"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

Monday, September 27, 2010

Making our Homes Havens

I "stole" this from the http://www.raisinghomemakers.com/ site, but I had to repost it:

Sitting around the dinner table, I listened as my husband offered a prayer of thanksgiving before we ate……”Lord, thank you for this place of comfort we can come home to……..” Have you ever thought, ladies, about what the men in your family face everyday? The workplace can be a hard place, and many times for our guys, lots of physical, hard labor. I guess at times, it’s easy for us to forget what their days are like when they leave our homes. So that prayer reminded me once again of what “home” means to my husband and sons. It should be a place of rest, comfort, beauty, and filled with pleasant words. A place of good, nourishing food and thought for spiritual food. At times, I have put myself in their “shoes” and thought about working on a hot roof all day(my husband is a carpenter) and then coming home to a dark, empty house with a can of soup on the counter. How much better to walk into a home with life, hot food on the table, clean clothes after a nice, long bath. A daughter who gives dad a neck rub is much appreciated:) I’m glad I get to provide a place of rest, creating a home environment that welcomes a weary worker at the end of the day. It’s easy, ladies, to get focused on our own struggles and hardships at home. It’s good for us to look through the lens of our husband’s labor and appreciate what he does day in, day out to provide.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Dinner

For years, Sunday dinner had been on my list of things to add into my life.  I kept talking about it, dreaming about it, and saying that "I must start doing Sunday dinners!"  I love Sundays.  Jesus, church, family time, leisure...and a nice meal.  Nowadays, basically every Sunday, I put either a chicken or a roast of some sort in the crock pot before we leave for church.  Later in the day, I scoop broth out of the crockpot, put it in a pan on the stove...add some cornstarch, salt, and pepper to make gravy. 

(I know, I know...photography is NOT my gift.)

I put some potatoes on to boil and make mashed potatoes, then cook some kind of veggie.  Lately it's been green beans pretty much every time just because we have an absolute ton of them in our freezer!  It really is a simple meal, and works very well for Sundays.  No stress or anything.  There is just something old fashioned and homey and traditional, and just....RIGHT about Sunday dinner.  It blesses my husband, blesses my children, and pleases my Lord.

However, I also know that--unfortunately--we have an enemy who does NOT like our Sunday dinners. Our enemy satan goes around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  He comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  The sermon in church this morning was on that passage of scripture in 1 Peter 5.  He wants to destroy our families.  I've noticed that whenever I purposefully set up a family dinner at the table, including just tonight, it seems to turn into a battle.  Baby cries, kids tease each other, someone decides to be disrespectful to a parent, someone is arguing, etc.  When that happened this evening, the Lord reminded me of todays' sermon.  I thought, "ah....of course".  The enemy will do anything he can to try to steal, kill, and destroy our families.  Sunday dinners represent unity, love, family, tradition...all those things that BUILD a family.  Of course when I seek to build our family, he will attack in any way possible.  I'm thankful that the Lord showed me this, so I won't get discouraged but will keep plugging away at building my family.

Keep plugging away building your family.  Don't let satan win by discouraging you.  Enjoy your family!  "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9.  The Lord bless you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Yesterday, we did the fair!  ALL day.  It was so much fun!  Andrew brought his friend Ethan, so the two boys took off on rides all day, and I followed the girls around from ride to ride, with Adam in his stroller.  The girls prefer the "Sillyville" rides which are geared more toward kids, while the boys hung out in "Midway" where the hard core riders go.  With all the rides available, the favorite for the girls is still the carousel....a classic.  I think they literally went about 30 times.  The one at the gate was the favorite, and they would go on it 4 or 5 or 6 times in a row, and visit it frequently, and then there were 2 or 3 other carousels that they went on several times.

We were able to get the "dizzy pass" bracelets, which means unlimited rides, so they could go on them again and again.  It was great early in the day when kids were in school, but once late afternoon hit, it got really crowded and the lines got long.  We got there at about 11 am and stayed until 8 pm.  Adam did great!

I totally meant to take pictures of the boys (the bigger ones), but I hardly saw them all day so that didn't happen.  Everyone rode rides, the girls played one game and made a craft (a candle at one of those sand art places), and everyone ate some fair food.  Trying to find food for me and Annamarie to eat was nearly impossible.  Not as hard for Annamarie, who was happy living off of cotton candy and ice cream, but I wanted a real meal.  That did NOT happen.  I managed to eat a burger patty, with no bun, but other than that I got an ice cream bar and a caramel apple.  The biggest frustration was with the taco places.  Normally, mexican food saves me because there are often plenty of gluten free options.  Well, I kept stopping by these places to get a taco, and then would be told that there were only soft tacos.  Those I can't have because tortillas are made out of wheat; I need the hard corn shells.  Eventually I gave up, until the very end of the day when I saw someone walk by with a taco salad, and spotted another taco place nearby.  I ran over and was thrilled to see that there were hard tacos so stood in line to get something for both Annamarie and myself.  After a long wait in line, I got up there and ordered, and then asked if they could tell me what was in the taco meat.  After all of that I was told that there was oats AND wheat in the meat.....they then asked me if I needed to avoid gluten, to which I replied yes...they responded that they had nothing other than chips and cheese.  BIG SIGH.  We were just leaving anyway and I'd had enough, so we headed home.  Anyway, over all it was a good day, and I will close this with some more pictures.

This is the one game they played, and they were the only players so competed against each other.  Annamarie won and got a little stuffed monkey!

Starting a Second Blog...

This post is basically just an announcement.  I've started a second blog that is dedicated just to gluten free cooking. There's nothing there yet, really, but it will be up and running soon!  So, if your reason for coming here is for gluten free cooking tips, please visit: http://www.glutenfreeapril.blogspot.com/  This blog will remain active, with homemaking/homeschooling as its main theme.  There just seemed to be so much information on both topics, with completely different sets of readers, that I felt it best to split the two. Thank you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Seasoning my Speech with Grace

Lately the Lord has been really convicting me about having more grace in my speech.  He brought to my attention that more often than not, I am talking to my husband and children in an unkind and impatient way.  Honestly, this is not the vision that I have for myself as a wife and mommy, and I am very disappointed in how I have been speaking.  Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."  So I have been purposely paying more attention to how I talk--with HIS help--and being slower to speak...so that I can make sure that my words come out in a kind way. James 1:19-20--"So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.  For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." And it's not just words, it's also tones.  I've been purposely using more joyful tones (I'm not talking Barney here, just cheerfulness), and putting on a smile.  It seems that my default tone had become snippy and grumpy, and I don't know how that can possibly be uplifting to my family. "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."  Yikes.  That's a very convicting verse.  No corrupt word.  Only words that edify.  Only words that impart grace to the hearer.  And I think that is especially important for us mothers....but also definitely harder because we are around our kids all day long.  Yet that is not an excuse.  God gives enough grace for whatever task he has called us to.  If we ask Him for help, and we purposefully watch how we speak, He will help us to speak words of grace that edify.

How do you talk to your husband?  How do I? Like I stated, God has brought to my attention that I have been too snippy and rude and impatient and angry...and on and on and on.  Not okay.  It's just not.  I can't be that way anymore.  Two verses in Proverbs compare a quarrelsome wife to a constant dripping.  (Prov. 19:13, 27:15)  Two other verses state that it's better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife (Prov. 21:9, 25:24).  Another one states it's better to live in the desert.  Hmmmm....clearly God does not approve of a wife being quarrelsome.  And when I respond to my husband in a snippy way, that is definitely a way of starting a quarrel.  Proverbs 15:1-"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  Stirring up anger would equal being quarrelsome.  Gentle answer....where else does the Bible talk about being gentle?  1 Peter 3:4 says your beauty "should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."  Gentleness is also a fruit of the spirit.  Are you speaking to your husband and children in a gentle way?  I would like to challenge you to join me in this endeavor to season my speech with grace, which would be with God's grace...because without HIS help it is impossible.

I pray that God will bless each one of my readers!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Amazingly Delicious Gluten Free Brunch

*Crustless Quiche
*Roasted Potatoes
*Banana Muffins

I just made this "brunch" for dinner, and oh man was it good!  If you're not gluten free, still try this...it can be converted to glutened food quite easily.  This would work great if you're having company over for brunch, and you could throw in a platter of fresh fruit to go with it.  It's a bit of a challenge for me to post recipes, because I don't always measure--I just throw things together, but I will do my best.  I also wish I had pictures, but my crazy life does not often afford time for photo shooting.  When the food's done, we're hungry, and I've got to seize the opportunity to eat when the baby lets me!  Anyway, here are the recipes:

Crustless Quiche
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 slices of bacon, cut in approximately 1/4 pieces
  • 2/3 c. chopped broccoli (I used frozen)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 2 T. rice flour (can use regular flour if not gluten free)
Put the cut bacon in the microwave and cook until crisp, around 3 minutes.  Thoroughly grease a deep dish pie plate.  Beat eggs in a large bowl; add buttermilk, onion, salt, pepper, nutmeg, bacon, and broccoli.  In a small bowl, toss grated cheese with flour, then add to egg mixture.  Pour into pie plate ad bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Roasted Potatotes

Okay, this is the recipe where it's hard to get specific on quantities.  I chop up potatoes in bite-sized pieces, as much as I think I will need for my family.  Red potatoes are my favorite, but I usually use russets because they are cheaper.  I douse them with "lots" of olive oil (again, your preference...but I like quite a bit), some salt, pepper, and a couple of cloves of minced garlic.  I do these several differents ways, depending on what I have on hand and what I am making with them.  Sometimes I sprinkle some Mrs. Dash seasoning on them, other times I add parmesan cheese or rosemary.  Use what you like.  Toss it all together and bake at 400 degrees for around 40 minutes, until soft.  If you leave them uncovered, they will crisp up a bit, which I like, especially with a brunch type of meal.  If you prefer them softer, then cover with foil.

Banana Muffins

Oh these are SO good!
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 tsp. guar gum
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 c. oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
(If you are a gluten eater, just replace the flours with 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour and omit the guar gum, and cut back the baking soda a tad.)

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, oil, vanilla, egg, and bananas together; add to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Grease 12 muffin cups and fill with batter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Now, I tweaked temperatures and times, in order to cook all three of these at once.  I believe I cranked the heat up to 400 degrees, and put the potatoes in for about 15 minutes or so...then I put the quiche and 6 muffins (because I couldn't fit all 12) in and turned it down to 350.  After that I baked it all for 30 more minutes, took out the muffins, put in the other 6 muffins, and left the quiche and potatoes in for another 15 minutes or so.  Something like that....did that even make sense? And my oven is slower because it is propane....so maybe yours will cook faster!  Enjoy!!  And let me know if you try this, and what you think!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Riches that Matter

Sometimes I want to have a whining complaining spirit.  Anyone else, or is it just me?  It is amazing how, amid all the blessings that God has bestowed upon me, this spirit can sneak up on me so quickly.  Poor, poor pitiful me...I don't have a car, I never can buy new clothes, I haven't had a haircut in ages, I don't seem to have any friends lately, my house needs remodeling and who knows how we will afford that...really it could go on and on.  But what really is important in life anyway? What exactly can I bring into eternity?  When I think of it all in an eternal perspective, I realize that I am truly rich in the things that matter.  Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven....for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Matthew 6:19-21  I know many of us have heard those verses several times, but what do they really mean?  How can we store up treasures in heaven?

In this last year, God gave me a precious, precious gift.  It was a gift that I never knew I wanted.  In fact, I was quite adamant that I did not EVER want another one of these gifts.  God gave me a sweet little baby boy.  His name is Adam, and he has become one of the greatest blessings in my life.   Through the pregnancy and now through this little boy, God has taught me many, many things.  He reminded me who He called me to be: a homemaker, mommy, and homeschooler.  He really opened my eyes to the incredible blessing it is to be called "Mommy", and the high calling it is to be my husband's helpmeet.  He has shown me the joy in homeschooling. These are things that do not look important to the world, but in God's eyes they are like gold.  Real treasures.

In eternity, it won't matter that my hair was way too thick, my house was old and crumbling, or that I went months without a car of my own to drive.  What WILL matter is that I carried and nursed little babies, I loved and respected and cared for my husband, I took care of the home that the Lord saw fit to give me, I sacrificed my free time to keep my kids at home and teach them.  I fed my family, loved and held and kissed my children, and raised them to know and love Jesus.  In Jesus's eyes, I am truly, truly rich. 

Thank you Jesus for all of the blessings and real riches that you have given me, and please forgive me for the times that I have had a ungrateful, grumbling spirit!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beautiful Feet History

I got my shipment of Beautiful Feet History today, and I must tell you that I am SO impressed with it!  I am all about good books, and about making history interesting and fun.  Remember high school history?  How incredibly boooooorrrring it was?  How slooooowly the hand on the clock moved?  UGH. Ick.  That is NOT how I want history to be for my kids.  History is a story.  HIS story.  HIStory.  Beautiful Feet is basically a pile of books with a guide.  The books look great....and interesting.  The high school program looks so good that I'm seriously considering reading the books myself.  As you just may be able to tell, I am excited!  Check it out... http://www.bfbooks.com/

Other similar literature-based programs are Sonlight and Truthquest.  I love them both.  I did Sonlight one year, but it is just way too expensive.  I've done a lot of Truthquest, but it doesn't have lesson plans laid out so it takes a HUGE amount of planning time, and now that I have a baby I just don't have time for that.  So Beautiful Feet was just right!  Just enough guidance...daily lesson plans....and lots of reading good books.  History as it should be.

Update:  I actually hardly used this program after all.  I ended up going back to Truthquest and I don't think I'll ever change back!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our Curriculum 2010-2011

WOW.  I feel like I have put SO much time into planning for this year.  Part of that is because I have a high schooler, and I want to be super organized and make sure I'm doing that well.  I've put a lot of time and effort into putting his binder/planner together.  It's also partly because I had to start over with all my curriculum halfway through  the summer.  I am finally coming to the tail end of planning, though I am still waiting on 3 shipments of books...but no matter what we are starting school on this Monday.  Even if something doesn't show up, we have enough to get going.  I thought I would share what each child will be doing this year.

Andrew (10th grade):
  • Switched on Schoolhouse Bible Doctrine
  • Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1
  • Easy Grammar Plus-Grade 10
  • Wordly Wise-Grade 10 (Vocabulary)
  • Wordsmith Craftsman (Writing)
  • Beautiful Feet US & World History (2 yr course; completing Parts 1 & 2 this year, Parts 3 & 4 next year + reading the 3 book "The Light and the Glory" series)
  • Apologia Biology (+ dissection kit and instructional dvds--phew!)
  • PE (exercise/weight lifting/swimming)
  • Abeka Health (second semester only)
  • Personal Finance-Larry Burkett (1st semester only)
  • Rosetta Stone Spanish 1 (online class)
  • Driver's Ed (He is THE most excited about this!! Starting Sept. 20th!)
Okay, wow...that is a lot...busy boy!  But he is going to be able to graduate early, so it's all good.

Annamarie (7th grade):
  • Switched on Schoolhouse Bible
  • Teaching Textbooks Math 6
  • Switched on Schoolhouse Language Arts 7
  • D'Nealian Cursive Mastery
  • Beautiful Feet History: Westward Expansion
  • Switched on Schoolhouse General Science 7
  • Switched on Schoolhouse Health
  • Art: Feed my Sheep (book, art kit, instructional dvds)
  • Piano
  • Horseback riding
Abigail (2nd grade):
  • Awana book for Bible
  • Horizons Math 2
  • Alpha Omega LIFEPAC Language Arts
  • Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1, with notebooking journal and butterfly garden
  • Beautiful Feet Early American History (combining this with other books I have, including "The Light and the Glory" for children, along with the activity book)
  • Abeka Health, Safety, and Manners 2
  • Art-Feed my Sheep (book, art kit, and instructional dvds)
  • Piano
  • Gymnastics
Well, there it is, and with God's grace and guidance we will work through all of these subjects this year.  I am so very thankful that HE is by my side every step of the way...guiding me, and loving me and all my children SO much.  Without Him none of this would be remotely possible!  Praise God for the grace that He gives to us mommies.  May God bless you all as you care for your children, love them, and teach them.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Homeschool Room

IT is done...the homeschool room!  Well, I should say done for now.  We live in an old run down house that is in sad need of much repair, and there are going to be some improvements to this room soon. I also have a couple of other charts that still haven't arrived yet, that I will be hanging on the wall when they get here.  But I thought I would share what we have done for now.

Here are the girls' desks:

Teacher chair: 

Another wall:

Art Wall:
Here is where we display the kids' art work.  These were made by the girls last year.

Here is a close-up of our calendar:

We have a printout of Colossians 3:23 in the schoolroom, and one in the kitchen also (sorry for the bad pic):

We have also grammar helps, reminders of how many days are in each month of the year, etc.  This is a pet peeve of mine so I made this chart:

Now, here is where the remodel is happening.  Behind these curtains is an ugly ugly fireplace.  The girls and I were so tired of looking at it, so we covered it up, and now it turns out that my hubby is knocking it out anyway.  So, soon this will be a nice wall: :)

Downstairs is my high school son's workspace, along with the school shelf:

It is obvious that our home needs work, but I do the best with what I have.  Now I will close this with my little baby's "school room":