Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rowing Peter Rabbit

For our first grader, we are using Five in a Row as his reading.  The first book we have chosen to row is "The Tale of Peter Rabbit."  What a great book on natural consequences for disobedience!  I generally like to do crafts and/or activities to go along with the books to help things stick in their minds, and because quite honestly, I just enjoy crafts :)  Our activity today was extra special.... we made a scarecrow.  But what made it really special was rather than it being an activity with momma and her kiddos, Daddy was the main contributor :)  To add to it, not only did Daddy do it with his kiddos (specifically his boys), but he leaves here shortly for another TDY.  Daddy is active duty military and about to go overseas again, here soon.  This gave his children a fond memory to cling to and something tangible to look at, that they did with him, until he returns home safely, once more.  It is things like this that make motherhood so spectacular - the everyday ordinary projects that makes your heart melt 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

2012-2013 Curriculum

Yet another school year has started for us.  This year there are 4 littles being schooled, with the fifth keeping us all entertained, by climbing onto chairs, tables, and the living room furniture, dumping out crayons and markers, and emptying out his siblings' drawers for their workbox systems.  Thankfully we can get  him to sit still occasionally for a book, playing with shape sorters, and some other preschool geared games.  More or less, he just makes a mess, but honestly, if the games keep him happy and occupied, it is so worth it!  Considering he is only 15 months old, i'm not too worried about educating him yet :)

His older sister is three now.  Normally, this would still be a year of play for her, with no structured learning.  After watching me do school with her siblings last year, however, she was adamant that she needed to do school this year and that her busy bags were not enough.  Soooooo we decided to try something new.  Before Five in a Row was highly recommended to us, so we decided to go for it.  What a great investment!  She and our 5 yo are thoroughly enjoying doing the books together!  In addition to reading the books and the activities that go along with them, I keep her busy with busy bags.  After that, she is free to play :)

Her older brother is 5 now and in kindergarten.  We are using ACE 1st grade curriculum with him, along with BFIAR.  The next boy is 6 and in 1st grade.  He is using Five in a Row for reading and Bible.  For math, he is using Math U See, for Handwriting he uses Handwriting Without Tears, All About Spelling, and English is Shurley English.  For science, he and his older sister who is now in the 4th grade (gasp) is completing Apologia Zoology II.  They also are doing history together, which is the second half of Mystery of History Volume 2.  All four children are studying Geography together, focusing on some of the countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa.  They are also using the music and art curriculum that Erica of Confessions of a Homeschooler designed.

Our oldest, as I said, is in 4th grade.  In addition to the courses she does with her brother and siblings, she has a full schedule.  She too uses a program from Math U See, All About Spelling, and Shurley English.  Her Bible curriculum is Veritas Press.  For reading, we are utilizing the Prairie Primer.  Once a week we also work on the American Girl studies, Health which entails learning about herbs, and Keepers at Home.

Here is our schedule:
    (4th) (1st) (K) (PreK3)
800   History History BFIAR BFIAR
830   Geography Geography Geography Geography
930                  MWF - Spelling MWF - Bible BFIAR activity BFIAR Activity
  TTh - Zoology TTH - Zoology
1000   Math Handwriting ACE Play with 1 yo
1030   Bible Math ACE Play with 1yo or Busy Bag
1100   English English Finish any other work and then play
1130   Prairie Primer FIAR
1200             M - Music M - Music M - Music M - Music
  Tu - American Girl TThF - Spelling TuThF - Free TuThF - Free
  W - Art W - Art W - Art W - Art
  Th - Health
  F - KOH
1230             Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1300   Finish school if needed or free Nap Nap

Saturday, May 12, 2012

GAPS Diet - Day 6

Finally have moved on, to Phase 2 of the Intro Diet.  Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Today has gone so much more smoothly!!!!  Breakfast was kinda rough... we had more butternut squash, which my children detest, along with some roast.  To mix things up, I decided to introduce tomatoes... glorious, yummy tomatoes.  Granted, we have to eat them cooked at this point in time, but oh my!  So scrumptious!  I also get to start using herbs again :)  So for lunch I made homemade tomato rosemary soup.  And then for dinner I made fish fillets italiano.  And almost everyone loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!  Except Katie :(  It had onions, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, and italian seasoning over cod fillets :)  Oh so yummy!!!!

On a totally different note, looks like I may be involved in LCHEA again next year.  I have been asked to head up field trips and International Night again next year. I will have help though this year, which I am really excited about.  Brad has not given me the okay about it yet... so we will see :)  I am also wondering if I should put Katie is SHEEP this upcoming year.  The only problem is, it is $20 a month per class!!!!  Not sure how I am going to swing that!  But she knows so few people!  Just need to pray about it, I guess!

Tomorrow is Mother's Day... nothing special planned :(  It is hard living so far away from family around holidays - even this one.  I would love to go to Grannyma's grave site.  I miss her so much!  I know we had not lived near her for some time when she passed, but knowing she is gone is so hard!  And I know Brad's family is getting together to celebrate.  But on the flip side, how I love spending time with just my "small" immediate family <3  God has blessed us so richly!

Friday, May 11, 2012

GAPS Diet - Day 5

We did it! We made it through the first phase of the introduction diet... Sorta... Most of us did really well on the diet. We finally figured out that the children need to eat some leftovers right before they go to bed. However, Lee, today, snuck some food, including a piece of gum that he swallowed, and some raisins that we're suppose to be for feeding the ladybugs. I am not sure whether we are going to let him move forward, or not :/ Today was an extremely busy day, with the preparations for International Night, which by the way, went wonderfully well (I will post about that in the near future). Due to this, we had quite a bit leftovers today. Breakfast consisted of freshly made meatballs, lunch was fish and cauliflower, and dinner was leftover soup. The kids ate more meatballs for snack before bed, too. I am amazed at how much this diet has helped Sam. She no longer swells around storms, her rash is gone, and she seems like she feels better for the most part. I am a little concerned, however, with how tired she seemed today. Lee too seems to be doing tons better. He has only lost his temper once, which has been a huge blessing. I am looking forward to seeing what else our family has in store...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

GAPS Diet - Day 4

Wowsers! Did you realize that just about everywhere you go there is food? Soda, snacks, nuts, sweet snacks, salty snacks.... EVERYWHERE! While I tried not to be tempted I found myself disgusted that we as a nation have gotten that lazy. Yes, I realize that our lives are busy - come on now I have five kiddos that I stay home with and homeschool - but are we really that dependent that when we go into a store, we need to have food available at all times? We are on day four of our diet, and for the most part it is going well. The kids are still having crashing blood sugars in the morning though, so we are trying to figure out how to deal with that. Breakfast consisted of some cauliflower, chicken, and ghee. Yummy :). In fact, I had the same for lunch. This afternoon, after lunch, we ran some errands. First we headed to Staples for some stuff we needed for International Night. As we were checking out, the kids started making comments about the yummy looking snacks. Now keep in mind, our family has been gluten free and organic for over three years now... That means snack bags are virtually out of the question... Yet here they were, drooling over bags of chips and pork rinds (ewwwww) that have more air and preservatives in them than actual food. Next we headed to Target. Here we knew we were going to see food. So I was smart. I just took Katie in with me while Brad stayed with the rest of the kids. Ummmmm yeah...... You walk in and get bombarded with the buttery scent of popcorn. Then there are aisles and aisles of junk.... Processed packages galore. The sad thing is I was having an internal battle. Part of me was thinking how disgusting all that packaged food really is, with little or no nutritional value. The other part of me was excited that it was not boiled veggies or meats :) Then we headed to go pick up our CSA. Yummy! Unfortunately everything we got has to be boiled if I want to consume it I bathe next week, but still... We got yummy peas, green beans, cabbage, broccoli, etc. Dinner was definitely interesting. I made a broccoli and beef soup. Sounds yummy, right!?!? I took beef broth, fish stock, water, garlic, two pounds of broccoli, and about two pounds of roast and boiled it. Then I took the roast out, puréed the mixture, cut up the roast and added it back in. Doesn't sound quite as appetizing now, does it? But in all honesty, it was not bad. Anyways, after dinner, we had to head to AC Moore and then the Dollar Tree. What did we see? More food! Poor Sam has done great over the last few days and had not complained about being hungry at all... Yet today, after seeing aisles and aisles of food, she suddenly wanted it all. It dawned on me today how we have taught our children to be hungry based on what they see that they want to eat, rather than on our bodies telling us we are hungry. We eat because it is available, it is time to, or because we want it... Not because our body needs the nutrients the food has to offer. We started this diet to help Sam... But it is doing so much more than just helping her! I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us as we continue down this journey!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

GAPS Diet - Day 3

Yay! Another day is one :) today had its ups and downs... Our perpetual chicken broth ended up tasting really watered down, so our butternut squash soup this morning didn't taste nearly as yummy. I was able to force it down, however poor Will and Katie were not. Just an FYI - it looks the same coming up as it does going down, lol. We went ahead and gave the kiddos another spoon of applesauce today. It really is not suppose to be allowed yet, but I can not handle the fears of my milk drying up, and the kids being sick because their blood sugars plummet. The kids ended up taking nice naps after breakfast, giving us some time to get some stuff done. Katie and I are working diligently on her International Night project, which I will post more about on a different day :) Lunch was one of the kiddos' favorites... Boiled carrots with some ghee. Yup that is right - no ghee sensitivities here, thank goodness. Last night, worrying about the results of the ghee skinn sensitivity test was rough! But even Ben passed :) Dinner was really good too... We had boiled steaks and cauliflower with ghee, along with a dill pickle. Katie was not crazy about the pickle... It was naturally fermented with herbs and salt... And left on the counter for the last three days. Sour it definitely was!!! But honestly, it wasn't too bad. We decided to start some more stocks today. The watered down chicken broth went into quart jars into the fridge to use at a later date. We started a new batch tonight to cook in the slow cooker. We also started some fish stock. I am kinda weary of trying it... But it is supposedly super good for us, and besides that, the fish (red snapper) tastes really yummy. The poor kiddos keep asking me when they can have various foods... Especially fresh veggies and fruits, including salads. Katie and I actually went down a list of some of the foods miss, like lasagna, salad, fruit, ice exam, mashed potatoes, cheese, etc. I think Brad was getting a little frustrated.. He really wanted a chocolate ice cream cone. All in all, we honestly are not doing that bad :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

GAPS Diet - Day 2

Another day is coming to a close.  Today was kinda rough.  Will was terribly sick this morning - it is still debatable of whether he was fighting a quick stomach bug, it was due to ketosis, or he just did not eat enough yesterday since he did not like it.  Hard to tell!  Breakfast consisted of meat patties with a pureed carrot and cauliflower broth, and some chicken broth.  This was actually pretty good.  It was like eating plain hamburgers or meatballs, basically.  I could have gone for some horseradish, mustard, or worcestershire sauce, but all in all, not bad :)  Lunch was suppose to be an onion and leek soup.  Sadly, this did not happen.  The canned chicken broth we used for it tasted off, so it went down the drain.  Brad and I both started having headaches, nauseousness, and feelings of lightheadedness and exhausted.  Sooo we decided to step off the regimen for a moment, and get a tablespoon of homemade unsweetened applesauce.  This actually seemed to help a little, thank goodness!  I am really trying not to dry up in this process!  Speaking of which, Ben did really well eating his broth today <3  Dinner is going to consist of more broth, meat strips, and cooked butternut squash.

This afternoon/evening we dropped off the foods and spices we cleaned out of our pantry.  It was kind of hard and emotional doing this, lol.  I just kept thinking of all the money behind the items, and even more so, the joy of all of us as we sat around enjoying those items.  But truth be known, it was either give it away, or throw it away, so I'm glad to know that other families are going to enjoy the items!

Monday, May 7, 2012

GAPS Diet - Day 1

Today was our first day on the GAPS Diet... I must admit, I think I had a naive outlook on what I thought it was going to look like. I had the silly notion that since our family eats comparatively healthy, the switch to this more strict diet would be difficult, but doable. Oh. My. Word! Let me try to explain... For those unfamiliar with this diet, the general purpose is to heal the intestinal tract while discovering any food allergies or intolerances, in the hopes of better overall health. Sam is our main reason for undertaking this diet. Due to her extensive list of issues, we decided to start with the intro diet, which is a little more strict than the full diet. The intro diet has six stages, with more foods being added each stage. Right now we may eat homemade broths, boiled meats, boiled carrots, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and leeks, fermented sauerkraut juice, garlic, and water. So today's menu consisted of chicken broth, squash soup, boiled broccoli and boiled onions. Yup. That is it! Needless to say, my kiddos are not happy!!! I keep telling myself, that if this helps Sam, though, it will all be worth it in the end. I must admit, though, I am hungry! As far as side effects, we have not had too many, yet, other than feeling hungry. Brad is fighting a headache, and Katie and I are starting to get one. Apparently days two and three are often times the worst days. I kind of wonder, though, if Lee was not going through some detoxing earlier today. He was kinda Jekyll and Hyde. I guess time will tell. On a high note, Ben got to start food today as well. We had planned on waiting until he wash year, but we decided he is close enough and that this was the best time to start him... So he got some chicken broth today and seemed to love it. All it had in it was chicken, celery, water, onions, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, and parsley. I guess I can assume if all goes well, that he is not allergic to any of those foods :)
Hey guys!  There is a great giveaway that I want to let you all know about.  Go check it out at!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Overwhelmed to Overjoyed

Life has struck again! Busyness, demands placed by myself and others, daily necessities and chores, difficult decisions, and bad choices are all ebbing away at my well-being and energy. A friend calls with issues with her child. Another calls with health issues of her father. My own children struggle to get through their schooling in a timely fashion. The number on the scale will not move. Dinner is not done. The dryer buzzes with the third load of the day... none of which are folded. The baby is eating a dust bunny of dog hair. My hubby comes home from a rough day at work. I find myself wanting to curl up in bed, pull the covers over my head, and cry myself back to sleep. As I look around the house, a sense of despair and being overwhelmed envelopes me. In an effort to collect myself, but release some stress at the same time, I plop into the chair in the corner of the living room. Sitting on the table next to me, is my Bible.

I open it, read some, and then pray. My thinking changes. My load is lightened.

Life has struck again! Busyness, demands placed by myself and others, daily necessities and chores, difficult decisions, and bad choices are all chances to turn to my Heavenly Father. A friend calls with issues with her child = prayer time with her. Another calls with health issues of her father = prayer time with my own children. My own children struggle to get through their schooling in a timely fashion = prayer time and a lesson in patience for me and perseverance for them. The number on the scale will not move = fasting :D and perseverance. Dinner is not done = maybe more fasting? The dryer buzzes with the third load of the day... none of which are folded - but at least they are clean. The baby is eating a dust bunny of dog hair = praise God he can crawl. My hubby comes home from a rough day at work = thankful he has a job. I find myself wanting to scream and shout; singing praises to God! As I look around the house, a sense of gratefulness and being overjoyed envelopes me. Sitting on the table next to me, is my Bible; my lifeline.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Salmon and Spinach Pasta Dish

Some times I find myself inspired to try new creations in the kitchen. Some times they turn out well and other times they do not. Tonight's creation, though, was YUMMY! Sooooo I figured before I forget what all I put in it and how I cooked it, I would share :)

Shannon's Salmon and Spinach Pasta Dish (8 servings)

stick butter
1/4 C olive oil
onion, chopped
4-5 scallions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (13.5 oz) artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
juice of half a lemon
1 C white wine
jar of sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
4 C fresh chopped spinach
cooked pasta - saving 1 C pasta water
cooked salmon
parmesan cheese

In large pan, melt butter with oil. Saute onions and scallions. Add garlic. Stir in artichokes, lemon juice, and white wine. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, pasta water, and spinach, cooking until well mixed and spinach is tender. Mix in pasta. Dish into bowls, sprinkle with cheese and serve with salmon steak on top. YUMMY!!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Disclosing too much?

Yesterday my children and I went to our favorite local grocery store - Publix. Love that it is so close. I love EarthFare more, but it is not so local, lol. Anyways, for those who have never been to Publix, part of their "charm" is that the baggers will push out your cart for you. During the evening hours, when there are sooooo many people in and out of the store, I enjoy the extra help, as I am trying to get in and out with my five kiddos :) Anyways, it was there we went last night :)

As I was checking out, I asked our bagger how he was doing, as a common courtesy. His response was good but that he was also worried and stressed. I told him I was sorry. Apparently I looked like a friendly ear, because he then proceeded to tell me that he was not going to be celebrating Valentine's Day on the actual day, but rather a couple weeks later. He is instead going to wait for his tax return (he had three W-2s due to working three jobs) and is going to buy his girlfriend a promise ring. I told him that was nice, and paid the cashier. At this, the bagger started pushing my cart out and informed me of his and his girlfriend's past. I learned more about my bagger's past than I do about some of my friends' pasts!!!

So what is my point? How often do we turn to people, including complete strangers, because something is weighing so heavily on our hearts? If I am stressed about something, there are a handful of people I call, depending on the concern. What I should be doing, however, is turning to God in prayer! He already knows what is going on, and I can pour my heart out without offending someone, getting bad advice, spreading gossip, or talking ill of someone! What a wake up call!

Women's Role

Okay guys - I am posting a disclaimer from the get go.... this could be controversial....

Here recently, I have been really convicted regarding my role as Brad's wife and my children's momma. I stay home with my kids, cook, clean, home school, dehydrate, bake, preserve, can, etc.... I take my role as a wife and mother seriously. I feel like God has called me to be home. This is why I gave up my nursing career. This is why I gave up my dream to be a pediatrician. And no, it wasn't just a childish dream - I have my BS in Biology-PreMed with a minor in psychology and chemistry. In addition to all of this, I am active in our home school support group, organizing field trips and our international night, I "mentor" people in my home, and have an "open door" policy in my house. So what is the issue???? So glad you asked :)

Scriptures call the wives to be a help meet to our hubbies. What does this entail? It means doing all the "womanly" stuff with a glad heart. It means being submissive. It means having dinner on the table even when you do not feel like it. It means having a peaceful retreat for your hubby when he comes home from a long day at work. It means keeping the house clean and picked up. It means keeping the kiddos content and ready to spend time with daddy when he gets home. It means getting up early and spending time with God before everyone else gets up. It means doing the laundry and washing dishes and scrubbing the toilets. It means keeping my hubby happy and doing whatever I can to make his life more enjoyable and easier so that he can follow God's calling on his life. It means saying no to so much of the outside stuff. It means staying home in order to take care of my home. It means not complaining but rather rejoicing.

Last night I sat and watched Mary Poppins with my kiddos. Oh how I love that movie! But what an eye opener. I always looked at the father and wondered why in the world he did not spend time with his kids. But look at their mother!!!! She was too busy worrying about "women's rights" than to take care of her children! Women in general have become so enthralled with the desire to be equals, to be able to do whatever our hearts desire, that we are hitting the point where we are trying to reverse roles with our men. We are making them our help meets and I was doing it too!

I cannot tell you how many times my sweet hubby would come home from work and ask what is for dinner, to which I would have no answer. Or he would put laundry in the machine because I had fallen behind due to working on school with the kids. Or he would work on the dishwasher or wash dishes by hand in order to help me catch up. These are not his responsibilities - these are mine! He has enough on his plate with supporting our family than to have to do my responsibilities as well. Oh the shame I feel. The mortification I am facing as I realize how unfair I have been to him and disobedient I have been to God!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hard Truths

I have not written on here in quite some time again... And I could give all kinds of excuses... but over the last few months, I have learned a lot of hard truths. I have learned that your dearest friends may not be there when you need them to be. That innocent little children are called to Heaven in God's time, not ours. That people forget the good things during the bad times. That family some times only boils down to blood relation, but not a blood bond. That not even pastors may have a full grasp on the Word of God. That some times people are so wrapped up in their own lives, that subtle hints and non subtle declarations both can fall on deaf ears. That regrets can pile up if we are not careful. That you never really truly know someone.... not their inner most self. That in the same sense, we may not know our ownself, either. That one can rationalize just about anything if the "need" is there. But above all this, I have learned about the graciousness of God. He has called me out of the mass number of people to be one of His chosen. The Creator of all loves me no matter how much I fail, no matter how much I weigh, no matter what anyone else thinks of my decisions regarding my life or my children's lives. It is to Him that I will be held accountable. It is Him that I want to please. It is the Lord, Jesus Christ, that I live for - for His glory alone. As a people pleaser by nature, I am learning to not concern myself of pleasing the mass majority of people, but pleasing Him. I am a far cry from being where I want to be in my walk with my Savior, but I do know that I need to have - and can have - a Mary attitude in a Martha world. It is kinda ironic, but as many times as I have read that passage, the true meaning has never fully sunk into my hard head... or hardened heart. Nothing else matters more than my time with God. Eating, feeding the children, laundry, dishes, educating the children, cleaning my house, doctors appointments, NOTHING is more important than my time with Him. It is not some thing to check off my list or to hurry and get done, but rather a blessing.... a time of utter most importance and a refreshing of the spirit and soul. It is a time I need and long for... a time that gives me the heart to fully care for my children; to have energy to face the issues of the day that will surely arise. Perhaps the hardest truth I have learned in the selfishness of myself - that if given half a chance, I will try to control everything - none of which I can control; I will focus on my needs - which are so much less than so many others; I will give myself a pity party when I have no reason to; I will try to put the focus on myself, when God is the ONLY One that deserves anyone's focus; I will gripe and complain of other's inadequacies when in all honesty mine are far worse. Yes - above all I have learned that Jesus Christ must be Lord of all parts of my life, all the time, in all ways and circumstances!