Thursday, February 25, 2010

Surely Goodnes and Mercy Will Follow Me.....

God must have wanted me to take notice of this verse because it has been coming up lately in my life. One of the first verses and only full chapter that I still remember from Sunday School.

Word pictures really help me put an idea into practice.

Psalm 23 (NIrV)

The LORD is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need. (Everything.)

He lets me lie down in fields of green grass. He leads me beside quiet waters. (The sound of water trickling, the green grass against a bright blue sky, breathing fresh air...sounds so peaceful)

He gives me new strength. (Must remember this next time I have a migraine with loud kids and no break in sight.)

He guides me in the right paths for the honor of His name. ( I don't have all the answers- but I know who does and He wants to give them to me!!)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid. You are with me. Your shepherd's rod and staff comfort me. (A rod for telling me where to go when I have no clue and a staff to get me out of trouble. Even the trouble I get into when I didn't listen to the rod.)

You prepare a feast for me right in front of my enemies. (Not only do I feel safe, but I am eating a feast! Go on, you can hate me if you want but I'm over here with God! Yeah, that's right! So...what you gonna do??)

You pour oil on my head. (like a massage after a long days work.)

I am sure that your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (No need to worry about natural disasters, disease, divorce, bankruptcy, terrorism....God's goodness will always be there!)

A few thoughts.....

1. Did Jesus ever freak out? If He was frustrated, it was from the fact that people just didn't get how great God was!

2. So, what would He say to me?

3. What blessings am I missing out on because I don't take advantage of what He WANTS to give to me?

4. Why am I not making every effort to spend time with, fall in love with, soak up all He has to offer?

5. Say this chapter with your child's name in place of the I's or my's. What peace it gives me to know God loves my children so much! He is their provider and protector more than I could ever be!

6. If I were to live like God intended- believing that he would take care of my needs, etc.- what would I be able to accomplish for His glory? How would I bless others? How could I get more done and yet enjoy life to the fullest? I would like to find out!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We Had Granola Bars This Morning.....

Okay, I promised myself I would clean and I actually want to clean so I need to make this quick!

The kids love granola bars but they cost so much when you have 3 or 4 children that really like them. I set out to find a recipe that would work. I had to tweak it a bit, but we love these!!!

Here's the recipe:

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. honey
2 eggs
2 T canola oil
1 t. vanilla extract OR 1/2 t. vanilla extract and 1/2 t. almond extract
3-1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 t. salt
2/3 c. pb and chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl, beat the peanut butter, honey,eggs, oil, and vanilla until blended. Combine the oats, brown sugar and salt; add to the peanut butter mixture and mix well. Stir in chips.

2. Transfer to a 9x13 in. baking dish coated with spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-5 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars.

I usually make these with smoothies and it makes a well rounded breakfast meal.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Digestive System- Good Times!

Here is a little demonstration we did about the digestive system:

Digestion starts in the mouth. I asked the girls to break up a few Graham Crackers into bite sized pieces into a bowl. This was our "mouth". Next, we added water for saliva and used a pastry blender for teeth.

I didn't have an esophagus for this demonstration, so we just talked about the food going down the esophagus to the stomach.

Our "stomach" was a zip lock bag. The stomach digests food by 1)gastric juices (I just squirted some lemon juice for the gastric juices) and 2) by the muscles churning the food for several hours. We took turns churning the food with our hands acting as the stomach muscles.

Here, I took the opportunity to talk about involuntary muscles vs. voluntary muscles.

Next, I poured the churned food mixed with saliva and gastric juices into a spice ball made of mesh wire to demonstrate how the intestines absorb nutrients and water.
Your intestines are 22 feet long!
Everything in the bowl stays in the body, but that which is not absorbed is poop.

I asked them if they wanted to hold the poop and they were soooooo grossed out, until I said, "This is only pretend poop. Smell it." It smelled like cinnamon Graham crackers. They all wanted to hold the poop then. (giggles)

Oh- and we did this during our afternoon snack, so then they would chew on their popcorn and describe what was happening to it after they swallowed it. As Brooke would say, "Now I'm gonna poop it out!"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cheap Homemade Learning Game Math Fun

Here are some ideas for early math learning:

1) The charting game- Draw 2 inch grid over an entire poster board. Cut in half the short way. Have the kids help stamp (get the cheap foamy ones from Hobby Lobby), one stamp per column on one half of the poster board. Cut in squares. On the other half, stamp one of each of the stamps on the bottom of each column.

To play, turn the squares upside down. Have each child hypothesize which stamp will get to the top first. Then, go around the circle and take turns drawing a square. Place the square in the column that matches the stamp on the square. Play until one stamp column is full.


  • Which column got to the top first? Was your hypothesis correct?

  • Which column had the least amount of squares? How many did it have?

  • Did any of the columns have the same amount of squares?

You can do a similar game with a smaller grid and a bag of skittles or M&M's. Put some in a small bowl, have the children sort the colors and fill in the grids accordingly, using skinny markers.

2) Chutes and Ladders. We made this game one time when I felt too poor to go buy it. Draw 100 squares, 10x10 on a poster board. Number 1 to 100 starting on the bottom from left to right and then the second row right to left, etc. Then discuss with the kids a few good choices and a few bad choices and what the consequences might be. Draw a picture of the scenario- it doesn't have to be great, stick figures work just fine- and then draw chutes for the bad choices and ladders for the good choices. You can use any household item for markers- coins, pop bottle caps, whatever. Use dice for rolling how many spaces to move. First one to the 100 square wins.

This teaches counting and numbers 1-100. Each time they land on a number, ask the child to tell you what that number is. Also, it is important that they follow the correct sequence when turning directions to a new row. It will teach greater and less than and number sequence.

3) The Guy Game. I got this idea from another homeschooling mom. I can't remember her name in order to give her credit, but it is such a good idea! Have a deck of flash cards numbered 1-100. It could be bought or made out of index cards. Every eighth card or so (doesn't really matter) put at stick figure of a "guy".

Mom or another designated person holds up the flash cards. Go around the circle and have each child say the number. If the card has a guy on it, they have a designated action. If you are outside, it could be run around the house, jump 5 times on the trampoline, go touch the fence and run back, or set up a field like in t-ball and have them run around the bases. Inside, a little more creativity is needed, maybe jumping jacks or running down the hall and back. You can use this also for learning ABC's, dolch words, numbers in Spanish.....endless possibilities.

This teaches number recognition and involves physical activity. (yay!) Brookie (turns 4 tomorrow) recognizes most numbers to 100.

4) Star numbers. Have the kids crouch down in a standing tuck position, spread out a bit. Pick a number to skip count- say 10. Count by one's but every time you come to a multiple of 10, jump up with hands out and feet apart like a star. Then crouch back down until the next multiple is counted.

This teaches skip counting and involves more activity.

5) Greater or less than dice. Have one or two die, depending on skill level. Go around the circle and each player takes a turn rolling. The greatest number of that round wins the round. Keep score by tallying. The winner of the game has the most tallies.

Teaches greater and less than and tallying.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Baby Boy

My wonderful parents gave me a break this last week- They took all 4 girls for 6 days!! Don't tell anybody but I didn't even miss them until the last day. I'm glad to have the beds full now and giggles and painting and random thoughts by little minds, but so thankful for the break.

I got to spend time alone with Max. He's 8 months now. He didn't know how to handle the 2 1/2 hour drive from Mom and Dad's without his sisters entertaining him, but I think he may have enjoyed Mama to himself for a few days.

I sat and watched him exploring. He crawls on his stomach and gets around quite easily now. I really wish I knew what goes through a baby's head. The morning light created a shadow of his hand waving around. He seems to be fascinated by shadows and played with his for several minutes. Next he crawled over to play with his reflection in the stainless steel trash can. He giggled and waved his hand, watching his reflection closely. Then he moved to the refrigerator to study the force of magnetism. Eventually the large alphabet magnet ended up as something to chew on (sanitary, I'm sure).

What they must be learning at this age! This morning he stared at the brass colored door knob that opens his closet. It was reflecting the morning light. After about 30 seconds, he turned his head all around to look at the window from which the light was coming, then back to the knob, then to look at me as if to ask something...if only he could! Could he really see the connection?

It is my amateur theory that kids know so much more than we give them credit for. Well, at least if I'm wrong I'm not hurting anybody- but if I'm right and I give them some of that credit and encourage them to come up with theories and challenge them to learn more- I think they will be better for it. Just a thought.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Men In My Life

I love the "guys". I am no feminist. Life would be terrible without men.

It's a few days after Valentines, and I was reflecting this holiday's past.

Like in the High School years when I kinda would want a balloon or a flower or something just because it was nice to be liked, but really didn't want to receive anything because there was no one in particular that was that special to me, and then it would just be awkward. If High School isn't confusing, frustrating, terrifying enough....Valentine's Day can put you over the edge....until I came home and received a rose from my first Valentine, Dad.

In my "continuing education" years I don't recall an actual romantic valentine's date. If there was one I guess it wasn't memorable. I did, however, have guardian angels that came to me in the form of my guy friends. Even though I did not have any romantic relationships with these wonderful men, I loved them. It was great to have friends that cared for me that I could trust and helped me to realize I didn't need a boyfriend to be happy. I know there were a few times one of these knights in shining armor would rescue me from a Valentine's full of feeling sorry for myself.

I studied in Spain one summer, and the girls in my class would joke about having a "Latin lover". I never got one of those. Instead, I got a Laotian lover, which is quite different but more my style. He showed up to my apartment one May evening with mutual friends. Though he was not a Christian at the time, something about him told me God had a plan for him. He was someone special. I found ways to get to know him more and he made it easy for me cause he like me too. ;) He sincerely converted with little to no persuasion on my part and proposed a year and some months later. I knew it was coming so I had to decide if I would say "yes" or "no". I liked him so much that I knew my mind could not possibly make a rational choice. I just prayed that if I shouldn't that God would stop me because I will be saying yes to the proposal. The wedding continued as planned.

Since then I've love him, hated him, cussed at him, kissed him, had 4 children with him, and have grown to trust and respect him. No one can make my day like him. He doesn't give me flowers. That's okay, I'll go get myself flowers. He gives me love, support, hugs, smiles, he brings home a paycheck so I can care for the family, gives me confidence that he will never leave me, and he loves me for who I am.

My kids know they are loved. He dates the girls, he is their first Valentine.

He is not perfect. So, when he can't be everything I need, I turn to Jesus, the lover of my soul. If Sook is at work, Jesus is there. If Sook has no clue what to do with his hormonal wife, Jesus is there. God willing, Sook will be my Valentine forever. However, I am confident that if he is not, Jesus will be my everything I need. I am so blessed by the men in my life, and my Jesus.

And one more thought....

I pray each of my children have wisdom, character, and opportunity to find the love of their lives if it is God's will, but I also want them to know when there is no one else, there is always Jesus. He is the only one we can put our full confidence in!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

God Smack

If you need to be humbled, get some kids.

Sook talks about people that just don't get it..."someone should smack them on the side of the head to knock some sense in them." Sometimes I fall into that category.

Kids do such stupid things we just don't understand. I remember when one of the girls was too young to talk and I was trying to put her in the car seat. She was so frustrated because the process wasn't going smoothly that she started a tantrum, throwing her arms around and screaming. This made the buckling of the seat way harder, and even though she didn't understand me, I told her that if she would just calm down this would go much quicker. Then I stopped. I realized I was doing the same thing.

I was going through a phase where I was not content so my prayers would sound like a whiney child, or even angry. "God PLEEEEEASE give us more work so we can have more money...." or "Why, why, WHY GOD do I have to drive such an ugly car"....well, I don't know exactly what they were, but I know I was not content and I was throwing a tantrum while God was helping me....but since my knowledge is limited, it was like I was the toddler that just needed to trust her Mommy.

Kids also are so smart. They ask questions that are so innocent yet brilliant, like the other day when we were driving. We had a kid's music CD playing and I song that we have heard like one hundred THOUSAND times was on. It says, "....building others up, with a kind word or compliment, a friendly howdy-do...." and one of the girls asks what it meant to build others up. I explained that it was important to think of how we can make others feel good by what we say.

We had just been to gymnastics and Savannah had a new leotard on. She felt so beautiful. I love to see the girls when they feel good about themselves.... but then I overheard her talking to another little girl about how beautiful she (Savannah) was. So, in the car I used that as an example of how maybe it would have been better to compliment the other girl instead of herself. All the while, I knew I've been struggling with the same thing.

I've been going in and out of depression for a while and depressed people are usually thinking about THEMSELVES. gulp.

Oh, kids also humble us in other ways, like when you are in a busy Rainforest Cafe bathroom, all squeezed into the largest stall, and one of the girls compliments the color of your panties....but that is a different post.

Sometimes it's the adults who are self-centered, selfish, pouty, envious, etc. It's just shown in different ways. Those times we just need a smack upside the head to knock some sense into us.