Monday, August 31, 2009
I am 28 years old and I just baked my first cake that I made completely from scratch! I found this recipe on the Living Proof Ministries blog and was inspired because I already had all the ingredients! That rarely happens with me and a "scratch" recipe, especially for something baked, usually it needs something that I don't happen to have on hand.
I gave it a try today and the results were WONDERFUL! This is truly a delicious cake recipe! So delicious that Corey actually had TWO pieces, and he never goes nuts over baked goods! His favorite treat is ice-cream, so when he went back for a second helping I knew it was a wonderful recipe! As much as I bake, I have never really been able to impress him until today I think! :) The cake is so moist and the flavor is rich (but not too rich, just right) and has a hint of cinnamon flavor which I really did not think I would like but WOW it goes perfectly with cocoa! We served it up tonight for friends, with a scoop or two of frozen yogurt which made a great companion since the yogurt isn't overly sweet either. Chocolate Texas Sheetcake PERFECTION!
Anyway, like I said, I got this recipe from the Beth Moore blog, hence the title of the recipe.
CLICK HERE for the recipe.
Katie and Noah have worked with this cast/crew since JUNE on the musical:
Race to Win!
They performed in front of an audience of probably near 250 or more.
They all did a fantastic job!
Katie's big part...performing in the trio.
(I hope to get better pictures later from others, I was standing in the back)
They are having a cast party on Wednesday. I was so proud of all the kids, they have given it their all this summer and their hard worked paid off! The show had a great message and I know that hearing it from the mouths of children really touches some people's hearts in a way that other means can't.
We took Katie and Noah out for pizza, frozen yogurt, and to pick out toys for doing such a great job all summer. Katie picked out a prince doll from the Disney store, and Noah picked out a video game. We are so proud of them!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Yes, it is too early for a post about a trip to the Pumpkin Patch, but I have news to share!
I got a job!
I am going to be working a seasonal job at the local pumpkin patch here in Adairsville! Thanks to my friend, Laura, who called me Friday and told me about it! She got the scoop and job then called to tell me about it.
What about school for the kids?! Thanks for asking!
We started school in July, so right off we have more time for play with days off. Also, Corey will be with them and they will either be at Nana's house for a few hours or at another friend's house and they will be able to get most of their work done at those two places anyway, so we probably won't miss much at all. If I worked 2 days a week for 4 weeks, that is only 8 days...easily made up even if they don't get anything done on those days which they mostly likely will.
The pumpkin patch is only open on weekdays until 1pm. Corey doesn't go to work until 10am, so they won't even have to be "gone" from home that long anyway! I think it will be just ideal! A couple of mornings a week and Saturdays in October!
My mom said that this should get my "whim" of working out of my system! ha ha. I think it will be just perfect. Some extra money right in time for Katie's birthday and leading up to our trip payoff date. AND it won't interfere greatly with school. Plus, if I ended up hating it...I know it would be over at the end of October! :)
Friday, August 28, 2009
This isn't really a joke, but it just cracked me up the other night when PJ told me this story about our two daughters. Kaitlyn is about to turn 6 and Katie is about to turn 7. Katie has recently developed a "crush" on the little boy who plays the lead in the church musical they have been working on all summer. So here is the latest development:
Garrison was CHASING me and he ALMOST caught me!!!!
And I almost said for him to kiss me on the forehead!
Oh my GOODNESS! Are you KIDDING me?!
Or is there something wrong with my eardrums?!!?!
HA HA HA!!!! PJ was the witness to the conversation so I may have misquoted a bit, but this was the gist of it. What in the world are we going to do with them?! lol.
The sad truth is that Katie, upon seeing Garrison's little brother play soccer yesterday, has moved on! ha ha!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I injured my foot last night. On the above pictured object..... yes, that's what I get for leaving it in the floor next to the bed! I was SOOOOO close to being tucked up snug in the bed for the night!
The charger was on the floor, yes, with the prongs OUT and UP when my foot sought them out for a nice heavy stick! I immediately tensed up my foot and held it tightly on top of my other foot and to be honest, it wasn't hurting that badly. So, I lifted for a little peek and saw that a nice little chunk of my skin from the ball of my foot was "out" and "over" where it should not be!
I know what you are thinking right now... you're thinking, "Wow! I wish I could have been there!!!!"
I thought you might....so... here's a picture Corey took while I was in the throes of pain...
It bled and stung at that point. I put medicine on it and a band-aid, but because of where it is located, it is really difficult to walk. It really stings and hurts if I put weight on it, but when I hobble around I quickly get a cramp in my leg and ankle because of the way I have my foot and leg tensed up. Right now I am propping it on a towel and peroxiding it...which is stinging...
So...it's a lose/lose until I figure out what to do here. It is in the exact middle of the ball of my foot, behind the toes on that "padded" area. Not one side or the other where I could walk on one side... very inconvenient! But, then, I would have to worry about it getting rubbed/blistered if I could walk on it!
At this point I am just going to stay off it as much as possible. I had scheduled a week break of school this month since we have finished six weeks of school this month, but we have ended up taking it a day here and there. Today we are taking day 5 of that week's break, so I am very thankful for that! I sure can't run up and down the stairs to the schoolroom!
Katie asked me last night if I would have to get a wheel chair! ha ha! I said, "No," but then she said, "If you have to get a wheelchair, I will push you!" What a sweetie!
I had to go out to soccer practice tonight, so I was trying to figure out something to do with my foot when I remembered! I had bought this sticky backed moleskin padding stuff when went on our Disney trip in February! It worked great! I just cut a piece big enough to pad the area around the injury, then cut a hole in the middle so that it wouldn't be pushing on the actual spot. Some medicine, a bandaid, the sticky moleskin padding (which also keeps moisture away since it is designed for blister care), my arch support socks and tennis shoes combined made it possible for me to walk without too much trouble or pain! Yay! Great product, you should get some just in case! :)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I just finished watching Pride and Prejudice...the 2005 version with Keira Knightly. I saw it in the theater when it first came out and had not seen it again since then, so I didn't remember how much I loved it. It is such a funny story and all the actors chosen for this version were just perfect for it! If you haven't seen it you should pick it up....I am in the mood now to read Jane Austen and see all the movies again!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I have kind of slacked off on my posts about saving money on my coupon shopping trips. I guess I am so used to saving enormous amounts of money that it isn't as "big" of a deal anymore. I do want everyone to know though, that I AM still saving enormous amounts of money and this is one "whim" (couponing) that has not been placed to the side!!
I did not take a photo of my buys for today...most of it needed to go straight in the freezer/fridge, but here is the breakdown:
4 pints of Starbucks ice cream
( free! can't wait to try it! one is chocolate chip coffee! Mmm!)
4 packages of Morningstar Farms frozen "meats"
3 bags of Dove chocolate
($1.15/each, yeah, I didn't need these...or did I?)
6 (4pk) Yoplait Yoplus Yogurt
1 loaf of Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal bread
1 gallon of milk
2 containers of Reddi-Whip topping
(Noah begs to buy this all the time for waffles, so it was finally a good deal!)
2 bags of Back to Nature granola
($3.79 for both)
1 bar of Velveeta Cheese
Total after sales and coupons:
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
We have been sick around here lately. Nothing too terrible, but nasty colds. I guess we are spoiled. I blame all the kids that went back to public school this week and have now contaminated my kids on Wednesdays at musical practice. OR it could be leftover from the weekend at Meme and Grandpa's...or the sugar spoiling they got when they went out with their Uncle and
At any rate, it started last Thursday with Katie's cough and runny nose. We started the Vitamin C/Echinacea/tons of water/tons of hot green tea ritual and fortunately she was recovering mostly by Sunday but then Noah was going down fast. By Monday Corey couldn't breathe though Katie was over it and Noah recovered pretty quickly.
I am hoping that it does not come my way. We really need to get ourselves back to the chiropractor.... I can tell a difference in so many things! First of all, we got colds! When we are going regularly to the chiropractor we really aren't as susceptible to getting sick! With the fall allergy season coming soon that will be really important for us!
Also, when we are going to the chiropractor Corey doesn't snore! And...he has been snoring again recently... ugh! That alone is enough reason to get us back in there! ha ha!
If you live in Rome, you should go visit Dr. Robert Manna at Manna Family Chiropractic. He is a really nice guy and is a "bells and whistles" kind of chiropractor...just quick, comfortable adjustments for the entire family!
If it wasn't for the "what-if" of someone breaking their leg or something like that, I would trade my health insurance for complete chiropractic care any day! I am such a believer and "experiencer" of its benefits!
Have I mentioned that I absolutely love our art curriculum? I have had such grand intentions each school year to teach art and I guess this is really the first year that both of them are old enough to REALLY do it anyway. I am so happy I found out about this curriculum. It is so easy!
Tonight's lesson was one of the more labor intensive ones as the kids had to gather nature earlier in the day for the project. Usually, you don't have to do any "ahead" work. The main thing I love about it is that it doesn't try to cover EVERY art medium in one year. Grades K-3 have three books and each one focuses on different things. The one we have for this year will mainly use "drawing" "painting" and very few clay sculpture techniques and materials (sketching, pastels, watercolor pencils, air dry clay), so our supply list didn't cost a ton of money (a main complaint/deterrent I had from going all out with art in the past couple of years). The front of the book also has a list of the weeks that you use different supplies so I was able to get most everything we needed but put off a couple of the more high priced materials for when we need them later.
This year's book is divided into three parts: "What Artists Do" "What Artists See" and "Where We Find Art" We will learn about shape, form, line, color, mixed colors, art in caves, art on roadsides, art on pots, art in books, and MANY more topics! The only thing we will do that isn't drawing is some sculpture with air dry clay. Next year's book focuses more on sculpture and "other" mediums.
Anyway, our lesson tonight was about "Artists Look." We learned about how artists look at the details and draw things around them like from nature. Each lesson also shows a famous piece of art and asks questions to get the kids really looking at the art...the beginnings of critique at their age. It then gives us something to do to use that method in creating something of our own!
I am also enjoying the fact that we have chosen to do our art lessons after Corey is home and we all participate together (since art is something Corey and I both have fun doing as well!). Here they are working on their nature drawings from the specimens that were collected earlier in the afternoon.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
We are meeting Friday with several local families who want to start a home school play group. I am very excited about it! It will be some of the families that met off and on over the spring and summer and some new ones as well. Since we aren't doing the big co-op this fall I want to be sure to get plenty of play time and our group looks like it will have around 16-18 kids, which is perfect! Our first big venture will hopefully be to visit an apple orchard in September. I wanted to do that last year but time got away from me, so looking forward to that for this year!
I recently entered a contest and WON! I WON a scholarship to the "Free to be me! Bloggers Retreat 2009" in Florida! The retreat is a chance for Christian women who blog to meet and fellowship and learn more about how to minister to others through blogging. I heard about it from my mother-in-law who also entered but sadly did not win. They will be giving away more scholarships so hopefully she will win one also and we can go together! It will be the weekend of Oct. 23rd. If you are a Christian lady and you blog, you should also consider entering one of their contests or signing up to attend. It is only $100 and includes all your meals and lodging for the weekend! Click on the picture to read all about it! (AND if you live in GA we could always carpool!!!!!!)
That's all for now. We completed day 23 of school today. We are taking our "week" break (originally scheduled for the last week of the month) as a few days spread out here and there as needed...I think I like it!
Friday, August 14, 2009
The other night when we were settling down for our evening devotional ritual, Noah asked, "So, how exactly does the baby come out of your stomach?"
(He has definitely seen lots of "with child" moms around our church, we run about 10-16 in the BABY nursery each week) Stalling for time I said, "What do you mean?"
and he said, "well, does it just pop out?"
My response was..."It is just a miracle. It happens however God wants it to happen."
He countered with..."Does the doctor cut open your stomach and get it out then glue you back together?"
My response: "There are different ways it happens and it is just a miracle that God decides how it will happen."
Then we moved on.
Well...apparently my answer was not satisfactory because he asked my mom the same question last weekend when they were staying with them. My mom answered: "I really think that is a question you should ask your mom." And he said, "I already asked her, and she doesn't know either."
2. I am kind of anti-medication. Truthfully. I don't think that there are near as many drugs that are truly useful as there are drugs that just cause more problems for you. I think most everything that is wrong with anyone can be cured with diet changes. My current kick is "anti-artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame and Splenda."
3. I have recently become very thankful that my children were born less than two years apart. At the time it was a very stressful and crazy few years, but now that I am homeschooling I have discovered what an incredible blessing it is! They get along so well and can do many lessons and activities together which makes it a lot more fun for them. What perfect planning, right Corey?! HA!
4. I have never been camping in my entire life. Not in a tent, camper, or under the stars. And...I really don't look forward to changing this fact though I am sure it will happen...maybe.
5. I want to write a book. This is something I have always wanted to do and it on my "want to do list" still. But, I just can't seem to do it and don't know where to start as far as submitting and publishing. I have a few ideas of stories I have made up for Katie and Noah, but I am just doubtful because it seems everything has already been "done."
6. I really enjoy getting great deals with using coupons! (Did you know that?! ha!) Yesterday I spent $11 at Publix and saved $35! I got 6 (24 ct) packages of Chinet lunch plates, 4 (6 ct) boxes of Orville Reddenbacher popcorn, and 2 large bottles of Glass Plus. The $ saved just from my clipped coupons was $17.20!
7. I am kind of thinking about getting a Saturday job. Not sure why....no REAL need. Just an itch I suddenly got for some crazy reason. When I went to Hobby Lobby the other day they had a sign advertising that they need help and it has been on my mind ever since. I even picked up an application and filled it out. Still playing around with options.... a friend suggested tutoring at Sylvan since I have a teaching certificate... but that idea isn't appealing to me as much as Hobby Lobby. I think it is because I love shopping at Hobby Lobby, so that probably in reality isn't a great idea for a place to work! It might not be profitable!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
making the bed of course! That is exactly the flair I have when completing this daily ritual! I have not always been disciplined about this but in getting the kids to learn how to do it, I have made myself also do it... I am up to about 5 days a week now! Impressed?! ha ha!
Sometimes we do our chores after working out, it just depends on our mood.
Then we head downstairs for the rest of our "school" day. We begin with pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and Bible. Today we started learning some songs also, like "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Then it is time for our devotional and prayer. I picked this book up recently at McKay's Used Books as an alternative since I could not afford to purchase the Abeka Bible Curriculum. I am SO happy that we are using it instead! I have NEVER read a more relevant and fun/easy to understand children's devotional. If you click on the picture you can see what another dad had to say about this book. It is SO good!
Right after our prayer together we have journaling time. Katie and Noah look forward to this more than just about anything all day! We spend some time about once every other week coming up with ideas for journal questions. Then they draw whatever they want to answer the question for the day then they take turns sharing them out loud. It can be so amusing what they come up with and it gets their "brain wiggles" out for the morning by letting them just DRAW for a bit. I also put in journal topics so we get some real "thinkers" in there, and sometimes I say, "draw anything you want" which they love also. During the sharing time they get to take turns and listen to each other and it also gives them experience putting their thoughts into words as they explain their drawings. Then we clap really loud for each other which puts a big smile on their faces! Next it is time for calendar. We don't spend as much time on this as in previous years.
They already know their days of the week, months, etc. We pretty much just find the date and circle it, talk about any important events. We don't discuss the weather either anymore, ha ha. We actually have moved on to a more of "daily language" activity where they write the date correctly and we correct some sentences together about what is going on that day. (adding capital letters where needed, punctuation, spelling, etc)
Also combined with their calendar time we are learning poems for recitation. This has been a favorite of theirs as well, not sure why. We learned "The Elephant" in July and are working on "The Secret" for August. We will probably do some Bible memorization as part of this time as the year goes on because the curriculum only provides one poem for every two months. They love it and recitation is a lost art in my opinion.
After calendar we get into the nitty gritty of the work. We are using Abeka for the bulk of our learning this year. It is a strong and advanced curriculum that is challenging and I feel secure that they are learning everything they need to know for their age.
We do handwriting practice/lessons, Phonics and Reading, Language and Spelling. We are using the Abeka Math workbooks, but I am also using some of the resources I have from our previous Math Curriculum, Right Start. It uses an abacus like this one and teaches mental math and alternate ways of learning concepts rather than JUST memorizing and counting. I think this will be a great combo!
After we finish lessons with the "3 Rs" we do some logic puzzles or brain exercises from various workbooks or games. Then we have a rotating schedule of what we finish out the day doing together.
One of the things we will be doing is lapbooking. The topic will vary throughout the year. For example, we just started a lapbook all about Apples and Johnny Appleseed for the month of August/September. It will involve researching facts about apples, Johnny Appleseed, coloring, comparing, reading books, etc.
(this is not our actual lapbook, just a photo I found online)
Another thing we rotate doing is Art "class" together. This is a wonderful art curriculum that combines learning concepts of art, looking at famous artists' paintings and critiquing them, and then producing artwork that uses the same techniques or ideas. We have done two lessons in this series so far and we have greatly enjoyed it. In fact, it is something we have been doing together in the evenings after Corey is home, so we are all enjoying it together!
Staring soon (when we get our supplies!!) we will be having music class together in the evenings as well. I plan to use "Music for Little Mozarts" and begin to teach Katie, Noah, and maybe even Corey (we'll see how long he lasts! :) to play piano. I am very excited about it and hope we get our supplies soon. We got the piano moved, which was the biggest hurdle, so lessons will be coming soon!
When we're not doing the art and music classes in the evenings, or lapbooking, we do Abeka Science and/or Social Studies and/or Health lessons from their textbooks.
We finish our day with...
Or late afternoon snack, depending on when we got started for the day.
So, there you go. That's what our typical home school day looks like. It usually takes between 3-4 hours to do everything since there are only two of them. So much of it can be done with both of them at once, and a 15-20 minute lesson for phonics/reading and math one on one is about the max a 5 and 6 year old can take. Combine that with their individual written work and we have a full day!
We are on an average of 6 weeks on then 1 week off schedule for the year, but we'll see how it ends up. Right now if we stay on schedule we will be finished with our year at the end of May since we started in July and will take 2 weeks at Christmas and in the spring in addition to our other weeks off. That way, we still have the entire month of June off!
I am very excited about our school year!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Noah had made up his mind when he got home from our last visit that he was going to be brave enough to pet the stingrays this time. He didn't want to pet the sharks, but when he stuck his hand in both swam by really quickly so he got to pet them both anyway!
Noah inside the "crawl under" tank. Katie still hasn't done this. Maybe by the time our year membership is over....
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
You have to wash and rinse the lentils several times before you put them on to cook. The washing is the most important thing to the flavor I think, because I washed mine a lot more than I did last time and they cooked better this time. Just keep washing until the water is much more clear than the first time you rinse them. (you will see what I mean)
Then, pour them into your crockpot and cover with water. About 3-4 inches above the lentils. Stir in the seasoning packet that is included with the package.
While you are cooking the onion and garlic, thaw 1 package of frozen chopped spinach in the microwave until it is able to be broken apart. Add it to the pot of lentils by loosely breaking it into pieces in the pot.
Depending on what kind of carrots you have, you will want to add them at different points throughout the cooking process. The first time I used a bag of frozen carrots, so I added them about the last 2 hours. Last night I had a can of carrots, so I added them about the last hour. The stew will need to cook all day in the crockpot on high. I started mine about 10:30 yesterday morning and it was perfect at around 5pm, and great for dinner at 6pm.
Here is a photo of our finished stew last night. It is a very hearty and delicious stew! We top ours with Italian cheese and eat it with homemade buttermilk biscuits! I will have to share my recipe for buttermilk biscuits next because I have finally perfected them and have a consistently PERFECT turnout!
Oh, and one more thing. We had two parts of a country ham steak leftover from our breakfast the previous day in the mountains, so I threw it in as well for extra flavor. It was great last time without it too, so I don't think it is super necessary. It absolutely added more "bad" for us, but there is SO MUCH good about it to start with...I think it evened out! ha ha!
This dish is one of the very healthiest things I have ever made! The two main ingredients are SUPER healthy foods as you can see below. The best part is that a little bowl of this will make you feel VERY full...
Here is just a sampling of facts about the ingredients and how GREAT they are for you (click the title for more detail):
Lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein-all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up--not out.
Phytonutrient Flavonoids for Optimal Health
Researchers have identified at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents. (Many of these substances fall into a technical category of flavonoids known as methylenedioxyflavonol glucuronides.) The anticancer properties of these spinach flavonoids have been sufficiently impressive to prompt researchers to create specialized spinach extracts that could be used in controlled studies. These spinach extracts have been shown to slow down cell division in stomach cancer cells (gastric adenocarcinomas), and in studies on laboratory animals, to reduce skin cancers (skin papillomas). A study on adult women living in New England in the late 1980s also showed intake of spinach to be inversely related to incidence of breast cancer.
Carrots are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds, and the richest vegetable source of the pro-vitamin A carotenes. Carrots' antioxidant compounds help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision.
Onions are a very good source of chromium, the mineral component in glucose tolerance factor, a molecule that helps cells respond appropriately to insulin. Clinical studies of diabetics have shown that chromium can decrease fasting blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance, lower insulin levels, and decrease total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while increasing good HDL-cholesterol levels. Marginal chromium deficiency is common in the United States, not surprising since chromium levels are depleted by the consumption refined sugars and white flour products as well as the lack of exercise. One cup of raw onion contains over 20% of the Daily Value for this important trace mineral.
Garlic: too much to copy one portion....click and read!