Monday, September 3, 2012

Our Homeschool Room!

This is the first year (in 6 years) that we have had a whole room dedicated to just homeschooling!  Thanks to my wonderful husband for the idea and help to make this happen.

Grammar wall with write-on wipe-off area for day's sentence, and weekly Root words and Spelling info.
 15 foot timeline! Plus a space for everyone.  We may switch to individual desks in the future.
 1st grader's area with easel (he likes to move so standing for many things is better for him) and separate desk for 7th grader and mom to share.
 Table for 4th and 5th grade sons to share (and 1st grader too at times)
 My teacher tools crate
 Each child has their own color coded crate with their work inside
 And a mini color coded crate for supplies
School crates are on the floor next to their spaces
Curriculum closet - Top shelf has past schoolwork, Then we have supplies and crafts, to the left are shelves for science, math and history.  In the middle are more supplies and a shelf for language arts.  To the right are shelves for learning games and sewing supplies.  Everything is in here  except for readers.  Readers are in the living room in bookshelves.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Last Days of Summer - Fun - Try This at Home!

It has been a scorcher in the Ozarks this summer and very few days have been spent outside.  Talk about Cabin Fever in a whole new way!  Finally, as our planet is moving on it's orbit around the Sun, we have had a break in the weather with some cooler days and much cooler nights.  (Insert huge amounts of gratitude here!)  And so, the boys (and girl) can once again venture outside for the  better part of the day and I am grateful that our school principal (aka Daddy) has reminded me that school NEVER officially starts until after Labor Day.  This gives the teacher (me) a few extra weeks to prepare for a stellar year (by His grace) and the children some extra time outside gathering in vitamin D while playing and breathing deeply of fresh air.  There are noises of nature all around us, a beautiful chorus singing to our Creator.

And then, what is that EXTRA noise?  We don't have any motorcycles in our neighborhood.
Ahhhh, it is MY boys!   Take 1 bike and 1 empty water bottle and you can transform said bike into a noise-making, motorcycle-imitating machine!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Painting Fun

Here is our painting craft for the summer.  We went to Michaels and purchased canvas on sale 50% off and acrylic paints on sale for 29 cents a tube.  We (or should I say, me) traced the letters onto contact paper and placed them onto canvas.  Then, we had fun painting whatever we wanted.  Finally, we peeled off the contact paper, and voila! Our artwork was done.  
We are all excited to try some more painting again soon.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Leaping for Science

Today, we took the opportunity to do some leaping for Apologia! They are having a fun leap day contest - take a picture of leaping for Apologia and win $100 gift card for their products! 
Apologia Science has been an excellent resource for our family for the past 4 years.  So far, we have studied Astronomy, Botany, Zoology 1 (flying creatures), and now Anatomy & Physiology.....and we do not plan to stop!  We already have Zoology 2 (swimming creatures) and General Science on tap for the fall.

Boy, did we have fun trying to get some serious air!!! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Legacy of Love

8 years ago today my best friend stepped into eternity.
Has it really been that long since we have shared a laugh (we had many) or held each-other in a mother-daughter embrace? She is forever in my heart, and missing her never goes away; some days, just a hint of missing, and others an intense ache. 
There are questions I have, especially now that I have my own daughter who resembles me in many ways, and whose best friend I am.  'What was I like that at 12? What did you think?  You never seemed impatient.  How did you do that?' 'Mom, guess what! Remember when I did...your granddaughter, she is too!'
I don't feel that my mom is missing out by not being here, how could she be? She is at the feet of Jesus.  I don't feel that we are missing out either.  God, in His goodness, has provided love and added to our family in marvelous ways that leave me in awe.  It's just that I miss her.  And that's long as I do not let missing her cause me to miss out on the beauty that God has for today. (She would not want that anyway!) I am missing her while looking forward to eternity instead of missing her looking back to what can never be right now.  So, I live with an ache, an empty place in my heart that is hers alone.  And yet, my heart is able to ever increase in its capacity to add love....expanded heart, more love, with empty, longing places...all at once.
Oh, how I am thankful that she introduced me to Jesus, impressed His love upon my heart, and taught me to love Him; and because of Him, this painful separation is not the end, but a mere speck in the expanse of eternity.  Oh what we have to look forward to!
And I am grateful for the ache, to have someone to ache for.  To have been loved so intensely that I have reason to miss her intensely.  Sadly, some have not know this kind of love.  I am one of the blessed ones.  I have the opportunity to seek out and share the kind of love my mother gave me with those that are hurting and feeling unloved. 
At the end of her time here on earth, when we all got together to celebrate her life, her memorial service stretched to 3 hours. Those who shared all spoke of her love.  Her love for God. (He is a resounding first place in her life.)  Her love for her family. (fierce) Her love for others. (faithful)
I choose to carry on her torch, passing on her legacy of love to my children; and to love others faithfully with His love, the way she did.

Friday, February 10, 2012

How Can I Keep From Singing

It has not been the easiest of weeks....just being honest. BUT I am so thankful that God is not moved by my weakness. Rather, He is ready and waiting to pick me up, hold me tight, dust me off, and give me strength to go at it ... again. (Read Psalm 18)

So here is my 'theme song' for this week:

"How Can I Keep From Singing"

by Chris Tomlin and sung by Lydia Stanley at the Bay Revival (I think it is the 2nd song...)

There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring

And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives

And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through
And sing the songs You give

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Joyful Cooking or Grace in the Kitchen

so this week went by super fast....and it is now!

Tuesday was an amazing day in the kitchen for me. In a matter of 2 hours I had prepared:
1 large meatloaf
1 pan of lasagna
Browned meat for Wednesday's pizza
Started spaghetti sauce for a later date
Had dough rising for 2 loaves of home-made bread to be baked later in the evening
Cleaned the kitchen
Did a load of laundry

Now before you think 'stop bragging on yourself Lisa', let me explain. Tuesday was amazing for me because it showed me God's grace in the area of cooking. When I first got married my poor husband endured batches of dry ground beef and dry rice, just ask him! Needless to say, we had nachos almost every night since he was not fond of the dry hamburger. Once we started having children I started to learn to cook more, but there were more failures than successes. Then, for 5 years I worked full time outside the home and my husband did the majority of the cooking and grocery shopping. Well, that all changed this past August when I joyfully returned home full-time.

I had to re-learn how to grocery shop for our family and I am just now getting the hang of menu planning. I have even dabbled with using coupons, though so far it has been a laughable joke. One thing has changed though, much to my and my family's delight - cooking. There is a new found, never before experienced, grace on me to cook. I cannot explain it other than God's mercy (especially on the ones who have to eat it!) and perhaps the fact that I have a new attitude.

I no longer look at cooking as a drudgery. I am excited to minister to my family in this way and have watched God begin to bless the work of my hands. He tells us that He will bless what we put our hands to (Deut. 28:80). But, He also tells us to do everything without complaining (Phil. 2:14). That includes unvoiced complainings in our hearts. Our attitude counts!

Once I got that straightened out, I began to get excited about cooking and planning for my family. And, I have been blessed to see my family's appreciation. This is new territory for me and I am excited to walk this journey of cooking with the Lord helping me and teaching me all the way.

In case you are interested, here is the step by step of what I cooked Tuesday:

I started with two 3lb packs of ground beef (ours is actually "Boston Burger").
I took about 2 lbs and put in a large bowl - for the meatloaf.
I then took the remaining 4 lbs and put in a large skillet pan breaking it up as I went.
I turned the pan on med and started browning the meat - I eventually covered.

While the meat was cooking, I went back and prepared the meatloaf. I used Betty Crocker's recipe for basic meatloaf and doubled it, and I combined some homemade bread pieces with Italian bread crumbs. We had it for dinner last night and everyone liked it lots! Once the meatloaf was prepared (15 min max) I covered it and put in fridge for hubby to put in oven later.

I then drained the browned meat.
I scooped out about 1 lb and put aside in a plastic container to be used the next night for homemade pizza.
I scooped out another 1 lb and put in second plastic container - for spaghetti sauce.
I added 1 1/2 cans of 26 oz. Spaghetti sauce to the pan and poured the remaining 1/2 can of sauce in with the spaghetti meat in the plastic container.
Now, I added 1 cup of water to the meat and sauce mixture and simmered for 5 minutes.

I got out a 9x13 baking dish and started the lasagna with a recipe given to me by my mother-in-law; who, by the way, is a Martha Stewart for the rest of us. Her ideas and practical advice are great!

Mary's Easy Lasagna revised -

1 2/2 to 2 lb of meat - browned
39 oz (approx) spaghetti sauce - I used a can and a half of Hunts 4 Cheese
1 cup of water
Lasagna noodles - no need to be oven ready
15 oz. cottage cheese (or ricotta)
1 egg
McCormick Italian Seasoning grinder - 1 to 2 teaspoons
16 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
Black olives - optional

mix cottage cheese and egg and put about a teaspoon of grinder in mix - I also sprinkle some over cottage cheese layer if I don't think I have enough. Totally according to taste

Pour 1 1/2 to 2 Cups of sauce mixture on bottom on pan
put a layer of lasagna noodles
top with half of cottage cheese/egg mixture
top with half of shredded mozzarella cheese
repeat - sauce, noodles, cottage cheese mix, shredded mozzarella - end with a final layer of sauce
sprinkle parmesan cheese over top and add olives if you like.
cover and put in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
Bake at 350 for 50-60 min - let stand for 5-10 min

At the end of the 2 hours, I had a large meatloaf ready to bake, a large pan of lasagna in the fridge, hamburger meat ready for pizza the next day, spaghetti sauce started for a future meal, bread dough rising on the counter to be used for breakfast the next day, a clean kitchen and some laundry done!

It was gorgeous outside so I was able to let the children play outside and get some fresh air and vitamin D. :-)

God is so good and so willing to help us if we are willing to let Him!

Joyfully His,

p.s. - my 9 year old, who normally says he DOES NOT like lasagna said he liked it - for the first time ever!  I had made 2 changes in the recipe - used cottage cheese instead of ricotta and McCormick's Italian seasoning instead of other herbs.  This made for a much more peaceful evening meal that everyone enjoyed.  God knows what will bless our family and aid in peace!

Monday, January 16, 2012


All my life I have been a "serious" thinker, not something I am proud of.  I remember when people would stop and ask me if something was wrong and I would be startled. Nothing was wrong, I was just deep in thought. 
I have noticed recently that I need to smile more, especially at my children.  If you are like me and need to work on this, smile on purpose at someone and watch what happens.  I remember when I first did this some months back.  I, on purpose, smiled at my daughter. It took her a moment, but after the initial surprise, she smiled back.  It was wonderful, and a little sad at the same time. The fact that my smiling unexpectedly would take her off guard revealed to me that that this was something she was NOT used to.  
How many times have I missed opportunities to smile at my children, my spouse, and others?  Not anymore!  A sincere smile is a valuable gift that we have the ability to offer freely to others.  It can to brighten days and instantly offer encouragement.
Did you know that a smile is not just good for those around you, but it has health benefits for you as well?
So, in addition to counting my blessings and personal devotion time discovering joy, my challenge for this week is to practice smiling more often, intentionally, to bless others...
joyfully yours,