remember much from the Omaha performance. The Kansas City performance was overshadowed by the opening act from Mercy Me. I still feel the impression that opening act made on me a few years ago for the Mercy Me Christmas sessions album. But, Thursday night, I got to enjoy Steven Curtis so much. And, my kids knew all the songs due to K-LOVE 94.3 on all the time. However, my youngest son fell asleep on the bleacher during the "Cinderella" song.

So, come Friday evening we usually spend dinner in a restaurant. But we'd spent so much at the fair on Thursday and the attachment of a hitch to the van meant breakfast for dinner at home. We set the children to a part of the movie, Sound of Music. They'd not seen it before. We promised that they could watch the rest tonight and so we have.

Today was a day for finishing the stairwell painting. The extension ladder was used safely and the daddy helped. Who says that a wife and husband can't paint together? "Not dead yet..." And, now we've done dinner with an ending note of strawberry shortcake & whipped topping. Time to say so-long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen!, good-bye because I'd like to see the rest of Sound of Music.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


  1. Yep, I've made 2 versions of this bread recipe in 2 weeks. Mega dietitian diva from Mennonite Pennsylvania Dutch heritage is such an amazing source of inspiration. This week it took the form of foccacia bread. Last week is was two loaves of beautiful bread. The recipe is called OATMEAL BREAD. It is as follows: combine 1 c quick oats, 0.5 c whole wheat flour, 0.5 c brown sugar, 1 T salt, 2 T butter and 2 c boiling water in food processor. I cooled to luke warm. I dissolved 1 pkg of yeast in 0.5 c warm water and added it in too. Then stirred in up to 5 c of white flour or as needed. When dough is stiff enough to handle, I turned it out onto floured board (I love my kitchen counter) and kneaded. I placed it in greased bowl, covered and let rise until doubled. I punched it down and let rise again. I shaped into 2 loaves the first time and into a greased jelly roll pan the second time. I let it rise again and baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30-40 minutes. I had to keep the crazies away long enough for it to cool on a rack. Then we cut into it and slathered generous helpings of more butter. This recipe originated in Manheim Pennsylvania, so is quite authentic.
I'm also considering the example of Kansas IT farmboy and his wife, supermom, to get a toaster oven because of its multitasking uses. They can host and they can prepare food for kids and parents alike at their house, so I'm sure that their choices of kitchen tools are ones to be considered seriously. You know, Alton Brown supports multi taskers and I often go to his books for wisdom.
We're off to the county fair tonight to see Steven Curtis Chapman. But first a stop at Whole Foods for superior granola and a stop at the nearby office store for school copying jobs. It's just around the corner ya know. Less than 10 days away. We're set to put the hitch on this van tomorrow in order to hook up the bike carrier for longer bike rides. That's when we get to stock up at the nearby Sam's for food that can accommodate our home school hectic, stressed-mommy schedule. More on those recipes later. But maybe a hint at one of my favorites, that is instant potato soup. I make a double recipe in a large container and mix 0.5 c of mixture in cup with hot water when sugar levels are low. 2.5 c instant mashed potatoes, 1.25 c powdered coffee creamer, 1 packet chicken gravy mix, 2 t salt-free Mrs Dash seasoning, 2 t dried minced onion, 2 t chicken bouillon granules & 0.5 t pepper.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


School pockets are hung and filled with folders and curriculum materials. The children thoroughly enjoyed their daddy's birthday trip to the planetarium aboard the METRA train and the free green triangle trolley. The best part was watching my kids enjoy the last stop at the planetarium. We ended our tour learning about travel to the moon with Jim Lovell's collection of artifacts. My husband asked as we left why the airport in Chattanooga was named after him, but we are yet to answer that question. A rainy trip to and fro, but an excellent way to spend the day.

Sunday we enjoyed our first new church picnic. It was wonderful for the kids to play and win starburst candies while I visited with people I usually see once maybe twice a week. We got home for the kids to play with neighborhood kids and then took a few to the pool for an hour.

I continue to plan our studies on ancient China and the Olympics as well as the journey journal at the beginning of the school day and materials for devotions at the end of a school day. I want to make sure that I know they know what's important some day. That is, I love them. And, God made them special and loves them very much.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New supplies arrived!

I'm beginning to ORGANIZE for August 4th. Believe it! We arrived early Monday morning in Chicagoland after an awesome weekend with friends in Johnson County Kansas, to a new box of school supplies. My first task is to hang and fill these storage pockets for my 3 Gs. I hope to encourage independent work by filling each pocket with one subject assignments for the week. Yep, it might be a little early to ask my 2nd and 1st graders to find something to do from their school pockets, but I've got to start somewhere. I know that the goal is to finish work for math (MUS), grammar (Explode the code), spelling (spelling workout B &C), penmenship (reason for handwriting) & president/ music/ art/ latin reports using online forms & library books for research by Friday afternoon. These are all morning activities scheduled to be mostly independent while I do guided work with each on First Language Lessons and Bible journey journal.

The afternoons 3x a week are set aside for SOTW and 2x a week for space then earth science. These afternoons are, by necessity, guided and can take as long as we need to do them. I know that nature hikes will be included here in these hours. Trips that require flights to where ever field trips take us will include work out of school pocket folders and necessary books.

I've also received a solar system model to complete while we go through some lessons from Apologia and from the list outlined by Jessica at I hope to encourage Bible verse memorization and small scale artwork/sketching by displaying images in this postcard holder that arrived in the box too. We might also be able to mail ourselves postcards and display them here too. We'd welcome anyone else's notes here, that's for sure!

These are all mere attempts to keep these children on a schedule that they appreciate and respond to in other parts of our lives. And for me to not "fly by the seat of my pants" this year while trying to get it right the first time, because that's the one time that counts in home schooling.

Friday, July 11, 2008

This weekend ... in Kansas!

What, might you ask, are we doing this weekend? Well, we, me & 3Gs, got on the 2nd flight we tried out of ORD on Wednesday for MCI and our dear friend was able to pick us up from the airport and drive us to another friend's home for the weekend. A third friend lives just around the corner and she is lent us the extra vehicle for the weekend and now we're playing in the back yard ecstatic for play with old friends. What a blessing! I drive to pick up the daddy as soon as he can get here too. We've an appointment to visit with my coach/consultant homeschooling family tomorrow that I'm so looking forward too. We'll get a good visit with all our small group friends this weekend too. What a visit!!! This is the first time that the daddy has been back in over a year and a half since we moved 2 Christmases ago. I hope/pray to watch him relish this time too.

Independence Day Bike rides & more

I love my new bike. It's an old lady Amsterdam bike like I saw on our trip in March. It has 7 gears and I sit up straight on it with a wonderfully comfortable seat. It has a kick stand too. Priceless... AND there is a new lift to park it at the ceiling of the garage. Yep, they don't make garages big enough in Chicagoland, but the ceiling is high enough to park the mommy's and the daddy's bike with pulley mechanisms for easy and quick use/ storage. After lunch on a beautiful July 4th day, my kids and me AND the daddy got to ride over from our home to Mallard Lake Forest Preserve which was a 7 mile round trip. Well, it was fine for everyone except the little girl who is still struggling with training wheels. She got to have her training wheels all the way down on the trip back.

The next day we enjoyed our first visit to Kline Creek Farm, also a section of the DuPage County Forest Preserve. Our tax money is well spent on these activities for the family. We toured most buildings, played children's games from the 1890s, heard the Declaration of Independence read aloud, and watched a home made small hot air balloon fly off into the air. We then enjoyed a drive to the local pump it up business for a friend's birthday party. It was such a good day. The kids also got to put together birdhouses at Home Depot as the first Saturday of the month activity. I love visiting the home store and only buying one thing on our list. I'm getting better at not lusting after all the conclusion of all my house projects.

There are more important things to do with what God gives us. And then the sermon on Sunday had a message on Matthew 16:24-25 which is continuing to challenge me on what I can give up in order to enjoy what God wants for me. That's hard for me to explain though.