Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Recipes

Posted these new recipes on my cooking blog recently. Check them out!

Bull's Eyes for Breakfast

Whole Wheat Corn Waffles

Homemade Granola

Chicken Salad Bar for hot summer nights when you don't feel like cooking!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spiritual Milestone

Today was a special day for our family. Three of our boys were baptized. And my husband baptized them! According to the Bible, baptism is a public proclamation of faith in Christ, and an act of obedience after receiving Christ's free gift of salvation. Sons G, L, and C each took this step with joy and solemnity, understanding it was a significant milestone in their spiritual journey.

As I was watching them during the baptism, a part of my heart went back to the day(s) each of them were dedicated to the Lord as infants. Along with other couples, my husband and I stood on the very same platform with our new son in our arms, and promised before our church family to train our child in the knowledge and ways of God. On that day I could not see 12, 11, and 9 years into the future and see their baptism day. But I dreamed of it. Hoped for it. Prayed for it.

I reflected on the years that my children have grown up in our church ~ learning about faith and how to apply it to every day life. Watching dear people from our church family go through struggles and heartaches, and seeing their faith in action. Being taught in Sunday School and Awana by wise and experienced christian adults. Learning to serve, and think of others. All of that was in the future when we stood on the platform with our infant. But now, years later, I can see the working out of the promises that were made that day. The promise we made to teach our child about Jesus, and the promise our church family made to help us in that task.

Wonderful as this milestone today is, each of our boys' spiritual journeys will continue. We will continue teaching them about Jesus, and our church family will continue partnering with us as we do so. Such a picture of the living, breathing, fluid, dynamic journey that is our christian walk. I am so grateful for my family and for my church family!

My heart is full.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy 9th Birthday!!!

Yes, it's true. Son C is 9! This was C's year for a family party, to which he could invite one friend. He invited his friend Noah.

C turning 9 has been kindof a big deal to me. Not sure why. He is not the youngest, but there's just something about his face and his ways that I have always wished I could bottle up and keep forever ~ it's so sweet and innocent. This is now his last year before double digits, and that seems so old to me. So grown up. Yet I am also happy for him to be growing and becoming, just as God has planned!

His siblings gave him two different kinds of clay.

His first jackknife! (mom and dad - this was a real winner, as you can see by his face in this picture! Thank you!)

Book of treehouses. Oh the possibilities!

His own set of "real" tools.

And a kit to use them on!

We let C stay up long enough to build his kit. It was an old fashioned tool box.

Look at that concentration!


A man with his tools.....what could be better?!

Happy Birthday to our sweet, intelligent, inquisitive, and creative young man! We love you!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I DID win the Kindle!!!!!!

Just found out moments ago that my blog generated the most sales of all the bloggers that entered the contest, so I did win the Kindle! Yippee Skippee!!!!! I'm so psyched!

Thank you, thank you, thank you blog readers who purchased from Hands and Hearts!

Okay, Kindle owners.....help me out! What do I need to know?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

On this Father's Day I can't help but think of those children around the world who don't have fathers. They have never known what it's like to have a daddy who tucks them in at night, or who comes to their soccer games, or who reads books to them in funny voices. They don't know this because they are orphans.

I recently became aware of a newly adopted girl named Carrington. She was a beautiful little three year old girl from Eastern Europe whose parents were very excited to bring her home to the U.S. What they did not know until she was legally theirs was how extremely malnourished Carrington was. They had never seen her without layers of clothes. She was 3 years old and weighed 11 pounds. Yes, you read that right. ELEVEN POUNDS. That is just 8 ounces more than one of our children weighed at birth.

She was rushed to the hospital as soon as their plane landed back in the U.S, and now, three months later, I am happy to say she is doing well! She has gained over six pounds!!

I am so thankful for her forever family. So thankful they got her when they did. She would not have survived much longer in the orphanage. My heart is heavy for all the children they left behind at that orphanage when they brought Carrington home. Please visit their blog, read their story, and then ask God how YOU may be involved in helping another precious child know the love of a dad.

Today I Am.....

Relieved that spring soccer season is over! All the children played or ref'ed their last game yesterday. I am also a little sad that it is over, as son G has now aged out of that league and will be playing in a different league than everyone else in the fall. We have been spoiled ~ all our players have had practices at the same location, at the same time, and games have been at the same place. Now we will have to go multiple places at all different (or the same) times.

Excited that son C's team won their last game! (first win of the whole season, and C scored 3 of their 5 goals!! Whoo-hoo, go C!) Thankful that he had a great attitude all season despite their losing record.

Preparing for VBS, which starts tomorrow. I am the preschool story teller!

Excited to see that The Short Ones' seeds which they planted in our garden are beginning to sprout! Yay! Grow seeds, grow. Stay away birds, stay away.

Thankful for my dad. He is such a man of integrity. Words fail to describe how much I love him, and how thankful I am to be his daughter!

Exceptionally grateful for my husband. So thankful that he is, that he is my husband, and that he is such an amazing father to our children.

Praying....for dear friends who are observing their first father's day without their husbands/fathers, for my friend who is estranged from his adult children and doesn't even know his grandkids, for my elderly friend whose husband of many years has an altered mental state and is combative, for the family at church whose husband/father has been languishing from cancer for many years. Today is a hard day for so many. Lord, have mercy on your people! Thank you that YOU are our perfect and ever present father.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Son C to Little Man: "Do you know why mommy's cookies are so good? Because she bakes them with love!"

Little Man: "No she doesn't. She bakes them with chocolate chips just like all the other mommies."
Apparently I did not win the Kindle. :-(

I have not received an email telling me I didn't win, but I also have not received one telling me I *did* win, and it is two days past the day of notification, so.....

Thank you, those of you who purchased something from Hands and Hearts, for helping a small business owned by homeschoolers. Thank you for encouraging them, and me! As you use the product(s) you purchased from them, please pray for their youngest son Noah as he continues to battle the effects of mitochondrial disease. If you would like more info on Noah's condition and his current situation, go here.

I have found so many free e-books for the Kindle that go along with the time period we'll be studying next year, I think I will start saving money to just buy one. Have to do the math to see if that would be cost effective....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Play date with The Short Ones!

The short ones are sweet little friends from church (dubbed The Short Ones by their mother to distinguish them from their much older adult siblings who are The Tall Ones) whom we had over one day this week. It was special for me to get to spend more time with just them (I am usually blessed to spend time with one or more of The Tall Ones). First they played for a bit to burn off some of their excitement. :-)

And then they each picked out some seeds to plant in their own little sections of our garden. First K's turn..... she chose beans and carrots.

And then A's turn.... she chose watermelon and chives.

How I pray their little seeds will grow well and produce fruit! (gardening is such a metaphor for life....)

After we had done this hot and dirty work, we swam!

It was a fun, fun time that I treasure. Thank you, votemom, for sharing your Short Ones with me!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First Week of Summer Break

So thankful for....

good books, and brotherly love

cool insects

hard, satisfying work

beautiful colors!

joyful fun

Friday, June 10, 2011

Only One More Day to Save 15%!

Your 15% discount at Hands and Hearts expires at midnight TOMORROW (Saturday). If you are anything like me, you may have thought "I'll take a look at that website later"...and now later has arrived!

If you place an order, be sure to use this link, or type "Pam" as the coupon code during the checkout process. This guarantees your 15% off, and the purchase gets credited to me toward the free Kindle contest.

Please feel no obligation to purchase, but if you DO purchase, do it before midnight tomorrow for your special savings!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jeopardy - Ancient History Edition!

When we ended our school year last week we decided to have a family Jeopardy competition instead of a unit celebration. June has shaped up to be a very busy month, and it was just easier to do a simple thing to mark the end of our year. And sometimes it's nice to have a change of pace!

I made up questions in four categories, based on our studies for the entire year. They ranged in point value from 100 (timeline 100 question: what does B.C. stand for?) to 500 (what year did the western Roman Empire fall?). No notes were allowed. (note: I am going to laminate this Jeopardy poster so it will be easy to use over and over again, but I am going to change the last category to "Daily Life" instead of "Countries".)

Daddy and the two younger boys made up one team.

And the three older children made up the other team. Team members could confer with each other before the final answer was given. To make it easier I did not have them answer with the question, as in the original TV Jeopardy.

Some of the conferring happened up in the air!

The older children's team won by a narrow margin. It was a fierce competition! Afterward we had cookies and ice cream.

A simple but fun ending to our year!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

From B.C. to A.D.!!

We finished school last week, but a few weeks before our last day, we finally made it to the time period of history when Jesus Christ lived on earth! This was very exciting, as all we'd studied up to then pointed to Christ's coming, or in some way prepared for His coming. We re-read some of the New Testament accounts of his ministry (we read through all the gospels last year) and then read about his arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. When we finished reading, I asked Sons L, C, and Little Man to write (or narrate to me) what they remembered. They each made a mini book like this:

This is Little Man's.

Open the big flap, and three smaller flaps are inside.

This is what he told me to write under each flap.

Narrating to me, and writing down what they remember, is a great way to discern how much of our reading they have internalized. (By the way, this method is a hallmark of the Charlotte Mason style of teaching.)

After this we continued our study of the Roman Empire, ending our year with the fall of the western Roman Empire in 476 A.D. We will pick up at this time in history when we start Tapestry of Grace Year 2 in the fall.

It has been an incredible year of learning for all of us, probably me most of all! I have loved Year 1, and am already looking forward to returning to it in four more years!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Daughter G

Since receiving this art table for her 14th birthday, daughter G has spent a significant portion of her time in her room creating various pieces of art. She has been in an art class since February, and will often continue working on a project she began in class, or come home and start a similar project which she finishes completely at home. She can see in her mind's eye exactly how she wants the piece to look, and is quite meticulous.

Last week there was a show at her art studio of all the students' work throughout the year. Since she began the class mid-year, she missed some of the instruction in oils and focused on acrylics and watercolors. Here she is standing next to some of her favorite pieces.

Here are my three favorites up close:

Her art teacher, Mrs. D.

Wonderful job G! I am thankful for the art talent God gave you, and love to see how you are developing it and using it for His glory!