Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Blessing of a Toddler

He grabs the yellow school bus and squeals.......
He smiles with a heart full of joy

His hands are small...

But he is Oh so eager to help smash the strawberries for Jam

He wants to race, to play alongside the others......

and to eat more grapes.

His adventures of the day consisted of chasing the cat....

giggling when the dog gives him kisses.........

and playing in the bowls of water.

He is a little guy who can barely see over our farmhouse table,

he has won the heart of my daughter (and mine) and he loves it here!

"Above all, think beauty in the ordinary..."

~Emilie Barnes

He is a friends little guy and when we are blessed to watch him my home rings with the sounds of a toddler again....something I have missed!

My children are growing so fast...for my daughters 11th birthday she asked for her first pair of high heels and has been wearing them everyday since. My boys are big enough to climb trees and make their own tents in the backyard.

I will always keep the memory of my childrens tiny hands in mine and belly giggles tighlty in my heart....but when I can have a little one curl up in my lap again (my youngest is getting so big he can't do that anymore *sigh!*) I rejoice!!!

Many Blessings to you my blogging friends...and if you still have a toddler in your home I challenge you to find the beauty in the ordinary throughout your day and lock those memories up tight in your heart-for one day those toddlers will be much much bigger!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Simple Italian Chicken

"In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust:
let me never be put to confusion."
Psalm 71:1
~As I seek the Lord for wisdom on what to feed my family, and as we discover some allergies that have been hindering our health our recipes have become an adventure of sorts for me. I have had to put my trust in the Lord and know he will give me wisdom. So today begins the first "food blog" post. As I "try" many recipes or adjust the ones my family has come to share and love I would like to share them with you and hope you will enjoy them also!

"Simple Italian Chicken"

You wil need:
~Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 per person)
(I use a bag of frozen ones I buy at our local Aldi store)
~1 whole tomato sliced
~a good melting cheese (we found a wonderful white Farmers
cheese at our local Amish market...it tastes almost like
mozzeralla but with a more buttery taste)
~1 TB of Basil

~I find pouring out some basil onto a (pretty)
little dish makes it easier to pinch

~Place your chicken in the oven at 350

for about 20 minutes then I pull it out and place the toppings on

~Lay a slice of tomato on top each chicken breast

(or you can leave one off for that little 5 year old who thinks

tomoatoes are too mushy)

~Then place a thick piece of sliced cheese over each tomato and sprinkle

a little basil on top

~I then sprinkle each chicken with a dash of Olive Oil

~Place back in oven and cook for another 20-30 minutes untill juice

is clear and chicken is done ~And there you have a healthy, wonderful Italian chicken dish!

~Now its time for its close up!

~We served ours with frozen green beans and mashed potatoes

(when we mashed our potatoes we replace the milk with Almond milk

since we have noticed some diary allergies. NO ONE seemed to notice a difference!)

~The cheese was perfectly melted..the tomato was rich and juicy,

and the basil gave it a wonderful earthy taste!

One of the highlights of dinner for me, while we sit around the table eating,

is to listen to my husband read from God's Word.

Food for Thought:

The best dessert any wife can ask for is a good dose of God's word

read from the man she loves and adores!

From my kitchen to yours,


Thursday, February 9, 2012

"What I Hunger for..."

"I just love the way fresh dough feels under my fingers," my daughter says as she helps me roll out some pie dough. She loves to help me in the kitchen-when the cat doesn't need some cuddles-and she is able to set down her latest Elsie Dinsmore book. Its in that moment when I can almost taste the flaky crust. I am anxious and excited to fill the pie pan and get it in the oven. (I believe there is a pie gene in my soul, because...well...pies are my favorite!) I don't mind the hard work it takes to make a fresh crust or the time I use peeling two bags of apples-----its worth it!

As the pie cooks (Carmel Flat Apple Pie) I busy myself with a task at hand...making our meal list and thinking about what I would like to purchase from a local Amish market. I prayed for wisdom... I asked the Lord to show me what meals would be healthy and in our budget. I hungered to feed my family healthy meals. I desired to keep within our food budget. To me this was hard work---a task I have been struggling at. It was very relaxing to roll out pie dough and peel apples for a hour...I knew the smell of the pie baking and the taste of the flaky crust and juicy filling will be all worth it. But for this I needed strength, motivation, and confidence.

The Lord soon brought a verse to mind....

"and let us not be weary in well doing

for in due season we shall reap if we faint not."

Galatians 6:9

I meditated on those words for a while...this is well doing...this is what I hungered for. I begin to search my heart for other things I hungered for as a mom.

I hungered to spend more time with my kids playing games...

I hungered for patience at bedtime-when my nightly list is calling. To just sit and be still... listening to the hearts of my children.

I hungered for grace. Grace found in a gentle voice as I train my children. Grace to give when they fall, remembering we are all sinners.

The pie is done, it smells amazing.

The meal list is wrote.

...my mind is eternaly focused

...and my heart is ready for the hardwork that lies ahead

...it will be all worth it

To all my blog friends remember:

"and let us not be weary in well doing,

for in due season we will reap if we faint not."

Galatians 6:9

Pressing On,


*I am honored to have this post featured today over at my dear friends blog....feel free to take a moment and visit http://www.noblewomen4christ.org and check her her wonderful yogurt recipe!

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Our Workbox system...."
A few years back a sweet friend of mine Ami (over at:
http://www.walkingbytheway.com/) introduced me to the Sue Patricks workbox
system....(http://www.workboxsystem.com/ )knowing that I was a very relaxed homeschool mom and not much into textbook teaching I was intrigued! This system consisted of a cart and boxes for each child...which were filled with their to-do's and subjects for the day. Having the freedom to fill those with many things pertaining to our school days and embrace the gifts God has given in my style of teaching
was enough to win me over.

Over the last three years the workbox system has taken many forms...(see I am a what-can-I-use-that-I-already-have-so-I-can-save-money type of gal) we have used a giant bookshelf and the plastic shoe boxes (which I seemed to have in abundance for the kids toys, and school supplies and usually found them at dollar sotre), then we converted to three old wooden bookcases so they each would have their own space, and now we use three tall plastic dressers that can be used for crafts or closet organization. I have to confess I did splurge on these but considering I tend to homeschool my children for almost free I considered it a huge investment! .....And it did take me two years to convince myself I should by them :) This seems to be the best system for us.

With the workbox system I found many ideas and ended up creating ours from what I already had. (I even have a friend that uses large manilia envelopes in a file box!) we found a place to keep them for each child. A way to number them so they know what order to go in and a endless list of what to put in the boxes on what days. You can even make a place where the kids take their number off when finished with the box and place it on a done sheet. (A Special Note: Any child from a toddler can have their own workboxes. It is OK to fill them with learning toys and books to read!! A great tip to help you track their learning!)

(Here is what ours looks like)

Each child only has seven boxes and that seems to be plenty for us.

I have numbered each one (which is taped on...I used to have them velcroed and it seemed I would find them in odd places ...My youngest even made up a matching game with them one day on the floor. So for my sanity I decided to use tape!)

There are many possibilities that you could use for your tags. You can find some printables and wonderful ideas over at http://www.homeschoolshare.com/.

Here is a break down of what my kids' drawers look like:

Workbox #1: Bible Box *clip art of a bible

(includes their prayer journal and bible verse card)

Workbox #2: Missions Moment *Clip art of a globe

(includes the picture card of the missionary we are praying for and encouarging. A notebook to write letters to them. And a lapbook based on the country/culture/and people the missionaries are living with.)

Workbox #3: Delight-Directed subject box *Clip art of their interest ex: knitting, art, boats, etc

(includes info on what they are interested in learning about. Whether books, lapbooks, or a hands-on activity. )

Workbox #4: History/Geography *clip art of globe

(includes our family study...which is the Priarie Primer about Little House books. We have a lapbook, activities, and such to go with our lesson plans in the primer. This is one of the only 'textbooks' we follow but love that its mostly hands-on.

Workbox #5 & #6: Math and English *These are what we call "Mailbox Time" boxes. Where mommy works with them one on one. There is a clip art of mommy and a girl or boy plus the math or english clip art.

Workbox#7: Is our fun family unit study box. We love to find fun things to study as a family. We recently did a chocolate study (which was mommy's favorite school day!) Right now the boys are working on "The Year of the Pizza" and my daughter is working on "The year of the Pie" a geography based unit study I made up which consists of studying the different ingredients used, the history of certian Pies and pizzas and each week they make a different pie or pizza recipe. This will be an on-going study. As a new shcool year begins I am trying to add "weekend" unit studies where we pick a unit study/ lapbook and work on it solely on fridays and saturdays.

*I also use clip art tags (with the hope of upgrading to personal photos of the kids) of them paired off because for some boxes we have "Buddy-up" time. Where they work together on what is in that box. This is fun for both me and the kids. It creates in them a chance to make memories together and gives me time to take good pictures....of them working together :)

On top of their workboxes are their reading baskets.

Books they are enjoying reading and can easily grab during

"Quiet Hour"

One of my sons' Delight-Directed box. He wants to learn about Mexico!

My daughters Delight-Directed box...canvas sewing

My youngest sons' Mailbox Time Box...we do phonics together.

And he loves earning a M&M for attentiveness!!

Workboxing can be a wonderful way to bring more joy back into your school days. Feel free to check out the following blogs that I have found encouarging as I skip along my workbox journey!

*And join me tomorrow when I post about our "Schedule"*

(wonderful workbox ideas for preschoolers!)

(LOTS of FREE Lapbooks, Unit studies and WORKBOX ideas and printables!

(I just love her ideas!)

(don't you just love her pop of color!!)

I hope no matter how you homeschool or where your childs to-do's for the day are placed that you will never grow weary in teaching them new things!

Many Blessings,


Thursday, February 2, 2012

***Today I linked up a Nov. post called "A Heart Request Part 1" over at
www.oursimplecountrylife.com feel free to click on my Nov. posts to find this post and if you have some time go on over to my friends blog and check out all the others who posted along with me ;)***

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Our Little School House

As the new year begins the wheels in my "homeschool Mom" brain start to turn.
Throughout fall I jot down new ideas, unit studies and field trips that inspire me.
When Tax season arrives I refine my list and begin a new school year.
I am to some a very out-of-the-box homeschool mom. I strive for memories in ALL
our learning and tend to stray away from textbooks.
I love a "guided" schedule but tend to not be a morning person.
I admire Charlotte Mason and Andrew Pudewa's view on learning.
I am embracing "Delight-Directed" learning and consider Leggo Building a class.
One thing is for sure- you can almost find anyone of my children learning throughout our home.

(above is one of my favorite places to learn in our backyard... becasue after all I find I have
learned so much along the way as I teach my children.)

In this spot History has become our subject of choice. As the kids "Sew" I read the next chapter in our Little House books. (And yes...my youngest is in his pj's...joy #123 of being a homeschool kid-you can go to school in your pj's even if its outside!)

Sometimes school happens in the presence of the home of another. As a birthday gift my daughter got art lessons from dear friends of ours. (If asked she will still tell you this was her favorite birthday present!) I just love learning gifts!!!
On a blizzardy day I found my children had created their own reading corner.

The umbrellas were $2.ooe each at a rummage this summer and I consider that one of my best investments! What child doesn't love laying under "Giant" umbrellas reading their favorite book!

Even the laundry room is a prime place to learn. My oldest son considers this his

favorite place when its reading time.

To see my kids enjoy what they are learning about makes them excited about

learning...and makes mommy a little excited to. My youngest likes to curl up on the

sofa..."Its comfy" he says as he works on one of his maze books.

There are many notes in my school folder on where our learning will go this year and the places I hope it takes us. One thing to remember is that your home-and even your yard-is the best place you can take them as you teach them different things. This tent was made in our yard this afternoon. To most of you is looks like a beauitiful day in the south. But mind you we live in the north! In northern INDIANA. Today it was 56 degrees outside. I love snow, being from the chicago land area, I grew up with much of the fluffy white stuff. But when God blesses us with a unusual warm winter day (or a pretend Spring day as my children call it) I take full advantgae and thank the Lord!

I would like to invite you back to Our Little School House as I explain in more detail how we have make our own curriculam, utilize free resources, manage our workbox system, and make many memories along the way. I hope as you rasie your arrows and teach them along the way you will find many places in your home that can be "special places" of learning.

Pressing On,