Friday, May 29, 2009

I've shared before -

- how important studying God's Word is in my life. I have found what works for me is to study along with the online lessons over at Precepts for Life (HERE). I may not be able to get my studies done every day but there is a few weeks of archive lessons on the Light Source site (HERE) so I can catch up when I have time. I just finished up the study in the book of Isaiah and it was fantastic. It did take me almost 9 months to finish it (I got a little distracted with moving and all). I am also finishing up the recent study in Philippians - Count it all Joy. I am trying hard to squeeze in the study on God's Glory (it has been amazing). I want to catch up because I would like to do the Daniel study next.

There are some days I do really well with studying my lesson first before I watch the video of Kay Arthur online. And other days, I only have time to listen to the online lesson. Either way, I have my Bible out and I am digging into God's Word.

My ultimate desire is to live a life that pleases God. To know His truths. To live in a way that points others to Him. To obey the statutes that are found in the Bible.

I was scrolling through my recent posts, just wondering what someone might see if they stopped by for a visit. I am sure that my passions are obvious. I love my kids. I am committed to my husband. I thrive on organization. I am grateful for God's Earth and I desire to care for it. If there is any way to be thrifty, I will find it. Homeschooling my kids is a top priority of my day. I am a tree hugger, composting, recycling kind of gal. I enjoy being creative and making life fun. I am determined to find the positive side of life.

All of those are part of who I am. BUT, my ultimate purpose in my life is to live for God's glory. And above all else, that is my goal. To hear, well done. To demonstrate to those around me (especially my kids) that I strive to have the attitude of Christ. And to encourage others to do the same. It isn't easy...and I make a lot of mistakes. But that is my biggest passion, living in a way that pleases God.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer Season 7 - list

It seems like there has been a lag in these kind of lists that go around people's blogs. Thought I would make one up myself to get the creative juices flowing. Let's start off the new summer season with a glimpse into my vulnerable self. I will try and make these items summer related, as I love a theme to something.

1. I am a terrible swimmer. Can't go under without plugging my nose. I can tread water with the best of you, but actual strokes - um - can't do them. My kids put me to shame in the pool.

2. I love fireworks - but not crazy about fire crackers. I enjoy going to see fireworks - the professional kind, but the kind that you buy in Wal-mart parking lot and set off yourself in the driveway at home (you know the kind that scare children and animals alike)...I can go without those.

3. I serve a LOT of salad for meals in the summer. Taco salad, Asian chicken salad, fruit salad, tossed green salad, pasta salad, layered salad. We have had salad for the last 2 nights for dinner.

4. I am really cheap when it comes to running the air conditioning. I would rather have fresh air breezing through the windows. I set the air as high as I can tolerate it and I am the first one to turn it off as soon as the weather is nice.

5. I make my kids do school in the summer. Yep...that is me, mean mommy. We do math all summer long. Not every day, but at least 3 or 4 days a week. We do however also do LOTS of art in the summer too.

6. I haven't bought a new swim suit in several years. I HATE shopping for a new suit. It is one of my least favorite things to shop for. UGH. I find the whole thing depressing.

7. I LOVE summer camp. Going to camp was a huge part of my childhood years. It was such a tool that God used to reach me and draw me close to Him. My camp was Timber-Lee in Wisconsin. It is still a special place for me. I went every summer from 3rd grade through college (when I worked there). I even loaded my kids up on a plane 2 summers ago to experience it themselves.

So, there you have it. My summer season 7 list. I would love to hear your SUMMER SEASON 7 list. Do share. Either post it on your blog or leave a little list in the comment area.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All About Birds - lapbook

We just finished up our ALL ABOUT BIRDS LAPBOOK. I think this is our favorite one so far. If you are interested in checking out some of our other ones, click HERE.

Several months ago I picked up a calendar on the clearance rack at the drug store for about 25 cents. I thought it would make for some good pictures in a lapbook. I am trying to work harder at adding color to the lapbooks which should help the kids remember more (visual learners).

I haven't taken the plunge and purchased any lapbooks. I just make them up as I go along. We have been reading the Apologia book called Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day (HERE). That is where most of our info came from for the lapbook.On our first flaps we have some pictures and the mini books include:

  • what makes a bird a bird?
  • watching a robin's nest
  • benefits of birds
  • what is molting?
Inside the first flap we made mini books that include:

  • types of beaks (I googled it under images and found these to cut out)
  • parts of a bird (couldn't find a good picture so I drew it instead)
  • what is preening?
  • tools for bird watching (the book that looks like a tool box)
  • what birds eat
Flip the page and you find these mini books:

  • definitions (habitat, instinct, extinction and migration)
  • feather features
  • 5 types of feathers
  • pocket for bird poetryHere is an up close look at the 5 types of feathers mini book.

On the last flap there is:

  • pocket for songs, calls and communications of birds
  • types of bird nests (I printed these pictures from online too)
Lapbooks are always fun to make. Yes...they take some work. But...I think my kids remember so much more information when we learn this way. Hands on learning is really important for hands on kind of learners (kinesthetic).

It is good for me to look back at all that we have done (school wise) this year and realize, we really have accomplished a lot. Whew, almost done and ready for a little break.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I know that you have all been on pins and needles trying to figure out what our party was that the flag banners were for (from my last post). Since this is the year of celebrations, we are planning on making the most of each season and every holiday. Last year for my birthday Chuck was living in a different state and the girls and I were preparing to move (HERE), so it was a little slim on the celebrations. Though we made the most of each situation, we now have the chance to throw caution to the wind and kick up our heels and have a roaring good time.

What better way to celebrate than to invite your new friends and demand that they show up in some kind of an embarrassing costume.

Our theme was HEE HAW, not only because I love country life (HERE), but also to embrace living in the south. If you are of my generation, you have seen HEE HAW, or at least are familiar with the concept. Simple country folk, banjo music, bare feet and a blacked out tooth.

Half the fun for me is the party planning. Once I get a theme, I almost don't know how to reign it in. I can't just invite a few friends over, oh no...that would be too simple. We have to deck the whole house out in flag banners, old quilts, hay bales and galvanized buckets of wild flowers.

Let's just say...we had a great time. I was thrilled that everyone showed up in some kind of garb and joined in on the theme (even my folks - and if you know my dad this was a big deal).

We served fried chicken, corn on the cob, baked beans and everyone brought a side dish to share. For dessert we had carrot cake, a selection of cookies and Moon Pies. Lemonade and "homemade hooch" (AKA - moonshine served in a bucket) for drinks.

We had everything from long underwear to Nascar for costumes. Lots of overalls and straw hats. Everything redneck or country fits in just fine with the HEE HAW theme.We planned a few games for both the kids and adults alike. Guess the jelly bellies in a jar, guess the farm animal (we put the animals in socks and hung them on a laundry line) and drop the clothes pin in bottle.
Here are the kids (and adults) playing the games. Here Stacee and Johnny are dropping clothes pins in the bottles (thought I should tell you what they are doing cuz' it looks kind of funny). I love the burlap sack on Stacee's waist - how creative.A BIG thanks to Chuck for helping make this a fun party (he made that awesome poster). He jumped right in with the country bumpkin theme and was such a good sport. And I am so thankful that all these great friends came (in such cute costumes) to help us with the celebrating. And just think - the year is only half over. What will the next party be???

Friday, May 22, 2009

What are the chores you HATE ???

You the mom most of the chores fall to you and I am sure that there are chores you don't care for (there, that sounds nicer than HATE). And there might be some chores that you LOVE, ones that replenish you.

For me, I dread putting laundry away - but I love to hang laundry out on the line. I love to feel the fresh air when I am out hanging the wash, I love how the clothes get a tiny bit stiff. I don't like how they pile up and there are so many categories with putting them away (dish towels, bath towels...). Even though the kids are responsible for their own, it takes a little encouraging to get the job done.

I don't mind cooking - but putting the groceries away isn't my favorite. I like creating a meal that my family likes (I really like when Chuck oohs and aahs at my food). I like coming up with a meal with no recipe or making up my own. I like finding healthy foods for my family and introducing them to new foods. But I don't enjoy putting the groceries away. By the time I am home from the store, I have "moved" that food enough (from the shelf to the cart, from the cart to the belt, from there to the bag, then the bag into the car, then at home bring the bag in and now I have to put it all away).

I like to organize all my closets and spaces - but keeping them maintained is a bummer. I like the challenge of finding the right containers and sorting and organizing. I like tossing out old things that we don't need anymore. I like the accomplishment of getting a space all tidy. But somehow keeping it maintained isn't easy or my favorite. Too much work, not a big pay off. Just being lazy is what it really is.

(Does anyone see a pattern here?)

So, what are the chores that you hate and to keep it positive, share some ones you love and why. Maybe something you love will inspire me. =)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Country Craft Flag Banner

I am getting ready for a party that we are throwing on Sunday ( should be a hoot of a party) and I wanted to make some decorations. I have wanted to make these flag banners for awhile and thought I would take this opportunity to give it a try.

1. I bought a yard each of 5 different materials. Picking ones that look good together - like you would for colors for a quilt.

2. Take the yard of material and fold it so there are 4 layers before you begin cutting.

3. Make a template in the shape of a triangle and trace onto the fabric, alternating directions to make a zig zag pattern.

4. Cut the triangle shapes with pinking shears so no sewing is needed to prevent ends of fabric from unraveling.

5. Fold and iron over the tops of the flag in order to make a flap to attach the twine to the flag.

6. I decided to staple instead of sew (I had a LOT of these to make and stapling turned out just fine) the flag onto the twine.

7. Continue the pattern in order to make cute banners for decorations for party.
I have 20 flags on each strand of twine. And my 5 yards total of fabric made quite a few of these. The material will go farther if you have fabric that looks good on either side. How cute are these???? I just love them. This may be my new way of decorating for parties. =) And like I said before, it is the YEAR OF CELEBRATIONS.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Creative laundry line

Now that we are in a neighborhood that won't let us have a traditional laundry line out in the yard, I have had to get a little creative with our clothes drying. Missing my old laundry line when we lived in the country (HERE). In my ever striving desire to go green, I am coming up with ways to not run the dryer and still get my laundry dry.

After researching some ideas online, I found this inspiration for indoor laundry line (HERE). And it inspired me to rig up a way to dry big towels and sheets in the basement.It takes a little longer, but with the windows open, it works pretty well. And I needed something for all those big items like sheets and quilts.

If I can get my act together and get a load washed each day, I can get them on these portable racks and put them up on my deck. I figured this will be still be obeying the rules for the HOA and it still accomplishes my goal of living green and living thrifty.
These are pretty flimsy, but for now this is the best idea I can come up with. The wind and the sun really help the clothes dry quickly. And an added benefit, I can rush the racks inside when it starts to rain.I did dry a whole load inside in the family room the other day. It worked pretty well to dry them inside. My sister, drys all her clothes inside all year with out the use of a dryer, so I know it can be done. My other ideas were to string a line in the garage. Again, getting creative trying to abide by the HOAs.


Thanks to Stephanie K for the info about Project Laundry List. Check it out HERE if you want to continue the right to dry your clothes outside and use the free sun and wind that God gave us.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bounus Room / School Room

I realized I never gave a tour of our home. We moved in in March and it has been a busy few months of getting settled and plugging away at school, but we have managed to unpack and organize our new place.

Most of the homes we looked at had a bonus room. And often it is above the garage. Sometimes they have closets and are used as a bedroom. Or maybe used as a TV room or game room. We are using ours as a school room / play room.

We have used these book cases to break up the long room to make areas or zones. Plus these book cases are wonderful to keep games and books out in the open where they are more likely to be used. I got 4 inexpensive book cases and they are lined up side by side and back to back. We don't have a Wii or another video style game (we may be the only family who doesn't) and our TV only has an antenna right now. But we play lots of games as a family and the kids read a lot.

The side of the book cases that face the school area, I used to hold coloring books, puzzles, manipulatives, craft books and other school books.To keep the kids books organized, I group them into categories (similar to how you would find them at the library) and then label the shelf with my favorite tool - the label maker.

Here is our school zone. We used desks for seat work. I like how they have cubbie inside the desk to store their junk. Keeps it looking tidy. As you enter the room, this is the area on the left.

Here is the view from the far end of the room. I love the slanted ceilings and the steps into the room. There is only one window on this far end.This is also from the far end of the room. My desk is tucked into a niche on the left (white swivel chair) and this is a reading area that the girls use all the time. We picked up bean bag chairs and these dish chairs instead of putting a couch up here.

You can click on the picture to enlarge it. I will have to give more tours of the place soon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

how can I pray for you ?

I have had this burden on my heart to pray for some of my blogging friends. And I wanted to jot down some things to pray for. When someone comes to mind, I often pray for them. For what I know is going on in their life. For the needs that I know they have. For their ministry or family. Many of you are going through adoptions or have just brought new children home. I know many of you need to sell a house. Maybe a decision you need to make. What ever is on your heart, feel free to let me know how I can pray for you.

If you will leave me a comment with how I can pray for you I will add it to my prayer cards. If you don't mind others knowing what it is, I will publish it. If it needs to be anonymous or you don't want me publishing it, PLEASE NOTE THAT IN ALL CAPS AND I WON'T PUBLISH IT. I will just jot it down for myself and then delete it.

Looking forward to lifting up my dear blogging friends in prayer.

Always offering prayer with joy and in my every prayer for you all...Philippians 1:4

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

her birthday was 2 months ago...

It has been busy around here and we have crammed about 9 months of activities into 2 and a half months. I am a total homebody and love to be home in my own nest. But, I have chosen to take advantage of different goings on to try and connect with more HS families and let my kids try and make some new friends. So we have done park days, nature center trips, watched bird banding, gone to the symphony, visited the zoo, checked out the science center, participated in the National Day of Prayer, signed up for summer camp, started tennis lessons, are finishing up a sewing class...the list goes on (plus throw in a trip to Disney and moving). If you know me, this is WAY more than we normally do. I embrace the SIMPLIFY way of life (HERE). But for this new season here, we need to get out and make friends and this is the best way to do it.

All that to say, Tristen's birthday was 2 months ago (HERE) and we finally had a party for her. I felt bad that we moved into our home just a few days before her birthday, so we never even had a cake. She wanted to invite some friends over for a party and since I have claimed this the YEAR OF CELEBRATIONS, we partied.

And this was actually a pretty easy party. Tissy loves pancakes (and doesn't like sleepovers) so we invited her guests to arrive on a Saturday morning in their jammies and we served pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast. 9 little girls all crammed around our table and full of giggles.After breakfast we had craft time in the basement. The girls made butterflies to hang on a mirror or a window. Instead of paint, we used colored sharpies, it was much easier.

Most kids just love to run around and play at parties, but to prevent too much silliness, we planned some games. I love the game where you have to look at a tray and try to remember what was on it. I put all kinds of things used to get ready in the morning.

All trying to see the tray. Trying to use those thinking skills to remember. They look so sweet in their jammies, but how nice that they got a good night sleep at home. =)We also played pictionary. Chuck had ideas for them to draw that had to do with morning or sunshine or breakfast. Here they are drawing on the dry erase board in the school room.
We also had music that Chuck had hunted down, just morning or sunshine songs. It created a fun atmosphere, along with sunshine cut outs and homemade posters. We figured out we have a good party house. Lots of room for both kids and adults to mingle and talk. Before we moved here, I had prayed that God would provide friends. And in just a few months, we were surprised that we could come up with a party list like this. I guess going to all those activities has been worth it.
And look, the birthday cake (made of of rice crispy cookie)...only 2 months late. =)