Friday, April 30, 2010

Thoughts on Homeschooling (Part 2)

If you missed Part 1, you can read that here.

Lately, I have been listening to a few of Andrew Pudewa's talks that he gave at a homeschooling conference. By the say, by starting out that previous sentence with the adverb "Lately", I just used one of his tips for "instantly improving your writing"! :-) Andrew heads up the Institute for Excellence in Writing. I must say, I feel encouraged and inspired by some of his information and ideas about homeschooling! Thus, I am spurred on to type out more of my thoughts on homeschooling. If my thoughts here seem scattered and unorganized, it's because they are! Sorry, Andrew! :-)

As I had mentioned in Part 1, in our 2nd year of marriage I decided to attend university to study education and become an elementary/middle years teacher. Why did I decide to attend university after I had pretty much decided that all I wanted to be was a stay-at-home wife and mom? To be honest, I am not exactly sure. Partly I think it was because I was worrying about the future and the "what-ifs" of life as in...what if my husband lost his job or couldn't work anymore, and then I would have to provide for the family with no university degree to fall back on. Instead of trusting the Lord about circumstances I would have no control over, I was trying to take things into my own hands, which was (and always is) wrong. I also mistakenly thought that having a university degree would better equip me to home school our children since we had recently started thinking about that. A university degree is definitely not needed in order to home school :-). Also, I probably was seeking more acceptance from the world, which places such a high emphasis on education and career-minded women. The original plan was that I would get my degree in education and then teach for a couple years to pay off student loans, and then we would start our family and I would be a full time stay-at-home-mom. At this point, we were seriously considering homeschooling our children, and we thought this was a reasonable and well-thought-out plan. It made perfect sense in our human minds, but as we know, the Lord's thoughts and ways are higher than ours, thankfully!

My 2 years in university showed me that I really did not want to teach in the public school system. I was taking "pre-education" classes, and my teaching areas were Social Studies and English. I could hardly believe some of the things we future teachers were being "taught to teach".

In my 2nd year of university, I was starting to feel increasingly uneasy about continuing my education. Some of the things we future teachers were being taught really disturbed me. (Here comes an incomplete mess-of-a-non-sentence. Oops!) Evolution in bio class, feminism ideals and tolerance for the practice of homose-uality in History class, appreciation for all religions (as in, each to his "own" truth) in Anthropology class, meditation, earth worship, and New Age spirituality in Health Science class, globalization (thinking of ourselves as "global citizens) and socialist ideology in Human Geography and Political Studies. I could go on and on...

The general undertone of every class was "tolerance" as in there are no absolute truths. This reminds me of what I heard Andrew Pudewa speak about in one of his lectures. He explained how there is NOT a separation of church and state. The state (government) teaches its religion of relativism through its temples a.k.a the public schools. The religion of relativism teaches there are no absolute truths and we need to be "tolerant" of everything and not claim that we hold the answers to the important questions of life. Hmm...religion of relativism, aren't you being intolerant of my intolerance. Get what I mean?

In late spring of 2007, the Lord suddenly spoke to me and my husband's hearts that I was to discontinue my university education. In some ways it felt like a huge step of faith, but in other ways, it was one of the easiest decisions we ever made because we had such peace about it. Without a doubt, this was one of the best decisions we ever made.

I will pause for now. Part 3 is coming soon. In fact, I am already working on it :-) Who knows? It may even be up in the next day or two.

**For Part 3, click here. **

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Time to Relax

Everything on my To Do List is crossed off, the baby is tucked into bed, and other than a lullaby cd playing in the background, the house is quiet. My husband will be home from work in about half an hour and then we will relax for the evening :-). I am still feeling achy but not quite as bad as I did this morning. I think I'm going to try a new recipe this evening and make some Maple Hot Chocolate to have ready for a bedtime treat when my husband gets home. Hopefully the baby will stay asleep for a few hours until her last night time feed so that my husband and I can have a relaxing evening together. Last night was a rough one. Our baby is teething, so some nights she is waking up crying from pain. She has 2 bottom teeth poking through now.

Tomorrow night we are having Bible Study at our house. We are studying the book of 1 Peter and starting with chapter 1 tomorrow. We've really missed having a Bible Study for the past few months, so I'm really glad that we are starting one up again. It might be a very small group, but it is so important to study the Word of God and fellowship with other believers. I'm really looking forward to it. I am going to go make that hot chocolate now and some whipped cream to go on top. Yum! I'm very much looking forward to relaxing and resting this evening.

One of Those Days...

You know, the kind where you don't feel like doing much of anything?

Well, I'm having one of those today.

I feel tired and achy right through to my fingertips. Not sure if I'm coming down with something-or-other or if I'm just simply tired.

As much as I would just love to curl up in bed and stay there all day...there are a few things I really should get done today.

Event though I really don't feel like doing anything today, sometimes we have to do things we don't always feel like doing :-). This morning was spent running errands with my husband. Now it's 2:30 p.m. and I haven't got a whole lot accomplished around the house yet.

Here's the plan for "One of Those Days":
  • Fold and put away daughter's laundry
  • Finish washing bedding and remake bed
  • Tidy up the kitchen
  • Quick clean main bathroom (skipping the tub/shower today)
  • Quick sweep
  • Do a quick pick-up of stuff around the house and have whole house tidy again
  • Empty garbages
  • Plant peppers in indoor containers
After I'm done those tasks, then I might work on my daughter's baby book for a bit or try setting up my sewing machine (which is still in its box!). Then...I'm relaxing for most of the evening. Time to tackle that list so I can take the rest of the day :-)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Savoury Flax Biscuits

Savoury Flax Biscuits
(This is from a church cookbook - the church I attended when I was growing up)

2 cups flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup flax seed
1 cup grated carrots
2 tsp herb and spice seasoning
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk

Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in flax, carrots, and seasoning. Combine egg and milk. Add to flour mixture all at once. Stir until dough forms a ball. Knead gently 20 times. Roll dough to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut will cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10-14 minutes at 450 F oven until golden brown.

Beef Barley Soup

eef Barley Soup

6 cups beef broth
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 10 oz can tomato soup
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup pearl or pot barley
6 more cups water
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
3 cups leftover roast beef, chopped

Heat the beef broth in large pot. Add remaining ingredients (except beef). Bring to boil. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Add beef and simmer 1/2 hour more.

Menu Plan Monday (April 26)

Here's the plan for the week.

Sunday, April 25
Lunch: out to eat
Supper: Tuscan Pizza (scroll down), loaded pizza, carrots and dip

Monday, April 26
Lunch: Leftover pizza
Supper: Homemade beef barley soup, Savoury Flax Biscuits

Tuesday, April 27
Lunch: Leftover soup and biscuits
Supper: Smoothie, spinach and cheese omelet

Wednesday, April 28
Lunch: Tuna on rye crips, veggies and dip
Supper: Teriyaki Salmon (on the bbq if nice outside), brown rice
Bible Study Snack: veggies and dip, blueberry tarts

Thursday, April 29
Lunch: Fruit salad, cheese toast
Supper: Jeera Chicken Curry (new recipe I still haven't made yet!), brown rice, strawberry spinach salad

Friday, April 30
Lunch: leftovers
Supper: Cream of tomato soup (scroll down for recipe), cheese toast

Saturday, May 1
Attending a Bible conference, so we're eating out

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Snow in April

Yes, it's true. Snow in April. One days it's 20+ degrees C outside, the next morning, I wake up to snow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Project Mania

I've had a busy past few days. Here's what we've been up to.

On Monday I painted our bedroom a smoky greyish/purplish colour, which I personally think looks better than the green that was on the walls before. When I first opened the can of paint, my husband's initial response was, "It's PINK!". Now his response is that as long as I like it, whatever colour I pick is fine with him. I think it looks okay. I am never too sure about change at first, but it usually grows on me. I want to either paint the kitchen or our daughter's room next, but I honestly hate painting. It is not something I enjoy, so usually I have to put a few months between each paint project so I can forget how much I hate painting. Then once I've forgotten, I start another project and then I wonder why I talked myself into painting again. Pictures to come once I've got my curtains sewn.

Sewing Machine
I finally got my sewing machine on Saturday. It's kind of a long story and I made 3 trips to the store in the same day in order to get my hands on one, but it's finally here, safe and sound. It is a Singer computerized one. Pretty basic. Not too fancy. It is still in its box, but make no mistake, I am itchin' to get it outta there and start sewing! Hopefully tonight or tomorrow it will make its grand appearance.

Car Conundrums
We have two cars, but we usually only drive one of them and the other sits in storage. I don't usually need a car during the day, and if I do, I just drop my husband off at work and pick him up if I need the car that day. On the weekend the car we currently are using started "acting funny". Well, my husband phoned around a few places and did some research on the internet to gather some info about what the issue was. He was told that a few parts would need to be changed, etc. Well after researching the internet, he decided that it might be a simple solution, so he bought a couple parts and fixed it himself! The mechanic he spoke with was wrong and sending it there would have probably cost a couple hundred bucks. Instead, my husband bought a 60 dollar part and fixed it himself. That's not all...

Our 2nd car sitting in storage also has a problem and frequently wouldn't start. My husband researched the internet again, found out how to fix it (a fairly complicated problem), and proceeded to buy a few parts and fix it himself on Monday and Tuesday. This problem would have cost several hundreds of dollars to fix and even then, it's not likely a mechanic would have even fixed the problem for good. My hubby had quite the project going, and I honestly have not a clue how he figured it all out, but he found a permanent solution and the car works great again! He is not a mechanic or even in a trade, but he is extremely smart! I'm very blessed to be married to him. He is hardworking and very good at problem-solving.

Carpet Cleaning
Since we already had our bedroom disassembled for painting, I decided to shampoo the carpet there and in the spare bedroom today. I bought a fairly inexpensive little machine that works pretty good at cleaning the carpets.

Schedule Interruptions
I am fairly scheduled person and have to fight the urge to not get into a major tizzy when things are not done precisely as I had planned. This past Monday and Tuesday were days where I got behind on my scheduled housework because of all the car projects, painting project, and visiting family. In the past, I would have gotten grumpy and stressed over having my schedule interrupted; however, I am learning to be flexible when things don't go exactly as planned. This is hard for me, I must admit, but is it really that big of a deal if I have to wash the bedding on Wednesday instead of on Tuesday? LOL. As a wife, one of my jobs is to help make my husband's life easier. This means that when my husband wants to work on projects or visit people, I should be cheerfully flexible and not think twice about the "interruption" to my day even if I had other plans for my day, which included housework, baking, organizing, etc. Today I am taking time to catch up on housework that didn't get done on its scheduled day this week.

And yes, I am washing the bedding today (even though it's a Wednesday!)!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (April 19)

I didn't follow last week's plan very closely, so many of the meals got bumped up to this week. We had some beautiful spring days last week, so I just HAD to use the bbq! That's partly why I didn't follow last week's plan all that closely. On Saturday we had barbecued hamburgers...YUM! I decided to put my lunch plans on here this week. I tend to keep lunches very simple; usually I just have things like a sandwich, a salad, tuna on rye crisps, leftovers, soup, an omelet, or a smoothie for lunch. My husband works some weekends and evening, so I try to plan my menu around his work schedule. On the days my husband is working late, then I try to plan something a bit more substantial for lunch and then I eat a simple supper. On the days he has off, I plan simpler meals.

Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday, April 18
Lunch: Leftover loaded hamburgers
Supper: Portobello Penne Pasta Bake adapted from this, veggies and dip

Monday, April 19
Lunch: Leftover pasta
Supper: BLT sandwiches, salad

Tuesday, April 20
Lunch: Hot dogs, mac n' cheese (lately we've been hot dog deprived! LOL)
Supper: Taco salad

Wednesday, April 21
Lunch: Leftover tacos or taco salad
Supper: Tuna salad sandwich on whole wheat, veggies

Thursday, April 22
Lunch: Smoothie, tuna on rye crisps
Supper: Jeera Chicken Curry (new recipe) and Rice

Friday, April 23
Lunch: Spinach & mushroom omelet, smoothie
Supper: Pizza and caesar salad

Saturday, April 24
Lunch: Leftover pizza
Supper: Something simple (Maybe whole wheat penne and tomato sauce)

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Homemade Pita Chips

I had such a fun time yesterday experimenting with homemade pita bread. I had never made it before, but I was extremely pleased with how well it turned out. Most of the bread I made into pita chips, but I used one flatbread for a mini pizza for my supper. I also saved one to use as a pita sandwich. The pita chips were AWESOME! My husband absolutely loved them with the hummus! He also had never had hummus before, and he loved it, too! He didn't know it was made from chickpeas. hehe. He couldn't believe it when I told him what was in it. It was a definite winner for us. I am for sure making these again. They make a great appetizer or snack.

First, make this homemade pita bread (or you can use store-bought pitas.)

Homemade Baked Pita Chips

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Montreal Chicken seasoning or your favourite spice mix

Whisk together oil and seasoning. Brush oil onto each pita. Cut each pita into 8-12 wedges. Place wedges onto a baking sheet, and bake at 400 F for 4-5 minutes. Watch closely. Flip half way through if desired, but it really isn't necessary. Serve them with hummus, guacamole, or whatever you like.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Healthy Snacks and Wardrobe Woes

Sewing/Decorating Update

I was really hoping to try out a new sewing machine today. I even went to the store bright and early in hopes of my machine being there, but I was told to check back tomorrow. Sigh. I am seriously so excited to start sewing! I found one that I want to buy. It is a computerized Singer on a good sale. My sewing kit is ready to go...all I need is a machine!

I also bought some paint yesterday to paint our bedroom. Our bedroom is currently a shade of green that I really do not care for. I am planning on painting it a more neutral colour and sewing some plain brown curtains. I don't know how to describe the paint colour. It's kind of grey but warmer. Hmm..I'll try to post before/after pictures if I remember.

Now...regarding healthy snacks.

Today I think I might experiment with a new snack recipe. I really like chips and dip, but they aren't exactly the most calorie-friendly things. I have been trying to eat a bit healthier and make healthier substitutions for some of my favourite foods. I found a really easy recipe for homemade pita bread. I thought I might make that today and then make some homemade pita chips out of it and serve them with hummus. If it turns out, I will share the recipe.

Now... for my wardrobe woes.

I am in desperate need of some new clothes. "Woe" probably is not the right word to use because I am actually quite happy that I have hardly anything that fits me right now. I have lost almost 30 pounds and several sizes since the end of December when I started exercising and eating healthier. Just a little while ago I got rid of all my old clothes from high school that I had held onto for 4 years in hopes of one day fitting into them again. Now I find myself wishing I had kept some of them. It seemed that right when I got rid of them all was when I found the motivation to start exercising again. I have also decided that it is time embrace the feminine. In the next while I plan on having my husband go through my wardrobe and get rid of all things he does not like. I went through an awful phase a year or two ago where I started...oh I'm almost too embarrassed to say it...wearing my husband's t-shirts. (gasp!) Terrible, I know, and oh-so-not-pretty. Thankfully, I stopped doing that a long time and my husband went through my clothes and threw out all of my old baggy t-shirts that were frumpy and downright ugly. Now it's time for another wardrobe overhaul, so I'll go through it again with my husband to get rid of clothes he doesn't like. I think that it's good for a wife to wear clothes that her husband approves of and likes.

Yesterday I went shopping with my mom for some new clothes. After a few hours, all I had found was...NOTHING! Things just didn't fit quite right. I find it difficult finding clothes that are modest and still pretty. In the end I did find a couple things, but wowsers, it was a very tiring day! Thankfully we are heading on a little family getaway in just over a month, and we tend to do the bulk of our shopping on these little vacations. Until then, I will just have to manage with what I have :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sewing 101

I have tried knitting...and failed.
I have tried crocheting...and failed.
I have tried scrapbooking...and failed.

Now I'm going to try my hand at sewing with the hopes of discontinuing my negative pattern of failing miserably at the art of "hand crafts"

My mom gave me her old sewing machine to use and I have been waiting for her to come over and give me a few lessons. Back in the day I did sew a pencil case, pajama pants, and a shirt in home ec., but since then I have forgotten many things. Yesterday my mom came over, we set up the sewing machine, and she took me shopping for a sewing kit (my early Mother's Day gift :-) ). It was very exciting, and I could hardly wait to get started on sewing some curtains for our bedroom. Then when we got home the crazy machine would only sew backwards! Kind of disappointing. So now I am planning on getting myself a new sewing machine. I'm not sure what kind to get, but I'll probably just get a pretty basic one to start with. I have a couple patterns for really cute dresses that I can't wait to try out on my daughter. Not sure when I'll get around to buying one, but I hope it will be soon!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (April 12)

Sorry for the lack of recipes and links this week. I'm in a hurry today, but I might add recipes and links later on in the week.

Sunday, April 11
Hot dogs, veggies & dip (we haven't had hot dogs in months! They taste so good when you haven't had one in a long time! LOL)

Monday, April 12
Whole wheat penne, tomato sauce, veggies & dip

Tuesday, April 13
Cheesearoni Beef Casserole, corn, salad

Wednesday, April 14

Thursday, April 15
Portobello penne and spinach bake, caesar salad

Friday, April 16

Saturday, April 17
Jeera Chicken Curry (new recipe), salad

Sunday, April 18
Summa Borscht, cheese biscuits

*For more meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Typical Tuesdays

I just finished my late lunch of leftover borscht and cheese bread and thought I'd sit down for a couple minutes and share my to-do list for today.

This morning I went grocery shopping, which took a VERY long time, thanks to me losing the very detailed grocery list somewhere in Walmart before I had even hit the grocery store! Oops. However, I was pretty excited to use some coupons on a few things I needed to get anyway (a new razor for me, baby cereal, facial tissue, and freezer bags!) Plus, it was Customer Appreciation Day at one of the grocery stores, which meant I saved an extra 10% off, which was nice! Yes, I do love my coupons! :-)

Anyway, last night was a pretty terrible night. Our baby is recovering from some type of cold or flu, so she has been up lots in the night. Last night I was up about 8 times with her (every hour!). So, this morning, I got up at about 9 a.m., dressed and fed the baby, put a load of laundry into the washer, and then got ready to go out grocery shopping. I got home from grocery shopping around lunch time.

Here are my regular Tuesday tasks:
  • Clean all bathrooms thoroughly
  • Clean tub/shower
  • Wash daughter's laundry
  • Wash bedding and light towels
  • Fold and put away daughter's laundry
  • Update budget
  • Update/Organize Home Management Binder
Extras on my To-Do List today
  • Grocery Shopping (I don't have a specific day for this, usually Monday or Tuesday, though)
  • Finish putting away and organizing groceries
  • Go for a walk outside with daughter
  • Make up some homemade baby food to freeze (chicken & veggie mix, fruit)
  • Cut up pineapple
  • Put family pictures in frames
  • Jog on treadmill
  • Work on organizing pictures box
In the evening right before I got to bed, I read the Bible and sometimes a bit from another book. I may or may not get everything done on my list today, but usually by the time I go to sleep, most things have been crossed off. Now...I better go tackle that list! :-)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (April 5)

Last week most things on my menu did not get made because we were busy with family gatherings and visiting friends. It was a very nice week catching up with friends and also seeing some family that we don't see all that often.

Sunday, April 4
Potato Soup

Monday, April 5
Beef Borscht (Ethnic Mennonite soup, Great Grandma's recipe), homemade cheddar cheese bread

Tuesday, April 6
Leftover soup and bread

Wednesday, April 7
Chicken Quesadillas (using leftover Chili lime shredded chicken from freezer), carrot sticks

Thursday, April 8
Teriyaki Salmon over rice, strawberry spinach salad

Friday, April 9
Tuscan Pizza, (or all dressed) Caesar salad

Saturday, April 10
Leftover pizza

*For more meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Resurrection Day

For a bit of an explanation as to why our family does not celebrate "Easter" in the way it is commonly celebrated today, you can read this.

Update**Also, you can read this. **

Christ's atoning work on Calvary's cross and the fact that He rose triumphantly from the grave should be on the forefront of the believer's mind every day. Our family does take time, however, to especially celebrate this during the same time many people do the "Easter thing". We prefer to refer to this day as Resurrection Day.

Isaiah 53 is an Old Testament prophecy, which speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ, who fulfilled it. Jesus made intercession for us to God through His payment for our sins on the cross. By placing our faith in Jesus Christ alone, we can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. To read more about how you can be saved, go here.

1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

We have hope today because Jesus rose from the dead!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

Christ the Lord is risen today. Alleluia!

I plead with you to consider what the Lord Jesus Christ has done. Have you placed your faith in Christ alone? If not, Christ is knocking at the door of your heart; will you invite Him in? Stop trusting in your church institution, stop trusting in your works, stop trusting in your baptism, stop trusting in your traditions and rituals. Repent from your sin, and place your faith in Christ alone for your salvation.

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