Friday, August 28, 2009

Kid Friendly Friday!

I'm SO excited about starting the homeschool routine with the boys!! We start Monday, bright and NOT-too-early!!

I wanted to share our plans and outline our schedule for our school week. It's a work in progress, though. I do plan that it will change....frequently. That is the main reason we're so excited about homeschooling. It will be something we can mold into our daily lives and when it changes, all the better.

Here is our outline:

Monday: Letter of the week introduction (we will be doing the entire alphabet this year).
Calendar time
Weather time
Art activity related to the letter of the week
Reading time
Shape of the week introduction

Tuesday: Memorization games and activities
Color of the week introduction
Cooking activity
Reading time
Calendar time
Weather time

Wednesday: Story time at the Library
Outside activity or playgroup date
Letter of the week review
Calendar time
Weather time

Thursday: Math games
Manipulative play time
Reading time
Science activity
Calendar time
Weather time

Friday: Fun Friday!! This will include a review of letter and colors but be a very fun end to the week!! We'll plan lots of playdates on this day as well.

Letter of the week: This is rather easy as there are 26 letters and it'll take us quite a time to get through the alphabet.

Shape of the week: This will be lots of review obviously as there aren't that many shapes to get us through the entire year.

Color of the week: We'll cover basic colors, as well as color mixing and other fun little science experiments related to colors. We will be creating a color wheel as well.

Reading time: We've already started this but reading time includes an adult reading to them, as well as the boys spending 15 minutes a day "reading" to themselves. Right now, the time is mostly spent with picture books, magazines, etc... They are really starting to enjoy their reading time.

Science time: We're planting a garden this fall (we live in Florida folks...September is planting time!!!). The boys are super excited to grow some of their own food!!

Math/manipulatives: We'll do lots of work with manipulatives, beads, sorting, etc... Big Boy has gotten pretty good with his counting. Little Guy has a long way to go.

Again--lots of playdates because I really think at this age, the boys need as much social outlet and play skill practicing. We're taking a rather Montessori, eclectic, dare I say "unschooling" approach to this year. I can't wait to see where the year leads us.

In addition, we have a friend who is really excited to teach our children Spanish so we will be adding that into the mix as well. How cool is that?!!

So what are you doing for your preschooler this year? Anyone else homeschooling this age group? Have you decided to follow a curriculum or to create your own? Do tell friends!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How does one know?

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions ~
Rainer Maria Rilke
There is much angst in my heart right now.
Someone asked me a question about a week ago, of which I have no answer for right now.
I have prayed for guidance. It is not quite there.
I have prayed for knowledge. I'm still not sure.
I have prayed for understanding. I understand but still wonder.
It is not a bad thing. I don't believe. But when opportunities or questions or circumstances come into your life, how do you know?
I have this wonderful group of new friends in a small study group at church. They are walking through this with me. We study about faith. We discuss miracles and whether or not we see God in everything. Because He is, you know. In Everything.

So I believe that He is here. And He is taking me to this crossroad. I'm just not certain which road it is that He is leading me. I'm anxiously awaiting the burning bush. But so far, only a little smoke.
So again, I pray.
I wait.
I listen.
And when I choose, I believe that He will be there too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday!

We don't have junk mail in this house. junk mail.

Because when something interesting comes in...not interesting to me but interesting to the Little Man, it gets used up in his reading time. He loves to look through catalogs, pointing out colors, numbers or pictures he recognizes.

I don't care if it gets roughed up. Heck, I don't even care if it gets torn to shreds. Which sometimes it does. Because sometimes junk mail is the perfect "victim" to his scissor-practice sessions.

Today, he's in Superhero heaven! He found the catalog we got yesterday with all the newest Halloween costumes coming out this year. He ran screaming to his room to wake his brother to let him know that BumbleBee was on the cover! And when he found Superman? The world erupted...

Now if I can find a way to make these horribly expensive costumes for 95% less than what these outrageous companies charge....

Head on over to We Are That Family to look for more great hints to help you get through life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Hey y'all! What's cookin' this week?

As fall sets in at our house and the lazy days of summer come to an end, we start spending a bit more time making dinner. Most summer evenings we're looking for the grill or something quick. I get a little....just a little...more domesticated as fall comes around and start cooking more.

Tonite I made this lovely staple and wow, the boys just ate like there would not be another meal later! I was shocked because they finished their plates with zero complaints and not a morsel left. So whenever you have to get "back to basics", try this recipe. Works every time!!

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup herb-seasoned dry bread stuffing mix
1/2 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
1 (6 ounce) can French-fried onions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine meat, eggs, ketchup, stuffing mix, ranch dressing mix and fried onions.
Shape into loaf and fit into 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Bake, covered loosely with foil, at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 to 60 minutes, or until meat is thoroughly cooked.

Enjoy this great meal and find lots of other goodies over at Blessed With Grace or Balancing Beauty & Bedlam.

13 days n' countin'....

Remember that day I told you I was running in a triathlon?

I still am.

In 13 days!

I'm getting a bit nervous. Still training for it. Today went quite well. 2.3 miles on the treadmill and it FELT FANTASTIC!

I've followed the directions in the book that I told you about in the last post, The Complete Guide to Running. It really doesn't stir you in the wrong direction. It has some fantastic information.

Like stretching. Really helps a lot! Especially those tender little calves.

And hydration. Helps MORE THAN A LOT! It is a quite long and painful workout when you have no reserve.

So I'm keeping it up and working toward my goal.

What is my goal for the race, you ask?

Breathing and still upright. THAT would be good!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Science is so FUN!

We spent the day at MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry) in Tampa today....

And Elijah discovers his head.....

What have you done this week to make your life more Kid Friendly?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

I'm on an endless search for ways to stay ON TRACK.

You know...with it.

All together.


Yeah, right.

Not very successful sometimes but I'm getting there. What works for me you ask?

Why, thanks for asking!

One of the greatest tools known to man....err, womankind is the Google Calendar.

Love it! It has a million ways to post notes, schedule events, review to-do lists, schedule multiple appointments (YOU know what I mean?!), remember important holidays (sorry about the belated birthday card, Mom), contacts, addresses, on and on and on....

Easy to get to (

And SUPER easy to maintain....because y'all are like on your computers ALL DAY LONG like me, right?!

And my newest, most favorite-ist reason for lovin' my google calendar? It syncs with my new toy....

And now, my friends, I'm totally with it, all the time....

Enjoy a few more peeps that are really with it over at We Are That Family. They have way more brilliant ideas on how to keep it together than I.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!!

Here is one of our favorite new recipes. We made these last week and oh yeah, they definitely make it on the weekly menu! YUMMY!!


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into finger-sized pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 egg whites, beaten
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
1/2 cup melted butter
ANOTHER 1/2 cup Frank's hot sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Coat a baking sheet with a nonstick spray.
Soak chicken pieces in 1/2 cup of the hot sauce--just put it all in a Ziploc bag and marinate for about an hour. In a shallow bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. On a plate, mix the bread crumbs with the rest of the garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt.
Take marinated chicken out of the hot sauce. Dip and cover the chicken pieces with the seasoned flour. Beat egg whites with 1 tablespoon water, and place egg mixture in a shallow dish or bowl. Dip seasoned chicken in egg mixture, then roll in the seasoned bread crumb mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Use tongs to turn pieces over. Bake 8 minutes longer, or until chicken juices run clear.

IF YOU LIKE IT REALLY SPICY, coat again in the other 1/2 cup of hot sauce and put back into the oven for about 5 minutes.

My friend over at Blessed With Grace has SO many more wonderful recipes for you to enjoy today!!

Have a blessed day my friends!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thrifty Finds

OK everyone....I've kinda tricked you here.

I don't have a thrifty treasure today, for Rhoda's great blog on thrifty finds.

But I'm looking for a thrifty treasure and where better to get that than all my REALLY creative thrifty friends???

This is where we are going in three week for Big Boy's 5th birthday:

I need your BEST tips, tricks and thrifty ideas on how to enjoy the day at Walt Disney World!!! We're blessed to live within driving distance of The Mouse so we are taking advantage of the "get in free on your birthday" option. We're taking Big Boy for his 5th birthday---FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!

Don't know about the kid but jeez, this Mama is OVER THE TOP excited!!!

But because I'm not made of money, and so far, the marry-a-sugar-daddy plan in life didn't quite work out that way, I need tips on how to save a few dollars. We plan to stay in a local hotel, just for the fun of it for a couple of nights and then hit WDW on his birthday.

So hit me with your best shot....err, tips!

And then head on over to Rhoda's Southern Hospitality because THOSE ladies really know how to find a great bargain!!

Friday, August 14, 2009


That would be the crazy Iowa grandma, complete with her headband ("keeps the sweat out y'all!") playing in the yard with her grandsons!!


Kid Friendly Friday!

We're getting back into the groove with Kid Friendly Friday!

I went to the homeschool meeting last evening and really think this will work for us! I have a friend who has a preschooler and decided to join with us. For a nominal fee ($20/yr) we have access to their website, a forum with about 140 other HSing families and open invitation to their weekly structured field trips. There are other opportunities as our children age, such as Kindergarten graduation ceremonies, Boy Scouts, educational forums, parent meetings, Scholastic book ordering, and on and on! I really think this will be helpful in our journey. I appreciate that there are SO many families in the group. Certainly we will find someone in the group to connect with.

My only concern at this point is there was seemingly a lack of ethnic diversity at the meeting last night. There was only one couple of mixed color in the group and that was my friend!! I usually don't get too worked up about that but honestly, it does make a difference for us. We want our boys to grow up in an environment where there are many different cultures and races among the members. It is very important to us that they see that the world is made of diversity and not everyone is the same. They are not, obviously. We want that reflected in the world that surrounds them. I am hoping that this is available to us, despite the lack of that appearance last night. Granted, there were less than 40 new members last night so it was not a complete showing of the group.

So...that is my Kid Friendly Friday post. For my fellow homeschoolers, I fully recommend finding a support group to connect with. We're really looking forward to the opportunities and learning experiences the group will offer. I'm looking forward to meeting new friends....errr...the boys meeting new friends?! Oh heck! We want new friends too!

Head on over to my friend Sarah at I Blame Mom for more Kid Friendly tidbits. And in the meantime, don't forget to breath in the chaos of getting ready to go back to school!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We'll See..

Tonite I'm attending a homeschool support group meeting. It's my first. I'm not really sure if this will apply to us this year or not. The boys are doing preschool. I've got ideas on what we are doing and have started writing my schedule, but there still is nothing set in stone. I'm mainly looking for support, avenues for ideas for curriculum (mainly for the future) and social opportunities. Unfortunately, SH can't go with me. I'm solo, again! I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, August 10, 2009

About God

Big Boy asked me over dinner last night, "Mama, does God sleep?"

After several moments to take it in, I answered "No. He's always awake so he can answer our prayers any time of the day."

Big Boy ponders that one for a moment and replies, "Then is he like us?"

"No" I answered, "He's God. He's not human. He is so much more."

This got him really thinking. "So does he have legs?"


"Does He have arms?"


"Does He have toes and fingers?"

"Yes. God has all his limbs." I say. At this point, I'm stumped. We go on to discuss that he may look like us humans but he is God. That means He is capable of much more than we are. The rest of the conversation was about how God is there for us, but He is not like us. He is Almighty. He is Everlasting. He is Most Powerful.

Quite a conversation with a 4-year-old inquisitive mind.

And one that reminds me that this Mama job is still the best gig I'll ever have.

Back to the Bloggin' World

Hello Friends!

I'm sorry for such sad notes last week and then a disappearance. The sadness lingers and is slowing ebbing it's grip off my heart.

For my friend, of course, it still envelopes her entire soul.

I find myself worried that it may never subside.

I know it will.

I trust that God will ease her pain. I trust that Our God will restore her spirit. With time. We have faith.

It is still, so very sad and so. very. difficult.

However, I've been tossed back into REAL LIFE.

UGH! I've picked up lots of hours to work. I've got a class syllabus and lectures to prep for. I've got homeschool planning to complete. And the boys are back into swim classes again next week. JEESH! I'm tired.

But I had to show you a little rehab that I hope to work on soon. Something to get me back into the groove. Whatever that is....

Here is another new project!

Aren't they positively tacky? Yes, they are.... So these will be part of a re-do as well.

As I get myself together this week...that is the plan, ya know?! IF I get it together, I'll have a reveal ready for you by the end of the week.

I got the spray paint just screamin' my name!!!

In the meantime, head on over to Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for more great treasures!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No words

Because there are no words when you lose a child.

Because there are no words when the call comes to tell you the news.

Because there are no words to comfort the grieving mother who's just watched her son take his last breath.

Because there are no words that will replace his wild curls and his mischevious grin.

Because there are no words to reassure those that life will continue on, that you will smile again, that you will eventually not be consumed with this awful grief.

There are words not spoken by us, but written by Him. Those are the only words.

Jesus said to his disciples: 'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.' Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?' Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'
John 14.1-6

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Praise Him In This Storm

Praise You In This Storm lyrics

I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Jarin DeWayne Janey

July 28, 1991 - July 30, 2009

Please don't drink and drive, and certainly don't get in vehicles with others that have been drinking.