"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Home Management Binder

I've pretty much gotten my binder together, and I'm now ready to share it.  I apologize that I am not a gifted photographer, but hopefully you can see the pictures well enough to get the general idea!  Here is the front cover:
Included on the cover is Proverbs 31:27-"She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness."

The spine looks like this:
In the front, I have two inspiration pages in page protectors.  The first is a copy of Proverbs 31:10-31, and the second is the poem that I posted a couple of days ago.  Then I have dividers, which are papers that I made in Word, placed in page protectors, and put tabs on.  Here is what each divider looks like:
The first section is Calendars, and the verse on this divider is Psalm 90:12-" So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."  Behind this divider, I have a full school year calendar...
Bad picture I know...just use your imagination.  After this calendar are monthly calendars through June 2011.
Next we have schedules.  The verse on here is Proverbs 31:11-12-"The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life."  Behind this tab are the kids' daily school schedules.  They also have copies of them in their own planners.
Next is Food....the verse is Proverbs 31:14-15-"She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household..."  Behind this divider are shopping lists, frequently used recipes, and of course...the weekly menu:

(The one section where there is no breakfast...for various reasons we didn't figure that out right away and it didn't get written down...but typically Sunday morning before church is cereal.)

Next section is housework.  The verse here is Proverbs 31:27 again.  Behind here I have the housework scheduled out...my daily routine/chore schedule, and the children's chores.

This last section is definitely the fattest....SCHOOL.  The verse on the front is Psalm 78:1-7...too long to put here so you can look it up.  Behind here, I have subdividers.  There is one section for each child, and behind these I have each child's course of study, schedules for their subjects for the year, tests, answer keys, etc etc...my high schooler's also has his transcript.  I also have a tab where I keep copies of book orders, receipts, info about our virtual academy, etc.

My binder also contains pockets in the front and back, where I keep misc. papers that I'm still dealing with, and scratch paper to write notes on.  I sometimes have a spiral notebook hooked in there also.  I am constantly writing things down so this really helps me a lot.

Well, I think that is it!  I hope you have enjoyed this "tour".

Monday, August 30, 2010


I can't believe this--our baby pigs were born 2 weeks ago and I keep forgetting to blog about it--yikes!  So here we go.  I need to get to bed soon but must type this up first!

It was a sweltering hot August morning, and for some reason that I forget, we stayed home from church.  And it was a good thing, because our poor hot sow went into labor!  She had all the signs, so we had been watching her.  At one point Annamarie went out to check on her again, and I suddenly heard her yelling, and it turned out that 3 piglets had been born!
Unfortunately, there was a very traumatic moment when the poor little pink one was squashed and suffocated by Spot (the mother).  Annamarie was absolutely hysterical and crying, and I felt so bad...we did everything we could but could not get Spot to get off of him.  She was in pain and working on delivering more piglets, and totally oblivious to the fact that she was lying on her baby.  Thank goodness no more babies were killed.  She ended up having 8 in all, 7 surviving.  All in all it was a fun experience for the girls.  It was quite crazy though...running in and out and grabbing piglets to hold onto them in a box so they wouldn't get squished...Ted hurrying like a crazy person to get them out without being attacked by the mom!  Craziness.  Of course...Annamarie, aka Fern, named the runt Wilbur.  I keep watching out for a spider web in the pigpen containing a spider named Charlotte!

Sooo....there ya go...the piggies!  Very fun for girls.  And now, we are getting excited for the start of the school year!  Finally....just today...I now know that all of my books have been ORDERED.  Hallelujah!  The place that we are ordering through has been taking FOR EV ER to place the orders, and it has been a huge test of patience for me.  But now it's done, and I'm looking forward to the many boxes from many different vendors arriving in many different trucks soon!!  Then that should give me about a week to go through books and finish the necessary lesson planning, and be ready to start on September 13th.  Phew.  Also in our schedule for the year will be gymnastics and piano lessons for Abby, and horseback riding and piano lessons for Annamarie.  Andrew will be taking Driver's Ed (do you KNOW how much Driver's Ed is???  $650???  REALLY???), Spanish, and Flash Animation along with his other regular courses.  Should be a fun year!

I don't know about your kids, but MY kids sometimes get into stupid arguments.  Because of this, I offered a (small) prize to any of my kids who could memorize 2 Timothy 2:23-24:

"Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.  And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful."

The girls memorized it today...let's hope they get what it means and it is helpful!!

I am off to bed...the house is super quiet and everyone else is sleeping...so off I go!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Wonderful Thing

Being a mother is a wonderful thing,
My bedside alarm, it never need ring,
I'm awakened each day with bright cheerful faces,
And soon 'round the table they've all taken places.

Our meal is seasoned with plenty of chattter,
The fruit and the muffins fly from the platter,
There are stories to share and a Bible verse too,
We reverently pray--it's not always a zoo!

The day is so full of a number of things;
First chores, then schoolwork, then song practicings,
Cooking and cleaning and book reading too,
A mom of wee children has plenty to do!

I've heard busy times end as quick as they start,
So I'll treasure these days, store them up in my heart,
Small children grow up--the time goes so fast,
The business of mothering soon will be past.

Be cheerful and thankful each day that you've got,
Greater joy anywhere, there surely is not!
As you work through your duties may God hear you sing
'Cause being a mother is a wonderful thing!

by Lorie Nolan...taken from my Above Rubies magazine

Monday, August 23, 2010

And Yet More Organizing...

Organizing, organizing, organizing...such is my life lately, but I know I'm going to be glad that I did it.  Today I am going through papers and pictures that the kids made, picking out the best ones, and putting them into a binder with their name on it.  Inside the binder the papers are sorted by age.  I think it's a good system, and I just wish that I had figured out this method when Andrew and Annamarie were little, because with them I saved everything!  After Abby was born and things got busier, I started putting their papers into drawers and such to be organized later, and then could never find the time to actually organize them.  Apparently now is the time...the time to get a system down before Adam starts drawing and doing schoolwork!  I was also able to get the baby books updated this summer, and actually complete and be totally done with the older kids' books (yes my oldest is 15 so really that is a bit pathetic!).  Today is also going to consist of reorganizing the school shelf.  I promise I will have pictures up of my home management binder soon...when I have the time to do the pics and all...I am typing a couple of sentences at a time on here, taking care of baby, and working around the house all at the same time!

Here is my dinner menu for this week.  I'm finding that breakfast and lunch are basically the same things each week, with them moved around to different days.  I keep my dinner menus from each week in my binder as a reference, so if I get stuck as to what to make, I can look at them for ideas.

Sunday- Taco night
Monday- Crockpot pot roast, mashed potatoes & gravy, glazed carrots, rolls
Tuesday- Roasted chicken w/cornbread stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, coleslaw
Wednesday- Penne pasta w/marinara sauce, tossed salad, bread
Thursday-Chicken a la King, brown rice, spinach salad, biscuits
Friday-Cheeseburgers, tater tots, milkshakes

Treats this week are: Peanut butter cup brownies and some kind of pie.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gluten Free Italian Goodness

I am crazy about italian food. I absolutely adore the smell of olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano....I could probably live on garlic and olive oil!  So when I discovered that I have a gluten intolerance, it was partly a sad, sad day in that I had to say good bye to most of the dishes at my favorite restaurants.  No pasta, focaccia bread (!), cannolli...no more italian food, right?  Wrong!  I am not one who gives up easily, and I find a way to make things work.  No more pasta at restaurants...okay, I can handle that...but what I CAN do is make my own italian food at home. And that is what I have been doing, and it is going great!  I'm on a mission to keep trying new recipes to serve at home so I can get my italian fix.  I thought I'd share the two recipes I made this week.  I was going to take pictures, but I don't have a lot of time, and my camera batteries are charging, so I will just pass on the recipes.

Tonight I made Zucchini-Polenta Bake.  It's like lasagna, but....not.  If you like zucchini, and you like spice, walk into your local Trader Joe's and grab a pack of polenta, a jar of arrabiata sauce, a pack of zucchini, and some parmesan cheese  (and don't forget the $2.99 Charles Shaw wine to go with it!).  The recipe is here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Trader-Joes-Fan/15934023652?ref=ts#!/note.php?note_id=420761460669&id=15934023652&ref=mf 
After enjoyig this already yummy recipe, the general consensus in my family is this:  next time, I'm going to add italian sausage, cut back the zucchini, add more polenta, and top with mozzarella and fresh basil.  That is going on next week's menu and I can't wait to try it!  I'll let you know how it turns out.

A few days ago, I successfully made gluten free chicken parmesan.  Everyone LOVED it, and especially the girls think it is the best chicken ever!  Thank you to Linda at Gluten Free Homemaker.  One of her great tips to to use tortilla crumbs for the breading.  I just threw some tortilla chips into the blender and pressed "chop" and voila--chicken breading!  It was really good.  Here is the link to her recipe:  http://www.glutenfreehomemaker.com/2009/09/chicken-parmesan.html  I made this with gluten free brown rice noodles and no one knew the difference!

This isn't italian, but for a quick dessert, I highly HIGHLY recommend flourless peanut butter cookies.  Even the gluten eaters in my family agree that they are better than ones with flour.  They are so quick and easy, it's hard to believe that they turn out SO good.  Here is what you do: mix together one cup of peanut butter, one cup of sugar, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.  That's it.  Roll into 1 inch balls, roll in some sugar, place on cookie sheet and make those nifty designs with the tines of your fork (you know what I mean...the way your mom always made them).  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, and that's it!  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Today's activities consisted of bits and pieces of many different things.  Regular housework, grocery shopping, picking up a few cheap little school supplies, watching our pregnant sow who will be having her babies at anytime, working on the schoolroom, working on my home management binder, making menus,  making a fruit fly trap...you know, everyday life.  I'm excited to convert our guest room into a school room.  I want to keep a guest room, but we really need a study area for the girls, and we are all really excited!  The plan is to take the mattress off of the guest bed and slide it under Abby's bed for storage, so when we do have an overnight guest we can pull the mattress out.  Long term plan is to get a futon, but I never have money to spend so I have to wait patiently for a free one.  Then I'll put the guest bed frame in storage to use for Adam someday when he's big enough.  Next, we'll move Annamarie's desk into the now schoolroom, and put it next to Abby's (conveniently there is a normally annoying beam on the wall separating the two desks).  Then one of the rocking chairs from the guest room will be moved into the girls' room for a cozy sitting area, in order to clear more space in the schoolroom.  I'm currently hanging up maps and charts for decorations, and I have the letters of the alphabet to put on the top of the wall above Abby's desk, along with a 100 chart and a calendar, and her name.  Above Annamarie's desk will be her name and a multiplication chart.  We hung some pretty curtains in there to brighten things up.  The girls are excited!  Andrew already has a nice study area downstairs; unfortunately in all the years of his life, I have never been able to muster a hint of enthusiasm for school in him.  I promise to post pics of the schoolroom when it is finished!

Since I made up my menu for the week, I thought I'd share in case anyone needed any ideas or inspiration.

Sun breakfast- cereal
Sun lunch- Turkey sandwiches, apples
Sun dinner- BBQ pork ribs, potato salad, corn

Mon breakfast- Waffles & bacon
Mon lunch- hot dogs & tater tots
Mon dinner- Turkey pot pies (homemade, one gluten free), salad

Tues breakfast- Fried eggs & toast
Tues lunch- Tuna sandwiches, pickles, apples
Tues dinner- Chicken parmesan w/brown rice noodles, sauteed zucchini and red peppers, bread

Wed breakfast- French toast and fruit
Wed lunch- Macaroni and cheese, fruit
Wed dinner- Salmon, sweet potatoes, peas, salad

Thurs breakfast- Scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns
Thurs lunch- Cheese sandwiches, fruit
Thurs dinner- Quiche with turkey and broccoli, roasted potatoes, fruit (depending how the day goes, I may make some muffins or banana bread to go with this)

Fri breakfast- cereal
Fri lunch- leftover quiche or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Fri dinner- burgers, oven fries, baked beans

Sat breakfast- pancakes
Sat lunch- tuna sandwiches and fruit
Sat dinner- Italian Zucchini-Polenta bake, salad, bread

Breakfast usually includes a smoothie or fresh squeezed orange juice.  This is what the kids eat for breakfast and lunch; I sometimes just grab something else, and Ted always has oatmeal and a smoothie (he is a creature of habit) for breakfast...AND I somehow pack his lunch in the craziness of breakfast making.  Note:  There is a lot of turkey in this week because I cooked a 20 lb turkey for one of our dinners last week!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gluten Free Breakfast Bagel

I went gluten free out of necessity in August of 2008.  I hadn't had a bagel since then....until recently.  A few weeks ago, I walked into PCC, and lo and behold at the front of the store there was a huge display of gluten free goods that I had never seen before!  Actual SLICED (yes, you heard me right) bread, cinnamon rolls, muffins, and YES....bagels!  I could hardly contain my excitement as I threw things into my shopping basket.  I was dreaming of one of my favorite snacks that I hadn't been able to eat in ages:  a toasted bagel with cream cheese and jam.  Then of course other ways to eat a bagel came pouring into my mind, including the breakfast bagel that I made this morning.  To make it, I toasted half of a bagel, buttered it, then spread it with mayonnaise.  While the bagel toasted I fried an egg, then put it on top of the buttered/mayonnaised bagel.  The finishing touch was sharp cheddar cheese shredded on top of the egg, then the whole thing warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Yum!  Simple and fast, and quite delicious.

These bagels, along with bread and cinnamon rolls, are put out by Udi's.  If you're gluten free, check them out.  They are very good, but also a bit expensive.  But for those of us who won't get bread or bagels otherwise, it is worth the cost.  I hear the cinnamon rolls are excellent and I'm excited to try them out next!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another Smoothie

Okay, that was GOOD.  I just finished a delicious smoothie and I must share it!  Here is what I had:

Strawberry Vanilla Smoothie

3 oranges
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 banana
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 T flax oil

Puree the strawberries in a blender.  Juice oranges and add them to the strawberries.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  Soooo yummy!!

There is not a lot of blogging time today, but I will close with a passage from Psalms that I just read in my book, "Educating the Whole Hearted Child":

O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things of old--what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.  We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done.  He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep his commands. ~Psalm 78 1-7

Friday, August 6, 2010

Be Still

It's that time of year when many homeschool moms are busy organizing for the fall, and I am definitely one of those.  I'm in the process of creating my "Home Management Binder".  I got this idea off of the /www.keepingthehome.com/ website, and I'm really excited.  I've been meaning to make one for a long time, and it is actually coming together now.  It's really going to help me keep all of my information in one place.  I'm one of those people that tends to write notes, schedules, lists, etc on a piece of paper or in a notebook, and then not be able to locate them later.  It is very frustrating!  This way, everything will be organized into one place.  I'm going to complete it this weekend...hopefully...and then I will post pictures and show what I did.

My flesh is really wanting to stress right now.  I just started a new school program for the kids, which means that I dumped all of my previous plans, that I had so diligently worked on in June (and I was super happy to be ultra organized in my planning for the fall!), and I'm starting from scratch.  The biggest problem with this for me, is that I have yet to have ordered my curriculum.  I have to order it through the company, in order for them to cover the cost, and I'm still waiting on someone to meet with me and go over the program, and show me which curriculum is approved and which isn't.  I don't know if what I want to use is okay yet or not.  I'd really like to have a vision in my head of what we're doing, and work on planning out lessons.  Whenever I think about this, I STRESS!!!  I have to continually remind myself, "Be still and know that I am God", over and over again.  My dear husband reminded me that the Bible tells us to not worry about tomorrow.  It's all in God's hands.  He knows what we will be doing, and whenever I actually know, HE will help me with it all.

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 NASB

I promised in a previous post, about scheduling chores, that I would share my children's chores. Here are my girls' chores:

Morning Chores:

Annamarie (12 years old):  Up at 7:00 (this is year round, on all days except Saturday).   Take dog out to run (she runs dog 5-6 times per day), give dog food and water.  Let rooster out of his house.  Make bed, brush hair, and straighten up room.  After this is breakfast, then brush teeth and help clean up kitchen.  Bring dirty laundry from upstairs down to the downstairs basket.  Straighten living room.  At about 9:00 she starts her devotions.

Abigail (7 years old): Make bed and straighten room. Feed chickens and ducks. Give water to chickens/ducks and rooster.  Water garden and deck plants. Straighten guest room.  After breakfast, brush teeth and hair, and help clean kitchen.

After lunch, everyone helps clean up the kitchen.

Afternoon chores:

Annamarie:  Fold and put away laundry, unload dishwasher, feed dog, vacuum living room (M, W, F)

Abigail:  Check all pet water and fill if necessary.  Fold and put away laundry. Feed chickens/ducks.

After dinner chores:

Annamarie:  Load dishwasher, spray and wash counters

Abigail:  Clear and wash kitchen table, sweep floor

I didn't include Andrew in here because his dad plans most of his chores.  He feeds/waters the pigs morning and afternoon, takes care of his dog, and then helps with whatever Ted needs done for the day.