Friday, August 31, 2012

The Hidden Art of Homemaking - Integration

In`te`gra´tion   Pronunciation: ĭn`tė`grā´shŭn

1.The act or process of making whole or entire.

The root of the word "integration" is "integer," and to pull from mathematics definitions, an integer is a whole number.  In the context of this discussion, the idea of integration suggests the unification of people across ages, ethnicities, and ideas.  It is well known that people generally don't get along very well, tending to be everything from critical to violent against one another's ideals and backgrounds.

Integration is something that is difficult to attain because God caused segregation at the Tower of Babel due to man's sin.   Yet, God has given us the ability to become more integrated through believing that his Son came to earth as a perfect baby, that he was crucified, and that he rose again on the third day.  The unifying power of this life changing belief is the only way to achieve any integration.  One day when Christ has returned from heaven and made a new world for those who love him we will become completely integrated.

Meanwhile, as homemakers we can introduce integration in the form of having our children involved and listening to conversations and discussions with people of various ages and ideas.  We can take our children to church to hear the Word of God preached.  We can be involved in activities with different ages, ethnicities, ideas etc.  We can be involved in our community.

Edith Schaeffer says, "There is an art to what is called in the Bible 'peacemaking', bringing together people of varied ages and backgrounds to help them understand each other...The most real 'something' you can do is within the family unit, as you open it up to others, to a cross-section of ages and peoples, or the gathering together of community life on a small scale."

*This post was co-written with Jeff. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bountiful Basket #4

This Saturday I got to take Kent, Katy, Felicity and Clark with me to pick up our baskets.  I hadn't checked my e-mail and shortly after we arrived we found out that the truck was running an hour behind schedule.  We decided to wait.  While we waited Kent, Katy and Felicity made some new friends and had fun playing.  Kent said later he knew two of the boys from Christian Service Brigade.  When we found out the truck was going to be even later I figured we might as well stay since the kids were having fun.  The truck finally came and the kids were glad when it was time to go home.  I wanted Kent and Katy to stay close by and help keep an eye on Clark (in the stroller) and Felicity.  They weren't too happy to leave their new friends, but they did a great job obeying and helping.  I was able to help close to them by helping put hatch chiles into bags before they went into the baskets.  They were ready to go home and eat lunch as soon as I had finished volunteering and picked up our order.  Even though the truck was late and I had to change my plans for the day we all had fun and it was worth the wait. 

I found that the organic basket's veggies by itself lasted about 1 week plus a day or two for our family.  The fruit usually lasts about 4 days.  This time I wasn't ordering any of the special veggie packs again so I thought we would try one conventional basket and one organic basket and see how they work out for our family.  I also ordered the Organic Honey Wheat Bread.

This is what came in our order.

The conventional basket is on the left of the table and included:  cherries, mangotangos?, grapefruit, Asian pears, champagne seedless grapes, Romaine lettuce, cauliflower, hatch chiles, brussel sprouts, tomatoes and yellow onions (not pictured, because I gave mine away).

The Organic Honey Wheat Bread is in the center.

On the right of the table is what was included in the organic basket:  cauliflower, green onions, iceberg lettuce, carrots, broccolette, rainbow chard, curly endive, a personal seedless watermelon, apples, yellow peaches and white peaches.

We received extra cherries and mangotangos as a thank you for volunteering.  I gave our yellow onions away as I have a couple on hand and some in my garden that are needing to be picked as well. 

I'm excited about the brussel sprouts I like them, but haven't had them in a long time.  Katy was excited about the cauliflower because she has a recipe that uses cauliflower in one of her magazines that she wants to try.  Clark thought the grapes were great.  Kent was excited about the peaches and Felicity likes the looks of the melon.  We opened the grapes as soon as we got home to have some with our lunch.

Does anyone know if you can use endive for anything besides salad?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Things I'm Thankful For

Katy, missing her tooth.
 I took these over the last week and thought I'd share a few thankful moments with you.
Daddy and Clark playing guitar together

Daddy's breakfast cafe.

Saturday Morning rainbow.  We saw this just before 8:00 am.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

In School this Week...

On Monday we did really well accomplishing our planned schoolwork as well as taking a trip to the library.  Even Kent and Katy were excited to see the end of their school time as we sat down and worked on history and reading together before they went off on their own to finish up.  They weren't too happy about having to make corrections after quiet time, but if we can do it before the tomorrow then we can get started without having to back up first.  Felicity decided to get into trouble rubbing diaper rash cream all over her face when I was working on English with Katy.  After Jeff came home from work Felicity was playing with his phone and had music on.  The next thing I knew she was holding the phone up to her ear and "talking".  She had called Uncle Andrew and left a message and she had called Grammy.  Jeff called it "toddler dial".

On Tuesday Kaomi had fun learning about circles, squares and rectangles.  Then I gave her a pile to sort out.  She did a great job.  Felicity joined in identifying the different shapes as well.  While I was giving Katy her piano lesson, Felicity got into trouble by getting my wallet out of the diaper bag in my room and emptying most of its contents on the living room floor.

On Wednesday we worked at church and then Clark and Lissie had Dr. appointments in the afternoon.  So we didn't get any school done.

On Thursday Katy and I worked on Math.  She understands the concepts we are working on very well and is excited to do her math problems.  Kent completed his English in a timely fashion.  While I was reading some of Kaomi's story about Peter Cottontail I had given Felicity permission to use markers with the stipulation that they are only supposed to be used in her coloring book.  When I looked up partly through our story Felicity was coloring her arm pink.  The funny thing was she wasn't even looking at her arm while she was doing it.

On Friday we learned about how our body fights virus's by making antibodies.  Kent, Katy, and Kaomi each had either T-cells, B-cells or K-cells to use to attack a virus in the bloodstream paper on the couch.  I read the directions and added the antibodies.  Felicity was defiant and extra grumpy and wouldn't even take a good nap at nap-time.  I had to convince Kent that it wasn't okay to put a P on his map for history notebooking where Pennsylvania was supposed to be.  The directions said to label Philadelphia.  Katy had to do two English Lessons, because I couldn't find the one she did yesterday to check and she couldn't find it either.  She has a notebook for English, so I'm kind of interested to find out where the missing lesson that she said she did turns up.  I know she had been working on it yesterday because she came and asked me a couple random questions about the lesson.  Kaomi made it through about half of her reading lesson before deciding it was "too hard".  It was a little longer lesson, so we will repeat it and finish it next time.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Hidden Art of Homemaking - Clothing

I had set my book aside during this series and just picked it back up, so I hope to finish my overview of each chapter over the next couple of weeks.

Chapter 12 is about clothing.  God gave the first clothes to Adam and Eve after they sinned in the Garden of Eden.  They were made of skins.  We don't know what kind of skins or what their clothes looked like.  Edith Schaeffer talks about how God "clothed" the fields with flowers.  There is much variety, beauty and intricacy upon closer examination of the flowers that God has created all around the world and for different seasons.  There is nothing wrong with wearing beautiful clothing.  She continues to talk about how, depending on where you live and your mission field, you may need to dress to "fit in" to the culture.  This doesn't mean that you would dress in ways that show parts of your body that shouldn't be revealed.  It just means that in order to reach those in your mission field you shouldn't dress above or beneath them.  You should dress to fit in where God has called you.

I found this chapter a little harder to read and I'm not sure that I agree with all that she presented, but in general I think I understood the point of the chapter.

Linked to:

The Modest Mom

Saturday, August 18, 2012

In School This Week...

On Monday we had some cousins over to swim and play, so we had a lighter school book schedule.

Our Sand Castles
On Tuesday we finished our Seashore Study with the older kids making sandcastles.  Felicity made a beach in a bottle that she can play with during school time.  It has water, sand, small shells, small pebbles and 3 colored rocks that she can try to find.  Kent stayed up late making corrections so we didn't have to do them on Wednesday.
Felicity's Beach in a Bottle

On Wednesday we helped restock supplies in some of the classrooms at church, ran an errand at Wal-mart and Kent and Katy each completed their English Lesson for the day.

On Thursday Kaomi and I made Lego towers for math.

On Friday we had some friends over on short notice.  We did science together and went to the playground.  I took pictures, but haven't downloaded them yet.  We ended up with a little lighter schedule this day as well.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bountiful Basket #3

I picked up my Bountiful Basket order this past weekend and my Organic Basket included the following vegetables and fruits.

Romaine lettuce, fennel, green beans, cucumbers, yellow onions, garlic, peppers, corn, cantaloupe, bananas, mangoes, pluots.  I also volunteered and received as a thank you for volunteering another small head of Romaine lettuce and 2 bananas.  I ordered the Organic 9 grain bread they offer this time and it is very good.  I will probably order that again.  They ask that you volunteer once every 6 orders, but I find it fun to do something different, so I've volunteered every time I've ordered so far.

We've enjoyed salads this week and ate the corn and green beans with our supper tonight.  Katy finally lost one of her loose teeth in her corn on the cob, too.


After having two storms in the past week that had damaging winds and provided lots of damage in our neighborhood, last night's storm was enjoyable.  It had some thunder and lightening, but nothing severe.  Then it proceeded to rain most of the night.  It is a pleasant sound to hear in the night when the water is dripping off the eves.  Definitely not a summer sound here, as it usually doesn't rain much at this time of year.  It sounded more like a refreshing, gentle spring rain.  I'm sure the pool water is quite cool today as well.  I'm not planning on swimming today to find out either.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Picture of All the Kids

Jeff captured this moment a couple weeks ago.

It's not often that they are all reading on the same couch at the same time.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Revised 2012-2013 School Schedule

I thought I'd share our new and revised plan for school.  I've realized over the last couple weeks that I'm trying to have the kids do too much every day, which is making for either very long school days or days that end without completing everything on our schedule.  I mentioned this in my post about schooling multiple-aged children.  I can only cover so much ground myself each day, I shouldn't expect them to do more than I can do with them.

This is Trial Schedule #2 for the 2012-2013 school year.

Kaomi's Kindergarten schedule is mainly focusing on Reading, Math and Writing.  We do a few other things sometimes, but our first focus is on the main subjects, then if we have time we add something else fun.   She joins the rest of us for Bible, Storytime and Health.

Kent and Katy's schedule looks like this (we don't necessarily follow this order each day).

Monday: Piano Practice, Bible, Math (2 days), History and activity (2 days), English (1 Lesson), Reading (as scheduled), Storytime, Dictation, Library (as needed).

Tuesday:  Piano Practice, Bible, Math (1 day), Science (2 days), English (1 Lesson), Reading (as scheduled), Storytime, Copywork -Verse, Geography, Health.

Wednesday:  volunteer at church, piano practice, English (1 Lesson), Reading (as scheduled) and catch up if needed from beginning of week.

Thursday:  Piano Practice, Bible, Math (2 days), History and activity (3 days), English (1 Lesson), Reading (as scheduled), Storytime, Poetry, Copywork - Poem, Art.

Friday:  Piano Practice, Bible, History Notebooking, Science (3 days), English (1 Lesson), Reading (as scheduled), Storytime, Dictation, Vocabulary, Timeline.

We do the following subjects together: Bible, History, Reading (as scheduled), Storytime, Science, Geography, Health, Poetry, Art, Timeline.

Kent also has reading on his own for history.  I just assign him the pages to read each week and he is expected to finish them by Friday.

Katy also has cursive everyday except Wednesday.

Hopefully this will be a more manageable schedule for all of us.  We tried it for 2 days and it seems much better.

Now if anyone has any ideas on how to encourage Kent to work diligently on his English lesson to complete it in a timely fashion please leave your suggestion in the comments.  It currently takes him an hour and a half or more to do his lesson.  I've seen him be able to complete them in 30-45 minutes when he wants to.

*( 2 days) = we complete the work for that many days during this assigned time.

Linked up with:

The Modest Mom

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Potato Soup

I've had several varieties of potato soups, but this is my favorite recipe.  I made this recipe up after seeing a friend make some potato soup once and thinking how easy it looks.  We've been enjoying it a few times a year since then.

Potato Soup
You need: 1 large pot at least 8 quarts to make this recipe.

1/4 - 1/3 onoin, chopped (according to your family's tastes)
2 sticks butter
1-2 stalks celery, sliced
1-2 carrots, finely chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped (optional)
5 # potatoes
~ 4 cups chicken broth
1 pint half and half or cream
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 pkg. bacon (optional)
brocolli pieces, steamed (optional)
cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

1.  Wash potatoes, cut in half and cover with water in a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil and boil for 20 min. or until tender.
2.  While the potatoes are cooking cook bacon and chop and slice onion, celery, carrots, and green pepper.
3.  When potatoes are done dump into a colander to drain.
4.  Put butter, onoin, celery, carrots, and green pepper in the pot and return to stove on medium-low heat.  Cook thouroughly.
5.  Add chicken broth and potatoes to pot.  Keeping on medium-low heat.  Smash potatoes.  We like ours a little chunky. 
6.  When potatoes are smashed to your desired consistency add about 1/2 pint of half and half.  Stir well.  If still pretty thick add the rest of the half and half.  Warm on stove.  Stir often to keep from sticking on bottom of pot.  Do not boil.
8.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
7.  Serve with steamed broccoli, bacon and cheese, as desired.

This makes a thick hearty soup.  If you want it thinner add more chicken broth, half and half or water until it is the consistency you want.  Sometimes on the second day I need to add a little more liquid as it seems to thicken up in the fridge.  After our first meal I add in all the extra bacon and brocolli before refrigerating.
Sometimes we add a salad or bread to round out this meal.
I like the color the carrots give to the soup, plus the few extra nutrients.
I use my homemade chicken broth.
I leave the skins on our potatoes, but you could peel them before cooking if you don't like the skins.

Our whole family likes this soup (except maybe Felicity).  The kids usually get excited when they find out we are having Potato Soup for dinner and they often ask for more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Feeding Breakthrough?

Maybe Clark has finally figured out that people food isn't so bad.  He's been eating crackers, O's, yogurt, and via a mesh feeder strawberries and cantaloupe.

It appears he has a texture issue, but over the last two weeks he's been eating more and gagging less.

Last week Jeff gave him a cut up blueberry.  He ate it and proceeded to eat several more, spitting out the skin occasionally.  This past Sunday we were eating pizza and he kept asking for some (not that he was talking).  I finally cut up a couple of small pieces and he devoured them and wanted more.  Then on Monday we were having grapes at breakfast; he wanted some, so I cut some up and he devoured those too.  Yesterday at breakfast we were having baked french toast.  He wanted some and loved it.  Last night we were having cantaloupe again and I just gave him some to try, expecting that he would gag on it and I would give him more in the mesh feeder, but he ate it, with no problems!  Tonight he ate potato soup.  He kept indicating that he wanted what I was serving everyone else, so I thought he could try it.  He made a few faces, but gobbled it down.

He seems to want what we have on our plates.  So hopefully this trend will continue and he will be eating more and more foods.  I did give him some chicken last week, which he didn't seem to keen about, but maybe next time it will be just what he wants.  He still doesn't like bananas.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Schooling Kids of Different Ages

This year I have 3 "grade" levels I am teaching.  Kent is in 3rd grade, Katy is in 2nd grade and Kaomi is in Kindergarten.  We started back to school about 3 weeks ago.

When Allyson at A Heart for Home invited me to be a guest tipster for their T.I.P.ster topic about Homeschooling kids of different ages I didn't think long before letting her know I would write it.  I knew I'd probably be writing about that same subject anyway.  The other moms who are writing on the same topic are Kristin at Bits and Pieces From My Life, Christy at A Living Homeschool, and Allyson at A Heart for Home      

I realized last year that trying to teach 3 different levels would probably be a little bit too overwhelming, especially since the kids are still so close in age.  I decided that the best thing would be to combine Kent and Katy together and then they will stay together in the future.  Kaomi has her own schedule, but she spends less time on school and needs more one on one time with me.  So this year Kent is revisiting the history he did last year, but I am having him do the extra reading for the extended package.  This reading is for a 4th to 5th grader, but as he loves to read I'm not expecting much complaint from him.  Last year Kent and Katy were both in a science co-op, but I wanted to teach them the science that loosely coincides with their history this year.  We school 4 days a week, but complete 5 days worth of school in those 4 days.  We use the 5th day as a day off, to play catch up, or to run errands and volunteer.  Kent still advances to the next level of English, Math and Reading.  While I only have 3 in school I also have a 1 year old and a 2 year old that need mommy time and good supervision.  

Before or after breakfast the piano is being practiced.  We try not to have piano practice going on if someone is napping so we found it is best to have everyone try to complete their practice earlier in the day rather than waiting and not getting it done at all.

Right now we try to begin school all together with the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer and sometimes a song or short story.  This is usually followed with sending Kent and Katy to work on something that they can do all by themselves and I work with Kaomi on her school.  We try to keep the atmosphere as quiet as possible all day until everyone is finished with their school.  I have found they don't get much school done if there is lots of noise or distractions.  While Kaomi does some work by herself, I may read or play quietly with Felicity and Clark.  I also check to be sure that Kent and Katy get any questions answered that they may have about what they are working on.  I make sure to do reading with Kaomi before lunch, otherwise it probably won't happen.  After lunch I focus more on Kent and Katy and the things I still need to teach them.  We have group storytime and everyone who isn't working on school has quiet time.

I've been using the Heart of Dakota curriculum by Carrie Austin since I started Kent in pre-school.  So far I've really liked the layout and the flexibility allowed by the curriculum and this year I'm trying out the extended plan for Bigger Hearts for His Glory.  Our reading program is Drawn into the Heart of Reading with Kent doing level 4 and Katy working on level 2.  I'm using The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading with Kaomi.  She already knew the sounds of the letters, so we go through the first lessons quickly as a review to get ready for actually reading.

One thing I've learned about having multiple kids is that they have multiple personalities and multiple learning capabilities.  What works well for one might not work for someone else and what worked last year might not work this year.  I've also learned that structure is good, but the ability to be flexible is important on a day to day basis as well.

The beginning of a new school year doesn't come without its struggles and needed adjustments.  Right now we are working on encouraging Kent and Katy to apply themselves on the work they can do by themselves.  They enjoy doing something other that what  they have been told to do when I am working with Kaomi.  This often results in the rest of their school being delayed.  We also don't always get everything on our daily plan accomplished.  When that happens we either try to catch it the following days or skip it altogether if it isn't important to build on for the next time.  Another struggle I have is what to do with Clark.  He is so active that unless I am holding him teaching is severely disrupted.  He ends up in his bed with toys and music on by 9:30 most mornings.  He's not real fond of it, but he'll fuss for awhile, play and then nap.  He usually wakes up between 11:30 and 12 pm and gets to sit in his high chair for lunch with a cracker then play on the floor and roam.  Sometimes he is able to join us for some mommy lap time as we do some afternoon school.  He usually is ready for his afternoon nap between 1:30 and 2:00.

Linked up to:

    The Modest Mom

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bountiful Basket #2

This past Saturday I picked up another Bountiful Basket.  Our last order lasted us most of two weeks for the vegetables and a little over a week for the fruit.  We have been enjoying the Vegetables and fruit this week as well.  I ordered the organic basket, an Asian veggie pack and a case of corn.  I was able to pick up my basket a little closer to home this time so I volunteered again to see how the organizer of this site did it.  It was fun and the organizer was extremely organized this time around.

Here is the list of fruits and vegetables in our basket:  green grapes, pluots, peaches, blueberries, cantaloupe, basil, green onions, yellow onion, fresh ginger, garlic, celery, peas, eggplant, radicchio, bok choy, nappa cabbage, broccoli, beets, green peppers and tomatoes.  I also got black grapes as a thank you for volunteering this week.  The case of corn (not pictured) had about 4 dozen ears in it.  We spent Saturday afternoon husking and processing the corn for our freezer.  We have about 15 meal sized portions of corn in our freezer, now.  I didn't take any pictures of this, my hands were too sticky.  We saved out enough corn to have corn on the cob twice this week.  It was really sweet and yummy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thank You - Chick-Fil-A

When the president of Chick-Fil-A took a Biblical stand that marriage is to be between a man and a woman, the gay-rights activists went to town against this company who also stays closed on Sundays so families can worship together.  Today many people have taken a stand by visiting a Chick-Fil-A near them to say thank you for standing up for what is right. 

I took the kids over for lunch today before noon.  Parking was scarce. the drive-through line was long and the people were in abundance.  God blessed us with a parking spot within walking distance and when we walked in the doors we were at the end of the line that was zig-zagging around the one side of the building.  I was impressed by the number of patient, happy people who were waiting in line for lunch.  I applaud the Chick-Fil-A staff for working quickly and efficiently to take and make peoples' orders.  The line moved forward almost constantly and we had placed our order within 20 minutes.  We had about a 10 minute wait for our food.  Again this was great to show the efficiency of the staff who were their usual friendly selves.  By the time we had placed our order the line had grown outside the doors and when I drove by again around 2:30 pm they were still very busy.

When we arrived and were looking for a parking space, Kent wanted to know why there were so many people and cars there.  I told him it was because Chick-Fil-A stood up for what the Bible says by saying that marriage should be between a man and a woman.  Just like how God created Eve for Adam.  And that a marriage between a man and another man or a woman and another woman is wrong.  That's not how God created marriage.  Kent said, "It's like the Israelites!  They stood up for what was right and did good, too." 

Thank you, Chick-Fil-A!!!

If you haven't been to Chick-Fil-A yet today and you have one near you please show your support.  If you don't have one near you pray for them to continue to stand strong for what is right.