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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

1/2 week meal plan

I totally forgot to post my menu on Monday. And here I am, wandering around confused. Must rectify.


party (me and 3 kids)
sandwiches (Hub and 1 kid--they have somewhere else to go)


firecracker chicken
sauteed zucchini


cole slaw
(except for me, I am going out!)


pork chops
CSA veggies (whatever they are, won't know until Friday)



Monday, July 19, 2010

Green beans with tomatoes

I did not move quick enough to get a picture of this. That means it was delicious, right!?

1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, tipped and tailed
1 1/2 c. water

Put beans and water in a pot with a lid. Cover. Bring to a boil, turn to low, and simmer about 10 minutes. Drain.

1/4 c. butter
1 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. garlic salt (I usually use garlic powder and salt)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh basic (Dried is fine)
2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved (I have used one regular tomatoes, cut into chunks)

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Stir in sugar, salt, garlic, pepper, and basil. Add tomatoes. Cook, stirring gently, just until soft. Pour mixture over beans and toss.

Seriously, this here is what summer is all about. Easy, delicious food.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Organize this!

I love to organize and plan. I seriously do. It's almost a little weird. I love to have something to research, and then dream about it's perfect execution. *sigh* Alas, that doesn't much happen in the real world.

My homeschool planning begins with thinking. Yes! Thinking! Who knew. I mull over the past year and think about our goals for the next year (and sometimes farther ahead that that, even). For example, I knew that this year Scrappy would have to take a standardized test, so his instruction must involve some test-taking strategies and some extra grammar work. Funny wants art. Goofy wants to learn to read (he has started already, but wants more--yay!). Silly thinks she is going to do school, so I have to figure out what that will mean.

Then, like Christmas, the Rainbow Resource catalog arrives. It's every homeschoolers dream. I jest not. I order nearly everything from this catalog, and supplement with library books. This year I also purchased a few items at the local homeschool conference, so I have those as well.

Here's a partial list of what we're using this year:

Math-U-See (finishing Beta and moving into Gamma)
assorted workbooks on Context Clues, Fact/Opinion and Cause/Effect, Main Idea, Parts of Speech, Punctuation and Capitalization--all with multiple choice bubble tests at the end
Lessons in Manners for Copywork from Queen Homeschooling
Story of the World and its activity book
We'll also cover music and health, but we'll use library books and the computer for those subjects.

FUNNY (2nd)
as above for all subjects except Math and Grammar (she will use Primary Lang. Lessons)
Saxon Math 2 (continue from last year)
BrainQuest Grade 2 workbook
Second Grade Skills Review

GOOFY (1st)
as above for all subjects except Math and Grammar
Math-U-See Primer, moving into Alpha
variety of old worksheets/workbooks I've been collecting for K/1st
reading, reading, reading
writing practice

SILLY (age 4)
She already knows her numbers, letters and their sounds, as well as colors, shapes, etc. that kids learn in preK. But I also don't need to push her into Kindergarten either. So she'll just do the letter activities with me and whatever else she cares to sit still and listen to that the other kids are doing.

My kids seriously love workbooks. I don't get that, but if it works for them, so be it. The nice things about the Science and Social Studies books is that there are a number of hands-on ideas included. I really do want to post weekly (if I can) about what we are doing in the up-coming year. So start looking for those posts in mid-August, dear reader(s).

Andy Garcia's Cucumbers

Once upon a time, I lived in Virginia Beach. I would go shopping with my mom at Lynnhaven Mall. There used to be a Chinese buffet upstairs there, in the back corner. The man who stood at the door to greet and seat looked an awful lot like Andy Garcia, which was extra lovely. You know you would let this guy serve you Chinese food:

Anyway, this is before I liked Chinese food. You know, back when I was clearly a moron. Mom would nicely ask if I would go there with her for lunch, and I'm nice, so I would, and I would eat some fruit, and eventually, I started trying the other foods there. The first thing I tried was the hot and sour cucumbers. I would eat nothing but oranges and cucumbers on every visit.

I have never seen them on any other Chinese buffet. I wonder if they are not actually Chinese, but maybe Vietnamese? I don't know.

I've spent far too many years dreaming about those cucumbers. Mmmmm. So tangy. So salty. So spicy. So cold.

I've recently come into some cucumbers, and while I was slicing up a few to start making pickles, my mind wandered to the best cucumbers I had ever eaten in my whole life--those hot & sour ones from that restaurant that no longer exists. Overcome with craving, I made up a recipe.

Hot & Sour Cucumbers

about 1 c. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced or about 1/2 tbsp. of garlic powder
generous shake (or 3 or 4) of red pepper flakes (fresh peppers would've been ideal, but I had none)
2-3 cucumbers, sliced like pickles
some sliced onion (I used a bit of green onion as my loving husband doesn't like onion, really)

Bring vinegar, sugar, garlic and peppers to a boil on the stove. Stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat to cool. Place cukes and onion in a bowl; sprinkle some salt over top and let rest a few minutes. Pour cooled vinegar mixture over top. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Eat cold.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Just a little patience...

Here's the patience study that I led this week. Many thanks to Yvonne Taylor who sent me the guidelines for the study, and also to Alistair Begg, who I hope will not sue me for copyright infringement. Oh and the nice guest pastor at church this past week. That covers it.

What does patience look like?

Do you know someone who has the ‘patience of a Saint’? How do you feel about them?

What is patience?

--the prolonged restraint of anger. Some people are short-tempered. A patient person is long-tempered. Also “long suffering.”

Exodus 34:6-7a

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

God is our model of patience.

Children look like their parents. We look like our heavenly Father. Patience is one of the characteristics of our God. He has given it to us, through the Holy Spirit. If we are followers of Christ, we already possess patience. It is the fruit of the Spirit.

God's highest purpose for us as Christians is to make us like Jesus (see Romans 8:29, 2 Thess 2:13, Rom 12:2, Hebrews 10:14, 1 Thess 4:3 for more on this).

As we fulfill this purpose, by getting to know Jesus and obeying him, we begin to exhibit the fruit of the spirit whether we realize it or not.

2 Cor 3:18

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Why do I want patience?

--tolerance of others, which leads to unity

--teaching, to be able to preach the word

--endure suffering


Raise your hand if you are going through a trial, or if you ever have gone through a trial. It is hard to praise God while going through a hardship. Trials produce patience.

Look at Exodus 15. The Egyptians had been hot on the heels of the Hebrews as they approached the Red Sea. Moses stood at the banks and called upon God. Ex 14:21 says, “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land.” The Hebrews had been complaining for a LONG time, and had even told Moses that they were better off being slaves back in Egypt. But when Moses parted the sea, they decided Moses was a pretty cool guy. They got to the other side, Egypt's army drowned in the sea, and they began to sing in Exodus 15.

The song is a good song. The words are truth. But what is wrong with the song? What have the Hebrews done wrong? They praised God on the wrong side of the sea.

God wants us to praise him even in the midst of trials. He wants us to praise him at all times.

James 5:10-11

Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

See also James 1:2-4

Patience is not only enduring trials because we have to. It is a strong determination of will, to victoriously overcome the negative things we confront, according to God's will.


Do you feel like you are failing at patience while excelling at impatience? Do you mutter under your breath? Do you yell at drivers who don't move fast enough? Do you tell your kids to “hurry up!” We are so good at impatience.

When I am impatient, it says:

I am more important than you.”

My interests matter more than your's.”

My time is more important.”

My concerns matter more.”


I do not understand the immensity of the debt that Christ has paid for me. I don't understand the need for God's forgiveness.”

What do you think about that list?

If I have patience in there somewhere, how can I show it?

Col 3:12

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

In NKJV, NASV and others, says “put on a heart of … patience.”

This requires us to be proactive. Paul is instructing us to do something. Patience is deliberate and results in godly behaviors.

How do I put on a heart of patience when I feel like I don't have any patience at all?

Col 1:9-11

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience...”

We need strength. We are to go to God's word, know it, understand it, and apply it. God's word changes us. We can pray for strength, as Paul models here.

Patience is faith in action. It says, “I believe God is in control of my life.”

Patience is hope in action. It says, “I expect that God has great things in mind for the future.” “Today's hurt will not remain forever.”

When we don't feel like being patient, we can consider the great patience of God. Has God been patient with you?

Matthew 28:19 The Great Commission

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Jesus has commanded each of his believers to do this. We can't all be preachers, Christian singers, or have a Christian talk show. But people can see Christ in us. What will people see when they look at us? Tolerance? Love? Compassion? Forgiveness?


No one should be more compassionate and patient than a Christ-filled person!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This mom knows a thing or two

I often say, "I used to be smart." I really used to pride myself on knowing things, getting good grades, and being, generally, well....nerdy. Scholastic, one might say. And really, I am still smart, just about different things. Here's a little list of things I have learned as a result of becoming a mommy:

1. Handing out ice cream cones makes me a rock star.

2. I get God. I mean, kind of. Like a smidge more than I did before kids. I get the whole "loving you before you were born" part. And grace. Oh yes, grace. Not getting what you deserve. I get that one a lot better now.

3. My best parenting days occurred before I became a mom. Let's face it. I'll never be as smart about kids as I was when I was 20, and thought, "why can't that mother control her child? My kids will never act like that!" Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

4. When there's a boo boo, or might be a boo boo, or a child remembers an old boo boo, just give her the band aid. They don't cost that much. Even I feel a little cheerier when I have a Snoopy band aid on my own boo boos.

5. A child's happiness increases as the amount of dirt and grime that covers him increases. And that's good. God made dirt, and all that.

6. I am pretty good at thinking on the fly. I don't know what I am doing, but I am getting good at making it up as I go along.

7. I had no idea what I was actually capable of until I became a mother. I only wanted 2 or 3 kids. I never thought I would have 4. I never ever thought I would homeschool, or stay at home with them. So while I have learned a lot about childcare and discipline and such, I have learned more about myself. So often, I look at myself in the negative (I'm not patient, I should have done this differently, why did I say that!?!?, etc.). I am certainly far from perfect. But I do believe I am capable of more now than ever before. I know that God will give me the knowledge (patience, strength, etc.) that I need to raise these children. He has already given me my heart's desire, and I am thankful for the four of them every day.