Sunday, December 22, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Preschool at Home: Things To Remember

In my family, I am the one who likes to "keep" my memories. I have the scrapbooks, I have little mementos of special things, and I love to write memories down. Ironically, I am also the one who hates keeping clutter around. There are very few things that make it on my "keep list".

When I started the school year off with my 3 1/2 year old, I decided I wanted to keep as much of what we do during our school time as possible. I also knew I did not want a bunch of papers and what-not piling up somewhere (ultimately, to be thrown away). I saw ideas on Pinterest of using a filing-cabinet-type-system, but that wasn't for me either.

During all the "back to school" sales a few months ago, I saw that the binders were on sale. I decided to try a binder approach for gathering Lil' Man's school stuff. I decided on the 2 inch binder with a clear sleeve (I wanted to be able to put a picture of him with the year and his age on the front).

Using clear sleeves, I am keep his work in a place where we can look at it anytime. I organize it by month. I put a cover sleeve for the appropriate month and then place all the work for that month behind it.

It is fun to look back at what we have done. It is also a fun way to watch how Lil' Man progressed throughout the school year.

I keep his memory verse pages...

Math stuff...

Any art he does...

and his reading/language arts work

I think I will try and keep something like this for every grade. I probably won't file away as many things, but I think it is neat to have.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Caramel Apple Bake

Caramel Apple Bake

What You Need:
* 6 apples (sliced)
* 1 tablespoon of Bisquick
* 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
* 20 caramel pieces (cut in fourths)
* 1 cup of Bisquick
* 1/4 brown sugar
* 1/4 cup butter

What To Do:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Mix first four ingredients together in a large bowl
- Spread apple mixture into an 8x12 (ungreased) baking dish
- In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients together
- Sprinkle remaining ingredients evenly over apples
- Bake for 40 minutes

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East Stove Top Lasagna

You can view this recipe here

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

You can view this post here on my new blog.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Preschool at Home: Show it off

You can find this post here on my new blog.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Preschool at Home: Don't Spend a Lot of Money

One of the first mistakes many of us make when schooling from home, is thinking we need to go and buy as many learning tools as we can. Yes, there are things that will need to be purchased...but let's be smart with our spending.

In my attempts to keep this year's learning meaningful without breaking the bank, I have picked up a few tricks along the way to help me with this goal. First of all, thank you, Pinterest! I love all the fun ideas on there that, often, don't require a lot of (if any) purchasing. Second, I am thankful for Hobby Lobby and their weekly 40% off coupon. Third, always be on the look out for sales.

Pinterest has so many great ideas, often using things you already have at home.

Like tracing letters with a Q-tip and paint.

Here are a few things I have picked up from Hobby Lobby with my coupon (or with a 50% sale they were having on the product).

Some dot paint is fun for learning. Little ones love it anytime they get to use paint.

We used them this week for working on patterns:

Foam building blocks were fun to use when we were describing shapes and comparing the differences in them. Lil' Man loved building with them after the shape lesson was done. Remember to let the little ones explore learning through play.

They are also great at entertaining Miss Priss while Lil' Man is doing school.

These are stamps I already had when I was scrapbooking (now I do it digitally). I did use my coupon when I purchased them. We used these to practice stamping our name a few weeks ago. Next week, we will be using them to build our sight words we are working on.

Sales are awesome. I love a good sale. Here are some great buys I found for our learning time:

I found this tub of dinosaurs at Lakeshore...on sale. I was excited because they were on sale, but also, Lil' Man loves dinosaurs. I knew we could do a multitude of activities with these and his interest would stay piqued.

So far,

We used them to make patterns

Sort by color (which you can sort these by many different ways...great sorting manipulatives)

We also used them this week when working on our number sense activity.

Then there are the sales I ran into while grocery shopping. Which, by the way, after the "back-to-school shopping high" is will find GREAT deals.

These little index card boxes are great for storing things in. I have one for number tiles, one for sight word cards, one for letter cards...I'm still deciding on what to use the other one for.

Find these on sale...BUY them!

We use them for a lot of things. Making word building tiles is one of them.

I found (and when I say "found", I mean digging-through-the-sale-bin kind of "found") this fun little calendar.

All sale hunting/finding aside... Don't forget about your local library! There are soooo many resources to use, FREE.

These are some of the books we checked out...two of them are for the rhyming skill we are working on and one is going along with the apple theme we are doing.

A DVD that we can watch to help us learn our sight words.

Oh, I would be remiss if I did not mention another great learning tool. Food.

Lil' Man loves that we use m&m's...he hates that we don't use them often.

Happy schooling!

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Preschool at Home: What Do I Teach?

As I have begun this endeavor of teaching my son at home this year, I quickly realized I needed a "starting" place...I needed something that would be beneficial to my son's learning needs. Most of the 3 year old curriculums I could find focused on areas of learning that, I knew, my son had already mastered. A "letter of the week/month" program was not going to work. Since we are doing preschool at home, I figured the best part was that I would be able to tailor his school day around his own academic needs. I, first, started with identifying what was expected to be taught in preschool and then correlated it with what my son already knew...then I began to plan accordingly.  Here is the link that will take you to the standards: Oklahoma Pre-K Standards.

I am currently planning out a week at a time. I sit down and plan Friday afternoons for the next week. I go through and mark off standards as he masters them, I also write the date next to the standard so I can see when I taught something. This is a quick way to reference what I am doing and when. I also write the standard in my lesson plan book for a reference as well.

There are some things we focus on that may be extensions of a standard or may not even be listed on the list of standards. These are more or less the "enrichment" lessons we do together. I do this when I feel Lil' Man needs to go above and beyond the basic requirement listed.

The fun part, is I use many resources for teaching Lil' Man. I will expound more on this in another post. Today, I just wanted to share information with how to get started if you were not going with a curriculum. I would suggest your first step be in researching through the various curriculums available to see if one of them is right for you. If you are not finding quite what you are needing, then I would think about constructing your own curriculum based on your state's REQUIRED standards. Remember, these are only the minimum requirements.

Here are links to some preschool curriculum sites:

A Beka

Bob Jones University


Hands On Homeschooling

My Father's World


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I Want You To Know...

As social networking sites have exploded with remarks, opinions, videos, etc concerning a certain "performance"...I was left with some thoughts, musings if you will. There really is so much one can say, but I will try and keep this short and sweet.

First, I am so out of the loop when it comes to "Hollywood Happenings". I rather keep up with people I know and care about then the people on the big screen or whose names are topping the Billboard's Top 40. After seeing post, after post, after post concerning a questionable performance by a certain ex-Disney star, I did, finally, take to Google.

My own thoughts about the performance are of no consequence, really. My opinion, like everyone else's, would fall in line with some people and be totally opposite of others. I would like to share my thoughts, though, about what struck me the most in all this, the young woman. The young woman who needed to hear 5 things as a young girl and let them become apart of her life into womanhood.

Now, this list of 5 things has not been "researched", it is not coming from "a professional opinion", and it will probably not be featured in the latest "O" magazine. This is simply a quick list I mentally drew up of what I want my daughter to know as a young girl, that would be part of her as a young woman, and stay with her forever.

1. Be a woman that passionately embraces God with no holds barred. I hope she can see the absolute beauty and fulfillment in such a love for her Savior.

2. No one, no thing, can or will complete you. I'm a hopeless romantic, so it seems odd to hear myself say that. A person can lose their self in trying to find that "completion". Being complete only comes when one surrenders their life to God and has asked Him to be the center of their life...being complete in Him.

3. Take pride in who you are and love the body you have...after all, "you are fearfully and wonderfully made". Comparing yourself to others and trying to be someone "different" is like a rose wishing to be a weed.

4. Cherish the man who calls you beautiful; question the one who says "you're hot". A man who is taken by your beauty is taken by you and all the things that make you, YOU. A man who is taken by your physical beauty, but has failed to see the beauty that is in your heart, mind, and soul will simply think you are "hot". He will not be worth another thought.

5. Your body does not need to be appraised, don't let it be succumbed to inspection. "Pride" and "prude" are not related...not synonymously, not antonymously (I may or may not have made that word up). Having pride in your body doesn't mean flaunting it about so it can be "graded" by means loving it, cherishing it, and guarding it.

Now, here, is where I would also like to insert something about not using social sites as a "Dear Diary,"...but by the time Miss Priss is even ALLOWED to have her own kind of "profile" will probably be an outdated form of entertainment that they had "back in the day" and my point will be moot.

I want my daughter to grow into a young woman that is looked on with respect and honor, rather than disdain and humiliation. A young woman who reflects the love of Jesus everyday. An easy task? No. A task worth striving for? Yes.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

From Chickens to Cable...and a First Day of School.

Friday is here, another week completed. It was a big week in our household....worked on some things, started some things, and ended some things.

The week started out with a freshly mowed lawn. LOVE all the rain...but man, we have done a lot of mowing this year. Gertie and Gracie, our chickens, had a blast chasing all the bugs around after the grass was cut. Have you ever watched chickens chase a grasshopper??? Hilarious! just became a little more interesting around here. Lil' Man started Pre-K. What a fun week we have had! Rather than enrolling him in a half-day Pre-k program, I decided to use my early childhood expertise and teach him myself. Coming up with a "curriculum" to fit his needs was difficult...I had to combine 3 year old and 4 year old material along with some kindergarten stuff. It isn't perfect yet, but you learn as you go, right?
I can't believe he is old enough to even begin this process. I am cherishing this time being spent with him and being able to watch him learn and grow. Being a teacher, it was always one of my favorite things to see the little light bulbs come on in my students' minds. It was a great experience to facilitate and cause such learning to happen. It is an awesome experience to be able to experience it with my own child.

Here is a little of what we did during our first week of school:

Now, if starting school wasn't exciting enough, we decided to really shake it up by dropping our cable and phone. What???? you may be asking yourself. Yes, yes we did. We bought a good old antennae from, you guessed it...Walmart and picked up an Apple TV while we were at it. We now get all of our local channels...some weird digital channels...and can stream Stuff from our iPad to our tv through the Apple device. We first went with the Roku, but exchanged it the next day for the Apple TV. Although the Roku has more channels, we like being able to stream (via AirPlay) from our iPads to the television wirelessly. Being able to stream from the iPad to television provides us the opportunity to, current Duck Dynasty episodes from the A&E app on our iPad to our tv! Yes, don't worry folks we aren't missing anything important by "cutting the cable". So far, it is all working out great....and saving us a lot of money a month. We decided that money could be put to better use...that and it just seemed irresponsible to be spending that much money for something so insignificant.

The top pictures are of the antennae (that's "bunny ears"). The bottom one is the Apple TV.

The week comes to an end with my attempts at making some "fall-ish" outfits for little Miss Priss. Hopefully, it all comes out involves fabric dye. I'm a little nervous, I'll post later how it all comes out.

Happy Friday!

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"God is Great, God is Good..."

I am sure most of us can finish that line. It is a common prayer taught to children to say before they eat. While teaching the importance of prayer is a good thing, I can't help but be drawn back to Matthew 6:5-14.  Jesus tells us not only tells how to pray, but how not to pray.

As I prepared the Bible lessons this week for Lil' Man, I felt my heart yearning for him to have a true understanding of prayer. Our focus for the next few weeks is "Praying to our Father". I want him to know what a truly wonderful, intimate, and humble time it can be. I began my Google search how to teach children to pray and I found myself dismayed with most of the search results. Many of the suggestions that popped up were rote prayers for children to learn. I found prayers for bedtime, meals, when they are scared, etc. This is not what I wanted for my children. Jesus said "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard for their many words.". I feel like that is what I would be teaching my children to do, babble.

 I think we all, in some ways, have done this...myself included. I am not only guilty of the "babbling prayer", but have led my children to believe that is how to pray. Prayer time was almost tasking. A list, if you will, that had to be checked off as you talked to God. A prayer that was not much different than a rote prayer memorized as a child. I want my children to know that prayer is not something done out of routine, but out of a desire to be close to their Heavenly Father. I would much rather them forget a prayer at meal time than say a prayer over their food "because that is what you have to do".

Prayer is intimate. I think of the conversations my husband and I have about life, love, and family. The kind of conversations no one else is privy to hearing. We are not babbling out a bunch of nonsensical words just to be heard. There are times when the conversation is light and amusing; there are times when the conversation is deep and thought provoking. I want my children to discover the beauty of intimate conversations with the Father. The kind of prayer that is not trying to sound "smart", not trying to compete in "holiness" with another person, or trying to come up with the most, I want something more for them.

So, again, I was back to how do I teach them this? You don't teach them how to pray, you show them how to pray. Is that not what Jesus did? Matthew 6:9 - "This, then, is how you should pray...". I know I make a lot of mistakes in parenting, but the one area I want to never fail is in raising my children to love the Lord, follow Him no matter what the cost, and fulfill His calling in their lives. I don't have the "right" answers on this subject...or many others. I can only go by what I feel God is leading me to do and looking to His truths.

This week, we, as a family, have really focused on praying to our Father. When routine prayer has been a big part of your life, it is hard to break away. Although hard to break away, it has been a blessing to begin to see the results. Out of the prayers we share together as a family, my hope is then that my children will be able to go to their Father during their own private time and bask in the special moments spent with Him.

In clarification for some of what I have written...I am not saying we never prayed...I am saying we fell too often into the prayer of routine. I am sure there are many people who have figured this out sooner and are tsking at this blog entry. If you, however, are like me - learning and growing as I go, then I hope this blog entry makes sense. It is not an entry to judge or mystify others. This is me sharing what has been on my heart; my hope and desires for me and my family.

**As a little bit of humor to my Lil' Man was praying and part of his prayer (after telling God that he liked our chickens) was that we go to Walmart to get avocados. My favorite part about it, he said it so honestly and not as a "I want a new car" type of request. He never mentioned it before we prayed or after we prayed. It made me smile (and laugh inside a little).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Baked Oatmeal "Muffins"

In an effort to help the husband have a way to consume a healthy breakfast on his early busy mornings, I decided to hunt down my mom's old baked oatmeal recipe...the one I remembered her making 20 years ago for us kids. I thought it would be the perfect "grab-and-go" breakfast for those busy mornings. I also knew it would be a good healthy breakfast for Lil' Man and myself to enjoy as we started out our day too.

My hunt for this recipe took a little longer than originally planned. I have no idea where I placed my copy of the recipe, so I had to phone my mom for help. Thankfully, she found her copy and was able to give it to me. Thanks, Mom!

Although, not terribly unhealthy...I decided to adjust the recipe some to make it a tad more healthy. I substituted the oil with applesauce and the egg with banana. I want to add some chia seeds next here why chia seeds are a great addition to your everyday foods. Chia Seed Benefits: 10 Reasons To Add Chia To Your Diet.

Why should you make these???

Busy schedule in the morning? Make these Sunday night and have them ready to go for the rest of the week as a quick healthy breakfast. Have plenty of time for breakfast? Make and eat them fresh from the oven with a side bowl of fruit and yogurt. Seriously, you can't go wrong with these little gems.

Okay...the recipe.

You will need:
1/2 cup applesauce
2 mashed bananas
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup of milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Baked Oatmeal "Muffins"

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Place the following items in a large mixing bowl:
- 1/2 cup applesauce

- 2 mashed bananas

- 2 teaspoons baking powder

- 1 cup of milk

- 3/4 cup brown sugar

- 3 cups rolled oats

- 1 teaspoon sea salt

- 1 teaspoon cinnamon

- 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

* Mix all ingredients together and spoon into muffin tin

* Place paper cupcake cake liners in muffin tin for best results

* Spoon in oatmeal mixture into the liners

* Add any topping (strawberries, blueberries, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, etc.) you would like, I added chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

* Bake for 25 minutes
* Ready to eat or cool and place in fridge

** Heat for 15-20 seconds in microwave after being refrigerated **

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