Monday, October 20, 2014

Easy Peasy Tater Tot Casserole

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Field Trip - A trip to the sky

A couple years ago my daughters learned about many wonderful pilots and they absolutely fell in love with the concept of flying. We read a ton of books, watched movies, and did a flying & floating unit study. It was fun for them, but something was still missing. A real plane ride. My husband knew how much they wanted to fly so he arranged a day to do just that. Fortunately, for my daughters, their daddy's friend is a pilot.

When we arrived at the hanger, I could tell the girls were anxious. They were excited but unsure. After all, it was their first time and they had no idea what to expect. The plane was much smaller than they anticipated.

Our friend did a wonderful job explaining the parts of the plane and procedures. One by one we climbed in and buckled up. We were handed our headsets and we talked into them to make sure they were working. We went over the checklist and then it was time to fly. As we entered onto the runway, I peered over at my oldest, who was sitting beside me. She had tears in her eyes. I was nervous for her and asked her if we should stop, but she wanted to continue on. I then looked back behind me, looking for tears from my two youngest. There were definitely not any tears. Those two had the biggest smiles I had ever seen. They were ready to go. We paused at the end of the runway, bowed our heads, prayed and off we went.

My oldest was no longer scared. She was excited and began pointing out all the wonderful things she had never seen from such an view. It was absolutely perfect. I've flown many times but had never had the opportunity to see the view so close to home. I loved it. We all did. The girls thought it was fun to see our house from the sky. We also got to see those huge wind turbines. The ones that look so big from the ground, looked so small from the sky. Our lake, well... it's been in some desperate need of some water and you could really tell from the view we had.

 We all had a wonderful time. The girls have already been asking when we could go again. I actually had a different question for my husband.....Do you want to buy a plane? While a plane may not be in our future, I do anticipate more plane rides with our girls. It was a wonderful moment and will one day be a wonderful memory.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Autumn Unit Study Ideas and Resources

~Autumn Unit Study Resources~

Fall is our favorite season! 

Fall crafts are some of our favorite ones to do throughout the year. My children absolutely love leaves. There are so many things you can do with them. 

Here are their top 4 favorite things to do with leaves. 


2) Play in them

4) Nature Journals

We love fall nature hikes.
What better way to learn about nature, than to get out in it?


Does your family take nature walks?

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Homeschooling - Endless possibilities

I started homeschooling eight years ago. It hardly seems possible. Time has certainly flew by.  I'm no veteran homeschooler, but I do feel like the last eight years have taught me a ton.  When I first started, I tried to bring school home. It's different now. Sometimes, I throw away our schedule and let my children pick a subject to learn about. It's so nice to learn with no restraints, no pressure, and no limits. There is endless possibilities to our learning. We can learn about anything at anytime. We can learn in our pajamas or our Sunday best. We can learn here and there and anywhere. My inner Dr. Suess is showing. Anyhow, we can learn in a tree, or with a bee, or... okay maybe I'm being a bit silly. I'm sure you get the point though. We don't dread learning, we embrace it. Homeschooling truly does lead you down a path of endless possibilities. Embrace it and enjoy it. These periods in our life truly end too soon.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fun Questions Our Children Ask

It was late and I realized that we hadn't ate supper. I had been busy and well....well, I forgot. I was beyond exhausted. I peeked at the clock and rushed to find my shoes. "Where are my shoes?" I hollered.  "I sat them here, and now they are gone!" "I'm not going to make it to the store!" I was getting hotter by the second and then I found them. Right where I left them. Oh boy! I then grabbed a jacket and rushed towards the door, when I heard the argument start. "Mom said I could go!" yelled my daughter. "I don't care who comes, let's just go NOW!" Out the door, flew my oldest daughter.

I drove, staring straight ahead. I thought about my outbursts and I wasn't pleased. I was quite embarrassed actually. How can I allow myself to get so angry, sometimes? I certainly wasn't being wise or setting a good example. I was in some pretty intense thought, when my daughter asked "Hey Mom, why are they called wisdom teeth?" "I don't know honey, probably because that's where all our wisdom comes from."  I wasn't even thinking about what I was truly telling her. Gratefully, she responded "Oh mom, you're so silly"...Why yes, yes I am.

"Why do we even have wisdom teeth?"  "I don't know sweetie, we just do." "Do you have them?" "No sweetie, I had them removed when I was only fourteen." I suppose, if she was going by my previous answer, she could assume I lost all my wisdom when I was fourteen. I pulled into the grocery store and was pleased to see they were still open. We rushed in so I could gather something for supper. I was peering over the hamburger prices and thinking to myself, why in the world is this stuff so expensive? When I heard "When will I get them?" Oh sweetie, you don't have to worry about that for a very long time. We gathered our stuff, paid, and then left to head home.

The ride home was quiet. I couldn't stop thinking about my daughters questions and my irritability. Earlier that day during lunch, my husband and I were laughing about how our youngest was so confused by the fact that she couldn't find a pie, after i told her we were having Frito chili pie. We laughed and laughed about it. He explained to her that it was cute. He also told her that it was okay to ask. That there is NEVER a question that is stupid. That she should always ask questions if she wanted answers.

I looked over at my daughter. She was peering out the truck window. "Honey, I'm not quite sure why they are called wisdom teeth and I'm so sorry I was snappy earlier." "It's okay mom, but I'm scared." Scared?...she was scared! "Why are you scared honey?" I think I'm getting my wisdom teeth."

When we arrived home, we examined her teeth and just as I had suspected, they were her second molars. Whew! I was feeling a bit better, but I'm not sure she was. To ease her feelings, I explained to her that we would find the answer to her question. A quick Google search brought up this answer.....

Anthropologists believe wisdom teeth, or the third set of molars, were the evolutionary answer to our ancestor’s early diet of coarse, rough food – like leaves, roots, nuts and meats – which required more chewing power and resulted in excessive wear of the teeth. The modern diet with its softer foods, along with marvels of modern technologies such as forks, spoons and knives, has made the need for wisdom teeth nonexistent. As a result, evolutionary biologists now classify wisdom teeth as vestigial organs, or body parts that have become functionless due to evolution - Scienceline

Evolution?  Okay, I could tell that she wasn't satisfied with the answer and to be honest I wasn't either. I searched for something I could use.  I finally found it....Wisdom teeth-they're devolving! Now, that was something I could believe and feel good about teaching my daughter. It was easy to understand and I believe it put her question to ease. But, she had a new question. "Hey mom, where does wisdom come from?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Homemade Coffee Creamer

It happened friends! I went to grab my favorite coffee creamer and it was gone. The empty bottle lay in it's final resting place. The garbage. Perhaps we made to many french toast sticks or perhaps I just drink to much coffee. Yikes! I really, really wanted some coffee. I do not drink coffee without creamer.  I saw a sign recently that said, I like my creamer with a lil bit of coffee. That describes me perfectly.  Anyhow, I pondered a trip to the store, but that would require a list of must-do's beforehand, and I just wasn't feeling up to it. I decided to get a little creative and try to master the art of making my own. Did I master it? Probably not, but I did manage to make some and it did turn out pretty darn tasty.

I had to use nonfat evaporated milk. I realize that I could have used sweetened condensed milk and skipped the sugar, but with no trips to the store, I had to use what I had.

Here is the easier condensed milk version

Want a little more flavor? Try these variations.

Are you a homeschool mom that loves coffee as much as I do?
If so, you might just love my FREE COFFEE PRINTABLE.

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Apologia Educational Ministries - iWitness Series Review

There's no doubt that Christians are faced with questions when it comes to the Bible. As a mother, there is also no doubt that my children are going to have a ton of questions as well. That is why I was ecstatic when I found out that I was going to be able to review iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness from Apologia Educational Ministries. I consider anything from Apologia to be a blessing and I was excited to be able to read through Christian books that would educate and inspire my three daughters and I.

The iWitness books were written by a gentleman named, Doug Powell.  Mr. Powell is the art director for Apologia. He holds a Masters degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University and is the author of many best-selling books. The Apologia blog has a wonderful article about Mr. Powell and the iWitness series. In reading the blog I learned that Mr Powell was asked "Who is the audience for these books?" and he responded, "I wrote these books for me! They’re books I wish I could’ve read when I was wanting the answers to these things." I was hooked right there. Answers to things? I knew my children and I wanted answers to certain things and just perhaps in reading the books we would discover them. Thank you Mr. Powell! 

 iWitness Biblical Archaeology gives very good up-to-date background information on current biblical archaeology. Archaeology is a new favorite topic of my daughters and I. So, we were pleased to be able to read about bible archaeology. My daughters and I were familiar with most of the biblical discoveries, but some where completely new to them. We were inspired to look more into those new topics on our own. We found the way the book was set up to be a pleasant surprise. It's not your average words in a row book. It's highly visual and presents each piece of information in a fun scrapbook kind of way. It is full of wonderful graphics that were very appealing to the eyes. I feel that the way it was laid out, made reading it more enjoyable. We were pleased that Mr. Powell provided many fun details such as dates, locations, date discovered, and the museum where the discoveries can be located. This information helped my daughters and I research the topics more in depth. 

Each book in the iWitness series is designed as stack of documents the reader has to make sense of as if they’re doing their own investigation and Old Testament iWitness was no exception. It is also set up in a fun scrapbook kind of way. Old Testament iWitness answers the questions How is the Old Testament different from the Hebrew Bible? Who wrote these ancient books? How were they collected? and Is it mythology or history? This book allowed my daughters to read each fact in an easy to understand way. For instance, the book has a few pages on major and minor prophets that were very interesting. These pages list the authors of the books, the dates, and the purposes of the books. We were very pleased to be able to read the information without having to read paragraph after paragraph. I loved how each page had just the right amount of information that gave us answers, yet also inspired us to want to find out more. I was also very pleased at all the new words my daughters were learning. We used a notebook specifically for writing down all the new words and their definitions. It was a great way for my daughters to learn the new words and put them into context with what we were reading.

New Testament iWitness is set up just like the other two. It's another highly visual and educational book. It lets you find the the answers to questions such as Who wrote the New Testament? How do we know? How was it handed down? How can we know we have the original text? Were there any books that could have been included but were left out? My daughters once again enjoyed being able to learn the new information. Again, I especially enjoyed the new vocabulary words my daughters were learning. For instance, in New Testament iWitness, they learned that synoptic means same eye. They also learned what lectionaries are. They thought that was very cool. I was pleased to learn a great deal of wonderful bible information right along side them. We learned that in the New Testament there are about 400 words of text that are not certain, but that none of them affect any major doctrine. That was very cool to learn. I felt that all in all the book was highly entertaining and actually a bit hard to put down. 

~Final Thoughts~

I highly recommend these books to everyone. While these are great books for many different ages, the reading level is going to be for ages 11 and up. I enjoyed reading them to my daughters. They are not hard to read and we actually moved through them fairly quickly. We learned a bunch of new information and were inspired to research more into our favorite topics.  They are wonderful books filled with wonderfully accurate content. I'm happy that we now have them, as they are a great addition to our home library. Once again, Apologia hasn't let us down. They are books that I didn't know I needed. I'm certain that we will be revisiting them a ton in the future. 

What do the iWitness books cost?

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