Friday, January 31, 2014

What Joy I Gained

Most of you know I was on a quest to dig deep in finding JOY in the WINTER months. I have had a really good January.  For the first time in so many years I was able to cling to the words I surrounded myself with and embrace JOY. Even when things wasn't always joyful this month I had built a foundation in the Word of God that helped me remain joyous in tough moments.



I found that true JOY for me is really embracing life. The good and bad. The blah and exciting. True JOY is being thankful in all situations. Embracing the outpouring of God and the time spiritual droughts.



I also feel by surrounding myself with the things that uplift me has created JOY in our home. I know that TRUE JOY is when you are in the presence of JESUS.  Having a fairly consistent routine in His Word, Prayer, and Studying has created the most JOY.



I have enjoyed finding scriptures, quotes, and poems about JOY. I have had a wonderful time training myself to stop and smell the roses. To be in the moment and fully engaged.


As January comes to an end I will hopefully embrace my experience I have had studying and mediating on JOY. I want it to carry through my life in all that I do.

February leads me to a study a word that seems a little hard to me to find its meaning and place in my life. For some reason this Word has highlighted in the Word to me. When I hear worship songs that have this Word in it the word magnifies in sound.  I am going to see where the Lord leads me in discovering the place and the meaning of GLORY!

Glory is my Word Study for February!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Homeschool Recap~Late Better Than Never (Week 3 Winter Term)

This is a little late but we have been so busy enjoying life it has been hard to make the time to get on here. Week 4 is already on its way and almost halfway through. 

Week 3 in our Winter Term went well. We are a little more relaxed in the winter.  I try to find ways to keep us learning but in a fun way due to the yucky coldness and being closed inside. One of the highlights of the week was a Bird Workshop at our local Nature Center (CACHE RIVER WETLAND CENTER) and we had a great time. We learned about Winter Birds, feed, and other neat facts. We made nesting boxes and a bird feeder. Afterwards, we explored the Nature Center. It was super cold but we had a good time.







Ethan loves history and that child would do nothing but history if I allowed it.

Ethan is learning how the government formed. He is studying amendments and rights.
 
 
 The smaller ones and I have been plugging away at the 3 R's and reading books on winter and snow. They made snowflakes one day while I read a loud. I love the cozy feeling it brings our home. 
 
 
 We already are plugging away in our 4th Week and we are learning about the Chinese New Year. Our homeschool group is doing a Project Night.  The theme is Special Days, Holy Days, and Holidays. We chose the Chinese New Year. I know that it is full of other things most would like to protect their children from but I believe teaching your children about other cultures and their beliefs helps us realize there is a real need for prayers and help.  This helps us reach out to the world by knowing how to pray for them, and to teach our children the trials missionaries have to face where they are sent.

Have a blessed week.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Homeschool Weekly Recap (Week 2 Winter Term)

This week was a slow week. We kept up with the basics but pretty much did a lot of reading fun besides doing our history and science. Hey...it's the luxury of homeschool.  We are kind of focusing on snowy, winter, and nature theme books.

 
 I thought I'd share some of the great reads we have been enjoying. Some of these are super and some are okay.  I will share the Title and the Author's last name. I found all these at our local library. But I am sure you can check out the book on amazon to make sure it is something you would like to read to the kids.


Our Winter Books (January)

The Snow Angel (Boone)  *Excellent*
Snow Ponies-Cockcroft
Dream Snow-Carle
The Biggest, Best Snowman-Cuyler *Excellent*
The Three Snow Bears-Bret *Cute*
Akiak-Blake
Here Comes Jack Frost-Kohara *Cute*
The Snowman Storybook-Briggs *Cute*

We are also doing a lot of Aesop Fables and Winter Nature reads. Our Read Aloud is The Snow Queen.  I am not sure if we will continue this. We may replace it.  I have my reasons.

What is going on in the upcoming weeks:

Planning, Prepping, and Learning about the Chinese New Year.  Our homeschool group is doing a project night on Special Days, Holy Days, and Holidays. My kids were interested in this so we are going to be working on it.

I plan to do a Winter Unit Study with the younger ones. I already got some great books for this. I am excited to get started. Just not excited for all the printing. UGH!

I am beginning my research for next year's curriculum and trying to become more knowledgeable about how to do HIGH SCHOOL!  AHHHHHH!!!

Our field trip this week is on Saturday. There is a nature center close by and they are hosting a Educational Winter Bird Class. So, we are going to that tomorrow. I am looking forward to it. I am a lover of birds. My kids love them too. My mother instilled them a love for birds when they were young and so we all have a natural heartbeat for these creatures.

Matter fact most of our home has a form of bird in it somewhere as well as my mom. My mom is a owl lover and I am a sucker for any little decorative piece with a bird on it. I love sparrows, cardinals, owls, and hummingbirds.

Lastly, I would like to share a great read that encouraged me as a homeschool mama. You should check it out here.


Blessings,
Chrissy





Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happenings In the Eclectic Kitchen (Whole Food Experiments)

This week we tried a couple of Whole Food Recipes. We are rating these for us to start a recipe book and only keep the keepers. It is simply rated on our liking, did I have to force us to finish it, or was it amazing.

Rate Scale: 1-2- NOT A KEEPER, 3- Maybe but I may do some tweaking, 4-5- WILL GO IN BOOK! In other words it is a good, healthy, and whole food recipe.

Heavenly Homemakers Crispy Treats

Family Rating: 4

These were yummy but I felt a little to peanut buttery. I think I will cut the peanut butter back. To me they are nothing like a crispy treat but more like a granola bar taste. I am sure it is how I made them and not in result to the Awesome Heavenly Homemaker!

Here is the link to the Crispy Treat recipe.



Whole Wheat Pancakes by Fifteen Spatualas

Family Rating: 5 plus

These were the best pancakes I have ever ate. You couldn't tell at all they were whole wheat.  My kids looooooved them. This is a keeper. I will say..... these aren't the easy box mix and add water pancakes. It does take some time and effort. But if you have time you can cook up extra and freeze to be a time saver.

Recipe link here. Totally worth the effort!!!!!!!




French Toast Roll Ups

Family Rating- 5 Plus

Another Big Hit. Easy, quick and special breakfast!!!!

8 slices of 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Cream Cheese
Chopped Strawberries

2 eggs (Cage Free)
REAL butter (1 to 2 tablespoons)
1/3 cup of sugar substitute ( I use sucanat)
1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon

Slice Crust of bread off. Spread (room temp) cream cheese on bread slices and put berries on one end and roll up.

You will beat eggs and melted butter.  Put sugar substitute and cinnamon on a plate. After rolling the bread up you coat with eggs, then roll in cinnamon mixture and place in frying pan on medium heat. Cook as you would french toast. Serve with maple syrup.  Yummy.

This was a great Saturday breakfast.

Lastly, I tried to make homemade fruit roll ups and while I am sure that it is healthier it isn't cost efficient in my book. The oven was on for hours on end. I could have used a dehydrator but most recipes said it could take a day.

A DAY!!! Not something we are that interested in.  My kids never eat roll ups! I thought it would be a fun neat snack to try but not worth the time and effort. We will skip roll up's in the box and homemade. Unless, I can find a better recipe and it is cost efficient. You have to consider the time, and wasted electricity to make some gummy fruit snacks. Smiles!

Thought I'd share what has been going on in our kitchen. Check out the links! You will love these sites.

Blessings,
Chrissy


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Joy Lesson #2 (Get Out)


There is something that always refreshes me about a good old walk. I will be honest it takes me a bit to really do it, but once I do I always feel refreshed. I was blessed with a warmer than usual (for this time of year) weather this past weekend. So, I decided to hit the outdoors with the kids for a Nature Walk. I love nature walks. I love enjoying the things God created. I am never disappointed or bored when I really take the time to enjoy the outdoors.

 
It is Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory, Full of Glory, Full of Glory.  It is Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory.....!! I already put that tune in your head from that old awesome song. Smiles!!!



It also is so much fun when I get to hang out with this young man!



 Joy Lesson #2, Get Out!  Even as I type right now there is big snowflakes flowing, and whirling down. Step out on the front porch and enjoy God's beauty!  Breathe in fresh air. Your mood will lighten I promise. Find Joy in small things. Those are the things that usually bring long lasting JOY!
 
 
Blessings!!



Friday, January 10, 2014

Homeschool Week Recap (1st Week of Winter Term)

After a long Holiday Break from school I was very excited to get back to normalcy. We kind of had a slow approach this week but accomplished what I wanted. The little ones are learning about seas and oceans. They created their own fish and under the sea picture. We did a neat science experiment on how temperature affects ocean currents. Ethan wrote an amazing British Mystery for language arts. He is a child after my own heart. Most of my friends know I swoon over English EVERYTHING. From movies, decor, the landscaping, and the rich culture. We finally got out this week and went skating with fellow homeschool friends.

We are also reading some amazing books on Snow, Ice, and all things related. The library was packed full of good winter reads.

As a read aloud we are reading, Hans Christian Andersen's Snow Queen. It has been a smooth week after a long break.








I am still enriching myself with JOY. I am recording scriptures that relate to JOY daily. I try to add to the JOY Scripture book daily a new scripture. I also read them in the morning. This has set a great tune to my day.


I hope all you had a great week rather you were homeschooling, working, or serving.

Blessings,
Chrissy

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Eating Healthy-What is Really Important


As most of you know you have heard me share how I am on a path of cleaning our kitchen and diets up to become a more cleaner and healthier option. I am trying to keep a balanced perspective and not get caught up in healthy eating that it becomes my every thought.  I do know that for years I have been suffering with numerous ailments and I am thankful that through prayer and study I knew the Lord was leading me to clean up our eating and for me personally to let go of gluttony. Which is a sin (gluttony) although we excuse that and pretend it isn't! It is!  I had (still at times even with healthy stuff) a tendency to gorge myself sick.

Yesterday, my friend shared a link to a article that is wonderful. It was like I wrote it myself. I am thankful for this article and the honesty behind it. Stacy Makes Cents writes a piece on, Food Is Not Your God.  This piece was a wonderful reminder to keep a balanced Godly perspective when trying to be healthy. In other words, don't get so worked up on eating healthy that it becomes your God.



Anything we put before our God is an idol. If you spent countless hours on cooking sites, blogs, and Pinterest to clean your "temple" and haven't even read your Word or prayed...hmm? 

This is eye opening for me!  I have spent hours before on sites and such trying to find recipes, learn how restock our kitchen, and so on.  May I not let this journey to healthy eating become an idol but a better a path to draw close to God. Reminding me that His Word tells us how to eat, He is the Alpha and Omega, and the Author of our lives.

Yes, eating cleaner has helped me feel so much better. Rid me of pains in my stomach, depression, and kidney issues. I think there should be a proper balance. I am not ever going to say I will never eat milk duds again but I will say they will be a rare treat.



So, in closing I believe it is important to eat well so that you feel well. By doing this you can serve the Lord, family, and the world better. But eating healthy and worrying over it all the time must not take precedence over what is really important. God covers all. He is in control. If we simply pray, study, and use good judgment over what benefits our bodies we will have a peace about the whole situation.


Blessings,
Chrissy

Check out that piece!  Stacy shares a great read.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Joy In January~Lesson 1

 
 As you know I am on a quest this January or Winter to find Joy in the midst of gray bleakness. I know! I sound so pessimistic. I'm not really but I do get pretty blah in these cold winter gray months. So, I want to learn to embrace God's Joy in life (no matter what season) and let Him saturate my life with pure joy even among the not so pretty times.

What is Joy? 

Joy-

1. It is the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.
2. the expression of glad feelings
3. a deep feeling or condition of happiness or contentment

Words that relate:
blissful
happy
content
raptured (oh, I like this one)

Am I content? Am I raptured by God's love? Am I happy with where I am in God? Can I find blissful moments in the midst of rough, cold, and hard times? 

These are things I am pondering. I believe TRUE JOY is being complete in HIM. 

John 15:5, 11

VS 5 "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
VS 11 "These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."

True JOY is finding that complete happiness and contentment in Jesus. Taking daily time to be raptured in His presence, and being blissfully swept away in His sweet Words.

Joy Lesson 1:  Make a priority to make daily time (all through the day) to be with the Lord.

Joyfully Yours,
Chrissy T

http://raisinghomemakers.com/

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Daniel Fast Fruity Pancakes...Yummy!

Okay, Ya'll my kids can only do fruit salad for so long. I know there are options such as oatmeal and such but they don't like it no matter how I make it. So, I came across a pancake recipe that was Daniel Fast Friendly and tweaked it a bit for us. They were a hit. The fruit makes them sweet and juicy there is no need for syrup. My little ones didn't agree with that but they did really enjoy it.



Daniel Fast Fruity Pancakes

1 Cup of Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup of Almond Milk
1/4 Cup of Applesauce
1 TB of Olive Oil
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup of blueberries
1/4 cup of chopped strawberries

Mix all the above adding fruit last. Then cook up as you would any pancake. Make sure you coat your pan with olive oil.

This was a hit and was asked to do again. YAY!!!!

Last night we made a Veggie Pizza.  It turned out amazing and really surprised us how good it was without cheese and thick yeasty crust. It wasn't Pizza Hut but actually was just as pleasing. This is a keeper recipe as well. I will share that one later. Because I need to give credit to the site and I can't find it.


Hope you have a Joy filled Day!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Finding Joy In January









Let us be honest....for some of us January can be quite wary. I know!!!  It is the month of new beginnings, new fresh pages, new hopes, and fresh paths we hope our feet will take. Unfortunately, I've never been a winter person. I usually get the blahs, and humbugs pretty badly during the winter months. Where I live everything is gray, bleak, plain, lifeless, and just blah.

This year I am determined to find Joy in January. I began to feel that creepy heaviness in my soul a couple of weeks ago actually.  I keep hearing the word JOY. My husband will nonchalantly mention JOY. I read scriptures, books, or a blog post with the word...JOY!


I know Christ is my JOY and if I am connected to that vine I will be in JOY. Thank the Lord I do have a form of JOY in my heart but I want more. I want to go deeper. I want to not look at things being gray but that there is a hope of a sunrise on the horizon.

I plan to share a post a couple days a week about Finding Joy In January!



Here is a poem I found I thought I'd share.....

Merry January

Sound of joy and merry
O.. Morning has come
They shout Merry January
O.. Something will truly come

There Janus stands up high
A blessing day of a beginning
There Janus flies up high
A blessing gift from the beginning

Follow the light never stop
There the doors of hope
Go to the light never stop
Open the doors of hope

It's the merry January
For the hopes truly come
A promising January
For all the blessings come

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Daniel Fast Day 3 & 4

Our family is still plugging away at eating the Daniel Fast way. I noticed today I felt more clearer headed. My face also has a shine to it. I noticed then my husband said something to me.  I have been sugar free and caffeine free for a few days before my family I am starting to come out of the horrid withdraw funks.

My kids on the other hand are cranky, complain of headaches, and are very tired. My little one ended up having to get some extra protein. His little body (granted he is 6) just couldn't handle such a shock of sugar withdraws. He was my most junk food eater, and sweet tooth. So, he really had a bad crash. I was concerned and felt I should add eggs to his diet as needed.

Here are a couple of meals we have been enjoying and snacks.

Pepper Stir Fry with Brown Rice, Spinach Pomegranate Orange Salad, with Sweet Potatoes.


 Fruit Salad, Almonds, and Olives has been my kids breakfast favorite.


Banana Peanut Sandwich snacks. Believe me the kids are living off peanut butter and banana. Granted the peanut butter is all natural and no sugar so it is different to them.
We have been drinking lots of water. We add lemons and limes in it for a little kick. There are also a lot of healthy benefits from lemon water. It detoxifies, boost your energy, and gives you a shot of come vitamins.

Onward we go!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Day 2 Family Daniel Fast

We are taking it a little easy today for our bodies feel a little weak from no sugar. I have been sugar free 6 days now but my kids are just now feeling a little crash. I am glad we are holding off from school until Monday. Hopefully by then they will feel more energized.

Don't worry they aren't starving and they are getting natural sugar from fruits. Here are some of our snacks that we have found that helps us.

Banana Peanut Butter Seedy Snack
I cut a banana in half and coat in ALL Natural Peanut Butter (no sugar) then roll in Sunflower seeds. This is the biggest hit so far.


 For breakfast we have been sticking with a fruit mix with nuts.  This morning I had pomegranates and oranges tossed. Of course...water!!! The kids are mainly doing blueberries, grapes, and almonds.
 One thing I did before we started was clean out our pantry, fridge, and freezer. I got rid of all super junky food that I plan to not bring back into our home (as we plan to go to a WHOLE FOODS pantry) following the Daniel Fast.  I stocked it with Daniel Fast Friendly foods. I will say this isn't the cheapest way to eat.

 Due to my withdraws from sugar and caffeine as well as the kids we mainly are PJing today with books, and good ole classic movies. Of course, bible and prayer is an important part.


Here is the Corn Chowder (Daniel Fast Friendly) we had for supper.

3 cups peeled, chopped potatoes
1/2 c chop onion
4 cups water
EVVO (sauté onions)
2 to 3 cans of corn (we used frozen corn I put up this summer)
1 cup of Almond Milk ( I didn't add this)
parsley, salt, garlic
Shred Carrots (optional)

Saute onions in EVVO. Add water and Potatoes. Bring to boil. Add spices, corn, carrots, and milk (if you choose) and bring to a boil. Then turn to low-med heat and keep an eye on it. Stir and let this go for about 20 minutes and then turn to low and simmer for 30 min or until potatoes are done.

Our meal plan today was:

Breakfast- Fruit, nuts
Lunch- leftover soup, peanut butter wraps with WHOLE WHEAT tortillas. (100% and very minimal ingredients or from scratch)
Supper- We will have fried potatoes, and Veggie Wraps



A Book Review (A Charlotte Mason Education)

I normally don't do review or anything similar to this. But I created a book list for 2014 and I want to journal what I got from it when I am finished. I read this book today. It was a short read. 

The Book: A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison

Pro's: Very quick and informative read on the Charlotte Mason Education Philosophy. If you are looking for a simple read that gives you a good meaty understanding of this method of schooling this is a great book to start with. Lots of good reading list for children and helpful tips on keeping it simple. Great tips on creating a Book of Centuries.


Con's: NONE

You can find this on Amazon.

Blessings,
Chrissy

What are you reading today?


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! Family Daniel Fast Day 1

Happy New Year!  I pray you all have a great upcoming year. As you know my word for the year is Nourish. What a better way to be Nourished than to start the Daniel Fast.

Our entire family started the Daniel Fast today. We will go 30 days. I am excited but a little nervous due to trying to plan and keep things on hand so we want give in. 

Today I am making my meal plan for the week. I think to keep this economical and less stressful I will be sticking with pretty basic options for our breakfast and lunch. 

Today's menu:

We had fruit and almonds for breakfast.

We had tomato soup with bananas, peanut butter, and sunflower seeds for lunch.

Supper will be Corn Chowder.

For snacks we are sticking with nuts, and fruit.

I plan to experiment and create some good dishes. But the focus shouldn't solely be about food. So, I feel the more simple I make it then the true fasting takes place. It isn't meant to be 100% pleasant that is the part of fasting. We also will be eating humble servings. In other words not 3 bananas and peanut butter just because it is allowed on the list, or 3 bowls of soup.

We will also be doing family devotions in the evening to go along with this. I plan to share ideas, tips, and recipes during the month.

Have you ever did the Daniel Fast? What were some of your recipes?


Blessings,
Chrissy