Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kensley--In The Kitchen, Reading and More

Is there no end to this girl's interest in the kitchen. Each evening when I make dinner, I hear her small voice saying "what are you doing, can I help?" That small voice is quickly followed by the LOUD clattering of a chair cozied up to the island and the expectant smile of my little helper.

Making orange juice with her very own little helper.
Making a strawberry cake because she and her little brother wanted a pink cake.

Frosting the pink cake (it's really a strawberry cake).

Me and my helper in the kitchen with the very LOUD clattering chair.
Math Practice

Working with geometric solids. I think we need to spend some time together here. K can easily match up the solids and cards but I don't think she has the names down yet.
Tip Top Tally is a great game for teaching addition, subtraction and odds and evens and it even fits in with our winter season (you know that is important).
Working with our homemade Sequin boards. K can count by tens and use the rods (our bead material) to show the numbers.

Working with number cards for the units, tens, hundreds and thousands.
Language Arts
Kensley is currently working her way through the You Can Read printables at 1+1+1=1. I like these because they give us a set plan to follow and incorporate printable puzzles and fun sheets for recognition practice and pencil practice.

Coloring in one of her word cards.
Connecting the words is great pencil control practice.
These are the printable puzzle words--a great hands on way to build words.
K has also been working on the pink series label and picture cards. The pink cards were free from Montessori Materials.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What the Bible has to Say About Food

Food use to be and still is at times my enemy. When I was younger I vascilated between super restrictive, like no cheese on my pizza, to binging on a whole pack of Snackwells cookies (remember those?). I could go from eating a giant sized frozen yogurt and countless peanut butter cups to eating only one cantalope or one bagel in a day. I had an unhealthy relationship with food, I either over-are or starved myself.

So, think with me, is food good or bad in your life? Is food your enemy or is it your enjoyment? Is food your boredom buster or your comforter? Now just suppose, you wondered what God thinks about food. Where would you look? His word of course, and that is what we are going to do today. From the very beginning of time, right in Genesis, food has played a role in the lives of humans. In the garden food was part of the fall of man. God said "eat all you want, enjoy but don't eat from that one tree" and what happens? We are not satisfied with all that He has given us and we just have to eat the forbidden fruit and WAM! Life is changed forever. Now man has to go and find his own food, he has to work hard, really hard in order to feed himself. Why ? All because of one little fruit that he could not help eating.

Moving on in the bible we see more interactions between God, his people and food. While the children of Israel wondered the desert God provided them food, as much as they wanted, it was called Manna. God gives us food to take care of us. Yes, He gives us food because he loves us and knows we need to eat in order to be healthy and serve him. So right here, in these two Old Testament examples we see that food is good and necessary in the eyes of God.

Then we go onto Deuteronomy chapter 14 and food is there again. This time it is God's list of do's and don'ts regarding food but don't miss God's heart for his people in the long list of restrictions. In verse 2 we see why God put so many restrictions on food. Verse 2 says God's people are holy to him and chosen to be his treasured possessions. Did you get that? God didn't put all of those food restrictions out there to be difficult but because he loved His people and wanted them to be holy and treasured. What an important point to understand--the restrictions were out of a father's love.

In 1 Kings 19 we have the story of Elijah and Jezebel. Jezebel threatened Elijah's life and he took of running until he was so tired that he fell down under a bush and went to sleep. When Elijah awoke he was greeted by an Angel that touched him and said "get up and eat." Two times this happened, so we can see that our physical sustenance is important to God. God wants us to eat, he wants us to enjoy it (Ecclesiastes says there is nothing better than to eat, drink and be merry) and he will provide the food that we need.

In the New Testament there are many examples of Jesus and food such as Jesus feeds the 5,000, Jesus calls himself the bread of life, Jesus turned water into wine and the last supper. My favorite story of Jesus and food is in John 21 after Jesus rises from the dead.. It is early morning and the grieving disciples have returned to their jobs as fishermen. As the disciples are coming in to shore with their boat they see a man on the shore and suddenly recognize that it is Jesus. Jesus says to them "come and have breakfast with me." Would you not love that? Jesus saying "come, sit, let me fix you some breakfast" that would be heaven on Earth. So there you go, coffee only drinkers, Jesus says to have breakfast.

Now this next passage is from 1 Timothy 4. There were a lot of problems in Timothy's church and people were making up laws about food abstinence. Verse 4 says "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving." Wow, did you read that? Nothing is to be rejected that God made because it is good. That verse right there gives us so much direction in this vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten free world. Everything God made is good, what a freeing thing.

So, what do we eat? Things that God made, not man, because they are good. The word does not say to eat chips, soda, candy bars, french fries or anything out of a box. The bible does not call these things sinful but it doesn't call these processed foods good. So in our family we try to eat as natural as possible. We try to eat foods that are whole and directly from the ground, tree, bush, animal or vine. Don't get me wrong we do eat treats but we make them ourselves out of whole, preservative free ingredients. If we want cookies, we bake them, so we can save money and know what ingredients go into them.

At the grocery store, the healthiest, God made foods are usually found on the perimeter of the store. Fruits, veggies, dairy, eggs, meats and seafood are usually against the four walls of the store. So think about it the next time you shop--is your cart full of things from the 4 outside walls or does it abound with products from the center isles? We watch the Biggest Loser and Bob once said that if a food can last more than 2 weeks in your pantry or refrigerator, you probably shouldn't eat it. Of course there are a few exceptions, like canned tomatoes or healthy crackers but in general I think it is a good thought.

When I create a meal I think of 3 things:
  1. protein
  2. veggies
  3. carbs or grain
I try to eat protein every time I eat followed by a fruit or veggie. Some meals may or may not include a grain. Grains are always my downfall because they are so much more plentiful and easier on the go but I am working on this. I know some of you say, "but I don't like that type of food." Well, it is all in what you get use to. You may have to retrain yourself as I am, to eat more protein. Or maybe you have to retrain yourself to grab an apple instead of chips, be responsible for yourself. If you want something different just do it. Don't think of your nutrition as "I can't eat that." Think of it as "what can I eat?"

Food Networks Paula Dean recently came out with her Type II Diabetes diagnosis. In an interview I heard Paula said it took so long for her to come out about the diagnosis because she "wanted to bring something to the table". Do you know what she brought? A pill. Yes, meds. It was as if she did not really understand that Type II Diabetes and being overweight is a direct result of her eating and activity level. Paula also said "people are gonna eat, you can't stop that." She is right, people are going to eat and they have to eat but it is all about choice. Paula can eat the foods she loves and just take a pill, done, over with, if you want to put meds into your body everyday. Or, people can eat the foods God made and live a healthy life that enables us to serve our creator as he designed. And that friends, is what it is all about. Eating well so that we can have the best physical capabilities to serve the Lord no matter where or what He calls us to. It is not about a societal standard but taking care of ourselves so we can serve HIM.

Friday, February 17, 2012

25 Things About Me

Okay, so I had so much fun last Friday with this post that I thought I would do it a gain.
  1. I am craving a fresh  baked cookie.
  2. The next time you see me, you might not recognize me, my hair is now beautifully brown (thanks Lindsey).
  3. I enjoyed skiing today despite the whining and asking to go home.
  4. All children are currently in bed---yeeha!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Sometimes I just want to be me, not mom but me.
  6. I still have to clean all 3 bathrooms, one of my least favorite chores.
  7. I want to start a new bible study based on Sally's book The Ministry of Motherhood 
  8. I figured out how to use Amazon Associates, easily this week.
  9. I really enjoyed Valentine's Dinner at home with Jay.
  10. I can't wait for a ski date with Jay in a week and a half.
  11. I am craving some warmer weather.
  12. We could all use a trip off the mountain and no I don't mean Reno.
  13. I am studying about good deeds/good works this week Did you know raising children is a good deed?
  14. I need to do laundry (tomorrow).
  15. I just want to bake cowgirl cookies and scones and listen to music.
  16. I need some quiet time to think, plan and be.
  17. I heard the birds back this wee, welcome spring!
  18. I'm wishing for more time with my man.
  19. I am so thankful for my children--their smiles, the things they say and they like me.
  20. I have to many homeschool plans swimming around in my head--N. America, math, the human body.
  21. I really need to paint that dresser in the garage so I can give the mudroom a revamp.
  22. I need a Cayman vacation, read I need to sit for days in a warm climate with a good book.
  23. I have lost 6 pounds since January, lots of egg whites.
  24. I am really enjoying P90X2.We start phase 3 on Monday.
  25. I want to take better photos but first I have to read the camera manual.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Storybook Center--The Mitten

I have always been a fan of learning with good books.  In the past I have used Peek with Books, Five in a Row and Homeschool Share to develop study units for our favorite books, areas of interest or new learning. Then I thought why not make a center based on our seasonal reading and I have been blessed that there has been something for everyone.  From reading, writing, hands on and reporting all of the children have been able to use our newly created center.  Our first storybook center is based on The Mitten by Jan Brett. The resources I used to develop our center materials are below:

The Mitten Printables

The Mitten Printable Pack

Activities to go with the book

We also read The Hat by Jan Brett.

B and K had a lot of fun with this mitten printable:

Painting with a brush
Painting around the dots with a brush.

Dot Painters

It is hard to see but K is using one of her painted mittens for fine motor practice with stickers.  She is trying to place the sticker in the circle only without going out of the lines.
I hid The Mitten animals in the rice box for B to find.
K and B going on an animal hunt for The Mitten animals using my very large kitchen mitt.
Our animals are numbered on the back and K is putting them in order
K completing a mitten beginning sound printable in our Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center.

Ayden is sorting one and two syllable words from the story.

E and A went on a "write the room" hunt.  Each of the children had clipboards (everything is more fun with a clipboard, right?) and had to search for each of the animals and copy their names.  K also did this several times, one time just looking for the animals and checking them off and another time looking for the animals and tracing their names.  I thought is was a fun way to incorporate copywork into our storybook center. 

And finally E and A are completing an animal notebook page for one The Mitten animals to put in their Exploring God's Creation Notebook.

This has been a fun idea that we have worked on over the last 3 weeks.  I hope to change out the center this week to The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Me and My Valentines

Just some random pictures to celebrate the day--Enjoy!!
Brady at the sled hill
Emry, Kensley and Brady at Donner Lake
Brady, Jay, Kensley, Ayden and Emry at Northstar
Kensley at the sled hill.
Emry at the sled hill.
Me, Kensley, Emry and Brady in Yosemite
The ladies sledding.
Kensley and me, taken by Emry.
Ayden at Donner Lake with one of the top 10 toys of all time--a stick.
Jay and Brady on his new bike.
Best friends and partners in goofiness--Ayden and Emry.
1 Corinthians 13  "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.....Now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is Love.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Celebrating Valentine's Day without Breaking the Bank.

Valentine's Day is quickly coming upon us as is the pressure to mark it in some fantabulous way for our dear ones.  Yes, I want to build memories of special celebrations but sometimes it is so hard to make a plan due to a lack of energy or finances but this year I think we have a winner.  I was able to get all the children something special at a consignment store or on amazon.  Bob the Builder for Brady, American Girl  books for Emry, Boz for Kensley and The Boys Doodle Book for Ayden.  I even bought candy at the dollar store but I put it in a really good spot and cannot find it.  I remember my mom doing this when I was young so I guess it is official,  I am turning into my mother.  I am still trying to think of some fun breakfast ideas, I'm leaning on trying these rolls by one of my favorite authors, Sally Clarkson.

So that is for the children but what about you and Jay?  Well, I am glad you asked.  We have some friends, who also have 4 children, volunteer to watch our four for the evening and we are going to take them up on the offer.

So then we had to decide what to do, well stay home of course.  I don't think it is always necessary to feel like we have to eat out or leave the house to be on a date and honestly hubs and I are frequently disappointed when we eat dinner out because of the lack of quality meals.  On more than one occasion we have gone out to eat and left the restaurant disappointed because we spent our hard earned money on a bad meal.  So we are staying home on this date.  Jay and I discussed the menu and threw around filet and scallops, which we decided was not budget friendly for the pauper days we are in at the moment.  So chicken it is  but we will be splurging on mushrooms and marsala wine to make Grilled Marsala Chicken.  For dessert we will  be having French Silk Chocolate Pie.

Jay and I hiking Glacier Point @ Yosemite National Park--August 2011. Ignore the hair we were camping, sweating and not bathing.

So there you have it, our fantabulous Valentine's Day celebration on the cheap.

P.S. Pray I find the candy before Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

25 Things About Me

I saw this, this morning and it sounded like fun so here goes:

25 things linky party!

1.Green is my favorite color

2. A bikini use to be my favorite article of clothing.

3. I sometimes enjoy dessert with a plastic fork.

4. When I was little I wanted to be a teacher, doctor or a nurse.

5. I want to live on a ranch.

6. I am mildly interested in running a marathon.

7. Sometimes I can't believe my name is Tammy.

8. I laugh when people fall down.

9.I sometimes want to run away.

10. I like kahlua mixed with iced hazelnut coffee, sugar & cream.

11. I wish I had a craftroom.

12. I wish I had long hair.  Cutting it off in 6th grade was a mistake.

13. I like to bake treats.

14. I like to read fiction in order to escape.

15. I like to take a shower to escape.

16.  I wish I had more emotional energy to reach out to others.

17. I like white/cream kitchens.

18. Chippy and  rustic is what I love for decor.

19.  I love the outdoors.

20. I love tea with honey.

21. I wish we had chickens.

22. I hope to have enough flowers in my yard someday that if I cut them for indoors, plenty remain in the garden to enjoy.

23.  I hope to have a well producing veggie/herb garden this summer.

24. I am not as patient as I thought I would be and yes, I yell more than I would like.

25.  I love Jesus and wish I was perfect so I could serve Him as he deserves.

Wow, 25 I did it--enjoy the day!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Brady Time

So many of this months activities are blasts from the past and have stood the test of time through all four children, so that makes them precious in my book.  We have been enjoying puzzles, matching and interactive books together as well as lots of winter family fun (I will show sledding and skiing pictures soon).  If you find something helpful or encouraging here please let us know in the comments.  Have a good week.

Interactive Books

I really enjoy wooden toys.  This is called My ABC Book by Melissa and Doug The only unfortunate thing is one of the pieces is missing because I took it on an airplane and lost it but I hear Melissa and Doug are great with replacement parts.

B loves, loves, loves Little People.  This book was our first daughter's who is now 9 and purchased at Costco.

This is a great activity book called Motor Match.  I purchased it at a consignment store for our older son many years ago.  It is a fun book using all types of vehicles to match in many different settings--this was a lot of fun to do with B.
Beginning Puzzle Work

Another favorite of mine.  Lauri's Toddler Tote.  This tote is easy to carry to the work area or for travel.  It is big and chunky for little hands and a sensory delight due to its bumpy texture.

Ladybug Letters.  B is not really matching the upper and lower case letters but enjoying the activity of putting puzzles together.

Parent's Magnet School--great for letter and sound recognition and puzzle work.

More puzzle work--Guidecraft's Feel and Find.  This is actually a game for older children to reach into the bag and try to find the object that feels the most like their template but we just use it as a matching/puzzle activity.
Fine Motor Work
B asked for the Lite Brite after seeing it in his sisters' closet.  I bought this for our older son after hearing this was a great pre-writing activity for fine motor development.

Hot Wheels stickers from $Tree.

locks and keys from daddy's stash
More Fun
Open and Close. I'm going to remove this basket soon because I am all out of ideas.  If you have any suggestions let me know in the comments.

Another wooden toy--Pound and Roll Tower by M and D.  I think this one is also on its way out.  I saw it in the closet and added it to B's shelves to see if it would get used and it did by our 2 youngest but now after a few weeks it is just sitting and collecting dust, it is hard to see it go.  Is anyone else like me, when the tot toys go it is sad to believe we are moving on?

Funnel fun and rice pouring