Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Make an Apple Pie and See The World - A Good Read for Children

Recently we read a fun book about a little girl that travels around the world to get the ingredients for her apple pie.  The book is “How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World” and it is a perfect read for this time of the year. 
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World   -     
        By: Marjorie Priceman

During apple picking time we took this book along with us on our field trip to Carter Mountain Apple Orchard in Charlottesville, VA.  We were embarking on our own little adventure and the kids were excited to go and pick their very own apples.   
We love when Dad joins us for a field trip



What was even more exciting was the apple pie recipe at the end of the book.  My oldest had her mind set on using our picked apples to make this pie.  And what a delicious pie it was!  About a week after the trip we gathered around with the book and baked an apple pie from scratch.  This was my first time making pie crust so I was a little concerned about how it would turn out but let me assure you there wasn’t a crumb left after we were done with it.  It was delicious!   



This apple pie was so delicious!

Since then I have been trying to bribe my husband to take some sales calls in Charlottesville and while he is there he can swing over and get us more apples.  This was a really fun field trip and a really cool children’s read.

If you would like to learn about a homeschool mom with some really great ideas for this book visit:

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There is Power in the Blood

God is so good.  It is such a privilege to share his goodness with our children and to teach them that he is strong and powerful.  He can do anything!

Yesterday my middle daughter suddenly experienced terrible pain in her belly.  One minute she was fine and the next she could barely walk.  I always become alarmed with her because she had medical conditions when she was a baby and had a hernia for a very long time.  I told her to give it some time to see if it would go away.  I thought maybe it was just pain in her stomach.   However, she was in excruciating pain.  I then asked her is she could make it upstairs to my bed and she said no she would go to the couch.  I left her, thinking I would give it more time while I take my shower because we were already running late for a program at my son's preschool.  Upstairs God asked me why I had not asked him to help her.  Well what can you say to that?  I am always trying to teach my kids to put God first and to ask him for help.  How quickly we forget when it's not in the framework of our bible lessons.  So I went downstairs and called my oldest daughter over.  My middle daughter was basically in the fetal position in pain.  She said it was not getting better but worse.  I told my oldest that God instructs us to pray.  We laid hands on her and confessed "by his stripes we are heal", "when you are sick call the elders of the church ...", and any other scriptures that came to mind.  Both my daughter and I prayed over her and stood in agreement.  The blood of Jesus is powerful!

I left her on the sofa still in pain and ended the prayer saying by faith we believe you have healed her.  I went upstairs to finish getting showered and dressed.  By the time I came back downstairs she was up smiling and playing with her brother and sister.  I asked her how she was doing and she said, "Mommy it went away."  I smiled at her and said "isn't God good?"  She smiled back.


This is what it is all about.  We have to show our children God is real.  Not someone allocated for Sunday mornings but he is concerned about every detail of our lives.  Christ shed his blood so we could have life and life to it's full.  Please be encouraged today to go to God with your children's problems and afflictions so they will also get to know and trust our wonderful Savior.

Below is a song I grew up with that was in my heart this morning.  Please be encouraged:

  1. Would you be free from the burden of sin?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Would you o’er evil a victory win?
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
    • Refrain:
      There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
      In the blood of the Lamb;
      There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
      In the precious blood of the Lamb.
  2. Would you be free from your passion and pride?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
  3. Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow;
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
  4. Would you do service for Jesus your King?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Would you live daily His praises to sing?
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.


Be Blessed ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Cure for Being Overwhelmed

PrayerNo matter who you are and what you do in life most of us are a few steps away from becoming overwhelmed.  It is a symptom of our present day society.  It is a state of being that far too many people have conceded to as being their normal.

This should not be and this is not God's best for us.  If you are feeling overwhelmed please don't be condemned by this statement.  It's just a matter of fact.  So how do you get from a state of being overwhelmed to finding a sense of contentment and peace?  There is so much information out there that will tell you to prioritize, get a plan, make a budget, slow down, and the list goes on and on.  All of these things are really good and things you should do.  But what do you do at that moment.  You know the moment when you are desperate.  You can barely keep it together and you feel like a pressure cooker about to blow your top.  The moment when the budget is a bust, the schedule has been thrown out the window, and every kid in your house has an emergency that demands your attention NOW!

Let me encourage you to:
Praise God
Worship God
Get an Eternal Perspective
Invite God into your Overwhelmness (OK I know that's not a word but you get my point)

Please don't stop reading now and think oh no not another pie in the sky put God first post.  I need help now! I've tried those things and I still feel overwhelmed.


Think of it this way.  Remember as kids we learned that when there is a fire you should STOP, DROP, and ROLL.  It was ingrained in our heads over and over again to the point that it would be automatic if we were ever in an actual fire.  Suppose you were in a fire and you stopped, dropped, and rolled twice but your clothes were still burning.  You stand up and say oh well I guess that didn't work I am doomed and will just have to burn to death.  That's crazy isn't it!  No you would be so desperate for relief that you would roll around ferociously until the fire was exhausted.  

Let me encourage you to do the same using the 4 points above.  Praise God for who he is.  I love Psalms 145 - 150.  Speak them out loud so your voice will drown out your feelings.  Get a good book of prayers or confessions.  I love Joyce Meyer's little purple book entitled, "The Secret Power of Speaking God's Word."  Say scripture over and over again so in those moments of despair they are already ingrained in your spirit.

Play worship music and invite your kids to sing along.  Stop your homeschool lesson, cleaning, whatever you are doing and put on worship music.  If you are close to a computer go on YouTube and find some great worship videos.  I love songs such as Yahweh from Kari Jobe or He Loves Us from Jesus Culture.  If you can't get to music sing a hymn in your head.  Get to know some old hymns.  They are powerful.  Get an old Baptist Hymnal book.  We consider these things outdated but let me tell you I thank God for all those Sunday's growing up with the hymnal in my hand singing "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus."  These songs are easy to learn and often have a rhythm that is almost like a nursery rhyme in that you can memorize them easily. They don't need live music or a band because of their simplicity of truth.

Get an eternal perspective.  I love Phillips, Craig, and Dean's song "When the Stars Burn Down."  Read the lyrics of this song.  Go to the book of Revelation.  Read the last chapters about the new Jerusalem and the coming of Christ.  Live in light of eternity.  Reflect on trials of the past and see how you are still here and standing when you should have fallen.  In Revelation 21:4 the bible says, "He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain.  These things of the past are gone forever."

Invite God in.  At this point ask Holy Spirit to help you invite God into the moment.  Speak in your prayer language (it really helps to quiet your soul).  Physically kneel to pray.  Raise your hands to heaven in an act of surrender.  I have even clenched my fist and then physically opened them as a physical act of releasing the situation to God.

Please be encouraged.  Nothing lasts forever.  Even these things listed above can be done in a matter of moments.  It doesn't have to be a long drawn out process.  If you are still feeling overwhelmed please keep at it.  Don't give up.  Never give up until you have God's peace and rest.  Then ask God to help you get to the root of your feelings.  This is where the practical steps come in such as trimming down your schedule, planning, cleaning-up, whatever you may need to change.  But before doing all that put God first and see how he can help you in the midst of your moment.

Be Blessed ...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I may remember, involve me & I learn"


"Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn" - Benjamin Franklin


I love this quote from Benjamin Franklin.  It rings so true and many of us who drive our kids from one field trip to the next know that reading something in a book does not even come close to experiencing something in real life.  This is one of the awesome privileges of home schooling.  We get to go and do and not just read about something or watch a movie about it.  It also rings true in life.  We should be involving our children in all aspects of life.  They should be involved in the managing and upkeep of the home, community service, and other activities that get them out of the role of simply being a spectator.

Last month we visited Yorktown and Jamestown during their home school weekend.  This wasn’t our first trip to Jamestown but it was our first chance to go to Yorktown.  What an awesome adventure!  The lives of the revolutionary war heroes as well as ordinary people come to life in such  incredible ways.  The children get to really experience what life was like and understand the whys and hows of the war. 
My middle daughter dressed up as a little farmer at the Yorktown Victory site. 

We even had a chance to hang out on the York River - History, Science, and Biology all in one day!
At Jamestown we learned about how the women dried their food in preparation for winter months


Below is a link to Jamestown and Yorktown.  They offer wonderful programs throughout the year.  In addition to the victory center the area itself is historic and offers tons to do.  I am looking forward to keeping this as a permanent annual field trip.


Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Your Mind and Your Homeschool - What Are You Focused On?

Several days ago my friend spoke to me about her frustrations and doubts concerning homeschooling her children.  Her task is certainly daunting.  With a large family to take care of saying that her decision to homeschool is a true commitment is an understatement.  However, in spite of her doubts she said that the Lord clearly stated "teach them about me."  This is what she has been holding on to and since then I am also finding strength in this simple but profound statement.



The statement has constantly challenged me to evaluate my focus.  I am convinced that nothing else matters more.  This world is so very fickle and while our child's academics are truly essential their relationship and knowledge of the Lord is invaluable.  I am certain that nothing else will sustain them more in this life's journey.  Our focus must be centered around seeking his will for our family's lives and in that he will equip us to train and teach our children.  Our eyes have to daily be on him.  We must constantly ask for the strength and wisdom to manage our homes and give our children what they need.  We get distracted when we compare ourselves and children to others.   Our focus must remain on him.

Be Blessed ...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fun Autumn Glyph for Children

During a mom's meeting at my home the kids made the following autumn glyphs.  This is a really great activity for a slow day or when your kids need a break from the norm. 

What is a glyph?  It is a symbol that conveys a message or information nonverbally.  This is a great way for kids to learn data collection and learn how to interpret information.  Below is a link containing the directions for creating this glyph:
 
 
To download the instructions for this Glyph click here.
 
Happy Homeschooling . . . 
 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life - New ebook by Crystal Paine

I am excited to announce that Crystal Paine (also known as the Money Saving Mom) is launching her brand new eBook TODAY entitled "21 Days to a More Disciplined Life."  Based on her popular online series by the same name she is providing us with even more tools to help us set priorities, organize, and not to allow our emotions to dictate our life.

Click Here To Learn More

A week does not go by that I don't stop by Money Saving Mom.  I am looking forward to this book and will be posting about how my 21 days are going.  Lord knows I can stand a little more discipline in my life :-)

To learn more about this new book or to order your copy click on my affiliate link below.  Also, if you order by Thursday the cost of the book will only be $0.99!

Click Here to Learn More and get your copy today!

Disclosure: This link is my referral link.  I am affiliate and receive a commission on the sale of this item.  If you have any questions or concerns please contact me at identityNHm@gmail.com


Monday, October 22, 2012

Whose Standard of Beauty

I would like to welcome my sister Aminah who wrote this encouraging article on her website Loved and Forgiven.  Check out her website as well as her blog Grace to Endure.  She is truly a gift to me from God.

Be Blessed ...

I posted this a long time ago...I felt the need to post this again. I pray that it helps whoever needs to read this.
 
We cannot turn on the television, surf the net, or even drive around town without being inundated with images of women...perfect women. Or are they, and if so, by whose standards?
 
  1 Samuel 16:7b The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
 
 
This is an area I struggled with a very long time. I made up in my mind about two years ago, that I would no longer live my life being defeated in this area. When I feel myself getting ready to slip into the abyss of negative self image, I use my tools.
 
1. I remind myself that I was made in God's image
 
Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

God's Kindness Leads to Repentence

Recently I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve our children at church by coming up with their lesson plans for children's ministry.  I am realizing this is a huge task and something that has to be directed by Holy Spirit. So often I feel like we just push our children to the side in pursuit to satisfy our own spiritual appetites not realizing that their spirits are crying out in need of that same nourishment.  We look at Children's Ministry as baby sitting or a place for our children to go so we won't be bothered while we try to get fed.  This is so far from the truth especially once you realize how open and hungry their hearts are for Jesus.  God loves them so much and what an amazing opportunity to show a little heart his amazing kindness in a midst of a confusing and unkind world.
My Daughter's Baptism - She has Experienced God's Kindness

This is truly my heart.  Even though I have to admit I was so focused on getting their lesson done that I was losing track of this simple fact.  In Romans 2:4 the bible says that, "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"  I had to stop myself and think am I showing his kindness or more concerned on Sunday about getting their lesson done and the logistics of Children's Ministry?  Isn't the goal for their hearts to receive Christ and their lives to reflect his lordship?  If we are not showing his kindness we are missing a critical element needed to advance his kingdom.  

The same goes for our homeschool.  If we are more focused on our lessons and schedules that we fail to show our children God's kindness than we are missing the highest privilege of the freedom of homeschooling our children.  Laying on guilt and shame will not get us very far with our children but leading them to Christ and having them experience his kindness will bring about a repentant heart that will result in lasting change.

Be Blessed ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just Scratching the Surface

Recently I watched a movie entitled "The Second Chance."  It is a drama about a suburban pastor that is forced to work alongside an urban minister.  The suburban pastor (who just so happens to be Michael W. Smith) is a gifted musician and pastor in the church founded by his father.  He is comfortable in his church and their efforts of mission work abroad, in the apparent success of the church's growth and standing in the community.  The urban pastor's church is an affiliate of the suburban mega church because it was planted by Smith's father.

As you can imagine the needs of the two congregations are vastly different.  Throughout the story both ministers are challenged to examine their own views of salvation and ministry.  This is where it got personal for me.  It really made me examine whether or not I have become comfortable in my Christian walk to the point that I am not digging deep into the Christian experience that Christ died for us to have.  Is my walk more about me than about his kingdom being advanced here on earth?

In Hebrews 6:1-3 the author writes, "We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught about Christ.  We shouldn't need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God.  And we shouldn't need to keep teaching about the baptisms or about the laying on of hands or about people being raised from death and the future judgment.  Let's grow up, if God is willing."

After reading this I thought wow if laying on of hands and raising people from the dead are what is considered the "basic things we were taught about Christ" than I am just scratching the surface of what Christ died for me to experience.  So how do I move from basic things to the mature things?  What do I need to do differently?  For starters I am asking for grace to see beyond me.  Just as the pastors in the story had to both see beyond what they were use to in order for God's greater purposes to be fulfilled.  Also, I have to stop walking in unbelief and fear.  Now at this point I realize that no change can be brought about simply by my own efforts but only through the work of the Holy Spirit. So it is my prayer that Holy Spirit will help me to begin to not just scratch the surface of this walk but to put a vision in my heart of what our experience is really suppose to look like.

Be Blessed ...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choice for 2012 - 2013

Last year I really enjoyed putting together what I would use to homeschool.  I considered myself an eclectic homeschooler and pretty much pieced together what I felt was the best of all styles for my child.  We used "First Language Lessons of A Well-Trained Mind" for Grammar, Singapore Math, Apologia Science, it really was a hodgepodge of materials and my daughter did very well.

However, this year has brought additional responsibilities and I knew I would not have the time or energy to spend putting her curriculum together.  At our statewide homeschool conference this past June I prayed to God for help.  I vowed not to go to any of the publishers interest meetings because I didn't want to be sold a curriculum.  Of course everyone would say theirs is the best.  However, I truly prayed and asked God to lead me.  I already pretty much thought I would go with one particular curriculum and had even purchased some of the materials during the used curriculum sale but then God stopped me in my tracks and I felt an urge to go to the My Father's World interest session.

homeschool curriculum program developed by My Fathers World

The funny thing was that My Father's World was not even on my list.  I didn't even visit their booth in the exhibit hall the night before.  I truly think it was a God thing.  After listening to the speaker talk about her experiences with the curriculum I was sold.  Below are a couple of reasons why I chose to use MFW:
  1. All the planning is done for you.  This is a HUGE time saver!  I feel less stressed about making sure they are getting what they need.
  2. They already used Singapore Math.  I absolutely love Singapore Math.  I have a math background and I think it is one of the best programs I have seen out there.  Perhaps I will have another post as to why I feel this way.  But trust me if your child is successful using Singapore math they will be able to truly understand mathematical concepts and be able to critically think and apply what they learned in real world applications.
  3. God is at the center of the curriculum and of the actual organization.  It's not just a secular curriculum that put God in it is a true Christian based curriculum with Christ at the center of every subject.
  4. It is hands on and fun.  There are not just a bunch of boring worksheets and drills.  You do fun experiments, nature walks, have lively discussions, it is really a total package.
  5. It was developed by a homeschool family.  Enough said right there.
  6. It uses true living books.  It basically combines the Charlotte Mason style with a classical approach.   
This year we have dived into the Kindergarten Package for my middle daughter and Exploring Countries and Cultures for my oldest.  It captures their interest and mine as well.  It is not boring to teach at all and I am learning so much along with my daughter.  I continue to use First Language Lessons along with their suggested Primary Language Lessons for Grammer.  Also, from time to time we still incorporate our own thing into the days lesson but altogether it has been a great fit for our family.

God Bless...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Keeping Your Mind Set to Homeschool

We all have our reasons for homeschooling.  It is so important to keep those reasons before us at all times.  At this point in the year most of us have pretty much got into what we hope to be some sort of homeschool routine.  Whatever that is for you.  For some your routine is to wake up in the morning and see what the children are interested in and just do it.  Many others have set routines and schedules that you follow.  While some of you participate in coops or other structured learning environments.  However you choose to homeschool it is important to keep your mind set on doing it. 

The challenge often comes after the excitement begins to fade.  You have taken the plastic off of all your new books, you have organized your homeschool space, you may have even spent hours creating the perfect homeschool schedule.  Now the kids are starting to complain a little and if you are truthful you are finding yourself doubting your abilities more than reveling in the excitement of teaching your children.  This is the point where you have to stop in your tracks and set your mind and keep it set that you will homeschool.  Despite your feelings, exhaustion, messy houses, being misunderstood by family and friends, homeschooling is the life that you know God has destined for your family.

Fridays at Homeschool Park Get Together

Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  When you are feeling tired, inadequate, frustrated, or just plain emotional this is not the time to give up.  Press through.  Take a week off if you need to.  Love on your kids and your husband.  Play with your children.  Then go and keep your mind set on homeschooling your kids.  Look to Christ to give you strength and trust that he will honor your decision to make him the center of your child's education and total upbringing. 

God Bless and stay encouraged in his ability to keep you.  Remember you are tailor made to raise and educate your children.  Keep your eyes set on him and the rewards of teaching your children to live lives pleasing to God.  He will honor you and give you what you need.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

10 Ways Your Kids Can Help You in the Kitchen

I enjoy cooking (well most of the time).  I enjoy spending time with my children.  However, I found that combining the two is sometimes a little difficult.  As a mom you just want to get dinner done and done quick. You don't want to find egg shells in your pancakes or notice the 3 year old eating half of you cake batter before you get it in the over.  Perhaps you have had the experience of a whole dish dropped on the floor or more milk poured on the counter than in the actual bowl.  Now I am sure you know where this is going since the post is titled "10 Ways Your Kids Can Help You in the Kitchen."  Well in the scheme of things all those little accidents and the extra time it takes you to prepare your dish is really worth it.  Why you may ask?  First you are teaching your kids that they are valuable and contributing members of your household.  You are showing them they are needed.  You are teaching them that you enjoy spending time with them.  You are instilling in them responsibility and teamwork.  Furthermore, the homeschool lessons found in the kitchen are not hard to come by.  Measuring, coordination skills for the little ones, following directions, reading, the list goes on.  Finally, as the children grow up it will pay off big.  My daughter is 8 years old and she already knows how to do just about everything I do in the kitchen.  She cleans chicken, she bakes biscuits, she browns ground beef, really the list goes on.  As they get older they actually help more than slow you down.  The time put in when they are younger really pays off.

My 3 year old scrambling eggs for breakfast
So here it is 10 ways your kids can help you in the kitchen:

My 5  year old using the salad spinner
  1. Washing vegetables - The kids love to use our salad spinner.  Also, washing carrots, celery, any produce is an easy job for kids.
  2. Mixing - Kids like to mix just about anything.  Older kids can use a hand mixer when baking cakes, making icing, etc...  Younger kids just like to mix things with a spoon.
  3. Measuring - Teaching your kids kitchen measurements is a fun way to incorporate math into the kitchen.  Even you youngest child can identify the 1 cup mark on a measuring cup.  Older children can get a quick fraction lesson in the kitchen.
  4. Cutting / Dividing - When you are bulk cooking you can use the opportunity to introduce fractions again.  Divide your dish into halves, quarters, thirds, you name it and teach your children about serving sizes.
  5. Washing Dishes - I know what you are thinking.  Who wants to wash dishes anyway.  Well younger kids LOVE to wash dishes and play in soapy water.  My two youngest kids will fight at the chance to be the one to wash dishes.  I love it too because that's one less thing I have to do.  Who cares if the counter gets a little soaked in the process.
  6. Setting the table - This is a huge help during mealtime.  When the kids set the table you can concentrate on getting the final details of dinner in place.
  7. Cleaning Meat - For older kids this is just a life skill.  Understanding kitchen safety and cleanliness is very important.  My 8 year old is very aware of how to clean meat as well as how to not contaminate other surfaces while she is cleaning.  
  8. Stirring on the Stove - You may feel this is dangerous but under supervision it is a time saver.  All three of my children stir fry vegetables, scramble eggs, stir sauces, you name it on the stove.  This frees me up to chop vegetables or do other duties that they just are not ready for.
  9. Use kitchen appliances - Kids enjoy using blenders, choppers, and food processors.  Be careful with younger ones because the blades are very sharp.  Typically I will allow the younger ones to add ingredients from the top and not reach their hands in.   
  10. Clean-up - I saved the best for last.  After you are all stuffed after dinner who wants to face a dirty kitchen all alone.  Every kid has a job.  My oldest makes sure the counters are clear and clean.  My middle cleans the kitchen table, and my youngest moves all the chairs away for sweeping.  It is really a time saver.
My 8 year old cleaning chicken breast
What are ways that you kids help you?  I would love to hear about it.

Blessing . . . 






Thursday, July 12, 2012

Homemade Chicken Potpie - Well Sort of ...

Here is a recipe for one of my favorite foods in the whole world - Chicken Pot Pie.  This recipe also freezes very well.  When I have a freezer cooking day this is always on my list of dishes to make.  Enjoy!


I transfer the mixture to foil pans in order to freeze them

1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 cup chopped onion, celery, and carrots
1/2 cup flour
3 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 cups of chicken broth
1 (15.5) oz. can of peas, drained
1 to 3 cups of cooked chicken (cubed or shredded)
1 package of store brought rolled up pie crust (usually 2 crust come in a pack)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to temperature on pie crust package (usually anywhere between 400 - 420 F depending on the crust you purchase.)

2. In a skillet melt butter and stir in the garlic, onion, celery, and carrot until tender.

3. Mix in flour, sugar, basil, and pepper until absorbed.

4.  Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Continuously stir so you won't get any sticking.

5. Reduce heat and stir in peas and chicken.  Allow to simmer a few minutes.

6. Transfer into a 9 X 13 baking dish.  Cover mixture with pie crust.  Allow crust to go over the edges of your dish.  Make sure for the first few minutes of baking that you put aluminium foil around all the edges of the crust so they don't burn.  After you notice the center of the crust browning take the foil off.  Allow crust to cook completely.

7.  After crust is done then take out and allow to sit and cool.

Freezer Cooking Tip:
I purchase aluminum pans from the dollar store for my freezer cooking.  Transfer mixture to a pan and allow it to completely cool.  Next cover with the pie crust.  Do not cook the pie crust but freeze with the uncooked crust.  Cover with plastic wrap then with aluminum foil.
I place the pie crust on top but do not cook the crust if I am freezing my pies.  Then I wrap with plastic and foil

When ready to take out the freezer you don't have to thaw it out before placing in the oven.  Place in the oven at 350 F.  Then as you see it is pretty much thawed out you can increase the temperature to 400 or 420 to brown and cook the crust.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Guest Post - Trusting God as My Father - Grace to Endure Blog


Today I am pleased to have a guest post from my wonderful sister.  Check her out over at Grace to Endure.


 Trusting God as My Father
It is amazing the things that you realize when you are watching children play. As I was sitting in the carpool line waiting for my son to be dismissed from school today, I rolled down my window only to hear the sounds of children screaming, yelling, and laughing. I looked up and saw children running around playing and smiling…without a care in the world. My mind then filled with images of my own beautiful children; my pre-teen sleeping peacefully in his bed at night, my toddler running to me with his arms reaching out. Our children trust in us. They don’t worry if whether or not they will be clothed, or fed. They know that they will be taken care of and that they are loved and wanted.



Then I thought to myself, “Isn’t that the way I should be with my Heavenly Father”? What happens to us that we learn not to trust Him?

Life.

When circumstances arise in our lives and things don’t go according to our plans, most of us allow those circumstances to cause us to distrust God. This leads to all kinds of anxious feelings. We can have thoughts that overtake us and even affect our health. However, God’s word tells us NOT to allow ourselves to be anxious about anything.


“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you Why do you have so little faith?

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

Luke 12:22-32

I have had many difficult situations in my life. Some of them I was able to readily give them to the Lord, but there have been others that have caused me to feel anxious. I have found that trusting God to handle the situation always results in peace.

Peace: harmony; undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts (Amplified Bible)

Selah ...

If you enjoyed this post visit my sister's blog at Grace to Endure

Friday, July 6, 2012

Picking Strawberries at Adam's Acres - Strawberry Jam Fun

One of my favorite things about spring and early summer is that we get to go and pick strawberries.  My oldest daughter was 3 when we first started picking strawberries and it is really a family tradition we look forward to.   In a world full of television, video games, and all sorts of things grabbing our kids attention and affections its so important to realize that what they will really appreciate and remember as they get older are the fun things you do together like going to the farm each year.



This was our first  year making strawberry jam and it turned out great!  Coupled with our homemade biscuits we have managed to already eat at least 3 jars of jam.  Below is a link to the recipe I used to make my jam.  I did not add any pectin just stirred and stirred until I felt it was thick enough.


Brother and Sister Smashing Strawberries for Jam

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Homeschool Subject Planner Page

When I started homeschooling I found one of my biggest frustrations was finding time for home management.    Then I came across an article about a family that operates on a 3 week on 1 week off schedule.  During the week "off" mom gets a chance to catch-up on some housework, meal plan, and simply rest.  Since reading the article we have adopted this schedule and I love it.  Prior to doing this I used a subject planner to organize our homeschool curriculum.  Basically I plan one subject per page.  I have adapted my subject planner to reflect this new 3 week on one week off schedule.  Click on the link below to download a subject planning page you can print and  use for your family.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Most Important Subject During My Homeschool Day

Like many homeschoolers I often find my day going way off schedule.  To be perfectly honest I have a pretty great schedule written down.  However, most days I find I am actually going off schedule.  I don't know if I am just trying to cram too much in one day.  Perhaps my schedule just doesn't allow for any interruptions or moments when I have to explain a concept over and over again.  I just know that lately I have become increasingly frustrated with my lack of consistency in following my schedule.  This frustration has been amplified by not always knowing what subjects to teach and which to let go when my day does not go the way I plan.  Then I was challenged by the thought of letting Bible slide.  After all isn't it important that we cover at least math and language arts daily.  Those are the two subjects we are required to test our children on (at least in Virginia) and report their scores to the superintendent.  Then it struck me Bible is not just a subject and if I treat it as just one more thing to get through on our daily checklist that is exactly the view my children will have towards God's Word.  

Today we read in John chapter 6 that Jesus is the bread of life.  Nothing will sustain my children more than learning God's Word.  And not just memorizing verses but learning the daily discipline and privilege of spending time with Jesus.  She is learning to discern the voice of Holy Spirit.  She is learning of the faith that will keep her everyday of her life.  We don't know what the future holds.  There is no guarantee that the America we live in today, that is still so full of opportunity and wealth, will be that same America our children and grandchildren experience.  The best and most important thing we can teach our children is to have a hunger and thirst after God.  To live life in light of eternity.  This will only be accomplished if we make sure we don't neglect the most important subject in our homeschool day and our entire life - God's Word.  Everything else can wait.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Little Yeast Can Change a Whole Batch of Dough

This spring I made a goal to start making homemade bread.  I had in my mind that I will finally be a true homemaker once I learn how to make great tasting bread.  Well this week I am happy to report that I have managed to make homemade bread three times.  Admittedly, my first attempt was about a month ago.  It didn't turn out bad but for some reason I stopped and this was my first week trying to pick it back up again.
Anyone that makes bread knows that yeast makes a huge difference.  It's amazing how the yeast causes the bread to rise.  Even once you punch the bread down the yeast will cause it to rise again.  The yeast is alive and active.


Recently, I have found myself feeling disconnected from God.  This morning during my quiet time I ran across this passage from Galatians 5:9 - "A little yeast can change a whole batch of dough ..."  Isn't God so timely with what Holy Spirit illuminates to you.  Through reading this and other scriptures in Galatians I repented of having a critical spirit towards some people in my life.  To be honest I didn't see it coming.  I can't even pin point when I allowed this spirit to infiltrate my thoughts and attitudes.  I just know it's there and has caused my texture to change just as yeast changes the texture of bread.  I repented and thanked God for showing me this.

We have to guard ourselves constantly and examine ourselves and motives each day.  Every time we find ourselves being critical towards others we should take that opportunity to pray for that person.  Sure yeast may be great in bread but a little worldly yeast in your life is no good at all.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Go to Granola

Here is the basic granola recipe I use.  It is very simple and I add a variety of things to it to change the taste and texture.  We eat it for breakfast with milk, pack it for lunch with yogurt, and eat it for a dessert.

Ingredients:

4 Cups Old-Fashion Oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp of ground cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
In a saucepan mix brown sugar, honey, canola oil, and cinnamon.  Heat to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Allow to sit a few minutes until the extract stops bubbling.  In a separate bowl pour in your 4 cups of oats.  Pour mixture over oats and mix thoroughly. Heat oven to 350 degrees F and take a medium sized baking sheet.  Spread mixture in a thin layer over the baking sheet.  Cook for 6 minutes.  Take out of the oven flip the mixture over with a spatula and cook another 6 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Once completely cool add what you like.  Some things I typically add are:
Raisins
Chocolate Chips
Craisins
Marshmallows
Banana Chips

Also you could add:
Nuts (any variety) - my son is allergic to peanuts so we normally stay away from adding nuts
Sunflower Seeds


Enjoy.  If you have another recipe I would love to see it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Guest Post from Patiently Enduring - Seasoned With Salt


My PhotoI would like to introduce a wonderful women full of God's spirit and grace.  Her name is Patiently Enduring and she is my sister.  Below is a post from her new blog Grace to Endure.   She also has a website she maintains called Loved and Forgiven. She would love for you to come and check her out.


Seasoned With Salt -
Life throws many challenges our way. I was reflecting on my own life earlier today. Compared to many, I have to admit I have had a pretty good life. It has not, however been without its share of challenges. As I have grown more spiritually, I have recognized those challenges as more opportunities to trust the God that I claim to serve. What I mean is this. For some of us we never really know how much we really love the Lord until we go through trials. Something that forces us to fall on our knees, through up our hands to Him surrendering every ounce of our being.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fun Sensory Boxes for Kids Using Rice

One of the challenges as a homeschooler is how to keep the younger ones busy when you have to sit down with your older child to do age specific activities.  My 3 year old is really great about listening (for the most part) but lets face it how long do you really expect a 3 year old to sit while you are drilling multiplication tables?To solve this I use several activities to keep my 3 and 4 year old children busy.  One of them is a tactile rice box.


It is so easy to make and the kids love it.  They absolutely look forward to it.  I only bring it out on Friday's just so they don't get tired of playing with it (also so I am not sweeping up rice everyday).  Basically I purchased small shoe box size plastic containers from Walmart.  Then I filled them with white rice.  Next I took some letters and buried them in the box.  Each box has a different set of letters.  I write the letters on the lid of the box and the challenge is to find all your letters then run to mom and tell me what sound those letters make.  After that is over the kids just use plastic spoons and other containers to dig around in the box.  This will literally entertain them for an hour.  So if you are looking for something to distract your little ones while helping them with their fine motor skills this is a perfect activity.




Monday, May 14, 2012

Christa's Hot Cocoa Mix

Thanks to my good friend Christa my kids and I enjoy making this very simple hot cocoa mix.  This is so simple to make even the youngest member of your family can help - just as long as they can hold a spoon :-)

Enjoy!



Ingredients:
3 cups dry milk powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups cocoa
1 cup non dairy creamer (optional)































Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.  After done mix in a hot cup of milk (if you left out the dairy creamer which we normally do) or mix in with hot water.

Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teaching Moon Phases With Oreo Cookies - Apologia Exploring Creation With Astronomy

I absolutely love Apologia's Young Explorer series and plan to use it throughout my children's education as their science curriculum.  The thing I like about Apologia is that it really digs deep into each subject and presents all science in light of God's glory.  This year we are using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy.
Apologia's Young Explorer Series
All year we have learned about the planets, stars, and how the heaven's declare God's glory.  Chapter 6 is a study of our moon.  Just for fun I decided to help the children remember all the phases of the moon by using Oreo cookies.  Below is an outline of the activity:

What you will need:
A pack of Oreo Cookies -we like the double stuffed :-)
A small plastic knife or Popsicle stick for younger children
Paper Plates
Crayons/Markers
Frosting
A picture showing all 8 phases of the moon for reference


1. First we took one side off of each cookie and ate them (yum-yum).  This left us with a cookie with the cream on it.
2. Then based off of the 8 phases we attempted to scrape off the cream to coincide with the appropriate stage. This is where you get cookie casualties because if your hand is heavy you can break your cookie in half.  Try explaining that to a 3 year old that just wants to keep breaking his cookies.
3. Then have everyone draw the earth in the middle of the plate.
4. After preparing each phase we placed them in order around the paper plate.
5. Then we used squeezable frosting to "glue" the cookie moons around the plate
6. After each moon was glued my oldest proceeded to write the name of each phase above, below, or to the side of each moon.
7. I verbally discussed the significance of what we had done with the 3 and 4 year old children.



Together we discussed how the moon appears to change shape in our sky.  However, the moon itself never disappears but only reflects the light from our sun based upon it's position.  This was a fun activity and after sharing our project with Dad once he came home we proceeded to eat our project after dinner :-)

There are many websites that have this experiment.  Below are just a few:
Paper Plate Education
Science Bob
Learning Encounters

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Inspiring Tuesdays - Quotes That Inspire Us to Live Better


How much stuff do you own that causes you more grief than joy?  Think about it and take a good look around.  Does having stuff make you feel more secure, happy, prosperous, or accepted?  Do you find yourself spending all of your energy taking care of stuff that you really don't need?  And is it just material stuff?  What about relationships, guilt, and bad habits.  Today's quote challenges us to look at our lives and take stock of what really makes us happy and what causes us more grief to maintain.

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.
- Charles Spurgeon

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mouthwatering Homemade Biscuits

My family loves biscuits.  I usually make a batch at least twice a week and they are gone just as soon as I make them.  Below is a quick and easy recipe you can use that I am sure your family will love.

Ingredients:
2 cups of Hudson Cream Flour (self-rising flour)
about 1/3 cup and 2 tsps of coconut oil (not liquid but put it in the fridge so it gets a little solid but not hard)
2 teaspoons of white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
3/4 to 1 cup of evaporated milk
2 - 3 tablespoons of canola oil

My daughter is the biscuit expert.  She actually makes biscuits better than I do most of the time :-)

They may not be the prettiest biscuit but they sure are good.


Directions:
1. Blend the coconut oil, sugar, salt, and flour with a hand held pastry blender
2. Add the milk and mix
3. Flour a surface and kneed the dough about 3 to four times
4. Pour the canola oil on the surface of your pan
5. Pinch off about 2 to 3 tablespoons of dough (may be sticky but that's ok)
6. Roll dough around in the canola oil until l all sides are coated
7. Place coated dough on the pan and move on to the next piece to repeat the same process
8. Place biscuits kind of close to each other so sides don't burn.
9. Cook for about 10 minutes at 420 deg F in your oven
10. Enjoy

Thursday, May 3, 2012

10 Things I Do to Save Money

First of all I would like to start this post by saying this is not a frugal living blog.  There are hundreds of good frugal living blogs out there.  I will name a few of my favorites throughout this post.  So here we go -  10 things I do in order to save money:

1.  I cut my dryer sheets in half - Half a dryer sheet works just as good as a whole one so a box of 40 will become a box of 80.

2. I don't buy shampoo - Ok before you say yuck she doesn't wash her hair my hair IS very clean.  I typically use apple cider vinegar, baking soda, or conditioner (called co-washing) to wash my hair.  Here is a link that talks about using vinegar for your hair.  Trust me you will notice your hair has less tangles and will actually have more shine.
How to Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo - from Simple Mom
I have only blown dried and straightened my daughter's hair probably less than 5 times her whole life but here you can see her hair is long and healthy.  I use no chemicals, wash mostly with apple cider vinegar, and moisturize with olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, and vegetable glycerin.

3. I don't buy expensive cleaners.  Typically you can clean just as good with a mixture of white vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia.  True you may not have all the good fragrances  but you will get things clean.  There are lots of sites that teach you how to make your own cleaners.
Non-Toxic Home Cleaning by eartheasy

4. I use coupons and buy store brands.  Very rarely will I pay full price unless I absolutely have to.  There are countless blogs that talk about couponing.  Also, there are different methods used to organize your coupons.  Typically I use the method described by Couponmom.com.  She has a great tutorial video on her website.  However, I absolutely love Moneysavingmom.com.  Her website is wonderful for learning how to just live wisely.  She has everything up there from tips on blogging, coupon deals, to how to live debt free.  Also, I enjoy Southernsavers.com.

5. I get hand me downs, shop at Goodwill, and love yard sales.  Hey it may not be new but it's new to me :-)
I typically won't buy any home decor full price.  Most decorations I get come from yard sales or goodwill.  Also, this is a great way to buy things for kids.  Let's face it kids grow out of things quick.  You can save a lot of money by buying used items.

Rug I purchased for my Den for $15.00 at a Yard Sale.  It was in good condition

6. I go to consignment shops or frequent consignment sales.  You can get a lot of name brands such as Ann Taylor, Talbots, etc... at consignments sales.  Also, there are many children's consignment shops that you can purchase equipment, toys, and all types of baby gear.  I got one of my son's pack and plays for just $15.00 at a consignment sale!  When you are done you can also sell it back to them :-)

7. I buy whole chicken fryers.  A whole chicken is wonderful.  Why pay extra just to have someone cut up a chicken for you?  If you don't know how to do it go on YouTube and learn how.  You can make more than one meal from a whole chicken.  You can boil it with vegetables to make a delicious broth that you can in turn use in other recipes.  Typically you will find (at least in my area) these less than $1.00/lb.

8. I buy on Ebay, Amazon, and other retailers.  If you are buying electronics, or cell phone accessories, refrigerator filters, and many household items at the store well stop!  You can often find these things significantly cheaper online.

9. Quit cable and ditch your land line phone.  Really can you actually watch 500 channels?  Do you get adequate cell phone service in your home?  We no longer pay for cable which is a huge cost saver. Ok I must confess we do have Netflix but this is still a lot cheaper than cable.  Also, we have not had your typical phone service for probably over 10 years.  We started out using Vonage.  Then we switched over to Magic Jack, and now we just basically use our cell phones.  I figure why pay for two phone services when you only need one.

10. I make most of my food homemade and we limit eating out.  This is also healthier.  I will admit initially this can be overwhelming but after you master a recipe you can basically do it with your eyes closed.  Some of my pet peeves are people that buy pancake mix (you are paying for overpriced flour), buying granola (do you realize how easy it is to make your own and how cheap a huge container of oats are?), and buying a boat load of frozen dinners (you can make your own - I will have a later post about freezer cooking).  These are just a few but you can save a lot of money by just doing stuff on your own in the kitchen.

I hope you have enjoyed this post.  I will probably do a part 2 to this at a later date.  Please feel free to add to the list and tell me what you do to save money.  There are countless ideas out there.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Inspiring Tuesdays - Quotes that Challenge Us to Live Better - Kari Jobe

I have had a bit of an break with blogging just because of life.  Life comes in with so many demands and expectations.  Before you know it you are feeling overwhelmed and that's when a lot of negative emotions tend to bubble up.  So many times in my tiredness and frustration I have had to apologize to my children or husband for snapping at them.  These are moments we have to take a time out and realize that even in our weaknesses God is with us.  I have felt incredibly weak for some time.  Feelings of condemnation and accusation have been surrounding me more than feelings of approval.  However, while in quite time this morning I listened to a Kari Jobe song that really hit home.  Today is not much of a quote but I want to highlight a lyric in her song "You Are For Me".  So often we feel God is not with us because of how we act or things we do.  However, this is contrary to his character.  His utmost desire is to be with us and he delights in us.  I love the following verse from Zephaniah that sums up his delight in us:

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.   - Zephaniah 3:17

In no uncertain terms God has pour out his love to fill our hearts (Romans 5:5).  During these valleys of accusation I pray I can remember that.  Below is the part of Kari's song I want to highlight today:



So faithful. So constant.
So loving and so true.
So powerful in all You do.
You fill me. You see me.
You know my every move
and You love for me to sing to You.

I know that You are for me.

I know that You are for me.

I know that You will never, 
forsake me in my weaknesses

I know that You have come now,
even if to write upon my heart.
To remind me who You are.

So patient, So gracious,
So merciful and true…
So wonderful in all You do.
You know me. You see me.
You know my every move.
You love for me to sing to You

Lord, I know that You are for me.
I know that You are for me.
I know that You will never, 
forsake me in my weaknesses.
I know that You have come now,
even if to write upon my heart.

To remind me that
I know that You are for me.
I know that You are for me.
I know that You will never, 
forsake me in my weaknesses.
I know that You have come now,
even if to write upon my heart.
To remind me who You are.

I know that You are for me.
I know that You are for me.
I know that You will never,
forsake me in my weaknesses.
I know that You will come now,
even if to write upon my heart.
To remind me of who You are.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Inspiring Tuesdays - Quotes that Challenge us to Live Better - George Washington Carver

I think life is all about perspective.  We get so wrapped up in our everyday lives that we often become very inward focused.  We think about what will make us happy, successful, comfortable, really the list goes on. One thing I pray my husband and I are instilling in our children is to live beyond themselves.  This world is made up of different people with different needs and this life that has been given to us is not all about us.  We have to look beyond ourselves to really see others.  For today I want to bring you a quote that helps to keep life in perspective.  It is from one of the greatest Americans that has ever lived.  George Washington Carver.

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. - 
George Washington Carver



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Creamy Vegetable Noodle Soup

I absolutely love vegetable soup.  Topped off with cheddar cheese and sour cream this recipe is sure to please even your most pickiest eaters.  We eat soup all year round and tend to have vegetable soup early in the week especially if we have had a weekend full of junk food :-)

Enjoy!


1 can of Cream of Chicken soup
4 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 medium onion chopped
1 clove of minced garlic
1 tbsp of olive oil
16 oz of frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup (or more) whole wheat rotini pasta
1 to 2 tsp of chili powder
salt to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions al dente

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add in chicken broth and cream of chicken soup and bring to a boil.  Once boiling add in the rest of the ingredients.  Cook until vegetables are done or to desired consistency.  Add cooked noodles cook about 3 more minutes and serve warm.

Top off with cheddar cheese and sour cream.  Serve with crackers

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Help Your Children Master Math Facts with XtraMath

You have to take a look at a free program online that will help your children excel with their math facts.  A good indicator of how well your child will do in math is how quickly they can recall and understand their math facts.  In a world full of computers and calculators I often fear our students don't get a solid foundation in mathematics.  I can't tell you how many kids I have seen in middle school that can't do basic fundamental math.

XtraMath is a math facts fluency program that helps your child master addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts in a fun interactive way.  The program assesses where your child is and tailors problems to their level.  The lessons are short enough to be done in just 5 to 10 minutes each day.  Visit their website at www.xtramath.org for more information.


Click here for a short video about XtraMath