June 26, 2012

Just a little update...

Can you believe it's the last week of June already? Seriously crazy to think it's almost the 4th of July! Our summer is most definitely here with 100+ degrees scheduled for the end of the week. We took a break from homeschooling this week. My health has been a bit iffy lately and I need some time to get back up to snuff.

We think my eyes have experienced some strain due to not having an updated prescription in awhile as well as the pressures of more computer use due to all the stuff I'm doing for homeschooling and my new job as a the Designed to Color magazine's social media director. It caused a scary episode of pre-seizure symptoms (something I've dealt with since I was 8 years old) while driving home in traffic in downtown Cincinnati--the first time it's ever happened while driving. I got scared and immediately started praying out loud to our Father to help me make it home (60 + miles!) and to keep me and my babies safe. Praise to the Lord that He heard and answered my prayer and we made it home safely. The last 20 miles were filled with LOUD singing of hymns by myself and Little Britches at the top of our lungs. But it got us home. This morning I'm experiencing a bout of "summer flu" where my stomach is upset and I can't eat much and am severely lacking in energy. My eyes are tired too. So after I take my boys to the in-laws for the day, I'm heading up to the ophthalmologist to get my eyes checked.

Any and all prayers would be appreciated about this. We're hoping that it's my eyes that are causing my other health problems...and so not only am I getting my eyes checked out but I'm having to reconfigure my computer usage because what I'm doing now is aggravating my eyes. So I am going to be limiting my usage to just twice a day for one hour each time. This should allow me to catch up on my emails, check my FB and do anything else I need to...and give my eyes a break. The last time I was having this issue was back when I worked as an administrative assistant and was on the computer for nearly 8 hours a day...I had the eye strain and health issues then too. So it's obviously connected and I am just going to have to make changes. I don't want to burn out my eyes. And less computer time is NEVER a bad thing anyways, right?!

So that is what is going on right now. I just wanted to let you all know...

And my scripture for today is very aprapos...

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Phillipians 4:13

June 18, 2012

Am I my Brother's Keeper?

Can you even BELIEVE that it's the middle of June and that the first day of Summer is officially this week?! Where has this year gone?! It's pathetic, but I think I say that EVERY year...but IT'S TRUE!

While we are done with Kindergarten and I have everything we need to start First grade, my husband asked that we wait because he doesn't want Little Britches to do school year round. Now I'm of the mind that there is NOTHING WRONG with it as long as you allow ample time for vacations and breaks and just being a kid. Which is why we are compromising...and not doing "school" but weekly Bible units and only doing them for morning lessons.

There is ample to teach when it comes to the Bible--and I have a great source that provides wonderful printable lesson booklets that are thematic with coloring pages and activity sheets. The best thing is that they were created when I was little and went out of print--but some wonderful people somewhere took them, scanned them and now they are available online for anyone to use!

Here is the link where they are grouped together by grade level--in this case level one is actually Kindergarten. We've use these for teaching Creation, Adam and Eve and Joseph so far with Little Britches. I tend to only print out the inner pages since the front and back are in color--but sometimes I print the back page--or at least retype it (if it's just words) so he can do the activity.

Here is how our week usually goes with teaching from these lessons--I'll use this past week as an example:
This week we did the booklet on Cain and Abel.

* Introduce words that will come up in lesson (Cain, Abel, offering, murder, farmer, shepherd, brother)
* Read story from the lesson; ask the discussion questions at bottom of page
* Color first picture and do the activities on page 10 and 11

* Review words from yesterday--write them out and discuss who/what they are
* Read story from the Bible; ask questions about what was read like "What is a fugitive or vagabond?", or "How many commandments did Cain break?", "Did God give Cain a chance to confess? What do you think God would have done if Cain had confessed?"
* Color picture of Cain and talk about what it meant to be a "tiller of the soil" during that time; do the dot-to-dot activity
* Use the Corn worksheet I made and have him add kernels to the cob
(You can download my printable I made for this HERE)

*Review the main words; asking Little Britches to tell me what they mean
* Read the story from the Bible--this time have him fill in dialogue
* Ask him what would have happened if Cain had recognized his bad attitude BEFORE killing Abel...how would the story have been different? Review the commandments that were broken.
* Color picture of Abel and discuss what a shepherd is and draw connections to other shepherds we know about from the Bible (David, Jesus Christ, Parable of the Lost Sheep); ask what products we get from sheep. Practice drawing a lamb following the guide in the lesson
* Use the lamb worksheet I made and have him add cotton balls after coloring
(You can download the lamb worksheet HERE)

* Read the story from the Bible--have Little Britches tell the story with me
* Talk about the offerings each man made. How did they know what to bring? Who had taught them? Why was one right and the other wrong? Do we give offerings? Is there a way for us to give a "bad" offering?
* Color picture of the offerings

* Have Little Britches tell me the story--help if needed
* Review the words from Monday for comprehension
* Discuss the connection between hatred and murder and what God's word says about them.
* Talk about what it means to "be your brother's keeper" and how it relates to our dealing with other people
* Color picture of Cain slaying Abel. We talked about what God meant when He said that the "voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me". Little Britches made his page VERY accurate. LOL!
* Discuss what happened to Cain after he had to leave his family and why God chose to "mark" him from being killed.
* Do the activity on the back of the lesson.

You will notice that nearly every lesson has a Bible Memory section. Sometimes it's a scripture--the first few lessons have the child memorizing the books of the Bible--a few for each lesson. It's up to you whether you want to use it or not. I'm waiting on the books of the Bible right now...but I always do the scriptures if they are listed.

As you can see, there is plenty to do, just by using these lessons over the course of a week. Sometimes the lesson matches perfectly with other activities that you can find online or with games or math. I have a host of them that I'm getting together for our lesson pack on Noah this week.

So if you are looking for something all-in-one to do over the summer, I totally recommend these lessons!

June 12, 2012

Willingly Working with My Hands

 Sunday was a day of working with my hands...I was gardening nearly all day long--
did I mention it was 90+ degrees???!!

But I kept thinking about how much my labor was going to produce rich yummy things for my family a few weeks and months down the road, so I was willingly and eager to do it! Besides, there is something so satisfying about looking at it when you are all done!

If you remember from previous postings I mentioned how this year we are using a covering principle (see www.backtoeden.com) as well as non-GMO, open pollination heirloom seeds for all our vegetables and herbs.

Here are some pictures of how our garden is looking thus far...

We are in drought conditions right now and my husband says we have the best looking potatoes of all the neighboring farms or any others that he sees...everyone else is complaining about how their crops are dying.
It's totally due to the hay covering--it's keeping all the moisture in the soil!

Our peas and bean plants are growing so well! Some are even getting blossoms on them already. I chose varieties that were smaller so they didn't need a lot of room. I planted these bean seeds and peas the same day I planted the seeds you will see below in my Father-in-Law's garden...
What?? You can't see them very well? Exactly! That's the difference having the covering makes to keep the water in the soil. The plants actually...GROW! This uncovered dirt is like trying to dig in cement! Our dirt is so moist under its covering of hay that it's a deep dark rich brown! Tons of bugs and worm! This dirt? I've YET to see a worm or any bugs besides ants.

What I haven't taken a picture of are the five watermelon and three cucumber hills as well as the tomato plant seedlings I planted on Sunday...which is a shame because we had a trespasser on Sunday night who walked on 3 of my 5 watermelon hills and 2 of my 3 cucumber hills...smashing them flat--scattering the seeds everywhere! I know it was a human critter because the shoe print was clear and there were NO animal tracks anywhere! This garden is right below the railroad and we get a lot of people who walk up and down it. So it's not uncommon...and there have been robberies occurring lately...so maybe my watermelon hills and this wet (from the rain) garden dirt foiled a robbery?! LOL!

I am eager to harvest our firstfruits...we have decided to give them to an elderly couple who is unable to have a garden for the first time in their lives due to health. We rent pasture from them so we visit regularly. We took them some extra cabbage and a big crate of new potatoes that we bought from another farmer and they were just tickled to death! I plan on sharing any abundance of our garden with them even later in the season.

So that is how are garden is doing right now...

"Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it." Genesis 2:15

"For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." Isaiah 61:11

"Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming to the goodness of the LORD--For wheat and new wine and oil, For the young of the flock and the herd; Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, And they shall sorrow no more at all." Jeremiah 31:12

ps. In homeschooling news, we are back in 1/2 days for school and this week we are studying Cain and Abel as our main lesson!

June 6, 2012

Just had to share...

Here they are!!! It's the firstfruits...or rather firstVEGGIES of my garden!
Two beautiful beans from one of the bean plants we started inside in a jar...I don't imagine that plant will have much more to offer--see when we learned that if you start them inside in just water, they blossom too soon without growing a nice mature plant. Our other beans that we planted OUTSIDE are all still busy growing their plant--like they should be!

I have to admit, it was fun to snap them off...I threw them in our pot of water for the corn on the cob and let them cook with the corn. They turned oh so dark green...and tasted DELICIOUS! Now I can't wait to get a whole crop!

The eagerness with which I searched for these firstfruits brought to mind all the scriptures in the Bible about how we who come to know the truth on the earth NOW are the firstfruits of the Kingdom of God.

James 1:18
"Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures."

Revelation 14:4
"...These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb."

It's so exciting to think that God is as excited about us as I was for these insignificant beans!

June 5, 2012

The little things...

This weather and season always makes it easy to find little things to be thankful for. Most of mine are outside.

a tiny little frog the size of the end of my thumb...so cute and perfectly made.

...my 8 foot butterfly bush blooming and releasing it's sweet aroma in the air.

...finding this pretty little Five Spot posy hiding in my flower bed!

So many things to be thankful for...and they don't cost a dime!

What are you thankful for today?

June 4, 2012

Time for reflection...

My sister-in-laws wedding was yesterday. It was beautiful, the weather was perfect and everything went smashingly according to plan! It takes a long time to plan...and then in 1 hour or less, everything you've planned has come to fruition--she was stunned that after waiting for 29 years to find her Prince Charming, she's now MRS. Charming and moving into a new stage in her life...

But as you can see from this picture...she's eager to do so!
Photo courtesy of Julie Lamm
I love weddings...it's a time for reflection. I like to ask myself if I still am doing my part of the commitment I made to my husband. Do I still love him even in his moments of weakness or frailty? Do I still submit to him even when asked to make sacrifice? How am I doing in regards to Proverbs 31:12 (my verse for the GMG study says this morning) which says  "She does him good and not evil All the days of her life."

Am I finding ways to do him good? Even when I'm feeling bad? Or cranky? Or just "not in the mood"? I came home from the wedding determined to show my husband AGAIN that I DO mean every word I agreed to at our wedding ceremony nearly 10 years ago. This week I'm going to try to go out of my way to find ways to INTENTIONALLY "do good"...even when I don't feel like it or want to.

This means I have to "knuckle down, buckle down, do it...do it...do it.."
(yeah, I was a cheerleader in my former days...)

So I'm taking it to God and asking for His help...because He's going to have to help me make some changes...and we all know how much we each like to change...LOL!