Family Photo Friday

Another week has come and gone. It's Friday again... and the last Friday of February at that! I can't say I'm sorry to see this week come to a close. It's been a long one - with my son being sick for most of it. Therefore, I have only pictures of my daughter this week and they were all taken on the same day (you'll notice the same bright clothes in every shot). But I won't apologize for that - my daughter is gorgeous and growing up before our eyes! :-)Here is my daughter doing a little magnet project.
Educational - yes. Required for school - no.
She found a book on magnets that included a few easy experiments, so she gathered the supplies to do them. This one was a container filled with different materials - then using a magnet on a string to see which items were magnetic.

My daughter thought this bright outfit looked Chinese. So she grabbed some wooden skewers and an umbrella to pose as a Chinese girl. Don't ask me where she comes up with these things! :-)

A final close up shot of my beautiful blue-eyed girl. She's 6 and 1/2. I love her so and am I ever thankful that I get to spend my days with her, teaching her, watching her grow in so many ways!

Happy end-of-February, y'all!

Works for Me Wednesday - Say it with a Sign

My daughter, like many other kids, has a hard time remembering to flush the toilet and wash her hands when finished in the bathroom. One night last week I had a dream about making her a reminder (I'm not kidding... I really did dream about this!). The next day I got out some yarn and went to work on the above plastic-canvas sign. It now hangs in the bathroom as a reminder and so far is doing its job!

A simple thing like a reminder sign - works for me!

Tuesday To-Do's

Tuesday. Tuesday.

I'm happy to report that my son is starting to regain his strength and energy. His fever is subsiding and I see more and more of his usual spunky self coming through. No explanation for his fever, according to the doctor. We're thankful that he seems to be getting better on his own.

On today's TO DO agenda:

  • homeschool with my daughter
  • vacuum all carpets (this is my son's current favorite chore to help with - loves to push the vacuum around the house). Also need to sweep all hardwood floors.
  • get back on track with meals. I have a meal plan for the week but have taken the last 2 nights off and need to get back into the swing of things
  • make a bare bones grocery list and go shopping tonight after kids are in bed (It's the end of the month, so our grocery budget is almost entirely spent. What remains will be spent tonight on these last few items to get us through the end of the month)
Just got to thinking about another list, probably even more important than the above one.

The TO BE list:
  • be patient with my daughter when she doesn't quickly grasp new concepts
  • be gentle with my son who needs to be cuddled as he recovers from his sickness
  • be kind towards my family
  • be slow to anger and slow to speak
  • be quick to smile (I don't do this enough any more, I hate to admit) and laugh
  • be an example of Jesus' love and grace and acceptance in my home
I challenge you, as I do myself, to remember that who you are today is more important than what you accomplish!

Praying for My Son

I'll be praying for my son today. He's been sick with a fever for 3 days. We're praying for complete healing and restoration of health. In the meantime, I've got some cuddling and rocking to do and my blog time is at a minimum.

Family Photo Friday

I really can't believe it, but the calendar says Friday is here again. Wow! Here are a few photos from our week.

This is my daughter helping make mini-pizzas (pizza sauce and toppings on english muffins).

We took part in a field trip to a fire station this week. My daughter, unfortunately, could not attend. My son and I still went, though, and this little guy had a blast! He's been into fire truck books lately, so it was the perfect time to show him the real thing! Here he is in the driver's seat.

My kids don't play together all that well, but one thing they do usual enjoy doing together is building forts and blanket houses. Here is one from this week, with both of their smiling faces peeking out.

Happy Friday from our home to yours!

Homeschooling: Little House Pretzel Cabin

My daughter (age 6) and I are currently reading THE BIG HOUSE IN THE LITTLE WOODS - the first book in the LITTLE HOUSE series. We've done a few pioneer-days projects related to the reading, but this log cabin project was my daughter's favorite! My daughter absolutely LOVED this project.

It was very simple. Just an empty milk carton (the school lunch kind). Spread on some peanut butter to act as glue. Stick on the pretzel sticks and Chex cereal for windows/doors. You could use a marshmallow (as I did) or a Rollo candy for a chimney. I put ours on a piece of cardboard, on which we glued some parsley and other spices to look like grass. It was very easy and turned out great! As you can see, my daughter was very proud of her work.

I must admit, I got this idea (and lots of my favorite project ideas) here at my favorite homeschooling blog.

Works for Me Wednesday - What to Do with School Papers?

So what parent, whether homeschooling or not, doesn't struggle with the question of what to do with ALL those school papers? Coloring book pages, A+ worksheets, handwriting practice - the papers just keep on coming! [The above picture is a coloring page of President Nixon that my daughter did at age 4 - very colorful]

Beyond just tossing the papers, another idea is this: gather a few of the best work from your "student" and send it to Grandma or another loved one. Grandparents LOVE getting mail from the grandkids and this way, they get to see some of what the kids are doing in school.

What works best for me is to send about one thing a week to one grandparent (or special someone). I usually include 1 picture my daughter colored/drew along with 1 verse or something that she wrote (seeing the progress she is making in her handwriting is fun to witness). If my son has done any doodling, I include that too. Address it. Stamp it. Stick it in the mail.

I regularly hear back from Grandma and others about how fun it was to receive the artwork. [Pssst: if you homeschool, this is also a way to let grandparents know that yes, you really are accomplishing things in your homeschool].

You can think outside the box on who send these kind of things to. Widows in our church have enjoyed getting a little colored picture and a quick note (written by me) as a way to brighten their day. Grandparents, adopt-a-grandparents, other loved ones who live far away - all would appreciate the occasional smile-by-mail :-) And you win too - you don't have to keep all the extra paper clutter!

It works for me!

Homeschool Field Trip: Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago offers numerous free days each month. No cost for general admission (special exhibits are extra, at their usual exorbitant price). Last week we enjoyed one such free day for a quick one-day field trip to Chicago.

My daughter got to pet a penguin during the Dolphin "Fantasea" show.

Me with some fish :-)

My husband took the day off work to join us. My son stayed with Grandma, so this was a special outing for me, my hubby and my daughter. She enjoyed herself, but missed her little brother more than we expected.

Good memories + educational + fairly inexpensive = worth it!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday, Monday! La la, la la la! :-) Yes, a song is going through my head!

Monday means making a plan for meals this week. We'll be on the "eating from the pantry challenge" this week. That is, can we live without making a trip to the store (for anything besides possibly milk). I know we can do it! We've had experience on this one and also have a fully stocked freezer. We were also blessed with fresh grapes, blueberries and apples on Sunday, so we won't have to buy any fresh fruit this week!

For breakfasts: eat from our stock of homemade waffles, pancakes and french toasts; scrambled eggs, toast

For lunches: left overs; sandwiches, fresh fruits

For supper:

  • Beef and noodles
  • Potato Soup
  • Sloppy joes (was on menu last week but didn't happen), french fries
  • Breakfast for supper (scrambled eggs with waffles, sausage links)
  • Homemade mac and cheese with diced ham, side of peas
  • Meatloaf, baked potatoes, homemade biscuits
  • Creamy chicken and noodles
That's what our week will entail, food-wise. How about yours? Share your best menu plans at Menu Plan Monday.

Family Photo Friday

Once again Friday is here.
The days fly by like pages of a book left open in the wind. So true.

As is my Friday custom, here I've posted a few pictures from our week.

Last Saturday my daughter got to spend the day with her best buddy - her cousin. They both looked so cute, I just had to get a picture!

This picture just makes me laugh. My son is turning in to quite the ham :-)

And he's got the "say cheese" bit down pat for the camera. Here he is with my hubby. Yup, like father, like son. I think they look a lot alike in this shot.

And the week wouldn't be complete without mentioning the piles of snow we received this week. Here is my daughter pulling my son in the sled. How fun!

Sounds like almost all of America has some snow on the ground - so go make some fun family snow memories!

Happy weekending!

My Sweets

Some Valentine's Day photos of my sweets!

The above photo was my favorite!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Works for Me Wednesday - Adopted Grandparents

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time to think about those folks you know that don't have family nearby or who could just use some extra loving!

In our family, we have Greg and Ruth. We met them about 2 years ago when my husband was doing genealogy research and realized that these folks had the same last name and live nearby. Out of the blue, he called up Greg. They got together over breakfast to see if they were long-lost relatives... and indeed they were!
So now we have gotten together many times with Greg and Ruth. They joined us for Christmas. They were MAJOR HELP last year during our move. They have no kids of their own, so we let them be like Grandma and Grandpa to our children.
They play along and are fun to be around - and I think they like us too! :-)

(my daughter and Ruth making Valentines, cutting out hearts)

Take a minute to think about those you know who could use a phone call, a Valentine, a letter, a visit or a conversation over coffee... or maybe consider visiting a nursing home to "adopt" someone who rarely has visitors... or get to know a widow from your church. The point is - DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Adopt-a-Grandparent - it works for me!

Field Trip: Curious Kids Museum

Last week we headed an hour or so north to St Joe, Michigan, where we visited the Curious Kids Museum. Although much smaller than the Indianapolis Children's Museum we visited last summer, Curious Kids was still a big hit with the kids!

A do-it-yourself face painting station was available and was the first place my daughter wanted to visit!

There was an ambulance stocked with toy medical supplies for the kids to check out.

There was a fun exhibit about apples, including an orchard for picking apples.

Curious Kids had at least two dozen other fun, kid-friendly, hands-on exhibits (including dinosaurs, volcanoes, earthquakes, bugs, energy, news station broadcasting, coast guard boats - just to name a few). If you live in the northern Indiana area, I'd strongly encourage a visit to Curious Kids. And if you're not in this area, do some searching for a kid-friendly museum near you, where hands-on learning and fun go hand-in-hand!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday, Monday - here again. One way that we have found to cut down the grocery bill is to take advantage of store sales and coupons to stock up - then eat from your stockpile in between sales. Last week we shopped the sales. This week we're enjoying the surplus and will have to buy only bread, fruit and possibly milk.

Breakfasts: scrambled eggs, brown n serve sausages, pancakes or waffles (we have many of these homemade and frozen)

Lunch: left overs; tuna or lunch meat sandwiches, carrot sticks, fruit


  • Chili
  • Sloppy joes, steamed cauliflower
  • Homemade chicken and noodle soup (have a whole chicken to cook in crockpot; use the stock to make soup and freeze the rest of the chicken pieces for future meals)
  • Homemade spaghetti
  • Tacos(with either hamburger or chicken)
  • Hamburgers, fries, corn
  • Chicken and rice skillet
We are taking a day trip to Chicago on Tuesday (field trip to the Shedd Aquarium with my daughter) so I'm not sure yet if we'll be home for supper that day, but I'll have a plan in case we are.

What will you be enjoying this week? Take a look in your freezer, your pantry and fridge. Make a menu plan in advance - I guarantee it'll save time and stress for you as the week goes on!

Family Photo Friday

The first Friday of February is here! Already the days are getting a little longer and the hope of spring is in the air! Here are a few photos from our week.

This is our neighbor Sarah reading to my son. Finding a wonderful neighbor like Sarah was one of the best results of our move last year! She's a great friend to my daughter and a fun babysitter-type to my son (he calls her We-wah; it's very sweet).

Last Sunday night was our church's annual tubing party. Here is my daughter and her cousin all dressed up and ready to tube!

My son found my Bible on the end table one day. He climbed into the chair and started thumbing through it, saying "Je-tuh" (Jesus) as he did. Precious moments these are!

Lastly is a great picture of the most important people in my life - my hubby and our two littles. On Dad's lap to read a book. Big smiles. Life is good!

Happy Friday, one and all!

Homeschooling: Learning through Food

Our pastor, who is a former missionary, gave us a kids cookbook at Christmas - Recipes from the 10/40 Window. He said that he remember having a conversation in the past about how to instill a love for other cultures in kids (and along the way encourage them to consider missions in their future), and he saw this book as a part of that process. So far we have enjoyed torte from Azerbaijan and fried plantains (bananas) from Burkina Faso. There will be more to come.

Food is a fun way to tie in many other lessons (not the least of which is how abundantly blessed we Americans are as far as food choices and portion sizes go). These recipes have already made us grab the globe to discover new places, as well as opened up some conversations about other countries, including what people believe about Jesus or other gods. So although the food starts the conversation, it goes far beyond that and often ends with praying for those in these far off places who don't the love of the Father.

Bon appetit!

Works for Me Wednesday - Schedules

Until the last few months, our school days were fairly free flowing. My 1-year-old son napped twice a day, leaving those hours free to spend "doing school" with my daughter (currently in 1st Grade). Now my son is 2 and the morning nap has gone away, making it a bit more difficult to fit in all that we used to. That is where making a loose schedule for the day has come in handy.

The biggest pluses I've found from this kind of loose schedule is that my daughter is more motivated to finish her work and I find myself nagging less for her to complete her studies. Part of the motivation for my daughter is that she has to finish everything to move on to the next item. For example, we have a morning snack at 10:00 each day. She doesn't get a snack until she has finished the items on the schedule before 10:00. Same with lunch, afternoon snack and supper. She is highly motivated by food! :-) I've also built in playtime and computer time for her, as the rewards for completing her work early.

Having all the subjects laid out keeps us more on track. And it's a loose schedule because it's flexible. At any point we can add or subtract items. And I didn't want our day broken down to specific 15 minute increments - that is just too restrictive and wouldn't work for us. So there are some times mentioned to keep us on track, but we don't spend exactly 15 minutes a day on math, 15 minutes on phonics, etc. It's much more loose than that. Loose and flexible. If we have morning errands to run, we can move things around or do what I refer to as "school lite" (a half day of studies).

No doubt we'll have to make changes as the years go by, but this is a glimpse into our current homeschooling days.

Schedules - they work for me!

Homeschool Snow Party

Last week I hosted a Homeschool Snow Party at my house. Turn out was low, due to some illness, but those who were here had fun.
We created snowflakes out of popsicle sticks and buttons

We decorated cookies - turning some into snowmen and others into snowflakes.

And we cut out paper snowflakes.

If we'd had enough snow outside, we would've made homemade ice cream with snow and spent some time building real snowmen outside. But who's complaining?!
Any excuse to get together with friends is a good excuse!

Menu Plan

Happy February, everyone! It's a new month and a new week... time to make a plan for meals! For me, a new month means a fresh start with the food budget and a new challenge to find ways to cut costs but still eat well. With some help from my hubby, here's what we have scheduled for this week:

  • Saturday Date Night for Mom and Dad (kids eats leftovers at home)
  • Breakfast for supper (scrambled eggs, pancakes or waffles or french toast)
  • Homemade pizza and salad
  • Chili
  • Crockpot Venison Roast, baked potatoes
  • Homemade chicken and noodles, served with homemade biscuits, peas
  • Tacos
What about you? What will you be eating this week?

To see dozens more menu plans, check out Menu Plan Monday at