Monday, March 21, 2011

I've turned off the news..

There is only so much sensationalized hype that I can watch. My flesh wants to watch it more and more... as if what the new anchor says is the end all, be all.

I quickly forget that there is One that truly knows what will happen in my future.

So instead of watching the news rehash things over and over that I can't control, I've turned them off and tuned them out. I'm looking instead at what God says about being anxious and provision.

Here is what God's Word says about provision:

"Do not worry then, saying, "What will we eat?' or "What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." -Matthew 6:31-33

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" - Matthew 7:11

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows." - Luke 12:7

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything; you may have an abundance for every good deed." -2 Corinthians 9:8

"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:19

"I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread." -Psalm 37:25

Verses about worry:

"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" - Matthew 6:25

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:34

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." -Philippians 4:6

"Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you." -1 Peter 5:7

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
-Isaiah 41:10

Father, I know there are very scared people out there right now. Give them comfort and peace. Let them find rest in You. I love You and praise You. In Your Son's most precious name, Amen.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Go, Reader, Go!

I'm pretty sure I've shared in the past how teaching my oldest child phonics almost killed me. It was a painfully slow process. I think I have some secrets up my sleeve for my next child but isn't that how it always works?

Anyway, I started to get concerned about Lainey not reading and several more experienced homeschooling mothers told me to relax and that one day it would click. I tried to remind myself of their advice but I confess I wasn't great at it.

When she really started to read, I was amazed. It wasn't anything in particular I had done. We just kept swimming. Sometimes in life, that is all you have to do. Just keep going!

I watched as her reading levels jumped leaps and bounds and her speed picked up. Then instead of asking me what words meant, she started using context to help her. (I've since taught her to use a dictionary.) Imagine my surprise when new words started popping up in her daily use!

Lainey's book habit has gotten to a point the librarian commented earlier this week. I beamed as I shared the story of a struggling reader that has now a voracious appetite for books. (Like my 50 cent word?) She smiled and said she'd see me in a few days and I giggled to myself as I walked away with a tote bag full of books.

I usually choose most of the books that we check out. My reasoning for this is that I want her reading good books. There is a lot of junk (ahem.. aka twaddle) out there. I also don't want her to pick things that are too over her head. I know my child, and I know she will often get discouraged if things seem too far out of reach. She'll stretch but not leap.

I get book ideas from a variety of places. I read tons of books in my childhood so naturally I remember my favorites. I also check out the 1000 Good Books list and my Sonlight catalog. (We don't use Sonlight to homeschool but I love their catalog for reading suggestions.) I also ask other mothers for recommendations.

Here are some of the 36 books that Lainey has read so far this month:

Stuart Little by EB White
Mystery Ranch by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Mike's Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Woodshed Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
The Light at Tern Rock by Julia L. Sauer
Dolphin Treasure by Wayne Grover
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh

As you can see, Lainey really likes the Boxcar Children. I'm always looking for other suggestions. Do you have any?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Our Solution to the Lunch Rush

About 1 o'clock each day I look up and realize it's lunch time.. and I have nothing ready. Our mornings are busy with getting ready, morning chores and homeschooling... And then suddenly everyone is starving and everything we have seems to take too long to prepare. We can't serve peanut butter due to Lainey's allergies and most of my eating children don't care for lunchmeat sandwiches.

As I was making my game plan for Brandon's new 13 hour, 3 day a week schedule I knew lunch would be an issue. I'm SO much more likely to ask Brandon to bring something home on his lunch break than for dinner. I also thought back to Lainey's brief enrollment at a Montessori Preschool when I was a working mom and remembered that children served their own lunch. It teaches the children real life skills by well.. doing real life. Novel concept, huh?

Then, I remembered that I was much more likely to grab some fruit or veggies to eat if it was prepared and looked appetizing. So, our "pickanicka" lunch trays were born as Julianne calls them.

Each morning, during my chore time, I spend time in the kitchen after breakfast. During this time I think about dinner, serve breakfast, and do various kitchen chores. The little boys are sitting at their highchairs and I usually turn up the praise music. (Side note: I'm SO not a morning person.) I cut, peel, slice, dice, chop, whatever I think we should have on the trays. I use two small restaurant trays that I picked up at a restaurant supply store and our rubbermaid containers. I do everything to make the food easily accessible. I make sure to have a wide variety of items to choose from. And then I put it back in the refrigerator (stacking my trays due to lack of space in our fridge.)

This picture shows: Laughing Cow cheese, clementines, yogurt, lettuce, strawberries, carrots, grapes, and hardboiled eggs. We also grabbed some crackers as well.

The children serve themselves. I don't dole out what I think they should eat. They must choose at least one veggie. Certain things they can only have one of (example, yogurt.)

When we are done, we put the lids back the containers that still have food in them and return the trays to the fridge. The next morning I take stock and see what I should add.

It's been amazing for our family. We are eating so much better. I am sick today but Lainey and Julianne were able to get out lunch out before their Daddy arrived home, all by themselves. They were so proud of being able to help me.

Other things that we have had on the tray or plan to add:

- Cucumbers
- Olives
- Pickles
- Sushi (I will not be indulging.)
- Tuna, egg, or chicken salad
- Deviled eggs
- Sliced cheese
- Lunchmeat roll ups
- Fruit Salad
- Pasta Salad
- Potato Salad
- Carrot Raisin Salad
- Coleslaw
- Hummus with pitas
- Seasonal produce (I really try to keep our produce purchases to less than $1/lb.)

So.. this is how we do lunch. How do you handle the lunch rush?


Friday, March 4, 2011

Where I've been..

So I haven't posted in awhile... But I haven't forgotten my blog. I've had some things come up and it's just a busy season in my life. So here is what I've been up to:
  • I had an allergic reaction and had to see my doctor.
  • We attempted to move Solomon into the nursery.. he's still in our room. ;)
  • I had to see the dermatologist to have the site where a mole was shaved off my arm checked out. I was once again told that I'm a "super healer" and it was new skin that made the lump. Apparently some mole cells were left behind and it re-pigmented in the new scar, but I do not need to worry that it is asymmetrical because the labwork from the original mole came back fine. She stuck TWO needles in the lump and injected a steroid in it so that the lump will deflate. I return in 2 months to see if I need another dose.
  • I've been restocking our pantry. During the winter I really use it down (because I hate to go out in the cold.. brrr...) so in the spring I need to do quite a bit of shopping to restock.
  • While I was at the dermatologists, I asked about chronic hives. I figured the allergist's suggestions weren't working so I'd go after it from a different angle. It's been a YEAR of hives folks... I've now been hive free for THREE nights in a row and haven't needed Benadryl. Oh and did you know that Zantac is a histamine blocker? I now take three medications and I'm adjusting to the new haze of drowsiness. We are blocking H1's and H2's. (different histamines.)
  • I've developed allergies living here! I enjoyed two springs with no allergies... but they are back. The 3 medications I'm on should help with the sinus irritation.
  • My dear friend suffered a devastating loss. She was due in June and went to the midwife for an appointment and there was no heartbeat. I visited with her and took a meal over Wednesday. She was induced and delivered him this morning. Could you pray for her?
  • Xander now adds "Mama" on the end of all of his requests. It's SO cute! "Please, mama?" "More, Mama?" "Cup please, Mama?" Tonight as I was cooking supper he stood nearby repeating Mama over and over. Mamamamamamamamamama! When I looked down he smiled and when I went back to work, he started again. I'm soaking it in!
  • Xander now gives the BEST hugs. He pats your back when he hugs you, priceless!
  • Lainey has read four chapter books on her own: Boxcar Children, Boxcar Children #3, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, and James and the Giant Peach.
  • Julianne has a sudden interest in helping around the house and she loves being read to.
  • Solomon is now sitting up! Just as I told the pediatrician last month, he just needed the milestone adjusted for his gestational age. He's drinking over 32 ounces of formula a day and loves to chew on the tags of his blankets and our dinner napkins.
  • I sent Xander's birthmom a lengthy update of apple picking, Thanksgiving, our Disney Trip and Christmas.
  • Brandon had a day trip for work to Washington, DC. He got to rub shoulders with the upper management of the company he works for and feels super positive about what he heard and the direction of the company!
  • Another friend's grandmother died and I'll be attending the funeral tomorrow afternoon.
  • The majority of our homeschool curriculum was ordered and arrived after a shipping fiasco. I'm pleased with it and can't wait to get more time to look through it in more detail!
  • I got bad news from back home. My brother is in jail. I pray that this is his rock bottom and that he straightens his path. I learned a long time ago, that I can't make anyone change, but myself. People have to want to change. It is what it is, but it was still awful to see his mugshot.
  • I've been working on a plan for next week. Brandon's schedule changes to 3 thirteen hour shifts this coming Monday. The four days off a week will be nice, but the three days he is gone will be long. I'll need to pace myself those days and have plenty of structure.
I'll try to not wait so long between posts. I'm praying that parts of my life slow down to a more manageable pace of course...