Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

Kyle works a job that requires someone to be there 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  He is on a rotating schedule of day and night shifts.  It just so happened that his rotation fell so that he worked 6 am to 6 pm Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after.  So we decided to do our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions early on the 22 and 23.  We eat Mexican food on Christmas Eve and then come home to read the Christmas Story, and open presents.  Each child gets 3 gifts in honor of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh given Jesus.  I have enjoyed this tradition for lots of reasons one being that it keeps things simple and Kyle and I put a lot of thought into each gift.  Here are some picture highlights.

On Christmas Morning they each have a "Santa" gift and filled stockings.

We had so much fun during our own little early celebrations. Even though we really missed Daddy on the actual Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning, we had fun visiting with family.  We hope you had a Merry Christmas celebrating our Savior, and have a Happy New Year too!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cheerful Giving

One of the character traits we work to instill in our children is cheerful giving.  What better time of year to see those lessons in action.  My husband and I have also felt we needed to take the love your neighbors verse a little more literal and love on our neighbors.  So I decided we could make some yummy Christmas treats and give them to our immediate neighbors.  We live by a family much like ours with small children, two retired couples, and a retired man who is a widower.  One of our favorite homemade treats is Oreo Truffles.  They are a little time consuming, but over all a simple recipe.

Oreo Truffles
  • 1 package regular size Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 package white almond bark
  • 1 package chocolate almond bark 

  1. Using a food processor crush Oreo cookies until they are the consistency of potting soil (at least that is what it looks like to me).
  2. Add cream cheese to cookies in food processor until it forms a ball.
  3. Roll into walnut size balls.
  4. Chill for an hour.
  5. Melt approximately 3/4 package of white almond bark.
  6. Stick a toothpick in an Oreo ball and dip it in the melted white almond bark.
  7. Allow to harden on wax paper.
  8. Takes about 15 min.
  9. While waiting, melt about 1/4 package of chocolate almond bark.
  10. When Oreo balls are no longer sticky to the touch, decorate with drizzles of chocolate and white almond bark.
  11. I just use a fork to drizzle the almond bark, but you could use a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut in a corner.
  Sorry I don't have any pictures of the process but here is our Cheerful Givers with some packaged and ready for delivery.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


All last week Elaine's must haves for bedtime included this little radio, her pink sparkly bouncy ball, and her pink tutu.  She would put on her tutu, set her little radio up beside her pillow, and snuggle under the covers with the ball.  When she woke up, down the stairs she would come carrying the radio and bouncy ball.  No teddy bears for this little girl.  Maybe her big brother is rubbing off on her.  His bed is usually covered in action figures, hot wheels cars, and bouncy balls.  She used to snuggle with a soft little lamb, now its a bouncy ball.  She has standards though, because it must be pink and sparkly.  Now she doesn't even check to see if Lambie is around...but don't worry Lambie,

I am sure you will be back on top eventually.  Andy never really forgot Woody, right?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pipe Cleaners and Yarn

If I am working on anything crafty and my older two children are awake they are quick to "help" me.  So I am usually looking for something they can create with too.  While I was working on the decorations for Levi's Dedication Party, I had two helpers.  I gave them free reign with a bag of neon pipe cleaners and yarn.  I am not exaggerating when I say they played for 30 - 45 minutes.  I was only asked to assist when a piece of yarn needed trimming, or to view a finished creation.  Sometimes we over think what kids need to be creative.  This was so much fun for them and it was not messy.  No glue, paint, or play dough was even involved.  So zero preparation and very little clean up, allowed for lots of creative play.  That works for me!  Here are a few of their creations.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Squares

I am always looking for a new recipe.  For this one I actually just tweaked a recipe that has been passed around in various forms for a long time.  When we brought home Elaine from the hospital a family from our church brought over what she called, "Amish Chicken Squares."  I have also come across recipes where these little squares no longer claim any ties to the Amish and go by "Crescent Chicken Squares."  The recipe for those is usually something like this one from

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend butter with cream cheese Add milk and onion. Stir in chicken. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Separate dinner rolls into four rectangles, pressing perforations to seal. Spoon 1/2 cup mixture into center of each rectangle. Fold over two opposite sides to meet in the middle forming a square. Press the other two edges together to seal.
  4. Brush top with melted butter and dip into bread crumbs. Place on non stick cookie sheet crumb side up.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until browned. 
 I was looking for something new so I made them as follows 

Buffalo Chicken Squares

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2tablespoons butter, melted 
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup Buffalo Sauce (I used Frank's)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 8 ounces Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend butter with cream cheese Add milk, Buffalo sauce, and garlic powder. Stir in chicken.
  3. Separate dinner rolls into four rectangles, pressing perforations to seal. Spoon 1/2 cup mixture into center of each rectangle. Fold over two opposite sides to meet in the middle forming a square. Press the other two edges together to seal.
  4. Brush top with melted butter and dip into bread crumbs. Place on non stick cookie sheet crumb side up.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until browned. 
My husband says he can't eat the regular ones anymore because all he can think about is how tasty the buffalo ones are to him.  These would be great served with a green salad and ranch or blue cheese dressing.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: Homeschool Co-op End of the Semester Program

So I know its not Tuesday, but I was planning to post this yesterday.  The problem was that I needed all of yesterday to recover from Monday night...which is what this post is about.  Stay with me and you will understand.

As this is really my first year of "structured" homeschooling, I was looking for a co-op to participate in that would give Landon time in a learning activity away from home.  A co-op is basically a group of parents that come together to provide "classes" to fellow homeschoolers.   So this past semester he took a martial arts class through a local homeschool co-op.  I was very pleased with his instructor, and he loved going to karate.  I was just as excited as he was that there would be a program to demonstrate what each class had learned during the semester.  This program took place this past Monday night, and he did excellent.  It was fun watching him take this step in his growing up process.  So our first co-op experience was a success and we look forward to participating again next semester.

I forgot our here is a cell phone picture!
So you may be asking, "Why did it take all day Tuesday to recover from such a positive experience?"...well it was the surrounding events.  All Monday I anxiously awaited the time when I would need to feed the children (including nursing the baby), dress all of us, and load the car to make our way to the church where the program would take place.  I found myself going over the process again and again in my head to insure everything would go smoothly.  So at 4:00 I began, first I made supper.  Then while the older two children were eating I got dressed.  Then I washed them up and got them dressed.  Then I asked them to get in the van and buckle up.  I got Levi all buckled in his car seat, and went to get my keys from the diaper bag.  I reached into the pocket where I keep them...not there.  So I check other pockets...not there.  I start looking on dresser tops, kitchen counters, coat pockets, console in van, etc...not there.  I frantically call my Dad who is on his way, but since Landon had to be there 30 minutes earlier, he isn't even close yet.  I then call my husband who was leaving work to break the bad news.  He responds calmly by telling me he will contact Landon's teacher and he will come and get us.  I am in tears.  I feel like I am failing my son who is so excited about his first program.  I decide to check the diaper bag one more time...and I find keys...right where I had looked.  Right where I keep them, in the diaper bag.  So I grab Levi's seat, snap him in the car, grab the brownies I made for the reception and leave for the church.  My van clock said 5:54, Landon was supposed to be there at 6.  So when I get to the church I pull up to the gym door where he is supposed to practice and let him out.  I then watch him go to the correct door, and I proceed to park.  As I snap Levi's carseat into the stroller, I hear Landon yell, "Mom the door is locked".  At the same time I hear an adult say he can go in with us...I vaguely recognize the face from the distance I am away, but what choice do I have?  Leave him out in the cold waiting for me, or the younger two while I try to find his teacher?  So in he goes.  I frantically get Elaine out of the van and run into the building pushing the stroller and carrying brownies.  I am relieved to see Landon sitting at a table with his class.  I make my way to the chapel, finally catching my breath for the first time in about 2 hours.  As soon as the program begins Levi signals he is ready to nurse.  So I excuse myself to find a quiet spot.  Hoping I make it back to see worries.  The program that started at 6:30 did not get over until 8:00, with Martial Arts near the very end.  We let the kids get one cookie each from the reception, which upset Landon because he didn't want to just eat something unhealthy, and upset Elaine because she loves a party.  So we drag two over tired children to the van.

We headed home where the children watched a cartoon while Kyle and I finally ate our supper which I had going in the crock pot.  Then finally it was bedtime.  I think it was 9:30 before the children were in bed.  So yesterday we all took naps.  Landon slept for 3 1/2 hours! 

So needless to say no worries about me stealing the Mom of the Year title.  Loosing your keys, dropping a 4 year old off in the cold, letting him walk in a huge church with ???, and letting your kids watch cartoons at 8:30 pm so you can eat are probably deal breakers. 

How was your Monday night?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Levi's Dedication

It has taken me a few weeks to find time to share Levi's Dedication Service at Church.  At our church we practice child dedication.  The service includes each family bringing their child to be dedicated forward and having the father pray for the child.  They not only pray for the child but also their (and the mother's) role as parent for the child.  It has always been a special time for us as a family as we have brought each of our children before the church and dedicated to raising them in a Christian home.  For us that means living out before our children what it means to live in relationship with our Savior, day in and day out.  This is no easy task, so each dedication service has been a time to really reflect and call on God to not only guide our parenting but strengthen our walks with him.
Father God, we come again praising you for the blessing of another child. Our family asks for your continued guidance as we commit to raising Levi in the Christian faith. We pray that you would move in his life so that he will develop a deep faith in you. We ask you to use our home as a safe refuge where Levi can see you working. Make it a place where love grows continually. Shield us from the Satan's attacks. Equip me to be a father that reflects Levi’s Heavenly Father. We acknowledge that he belongs to you. Give Levi a desire to know and love you so that he will fulfill the purpose that you created him for. We ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
After the service we invite family and friends to celebrate with us.  This time I used a polka dot theme for the decorations. 
After seeing these paper decorations on another blog, I have been waiting for the perfect time to use them.  I think they went great with the napkins and cake.  You can see a how to on them here.  I didn't round the corners of mine though. I hung them with fishing line.  My husband and kids really liked them so we are leaving them up through Christmas.  They are so easy!
We had a great day, and feel so blessed by our friends and family that support us in raising the children God has chosen to bless us with.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: COUNTING down to Christmas

I love using the calendar to teach basic skills.  It is full of teaching opportunities.  For the month of December I have added something to our "Calendar Time".  It is a Christmas tree that needs decoration.  Each day we will find the number of the date and cover it with an ornament.  This will reinforce what we are working on during our math lessons and be a fun way to count down to Christmas.  To make this countdown I used the free print out here.  I printed it on card stock so it would hold up throughout the month (remember a 4 and 2 year old will be the ones using it).  Then I glued the Christmas Tree onto red construction paper.  Then I punched out the circles using a circle punch.  If you don't have a circle punch you could cut them by hand.  I placed them in a baggie.  I then hung the tree and circles next to our calendar.  You can find a similar idea here that uses sight words and stars. Check back next Tuesday for more ideas on how to use the calendar to teach important math and language skills.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I am so thankful for a little girl with bed head and breakfast on her face, still able to pull off some bling (see the one earring).
I am thankful for a baby boy who still looks handsome in a spit up covered bib and faux-hawk.
I am thankful for a big brother who is learning new things everyday and growing up way too fast.
 I am thankful for a husband that is very understanding when the roast is left in the van instead of being placed in the fridge, the chicken lasagna is left un-made, and allows his wife to spend the day Christmas shopping with her mom.

I have so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: Rewarding

I have to be honest homeschooling has not been the easiest thing on my to do list the last two months.  After bringing home Levi, I was scheduled for umbilical hernia repair surgery.  It was scheduled two days before Levi turned 6 weeks old.  The surgery went well and Levi only had one pumped bottle and I was back to nursing him.  The recovery from the aforementioned surgery was much more then I expected so about all I got done for a week after was nursing Levi (and watching lots of HGTV).  I am so thankful for my husband and mother who pitched in to cover the other duties I was leaving undone...except for school.  I had to redo my sketched out plan for the year as we were at least a week behind.  So between adjusting to our new addition and recovering from surgery, juggling school has been tricky, but we have pushed ahead.  It hasn't been without rewards either.  This week Landon sounded out whole words for the first time and his face lit up with excitement.  Elaine has been doing lots of pre-reading "things".  She recognizes letters on things and "reads" them.  She also loves to "read" books to Levi.  I think she is going to be more like me in that reading just clicks for her.

All of these things have been rewarding but I have to tell you they weren't the things at the top of my list as I sat down to reflect on these last few weeks of homeschooling.  It was over hearing Elaine sing "God is so Good" which we had just learned that morning during our school time.  That simple song is filled with so much truth.  
God is so good,
God is so good,
God is so good,
He’s so good to me!

He cares for me,
He cares for me,
He cares for me,
He’s so good to me!

I love Him so,
I love Him so,
I love Him so,
He’s so good to me!

I praise His Name,
I praise His Name,
I praise His Name,
He’s so good to me!
As a child I also sang a "He answers prayers" verse.  It was so sweet to hear her singing these truths.  I also had a very good conversation with Landon about what happens when people don't trust in Jesus.  This wasn't a scheduled or planned lesson, it just sprang from some questions he was asking on the way home from the grocery store.  Academics are important to me.  I want my children to have the skills they need to accomplish whatever God calls them to vocationally, but I know it is all in vain if I don't take the time to point them to Christ first.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.  
Psalm 106:1

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Our little girl has been torn lately.  On one hand she clings to her role as little sister to her big brother...wanting Daddy to carry her, wanting mommy to rock her, not using the potty, even telling us, "I'm not big, I'm little."

The next moment she is telling us, "I can do it all by myself."  Much of the time embracing her role as big sister.
  Helping getting Levi dressed, taking care of her own "babies", and imitating her older brother whenever she can.

I have to admit I am somewhat torn too.  It would make bedtime so much faster if she didn't want to be rocked, but then I try to remember my momma rocking me....and I realize this time will pass so quickly.  So quick Elaine will have a hard time remembering it.  I'll want to rock her, and she will be too big.  I'll want her to hold my hand, but she won't need to.  So even though at times she can be highly emotional, I am going to try and cherish these moments.  I think it will help to remember she is trying to figure out her new role, her place in our family.

I can relate to her feelings.  There are times I want to be held, and yet I am being asked to hold instead.  There are times I want to be carried, but I have to walk.  Other times I long to just sit and hold, but have to do laundry.  Times I want to play games and read, but have to make supper.  We really aren't that different, and before I know it she will be a mom.  She will have a whole new set of emotions she is working through, and she will have had lots of emotions she has already been asked to work through.  So for now I will try to help her sort it out.  Hoping I can point her to Christ along the way.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Newest Addition

I have been a little busy lately and just haven't found the time to blog.  I have been spending lots of time with our newest addition.

Introducing Levi

I mean can you blame me for being so preoccupied?  His big brother and sister are pretty taken with him too.
Here they are taking him to church for the first time.
We have had lots of adjusting to welcome Levi to our family, but all of it has been well worth it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: Reflecting

Today I just wanted to spend a little time reflecting on how "school" has been going.  As I have been spending lots of time nesting this week, I am going to keep this simple and use a list format for what works for us and what does not.

What does not work:
  • Having a strict beginning time (Rushing everything to be sure we are starting right at 8)
  • Insisting the 2 year old track right with the 4 year old
  • Lots of sitting very still
  • Lots of coloring
What is working:
  • Starting when our normal morning routine is finished (ex. breakfast is over, kids are dressed, mom has showered, dishwasher is emptied, laundry is started)
  • Having some alternatives ready for Elaine (ex. paper to cut and glue, puzzles to do, etc) Then she is free to join when she is up to it, and Landon is less distracted by her.  The site Hubbard's Cupboard has been very helpful.
  • Using hands on/movement activites
  • Free style art time - Landon is not a fan of coloring when he is given a specific task, such as color the 3 apples red.  He loves, on the other hand, to paint picture after picture.  We do spend some time on following specific directions as this is an important skill, but making time for him to paint or use play dough is also very important.
I am hoping to share a little craft project we are going to do to get ready for the new baby later this week.  That is if nesting doesn't completely consume me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: Vowel Review

Landon has been introduced to the name and sound for each of the five vowels a, e, i, o, and u.  He seems to have o and u mastered but a, e, and i were giving him some trouble.  So this week we are having a Vowel Party, which is a fun way of saying a vowel review.  Each day Landon is making a "poster" for one of the vowels.  We are also using more tactile activities to help him commit the information to memory before we introduce more letters and sounds.  For the posters I printed the capital and lowercase of each vowel and pictures of items that begin with the vowel's short sound.  These can be found here.  We used the block formation as that most closely matched what he is learning with the ABEKA manuscript curriculum.  We go over the name, sound, and formation of the letter.  Then he colors the letter and pictures.  Next I cut out the letters, while he cuts out the pictures.  Finally he glues them on construction paper of his choice to make a poster.  Here is the one he made for Aa.  

We are also writing our letters in shaving cream and painting them with jello paint.  For the shaving cream you give the child enough shaving cream to create a thin layer on his or her desk.  Then they can write the letters with a finger, and then spread out the shaving cream again to erase.  A simple jello paint recipe can be found here along with a few other fun "paint" ideas.  You can also mix a small amount of jello or kool aide powder with cool whip for fun paint.  Hopefully this week will be a fun review of the short vowels for Landon.  These activities would work well for introducing or reviewing any of the letters. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

A New Revelation: Part 2

As I accept the challenge to pray that Christ would reveal more of himself to me each day, I have been overwhelmed with the transformation of my thoughts that has occurred.  As I shared yesterday I have been released from the defeated feeling the enemy uses, and now am focused on the fact that God wants us to overcome.  He convicts to bring us closer into relationship with himself.  To purify and make us holy, not leave us in despair about how far off we are from ideal.  You may be wondering what all of this has to do with studying the book of Revelation.  Isn't Revelation all about Christ returning and the end of the world as we know it?  Well it is most definitely about all that but it has so much application to the Here and Now, hence Beth Moore's title for her study of the book.  Remember,
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
So what does Revelation say about overcoming.  Just listen to the promises Christ presents the seven churches he addresses if they overcome:
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7

He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. Revelation 2:11

 To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. Revelation 2:17

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations-- 27 'He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery -- just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give him the morning star. Revelation 2:26-28

He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.  Revelation 3:5
Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.  Revelation 3:12
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.  Revelation 3:21

Amazing promises!  So how does one overcome?  Our trust for salvation must be fully in Jesus and His death and resurrection.  Then we live in His spirit daily.  Not seeing Christ through the world's eyes, but seeing the world and ourselves through the eyes of Christ.

The funny thing is I think God has been trying to use my son to teach me to be an overcomer all along.  See Landon is sure he can win at everything, and if for a second he has the slightest struggle he is devastated.  In fact his desire to overcome was one of the things that had me feeling defeated.  So I thought for sure I needed to get Landon to understand he can't win at everything, when his desire for victory is God given.  Now don't get me wrong, Landon still has to learn humbleness, being a good sport, perseverance, and obedience.  Just like I still have much to learn.  But his desire to be an overcomer is not something to be disciplined, only shaped.  So he understands his victory is in Christ, not in himself. 

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:3-5

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A New Revelation

I am currently in Beth Moore's Here and Now...There and Then, which is a study on Revelation.  I just completed the 3rd session last night, and I was blown away.  I know that God is always present and at work, but I was very tuned in last night to what He had to say.  It was like session 3 had been crafted for this specific time in my life.  Last week was very rough for me.  I just had these general feeling that I was failing at...well everything.  Beth asks us to let Christ reveal more of himself to us each week, so I prayed God would show me how to succeed at this life He called me too.  Thinking He was trying to teach me something about the way I had been doing life.  I felt better as the week progressed, but not truly victorious.  Then I went to Bible Study last night.  One of the first things she pointed out was that God wants us to live as overcomers, but that the Enemy (Satan) wants us to live defeated.  I quickly realized that the generalized feeling of failure I had felt was not of the Spirit, but of the Enemy.  See the Spirit will convict specifically, while the Enemy uses generalities so we don't have an action plan.  Last night the Spirit spoke right to what had been holding me back, and instead of feeling defeated, I felt enlightened and ready to be an overcomer!  Hebrews 7:25 states speaking of Jesus:
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Jesus is interceding for us...He lives to intercede for us.  While listening to the enemy left me wondering if I would ever succeed, conviction from the Spirit left me anticipating success.  I don't mean success in the world's sense of the word...lots of material things, fame, and power.  I mean overcoming sin patterns and living out the call of Christ on my life.  That is the type of victory that is truly fulfilling anyway.  I plan to share more specifically what I learned, not that I could ever put it all into words.  So come back tomorrow for more revelation.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Well Spoken Advice

For today I am linking you to a great guest post over at It's Almost Nap Time.  Her guest blogger is Lora Lyn from Vitafamiliae, and the post is How to Help a Friend Who has had a Miscarriage.  Coming from my own experience (which you can read about here and here), she is right on target.  Chances are you already know someone these tips would help with, and if not, you most likely will in the future.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: Using Signs

One of the major focuses of Landon's K4 curriculum is learning the names and sounds for each letter in the alphabet.  He is struggling somewhat with keeping all those straight.  The ABEKA phonics starts with teaching the vowels and their sounds.  So we have learned a, e, i, o, and u.  I decided to incorporate some kinesthetic learning to help him with memorizing these letters.  For those non ed majors, kinesthetic learning is a learning style in which learning takes place by the student actually carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or merely watching a demonstration. It is also referred to as tactile learning. People with a kinesthetic learning style are also commonly known as do-ers (Wikipedia).  For this task I am teaching Landon the American Sign Language sign for the letter along with its name and sound.  Just by adding the sign his focus is greatly improved, and hopefully his learning is too.  He is a mover and a shaker so standing or sitting still is a struggle for him, but by giving his little body something constructive to do, all that moving can actually benefit his learning.  Here is a link to the ASL alphabet if you would like to check it out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Unexpected Growth

We used to have purple petunias in the flower boxes on our front porch.  I happily watered them while the kids played with sidewalk chalk or rode their tricycles.  The porch, after all, is one of my favorite spots.    Unfortunately we no longer have the purple petunias.  See it got hot outside.  In fact, it got very hot outside and very humid, and I was very pregnant.  I would think about going outside and just sweat, so the flowers became neglected and finally met their end.   The crazy part is that we still have a little petunia growing at our house.  It is not in one of the flower boxes, in a flower bed, or in a nice flower pot on the deck.  It is growing out of a crack in the floor of our garage...
What an unexpected surprise.  I am not at all sure how this pink little flower found its way here or got its start, but it is growing there none the less.  It hasn't receive special treatment like fertilizer or watering each day, but has flourished.  So even though I don't have any petunias in my flower boxes, I have this little flower to remind me that often growth comes in the most unexpected circumstances. I am reminded that where ever God has us for the moment, is where we are supposed to bloom. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Zucchini Lasagna

This year we had access to lots of zucchini from my Mom's garden.  So my husband taking an idea from my mom and perfecting it, created the Zucchini Lasagna.  It is a much healthier take on a classic dish, then the white pasta and ground beef version most of us are used to.

Here are the ingredients he uses, followed by his recipe:
Zucchini, 580 grams - sliced thinly
Mushrooms, fresh, 258 grams - sliced
Ground turkey, 93% lean, 16 oz - browned with minced onion flakes
1 can Hunts Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce, 751 grams - seasoned to taste with additional garlic, oregano & bay leaf
Mozzarella Cheese, part skim milk, 8 oz
Cottage Cheese, 2% Milkfat, 400 grams
Egg, fresh, 1 large
Parmesan Cheese, grated, 36 grams
Prep Instructions:
Use a food processor to cut the zucchini and soak it in ice salt water to flavorize it.  Then, brown the ground turkey with onion flakes and add the spaghetti sauce, garlic, oregano & bay leaf to simmer. Beat egg and mix together with cottage cheese.  Set cottage cheese mixtures aside.  Drain the zucchini.
Layered like this (bottom to top):
1/2 of zucchini
1/2 of mushrooms
1/2 of meat sauce
1/2 of cottage cheese
1/2 of mozz cheese
Remainder of zucchini
Remainder of mushrooms
Remainder of cottage cheese
Remainder of mozz cheese
Remainder of sauce (to cover)
Sprinkle the parm cheese on top
Bake uncovered @ 350 for 45-55 min.
Rest for 15 before cutting.
Prep and assembly takes about an hour.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving (300 g)

Calories ......................................275.6
Total Fat ......................................11.8 g
Saturated Fat .................................5.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat .......................0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat .....................2.2 g
Cholesterol ..................................90.6 mg
Sodium ......................................964.6 mg
Potassium ..................................679.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate .....................13.7 g
Dietary Fiber .................................2.8 g
Sugars ...........................................6.0 g
Protein ........................................30.1 g
Vitamin A ..............28.2 %
Vitamin B-12 .........12.1 %
Vitamin B-6 ...........12.8 %
Vitamin C ..............17.8 %
Vitamin D ................6.9 %
Vitamin E .................8.4 %
Calcium .................30.5 %
Copper ..................14.9 %
Folate ......................9.6 %
Iron .......................14.2 %
Magnesium ............11.6 %
Manganese ............12.6 %
Niacin ...................12.9 %
Pantothenic Acid ...11.0 %
Phosphorus ...........33.5 %
Riboflavin ..............26.7 %
Selenium ................22.1 %
Thiamin ....................7.0 %
Zinc .......................11.3 %

It was an obvious hit!
This is also a very tasty version.  I don't think we will ever go back to the classic.  If you are not sure about it, just look at this face...

I am linking to Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Picture Frame Mats

We have been in our house a little over a year now and we still have little stacks of pictures that have never found a new place to hang.  I decided to at least get some of them hung this week.  The pictures in some of the frames are outdated, so I first had some new pictures printed.  Then I set out to make mats that would match another project that I had finished but had yet to family rules.  I came across the idea for that project here.  I think I finished it right around Christmas last year.  It has set propped on my scrap booking table ever since.  So here is the project I completed this week.

First I took white photo safe card stock and created a base that would fit inside the picture frame.  Then I lightly sketched a guide to show the portion of the mat that would show in the frame once the picture was placed in the center.

Then I selected the paper I wanted to use.  For mine I chose the scrap paper left from the previous project that I am planning to hang with the pictures.

Then using Modge Podge and torn, cut, and ripped pieces of paper I began creating the mat.  I basically used the same method I used on the letter E I made for Elaine's room.  Here is the mat after a few pieces of paper have been put in place.

Here are the finished mats before being placed in the frames.

Here the mats are in frames with pictures, along with my version of the family rules project.  Hopefully I can get these on the wall today too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: Our Classroom

So today tonight (better late then never) I am going to give you a peek into our little classroom. 

Here is were the children sit to do their papers.  

Our Calendar Space

 "Teacher's" Desk

Our easel - I use the dry erase/magnet side for our lessons.  I also have a home made felt board I use on the easel too.  My model wanted to be in the picture, but didn't want to smile for the camera.
If you are interested in the fun floor you see.  Check out this post.

Awesome Closet Space


It is not a fancy space, but it is perfect for our needs.  We are looking to get a few student desks to slide under the counter. 

I have a little craft project and a healthy lasagna recipe to share later this week, for now I am headed to bed.  With only 6 weeks until baby's due date, I am ready for bed almost all day.