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  • In my life this week…

  • I was added as a Guest Contributor at a new homeschooling website: Our Homeschool Forum. I am so excited!! Do check out the website when you can for encouragement and support along your homechooling journey. Good stuff!

    Aslo, I'm getting my house work back on track and it feels good. September was mostly dedicated to finding a good rhythm in our homeschool schedule and potty training the toddler!! Since those two things are coming along pretty well, I'm able to weave in a better approach to my house work. Exciting stuff, huh?! I even did a little fall decorating!

    Kitchen table--simple center piece

    Top of our old wood-burning stove (not in use at the moment!)
    Want to know how to make a fabric pumpkins, click HERE!
  • In our homeschool this week…

  • Learning about: telling time, outlining, why milk spoils in a warm place, Sargon, King Henry the VIII, Martin Luther and the Reformation, adjectives, capitalizing proper nouns, colors, and numbers, among other things. FUN, FUN, FUN!! I am so grateful that we get the opportunity to homeschool--I learn so much every day!

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

  • If you have old text books from your college days lying around, see if you can put them to use in your homeschool. My husband and I (college sweethearts!) saved a good number of our books. My husband took a music appreciation class and he had a text book that came with a 6 CD set of classical music. Guess what I'm using for our music curriculum this year?!?!?!

    It is a blessing because the book coincides beautifully with our history (classical approach), as it showcases music from the Medieval times to the present. So I am able to discuss with my children what types of sounds and instruments and musical patterns were common to certain styles of music, based upon the time period. We are having a ball with it! Too bad it just sat on my shelf the first 2 years of homeschooling! But now I feel super cool because music is happening in a less haphazard way around here.

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

  • We went to the library on Monday and for some reason it was SUPER quiet! I mean, come on, we were in the children's section, so we usually hear a bit of chatter or back ground noise from other little ones. But not this time. My 5 were the only young kids in the entire children's section and the other people looked to be teens or young adults, busily and QUIETLY working at the computer stations. So, of course, this is the day my toddler wanted to pull every book off of the shelf and all of a sudden, the baby hated being in the stroller.

    At first I thought about panicking and then I thought about retreating, and of course all eyes were on me. I sent my girls help me look for a few history books. I had my oldest son give the baby a bottle (the baby was still in the stroller). I gave the toddler a book he could look at and I grabbed history and literature books as best as I could while it seemed everyone was occupied.

    That didn't last very long. The toddler dropped his book--uninterested. The baby drank the last of his bottle and my oldest son didn't know what to do. The girls returned, unable to find some of the books I asked them to look for. Yep, panic and retreat was definitely next on the to-do list--we were just SO noisy and I just couldn't manage to calm everyone down.

    And then the Holy Spirit reminded me that this is my life: a bit noisy, sometimes awkward, sometimes a distraction to others, always full, but none of it is ever without Him. I could either use this moment to reflect His grace or be mad that it wasn't going smoothly. Well, I picked the baby up, told my toddler to quiet down (again) and I took a deep breath. I told the Holy Spirit that I was thankful for all 5 of my noisy children, and then I chuckled at myself because I probably looked funny in that particular moment of "panic/retreat/how do I keep everyone quiet!" But, I paced myself, readjusted my attitude and pressed forward.

    My older 3 went on to find books they were looking for. I managed to get most of the things we needed to supplement for school and we made it through. Nope, the baby never went back into the stroller until it was time to leave (He's 23 pounds, y'all!! Yes, I felt the burn in my arms! LOL). The toddler still was determined to use his outside voice. But, the deal-maker was deciding to continue on with my day, not to get frustrated and trust that God was using me in that moment for some good. Yep, a day in the life at the library!! LOL

  • My favorite thing this week was…

  • Going out to dinner, twice. Thanks, Husband!

  • My kiddos' favorite thing this week was…

  • Donuts!!! My husband was off from work on Friday. Any time he's off of work, it usually that means he buys donuts for the kids during school. Well, daddy didn't disappoint and they were thrilled.

  • I’m cooking…

  • My girls want to make fortune cookies. Today, they spent some time writing out the "fortunes" which are really turning out to be things to make each other laugh. Hopefully we can actually bake the cookies next week.

  • I’m grateful for…

  • This lovely, beautiful, sweet fall weather.

  • I’m praying for…

  • My family.

  • I rewarded my kids this week by…

  • I let them have ice cream after breakfast one morning. It was fun, it was silly, it was totally out of the norm! But, they're good kids and I love them. :)

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share... 

  • This video pretty much sums up the things that go on in my head, too, when someone questions why my children exist (nicely worded, "our family size"), IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN! (Still requesting prayer to respond each time in a manner that pleases God.)

    "Your word I have hidden in my heart,
    That I might not sin against You." -Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
    Scripture memory is important in the life of a believer, as noted in the verse above, keeping us from sin. The idea of intentionally learning and memorizing Scipture is something that I have taken on with my children since we've been homeschooling. Growing up, I was familiar with many passages of Scripture, and some of them I could quote. The problem was, I couldn't tell you exactly where it was found. I was great at flipping through the book of the Bible I thought it was in, or using that trusty, old concordance in the back! (Am I alone on this or can anyone else relate?!)
    However, I want my children to know God's Word and know it well. I want to be better at knowing God's Word for my own walk with Christ, and so I can lead my chilren in what matters most.
    "But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
    -2 Timothy 3:14-15 (NKJV)
     It is so important to know what the Bible says for yourself. And so we learn, as a family. . .
    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3: 16-17 (NKJV)
    So, after some trial and error, copy work, repetition, index cards, mirror writing, research and more trial and error, I finally stumbled upon a system that works for us. I found it through Simply Charlotte Mason. I highly suggest checking out THIS VIDEO for more detailed information on how to implement the system!
    Here are the basics: (*Note: The words in CAPS are the way our Scripture memory box is labled for each Scripture we're learning.)
    • DAILY: We take our time and learn just one Scripture or passage at a time. For whatever verse we're learning, each day, the children repeat the Scripture reference after me and then they listen to me read the Scripture. Then, they repeat the Scripture reference once more.
    • We continue that process until each child (and parent!) has learned the verse word for word. We do not rush. One tip I learned is this: "hiding God's Word in your heart is not a race, it is a lifelong habit." I can't tell you how freeing that was to this Mama's ears, because for some reason I felt like I was "behind" in memorizing Scripture.
    • ODD/EVEN: Once the daily Scripture is memorized, it is advanced to the odd or even section. It is then recited only on the odd or even day of the month. A new daily Scripture is then added.
    • DAY OF THE WEEK: As the cards advance from the odd and even, they then go to a day of the week, in order from Sunday to Saturday. So now, that 1st Scripture learned is recited once per week.
    • DATE OF THE MONTH: Once the cards advance through the days of the week, they then go to a date of the month, numbered 1-30. That very 1st Scripture is now recited one per month.
    • Anytime a verse is learned, you advance it and begin to learn a new one.
    Our Scripture memory box:
    index cards, old storage container, homemade labels
    I am so pleased with this system and am pleasantly surprised with the way we are all learning God's Word, bit by bit. Even my toddler (21 months) chimes in on certain words he remembers! I select verses that speak to my heart, that are relevant to my children's lives, some they've requested we learn and those that are foundational to the lives of believers. If you need help choosing verses to learn, you can find a list HERE. Right now we are currently challenging ourselves to learn the exact words from the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20. Here's an example of what Scripture memory looks like in the No Idle Bread household!

    Featured On Cornerstone Confessions

    Welcome Home Wednesdays

    Anyone who knows me knows I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like pickles. It all started when I was about 4 or 5 years old when an older cousin of mine would come to visit. She showed me how to open my mother's Tupperware pickle container. (Who out there remembers Tupperware??) You see, she was a pickle lover, too. Once she showed me that, it was over. I think I had a pickle or two every day until my parents find out! LOL I can still "see" that green Tupperware container on the door of our burnt-orange colored refrigerator in my mind. (Can't you tell I'm a child of the late 70's??)

    Fast forward some years and that love of pickles still hasn't left me. So, my sweet mother-in-law (Mother, as she is affectionately called) and I decided we would make pickles this summer. One morning, she came by and we loaded the kids in the van and drove out to the Amish market. We were looking for fresh pickling cucumbers, dill sprigs, garlic cloves and dried red peppers. While there, we stopped by the pickle counter to taste the many varieties of pickles they have. (Mother and I are kindred pickle eaters!) One of the Amish women shared some of her sister's canning tips when making pickles and we were eager listeners, as neither of us had ever made pickles before.

    Dill sprigs, garlic cloves,
    dried peppers, quartered pickling cucumbers
    Well, we prepared our jars and made our pickling solution by boiling vinegar, water, and salt. We packed each jar tightly with cuccumbers, adding dill sprigs, garlic and peppers.Then we poured the vinegar solution in each jar. Then we boiled the jars again to seal the deal! This is an EXTREMELY condensed version of canning pickles. I am not going to attempt to outline the complete process here, no "how-to's". Why not? I am NOT a pro, and some things we figured out as we went along, and well, I don't want to confuse you. Just know that it was a long, steamy, boiling hot process, with lots of good conversation, laughter, and high hopes that things would turn out well.

    Mother, me, and our first batch of pickles!
    Can't you see how happy we are?
    Don't they look good?
    We let them cool, untouched over night. We ended up with 9 jars and they all sealed correctly. (Yay!) We tried to wait until Labor Day to try them, which means they would have time to sit for a little over 3 weeks, soaking up those yummy flavor combinations. But, we only made it about 2 weeks. We went over to visit my in-laws and this is what Mother said to me, "Lena, (her nickname for me) I made a sandwich yesterday and I really wanted a pickle to go with it! So, I just had to try them since I didn't have any other pickles in the house." LOL!!!

    Guess what, they are SO good. They have a bit of a spicy kick and are so flavorful. I can never eat just one, always 2 (and sometimes 3--I told you I like pickles). They are crisp and give a great crunch. My husband, who is NOT a pickle eater, thought they were really good, too. My mother-in-law shared a jar with some of her co-workers and some of them have offered to pay, asking if they can place an order! :) That's sweet, but I'm not sure about that. . . canning is hard work! :) I've got to practice more before I'd feel comfortable taking orders. {{My hat goes off to the women who came before me (and those even now) who worked the land and canned and preserved to provide food for their families.}}

    It was a fun experience and we learned a lot. Our next canning adventure: apple jelly! Right in time for fall.

    What Joy Is Mine

    We Made Pickles!!

    by on Saturday, September 14, 2013
    Anyone who knows me knows I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like pickles. It all started when I was about 4 or 5 years old when an older cousin of mi...
    As summer comes to a close, I thought I'd share a bit of what we did. Although I felt like the blurry, busy spring gave way to an action-packed summer, we managed to squeeze in a bit of fun.

    For the past few years, we've had a "Summer Bucket List" and this year was no exception, with 26 things they wanted to do. The kids were determined to cross off as much as possible. My favorite request of theirs was #12: Go to China or Hawaii. LOL! While that was out of the question, they were satisfied with going to a yummy Chinese/Japanese buffet in the next town close to us. Anyway, here are some pictures from our summer.
    Graduation Sunday at Church
    JR in the kindergarten graduation ceremony
    Our Backyard Family Cook-Out
    Game: try to move the cookie from your forehead
    into your mouth, using only your facial muscles

    TM was trying really hard!

    Game: Egg Toss--every one is lined up and ready

    My girls were egg toss partners.
    Lots of Time to Play
    Fun at the park

    Lots of swimming

    JD in sunglasses :)
    Baby J hanging out in the stroller
     Historic Colonial Playground
    Farmer son down at the well

    Cute toddler farmer
    TM playing the "apothecary" grinding spices
    The girls found some aprons

    Young ladies preparing & setting up their kitchen table
    JR trying to figure out how to build a wooden bucket
    Boys performing for us
    TM stoking the fire
    Kids outside of a colonial play house

    Sonny Boy Lost His 1st Tooth
    He was so proud!

    Homemade Pickles With My Mother-In-Law
    More to come on this in another post!
     Fun At Six Flags
    Kids with Sylvester & Tweety

    JR and me on the pirate boat ride

    Husband hanging with the "stroller crew"
    while the rest of us are on a ride
    Baby J finally asleep and JD ready to get out
    JD enjoying the splash park

    SJ and TM getting ready for the swing ride
    Teddy bear we won at a water game

    So there was our summer fun. What did your family do for fun this summer?
    My Fabulous Five
    Linked with:

    Good-bye Summer

    by on Saturday, September 07, 2013
    As summer comes to a close, I thought I'd share a bit of what we did. Although I felt like the blurry, busy spring gave way to an actio...
    Devotions by Janet Tatman
    Published by Zondervan
     This NIV Bible was specifically designed with the homeschool mom in mind. Let's just go through it cover to cover. The design on the cover drew me in--I think it is just so pretty and feminine. It reminds me of scrap booking or arts and crafts. The books of the Bible are listed in order from Old to New Testament, and also in alphabetical order. The foreword is written by homeschooling mom Vickie Farris, who is the wife to Michael Farris, the founder of Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). As an experienced homeschooling mom, she offers encouragement, urging each mother to spend time with God each day.

    This Bible was intended to help busy homeschool moms prioritize their time with God. It has 365 daily devotions tucked within the pages of Scripture, written by Janet Tatman. Janet has 25 years of homeschooling experience and offers a peek into her life as she shares the things she's learned along the way. Each devotion has a Scripture reference and tells you what page to turn to for the next day's devotion. In the back of the Bible, there is a chart of weights and measures, a topical index, and extra pages for notes.

    I used this Bible for a week, using the daily devotions and reading over the referenced Scripture. I think Janet does a good job of tying the daily life of a homeschooling mom to the truth of God's Word--ways in which God uses us, uses our families to bring us closer to Him. I enjoyed reading the NIV text, although I must say my preference is the NKJV. The only suggestion I would have for this Bible would be to include a sewn-in bookmark ribbon. Since the Bible's layout spreads the daily devotions throughout the book, it would be nice to have a bookmark to hold my place. Overall, I have enjoyed this Bible and I plan on reading through the devotionals as time goes on.

    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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