Yes, my dear friends, it's snowing where I live!

None of us can believe our eyes. . .after a morning of cold wind and rain, the snow is now falling.
A view of the snow through my kitchen window.

The kids want to go outside and play in it. . . I'm thinking NOT!! Especially since everything is so wet and muddy from hours and hours of rain before the snow.

Well, when it snows around here, there's one thing I like to do. . .get some baking done.

Off to the kitchen I go to make some type of baked apple dessert dish. . .we'll see!

Let it Snow. . . in October?

by on Saturday, October 29, 2011
Yes, my dear friends, it's snowing where I live! None of us can believe our eyes. . .after a morning of cold wind and rain, the snow i...

I can't believe we are in the last full week of October already! My, time is FLYING!! This challenge always seems to come right on time in my life--right in the midst of a lot going on. Why is October always busy??? Things that make you go: "Mmmm?" At any rate, it has been a blessing to intentionally take the time to slow down, pray, sing a song of praise on purpose and usher the God of Peace into my home.

It's a blessing because my family notices, too. My daughter has said to me, "Mommy, I just love being part of a family!" Aww, insert mommy tears here! What a lovely thing to say. Thank you, Jesus, because she feels secure, happy and loved in our home. I also told my husband that I was doing this challenge and he teasingly said, "Yes, and another way to make your home a haven is to put pumpkins around the house. . ." LOL!!! He was referring to the fall decorations I put up . . . I love the fall season! Although he was kidding, he has noticed my efforts to create a cozy atmosphere. . . pumpkins and all! :o)

Here's one of my little "pumpkin" displays on our wood stove.
Click HERE to find out how to make your own pumpkins!

So, moving on to this week's tasks, which are all about adding tender moments:
1) Think of ways to create some family time: pillow fights, game nights, movie time; whatever special moments you want to create.
2) Add some tender touches: hugs, kisses, back rubs, holding hands; whatever communicates gentleness and love for your family.
3) Continue last week's tasks.

Well this hasn't been too much of a challenge, because we generally are a lovey-dovey family. But it has been fun to lay on an extra dose of lovin' around here! My younger daughter has probably enjoyed this the most. She is my most tactile child, her sense of touch is keen. She loves fabrics and textures and is very affectionate. But with all of my children, my extra hugs have been returned with random hugs and kisses of their own. Out of nowhere, I am blessed with an "I love you, Mommy" or "Hugs, please!"

I've also been able to share some tender moments with Husband as well. On Monday, he came home from work early, and my normal start to dinner is about an hour later. So, he ate a snack while I finished sweeping, and then we sat down on the couch to just flat-out cuddle, hold hands and talk. The kids were up, running around and playing. And in the midst of it, there we sat, enjoying each other's company. So sweet! Then last night, we watched a TV show that we both enjoyed, no computers, no phone calls, just him and me, and 2 bowls of ice cream! All impromptu moments, but seizing those moments is what was important.

As for some fun family time, today my kids and I had a pajama day! Last night my son requested one and I told him, yes! We finished up all of our schooling early and ate lunch on blankets spread on the living room floor. We do something like this every now and then and my children always get a kick out of it. We also watched the Prince of Egypt (great movie for children about Moses!).

Doing school work in their PJs . . . the joys of homeschooling!

Yes, Mommy participated in pajama day, too!

SJ cheesin' at lunch time!

JR and TM mesmerized by the movie!

So that's been the happenings around here. I encourage you all to seize the little moments to be tender with your family. It doesn't have to be big, outlandish, or planned way in advance. I think anytime is a good time for a hug, a compliment, or a gentle pat on the back.

Is My Home a Haven? (Week #4)

by on Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I can't believe we are in the last full week of October already! My, time is FLYING!! This challenge always seems to come right on ...

It's been a little while since I've posted one of these. . . so here we go!

No Idle Bread

May our praise to the Heavenly Father
be a sweet sound in His ear.

I love You Lord,
And I lift my voice
To worship You.
Oh, my soul, rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear.
And let it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear.

We exalt Thee!
We exalt Thee!
We exalt Thee, oh Lord!
The homeschooling requirements for my state mandate that I teach my children Health. I did not purchase any sort of "Health Curriculum" and have been piecing things together as we go. (My undergraduate degree was in Sports Medicine, so I feel like I know what I'm doing--LOL! We'll see how that works out!)

Anyway, I checked this book out from the library. . .

My Food Pyramid

Next, I went online to find some materials (coloring pages, food facts, etc.) to build a little unit around the food pyramid and eating healthy. Well, I stumbled upon this website for kids, by the USDA. The website contains games, posters and other materials about nutrition and healthy eating, for children ages 6-11. (FYI: Those ages are given by the site. However, my 4 yr. old son has been able to participate with us as well.)

But what I like most is the Classroom Materials on the food pyramid. Here you will find complete lesson plans to download for grades 1-6, for FREE!!! Because I am not a traditional school teacher or a daycare provider, some materials were off limits (*sigh*). However, my kids and I have enjoyed learning about the food pyramid and making healthy eating choices.

Hope you find this information helpful in someway!!!

Food Pyramid

by on Sunday, October 23, 2011
The homeschooling requirements for my state mandate that I teach my children Health. I did not purchase any sort of "Health Curriculum&...

(I apologize for posting this so late. . .busy, busy week I've had!) :o)

So it's week 3 and I'm still working on my haven. I light my candles each day (2 in the kitchen and 1 in the school room). And I am praying for peace. And you know what? God answers prayer! My life is certainly not without its challenges and I have prayed for God's peace. And He has granted it. So thankful! We also have continued playing music during our school day and the kids have really enjoyed it. . .so, we're keeping it up.

This week's tasks were all about tackling clutter:
1) Make a list of areas in your home that are visually stressful because of the clutter and clear them out
2) Consider any spiritual "clutter" you've noticed. What gets in the way of peace in your life?
3) Continue last week's tasks.

Well, let me just say that I am having a few difficulties in the cleaning department. A growing "baby tummy" and late pregnancy fatigue can be challenging! (I'm still forever GRATEFUL, though!!) So, I have tried to focus on maintaining our heavily trafficked areas each day and doing other chores as I can.

One area that can be visually stressful is when the kitchen table is cluttered. The kids bring in school work to show Daddy during dinner time, mail and magazines end up there, groceries, and whatever else. So, I've tried to clear it off each day.

Also, my husband purchased some new "P.E. equipment" for the kids (bean bag toss, roller skates, t-ball, you name it! :) ) and it ended up in a corner of the sitting room. Even after being used, everyone returned the items to the same corner of the sitting room, as though they belonged there. I couldn't take it any more! LOL So, my daughter (6yrs.) helped me move it all into the garage. (Thanks, sweetheart! She told me she could help because she was strong.)
These are just a couple of areas, trust me, there are more! I imagine I'll be doing this portion of the challenge for a while! LOL

Spiritually, the Lord has been dealing with me on making Him the Lover of my soul. I'm realizing the ways in which I place unrealistic expectations on my husband, expecting him to bring me peace and joy and to never disappoint me. Now, I'm not saying that I am displeased with my sweetie, nor am I "husband bashing." But, the truth is this: we are both human and we will fall short and we will disappoint one another.

It is unfair for me to hold him to the standard of being my ultimate source of peace and joy--that place belongs to God. I have to look to Him first, be filled with His Spirit first so that when difficulties arise in my marriage, I can respond in love and not be an emotional wreck. Emotional wreck = less peace. I hope what I'm saying makes sense. . .the Lord is still working on me in this area . . .still showing me where I'm weak. . .hopefully I'll be able to share more about it later.

Well, that's all for now, Ladies. I pray that you all have peace in your homes; may the Lord be your ultimate source of joy and peace!

Is My Home a Haven? (Week #3)

by on Friday, October 21, 2011
(I apologize for posting this so late. . .busy, busy week I've had!) :o) So it's week 3 and I'm still working on my haven...

Hey there Ladies. I'm continuing on into week 2 of making my home a haven for my family. I'm still lighting my candle each day and praying for peace in my home and in the lives of my family members.

This week's tasks are:
1) Play soft, peaceful music everyday in your home
2) Focus on peaceful words and maintaining peaceful relationships
3) Continue last week's tasks

Task #1 is super easy for me. As many of you know already, I love music! I hum and sing alot. But, for some reason, during our schooling time, I haven't played much music. Maybe I thought the kids would be distracted and wouldn't listen as well. I mean, we sing around here all the time, so maybe I thought they would just bust out in song and dance during history or something! LOL I'm so glad this challenge has reminded me of "soft" and "peaceful" music to play during our schooling. My choice for this week has been:
Alone in His Presence
Such beautiful, sweet worship music!
Click on the pic to listen to samples (#7 is my fave!!)
My kids have enjoyed the music playing quietly in the background and so have I. I catch my younger daughter humming along while she works and my oldest daughter will tell me when she likes a particular song. And even my son, every now and then, will yell out, "NICE SONG, MOMMY!!!!" (We're still working on being quiet, uhm, "peaceful" with him! LOL) Anyway, the music has brought us some joy and serenity during our school work and it will be something that I will continue to do.

Now task #2 is the real challenge this week!! As the Good Book tells us:

"A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger."
-Proverbs 15:1

In addition to this nugget of Scripture wisdom, I am also doing a Bible study and this week's focus is 1Corinthians 13--all about L-O-V-E!
In other words ladies, I have no excuse!!! I'll admit, not everything that has rolled off of my tongue this week has been peaches-n-cream, but I am trying. AND, I have gone back to apologize when the Lord has convicted my heart--thank You, Lord for molding me!

So, for the rest of the week, I'll continue to pray and watch my words, watch my actions, watch my demeanor. Often times, I set the tone and the pace of life for my family. When I'm at peace, chances are my family will be, too!

Is My Home a Haven? (Week #2)

by on Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Hey there Ladies. I'm continuing on into week 2 of making my home a haven for my family. I'm still lighting my candle each day an...

Husband is home from work one day, every other week. After about an hour or so into school, he comes in to "check" on everyone's work. The kids giggle because they say he's the "principal." He's sure to spend some time with each child, one-on-one, asking questions about what they're doing, letting them "show him how to do it." He always adds laughter, and a new way of thinking about things. This helps the children and me, because it adds some fun to our learning. (Plus, the kids are "extra" studious on these days because it usually means an abbreviated schedule so we can spend the day with Daddy.)
Daddy and SJ (Christmas 2005)

Daddy is also our PE teacher. Thank the Lord, because I certainly don't fit the bill, and that's not because I'm pregnant either. I just simply am not "PE oriented." I'm all about staying healthy, yes, but the actual mechanics of running, throwing, jumping and catching--and then teaching someone else how to do it. . . not quite my thing. So, Daddy to the rescue, Mr. College Football/Coaching Minor--LOL!
Daddy, TM, and SJ (Christams 2005)

This past Sunday, Daddy and the kids went camping. Although this is not actually part of our curriculum per se, homeschooling allowed us to be flexible enough for this impromptu event. If the babes were groggy on Monday morning from camping out, then I could push our school time back an hour or so. So, Sunday afternoon, Husband jumps up and says, "Remember I promised the kids we'd sleep out in the back yard? We'll do it today since the weather is nice." And so, off he went to set the tent up. The kids were SUPER excited to sleep in the back yard! LOL (We are not serious campers by any means, so the back yard is about all we can handle right now.)

I didn't get a picture because by the time I thought about it, it was too dark outside. . . and let's just say my camera is not quite "advanced" enough to take pictures in the dark! I went in the tent to help arrange blankets and kiss forheads good-night. And then I went back in to clean the kitchen (I'd had a bit of baking frenzie earlier!) and to go to bed. However, my soul was blessed by what I heard through the kitchen window: giggles, camp songs, games, little voices chatting, deep voice laughing. My goodness, my heart melted because there my Husband was willingly sleeping on the cold, hard ground to bring our kiddos joy. . .and all was well in our hearts.

JR and Daddy (Summer 2007)

I am thankful for my Husband, for his love, his guidance and for the fun he brings to our family. I'm so thankful and grateful to God that He blessed us with such a gift.

Raising Homemakers

Homeschooling with Daddy

by on Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Husband is home from work one day, every other week. After about an hour or so into school, he comes in to "check" on everyone&#...

This post is completely random. . .but I can't believe my boy is in glasses now!

He's only 4! He looks so daper. . .LOL

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I wear glasses, my brother wears glasses, my mother wears glasses, my husband's father and brother wear glasses, and of course, my oldest daughter wears glasses. . .

SJ with her new purple glasses, per her request!
(Look at the concentration
on my son's face in the background. . .
they were playing a video game!)
She's been wearing them since she was 6. So, I guess I thought I had a couple of more years before anyone else needed them.

Guess not!! :o)

New Glasses

by on Sunday, October 09, 2011
This post is completely random. . .but I can't believe my boy is in glasses now! He's only 4! He looks so daper. . .LOL I...
Hey there, Ladies! Happy Fall to all.

This October I've signed up for a few challenges, one of them being:

This weeks' tasks are:
1) Get a large candle to light each day
2) Whenever the candlelight catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home
3) Reflect on the type of wife and mother you are: peaceful or disgruntled?

I participated in this challenge last October and it was a blessing to me and my family.  I looked back on week 1 from last year to see how much I've grown and where I need to continue growing. (You can read that post HERE.) My days are little different now than they were a year ago. All of my children are home with me now; praise the LORD we are schooling at home. I'm also very thankfully round and pregnant (thank you God for your GRACE!!!!)

Kitchen Table Candles

I can see the areas where I've grown that help me make my home a haven for my family:
1) I begin my days in the Word of God--that has been something that I've shared in my writings here that I've struggled with. But God has continued to mold me in that area and I am grateful. When I start my day with Him, I start off with Peace in my heart.
2)I do not turn the computer on in the mornings--this has been a HUGE blessing for me because let me tell you, I can become severely distracted! And when I'm distracted, other duties suffer, which of course equals less peace in my home! I'm glad I followed the Lord in His wisdom about this last year, making it a habit. My computer time has not interfered with my schooling the children and I know that I would have struggled this year, had I not made that change last year.

School Room Candle

Where I need to continue to grow:
1) STACIE, GO TO BED EARLIER!!!!!!! Yes, dear sisters, I am STILL struggling with this one. Sometimes I do okay, but not as well as I could. There seems to be one more thing to do, one more thing to "check off," one more door to lock, one last time to let the dogs out, one more time to cover my son up at night. . .there's always one more thing. In my mind, I justify it by saying, "well the kids are sleeping; now you can get all of these things done!" The reality is when I don't get a good night's rest, I'm not as well as I could be the next day. And let me just say, that can effect the peace around here!
2) Prepare the day before--This needs no explanation about peace, right? If I'm prepared the day before, the next day runs smoother. I'm doing okay with this as far as school and activities for the kids. Where I need some help would probably be in the menu area. I am not good at planning ahead for meals AT ALL and I need some work on that. Any tips, advice? Any one willing to come over and mentor me in this area?? (If not, could you just pray for me?) :) Also, I'm going to tie this one to the one above--go to sleep, Stacie! LOL

Still praying each day for peace. And why not, since I know the Prince of Peace?

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace."
-Isaiah 9:6

Is My Home a Haven? (Week #1)

by on Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Hey there, Ladies! Happy Fall to all. This October I've signed up for a few challenges, one of them being: This weeks' tas...
SJ smiling about her experiment!
Just cleaned up a vinegar/baking soda spill. We had an overflow in the school room today, bubbles and vinegar all over the place! Of course the kids thought it was funny and wanted to do it again!! But now I guess we know all about carbon dioxide molecules.

Fun times! :)

Mixing Baking Soda and Vinegar

by on Tuesday, October 04, 2011
SJ smiling about her experiment! Just cleaned up a vinegar/baking soda spill. We had an overflow in the school room today, bubbles and v...

Today is day 3 of the Time-Warp Wife's 31 Days of Love Challenge, where wives are encouraged to love their husbands each day.

Today, the blog post title was, "Do You Like Your Husband?" And I must say, YES!!! I mean a loud, resounding, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course I love him. . .he is an awesome provider, a wonderful, loving father, and a sweet, sweet husband.

But in addition to these things, I can say, that I LIKE him. He is my very best friend. He has seen me at my absolute worse and always pushes me to do my best. He makes me laugh every. single. day. No, really, ladies. . .literally. It can be about something that may have happened during the day or something that happened years ago--but he can always make me laugh. And I'm not talking a little polite giggle here or there. I'm talking the gut-wrenching, tear-falling, laid-out-on-the-floor laughing!

Another thing that develops our friendship is keeping each other involved in our personal interests. For example, he knows about my little piece of the blogging world and he shows interest by listening to my thoughts, offering suggestions, and sometimes reading other blogger's posts with me. I ask him how my blog design looks and tell him when I find new gadgets or widgets to add. He even asks me about some of my readers that I've grown close to and have formed friendships with. It's important to me and I shared it with him, and so it builds our friendship.

Our faces tinted blue from the computer screen! LOL
(Photo taken one winter a couple of years ago.)

On the other hand, my husband loves football. He was a very successful football player in high school and in college and so it's in him! So every fall, we watch tons of football. But I honestly don't mind. You want to know why? Because my husband took the time to explain the game to me. (Yes, I was clueless about football when we first met!) He's pretty passionate about it, and he wanted to share that with me. Even now, I still have questions and he ALWAYS explains it to me. That keeps me interested, and so it builds our friendship.

I'm thankful that my husband and I are in love and that we genuinely LIKE each other!!

In what ways do you and your husband build your friendship within your marriage?
For a few ideas, check out today's post at the Time-Warp Wife.

Also linked with:

Celebrating Family

I Really LIKE My Husband

by on Monday, October 03, 2011
Today is day 3 of the Time-Warp Wife's 31 Days of Love Challenge , where wives are encouraged to love their husbands each day. Today...

Mission of the Month
Hello Mama's!!

Before I begin with the tasks for the month of October, let me first update you on the tasks I set for myself in September.
  1. I cleaned out my laundry room--yeah!!! All school room materials are in the school room!! Because our school room is just outside our laundry room, some of my dear Husband's tools made their way inside during the renovations. Now that the room is complete, the tools are back in the tool shed. I tidied up my pantry shelves, which are also in the laundry room, as well as our little dogs' bowls. Trust me ladies . . . a sigh of relief now that every thing's in order. Even my kids are happy. Sometimes they play in the laundry room, like it's their secret hide out! LOL
  2. I'm back to crochet!!!! I've started on an afghan for the family for our living room. And I also started on a blanket for our little bundle of joy. Here are some pics of those!
Living room afghan. . .
. . .Baby's blanket.
 So for September, I'd say. . .

Mission Accomplished

So for good ol' October, here are the tasks I hope to accomplish:

Task 1: I'd like to complete both blankets. I have to go out and get a few more balls of yarn for the other colors I need to add to the living room afghan. The baby's blanket is being made from yarn I already had on hand. So, hopefully they will be ready soon.
Task 2: I have yet another room in the house to tackle. . .the guest room/former computer room. With a new baby on the way and starting our homeschool this year, we are making many adjustments and transitions. Some of the items in our guest/computer room are now in our school room (such as the computer desk, shelves, etc.) The bed in that room will now become my son's bed, so we can convert his current bed back into a crib for the baby. My girls' "Dora House," along with other miscellaneous toys, have found their way into this room as well. So, I need to do some reorganizing, moving things around and basically figure out how we want to use the room. . . .my son's room? baby's room? play room? We'll see. . .

So that it's for now Ladies! For those of you who are interested, check out Mama Jenn's blog to link up or read about other missions this month.
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