Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Children are a Gift!

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Don't you see that children are God's best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep. ~ Psalm 127:3-5 {the message}

What joy I have in knowing that my children are a gift from my Heavenly Father made just for me and sent down from heaven above! What greater gift, other than the gift of salvation, is there?

What started out as a simple "yes" turned into having more paint on his body, hair, and face than on the actual paper! However, after seeing this smiling, paint smeared face, and knowing how much fun he was having, as well as knowing the paint was washable, I knew it was all worth it! One of the simple joys of parenting!


Linking Up With:
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There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. ~ Galatians 3:28

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Answering the Questions

Ever since announcing that my husband and I decided to homeschool this year, I have received many questions.

"How long do you plan to do it?"
"What curriculum are you using to teach with?"
"How will Emma receive social interaction with children her age?"
"How did you come to this decision?"
"Are you nervous?"

I have decided to sit and answer some of those questions for you!

"How long do you plan to do it?"
 Not sure! As of right now, we are trusting in God's guidance and leadership and waiting on His plan. Taking it one year at a time and going to try our best to enjoy it and learn as much as we can along the way!

"What curriculum are you using to teach with?"
This was a hard to decision to make as there are so many wonderful curriculums available for us to use! Going into my search, I knew wholeheartedly that I wanted it to be Bible based! That is number one priority and so very important to my husband and I! I was highly recommended the Heart of Dakota Little Hands to Heaven curriculum and once I read through the reviews and previews online and saw how affordable it was, I decided to order it. However. once I received it and started flipping through the lessons, I came to realize that Emma may have needed the next level up {Little Hearts for His Glory} and decided to return it. I felt it wasn't going to be challenging enough for her and although she is only 4 1/2 years old, I do not want her getting bored! So, while debating whether or not I should exhange for LHfHG, I came across the website Hubbard's Cupboard!


What I have found here has been exactly what I was looking for. Bible Lessons, Scripture Memorization, Character Traits, Phonics, Reading, Math, and Science lessons all able to be printed out for free! I figured what better way to give homeschooling a try than to use the free resources that are availabe for us to use?! I know that once Emma gets older and if God continues to lead us to homeschool, I am going to need to purchase a good curriculum, however, for preschool, Hubbard's Cupboard {HC} looks perfect for us! I will be using these lessons in conjunction with the My First Hands-On Bible for the Bible lessons as well as My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts and The Singing Bible for our scripture memorization. For reading and phonics help, we will be using in conjunction with HC, the Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers as well as Now I'm Reading! Playful Pals, Level 1. I am beyond excited to start teaching Emma to read! Add in some free printables from Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1 and we are set to go! I am currently in the midst of organizing everything into our Homeschool Binder and creating a daily schedule that follows along as closely as possible to the HC schedule that we are advised to follow. Praying to be able to create a routine that helps aide in our days going as smoothly as possible!

"How will Emma receive social interaction with children her age?" 
This seems to be a big question among non-homeschoolers; one I even found myself asking. For now, Emma is involved in a wonderful gymnastics program that she absolutely loves! In a few weeks, she will be starting Rainbows which I am excited for since Missionettes was something I was a part of as a little girl! As she gets older, and if we are lead to continue on our homeschooling journey, I will look for a homeschool christian co-op in my area as well as keeping her involved in as many activites as she chooses. The possibilities with homeschooling are endless!

"How did you come to this decision?"
Prayer! Lots and lots of prayer! Seeking out God's guidance and His plan for not only our lives, but our childrens lives too! Homeschooling was actually laid on my husbands heart first before it was ever laid on mine! About a year and a half ago, my husband brought the idea of homeschooling to my attention. I had never given it any thought beforehand. I had always just assumed that my children would attend a private christian school like I had. However, my ways are not my own {Isaiah 55:8}, and God had other plans. I began praying about it and felt God's push and leadership into the direction of homeschool. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this becoming very long post, I have no idea how long we will continue on this journey and have also learned never to assume anything. Emma might just be attending a Christian school next year. Maybe even a public one. Who knows! That is one of the wonderful things about having complete and total trust in Jesus Christ to lead us on the correct path!

"Are you nervous?"
I was, but with continued prayer, wonderful online support, and everything starting to come together in an organized way, I am starting to feel at peace with this decision knowing that it is the right one since it came from Him!

If you are a new homeschooler and are nervous or scared, I would love to pray for you! Please let me know in the comments section below!

If you are curious about homeschool and have no idea where to start, check out my updated {inspiration} page!

If you have any other questions for me, I would love to hear them and promise to do my best at answering them! Please ask away in the comment section below!

May I ask for your prayers as we begin this journey in little more than a week? We are getting very excited about all that God has planned for us this year!

Linking up with other fabulous homeschooling moms at the Hip Homeschool Hop!

*amazon.com links are affiliate links
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And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Friday, August 26, 2011

{from here}

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from here :: i can see and hear the happiness in the laughter of my children
from here :: i see how blessed i am with an amazing husband and father to my children
from here :: i have two furry friends, constantly at my side, letting me know i am never without company or a friend
from here :: i see His words spoken as a love note to me in the greatest Book ever written
from here :: i am sitting next to a stack of books, worksheets, pens, pencils, paper, and glue, anticipating a new start; a new journey; and feeling blessed
from here :: i am loved

From where you are seated, take a look around you and give thanks for all that you have been given!

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God's blessing in your coming in, God's blessing in your going out. ~ Deuteronomy 28:6 {the message}

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Raising Readers



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"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." ~ Emilie Buchwald

I came across this quote a few weeks ago and immediately knew I had to place it on a picture and frame it! How true it is! 

For any of you who know me or have been a reader of this blog for quite some time, you know that we love our library as well as reading books. We visit our library at least once a week and one of our favorite times of the day is when we are snuggled on the couch reading a book together.

One of my goals as a mother is to develop in my children a life-long love of reading. My mom instilled this treasure in my sister and I, and I want to do the same for my children. I remember many a day spent visiting the library and having "teddy bear picnics" during storytime when I was a kid. Reading before bed and staying up way past bedtime just to finish the "good part" was a regular occurance.

I am looking forward to the day when my children are hiding away in their rooms lost in a good book; or when my daughter and I can join in a mother-daughter book club at our local library! Or when all that is on their birthday/Christmas lists are books!

But, since I am in no rush and truly can wait for that time, I am soaking in all the laughter and learning while reading to them from my comfy spot on the couch!

What are some books you and your children enjoy reading together?

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Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool?

I wrote earlier this month about the different options and ways for our children to be schooled. As already stated, my husband and I have decided to not send our 4 year old daughter to pre-school. We have felt lead, instead, to try homeschooling. Each day I am teaching my children something, so why not try it in a more structured way. Besides, I need more structure and organization in my mornings anyways!

I am planning on explaining why we chose to homeschool this year, what curriculum we chose to use, as well as what I am hoping our day-to-day will look like, all over the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a few people/blogs that have been such a huge help and encouragement for me in finding my way around the homeschool realm. {just in case you have been contemplating homeschooling as well and have no idea where to start, like I did!}

The Homeschool Lounge is a wonderful place to get every and all your questions about homeschooling answered.

Homeschool Creations and 1+1+=1 are two amazing blogs written by homeschooling moms themselves. They offer many free printables to help aide in the teaching of your child at home!

Heart of the Matter Online offers support and encouragement for your homeschooling journey.

Our Family for His Glory provided me with so much encouragement just from reading the first page under her "homeschool" tab!

Confessions of a Homeschooler I was blown away by her school room organization and would love to have a room in my house look like that someday!

I am sure there are many, many, more websites and blogs out there offering amazing advice that I am hoping to come across in the months to come, but for now, these are the ones that have been the most helpful to me, and hopefully, if need be, they will be helpful to you as well.

If you have any others that you would like to mention, please do so in the comments section! I would love to check them out and need all the help I need!

:: i just wanted to add that i do not have any plans to turn this into a homeschooling blog. i will, however, continue to blog about whatever is on my heart and i am sure in the months to come, homeschooling will be one of those things! i hope you will stick around and continue to follow us on this journey!::
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"But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the LORD has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”" ~ Genesis 24:56

Monday, August 22, 2011

Presents for a Little Girl

When you set out to complete a certain task, the feeling of accomplishment ,when you do in fact finish, is thrilling!

At the start of last week, I had two out of the three gifts I had set out to make for my nieces 2nd birthday, still left to start and finish before her party, which was yesterday!

In the midst of panic saturday morning, I had the last of the gifts to finish. If you ask my husband, he will tell you that come Saturday afternoon, he was happy to have his wife back! I am happy to say, however, that I did finish, on time.

This was my first time making any of these items, and if I may say, I am pretty pleased with myself as to how they came out!

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They each have their own little "sleeping bag" pocket to slip into...

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...and when rolled up, they are ready to go to grandma's, camping, wherever! {so cute!}

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I love the idea of a crayon roll! I throw one in my diaper bag and a notepad and it is instant entertainment at a restaurant, doctors office, etc., for the kids.

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Makes a fun gift when you add two coloring books to it!

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As an added touch to both the Sleepover Pals and the Crayon Roll, I added a tag letting them know what it was.

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This dress, I just loved so much once finished, that I wish I wouldn't look silly wearing one!

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The apron was needing something, so I cut out and appliqued this little guy onto the front of it! Love!

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The recipient seemed to enjoy her new friends and that made all the hard work worth it!

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I wish I could take credit for coming up with these items all on my own, but they were the works of the following masterminds:

Pattern for Apron Knot Dress can be found here
Pattern for Sleepover Pals can be found here
Tutorial for Crayon Roll can be found here

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28

Friday, August 19, 2011

Individual Chicken Pot Pies {recipe}

One of my husband's favorite meals is Chicken Pot Pie. Typically, this is something I would categorize as comfort food and make during the cold, winter, months. However, my mom mentioned to me the other day that she was making one for dinner and I have been hungry for it ever since.

So, for dinner tonight, I made these cute, mini, chicken pot pies!

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I didn't realize how much one of these little ramekins' held! I definitely could not eat it all and will enjoy the rest for lunch or dinner tomorrow!  The kids loved having their own little "pot", as Emma called it, to eat theirs out of!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt
pepper
1 can (10 1/2 oz) chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
2 cups cubed (i shredded mine) cooked chicken
1/3 cup chopped onion
Mixture of green beans, corn, peas, and carrots. (I just used one of those frozen mixed veggie bags and dumped in. But, if you have these items on hand, fresh, I say go for it!)
Biscuits (use whichever recipe you like for making biscuits. I used the recipe from the box of biscuit mix I bought at Trader Joes and also added shredded cheddar cheese in mine!)

Heat oven to 350*. Grease rammekins or large muffin cups.

In 10-inch skillet, melt butter; stir in flour and a dash of pepper. Cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in broth and 3/4 cup milk; cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Add chicken, onion, and vegetable mixture. cook until hot and bubbly. Spoon mixture evenly into ramekins. Place a spoonful, or two, of biscuit dough on top of each ramekin. Cut slits in biscuit tops.

Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown!

Enjoy!


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God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. ~ John 4:24

Thursday, August 18, 2011

{coffee talk}

At the start of summer, my husband and I decided to devote at least three nights a week to just sitting and talking...to one another! Summer can be a pretty hectic time for us and we tend to lose moments to just sit and be together.
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Making sure the kids are sound asleep in their beds and the tv and computer screens are turned off, we turn on the Keurig and prepare ourselves a nice, steaming cup of delicious coffee.

Then we sit. And talk. Sometimes our conversations are light and filled with lots of laughter! {my husband has a great sense of humor and is constantly making me laugh! one of the reasons I fell in love with him!}

Other times they are more in-depth conversations about finances, the kids, our future plans, something we read from the Bible that we wanted to discuss with one another. It is such a wonderful way to connect with one another on an intimate level.

 I look forward to these nights when I can be curled up on the couch next to my husband, coffee cup in hand, and just be me. Telling him all about my day-my worries, fears, stress, excitement, plans, goals, etc. Nothing fancy...except for now, that the nights are becoming more pleasant, we will take our coffee and conversation to the back porch and curl up together on the glider! It is at these times when we put the conversation aside for a moment and just sit in the stillness of the night together that I feel the closest to him!

How I treasure these moments!  With the kids and my schedule and work and his schedule, we need this time to connect! I need this time with him and he needs this time with me!

My husband {after Jesus Christ} is my number one priority and just as I strive each day to be the best mama to my kids, I am trying, even harder, to be the best wife for my husband!

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Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: "Many women have done wonderful things, but you've outclassed them all!" ~ Proverbs 31, The Message

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Changing of Seasons

Summer is nearing its end. The proof of this can be found all around us. From back-to-school supplies, pumpkins, and scarecrows lining the shelves in the stores to the cooler night air and the shortening of the days.

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Falls arrival is nearing and I am anticipating its return. Apple Cider, pumpkin pie, sweatshirts, soft, wool, socks and sweaters, warm cups of tea at night, and God painting such beautiful scenery with the changing of the leaves. Yes, one might say I love fall.

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And though I am happy to live in an area of the world where I get to experience the weather changes of all four seasons, I wish my children didn't have to grow and change with them!

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I wish they could stay this size, forever!

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
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He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; ~ Daniel 2:21

Monday, August 15, 2011

Homemade Gifts

Do you tend to take on more than you can handle?
I know I do.
There is so much that I want to do and never enough time to do it in.

My niece is having her 2nd birthday this upcoming weekend and I decided to try and make all of her gifts.
On the list of things to make are:

  • Crayon Roll (finished! just need to buy a coloring book or two to go along with it. crayons are already rolled up inside)
  • Apron Knot Dress (everything is cut out and sewing started tonight. *hopefully* will finish up tomorrow)
  • Sleepover Pals (not a thing started on these! hoping to at least get the fabric cut tomorrow) pattern can be found in Hillary Lang's Wee Wonderfuls book, which is totally awesome by the way!

I have less than a week to finish and know it can be done, but the stress of making sure it is perfect and actually gets done is really starting to get to me.

Why do I do this to myself?

Stay tuned! If I get finished with everything, I am sure to make a post, with pics, all about it! :)

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My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62: 1-2

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

{peace}

"Understanding will never bring you Peace. That's why I have instructed you to trust in Me, not in your understanding. Human beings have a voracious appetite for trying to figure things out, in order to gain a sense of mastery over their lives. But the world presents you with an endless series of problems. As soon as you master one set, another pops up to challenge you. The relief you had anticipated is short-lived. Soon your mind is gearing up again: searching for your understanding (mastery), instead of seeking Me (your Master)." ~ Jesus Calling


I have mentioned before how much I am enjoying the devotional by Sarah Young-Jesus Calling. The above reading is just another example of it.

I have been struggling lately. A lot! Stuggling with current economic issues and what I, as a Christian, should do next. Who I should...and what I should...believe. What is to be considered extreme or rather smart.

In the midst of all these struggles of trying to understand, I have also allowed worry to creep in...and I have no time or place for worry! For worry leads to other things like sadness, anger, and depression and I am not somone who likes to feel those things. So...instead of trying to understand and worrying about what comes next, I am going to enjoy the Peace that comes with being a Child of the King!

Which brings me back to why this particular paragraph written on the page of this wonderful devotional stuck out to me. And also shows reminds me just how great our God is! He is listening to my worries and fears even when I may not be praying about them. He is concerned and He wants me to know it is all under control. He is in control!

So...pfft on worry! You have no place here and are not welcomed! My God takes up residence here and He has provided me with an amazing feeling of Peace!

{this devo also reminded me of the Twila Paris song, "God Is In Control"! YouTube video link here! Enjoy!}

Amazon links are affilliate links!

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 5:1

Monday, August 8, 2011

Classroom, Home, or No-School?

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My daughter turned four earlier this year. Since then, the topic of discussion on a regular basis is what we are going to do about school next year. {we are skipping out on pre-school this year and just starting into kindergarten next fall. one of the local libraries offers a free program that helps prepare children for kindergarten that I am planning on taking my daughter to!}

Growing up, I attended a private Christian school from kindergarten through 12th grade. My husband also attended a private school, but only until 6th grade. We have both agreed, early on, that a private christian education was what we were hoping to give to our children. But, it can become pretty expensive. So, we have also been exploring our other options.

I never realized just how many other options there were. Homeschool, cyber school, public school, and no schooling at all! It's a bit overwhelming!

Obviously, we need to decide what is the best option for us; for our children. But, it got me to thinking; How do you do school? Or, if your children are young like mine and not yet in school, how are you planning on doing school?

I appreciate any and all info and ideas you have to offer!
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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sweet Amish Zucchini Bread {recipe}

Summertime produces some of the most delicious fruits and vegetables. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, tomatos, yellow squash, cucumbers, and zucchini! Oh...and how can I forget watermelon? I only buy like 2-3 a week!

One of my favorite summertime farm stand vegetables is zucchini! One of my favorite ways to eat it is grilled with a little olive oil and good ol' S&P! The other...zucchini bread!

My grandma used to always make zucchini bread in the summertime. I remember having at least a loaf in our fridge at all times all summer long. Eating it plain, straight from the fridge or warmed up with a little bit of melted butter on the top, mmm...mmm! You cannot go wrong either way!

I came across the following recipe for zucchini bread in my Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook! It tastes so much like my grandma's recipe! It is that good!

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Sweet Amish Zucchini Bread

3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cups nuts, chopped {i used walnuts}
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups zucchini, grated {i used one whole medium size zucchini}
2 tsp. vanilla

In large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until the batter is well blended.

Divide the batter into 2 greased loaf pans and bake at 325* for 1 hour or until done. Remove from pans at once and let cool on a baking rack!

Once cool, slice and enjoy!

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What is something you enjoy eating/cooking/baking in the summertime?


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Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. ~ Genesis 9:3

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Children are a Gift!

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Don't you see that children are God's best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep. ~ Psalm 127:3-5 {the message}

What joy I have in knowing that my children are a gift from my Heavenly Father made just for me and sent down from heaven above! What greater gift, other than the gift of salvation, is there?

What started out as a simple "yes" turned into having more paint on his body, hair, and face than on the actual paper! However, after seeing this smiling, paint smeared face, and knowing how much fun he was having, as well as knowing the paint was washable, I knew it was all worth it! One of the simple joys of parenting!


Linking Up With:
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There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. ~ Galatians 3:28

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Answering the Questions

Ever since announcing that my husband and I decided to homeschool this year, I have received many questions.

"How long do you plan to do it?"
"What curriculum are you using to teach with?"
"How will Emma receive social interaction with children her age?"
"How did you come to this decision?"
"Are you nervous?"

I have decided to sit and answer some of those questions for you!

"How long do you plan to do it?"
 Not sure! As of right now, we are trusting in God's guidance and leadership and waiting on His plan. Taking it one year at a time and going to try our best to enjoy it and learn as much as we can along the way!

"What curriculum are you using to teach with?"
This was a hard to decision to make as there are so many wonderful curriculums available for us to use! Going into my search, I knew wholeheartedly that I wanted it to be Bible based! That is number one priority and so very important to my husband and I! I was highly recommended the Heart of Dakota Little Hands to Heaven curriculum and once I read through the reviews and previews online and saw how affordable it was, I decided to order it. However. once I received it and started flipping through the lessons, I came to realize that Emma may have needed the next level up {Little Hearts for His Glory} and decided to return it. I felt it wasn't going to be challenging enough for her and although she is only 4 1/2 years old, I do not want her getting bored! So, while debating whether or not I should exhange for LHfHG, I came across the website Hubbard's Cupboard!


What I have found here has been exactly what I was looking for. Bible Lessons, Scripture Memorization, Character Traits, Phonics, Reading, Math, and Science lessons all able to be printed out for free! I figured what better way to give homeschooling a try than to use the free resources that are availabe for us to use?! I know that once Emma gets older and if God continues to lead us to homeschool, I am going to need to purchase a good curriculum, however, for preschool, Hubbard's Cupboard {HC} looks perfect for us! I will be using these lessons in conjunction with the My First Hands-On Bible for the Bible lessons as well as My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts and The Singing Bible for our scripture memorization. For reading and phonics help, we will be using in conjunction with HC, the Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers as well as Now I'm Reading! Playful Pals, Level 1. I am beyond excited to start teaching Emma to read! Add in some free printables from Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1 and we are set to go! I am currently in the midst of organizing everything into our Homeschool Binder and creating a daily schedule that follows along as closely as possible to the HC schedule that we are advised to follow. Praying to be able to create a routine that helps aide in our days going as smoothly as possible!

"How will Emma receive social interaction with children her age?" 
This seems to be a big question among non-homeschoolers; one I even found myself asking. For now, Emma is involved in a wonderful gymnastics program that she absolutely loves! In a few weeks, she will be starting Rainbows which I am excited for since Missionettes was something I was a part of as a little girl! As she gets older, and if we are lead to continue on our homeschooling journey, I will look for a homeschool christian co-op in my area as well as keeping her involved in as many activites as she chooses. The possibilities with homeschooling are endless!

"How did you come to this decision?"
Prayer! Lots and lots of prayer! Seeking out God's guidance and His plan for not only our lives, but our childrens lives too! Homeschooling was actually laid on my husbands heart first before it was ever laid on mine! About a year and a half ago, my husband brought the idea of homeschooling to my attention. I had never given it any thought beforehand. I had always just assumed that my children would attend a private christian school like I had. However, my ways are not my own {Isaiah 55:8}, and God had other plans. I began praying about it and felt God's push and leadership into the direction of homeschool. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this becoming very long post, I have no idea how long we will continue on this journey and have also learned never to assume anything. Emma might just be attending a Christian school next year. Maybe even a public one. Who knows! That is one of the wonderful things about having complete and total trust in Jesus Christ to lead us on the correct path!

"Are you nervous?"
I was, but with continued prayer, wonderful online support, and everything starting to come together in an organized way, I am starting to feel at peace with this decision knowing that it is the right one since it came from Him!

If you are a new homeschooler and are nervous or scared, I would love to pray for you! Please let me know in the comments section below!

If you are curious about homeschool and have no idea where to start, check out my updated {inspiration} page!

If you have any other questions for me, I would love to hear them and promise to do my best at answering them! Please ask away in the comment section below!

May I ask for your prayers as we begin this journey in little more than a week? We are getting very excited about all that God has planned for us this year!

Linking up with other fabulous homeschooling moms at the Hip Homeschool Hop!

*amazon.com links are affiliate links
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And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Friday, August 26, 2011

{from here}

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from here :: i can see and hear the happiness in the laughter of my children
from here :: i see how blessed i am with an amazing husband and father to my children
from here :: i have two furry friends, constantly at my side, letting me know i am never without company or a friend
from here :: i see His words spoken as a love note to me in the greatest Book ever written
from here :: i am sitting next to a stack of books, worksheets, pens, pencils, paper, and glue, anticipating a new start; a new journey; and feeling blessed
from here :: i am loved

From where you are seated, take a look around you and give thanks for all that you have been given!

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God's blessing in your coming in, God's blessing in your going out. ~ Deuteronomy 28:6 {the message}

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Raising Readers



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"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." ~ Emilie Buchwald

I came across this quote a few weeks ago and immediately knew I had to place it on a picture and frame it! How true it is! 

For any of you who know me or have been a reader of this blog for quite some time, you know that we love our library as well as reading books. We visit our library at least once a week and one of our favorite times of the day is when we are snuggled on the couch reading a book together.

One of my goals as a mother is to develop in my children a life-long love of reading. My mom instilled this treasure in my sister and I, and I want to do the same for my children. I remember many a day spent visiting the library and having "teddy bear picnics" during storytime when I was a kid. Reading before bed and staying up way past bedtime just to finish the "good part" was a regular occurance.

I am looking forward to the day when my children are hiding away in their rooms lost in a good book; or when my daughter and I can join in a mother-daughter book club at our local library! Or when all that is on their birthday/Christmas lists are books!

But, since I am in no rush and truly can wait for that time, I am soaking in all the laughter and learning while reading to them from my comfy spot on the couch!

What are some books you and your children enjoy reading together?

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Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool?

I wrote earlier this month about the different options and ways for our children to be schooled. As already stated, my husband and I have decided to not send our 4 year old daughter to pre-school. We have felt lead, instead, to try homeschooling. Each day I am teaching my children something, so why not try it in a more structured way. Besides, I need more structure and organization in my mornings anyways!

I am planning on explaining why we chose to homeschool this year, what curriculum we chose to use, as well as what I am hoping our day-to-day will look like, all over the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a few people/blogs that have been such a huge help and encouragement for me in finding my way around the homeschool realm. {just in case you have been contemplating homeschooling as well and have no idea where to start, like I did!}

The Homeschool Lounge is a wonderful place to get every and all your questions about homeschooling answered.

Homeschool Creations and 1+1+=1 are two amazing blogs written by homeschooling moms themselves. They offer many free printables to help aide in the teaching of your child at home!

Heart of the Matter Online offers support and encouragement for your homeschooling journey.

Our Family for His Glory provided me with so much encouragement just from reading the first page under her "homeschool" tab!

Confessions of a Homeschooler I was blown away by her school room organization and would love to have a room in my house look like that someday!

I am sure there are many, many, more websites and blogs out there offering amazing advice that I am hoping to come across in the months to come, but for now, these are the ones that have been the most helpful to me, and hopefully, if need be, they will be helpful to you as well.

If you have any others that you would like to mention, please do so in the comments section! I would love to check them out and need all the help I need!

:: i just wanted to add that i do not have any plans to turn this into a homeschooling blog. i will, however, continue to blog about whatever is on my heart and i am sure in the months to come, homeschooling will be one of those things! i hope you will stick around and continue to follow us on this journey!::
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"But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the LORD has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”" ~ Genesis 24:56

Monday, August 22, 2011

Presents for a Little Girl

When you set out to complete a certain task, the feeling of accomplishment ,when you do in fact finish, is thrilling!

At the start of last week, I had two out of the three gifts I had set out to make for my nieces 2nd birthday, still left to start and finish before her party, which was yesterday!

In the midst of panic saturday morning, I had the last of the gifts to finish. If you ask my husband, he will tell you that come Saturday afternoon, he was happy to have his wife back! I am happy to say, however, that I did finish, on time.

This was my first time making any of these items, and if I may say, I am pretty pleased with myself as to how they came out!

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They each have their own little "sleeping bag" pocket to slip into...

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...and when rolled up, they are ready to go to grandma's, camping, wherever! {so cute!}

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I love the idea of a crayon roll! I throw one in my diaper bag and a notepad and it is instant entertainment at a restaurant, doctors office, etc., for the kids.

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Makes a fun gift when you add two coloring books to it!

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As an added touch to both the Sleepover Pals and the Crayon Roll, I added a tag letting them know what it was.

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This dress, I just loved so much once finished, that I wish I wouldn't look silly wearing one!

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The apron was needing something, so I cut out and appliqued this little guy onto the front of it! Love!

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The recipient seemed to enjoy her new friends and that made all the hard work worth it!

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I wish I could take credit for coming up with these items all on my own, but they were the works of the following masterminds:

Pattern for Apron Knot Dress can be found here
Pattern for Sleepover Pals can be found here
Tutorial for Crayon Roll can be found here

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28

Friday, August 19, 2011

Individual Chicken Pot Pies {recipe}

One of my husband's favorite meals is Chicken Pot Pie. Typically, this is something I would categorize as comfort food and make during the cold, winter, months. However, my mom mentioned to me the other day that she was making one for dinner and I have been hungry for it ever since.

So, for dinner tonight, I made these cute, mini, chicken pot pies!

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I didn't realize how much one of these little ramekins' held! I definitely could not eat it all and will enjoy the rest for lunch or dinner tomorrow!  The kids loved having their own little "pot", as Emma called it, to eat theirs out of!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt
pepper
1 can (10 1/2 oz) chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
2 cups cubed (i shredded mine) cooked chicken
1/3 cup chopped onion
Mixture of green beans, corn, peas, and carrots. (I just used one of those frozen mixed veggie bags and dumped in. But, if you have these items on hand, fresh, I say go for it!)
Biscuits (use whichever recipe you like for making biscuits. I used the recipe from the box of biscuit mix I bought at Trader Joes and also added shredded cheddar cheese in mine!)

Heat oven to 350*. Grease rammekins or large muffin cups.

In 10-inch skillet, melt butter; stir in flour and a dash of pepper. Cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in broth and 3/4 cup milk; cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Add chicken, onion, and vegetable mixture. cook until hot and bubbly. Spoon mixture evenly into ramekins. Place a spoonful, or two, of biscuit dough on top of each ramekin. Cut slits in biscuit tops.

Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown!

Enjoy!


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God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. ~ John 4:24

Thursday, August 18, 2011

{coffee talk}

At the start of summer, my husband and I decided to devote at least three nights a week to just sitting and talking...to one another! Summer can be a pretty hectic time for us and we tend to lose moments to just sit and be together.
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Making sure the kids are sound asleep in their beds and the tv and computer screens are turned off, we turn on the Keurig and prepare ourselves a nice, steaming cup of delicious coffee.

Then we sit. And talk. Sometimes our conversations are light and filled with lots of laughter! {my husband has a great sense of humor and is constantly making me laugh! one of the reasons I fell in love with him!}

Other times they are more in-depth conversations about finances, the kids, our future plans, something we read from the Bible that we wanted to discuss with one another. It is such a wonderful way to connect with one another on an intimate level.

 I look forward to these nights when I can be curled up on the couch next to my husband, coffee cup in hand, and just be me. Telling him all about my day-my worries, fears, stress, excitement, plans, goals, etc. Nothing fancy...except for now, that the nights are becoming more pleasant, we will take our coffee and conversation to the back porch and curl up together on the glider! It is at these times when we put the conversation aside for a moment and just sit in the stillness of the night together that I feel the closest to him!

How I treasure these moments!  With the kids and my schedule and work and his schedule, we need this time to connect! I need this time with him and he needs this time with me!

My husband {after Jesus Christ} is my number one priority and just as I strive each day to be the best mama to my kids, I am trying, even harder, to be the best wife for my husband!

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Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: "Many women have done wonderful things, but you've outclassed them all!" ~ Proverbs 31, The Message

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Changing of Seasons

Summer is nearing its end. The proof of this can be found all around us. From back-to-school supplies, pumpkins, and scarecrows lining the shelves in the stores to the cooler night air and the shortening of the days.

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Falls arrival is nearing and I am anticipating its return. Apple Cider, pumpkin pie, sweatshirts, soft, wool, socks and sweaters, warm cups of tea at night, and God painting such beautiful scenery with the changing of the leaves. Yes, one might say I love fall.

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And though I am happy to live in an area of the world where I get to experience the weather changes of all four seasons, I wish my children didn't have to grow and change with them!

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I wish they could stay this size, forever!

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
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He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; ~ Daniel 2:21

Monday, August 15, 2011

Homemade Gifts

Do you tend to take on more than you can handle?
I know I do.
There is so much that I want to do and never enough time to do it in.

My niece is having her 2nd birthday this upcoming weekend and I decided to try and make all of her gifts.
On the list of things to make are:

  • Crayon Roll (finished! just need to buy a coloring book or two to go along with it. crayons are already rolled up inside)
  • Apron Knot Dress (everything is cut out and sewing started tonight. *hopefully* will finish up tomorrow)
  • Sleepover Pals (not a thing started on these! hoping to at least get the fabric cut tomorrow) pattern can be found in Hillary Lang's Wee Wonderfuls book, which is totally awesome by the way!

I have less than a week to finish and know it can be done, but the stress of making sure it is perfect and actually gets done is really starting to get to me.

Why do I do this to myself?

Stay tuned! If I get finished with everything, I am sure to make a post, with pics, all about it! :)

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My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62: 1-2

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

{peace}

"Understanding will never bring you Peace. That's why I have instructed you to trust in Me, not in your understanding. Human beings have a voracious appetite for trying to figure things out, in order to gain a sense of mastery over their lives. But the world presents you with an endless series of problems. As soon as you master one set, another pops up to challenge you. The relief you had anticipated is short-lived. Soon your mind is gearing up again: searching for your understanding (mastery), instead of seeking Me (your Master)." ~ Jesus Calling


I have mentioned before how much I am enjoying the devotional by Sarah Young-Jesus Calling. The above reading is just another example of it.

I have been struggling lately. A lot! Stuggling with current economic issues and what I, as a Christian, should do next. Who I should...and what I should...believe. What is to be considered extreme or rather smart.

In the midst of all these struggles of trying to understand, I have also allowed worry to creep in...and I have no time or place for worry! For worry leads to other things like sadness, anger, and depression and I am not somone who likes to feel those things. So...instead of trying to understand and worrying about what comes next, I am going to enjoy the Peace that comes with being a Child of the King!

Which brings me back to why this particular paragraph written on the page of this wonderful devotional stuck out to me. And also shows reminds me just how great our God is! He is listening to my worries and fears even when I may not be praying about them. He is concerned and He wants me to know it is all under control. He is in control!

So...pfft on worry! You have no place here and are not welcomed! My God takes up residence here and He has provided me with an amazing feeling of Peace!

{this devo also reminded me of the Twila Paris song, "God Is In Control"! YouTube video link here! Enjoy!}

Amazon links are affilliate links!

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 5:1

Monday, August 8, 2011

Classroom, Home, or No-School?

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My daughter turned four earlier this year. Since then, the topic of discussion on a regular basis is what we are going to do about school next year. {we are skipping out on pre-school this year and just starting into kindergarten next fall. one of the local libraries offers a free program that helps prepare children for kindergarten that I am planning on taking my daughter to!}

Growing up, I attended a private Christian school from kindergarten through 12th grade. My husband also attended a private school, but only until 6th grade. We have both agreed, early on, that a private christian education was what we were hoping to give to our children. But, it can become pretty expensive. So, we have also been exploring our other options.

I never realized just how many other options there were. Homeschool, cyber school, public school, and no schooling at all! It's a bit overwhelming!

Obviously, we need to decide what is the best option for us; for our children. But, it got me to thinking; How do you do school? Or, if your children are young like mine and not yet in school, how are you planning on doing school?

I appreciate any and all info and ideas you have to offer!
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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sweet Amish Zucchini Bread {recipe}

Summertime produces some of the most delicious fruits and vegetables. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, tomatos, yellow squash, cucumbers, and zucchini! Oh...and how can I forget watermelon? I only buy like 2-3 a week!

One of my favorite summertime farm stand vegetables is zucchini! One of my favorite ways to eat it is grilled with a little olive oil and good ol' S&P! The other...zucchini bread!

My grandma used to always make zucchini bread in the summertime. I remember having at least a loaf in our fridge at all times all summer long. Eating it plain, straight from the fridge or warmed up with a little bit of melted butter on the top, mmm...mmm! You cannot go wrong either way!

I came across the following recipe for zucchini bread in my Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook! It tastes so much like my grandma's recipe! It is that good!

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Sweet Amish Zucchini Bread

3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cups nuts, chopped {i used walnuts}
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups zucchini, grated {i used one whole medium size zucchini}
2 tsp. vanilla

In large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until the batter is well blended.

Divide the batter into 2 greased loaf pans and bake at 325* for 1 hour or until done. Remove from pans at once and let cool on a baking rack!

Once cool, slice and enjoy!

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What is something you enjoy eating/cooking/baking in the summertime?


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Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. ~ Genesis 9:3
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