Our Family

Our Family

Saturday, March 31, 2012

TOS Review: Amazing Animals by Design

Recently we have had the honor of reviewing a children's book that is about to be released and was written by a fellow member of the TOS Crew, Debra Haagen.  The children and I have really enjoyed reading Amazing Animals By Design.

Book Description:

Amazing Animals by Design
by Debra Haagen
Why is a giraffe's neck so tall? Why do zebras have stripes? Did all of these things happen by accident? When John and Sarah visit the zoo, they ask these questions and many more. Their parents and the zookeepers keep using the word design, but what does that mean? With its relevant message and exciting presentation, this is the perfect book to help introduce children to intelligent design. Come find out in Amazing Animals by Design by Debra Haagen!

The book is in the pre-release phase and may be purchased by the publisher, Tate Publishing Company.  The full press release date for book stores will be April 3rd.

24 pages - $8.99 (paperback)

Also available as a digital download in PDF format which is compatible with most ereaders including, Sony, Nook, Kindle 2, iPad, and iPhone 4 for $7.99.

Purchase by clicking here.

Stop by and visit the Amazing Animals By Design Blog.

Here is the Amazing Animals By Design Facebook Page.

Here is a link to the author's review blog, Noteable Scraps.

We received the PDF version of Amazing Animals by Design, which I loaded onto my Nook Color and have been reading using the ezPDF Reader Ap.  The book was written because the few creation based/intelligent design books available are generally geared towards older children.  Amazing animals By Design was written with the elementary age range in mind (pre K-3rd grade.)  I have read and enjoyed this book with my 3,5,6, and 8 year olds, with my 10 year old also listening nearby.  I love that the entire book is written around the fact that God created everything using intelligent design.  There is a lot of information about the different animals featured (I learned a few things I didn't know myself!)  The book appeals to both boys and girls as the main characters are a brother and sister.  The illustrations are absolutely adorable and look like the actual animals.  Depending on the attention span  of your child, the text may be a bit lengthy for some children of younger pre school age.  My children loved the book and did great listening and paying attention to what was being read.  Now they all want to take a trip to the zoo to see the animals in person.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Crew, I received a complimentary PDF download of the book Amazing Animals By Design for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: Simon and The Easter Miracle

Hardcover 32 pages $14.99
The gospels tell of Simon of Cyrene--"a man coming in from the country"--who was ordered to carry Jesus' cross. Over the centuries, his story has been woven into a Polish folktale. In the tradition of The Three Trees this folk tale gives a fresh perspective on the Easter story.
When Simon the farmer brings his wares to market, little does he expect how he will be involved in the events of that very special day, nor how his items--bread, eggs, and wine--will become important symbols of Jesus' passion and resurrection, remembered throughout the ages.

See inside by clicking here.

Simon and the Easter Miracle is a hardcover 32 page book with glossy pages.  We really enjoyed the illustrations in Simon and the Easter Miracle.  Our favorite was the page with the doves circling overhead.  The story is at a perfect length for preschool children.  The children did not really understand the message of the story, or even who the prisoner was until I explained that it was Jesus.  When we arrived at the last page, I was really surprised that that was the end, I expected something to tie it together a little better.

I received a complimentary copy of Simon and the Easter Miracle for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

4 H Cookie and Bread Contest

Yesterday was the annual county 4 H Cookie and Bread Contest.  The children can choose to enter up to 3 different items in 3 different categories.  Only Cloverbuds can use mixes, juniors and seniors have to make everything from scratch.  I let my children enter up to 2 items.  Four of the children are old enough to participate and we just do not have enough time or oven space to bake 3 items per child.  Even with cleaning the kitchen halfway through," it looked as though a tornado had come through" (Chelsea's words.)

Anthony (6) wanted to make blueberry muffins so we used a Jiffy Muffin Mix.  He did a great job making his muffins all by himself and filling his muffin cups.  He is getting so big!  He was so proud his muffins won 3rd place.

Alex (8) wanted to make Raspberry Muffins so we used a Jiffy Muffin mix and he also wanted to make Peanut Butter Bars which tasted just like Peanut Butter Cups.  He worked very independently this year also and did everything but put in muffins in and out of the oven.  His muffins got 2nd place and his Peanut Butter Bars got 1st.

Nick (10) is a Junior so he is able to enter the yeast breads category.  He decided he was going to make Candy Topped Brownies and White Bread.  He did a really great job on both and his bread tasted better than mine!  The brownies got 1st place and the bread got 2nd.  After we got home and I was looking at the score sheets, I discovered that his yeast bread score was added up wrong.  His score was written as 91 but added up to 99, so I think he probably was supposed to get 1st place for the bread.

Chelsea (15) made Cinnamon Rolls.  She was going to make Cookie Bars too but decided not to since we were running out of time.  The Cinnamon Rolls got 1st place.  The Teen Leaders were able to help with the judging, but Chelsea couldn't since her brothers had items that were entered.  So, instead she handed out ribbons at the end of the contest.

The next cooking contest is the Dairy and Egg contest and is in April.  Christian will be old enough to enter so I will have 5 children participating.  We will need to start cooking very early to be able to get it all done!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 3/26/12

Friday 3/23- pizza
Saturday 3/24-burgers with lettuce, tomato, pickles, potato salad
Sunday 3/25- turkey and cheese pitas with lettuce and tomato, chips
Monday 3/26- chicken parmesan
Tuesday 3/27- pot roast, potatoes, carrots
Wednesday 3/28-breakfast
Thursday 3/29- chicken taco cornbread pie (new recipe will post if we like it)

Visit www.orgjunkie.com for some great menu planning inspiration.

Review: Take Back the Land by Rick Boyer

paperback 253 pages

Purchase at Christian Book.com for $10.99 by clicking here.

" This is a book for young people.  It was written because I believe you people are important and that they have a huge part in God's plan for the future of America and the Church.  In fact, you are the future.  And a big part of the present, too."

In Take Back The Land, Rock Boyer, homeschooling father of 14 is speaking to today's young people and encouraging them, the Joshua generation (the second generation of homeschoolers whose parents the Moses generation fought for homeschooling freedoms in the 1980's)  to stand up, take notice, and take back our land for Christ.  Throughout the book he speaks very realistically without dumbing teens down and unapoligetically about the problems America is facing today and what our teens can do it about it.  Not tomorrow, or when they are "adults", but what they can start doing today to take back our "promised land."  In his very down to earth conversational tone, Rick talks about areas such as: education, the media, the arts, the family, the church, and the courts.  He shows how our founding fathers intended for things to be and how far astray our nation has come.  He gives very realistic ways our young people today can step into the arena and begin the fight to take back our land.  I loved how the book ended, "We really don't need another order.  Our Commander has already said, "Go ye into all the world."  Your response is up to you.  The Moses generation is watching you, Joshua.  Take back the land." 

I wanted to add that although it is written for teens (in my opinion older teens), I think homeschooling parents can read and greatly benefit from the book also.  Do you ever waver in your conviction to homeschool?  Read the book especially the section on education so you can be reminded how and why government run schools came about and what they really teach children. " Sit still and be quiet.  Don't question why we do it this way, just do it.  Give us the answer we want or we'll punish you.  Know your place: mainstream, gifted, or LD.  We will tell you what you're worth.  We will tell you what to read.  We will tell you what to think.  We will drug you if you get out of hand. We will tell you , by golly, when to go to the bathroom.  You're not here to learn to run you're own life."

I would highly recommend Take Back the Land for the older teen and homeschooling parents, those who may be thinking about homeschooling, or even if you didn't homeschool and are interested in what you can do to make a difference in our nation today and in future generations.

I received  a complimentary copy of Take Back the Land from New Leaf  Publishing Group for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Can $25 a Month Make A Difference To Pay Off Large Debts?

A few months before the birth of our 6th child, we made the decision to buy a finance a bigger vehicle so we would have room for our growing family.  We already (unfortunately, impulse purchase) had a car payment on a vehicle that only fit 3 people and was hardly ever used, so we traded that vehicle for a 15 passenger van and a slightly bigger payment.  I am the person in our family who is responsible for paying the bills and keeping the budget.  I decided when I heard the payment amount that I could round it up a few dollars and pay an even amount every month.  Then after we got home I did some studying of our budget and decided I could squeeze $25 out every month and add it to the payment.  Our financing company adjusted the amount of our payment every month lowering the payment every month because of the extra I was paying.  I stayed consistent and kept paying the same amount every month.  After several months, we got our statement saying zero was owed, but I still kept paying the same amount.  The temptation to skip the payment was huge, especially when we had some large unexpected bills come around more than once.  But, we were determined to keep making the payment on the van.  Today, with the help of our tax return and a little extra money we had put away, I paid off the van 18 months early!!  Making that payment lifted a huge weight off of our shoulders and put us one step closer to our goal of becoming debt free!

 So, can an extra $25 help you pay off your debts faster?  Yes, it absolutely can!!  Any amount of money that you can put towards your debts will help to pay them off faster and lower the overall interest that you owe.  One dollar at a time, one debt at a time you can slowly make your way out of owing money.  Make a budget, make a plan, and stay focused.  Now that the van is paid off, next step is paying off a student loan.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: How Do We Know the Bible Is True?

paperback 300 pages
 Find it for $9.99 at  Christian Book.com by clicking here.

In our world today, it is not only non Christians that question the Bible.  There are many churches and religious leaders that pick and choose which parts of the Bible they believe are true.  Everywhere we turn in print, on television, in PUBLIC SCHOOL the Christian faith is being mocked and belittled.  There is untold damage being done in our church and with our young people when we tell them that only certain parts of the Bible are true.  They begin to believe the evolutionary teaching that has been placed before them and begin to reject God's word as reliable and disbelieve the Bible as true history.  Without believing in the authenticity of God and His word, how can we believe in Christ, his sacrifice, and our salvation?  We need to stand firm that the Bible is 100 percent true and the Word of God.

How Do We Know The Bible is True is a series of question and answer essays written by more than a dozen respected defenders of the faith including: Ken Ham, John MacArthur, Terry Mortenson, Jason Lisle, Brian Edwards, Tommy Mitchell, Jobe Martin, Georgia Purdom, Bodie Hodge, and Roger Patterson.  Over 20 relevant issues are covered in the book including:

Is the Bible inerrant and reliable?
Did the resurrection really happen?
Are there contradictions in the Bible?
What is the purpose and meaning of life?
Did miracles really happen?
Was Genesis derived by ancient myths?
How should we interpret the Bible;should Genesis be literal?

We should be able to defend not just what we believe, but why we believe it.  How Do We Know the Bible Is True answers many questions people today are asking (some of which quite honestly had never crossed my mind.)  It does an excellent job thoroughly answering the questions presented and contains footnotes to the sources used to arrive at the answers.  The reading can be a bit dry and on the technical side, and it may be a more challenging read for someone with no biblical knowledge.  Overall it was a fascinating read and one that is very important in understanding and having an answer to questions people are asking today.  

The section that spoke to me the most was Chapter 19 How Can We Stand on Scripture in an Evolution Pushing Culture?  I have been amazed at the amount of church going Christians that do not believe the literal, accurate account of Genesis.  " Evolutionary humanism and its millions of years are perhaps Satan's most effective lie ever, and Christians are not immune to it.  Belief in this lie of evolution continues to have devastating consequences on us individually, our families, our churches, our communities, and our nation."  There is scientific evidence that supports creation that clearly can be seen when we stop believing Satan's lies. 

I received a complimentary copy of How Do We Know the Bible is True from New Leaf Publishing Group for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

And The Winner Is......

The winner of my Woodcarver DVD giveaway is Debbie!!  Congrats Debbie!  I just sent you an email.  Thanks to all who entered!

Favorite Recipes: Chicken Puffs

Quick, easy, and yummy!!!

1 lb boiled and diced chicken
8 oz cream cheese softened
2 cans crescent rolls
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 T chopped onion (I left this out)
3 T melted butter

Mix cream cheese, chicken, salt, pepper, onion together.  Spoon mixture into center of each crescent roll.  Pull corners together over top of mixture.  Brush with melted butter.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Break

Every year in our homeschool we take some time off for Spring Break.  We do not necessarily follow the Public School schedule.  Christian, Lily, and Emelia were all born in March/April, so the years they were born, we took an extra long Spring Break when they were born to give me some time to recover and adjust to having a newborn in our routine.  Other years when we take time off depends on what is going on in our life.  This year we are taking our break this week along with the Public School.  There were 2 4 H activities that were supposed to be going on this week (both ended up being cancelled), daddy is working an odd shift and is home in the morning this week, and we were at a good stopping place.  We do not have any exciting plans for our break, but I do hope to get some closets cleaned out this week.

Monday, March 19, 2012

TOS Review: Action Alert

While the internet can be used as an amazing learning tool, it also is full of danger.  Action Alert was designed so parents can help protect their children from these dangers making your family computer kid safe in just a matter of seconds.

Action Alert offers two types of programs.  There is a version that is completely free to use.  You can find it by clicking here.  There maximum protection version is $29.99 you can find it by clicking here.

The free version includes: web filter to ensure safe searches, website blocking, time use controls, and free tech support.  The maximum protection version includes these plus alerts by text message or email when an event occurs that you should be aware of.  It also has a DVR feature that records every step that is taken while on the internet that you can play back.

I downloaded Action Alert to my daughters Windows 7 Netbook.  Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to test out  Action Alert's features.  The program was very easy to download, but as soon as I downloaded the program I noticed that the computer had slowed way down and it was taking forever to do anything on it.  My daughter was attempting to use the internet and the computer completely froze.  We tried to reboot and the compute kept acting like it was trying to reboot but none of the icons on her desktop would load.  After nothing happened for close to an hour, I called Action Alert's support line and explained to him the problem that I was having.  I was told that there was no way that Action Alert would cause that kind of problem and the computer must have other issues.  I explained that we had had the computer over a year and never had any problems with it until I installed Action Alert.  Again, I was told there was no way Action Alert could cause that type of problem.  At the time I was speaking to him on the phone we still had no icons on the desktop and he told me there was nothing he could do to help me.  We decided to leave the computer alone for awhile and hope (and pray) that eventually the icons would load.  Several hours later they did eventually load and I was able to uninstall Action Alert.  As soon as I uninstalled and rebooted the computer, everything was back to normal.  We have not had a single problem with it since I uninstalled Action Alert.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

I received  complimentary Maximum Protection from Action Alert for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gone Fishing

The weather here has been absolutely beautiful!  Saturday, my hubby started talking about going fishing.  I thought he wanted to escape for awhile and take himself fishing (which by the way doesn't bother me a bit everyone needs some time to themselves.)  But, he thought the children would enjoy going and we all should go.  So today after church we ran to Walmart to pick up a few things, including a pink fishing pole for a little princess who didn't have one.  Then we came home had a quick lunch and drove over to the lake.  We fished for a little over an hour (did not catch a thing) and played on the playground for an hour.  Just when we were deciding to get our picnic out,  a huge black cloud appeared over us and it started to rain.  The two little girls were pretty tired anyway so we drove home (only fifteen minutes), turned on a movie and ate fried chicken and chips in the family room.  We had a great time and hope to be able to do it again soon, and next time maybe even catch some fish!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lady Bug Cookies

Chelsea and I made these cookies for our 4 H meeting on insects.

24 servings

1 cup vanilla frosting
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
red food coloring
2 packages chocolate devils food cookies
1 bag black licorice
24 whoppers

Met frosting and chocolate chips in microwave.  Add food coloring until desired color is reached.  Spread frosting on the cookies and place on lined cookie sheet.  Attach the whopper (head), and licorice antennae using a small bit of frosting.  Use a knife to draw a line down the back of each cookie.  For legs insert six pieces of licorice into the frosting.  Use small bits of licorice for spots on the back of the ladybug.

These cookies turned out really cute! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Art Class 3/16/12

Today we did  paper mache.  Our teacher thought that this project would fill up the entire 2 hours.  It took the children about 40 minutes to finish putting three layers of paper on their balloons or rockets.  They really enjoyed it though.  I have only done paper mache with them one (it is soooo messy) time to make dinosaur eggs and Lily and Christian were too little to remember.  I was really pleased that this was a project that interested Christian.  He doesn't always participate.  Lillian got tired of it after the first layer so I got to finish hers.  Since they finished so quickly she gave them masks to decorate.  After that they got to design a village on construction paper and use some foam stickers to decorate.  We still were finished 20 minutes early, but we were fine with that since the weather was so beautiful we headed to the park with some friends to have a picnic.  I didn't take very many pictures because I was elbow deep in paper mache.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

TOS Review : Progeny Press

From the website, " Progeny Press has over 100 study guides for literature, covering kindergarten through high school. Progeny Press study guides concentrate on critical thinking, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application. Our goal is to teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!"

We were given our choice of 3 different guides from Progeny Press to review at the High School level: The Screwtape Letters, Pride and Prejudice, or Julius Caesar.  I decided to let Chelsea (15) decide which of the three was her first choice to review.  I was very surprised (also very pleased) when she chose Julius Caesar

"Julius Caesar has been made emperor of Rome for life; many want to make him king. But some in the Roman Senate envy Caesar his success, and others fear what he may do with his power, and so they arrange his death. The conspirators discover that assassination is a messy tool for achieving power, however, and ruling Rome is more complicated than removing Caesar."

Grade Level: 9-12
Setting: Rome

Guides are available in three different formats:
  •  paper bound reproducible booklet $21.99 
  • PDF file on CD Rom  opens with Abobe Reader interactive files can be completed on the computer or printed $18.99
  •  Email attachment opens with Abobe Reader interactive files can be completed on the computer or printed $18.99
You can also choose to order a booklet/CD combo set for $27.99  All formats contain full student text and answer key.  You can order by clicking here.  You can find the book Julius Caesar to go along with the guide by clicking here.

Other items needed to complete the guide are: a good dictionary, thesaurus, Bible , concordance, and at times Internet access or an encyclopedia can be helpful.  The High School guides take from 8-10 weeks to complete by working on one section per week.  Most Christian Schools assign 1/4 credit for each completed guide.

The Julius Caesar guide is 72 pages long and includes: a special not on Shakespeare's plays, play synopsis, information about the author, background information, and pre reading suggestions.  Each act has questions on vocabulary, general questions on the reading, analysis questions, a digging deeper section and optional activities.  There also are suggested topics for essays leaving the topics and number of essays to be completed up to the teacher.

I was glad that Chelsea chose Julius Caesar because Shakespeare can be a bit of a challenge for the teacher and the student and I thought using a literature guide to help us through it was a great idea.  We followed the suggestion in the guide to watch or listen to the play first and obtained a copy of Julius Caesar from Netflix to watch before Chelsea read the play.  Then we checked out a copy of the play from the library and she read the entire play.  After finishing the play. she went back and started working through the first Act activities in the guide.

One of the features I like best about the guide is that it is interactive.  If you want to you can print the pages and fill them out, but you don't have to.  Chelsea prefers to type and the guide allows you to type your answers on the computer and save them.  Completing it this way also saves money by saving ink.  The guide itself is very thorough.  The vocabulary and general questions cover a great deal of information.  I was especially impressed with the digging deeper and optional activities sections.  An example of one of the digging deeper questions is, "Read the account of the Israelites arriving at the Promised Land in Numbers 13 and 14.  In a few sentences summarize what happens in these chapters.  How are these events similar to the actions of Brutus and Cassius in questions 10 and 11 above?"

The Progeny Press Literature Guide was a great way for us to tackle William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.  I will definitely be looking at their other guides in the future.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

I received a complimentary PDF file by email of Julius Caesar Literature Guide from Progeny Press.  I received no other compensation.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Cloverbud 4 H Meeting

For the month of Match we decided to do a meeting on insects.  Our county used to have a club that focused only on Entomology, but that club changed several years ago into a general club and none of those children actively work on Entomology projects anymore.  Since we are studying insects this year and the boys have just started an insect collection, I thought it would be fun to have a meeting about insects.  Our 4 H Program Assistant has not had much experience with Entomology either, but she was willing and eager to help me out.  She brought me information from the Extension Office on Entomology, arranged for a teen leader who has an extensive collection to come and give a talk for the children,  and even caught an insect for the boys to add to their collection on the way to the meeting.  After we heard from our teen leader the children had an opportunity to view his supplies and ask questions.  My boys brought their "pet" cricket, ant farm, insect collection and supplies to show, and another 4 Her brought acrylic insect samples. Then we made our craft which was a really cute Bug Jar from Oriental Trading for catching an observing insects.  They had bumble bees and ladybugs and the children loved them.  When we got home my children went outside and caught insects (moths, crickets, and grasshoppers) for their jars. 

For a snack, we were looking for a buggy treat for the children to make at the meeting and then eat.  But, I decided that was too ambitious and would take too long.  So instead, Chelsea and I made Lady Bug snacks and brought them with us.  They turned out really cute and tasted good (except nobody really liked the black licorice.)  I will post the instructions I used to make them later today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Woodcarver DVD Review and Giveaway!!

Christian Cinema: http://www.christiancinema.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=4094

About the Movie:
Matthew Stevenson is a troubled kid from a broken home. When he vandalizes the local church to get back at his parents, Matthew has to repair the damage to the church to avoid criminal charges. While working at the church, he meets Ernest (John Ratzenberger), an accomplished wood carver who created the intricate woodwork decoration that Matthew destroyed. Ernest has become something of a hermit, but reluctantly comes out of seclusion to help repair the church. Now Ernest and Matthew must work together to preserve the church's beautiful antiquity, and along the way, they also manage to restore their faith in God and in life.

The Woodcarver DVD fell into my life at the same time our Bible curriculum is dealing with a similar story (there is no such thing as coincidence.)  The Woodcarver is a great, uplifting, family friendly movie, although I believe it would be more appreciated by the pre-teen and up age group.  I love the example Mr. Otto sets, not just for Matthew, but those adults around him too.  He has a great work ethic and shows it by not accepting a buy out and taking money for work he has not done, and also by putting all of his efforts into getting his promised job finished on time despite some hardships he faces.  He teaches Matthew to always ask the question WWJD, something we all should keep in mind in making decisions in our life.  He attributes his success in his marriage to the Lord being the head of his family.  The Woodcarver reminds us all where the entire focus of our lives should be.


I have a copy of The Woodcarver to give away to one of my readers.  To enter the give away, leave me a comment telling me you would like to win.  For an additional entry, follow my blog with GFC, Linky Followers, or Networked Blogs and leave another comment telling me you do.  Giveaway will close on 3/20 at 11:59 pm.  Winner will be drawn at random.

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it 
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally 
and believe will be good for my readers. 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.”

4 H Bread Workshop

In 2 weeks our local 4 H will be having a Bread/Cookie Contest.  Every year before the contest they have a workshop on bread or cookies.  Last year we missed the cookie workshop since I had just had Emelia a few days before.  Even though we make yeast breads quite a bit at home, the children wanted to go to the workshop and  I thought it would be fun for them.  They made bread in a bag which I have never done before.  Nick, Alex, and Anthony worked in a group together with Chelsea as their teen helper.  Lily, even though she is not even 3 yet, thinks she is in 4 H (she has gone to every meeting/workshop since she was born) and really wanted to help, so she "helped" the boys out.  They had a good time at the workshop although Anthony wasn't thrilled to put on an apron and Alex pouted because he didn't get to crack an egg.  They wanted to make pizza with their dough, so after supper completely on their own they made a pizza to eat for lunch today using 2 sections of dough.  The other loaf we baked as bread.  They also each got to bring home a yeast bread recipe book to help with ideas for what to make in the contest.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 3/12/12

When writing my 2 week menu plan this week, I let each of the children choose a meal (except for the baby.)  That covered 6 meals.  2 days are pizza (every Friday.)  That only left me 6 meals to figure out.  I find that sometimes that hardest part of meal planning isn't the shopping for the meals or the actual cooking.  Sometimes figuring out what we are going to eat is the hardest part.

This week's menu:

Fri 3/9-pizza
Sat 3/10-chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes, biscuits, creamed corn
Sun 3/11-broccoli and cheese soup, crescent rolls
Mon 3/12- spaghetti
Tues 3/13- chicken patties and fries
Wed 3/14- pork chops, noodles, applesauce, cauliflower
Thurs 3/15- (Lily's B day) homemade shells n'cheese, chocloate cake with strawberry icing

For great menu planning inspiration go to www.orgjunkie.com.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Review: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Four brides. One dress.
A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.
Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift—and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress—or feel certain she should marry Tim?
Then Charlotte purchases a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new, shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed”?
Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history—and its new bride—begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the beauty of finding true love.

I loved it!! I loved the characters and the story.  I loved the mystery of the dress  Charlotte was trying to solve, and the places and people that mystery led her to.  I could not stand the suspense of seeing how it was all going to end up and finished the book in one rainy, lazy, Sunday afternoon.  I loved the ending!! I thought the author did an awesome job tying it all together.  The ending gave me chills and made me cry.  My favorite thing though, was the symbolism of the dress.  "It's just like the good news of the gospel of Jesus.  Always fits.  It don't need no changing.  The good news is always good.  It never wears out and by gum, it's always in style."

I received a complimentary copy of The Wedding Dress from Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Great Day For Insect Collecting

Mondays and Wednesdays we do History.  Tuesdays and Thursdays we do Science.  Last Thursday we finished reading our Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day assignment and did a quick experiment.  Since we had some time left before lunch, we decided to do some work with the bug collection.  We spent some time reorganizing and labeling the bugs to get ready for our 4 H meeting on Tuesday.  I am far from an insect expert, and only have been learning about them and insect collections over the last couple of weeks as the boys have been really interested in them.  We finished up our work on the collection, had lunch, and headed outside.  When I came in to put the baby down for her nap, I noticed that all of our insect stuff was all over the floor, the box top was all messed up, and the insects were gone.  The cat had eaten all of the insects!!  The boys were crushed!  All of that work for the cat to eat the insects and they had nothing to take to the meeting.  I was NOT happy with the cat and so sad to see the boys so disappointed.

Not too long ago, there was an Entomology 4 H club in our county.  When I had started preparing for the meeting on insects, our program assistant told me that there were several insect collection display boxes that were being stored that they wanted to sell.  Yesterday after Art class, we went over and got one of the boxes.  I is a very nice wooden box with a lid that slides in and out in a groove (the cat should not be able to get it open.)

Today the weather was very nice so the boys were on a mission to collect as many insects as they could.  They spent several hours catching, killing, identifying, labeling, and pinning their insects.  They put 13 different insects in their collection today.  They even kept a live cricket and put it in the habitat and also put two live butterflies in the butterfly garden.  It was quite a busy day.