And here it is in action!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
And here it is in action!
Monday, October 26, 2009
This is my favorite picture! I love the fall colors on the tree reflecting on the water!
It just seems so pretty.
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord , and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yeilding fruit.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It was very frustrating to find tools all over the house and garage, never knowing where to find one when you needed it.
And finally, we were swimming in books.
With these three things, the inside of our home was busting at the seams.
So we formulated a plan for zones in our garage. One area for pantry space, one for books and finally a home for all the tools. We also had a bit of space left over for a children's play area.
When we were all finished, here is how it looked.
One area for tools, home repair and lawn equipment. Now I can find a tool when I want it and mostly I can train the children to put them away when they are finished with them.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The last couple weeks and the next few to come have been filled with problems solving in many different areas of life. My two oldest children and dh are part of our local Homeschool Robotics Team. They are building a robot for the BEST Robotics Competition in Oklahoma City in 2 weeks. The children (and dads) have been working tirelessly on this project for four weeks now, two more to go.
Here is our current robot. We finished putting the claw on last night only to find that the arm motor could not lift the claw, it was too heavy. However, do not lose heart. Only a slight modification is needed, a little counterweight on the other end, to help the motor our a bit.
My thoughts tonight are not really about the robot, but life. God is the ultimate designer of us all. Just as with the robot, God is constantly fine tuning us for His glory. He doesn't throw the whole thing away and start over, he just makes fine little adjustments. When challenges come my way, I need to remember that these are just wrenches, thrown my way to help me make adjustment, for the glory of Him.
A verse for today, James 1:2-3
My bretheren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of
your faith produces patience.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Then we took our spelling test. I had them write it out as well as spell it with cookies, so that I could have a copy for their folder and they could have another experience of writing the words. So important to help solidify it in their brains.
Friday, September 4, 2009
If you are not familiar with Five In A Row, it is a fantastic unit study curriculum that is built around great children's literature.
And here is my little lad, after all had been cleaned up. What a lesson. He learned how to use a candy thermometer and some patience along the way, takes a long time to get to 310 degrees.
Here is the recipe we used.
1 cup of hot water, place this in a large stainless steel pan on medium heat
3 1/2 cups sugar and
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
Stir ingredients raising the temperature a little bit at a time til you get to high (on my stove at least). Insert your thermometer and let it boil until it gets to 310 degrees. At that time remove from heat and add
1 tablespoon liquid food coloring (we used blue and red) and
1 tablespoon liquid extract (we used strawberry and coconut)
Pour onto a Pam sprayed 12x18 cookie sheet with edges. Let sit for about 10 minutes then refrigerate for about an hour. Break apart and eat. Just a note, this makes a huge amount of hard candy. Make sure to have some church friends of neighbors to give it away to.
Days like this are a blessing. I am thankful to have the ability to do activities like this with my children.
Blessings for a wonderful day, Suzie
Thursday, August 27, 2009
We are entering the Middle Ages in our Tapestry of Grace studies and are having a marvelous time. The boys are thrilled with visions of building catapults and pretending to be Goth Worriors. Daughter is dreaming of princesses. We have begun reading Otto of the Silver Hand as a read aloud for the next few weeks. I really like this book as it helps transport the children to that time period through the eyes of a child, Otto.
Here was one of our first projects for the year. I only assigned this one for Lower Grammar so only youngest son did it.
I used 2 rolls of Pillsbury Sugar cookies however, you could easily make your own sugar cookie receipe to save on money. We used peal and eat licorice for the map outlines and M&M's for the city placement and chocolate chips for the mountain ranges. We used small pieces of licorice to show large rivers such as the Nile River and the Danube River. We made the coloring with edible tempra. You make this with egg yolk mixed with liquid food coloring. For blue, we used one egg yolk with 4 drops of food coloring. To make the brown, we mixed one egg yolk with 5 drops of red, 3 drops of green and 2 yellow. He used a fresh soft paintbrush to brush the 'paint' onto the cookies. I had to replace the M&M's and the chips after we baked as they got lost in all the dough. I also overcooked it quite a bit. I think you can still tell what it is.
After baking and cooling, we used half toothpicks and old computer labels, cut up, for labels. Youngest son made all the labels and included The Nile River, Rome, Appanine Mountains, The Alps, Crete, Sicily, Athens, Paris, London and the British Isles.
As you all are beginning your school year, may you be encouraged by this verse:
All of your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13
May this be a beginning of a wonderful school year.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Summer is rapidly coming to a close and thus the need has arisen to fill my winter pantry with sale/free fruit to get us through to next spring. W**-Mart had a huge sale on cherries a few weeks ago, so we pitted, jellied and froze enough for an army. Actually 27 pints of jelly and 4 pies.
We also picked the peaches from our peach tree and combined with sale peaches from the store, canned 16 quarts of peaches. They will be yummy in cobbler this winter. Nothing like a great peach cobbler in December.
As I shared previously, I lost my grandmother a few months ago and these are activities that I used to watch her do as a young girl, so along with taking care of my own family, I have been grieving that loss as well. It has been a rather difficult but profitable summer.
I pray that the blessings and bounty of the harvesting season are to your family as well.
Monday, July 20, 2009
My blog has been very ignored in recent weeks as many events have occurred in my life, the most important of which is the passing of my dear grandma Loula.
There are so many things that I remember her for that this blog could not hold them all. I think I inherited my love for animal (especially cats) from her. The first photgraph she has of herself was her sitting on the old porch holding a cat. More than 75 years later, grandpa took this picture of her holding Snowball. On the back of this photo he wrote, "The two dear ones that live with me".
Grandma was a wonderful help meet to grandpa for all of their 72 years of marriage. She stood by him in the ministry for more than half of that time. They were truly a tag team in so many ways. Grandpa also spent time as a carpenter. He loved shaping wood and made many wonderful and practical things for grandma. Grandma was a wonderful crafter also. She specialized in cake decorating, making many birthday cakes for me as a child and the most beautiful wedding cakes you can image. She also became known in our family as a snowflake maker. Annually, she made each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild a small crochet snowflake to hang on their Christmas tree. As you can imagine, that became quite a chore with 5 children married with spouses, 17 granchildren and many, many great grandchildren. I am so thankful as they have always made our Christmases so special. Even if we weren't there to recieve them in person, she made sure to get them to us through the mail. It has always been a highlight of our holiday season.
While grandma was always very submissive to grandpa, I especially like this picture. There is a story behind it. They were at a bridal party and were asked to play The Newlywed Game as they were the couple present that had been married the longest, about 68 years at this time. The question to the husbands was what cartoon character would your wife most likely describe you as: Superman, .... or Daffy Duck. Well you see the answer. Grandpa thought he was Superman. I love the look on grandma's face. At that same party, grandpa reminded me that she knew to the penny how much change he had in his pocket. Amazing how well they knew one another.
Grandma and Grandpa were avid gardeners. They planted this strawberry barrell and kept it going for several years. I remember it fondly, exactly where it stood and also picking strawberries off and eating them without grandpa knowing. Grandma took care during my early tender years before the age of five. I spent a lot of fun times in their back yard.
I will miss my grandma very much. She has made such a defining impact in my life. In many ways, she has shaped me more than any one person, including my parents. As I go through her personal belongings, I am amazed at the ways we are alike that I never knew. I am also amazed at the quality of character that she and grandpa had.
I have been doing a lot of journaling since she became ill, knowing that soon, she was going to go to be with God. There are so many wonderful memories that I fear I will forget. Even down to specific smells, so I have been writing a lot.
I wrote the following in my journal, a few days before she died. It contains just a few of my fondest memories of grandma.
Of all the people in my growing up years, one of my dearest was Grandma. Her given name was Loula, an orphan she was, how blessed I am that God gave her to be my grandma.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
OK, It's official! We now have a teenager in our home, and we are so BLESSED!
We spent all weekend celebrating his 13th birthday. We really wanted it to be special.
On friday evening we had a small family party. We had his favorite meal of Lasagna, french bread and Granny's fruit salad
Next we opened a few gifts. He really, really, wanted an NXT robot for his birthday. We had so much fun with this present as he was so anxious for days before as to whether we had gotten this for him. We kept saying, I don't know, that is such an expensive gift! He wanted it so bad that he even offered to use his own money to buy half of it, if we would pay for the other half for his birthday. He was very surpised. Let us just say that there were tears of joy!
Earlier in the year, he had also requested a 'special' ring, do dh and I decided to do a True Love Waits ceremony, just with our family. It really turned out to be more of a devotional but he now has his ring as a constant visual reminder of his committment to God in so many ways. Our little ceremony included the following five elements:
Your Committment to God
"Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind"
Your Commitment to Yourself
"And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself "
Your Committment to your family
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near"
Your Committment to your friends
"Greater Love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends"
Your Committment to your future mate and children
II Timothy 2:22
"Flee the evil desire of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith , love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart"
It was beautiful. I cried. I remeber so fondly bringing him home from the hospital, he was less than 6 pounds and now he towers over me saying "I love you, mom" in the manliest, deep voice you ever heard. It brings me so much joy to know that he will grow up to make a difference in the kingdom of God.
On Sunday afternoon, he had a friend birthday party at the bowling alley.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
One of the ways I have been doing this is through forming my menu plans from coupons and grocery sale adds that come in the newspaper on Wednesdays. The children and I currently spend about 2 hours a week clipping, printing, folding and organizing coupons. Today, all the work seemed to have paid off. It was a great day at the grocery store. Here is what I purchased, all at the same store, I might add:
Special K blueberry flavor - 2 boxes
Oscar Meyer Lunchables with drinks - 4 items
Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers - 2 boxes
Kraft Lowfat Cheddar Cheese - 2 7oz bags
Kraft Velveeta Shells and Cheese - 2 boxes
Wholly Guacamole - 2 containers
Pillsbury ready to bake cookies - 4 rolls
EZ Mac cups - 4 of them
Kellogs Rice Krispies - 2 boxes
Kellogs Raisin Bran - 2 boxes
Yoplait Yogurt - 12 containers
Kraft BBQ sauce - 2 bottles
Hunts Ketchup - 2 bottles
Kellogs Apple Jacks - 1 box
Ziplock Freezer Bags - 2 boxes
Kraft fat free cheese - 2 7oz. bags
Peter Pan Low Fat Crunchy Peanut Butter - 1 jar
Capri Sunrise Tropical Fruit Drinks - 1 box
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls - 2 rolls, 8 count each
Lean Cusine Meals - 4 of them
2 whole chickens
Kellogs Frosted Flakes - 1 box
Kellogs Fruit Loops - 1 box
Country Crock Macaroni and Cheese - 1 container
Reisers Potato Salad - 1 3# container
I was able to do this with using coupons I currently had and matching them with only items that were on sale. I made a rule to only purchase items that were both on sale and that I had a coupon for. The only exception this visit was the 2 chickens which were marked down for quick sale (ie: they expire tomorrow). I have been learning how to do this over the past several months. If you would like more information about couponing (is this a word??) and especially internet coupons, visit www. couponmom.com. She has links on her home page to where you can download internet coupons. Most coupons have a limit of 2 coupons per computer. She is teaching me a lot about saving money.
Blessings for a frugal day, Suzie
Thursday, May 7, 2009
As we were finished and congratulating oldest son, we were walking around on campus and found some very interesting surprises.
From a distance this tree is very beautiful....
I don't know the tradition of this but it might be fun to know...or then maybe not, this is a university...although being a Christian University it might be a Godly tradition, maybe a visual on Romans 10:15? Whatever the reason, it was very interesting and eclectic, to say the least!
We also came upon this beautiful fountain. I took pictures of the children to celebrate the occasion. They turned out so wonderful!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
This week, the local sale paper was a bit slim on the great deals so I had to find recipes that I could use with the things I had on hand. Along with all this, I am now a Weight Watcher and am counting points:)
So for dinner last night, I made this recipe. I got the original recipe from here and modified it to decrease the fat and points. This recipe made 8 HUGE servings at 7 points each.
Ham and Broccoli Casserole
20 oz. chopped frozen broccoli (I think I used more than that)
2 cups cooked brown rice
6 Tbsp Smart Balance Light Spread
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
1 large onion, chopped
3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cups 2% milk
8 oz chopped ham (frozen, leftover from Easter ham)
1/2 cup Sargento Chipolte cheese(from my cheese deal this week, $2.50/pound)
Cook rice and set aside. Cook broccoli and drain. Spoon rice into sprayed 9x13 pan and then put broccoli on top. Melt butter in skillet. Measure bread crumbs and sprinkle a bit of melted butter spread onto crumbs and mix well. To skillet add onions and cook til soft. Add flour, salt and pepper, stirring constantly til bubbly. Add milk and stir til slightly thickened. Add ham and then pour it all over the broccoli/rice mixture. Sprinkle cheese then bread crumbs on top. Bake 350 for 30 minutes or til warm all the way through. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.
Simple but relatively easy meal, using things I had on hand. Everyone liked it. That is a Blessings, Suzie
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I cannot believe how grown up Dear Daughter looks. She is growing into a beautiful young lady.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Dear daughter received a gold medal in signing for the deaf. It is a beautiful hymn! She is becoming very proficient in ASL and seeks to teach the gospel to a hearing impaired person some day.
Oldest son recieved a gold medal in song leading. See it here.
And here is youngest son also doing song leading. He earned a gold medal also.
We arrived home in time for services sunday morning, however very tired.
My prayer is that the boys will grow up to be strong leaders in the Lord's Church and that dd will be grow up to be a wonderful help meet to a man who will be a church leader.
If you want to learn more about Leadership Training for Christ you can go here.
Blessings to you and your family as you find creative ways to train your children in church leadership,
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The other evening, as we were driving home, we saw this amazing rainbow. It stretched from one end of the sky to the other. The picture does not do it justice at all, but I tried to capture it.
What does a rainbow remind you of?
Recently we have been studying how rainbows are simply prismatic light created by water and sunlight. The children have had fun drawing and memorizing all the colors of the rainbow.
The rainbow is an amazing testimony to the power and awesomeness of God. He created it as a sign of his covenant that he would never flood the earth with water again. Genesis 9:13.
It is so amazing to me that some can simply see a rainbow as a scientific 'phenomenon' and not give honor and glory to the Creator while others see His awesomeness in His creation.
Christ had similar challeges with the people of His time, as well.
'Therefore, I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand' Matthew 13:13 (NKJV)
May your day be full of blessings and rainbows,
April 15, 2009.
People are organizing at a grassroots level to peacefully show how frustrated they are with excessive spending and our representatives not listening to our needs.
Our local one is going to be exciting complete with Tea Party Music
and more Tea Party Music
a speaker, and time for folks to have their own say in the microphone.
The children will also be participating. They helped make signs and it was so appropriate that we are attending TeenPact classes next week at our state capitol. As part of our assigned preparation for this class, we are reading portions of Real Citizenship by Tim G. Echols.
It is very appropriate that the children learn how to make a difference. So along with a Tea Party, we are having 'school' on the City Hall lawn! Homeschooling is AMAZING!
Blessings for a thoughtful day, Suzie
Monday, April 6, 2009
His cake turned out magnificent, and tasted wonderful too.
I got the ideas for this cake from here
I covered the top of the cake with m&m's so that I could put some non edible items on top of the cake without them touching the icing. The kids loved the m&m's, too!
The inside was 2 funfetti cake mixes baked in a half sheet pan and then divided into 3 layers.
The chocolate icing recipe was from here and the white buttercream icing is my grandmother's recipe. She decorated cakes for over 40 years.
Grandma's Buttercream Icing-makes a large mixers worth
1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon water
1 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon meringue powder
1 teaspoon clear vanilla
Beat powdered milk and water til thick and then add shortening, salt and beat til creamy. Add sugar. Beat until heavy consistency adding more or less if necessary. Add egg whites and beat til good and fluffy. Add clear vanilla extract. Store unused portion covered and refrigerated. Will last a long time in the refrigerator.
For our meal we served BBQ chicken wings, hot dogs in a blanket with katsup and mustard, potato chips, and root beer in the bottle.
We all dressed up like pirates, including mom and dad, and several of the guests put on tattoos. We had eye patches, swords, belts, and tattoos for all the children.
It was a blast of fun!
Oldest son, daughter and I send youngest son on a treasure hunt. The most important thing he wanted at his birthday party was a pinata...so the great find at the end was a treasure chest pinata! Some of the clues included things like...Shiver me timbers,me ship can be freezin' if we had one of these, it'd be mighty pleasin. This clue was taped to the fireplace. We found most of the ideas from Birthday Party Ideas.
Here is youngest son dressed in all his pirate garb. Yesturday at church, one of the other boys that was at the party came up to me and said, that was the best party I ever been to. It truly was a lot of fun. I even had a good time. It was so much fun to use all the pent up creativity especially to bless my family.
May you your mates have a blessed day, Suzie
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Now for the math, which, by the way, I am not very good at. These are very rough figures:)
There is still a cost savings but consider how mandarin oranges are commercially processed. You can read about it here. Lye is caustic! Like crossed bones kind of caustic!