Saturday, June 30, 2012

Leadership Part 1

This past week my two oldest girls were part of something big. They were part of a group of teens that organized, designed, promoted, taught and led our church's Vacation Bible School. I cannot emphasize how proud of them I am. They prepared for months to welcome nearly 400 children ages 4-12. It all started with a carnival to welcome the community.

My oldest daughter and my son exploring some games. 

Velcro Wall

Bounce House

Giant Inflatable Slide

Face Painting

Ring Toss

European Bungee

The next night started the weeks worth of crafts, games, skits and Bible lessons all taught by our teens. My oldest daughter had a lesson on Zacchaeus. She studied her passage inside and out. She came up with a creative method to present to her age group (4's & 5's) using part puppet, part hands-on and part costume. I am so proud of her, but this isn't the first time she or her sister have been leaders. 

Crazy Hair Night - Rainbow

1. Wet the hair where you want the color.
2. Using CHALK pastels from your local art store, draw right on to the wet hair.
3. Let dry.

This will wash out easily the next time you shampoo your hair. 
My daughter used cotton batting and bobby pins to make the cloud. 

Caterpillar made from 

1. Hot glue different colors of pom poms to form the caterpillar body & head. 
2. Hot glue googlie eyes to the head.
3. Cut a small piece of pipe cleaner for the antenna. Hot glue mini pom poms to the ends. Bend in the middle and glue to the caterpillar. 
4. Hot glue caterpillar to a bobby pin.


We bought these in the floral department of hobby lobby. 

Bee Hive

1. Braid hair in several sections. 
2. Twist braids around head in a bee hive fashion, bobby pinning as you go. 
3. I purchased these bumble bee's from Hobby Lobby's floral department. They had wires on them already so I just stuck them into the bee hive bun making some of them fly. 



My daughters painted these using watercolors

Friends working together

Ever since my kids were little I have been preparing them to be leaders. Some of my children are very shy, but I always made opportunities for them to stand up in front of people from the time they were very young. When they were little and I was teaching a Sunday School class, I would bring them with me to participate as my helper. They saw me teach. They saw me lead. When they hit their teens I encouraged them to teach as often as possible by teaching something they were familiar with to a small group of kids. (art lessons for my oldest) These experiences prepared them for this experience, teaching in an engaging way to a large number of children with adults looking on. I am proud of the work my daughters did for the Lord this week. I am thankful to God for the strengths He has given them. I know that as they grow older, they will use this critical skill to serve Him in even greater ways. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Patties

I just had the most delicious dinner!!!

Meatloaf (an old Betty Crocker recipe favorite), applesauce and and *new* recipe... Broccoli Cheese Patties. They were really easy to make, healthy, and delicious! Even the kids loved them. is my new favorite stop. I have a bunch of recipes planned this week from there. I share on Monday my weeks menu plan. I have already made the homemade granola bars.

Homeschooling for Beginners

Since I have been homeschooling since 1998, I often get asked by new homeschoolers what curricula that I recommend. There are so many good ones out there, but I'll give you a list of the basics that are my #1 choices.

Math: Christian Light Math is my top pick after years of trying to find a program that explained concepts well, had enough review, didn't require tons of additional purchases, was inexpensive, academically challenging and worked for all my kids. This program starts at 1st grade and goes through high school. Be sure to use the Sunrise editions. Most of the program has been updated, but the high school level books are currently in revision.

Grammar: Rod and Staff Grammar is easy to use, gets the job done, reusable, and prepares your child for college level work. It includes grammar & writing exercises. We tried other programs but they were often confusing, lacking in depth or too cutesie. I recommend this completely. Neither of these programs are flashy, but they are the best in my opinion. We save the flashy for other subjects. This program starts at 2nd grade (we skip this one) but you don't really need to start it until 3rd.

Handwriting: Pentime - This gem of a program is the best kept secret out there. The workbooks are inexpensive (around $5) but high quality paper and print. The content is excellent. I believe once the child gets to the 3rd book, every lesson has a copywork selection based on the books theme. My favorite themes were the bird book and the States book. Two books are available for 1st grade (use one in K?). After that it is one book per grade, no teachers manual. It goes up to grade 8.

History: Heart of Dakota - Starting in about 3rd grade, I highly recommend Heart of Dakota Preparing Hearts for His Glory. I am not a fan of the programs before this one, but I am a fan of all the ones that follow. Heart of Dakota includes all subjects but you can use any of the above easily in place of the scheduled ones. We have used nearly all of this company's programs.

Science: R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey If your not using Heart of Dakota, you may want to check out the fun science programs offered by Pandia Press. We used the Earth and Space one along with Apologia's Astronomy book which was a great combination. The experiments are easy, fun and educational. My kids loved it when we had science each week.  To make things easier, I purchased a kit from Home Training Tools with most of the supplies needed to complete the experiments.

This list is not exhaustive and I post more favorite programs in upcoming posts. Happy curricula shopping!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Fountain of Youth

Today it is 93 degrees and humid, but I got out early this morning and ran anyway. I am up to 2.8 miles which took me 25 minutes. Two years ago I had never ran for more than 30 seconds. Two years ago I was 30 lbs heavier. Two years ago I was tired all the time and dreaded having my picture taken. Two years ago I was hospitalized for 3 days for seizures I had over a 2 week period. I believe those seizures were caused by...

#1 Stress
#2 Overweight
#3 Bad eating habits

The doctors wanted to put me on anti seizure medication but I told him "no". You see while I was in the hospital, I had a chance to reflect and relax and I realized that I needed to make some changes. I told the doctor I was going to deal with this on my own. He told me I couldn't do it... I told him I could.

The stress I had to endure became MUCH worse for about another year and a half. I was in a very destructive relationship that changed in such a way that I no longer have to deal with it that much anymore. I was able to deal with the stress during this time because right after I got out of the hospital I started running and eating much healthier. You see, exercise does some amazing things for you. God designed our bodies to MOVE! He designed our bodies to need fresh air and sunshine. Amazing amounts of stress can be handled when we raise our heart rates through exercise. The sun provides the much needed vitamin D which boosts our moods. Eating less white flour/sugar and tons more lean meats, fiber, veggies and fruits changed the way my body felt and looked.

I recommend that every mom plans to exercise 5X a week. Start small if you need to. I did. I used the Couch Potato to 5k program. Don't give yourself excuses. I have bad knees. Before I started running I could barely walk up and down stairs. I recently some research that showed how running actually helps rebuild the cartilage around the knees. Some of my other friends (who are now running) didn't think they could squeeze it into their day because they had little children. There are so many options here.

  • Find a family member or your husband to watch them at least 3x a week
  • Join the YMCA and use the Kid Zone
  • Run on a treadmill during nap or quiet time
  • Put them in a jogging stroller and push them around
If you have an ipod, you can download the C25K podcast at NHS C25K . There are other ones you can use, but this one is my favorite. 

When my two oldest were really little, I had a bicycle cart (Burley) that pulled them around town in. We would go to the library, grocery store or the park several times a week. I really enjoyed that and I still have my bicycle cart today even though my kids are all too big to ride in it now. I purchased a top of the line one and I am glad I did. It has lasted for 15 years and shows no signs of wearing down. Mine holds two children, has a back seat for additional cargo and looks like this one:

Looking at the Burley site, I saw something I am going to have to get in the near future. It is a Burley Travoy. Basically it hauls around your stuff. With gas prices what they are, and exercise needs what they are... I would love to get my hands on one of these. Check out this video...

Now I am healthy. I like to say that exercise is like the fountain of youth. I know I look and feel better than I did when I was 37. I don't have to grow old and frail. As a homeschool mom of 5 kids, the youngest just starting 1st grade, I need to be in tip top shape to meet the demands on me daily. I hope you are encouraged to get started moving. My current goal is to add in weight training. Share with me what you are doing to meet your exercise needs.