Friday, September 26, 2008

Old Time Remedy

Thank you for your prayers.....I'm feeling better today. We are getting ready to start our school day. I've got a chicken simmering in a pot to make a stock for chicken soup , that we will be having for dinner tonight. Chicken soup was a part of my meal plan for the week, before I knew I would not be feeling well. I'm glad for that.

Homemade chicken soup really is one of those old time remedies that works when you are ill. "Chicken soup has a natural ingredient which feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine. It heals the nerves , improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength"........... according to the book" Ageless Remedies from Mother's Kitchen".

I have been making my own chicken soup for years now but put more of an emphasis on doing it since I first read Nourishing Traditions cookbook 7 years ago.

So here's how I make it.

1.Rinse one whole chicken (free range is best, but I usually can't afford it so I just use a regular ole store bought chicken)

2. Sprinkle chicken with salt & pepper, put in a big pot cover completely with cold water. Add a tablespoon or 2 of vinegar. Let stand for 3o min. to an hour. The vinegar pulls the calcium & other minerals out of the bones of the chicken...making the broth more nutritious. I don't always add the vinegar, depending on my mood, it sometimes seems to give the broth a different taste. Today I left the vinegar out. Next throw in an onion.

3. Bring to a boil and skim the foam that comes to the top.

4. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you simmer it the stronger and more flavorful the broth.

5. Remove chicken from broth & let cool. Strain the broth

6. Add chopped celery & carrots to broth....simmer until tender. Add some of the cooked chicken. If I'm not able to simmer the chicken very long I like to add a few Herb ox chicken bouillon cubes for flavor, otherwise I just add salt .

7. Add cooked pasta ..... Such as Tinkyada fettucine, Glutino Fusilli, or some cooked brown rice.

8. Sprinkle in a little dried or fresh parsley & enjoy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sick Day

The younger children and I took the day off of school. Last night I began to not feel well. I don't think it was anything I ate but more of some stressful things that occured yesterday. It had to do with our family problems (problems with my husband's family). There was an unpleasant situation that occured but in some sense a good opportunity to head in the direction of reconciliation. Any prayers offered up concerning this matter & me not feeling well would be appreciated greatly.

I guess I must hold my stress down in my gut or maybe just that being my weak spot , it is easily irritated. I spent alot of time last night just trying to relax, praying for the Lord's mercy , taking deep breaths, drinking some chamomile tea and lying on a heating pad.

I have some lemon balm in the garden, my daughter picked some for me this afternoon and I think I will make some tea with it. Lemon Balm is good for stressed intestions : ) I did just eat some scrambled eggs and toast & I'm starting to not feel to well.....I 'm going go.

Thank you for any prayers!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Learning About the Great Depression

Ever since we started watching " The Waltons" on DVD I have been very interested in learning more about the Great Depression Era. I remember watching and enjoying the show as a child but I didn't realize it was about life during The Depression.

I've found a few non fiction books at the library about the GD, one in particular, that is rather heart wrenching called "Children of the Great Depression" There are many pictures of the suffering children. It makes me realize how good we do have it now, even those that are considered poor. I would like to find some cook books as well ,so I can show my children how people ate during that time . Maybe will learn a thing or two : )

I'm so very thankful that we have many conveniences these days & I'm not saying I would like to go back in time. However, there is something fascinating to me about working hard for our basic needs , growing our own food & preserving it, making our own clothes, making do with what we have or doing without. It seems although in many ways the advancement of technology has helped us , it seems to have taken something from us as well. I can't say for sure what that is, maybe it's a satisfaction or contentment with the simple things, a greater connection to family & home and where we come from.......a strong sense of faith and trust in Our Lord?

I know " The Waltons" is just a Hollywood version of life during that time but it truly captures the essence of what's most important in life, even during the hard times. Call me sentimental but every time I watch the show, I'm always on the verge of tears : ) I've been so fascinated with the show that I'm going to start reading Earl Hamner's book Spencer's Mountain. His writings are about his life growing up in the Virginia mountains during the Great Depression & the show "The Waltons" is based on those writings.

Friday, September 19, 2008

No Place Like Home

After the week I had it was wonderful to wake up this morning and be reminded that there will be no homeschooling today! It's supposed to be a beautiful day....so I think we will spend as much time as possible outside. I thought I would clean the outside of my windows & the inside on a rainy day. Looking out clean sparkling windows at the autumn scenery has always been one of my favorite things. It brings back memories of our first house. My husband built it and I helped where I could. I remember it was October of 1997 and we were finishing up the house and getting ready to move in. I enthusiastically cleaned those windows and remember how spectacular the autumn trees looked out those crystal clear windows that surrounded our little house in the woods. Those are fond memories I have of that house that I still miss sometimes, 2 and a half years after moving from it.

We lived there 9 years but for some reason it seemed much longer......like a lifetime. I suppose it could be because it was our first home that we bought. We had 2 small children (2 & 3 years) when we moved in. When we moved out we had 5 children, two of which were born in our bedroom of that home.

There is so much I would like to do to this house to make it feel as homey as that place did. We are getting there, but money is always an issue : ) So I thought a cheap inexpensive way to get there would be to make my windows sparkling clean to view the beautiful land God has blessed us with in this home.

Change is hard sometimes but God is in control. I can't help but think that even though God blesses us with so much ,like our homes, He allows change, like a move, so we don't get too comfortable in this life. He wants our desire and main focus to be on our heavenly home : )

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tired Today

I'm so tired today and it's making our homeschooling day difficult! What do the rest of you do when your day isn't going as you would like? My daughter is struggling right now with some of her writing. I want to tell her to set it aside but it will put her behind, especially if we don't get right back on it, after a short break. Personally when I set things aside I tend to not go back to it. It's easy to forget when you have a busy household. I also don't want her to think that when she doesn't "get" or like something that it's okay to just give up or not do it, but it wears my patience thin to try to get her to think or understand or work harder, when she is so cleary frustrated or is determined to not try. However, looking at the big picture........ is this one little writing lesson going to make much of a difference ? Probably not........maybe I'm expecting to much out of her.

What do you do when you have days like this .....I have more of them then I care to talk about : )

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Have To Remind Myself......

..................that this is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it......even if it is Monday : ) Our school days can be a challenge, even if it's not a Monday, but add Monday, a high energy 7 year old son and a potty training 2 1/2 year old to the mix and well let's say it's not always that fun.

My 7 year old son is very intelligent but has a hard time sitting still and paying attention to what he needs to be hearing & doing......today was very much like that : ) So I'm grateful we were able to end the day with something enjoyable for him, reading the book How to Make an Apple Pie and See The World & then making an apple pie , following the recipe at the end of the story. As I was helping my son make the pie, my 2 year old daughter had to go potty, so I had my 10 year old run her to the bathroom. She made it, no accidents : ) We reward her with two M n Ms for her effort. It sounds strange but I keep the M n Ms in a cupboard, up high, in my bathroom. So my 10 year old daughter asked if she could get 2 M n Ms for her sister......I said yes. Well I needed to take a bathroom break myself....... I left my 7 year old son telling him to wash off the apples, so we could peel them. I know that's strange, they are going to be peeled so why wash them off?.....I like to be cautious.
Well when I went into the bathroom I discovered my 10 year old daughter cleaning up M n Ms that she had dropped , that had scattered all over the floor and into the shower! My 2 year old was frantically picking them up off the floor and the shower and eating them as fast as she could : ) Oh what joy! One good thing about this happening is that when my daughter was cleaning the M n Ms out of the shower she found my earring , that I lost this morning and couldn't find : )
When I went back into the kitchen my 7 year old son told me he had washed them off. I looked at the apples where I left them on the counter. I told him they didn't looked washed off...they weren't even wet. He said no he washed of the apple peelers that we were going to use to peel the apples : ) Hmmmmm....see what I mean?
I have to laugh, another time recently, my husband told our 7 year old son to go change his clothes. He disappears for awhile , comes back with the same clothes on. My husband asked him what he was doing and why he hadn't changed his clothes? My son responded "Oh! I thought you told me to go wash my toes!" That was what he was doing, washing his toes : ) He didn't question at all why his dad would ask him to go wash his toes! LOL!
The Pie We Made Today

Friday, September 12, 2008

Finished Up Our First Week of School

Today marked the end of our first full week of formal homeschooling. Over all it went really well.....it really helps following the plan that I am. I've changed some of the curriculum I'm using, one being Math. A friend lent me a Bob Jones Algebra 1 book for my 9th grade son. I was going to use Saxon but she offered it and it was a blessing to not have to buy it. I was going to use Abeka math with my younger children but decided to go with Modern Curriculum Press. I thought Abeka's math was too advanced and above what my fourth grader is able to do right now. I already had the 4th grade teacher's manual for Modern Curriulum Press. We used their math curriculum several years back .....that was the year we used Christian Liberty Press's curriculum suggestions. So all I had to buy was the workbooks. I don't need a teacher's manual for 2nd grade.

I ordered Sequential Spelling for my 4th and 7th grader.......I did not like the looks of it at all, once I was able to hold it in my hands and really look at. I returned it and I'm going to order Building Spelling Skills by Christian Liberty Press. I really like the books they offer. They really seem to have a heart/ministry for providing afforable Christian curriculum.

It seems my posts are totally centered around homeschooling....I guess because that's been my life these past weeks........ getting ready for it and now starting it : )

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Blessings of the Seasons

When August was winding down I found myself feeling a bit down...... thinking about how the bright, warm, and sunny days would soon just be a memory. No more carefree summer days, where all you have to do is slip on a pair of sandals and walk out into the brightly colored world, and instantly feel rejuvenated. No more that I would get to see my kids' rosy colored cheeks and golden highlighted hair, proof of the joyful days they spent outside swimming and running barefoot through the grass.......a whole year would have to pass to enjoy these little things again.
It wouldn't be long before the trees were bare and gray.........but then I began to see the suddle signs of the coming season. The leaves on the trees started to change, the nights began to get a little cooler, the little pumpkins in our garden ripened. Then my thoughts shifted .....to the reminder of the hope ahead...... the many blessings that the autumn time brings. The brightly colored trees, pumpkins, apples, and winter squash.....the smell of the autumn air. My gloom began to disappear & I have begun to look foward to autumn & winter.

I think of all the baking and cooking I can do. Apple & pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, bowls of warm and soothing soup for those cold days, Thanksgiving & family, Christmas time with all the festivities and twinkling lights, going as a family to choose and cut down our Christmas tree, the smell of pine in our living room from the freshly cut tree ..................... the reminder of Christ's humble birth.

The cold winter days where you cuddle up on the couch with your little ones and big ones : ) .....reading a story and enjoying a cup of chamomile tea, a cozy fire in the fireplace, warm comforting foods. The joy of taking the kids to the sledding hill and knowing you have a warm and comfortable home to come home to . Then when the winter seems to loose it's luster ....... there is the hope of Spring. Buds on the trees, brightly colored flowers begin to bloom, the grass begins to come alive to a brilliant green and before you know it the carefree days of summer have arrived again. God is good! Look at all the wonderful things He has given us.....how He has provided & the hope and blessings He brings with each new season : )

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How I Plan My Days

I've never been one to keep or follow a schedule, with blocks of time set aside for this or for that . I would say that I follow a basic routine or plan. My days are not all the same and I'm still trying to iron out a few details to make them work for us.

Three of my children are doing My Father's World unit study, so there are several subjects that they all must do together. So we do all of the same subjects at the same time, in order. If one of the kids finishes one of their subjects before the others are done, they take a break and wait until everyone is ready to go on to the next subject. So on most days this is the order in which we do things:

We've eaten breakfast, got dressed, and have done basic morning chores by roughly 9 am, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later. Then we start school.
1. Bible
2. Lang. Arts
3. Math ( I give them an hour to do this. If they are close to being done after an hour I just go ahead and let them finish even though the hours is up. If they aren't close to being done, I will have them set it aside and they can do it when all other subjects are finished. I haven't had this happen yet...but that will be my plan of action when it does happen.
4. Spelling
5. English
6. Geography
7. Science
8. Music/Art
9. Reading .... they are required to do a half an hour.

Today , however, my daughter has ballet class at noon & we have Bible club in the evening....it makes for a hectic day. I dont like Wed...... my daughter agreed, even though she loves her ballet class, Wed. are a very busy and tiring day. So my plan for that day will have to change a little. This is what it will look like:

1. Bible
2. Geography (after the group geography lesson is done, they 15 minutes of book basket time. This is time looking through/reading library books that are geography related)
3. Science
4. Music/Art
These 4 subjects all get done first because my kids are doing the same thing. I don't want the others to have to fall behind in this area just because their sister has a ballet class. After those subjects are done they start working on the subjects that they can do on their own. If my daughter has time before ballet class to get them done, then she does, otherwise it's "homework", so to speak.

So that's it, my day, nothing fancy. As far as cleaning....I have a very basic routine plan for that, but I don't always follow it & just clean when I have a free moment.

Fantastic Field Trip

Yesterday we went on a field trip with other homeschoolers in our church. We had a wonderful time visiting the home of President Garfield.....the 20th president. I grew up in the same town as this home but never visited it : ( Boy was I missing out. It was a beautiful home and a very informative tour . Truly, this is a magnificient piece of history to have. Everything has been well preserved and the majority of the artifacts in the home were the actual property of President Garfield & his family....right down to the piano that he bought his daughter for her 13th birthday.

President Garfield was only president for 6 months when he was assasinated. Shortly after his death his wife added a beautiful memorial library filled with his books and other belongings.........including a funeral wreath that was sent to his family by Queen Elizabeth after his death in 1881. My 13 year old daughter made the comment that she would just have loved to been able to open up those books in his library and look at them. There were thousands !

I wish I could have taken pictures of the inside of the house, but they would not allow it.....it was amazing! In the dining room of the house there was a fireplace with beautiful handpainted tiles. The tiles were painted by President Garfield's wife and five children. They were a talented family because the paintings were beautiful. Mind you the children ranged in age from 7 - 17 yrs when the tiles were painted.
A back view of the home

Here's a front/side view of the house that my son took out the window of our van as we were leaving.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Animal Sound Markers

For those that asked.........I bought the Color Start Farm Animal markers that make animal sounds, at Walmart for about 4 or 5 dollars. They are the Roseart brand. Crayola also has a similar marker, that is more expensive. I will say the caps are a little difficult to get on & off, but we have lots of hands here to help when that happens : )

First Day of School

Today was our first day of homeschool for the new school year and it went fairly well. I had been very enthusiastic about starting until yeterday when some newer family problems developed. I tend to dwell on things and let it ruin my day, but God was gracious and intervened, allowing our day to be a pleasant & joyful one : ) Thank you Carrie for your prayers!

My 2 and a half year old daughter was pretty funny to watch today. I bought her several new things to keep her occupied during the homeschool day. She made sure she went to the home school closet and tried out ALL of her new stuff : ) I think I'm going to have to rotate some of the stuff, so she doesn't get bored : )
I got her a Play Dough Beach Creations bucket, the cutest little chunky markers that encourage her to put the lids back on because they make animals sounds when she does. I got her My Little Pony Memory game, crayons, paper, Hello Kitty coloring book, glue stick, & paper, and Mrs. Potato Head.

As my children were practicing their handwriting skills/cursive, I included her in homeschooling by printing out a handwriting worksheet with the first letter of her name , that she could trace. I'm not expecting her to be able to trace it but thought it would just be away for her to recognize the first letter of her name. I think I will just print out a sheet with the letters of her name, so she will get use to how it's spelled. I found a great website where you can make your own handwriting worksheets, using any letters you like. It's called the Amazing Handwriting Worksheet Maker .

I also have to recommend Apologia's Physical Science on CD ROM. My son who is in the 9th grade is enjoying it tremendously!

So that's it for today.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

In Need Of Prayer

If anyone that reads here feels led, I ask you lift our family up in prayer. It's not an emergency or anything of that sort, just some on going extended family problems. Somethings developed yesterday & today that only added insult to injury & has left me tearful and discouraged.

It's strange how family, even when they are Christians can cause us the most pain and hurt........it's not always those on the outside. I know it's just the problem of sin and no one is immune to committing it or feeling the affects of it, even when we know Christ, but still the same it's stings and it hurts.

I had someone tell me today that the older you get the thicker your skin gets and these things don't bother you as much. I don't feel that way at all! My skin seems to be getting thinner and thinner , because these things bother me more than ever.

So if you feel led please say a quick prayer for our family problems.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Preparing

This entire weekend we've been busy preparing......preparing for winter, by splitting and stacking firewood. I'm glad to tell you that it's all done. We all worked together, each having a job to do. The kids worked especially hard. I'm so proud of them : ) I was jokin with my husband ...telling him that just him and I will have to do all this work by ourselves someday......when the kids are grown and have families of there own.

I also prepared over the weekend for the coming homeschool year. I ordered the rest of our books & started organizing what we already have. My dear sweet husband, after a little whining on my part ; ), hung up some wire shelving (that I forgot we had left over, from our previous home) in our hall coat closet. We now have a very organized place to keep homeschool stuff. I have found that half of the battle of keeping your homeschool day running smoothly is ORGANIZATION. Being able to find things when you need them.

This afternoon I went to Walmart and bought most of the school supplies we will be needing. Below are some before and after pictures of our homeschooling closet.
The closet before the shelves were hung

After the shelves were hung.

I bought these cute little crates for 97 cents. The kids have their own colored pencils, markers, etc. in those crates. This is some of the homeschooling stuff, not all of it.
My oldest child has the top shelve & it goes on down the line in order of age, my youngest having the bottom shelf. The drawers on the floor of the closet keep supplies that all of the children will be using as well as the core books for My Father's World Exploring Countries & Cultures.

You have no idea how glad I am to have this all organized, even though the rest of my house is a wreck right now : ) The walls could be falling down around this closet but at least were ready for school!!!! LOL!