"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

John 10:10

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Alert: really great deal

Target is having a killer deal this week on freezer items.  Buy any 7 freezer items, get a $5 gift card.  The ad only shows certain items for the card.  Around the store, the deal is only posted on a few items.  But, this deal is for any freezer item.  You can buy 7 $1 bags of frozen vegetables, then get a $5 gift card at checkout to use on your next purchase.  Plus, you can use additional coupons on top of this.  Right now there is a $1 off four freezer vegetables coupon on the Target site.  So, I got 7 bags of vegetables for basically $1.  That is a fun shopping trip.
Head on over to Totally Target for the full run down and additional coupons.  Our freezer is full.  Is yours?  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekend reading

Amy over at Milk and Cookies is hosting a 10 days of Classical Education series.  Guest bloggers are providing fascinating information on what it means to engage in a classical education.  It is definitely worth your time to hop on over.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bad news bears

It is a sad state of affairs around here.  Lydia began a good fever Saturday morning.  Since then, at least one girl (and usually two) has had it off and on.  This morning they all woke up happy and feeling better.  Now Lydia and Cora are both hot, and both sleeping.  To make matters worse, the weather is absolutely gorgeous here this week.  If they weren't sick, we'd be outside running our little tails off.  Instead, I have the windows open so the warm air and sunshine can saturate our house.  

So, while the girls have been doing this..
I've been doing this...
Filling my freezer, with the cutest assistant ever.  

We have many guests coming over the next few weeks, with extra mouths to feed.  And remember how I'm leaving my family for a weekend?  Well, I can't leave them empty handed.  You know how I love freezer meals.  I took this opportunity of relative quiet (aside from the groaning, crying, Ibuprofen dispensing, germ destroying, and cuddling) to wash my hands, make the kitchen a mess, wash my hands, and fill our freezer.  We now have meatballs and pepper penne, cranberry chuck roast for the grill, breakfast quiche, white chicken chili, broccoli pesto pasta, yogurt fruit snack cups, burrito mix, oatmeal raisin cookies, and cheesy ham and potatoes just waiting for us to enjoy.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I need to brag for a minute.

My husband got me the most fabulous Christmas present.  

A Cleaning Lady!

The idea popped into his brilliant mind a few months ago.  As Christmas got closer, he wouldn't tell me what his idea was but I could tell he was nervous about it.  He was worried I'd be offended, that I'd presume he meant I wasn't doing a good job.  Buddy, no offense taken!  I love it.  

I am really not a big gift person.  It is just about the bottom of my love languages.  My most prominent love language is service.  I like beautiful things and a nice house.  But ultimately, I am practical.  So this gift fits in line with me perfectly.

He wanted to get me something that would be a splurge and that I would never think about getting for myself.  He hit the nail on the head with this gift.  It has been hard to wrap my mind around spending money on something I know I can do myself.  I also know that I can't do everything myself.  I love homeschooling and creating a warm home for my family.  Homeschooling would be easy if I didn't have to also keep up with the laundry, meals, cleaning, and little girls.  In the same way, it seems now that laundry, meals, cleaning, and little girls would be easier without homeschooling.  Cleaning seems to be the reasonable area to ask for help.  This is probably the most difficult time of our lives to keep the house clean, with little girls running around and only one girl really able to contribute much help.  I also realize that the cost of a cleaning lady coming once a month verses the cost of private school tuition isn't even close.  

So, I'm embracing it.  I have the first cleaning time set up for next week, the day before my extended family is coming to stay.  Praise the Lord.  Hallelujiah.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

9 plus 8 equals ?

I have been on hold with math for Madeline the last couple months.  We finished Saxon Math 2, and I realized she doesn't know the more difficult math and subtraction facts very well.  She knows the concepts and could explain the process of addition and subtraction.  But, the answers are not automatic in her mind.  She has to really think about them or count on her fingers.  This is a problem, because everything from here on demands a mastery of simple addition and subtractions.

I told her we weren't going to move on until she has those facts down pat.  We have been drilling the fact flashcards and completing math fact worksheets.  It has not been fun.  Madeline likes math.  She likes learning new concepts and picks up on them quickly.  This has been drudgery for both of us.  I really feel like we have to get through this.  Looking back, I think that because she does understand the new concepts so quickly I did not spend enough time drilling the facts.  I figured that since she "got it" we'd keep plugging along.  Now I realize you need to master each step along the way, even the ones that you understand.  It needs to be automatic.  

I recently purchased 1st grade and 2nd grade workbooks for her to complete.  It is all review for her, and is pounding those facts in to her head.  Once she finishes the workbooks, we will move on to Saxon Math 3.  

I offered her a deal a couple days ago.  She needs to finish the 2nd grade book by February 19.  For every day she finishes it early she will get a dollar.  If she finishes it 8 days early, she'll get $8.  If she finishes it after the 19th, she owes me a dollar for every day.  Madeline likes to earn and save money.  She just bought a Lego airport set for $90, all of her own money.  So is my deal a smart mommy move or a bad mommy move?  Is it bribery or motivation?  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good stuff

* We are having chicken fajitas with a lot of peppers for supper.  I love peppers.  For dessert?  Mint Oreo milkshakes.

*  It is sunny.  The weather is suppose to be in the mid to upper 50's by next week.  That means I can air out the girls, explore the neighborhood, and clean the inside of my embarassingly dirty van.  

*  My boyfriend and I are going on a date this weekend, banking on the hope that we can find a baby-sitter.

*  I have been figuring out all kinds of neat stuff with my Macbook.  This should eventually save me time.  

*  Cora is sleeping through the night again after her double ear infection.  When you are never getting good sleep, walking around in a blur becomes the norm.  Being use to getting a full night's sleep and then not getting it?  That's tough.  

*  Speaking of Cora, this is what her hair is looking like these days.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This morning we were learning about Russia.  Did you know that Rurik was the first Viking to settle in the Russian area?  Vladimir I brought Eastern Orthodoxy to Russia? Ivan the Great built the Kremlin in Moscow?  Ivan the Terrible ended up killing his own son?  Yeah, neither did I until this morning.

To celebrate Russia and learn more about its culture, we had a "Russian" tea party.  Mark spent a month on a mission trip in Ukraine, which used to be part of Russia.  He brought back a milk set as a gift from a family he partnered with there.  It has been sitting in our storage area since we were married.  This morning I pulled it out for Oreos and sweet tea.  

While they were eating, they watched a part of Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" ballet.  

Yes, that is my new Macbook they are watching the ballet on.  Yee haw!  

P.R.O.U.D. proud

Thankfully today is a better day than the last two.  Cora has turned the corner from her double ear infection.  She still has the runny nose and isn't tip top, but a lot better.

There is a lot of exciting stuff going on around here.  But before I get ahead of myself, I need to let you know about this...

Madeline got second place in an area homeschool spelling bee last Friday.  It started off with about 15 kids.  When it got down to Madeline and Dorothy, a serious battle ensued.  Madeline ended up missing the word captain and gave Dorothy the victory.  I was a little surprised by my slight anxiety upon having my child in a competition.  Madeline, on the other hand, was not nervous at all and obviously had a fabulous time.  

Sorry about the slightly blurry weird colored photos.  For some reason my camera couldn't figure out what was going on.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why do we homeschool?

Today is one of those days where I feel like I am running around in circles. Cora and Anna are both sick.  After a trip to the doctor and a lot of holding crying girls, not much has been accomplished.  Madeline has been trudging a long with a little bit of school by herself.  The house is a mess.  We had drive through fast food for lunch.  I went to an easy plan B for supper.  Today I need to remind myself why we homeschool...

I want my children to love God, love each other, and to really learn something. I don't believe that homeschooling is the only way to achieve this, but the most effective.

I want my children to love God. The main reason we homeschool is to disciple our children. I want to live this Christian life with them, not only telling them what it means to love God and live for Him, but to walk hand in hand with them through the journey. This is a scary proposition because I am only a weak sinner. But, isn't that why God saves us? Isn't that what my kids really need to understand? Sending them to church for 1-3 hours per week while sending them to school for 30 hours per week does not seem to be a wise use of their time. It is my job, as the parent, to disciple them.

I know that at some point I need to release my children to the world. I want them to be thoroughly equipped for that day through the strong foundation we are building in our days together. Armies go through extensive training before they are sent to war. They are not just thrown into the battle with no armor or plan of attack. In the same way, I will not send my children into a crazy secular world until they are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ready. Shouldn't we analyze things according to Biblical truth instead of what society deems as "normal?"

I want my children to love each other. The family is the most basic and critical unit of our society. Children should learn how to interact with all ages of people. Schools are one of the rare places where people are segregated according to age. The time we spend together, young to old, can not be replaced.  We find joy in experiencing life together as a family.

I want my children to really learn something. I want my children to dig deep, use their talents to their full ability, and drink in God's hand of providence and creation. I want them to love learning throughout their life. That doesn't mean we hit the books all day. Instead, we make effective use of our time with intense, short lessons mixed with lots of play and exploration. The christian life should be a life of excellence in all aspects, including education.

These are my ideals, the reason we homeschool. I do not live them out perfectly, but fail miserably every day. Being a homeschool parent is signing up to be deeply humbled everyday. I pray that God will work through me as we raise warriors for Him.

Homeschooling is not easy, but it is worth it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Teacher inservice

I'm planning a weekend getaway to the Mid South Homeschool Convention in March.
Just me and two of my favorite homeschool mom friends. 

Can you guess where we're heading?

Lego construction and photography courtesy of Madeline.

It is a good morning.

I woke up this morning to 3 little girls bringing me breakfast in bed.  

Cora slept until 7:15, not the 5-6:00 AM she's been pulling the last couple weeks.

Our breakfast menu the last two snowy, freezing cold morning?  
Hot chocolate and warm toast with melted butter, cinnamon and sugar.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011


 Over the past year, I have been experimenting with making bread.  After various recipes that have been both good and bad, here is the winner.  It is a bread machine recipe so there is no kneading or waiting to rise.  Easy and delicious! 

1 1/4 c. warm water
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. honey
2 tsp. vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. raw quick oats
1/4 c. flax seed
1/4 c. gluten
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. bread flour
2 tsp. yeast
Put in bread machine in order given.  Set machine to whole wheat rapid setting.