Thursday, January 31, 2013

Best of Both Worlds

I've heard people discussing having kids.  You hear the question:  "How far apart are your kids?".  Then the follow-up discussion about waiting a specific time in between or having kids in quick succession-which is best?  etc., etc.

My two oldest kids are only 23 months apart.  We waited 7 years after being married to have kids.  We got a girl, then a boy.  They were so close in age that most things have been pretty much equal for them--same bedtime, etc.  Since their birthdays are only 1 month apart, we even started a joint gift tradition on their birthdays when they were little.  So, the birthday kid gets their presents and then both of them would get a joint present.  They were and still are each others' best friend.  (They probably wouldn't admit it, but it really is true.)   They have basically the same shared memories.  Tera probably doesn't remember a time when her brother wasn't around.  Tera and Daniel have a  bond that is unexplainable.  

We thought our family was complete, yet there was always a nagging feeling that there was another little one waiting to join us.

Fast forward, almost 7 years later....

In 2009, we brought home that other little one to a sister and brother quite a few years older than him.  Tera would turn 9 later that year and Daniel 7.  Michael will never know a time when he wasn't surrounded by these other four people he loves.  Tera and Daniel remember my pregnancy and holding Michael the day he was born.  What a special bond that is created in knowing someone and remembering the day they were born.  It's almost like Michael has four parents instead of two--a fact we have to remind the other two of on a daily basis.   He has two extra people who love him, watch out for him, and hold his hand when we cross the street.  Two extra people to read to him, comfort him, pray for him and help lead him to Christ one day.  Two siblings to teach him so much more than two parents could ever do on their own. 

So, which is better?  Having your kids really close in age or spread out really far apart?  I'm glad we didn't have to choose...we got the best of both worlds! 

Just Thankful

  • For a husband who watches out for me and tells me the truth even if it's not what I want to hear.  I'm glad he's the head of our household and takes that responsibility seriously
  • That our school weeks are going smoothly...math is clicking...assignments aren't taking forever
  • For opportunities like swim lessons, chess club and math teams
  • For rainy weather...that's a hard one, but I am thankful
  • That we had no strong storms yesterday
  • For good books and hot tea
  • That God keeps giving me more and more chances...that He is always with me...that He gives us peace in our hearts
  • For opportunities to share what's on my help others
  • That I don't have to worry...God has my life in His hands and is taking care of me in ways I can't even fathom
  • That I see my children developing and maturing everyday...they amaze me
  • For getting to stay home with my kids 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I make lots of confessions on my blog it seems, so here's another one.  I had never heard of lentils until I was "mature" adult, much less tasted or even cooked any.  I can't remember exactly how I ever came to know about them, but now they are as much a staple in our home as beans. 

Lentil facts:

  • Lentils are in the legume family.
  • High in fiber
  • Protein-rich 
  • High in iron- among all the vegetarian sources of iron
  • Do not require soaking before cooking.
  • Quick cook time compared to beans.
  • Very versatile

Lentils come in 1 lb. packages.   Rinse the lentils through a colander under cold water. Place lentils in a large cooking pot and  add 6-8 cups of water with bouillon added for flavor or homemade chicken/beef stock.  Cook until the lentils are tender...usually about 45 minutes. 

A couple of weeks ago, I cooked a package of lentils and used that pot for 3 different meals.  

Here's what we did:

Lentil and Ground Turkey Tacos:

1/2 lb. of browned ground turkey
2 cups of cooked lentils

Prepare like regular taco filling...serve with your favorite taco shells and toppings.

These are my all-time favorite veggie burger!  I just used the cooked lentils I had made and skipped that step of the recipe.    I also, substituted spinach and fresh minced garlic for the onions. 

Lentil Sloppy Joes

1/2 lb. of browned ground turkey
2 cups cooked lentils
1 can of sloppy joe sauce

Combine ingredients and serve on buns!  Easy as that!

Some more favorite ways to serve lentils:

Lentil Stew with Dumplings

Lentil Stew with Capers--Olive Garden soup

Check out my Recipes board on pinterest for some other lentil recipes!

The Chicken Chick
monday's homestead barn hop

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January Reads

One of my goals this year is to record the books I've read.  The best way to do that for me is guessed it, record them right here!  January ended up being a light month readingwise for me...I plan to remedy that in February.  This is not really a book review blog, so I've decided not to go in that direction.  I will say that More Glimpses of Heaven was my favorite this month.  Just make sure you have a box of tissues handy!   The Well Lived Laugh is a funny, devotional- type read all about shaking the pressures that come with being a mom. 

Product Details 

The Upstairs Room (Trophy Newbery) (Paperback)

More Glimpses of Heaven: Inspiring True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life's Journey

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Garden 2013: Seed Starting Shelf

In years past, we've always started our seeds on a folding table in our upstairs middle area.  It was hard to rotate the plants and didn't give us very much space.  This year, JP decided to build a seed starting shelf. We decided to go with PVC,  because we had a bunch of it taking up space.  We used the PVC Growing Rack idea as our inspiration and guide. 

Here's the completed shelf:

From the side:

To build this shelf you'll need:

10- 4 ft. pieces of  3/4 in. PVC 
18- 1 ft. pieces
8- 90 degree elbow connectors
4- T-connectors
12- 4-way connectors
Corrugated plastic sheets
Screws (self-drilling screws did not work for us)

Please note:  Our shelf is 4 ft. because that is the size that fits the area where we place our seeds.  This can be easily adapted to fit your own window size. 

JP used PVC cement, but only glued together the side walls and the bottom assembly.  So that we could take it apart and store it flat after the season. 

JP assembled it dry and then marked the pipe and connector where they should fit together.  So when he glued it, he could quickly match up the marks.   Rubbing alcohol will clean off the sharpie writing when you are finished. 

To brace the bottoms of each shelf, JP took an old plastic Sterilite container lid (it's all about "using what you have") and cut it into strips to fit the measurements of our shelf. He used 3 per shelf (1 on each end and 1 in the middle). 

He used screws to attached the corrugated plastic to each shelf.

That's our new seed starting shelf!

Homestead Barn Hop

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Adventures

It's been a good week...filled with lots of new experiences for all of us.

Daniel and Tera are doing awesome in their music lessons.  Wednesday, Tera tried out for the Math Counts Team Competition through our local homeschool group.  There were only four slots and an alternate.  She didn't make the team, but I'm so proud of her.  She did a great job for a student her age on this test and learned some new math strategies.  All of a sudden, Tera is excited about math.  That is awesome!  She also got to spend some time with great parents and other students and made a new friend.  While she was there, we hung out with some new friends and had a great time.

Thursday, Daniel had his physical therapy appointment and then we headed over to the library.  A chess club meets there twice a week...a few of our friends go, but we've never checked it out.  Daniel really likes chess and is always looking for someone to play.  This lets him meet some boys his own age, learn some great strategies for playing chess, and gets the rest of us off the hook. 

I've been cooking up a storm this week...pardon the pun!

Broccoli and Cheese Potato Soup and Haitian Red Beans and Rice

I was asked by a friend to write a letter to her daughter that is just about to turn 13....I decided to be a little creative with my letter.  This is my creative project for the month.   The letter actually turned out to be 3 pages, but I hope the things shared will be remembered in the years to come.  My almost 13 year old gave it a good review. 

One of my goals for the year was to learn some new things in regards to my blog.  I've been accepted to be apart of the Mosaic Review Team, which means in the months to come you'll be seeing some reviews on my blogs for new products.  I'm very excited!  Through these ladies, I'm already learning some new things about be looking for some changes soon. 

 In the midst of all this dreary weather today, these little fellows brought some sunshine into our day! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New lessons everyday

Things I'm learning lately:

  • Don't leave bright green sanitary pads in any pocket of your 3 year old son's backpack because he will inevitably pull them out waving them in the air at the science fair shouting..."Hey, Mom what are these?"
  • Cooking rice and beans on high (even if that's what the recipe says) will burn, smoke up your kitchen and wake your husband up.
  • I can not cook first thing in the morning and still home school.  I will either: (a) burn something; (b) snap at my children; (c) not be able to answer questions about math lessons; (d) all of the above
  • There is no mood that a little prayer and a little exercise or a good night's sleep can't help.
  • Instead of expecting people to read your mind and to know exactly what you want...tell them!
  • My kids are growing up too fast. 
  • Sometimes God answers my prayers just when I forget that I prayed for that specific thing.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A few minutes...

This morning I sit here for a few two older ones are working on handwriting and math and my youngest is playing after having his reading lesson this morning.  

We ran all weekend long--science fair, church, trip to Target...each day I came home with a headache--weather, tension, hormones, who knows?  

I hate to admit that I've let my busy schedule and being overwhelmingly tired squeeze out my prayer time this weekend.  I did read scripture, but just not like I normally do....I feel it.  I feel the disconnect, the weariness in my spirit.

This week I'm faced with new experiences---meeting new people, joining new groups, taking on a new responsibility,  more competition, allowing my child to do things that frankly make me feel uncomfortable as a parent--spreading their wings a bit.  

I'm anxious and apprehensive about what this week holds...

I know the remedy and the ONE that can give me peace! 

Cast all your anxiety on HIM because HE cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Science Fair 2013

Yesterday was the science fair through our local homeschool association. This is the second year Tera and Daniel have participated. 

Tera's project this year in the middle school division was: What's Up in the Kitchen? Which leavener produces the tallest biscuits? Daniel was in the elementary division with this project: Abracadabra Vanishing Stains! Which magical formula will remove grape juice stains from carpet? 

We have to get there fairly early and set up our boards before leaving to go across the hosting college campus for science workshops. We saw all kinds of fun things: 

Various materials with contrasting flame colors...and a spectrascope


More fire and how glow sticks are made

Imploding soda cans from extreme change in temperature and nail polish density project


Acids/Bases projects

We are so proud of our kids and their hard work.  They both did superb projects.  Tera won 2nd place in the middle school division for her project.  We both looked at each other in surprise, because there are so many great's impossible to predict just who will be the winner.  She was so happy!  All the kids come away with certificates, door prizes and a participation bag full of goodies.  The volunteers who put this on every year work so hard.  We are so thankful for their hard work as well.  

We are realists when it comes to competitions.  We have conversations with our children that contain these key points:

  • Do your best, work hard and that is all we expect from you!
  • Sometimes your best is not enough to win.
  • Someone may have worked harder than you on their project/entry and they win.
  • Someone may have not worked any where near as long and hard as you did and they still win.  
  • Life is not fair!!
  • Only 3 people are going to place, so the chances are you may not win.  
  • Sometimes people win or get the jobs you feel you deserve just because......(fill in the blank).
  • Winning is not all there is in life.  
Sometimes they ask us..."Do you think this is a winning project/entry?"   Our reply is usually with these two questions..."Did you work hard?  Did you do your best?"  That's all that we expect and that's all that matters!!!  Walk away with your head held high!!!

Friday, January 18, 2013


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...