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Friday, January 29, 2010

History lesson with cookies?

I can at times be stubborn - really I can. lol! I had friends telling me for a few years how amazing Mystery of History was. I finally looked into it for this school year and wish I would have done so sooner. Growing up in the public school system, their view of history did not start when God created the world or in the Garden of Eden. In fact, those times in history are not even mentioned once in a public school text. So, for me there was history from the church's perspective, then from the bibles perspective. How to mesh them all I had no clue.

Well, Mystery of History has done just that. I just LOVE this curriculum. It can be used for young children through high school age children. There are activities at the end of each lesson that are age appropriate. While learning about Joseph, my kids were able to make cookies with multi-colored frosting which represented Joseph and his coat of many colors. Where else an you learn about true history, have fun AND eat cookies all at the same time. Here at home! What a blessing this curriculum is not only for our family but the many other families that use it.

To find out more, visit The Mystery of History online. If you live in the area, feel free to come over and thumb carefully through our book.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quick and easy smores

photo borrowed

Sometime's you just need a little chocolate:) That's how we felt last night. I was searching for something sweet and naughty, then it hit me - SMORES! Here's how you do it when you're not outdoors.

I took one full graham cracker and split it in half. I put just one half on a plate, topped it with some milk chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. I then microwaved for 13-15 seconds - just till the marshmallows puff up. Top with the cracker and eat. Mmmm! Who doesn't love smores?

I just found another idea online. Take each graham cracker half and put some chocolate on. Nuke in microwave till the chocolate starts to melt. Add sliced bananas and make a sandwich out of it. Mmmm!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Teaching the worth/value of money to children.

I just recently read a post where someone wanted to know what they should teach their their kindergarten child. That led me way back to the time when I was teaching Allysha in grade K. One of the things that should be taught in pre-k, K is recognition of our different coins and bills. Later on they learn what each coin value is and how to add and subtract. Here's a few ideas that helped us tremendously. You would not believe how fast Allysha learned this way. She had quite the incentive. lol!

Oh and before I forget, there's no need at all to go out and purchase fake money. Use what you have on hand. You don't need that much of each coin/bill and it teaches them how to use the real thing.

I purchased a few items at Dollar Tree and Goodwill - items that would very much capture the interest of my daughter.
Each item had a different price tag on it. $.01, $.05, $.10, $25, $.50, $1.00.
Next, we got out one of each coin and a dollar bill.
We then proceeded to teach our daughter what the value of a penny, nickel, etc...was.
Once she could remember this on her own, she was able to "purchase" the item with that price tag on it.

Since the value of the coins/bills were now known, we moved on to addition and subtraction.
The stakes went up and different "new" items were priced at $.13, $.29 and so on.
Once again, when my daughter could give me the correct change, she was able to "purchase" the items she got correct.

It was so much fun not only for my daughter but for myself. I purchased things like Dollar Tree puzzles, crayons (back to school sales), tape (because she LOVED tape!) and more.

Now that my daughter is in 5th grade we're moving into something quite different. She's been able to make change for a long time now. She even knows how to look for bargains and get the best for her and our money. Next up is going to the bank and opening up a bank account for her. This will just be a savings account. Since she is only 10 years old, she only needs to have $5 to open the account. Instead of purchasing a toy atm, we're using the real thing! We're going to get her a bank card so that whenever she gets money or allowance, no matter how big or small the amount, she will be able to deposit her money in her own account via atm. She will also be keeping a register.

The one thing I very highly discourage are those little toys where you zip a credit card. I think that teaches them at a very young age to use credit in the future. That's just me though.

So, there you have it. We teach hands on real life skills. Have fun with your kids!

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

This was something I threw together today in 10 minutes. IT was so yummy! The kids loved it as well. With it we had some leftover chicken rice and cheese soup. Perfect for this day! I however, was not able to take pictures because Matt had to take the camera to work today. So, the pix above is borrowed.

Enjoy the recipe below! This is very satisfying, the flavor is very good and it's super easy to make. This is one of those perfect meals to make for an unexpected guest. I used some chicken I had cooked in the crockpot heavily seasoned with garlic powder. You could also use a rotisserie chicken. A lot of chicken caesar salad wraps have croutons in them. I didn't feel this needed it. This is great for those people who don't prefer spinach. Because it's mixed with a lot of chicken and some dressing (and of course a bit of cheese and onion), it's more like a lettuce most people are used to. The flavor of the spinach is not overwhelming.

Chicken Casear Salad Wrap
Fresh spinach leaves
Shredded cooked chicken
Caesar Dressing
Fresh Romano or parmesan cheese
Thinly sliced red onion
Flour Tortillas

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add just a bit of dressing at a time till you get the desired amount of wetness to your salad.
2. Place a decent amount of filling down the center of the tortilla.
3. Bring one side up around the filling, then roll the rest.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spicy Mexican Bean Burgers and Tomato Avocado Salad

I have never had a veggie burger till today - just a little too freaked out. I found a recipe online for the Spicy Mexican Bean Burrito and thought I'd give it a whirl. Right after making that I came up with a quick salad and dressing. Yum! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Spicy Mexican Bean Burger
SERVES 6 , 6 burgers
1 (16 ounce) can fat-free refried beans (these are always vegan)
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 cup small onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 green pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4-1/2 cup frozen corn
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1/8 cup picante sauce or salsa (spicy or mild to your taste)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
1 dash chili powder
1 dash cumin
1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional, we did not use)
hot sauce, a few drops per burger (optional, I did not use because I'm nursing)

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onions, carrots, corn and chopped green pepper.
3. In the meantime, place beans in a large bowl.
4. Sauté until vegetables are bright in color.
5. Add vegetables to beans, blend with hand mixer.
6. Add remaining ingredients, adding more flour to create a firmer mixture, or more salsa if mixture is too stiff.
7. Form into balls and smash into patties.
8. Place on pieces of waxed paper and stack in Tupperware.
9. Place about 5 sliced olives in middle of patty, smash to seal them inside.
10. To heat, spray each burger with cooking spray.
11. Heat over medium heat and cook until browned on one side.
12. Flip and drop a few drops of hot sauce on burger if desired.

Avocado Tomato Salad
Serves 1-2 people
4-5 large grape tomatos sliced in half
a few slices of yellow pepper
a few thing slices of red onion
1 diced avocado
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice.

1. Mix all veggies together.
2. Mix dressing together in a separate container then drizzle on veggies.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Holiday/Season Themed Craft Bags

I have seen ideas for preschool activity bags that I thought were just darling. Lately it's annoyed me that I don't do nearly the amount of crafts that I'd like to with my children. So, my way of making this easier for us is taking the concept idea for the activity bags and using it for holiday themed crafts.

I first find ideas for crafts I like from online, then print of the directions and templates needed. Make sure if you're doing these for more than one child, that you print out enough templates for each child. Only one set of directions is needed.

If you have a totally awesome craft supply stash - Great! If not, I suggest going to the Dollar Tree (not Dollar Store) and Big Lots to pick up these items. IF you can't find what you need there, Walmart also has a good selection and great prices if you're on a strict budget. Also never underestimate freecycle and

Get together your large zip lock bags - the freezer bags with labels work best. Also have on hand some snack size baggies for those little pieces. Label each freezer bag with the appropriate holiday. For instance, Christmas, Easter, etc...

Next figure out which holiday you're going to start with. I like to start with the first holiday we'll be doing crafts for in the calendar year. Get all your links together, print all pages and one by one, start gathering supplies for your crafts. Put them all in the appropriate bag and zipper shut. Below is a picture from the Homeschool Blogger of her preschool activity bags. You get the idea though.

How easy is that? It's just taking me a bit of time here and there to get mine all assembled and ready to go. The cool things is we'll have crafts for the entire year in just a couple days work from me ahead of time! Have fun crafting with your kids!

Monday, January 18, 2010

We had so much fun today! We found out from a dear friend that the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum was having a $2 day! We were so excited - especially since we have never been there before. Everyone got ready and off we went! Below are only a very few pictures of the fun. There was SO much to do! We were there over 2 hours and still did not see/participate in everything!

Next we went to Whole Foods. We enjoyed some good pizza and salad for a late lunch, then on to very basic shopping needs. It was the perfect day in my mind!

Oh yes and last but not least, we headed off to a sweet young families home to purchase a tabletop easel for Jon. I've been eyeing these for a couple years but not able to spend more than a few dollars on one. Hence the reason why we had not had one yet. She had hers listed for only $5 on craigslist! Since we were coming down that way, we set up a time to pick it up. And wouldn't you know, they are a fellow homeschooling family! How neat is that? Anyway, back to the easel. It is tabletop which is great because we don't have room for a full stand up easel. It has a dry erase board on one side and a chalk board on the other. It also has a couple clips to clip on paper for painting/drawing and holders for paint. This is just PERFECT for us!

So yeah, perfect day for sure! Enjoy the pictures!

Jon on the climbing wall.

Lyshie on the climbing wall.

Lyshie and Jon playing with gears.

Lyshie playing a light optics harp - no strings!

Lyshie checking out the plasma ball.

Lyshie in an ambulance.

Lyshie and Jon building together.

Jon and Bob the Builder!

Jon using a wheel borrow.

Jon with Scoop.

Lyshie loving on Joshua

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Old Navy's Biggest Sale of the Year

We hit it today while it was only on it's second day of hte sale. Everything on clearance was an extra 50% off! Here's what we got with $35 and change.

1 black dress for Lyshie
1 twizzlers shirt for lyshie
1 blue shirt with a bird on it for me
1 black shirt with a bird on it for me
1 purple long sleeved shirt for lyshie
1 pink collared shirt for lyshie
1 sleeveless pink summer shirt for lyshie
1 winter coat for Joshua
2 stainless steel water bottles for the boys - don't like the picture so well but they were under $2!
2 pairs of flip flops for Jon
1 hooded sweatshirt for Jon
1 pair pj pants for me
1 flag shirt for Matt
1 green shirt with crazy floral print for me
1 sleeveless shirt for Jon for the summer
1 pair brown boots for me!!!
2 pairs flip flops for Lyshie for summer

What do you think about that? To my knowledge this sale is still going on through Monday. Get it while you can!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pom Wonderful Taste Test!

I was contacted by Ryan from the Pom Wonderful company. If you're not familar with this company, please visit this link to learn more. They sell the highest quality pomegranate juice I've personally ever had as well as the best tasting.

Imagine our excitement today when we went out to the mail and found a box of 6 - 8oz containers of Pom juice. The kids were very excited to try it. I must say I was a bit apprehensive because of another brand I had tried in the past. That other brand of pomegranate juice was not that good at all. In fact, I believe I dumped it down the drain. So as you can imagine, I was hoping this would be at least a bit better than the previous brand I had tried.

I openend the first bottle and took a little sip. Then another and yet another. This juice is so yummy! It was a little sweet and a bit tart. The flavor was absolutely wonderful! Next up was the kids. As you can see in the pictures, they very much enjoyed it! They didn't want to put the bottle down for pictures. lol! Jon even showed off his pom mustache.

Next up we decided to try a recipe like they have on their website. We could not find all the ingredients for any recipe they had so we made up our own - A Pomegranate, Blueberry and Banana Smoothie! The kids went wild for it. Next time I think I'd probably add in an extra frozen banana. That said, it was very yummy.

Pomegranate, Blueberry and Banana Smoothie
1 cup frozen blueberries
1-2 frozen bananas
1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
1 - 8 ounce bottle pomegranate juice (Pom Wonderful brand)
1 teaspoon raw honey (or to taste)

1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Making Crackers!

Today was quite the fun, new experience. While we didn't quite get the taste we were hoping for, we had lots of fun. We're going to try more combinations in the future.

Jon with the dough.

Jon trying to knead the dough.

Jon rolling out the dough.

Dough that had been sprinkled with sea salt and dried onion flakes.

Dough in the oven.

The recipe we used is as follows.
Jon's Crackers
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup evoo

1. Mix all together in a food processor - dry ingredients then slowly add in wet. Process for 1 minute after dough forms a ball.
2. Knead till dough is just elastic then cover and let rest 1/2 hour.
3. Roll out dough very thin. It will be easier if you cut dough into 3-4 pieces and work with only one piece at a time.
4. Put on pan, spray with just a bit of water (or get hand wet and rub over dough just a bit). Sprinkle with your favorite sea salt, herbs, etc...
5. Take a pizza cutter or dough cutter and score dough into the shapes you want. You can also use cookie cutters.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. These need to look just lightly golden brown.
7. Let cool on wire rack, then store in an airtight container.

For my next crackers I'm going to add about 1/2 cup cheddar cheese to the dough while it's mixing as well as a bit of hot sauce. Those will be my cheese crackers.

I"m hoping to refine our onion crackers by putting the dehydrated onion in the food process with the dry ingredients. Then, I plan to knead in some poppy seeds.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Family Christian Store Perks Items!

Up through the next week or two, The Family Christian Store will have these items (and more) available for only $5! It's free and easy to become a member. Once you do, you're able to take advantage of these wonderful savings. These are first come first served. So, there is a possibility your FCS may not have all of these items. I'd call and check first:)

Newest Jeremy Camp Cd - Speaking Louder Than Before

Perfect Stranger and Another Perfect Stranger Dvd's

Skeeter Dvd - in the Hermie series by Max Lucado for kids.

Fasting by Jentezen Franklin - book

Let's Go On a Mommy Date by Karen Kingsbury - I was told this is very neat!

The Ultimate Gift - Dvd - AMAZING!

The Sugar Creek Gang - The Great Canoe Fish - Dvd

Two Make One

I saw an idea for this picture on a friends facebook page and just had to try to get a cute picture of my son myself. That little stinker would not sit still! This is the best we were able to do.

I just love the idea of pictures like this. I see the two rings and think, yeah, it really does take two. Two to fall in love, two to make that precious little baby, and two to take care of it the way babies need to be taken care of. God designed man and woman from the beginning of time to be with one another in a beautiful and intimate way and look at the little reward that love has given us!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Peek-aboo, I see you!

My Grandma Good got our little Joshua the cutest little outfit for Christmas. The front says "Peek a-boo" and the back says "I see you!".

As you can see, Joshua is doing a bit better on his tummy and has been rolling over from his tummy to back. Not a lot from his back to his tummy but I suppose that's to be expected when he's hardly on the floor. We're trying to remember to do more "tummy time".

Another update, I think he's ready for baby food - although I'm not. lol! I'll update on that when the time comes.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Treating Others ....

It's so sad that it's taken me so long to realize this. That said, i'm so grateful this has been shown to me. What a difference it truly makes. Even as a young girl, I didn't become what I should have but what people thought of me. How many times does that happen? People judge harshly and then in the end, the person being judged just becomes what they were told they were all along.

Instead of judging (I did it unknowingly for a time, then when I came to the realization of it, talk about horrified!), see others through the eyes of Christ. Beloved, valuable, royalty - sons and daughters of Christ. How does God treat us? I know so often for me he's so very gentle - bringing me back where I need to be. Why are we so quick to jump on each other - especially those in our families or the body of Christ?

My goal for myself and for you this year is that we all see each other through Christ's eyes. Yes we all have room for improvement but it's God who can make that change come around. Not us making others feel guilty and of less worth.

You are beautiful.
You are loved.
You are respected.
You are strong!
You are simply you and that is more thank ok!

Homemade Noodles and Alfredo

Matt wanted to make me a special meal the other day. Whenever he does this I get very excited! He makes AMAZING food! He chose to make homemade noodles, homemade alfredo sauce and chicken to place on the top. Yum! Below are the recipes. I must say this was better than any fancy italian restaurant I have ever eaten at. The more and more we cook new foods, the less we want to go out to eat - it just ends up being disappointing when we do. Both recipes below were snagged from

Homemade Egg Noodles
2 cups flour
3 egg yolks
1 egg
2 teaspoons salt
1/4-1/2 cup water
Measure flour into bowl; make a well in the center and add egg yolks, whole egg and salt.
With hands, thoroughly mix egg into flour.
Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
(Add only enough water to form dough into a ball.).
Turn dough onto well-floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
Divide dough into 4 equal parts.
Roll dough, 1 part at a time, into paper-thin rectangle, keeping remaining dough covered.
Roll rectangle around rolling pin; slip out rolling pin.
Cut dough cross-wise into 1/8-inch strips for narrow noodles and 1/4-inch for wide noodles.
Shake out strips and place on towel to dry, about 2 hours.
When dry, break dry strips into smaller pieces.
Cook in 3 quarts boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt) (We use chicken broth.) 12 to 15 minutes or until tender.
Drain thoroughly.

Homemade Alfredo Sauce
1/2 cup sweet butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1 (12 ounce) box angel hair pasta
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium/low heat.
Add the garlic, cream, white pepper and bring mixture to a simmer.
Stir often.
Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer sauce for 8-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is smooth.
When sauce has thickened add the Mozzarella cheese and stir until smooth. STIR FREQUENTLY.
While the sauce cooks, boil noodles for 3-5 minutes.
Place pasta on serving plates and spoon sauce over pasta.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2009 Highlights

Our biggest and best event of the year by far was our son Joshua being born. What a blessing!

Allysha learned how to ride a two wheel bike.

Lyshie found her love for cooking!

Matt started teaching math and science!

Matt started his electronics project.

Lyshie turned 10 and had a fun fairy party.

Mom, Lyshie and I went to Holly Hotel for a fancy tea time.

My brother and his wife got back together and recommitted themselves to their marriage. God works in AMAZING ways!

This kids started doing Home Depot monthly projects with daddy.

We were given a rototiller for the garden!

Lyshie and Jon learned how to play baseball with daddy.

I went to a mother-daughter tea with my Lyshie.

My niece Scarlett was born.

Jonathan learned how to do puzzles and is a whiz at them!

The kids and I made ice cream together for the first time.

I had lots of fun photo shoots with the kids.

We were able to take a few trips down to Grandma and Grandpa Good's.

I got to see my dad fly his plane.

Jon learned how to use the potty.

Last but not least I have been truly loved by my husband, my daughter, my two boys and I have a God who loves me dearly. What an amazing year!