Saturday, March 31, 2012

Our Week In Review - Biology

Our ninth grader started the year doing Apologia Biology on her own at home. By Christmas it was apparent to me that we needed some outside accountability, and some help with the lab work. I looked around and was able to enroll daughter G in a biology class for second semester. They recently began a series of dissections, and so far they have done a worm (pictures below), a crayfish, a perch, and last Friday a frog! (I watched, and it was super cool!)

Besides the frog, the worm was surprisingly the most interesting! There is an incredible amount of stuff inside a worm, and it is easily identifiable which makes the students feel like they are doing it right. :0) The crayfish's parts were very hard to identify.

So thankful for this outside class, and the opportunity G has to do labs with other homeschoolers!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


While driving home on the highway, in the new suburban, our boys were playing some kind of made up game where they each claimed a vehicle on the road around us, and then "raced" each other in these vehicles. Little Man actually said,

"I know! Let's pretend we're all brothers and then....."

Monday, March 26, 2012


Recipe for Honduran reprochetas posted on my food blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our New Suburban!!

Isn't it gorgeous?!?! I have literally pinched myself to make sure I'm not dreaming.

It's not new (9 years old in fact), but is the most "loaded" vehicle we've ever had! It comfortably seats our whole family, with lots of room in the back for our stuff.

So excited! And so very thankful!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Our Week In Review

This actually spans the last three weeks' worth of history. We have been learning about colonization: the relationship between the European home country and its colonies in America, as well as daily life in the colonies and how each of them were founded. We have also learned quite a bit about the Native Americans and their relationship with the colonists. Such a fascinating, intriguing, complex time in our history!

I have kept a basket of library books all dealing with some aspect of colonial life in our family room for about a month now, and this has been frequently dipped into! The two books in the front are the two I have been reading most recently to son C and Little Man. One of them is being a native American for our unit celebration coming up soon, and we have been working on making his costume out of brown paper grocery sacks.

After we have read about the start of each colony, we have either written or drawn what we learned about it on these lapbooks from Tapestry of Grace. Son C has mostly written, while Little Man has mostly drawn.

This is Little Man's book about the Iroquois League. It may not look like much, but he can tell you in detail about every single thing he drew in this picture!

After we read about William Penn and the founding of Pennsylvania, we worked together to re-state some of the facts we had learned, and then the boys copied them into their lapbooks. Son C wrote two entire pages about William Penn, first about his childhood and young adult life, and then about his coming to America and founding the colony of Pennsylvania.

We have made steady progress in our Biblical study of the Trinity, as well. This is part of our worldview curriculum, and I love it! On this day we had talked about loyalty, how God is always loyal to us, and ways we can show our loyalty back to God. After discussing, the children wrote their ideas in their Bible journals. And yes, we also did a fun word search! (for the highly observant)

Can't believe we are finishing up Year 2, Unit 3 soon. That means we are 3/4 of the way through this school year! Eek! That makes me feel grateful and panicky at the same time. As we study Unit 4 we will be learning about what led to the Revolutionary War, the war itself, and our first two presidents. Greatly looking forward to that!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday's Thankful Things

Thankful for these friends, and the opportunity to give the mom a special birthday celebration! After taking a few "regular" pics, I told them to make silly faces. Don't they look happy?!

And so thankful for the opportunity we had last week to attend a Purim celebration at a Messianic Jewish congregation. During the service the worship team led us in several parodies of old rock and roll songs ~ with the words changed to reflect the incredible story of Jewish deliverance recorded in the Bible in the book of Esther. They were all songs from the 70's, which my hubby and I recognized. Very fun!! (yes, that is the rabbi in the middle, surrounded by rocksters!)

The entire book of Esther was read, one chapter at a time, and we were to listen for the names of Esther, Mordecai, and Haman. Whenever Esther or Mordecai were mentioned we cheered and clapped, and whenever the evil Haman's name was heard we booed and used noise makers to cover up the mention of his name. It was fun for the children to do, and helped engage them in the reading. Yes, it was kindof fun for us adults too!

The incredibly rich history of the Jewish tradition, coupled with the fulfillment of Scripture in the coming of Messiah, was so very meaningful to me. It was a very special time of worship for me, personally.

I am so thankful to have a dog! "Our" dog has so completely adopted son C as her person, it is very sweet. She follows him around..... you guessed it..... like a puppy dog! (now I understand that phrase perfectly!). Every time he sits down, she jumps up next to him. When he goes to bed, she snuggles in with him. When he bends down to tie his shoes, she jumps on his back!

I am so, so, so, so, so thankful that son G was not seriously injured when his eye connected with the end of a foose ball pole. It doesn't look that bad in this picture, but he lacerated his eyelid all the way through and severed a tear duct. What didn't happen was trauma to the actual eye itself, and his vision is absolutely perfect.

We had a follow up visit with the opthamologist yesterday, and he is healing so well! He has a stent in his tear duct which needs to stay there for about a month, and five teeny tiny stitches in his eyelid, which will dissolve on their own. It was really funny because he had just the one eye dilated during his Dr. appt. We all got creeped out when we looked at him because one pupil was small and one was huge!

We are test driving some vehicles tonight, as we need to replace our hulk of a van. I am thankful that we have several choices to look at, that we can afford a car payment now, and that we actually qualify for a loan! Thank you, God!! (yes, there is hope for financial repair after unemployment!)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Thank you" and "I Love You"

I have lived away from my ancestral home now for exactly half my life. That means that I have said many, many hellos and goodbyes to my parents and my sisters.

And in spite of doing it many times, it is never easy. I love these people deeply and fiercely. They matter very much to me. So saying hello is happy and exhilarating and wonderful, and saying goodbye is hard and wrenching and sad.

Most of the time when we say goodbye we do not know exactly when we will see each other again. And years ago I decided that since we can never know if we have tomorrow, I would say to them the things that matter most each time I said goodbye.

What are those things? How can I sum up in just a few words all my heart holds?

Thank you.

...for the childhood memories we share.

...for being such terrific parents and grand-parents.

...for being such generous sisters.

...for all that you've taught me.

...for being such a godly example to me, still.

...for following, praising, and worshipping God, no matter what.

...for loving each other, no matter what.

...for coming to visit, or allowing me to visit you ("visiting" means "living with"!).

Thank you.

I love you.

...for being who God has made you to be.

...for loving me in spite of myself.

...because you are so precious to me, and so cherished by God.

...and I always will.

I love you.

Five little words that carry so much meaning.

"Thank you."

"I love you."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

You know your child has been learning about a Biblical Worldview when..... are discussing the movie Spy Kids, and you ask your children why they think the older sister treated her younger brother so poorly at the beginning of the movie, and one of them immediately says:

"because everyone is born a sinner."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Why I am Glad to be 50

Fifty. Half a century. Can you believe it??!! When I was a little girl I used to imagine where I might be at the turn of the century, and what my life would be like as a 38 year old. As it turned out, I was a mom of three small children ages 3 and under, praying and wondering what a possible Y2K scare might mean for our family. Fortunately, it meant nothing! With the extra cash we had stashed away we bought a new, very nice mattress for our bed, used up all the stored water and stockpiled firewood, and thanked God that life as we knew it did not end.

Me and my mom, among friends having dinner out at a nice restaurant!

Now the Y2K thing seems like a long time ago, and somehow I have become 50 years old. Not sure how that happened. Despite the surreal-ness of it, I am beginning to appreciate some of the many blessings of being 50.

1. I have lived for 50 years!! AMAZING! Fifty years to experience the joys and trials of life. Fifty years to give and receive love. Fifty years to experience God's faithfulness, and see His hand at work. Fifty years to grow more in love with Him. I mean, WOW, really. What a blessing to have lived for fifty years!

With my hubby at a symphony concert!

2. I have earned the right to be heard. Not that I have a lot to say or anything. ;-) I have learned that there really is a voice of experience. I am continuing to learn when it is appropriate to use that voice, and when experience is best learned first hand. Goodness, I wish I had that lesson down already!

3. I have friends of all ages. How I love and admire all my friends, from young children to old grandmas and grandpas and everyone in between. I love that even though I have lived for 50 years, I can learn lessons from those much younger than I. I love that I have godly examples of how to grow older with grace.

4. I have 50 years' worth of incredibly rich memories. Not all good, but overwhelmingly so. My memories are not to be lived in, but they form a deep and textured background to life in the present. They help inform the choices I make now. They help remind me where I came from, and where I am going.

Playing "mafia" with the whole group. Being the birthday girl I was targeted for "murder" right away!

5. Life has often been compared to a tapestry that can look tangled from our perspective, but beautifully woven from God's. I also like to think of it as a strand of rare pearls that God is stringing together, each pearl a "chapter" in my life. Only He knows how long the strand will be, and how many pearls will be on it, but as I look down the strand formed by the last 50 years, I marvel at each of the different chapters in my life and the blessing each of them has brought to me. That perspective gives me hope, not dread, for the future ~ what will the next pearl hold?

Enjoying hand made cards from each of my five children!

Scarf and instrumental CD from my beautiful daughter!

Chore coupon from the children ~ this made me very happy!

Kimono from my parents ~ to commemorate my time in Japan. Gorgeous and a total surprise!

My cake with a Barbie candle on one side and a Spiderman candle on the other. My hubby said the candles were chosen because I am both a babe AND a superhero, but I think it had more to do with those being the only options. ;-)

6. I am so much more comfortable with myself and in myself than I was when I was younger. Content in the knowledge that God made me, with my flaws and quirks, for a reason, and He doesn't make mistakes. I don't want to be anyone else. I am happy to be me.

7. Discernment is easier now. Sensing what is false and what is true comes more easily. Walking in God's Spirit, the longer I do it, becomes more and more like breathing. What a privilege it is each day to walk with God!

8. I don't have all the answers, and sometimes life seems complicated or confusing, but the things that I know, I know more deeply and fully.

9. I'll admit the aches and pains are no fun. The gray hair that continuously needs to be colored (yes, it really needs it!). The parts of my body that act differently than they used to. But these inevitable aspects of aging in a sin-ridden world are a constant reminder to me that THIS is not all there is! THIS is not my home! My ultimate safe harbor is being prepared for me by the One who is the lover of my soul. When my strand of pearls is complete, I will enter my eternal home, with Jesus there to welcome me, and it will be HEAVEN.