30 September 2010

the swing of things

Now that summer is officially over, we are well into our new schedule around here. Here's what it breaks down to for us...

Monday- homeschool and grocery shopping.

Tuesday- Co-op day. If the kids are at Hailey's or Shannon's, I get to run errands by myself or handle appointments that need to be taken care of.

Wednesday- Gymnastics & homeschool.

Thursday- CBS (Community Bible Study) & homeschool.

Friday- school, field trips, craft day or play dates.

In addition, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, I exercise for about 30 mins. This is purely for my own sanity, health, a feeling of balance, and an overall respect for taking care of the temple that God gave me. My goal is always to be done by 7 AM.

I'm thrilled that our schedule has been working out well for all of us. I'm always a little cautious about over-loading too much but this routine seems to be a good fit, at least right now. I'm actually enjoying the teeny-bit of extra time I have to myself since I'm not serving at Mom2Mom this year. I miss all the wonderful women there but I get to see some of them at CBS and I LOVE being in bible study. The girls are thoroughly enjoying their children's program at CBS, too. They get to be with their old friends and meet some new ones as well.

Gymnastics has been a blast and it's something that Faith and Grace look forward to every week. We've developed our routine for school at home and I'm overjoyed to say that it even involves Morgan! For the last couple of weeks now, he's been schooling the girls on math and perceptual growth (skills for successful reading). He basically goes over 4 to 5 worksheets a day with them. He loves doing it and in all honesty, he's so much better at it than me! I just sit and listen to him in awe. There are so many positives about our Sonlight curriculum and how it easily allows dads to be involved as well. Basically, I handle all of the curriculum reading and writing. Morgan teaches the math and visual/auditory worksheets. He typically works with the girls before or after dinner. He loves being involved with teaching and it's been a huge blessing, for all of us! It's also made him more aware of the girls' strengths, weaknesses, and personality differences when it comes to learning. Differences that would've been harder to pick up on if he weren't purposely teaching them school. Co-parenting in every aspect and an amazing teaching partner to boot! It's definitely an "win-win" and I couldn't be more grateful to God.

Some people have asked how long it takes to school the girls on a given day. On average, if we go straight through without stopping, it takes about an hour to an hour and a half a day. Sometimes, we do school in the mornings and other times, we do it in the afternoon. I like having the flexibility. Most of all,
I enjoy the time I get to spend, cuddling with my girls on the couch. Most days are good but like anything, we have some tough days, too. Still, I wouldn't trade it for the world. These days are all precious. No parent ever regrets spending too much time with their children, do they?

Here's an interesting article I received from a friend. It's about how more and more parents are choosing to homeschool and using the world as their classroom. They travel the world so that their children can learn from other cultures, languages, experiences, etc. I really like the concept and would love nothing more than to travel the world with my children and husband someday-- at least on a part-time basis. One can DREAM! :)

27 September 2010

Hanging On

Hanging on to every word You speak 'cause it's all that I need
Hanging on to every word You say
To light up my way
Even every little whisper I'm
Hanging on as if it were my life
I'm hanging on...

To hear the song, click here.

Most days, I feel like I'm hanging on. By hanging on, I don't necessarily mean, by a thread. Thankfully, most days are good. I'm grounded in the moment and clear about God's purpose for me and what He's asking me to do through this season of my life. I'm joyful, thankful, and intentional. It doesn't mean however, that each day goes smoothly. And it certainly doesn't mean that it's easy. Today was one of those days where I really could have used a "do-over" button. Truth is, if I don't hang on to God's promises everyday (in some cases, every moment!) there's always something that will try to pull me away, down a different path. That something may be of this world or it may just be my own sin and pride. Today, it was the latter. Both seperate me from God so therefore, I hang on. Unfortunately, there are no "do-overs" in life. Regardless, I'm so grateful for the grace of God and His new mercies everyday. It's days like today that humble me... and in some strange (yet Perfect way), that's a gift. I'm so grateful for my daughters who forgave me, prayed with me, and asked God to change my heart today.

Sometimes, "Maybe 'hanging on' is exactly what God wants us to do?"

24 September 2010

Watermelon Feta Salad

I added the juice of half a lemon, EVOO, salt, pepper, and basil.
Simply toss gently and enjoy!

Our first course is served! Placed in these cute little bowls.

Ok, so I've seen this particular salad in my magazines as well as some food blogs and the cooking channel this summer. It seemed like all of them had their own little variation to it. The two ingredients seemed sort of odd together but what the heck-- I love watermelon and feta so I thought I'd give it a try sometime. Plus, it looked so simple with beautiful colors! Unlike last year, I had a tough time finding a sweet and ripe watermelon this summer. I tried many different stores but each melon I bought was a little under par. Finally, last week, I picked up the smaller melons that come in a two pack at Costco. They seemed to be the best of all the rest. I used low-fat feta and I diced the melon into small bite sized pieces. I had basil on hand so I used that but you could certainly use watercress, arugula or mint.

The taste-- cool, refreshing, sweet, salty, juicy, and surprisingly VERY YUMMY!!
I'll definitely be making it more often next summer. It's super easy yet it looks so elegant for a dinner party or brunch. Morgan and I will be having it for our first course tonight. The girls aren't into feta yet so I'll probably just make them a plain watermelon and strawberry salad. Sure makes up for the second course we're having... hot dogs! :) Happy Weekend!

23 September 2010

Welcome Fall

Bike rides...

Fun at the neighborhood park...

Picking flowers...

Flying kites...

Decorating the house...

Yes, it's true... fall is officially here and it brings all the fun things I mentioned above! We were blessed with a mild summer this year and now, cooler temps are soon upon us. In fact, the high yesterday was only 92. It felt amazing to step out of the house in the evening and feel a cool breeze! Bring on the homemade soups, pumpkin pancakes, pear crisps, and the warm and cozy smell of cinnamon!

As always, it's so delightful to see you, fall. Hope you stay a while...

19 September 2010

Roasted Tomato Spaghetti

Tossed with EVOO, salt, pepper, minced garlic, a tsp. of sugar, and a T. of red wine vinegar.

Broil for 12 min. in the oven and you get these beautifully roasted and caramelized jewels.

Toss with pecorino romano (more flavor than parm but whatever you have is fine), basil, and about 1/4 cup of extra pasta water until desired creaminess.

Ok, so I'm thinking the subtitle to my blog should be Faith~ Family~ Food.

Food gives me passion, inspiration, joy, and art. I love the colors, smells, and textures. I even love looking at pictures of food! This is a quick dinner (or side dish) that I made during the week. I had lots of cherry tomatoes and some heirloom tomatoes leftover from a dinner party we had for Morgan's clients. What to do with all those leftover little guys? I roasted them and then tossed them with multi-grain spaghetti. Not one little tomato went to waste and let me tell you how absolutely phenomenal my kitchen smelled! Who doesn't love a quick, easy, and full of flavor dish? This one hit every mark. Just add a salad and some bread and Voila'! dinner is on the table in less than 15 mins!

18 September 2010

Sexy Too Soon

This was an interesting article I read yesterday from Focus on the Family called Sexy Too Soon. Rather than paraphrase the article, I thought it would be best to simply share the link. It was well written and conveyed many of the same concerns I have regarding the sexualization of young girls and the many influences they face today.

I have to say, this is one of the primary reasons why we have the "no TV rule" in our home and why we choose to homeschool our girls. Have you noticed you can't even watch a commercial these days without some sort of sexual image popping up? And more often then not, the sexual image has absolutely nothing to do with the product or service being advertised. Sadly, most Americans are already numb to these sexually elicit images and innuendo that permeates our culture and media today. So many people pass it off as "normal." What are we allowing our very impressionable children to see?

Suggestive Clothing: Come on, is it really necessary to even make 'bikini' bottoms for toddlers? And is it too much to ask to make a bathing suit (rash guard top) that actually covers their bellies? Don't get me wrong, I love clothes and fashion just as much as the next girl. I'm certainly not a prude and I enjoy looking good (even sexy on occasion!) for my husband but I'm also almost 40, not 4. Do little girls really have to dress like young women? And by the way, why does everything have to have a skull & crossbones or a peace sign on it?

Tarted-Up Toys: Have you seen Barbie's new wardrobe lately? Fishnet hose and leather bikini bottoms. She should be called Trampy Barbie.

Pop Culture Icons: Lindsey Lohan, Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry just to name a few. No further explanation is necessary, is it?

Although homeschooling and our "no TV rule" will not shelter our kids completely, it does however, buy us time. Time to teach and lay a firm foundation in knowing who they are and what's of great worth in God's eyes. Let's face it, you can't even go to Wal-Mart anymore without being bombarded by young sexual images. So many damaging issues (low self-esteem, teen pregnancy, eating disorders, etc.) could be prevented if girls just knew who they were in Christ, who they were meant to be and what's really important.
I recently read that teen plastic surgery is on the rise more than ever. Girls as young as 13 are having botox injections for their wrinkles and the most popular surgery performed on girls under 19 is breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, and liposuction.

If we, as parents, don't purposely aim to instill the truth about beauty and purity into the hearts and lives of our daughters we can rest assured, the world will.

14 September 2010

Week 6

All done making our fall wreaths.

Mr. Morgan teaches the kids about fire safety.

Stop, drop, and...

Even fairies need a break.

Free play always involves dress up for the girls.

Worship time- Our co-op band!

Fine Motor Skills- making sandwich and fruit kabobs for lunch.

Gracie says, "Can I eat now?"

Faith.

Viv.

Today was all about seasons, pumpkins, the letter Ff, how Jesus can change your heart from the inside out, fire safety, where CA is located in relation to the whole U.S., counting, and how a tomato is actually a fruit!

Morgan was working from home today and he had a few minutes to help me teach the kids about fire safety. I love it when he can be an active influence to the kids in any way.

Believe it or not, we're even getting a head start on our Christmas program this year. We began to introduce new songs today. I can't believe week 6 is in the books already! At this rate, we'll be glad we started Christmas caroling early!

A lovely moment~ out of the blue, Grace told Teagan that she loved him and that prompted "I love you's" all around the table. So sweet to hear the kids love on each other.

After worhsip and dance time, Faith wanted to share a little song with us.... Hope you enjoy, we sure did!


13 September 2010

Mt. Laguna Camping Trip

Our first stop was the historic gold mining and apple mill town of Julian.
We enjoyed browsing through quaint little stores, having lunch, and of course, eating a delicious slice of their famous apple pie (a' la mode).







From there, we made the short 20 min. drive to Mt. Laguna. Morgan did some research on the camground and picked us a sweet spot. Lucky #13 had an amazing panoramic and unobstructed view of the meadow. So picturesque and beautiful. The pictures don't really do it justice.



Nice work, daddy!

Handsome and talented. :)



Dancing at dusk.

Picking flowers.

Fields of Gold...

Let the roasting begin!

Good morning, lovelies!













Peaceful...

Learning how to build a fire.

Lemon Meringue Smores-a tasty twist!



Chocolate Peanut Butter Smores- Amazing!




The Highlights: having a big, secluded campsite, smores, building fires, hiking, climbing rocks, counting stars, seeing the milky way and the big dipper, beautiful daytime weather, playing with sticks and dirt, dancing, a hot shower, picking wildflowers, being together, and experiencing God's creation outdoors.

The lowlights: the weather dropped to a record low of 34 on Friday night!! No wonder why we felt like we froze our little tushes off! We checked the weather before we left and this was a huge surprise. Thankful that my dear hubby packed 8 blankets... we needed every single one of them. Saturday night it climbed back up to 45, which was very comfortable at night.
Also, while picking flowers, Grace got a minor bee sting behind her ear but she was so brave and after a short nap, it didn't even phase her or become an issue again. She was happily back to picking flowers the next day. I love that it's become one of her "brave moments" to remember.

Keeping it real: Non-flush toilets- YUCK. I know it's all a part of roughin' it and I've done it many times before but it sure makes it worse when you have to take two little ones throughout the day. Next time, we'll borrow a port-a-potty. Even still- the girls were troopers (although they said this was their least favorite part about camping). I agree!

Overall, our first 'real' camping trip as a family was a success! No one got hurt, we enjoyed experiencing new things with the girls, we saw more stars at night than we could ever count, and in the end, we came home with a deeper appreciation for nature, God, the pioneers who set out before us, and even a new thankfulness for all the modern conveniences we enjoy at home. The girls said their favorite part was rock climbing and Morgan and I really enjoyed hiking with them and watching them grow in confidence while having fun.

Lastly, I don't think I'll ever forget the really nice compliment I got from Grace. She said, "Mommy, I love you more than stars and I love you more than dirt." It sure made me smile. :) Camping was a fun way to end the summer!

Oh yeah, if you're interested, I posted lots more pics on facebook. Still not sure how I feel about fb but for now, it's a much easier way to load tons of pictures and share them with family and friends. Look me up or leave me a comment if you're not already a friend. :)

09 September 2010

World Changers


We're raising two of them over here.

How? With God's grace and wisdom.

Why? Because it's what God has called us to do with the children He gave us.

Do what exactly? Raise our children to know, trust, and serve the Lord with all their heart. We want our kids to think outwardly, beyond themselves and our narcissistic culture. To be young women who have a heart for making an impact for Christ-- not only for their generation but for the Kingdom at hand.

Is this too much to ask of our children? It's not me that's doing the asking.

Is it difficult? Of course it is. Everyday is a new challenge. Everyday brings about the obvious... that I am not perfect. However, the enlightening part about endeavoring to raise world changers is the very fact that it's not about me. It's about Him.

The sobering realization... in order to raise a world changer, I must first BE a world changer!

Really, God?

As I sit here writing this on my laptop on the kitchen counter, I would be remiss if I said that I didn't already know this to some extent. Yes, in my small corner of my stay at home mom world, I have the power to be the change for Christ-- one word, one prayer, one smile, one child at a time.

Assessment time- Morgan and I have decided that there are some changes that need to be made to our lifestyle, our home, our time, our mind-set, and our priorities. Change is never easy but for us, we feel that God is calling us to demonstrate (rather than simply be an earful) to our children what a life fully committed to Christ may look like.

It'll be a slow and gradual change but one that I look forward to sharing as I start purging the unnecessary masks that we all sometimes wear. I look forward to being refined as I am actually longing for a simpler, more abundant life that walks whole-heartedly with the Lord.

God often calls us to do difficult things, but they are of His choosing and they are always beneficial and good and right.

I have complete confidence that God will guide us to the center of His will. It's taken me a while but I am finally getting to a point where I'm saying, "Ok, Lord, bring it on. I'm ALL IN. I'm game if You and my husband will lead me."

Hey, whadda ya know? Surrender can be sweet.

Like ourselves, most Christians are troubled by the world's economic, political, and cultural state, yet we sit behind the gates of our well-manicured communities, in our safe and comfortable homes, and do next to nothing. We have the awesome privilege and responsibility to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Not to wait, take cover, and hope for the best until the Second Coming. As a believer, we have been anointed by the Holy Spirit.

"May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and the exploitation of people, so that you may wish for justice, freedom, and peace. May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done."

We were born for such a time as this.

Can you feel it? It's called revival and it starts in our very own homes.

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