Monday, November 30, 2009

Eventful Start to a Great Weekend

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family. We certainly did. Our long weekend started a little crazy though. Wednesday night, Hailey was chasing Josiah and wasn't watching where she was going. She smacked into the edge of the metal filing cabinet, HARD. She split a one inch gash in the skin right down the front of her forehead. Never dealt with a seriously bleeding child before. I was pretty shook up, but I managed to get her dressed and call a friend to come pick us up to take us to the hospital as there was no way I could put her in her car seat with her bleeding that bad. She stopped bleeding pretty much as soon we got to the hospital. She came out of the ER with 6 stitches. She only cried when she first got hurt, after that she was one tough cookie. They stitched her up with only a topical anesthetic. The ER nurse said she was the best child patient he ever had. We got the stitches out this morning and again, she never cried. I was so proud of her!

Well, back to our Thanksgiving weekend. On Thursday, we drove to the grange in Dufur and met up with buch of our family. It is great. Everyone in the family is invited and whoever shows up, shows up ... in-laws, ex-laws, and even outlaws (cause they're wanted, LOL). Our family meeting at the grange is a testament to the power of God's forgiveness in our lives. I feel blessed that though there is a lot of divorce and remarriage in our family, through God's mercy and grace, our family can still come together and have a great time and be comfortable with each other. Praise God! Here are all the grand kids that were there. Not a great picture, but the best we could do considering we actually got them to hold somewhat still for a few minutes. These cousins absolutely adore each other. Sure they can fight, but they love each other fiercely.

Michael's mom, Kay, and step-dad, Ernie, drove over. It was great to have them there this year. How do you like Josiah's white socks? I really need to find some black ones for him. Poor kid!

We all visited, listened to beautiful flute and piano music (compliments of my step-grandmother and her daughter), ate till we about popped and then went to my Dad and step-mom's house, and can you believe it, we ate even more! My jeans are feeling pretty tight this week, ;)

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend, and even though you might have experienced a little drama, I pray you were still able to find things to be thankful for.

God Bless,
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Homeschool Show and Tell Time

Our Christian home educators group (UCCHE) decided to start a once a week Show and Tell time. It was awesome! The purpose is to teach kids to present to their peers and also how to listen when another is presenting. Valuable skills indeed. It was so great because all ages of kids were invited to participate, even the toddlers. I think one of the things I love about homeschooling the most is that kids are learning from kids of all ages, not from just their own age group.

Josiah took his Thankful Tree to show everyone. He did a great job of explaining all the different things we had put on our tree. Because he was presenting, he insisted on wearing a nice shirt and tie with his dress shoes. It was so cute! Hailey presented us with a short little dance.

Here are all the kids (happened to be 6 years and under) who participated the first time we got together for Show and Tell day. They are showing off their things they had created or read. Some brought their favorite toys or books. I loved how all the parents were so encouraging to each child. I think it is great for homeschool kids to get some praise from people besides mom and dad. I'm so glad I get to be a part of this awesome group!
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My Pumpkins

I had a couple of miscellaneous pictures of the kids I wanted to post. The first one is of Josiah helping me grind a big pumpkin, using our Kitchen Aid grinder attachement. I freeze the baked, ground pumpkin in 2 cup increments and use all year round. Josiah loves to help with this process. We did this together during our special time when Hailey is napping.

Josiah took this picture of Hailey and I thought it captured her joy perfectly. I'm blessed with kids who generally have happy dispostions and get excited about new experiences and old traditions. I'm so grateful for that!

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry/Raspberry Muffin Recipe

Every now and then, the kids will talk me into making muffins for breakfast. They just love to help as you can see by the picture. Josiah really likes raspberry muffins and Hailey is more of a Madame Blueberry, like me.
As with most things I cook, I promise it's super easy and healthy, too! Here's the recipe.

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry/Raspberry Muffin Recipe:

2 3/4 cups or 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (depending on how moist you want)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk, milk or kefir (you could pre-soak the flour if so desired)
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil, melted coconut oil or butter
1 cup honey
1 cup fresh or frozen berries

Preheat oven to 350. Coat muffin pan with olive or coconut oil (I use stoneware, but still grease) if not using muffin papers. In Kitchen Aid I add all the wet stuff (except berries) first, then the dry. Mix until batter is only slightly lumpy. Pour batter into muffin pan, then add approximately 5 berries to each muffin. Cook 30 minutes. Let cook for about 15 minutes, then remove from pan. Your kids will love you!

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Consequences Pyramid Update - How's it working?

I did a post not long ago about a disciplining technique called the Consequences Pyramid that we've been implementing in our home. We've been using it for about a month now and I thought I'd do a follow up post.

This has been the best thing for our family! The most important thing I've noticed happening is the bad behavior becomes his problem, not mine. He is no longer mad at me when I implement a consequence. He's gets mad at himself instead. He knows he screwed up. I'm very clear about what things will move him up a "code". When he's having a hard time with his attitude, I offer to pray for him to help him "turn it around". The results are amazing! He is seeing the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. He knows he can't "be good" on his own.
I'm getting my energy back! I'm no longer drained at the end of the day because I've been trying to think of fair consequences and struggling to being consistent. The Consequences Pyramid is helping me be consistent by taking the guess work out of being fair. I know it is fair and the best part is that Josiah knows its fair. It also keeps my husband and I on the same page because we know where Josiah is on the pyramid and what is next. We all know what to expect. That's the beauty of it! This is especially good for families where Dad is gone a lot. He can step back in the disciplining ring after a long absence and it isn't going to cause unnecessary friction. As a military wife, I know about this one!

While bad behavior still happens, it is few and far between. I rarely spank now. When we started this, I figured he would hit "Code Red" (bed after dinner) several times, but so far it has only happened once. Homeschooling is going so much faster, too. We rarely have a day where he even gets to Code Yellow (loss of all electronics for that day). He's catching himself more and more when he's behaving badly. Thanks to the Consequences Pyramid, he's motivated to change!

My sister, Stacie, is having similar results with her children. Because she is disciplining so many children at once, we decided to make magnets with all the kid's names on them to help keep track of who was on which code. We found some clear acrylic "stones" at the craft store. Using a clear drying glue, we glued their names to the back of the acrylic stones. Then we glued a magnet to the back. Now, if it is time to move up a code, the kids can do it themselves. We went ahead and made name magnets for all the kids, even the young ones, who will eventually be using this system.

If you are experiencing the same frustrations with repeated bad behavior and finding yourself drained of energy, I would encourage you to try this incredibly easy system. Tailor it to what "speaks" to your kids. I feel like this has been a gift from God and I want to tell everyone about it!

God Bless,

Update: I've changed my codes around a little. I decided to take "Break" off as a code and reserve it for when my child is unable to control himself emotionally (sometimes I'll use this in between codes). Instead our
Our Consequences Pyramid now looks like this:

Code Red: Immediately to Bed (only comes out for meals)
Code Orange: Bedtime 7:00pm
Code Yellow: 1 Hour Rest Time
Code Green: No Snack
Code Blue: No Electronics

You start at the bottom of the pyramid and work your way up. You can tailor these codes to be anything that "speaks" to your child. You could even have a different pyramid for each child if needed.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Seseme Orange Shrimp Recipe

Josiah has recently decided he loves shrimp again. For awhile he claimed he didn't like it because a friend of his didn't, but now he's seen the "light" and joined the ranks of this seafood lovin' family. I made this dish last week and he loved it. It's super quick and easy, especially if you already have the rice made ahead of time, (previously frozen, thawed, then reheated). Here's the recipe:

Sesame Orange Shrimp:

2 Tbl sesame seeds (white, black or mix)
2 egg whites (save the yolks to make raw mayo or ice cream)
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Whisk all together, 1 lb raw, peeled, deveined shrimp, toss to coat. Heat 2 Tbl coconut or olive oil over medium heat in a skillet (I use cast iron), cook until shrimp is golden on both sides. Remove shrimp to paper towel-lined plate.

3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 Tbl Braggs Liquid Aminos(or soy sauce)
1 Tbl sucanat (or brown sugar)

In same pan shrimp was cooked in, add all the sauce ingredients. Bring to boil and cook, stirring occasionally until sauce is reduced by 1/2 (about 5 minutes). Return shrimp to pan, stir, coating shrimp with sauce. Sprinkle with green onion for garnish if desired. Serve on bed of brown jasmine rice (I add wild rice to my jasmine rice for an extra nutty flavor and even more nutrition). I like serving this with sauteed green beans and mushrooms, also cooked in coconut oil, with a little salt added. It would be good with an oriental cabbage salad, too.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Snoozin' Cowboy/Josiahism

I warned you it was coming, Dad! Just had to use your picture for a Friday Funny. Love the way you're sleeping with your hat up on top of the couch. A true cowboy, catchin' some ZZZs :)

Latest Josiahism: 
I was telling Josiah the story about Jesus healing the lepers. He got all concerned and said, “But He shouldn’t have!” I asked him why not. He replies, “Because they’re meat-eaters!” (Leopards)
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Josiah and his Blue Bomber

Last Saturday, Josiah was able to participate in the AWANAS Grand Prix now that he is a Spark. He was unbelievably excited about racing his "Blue Bomber". This being his first race, we had no idea what to expect. We only had time to help him paint his car blue. His was the only car there that didn't even have headlights. We had no idea that kids really get creative with these cars. Oh, well, next time! Despite his lack of accessories, we must have got the weight distributed pretty well. Josiah had a blast racing and won 5 medals (two 1st place, two 2nd place and one 3rd place). Can you tell by the picture that he's just a little bit excited? Trust me, everyone in the room new he won! He's a very enthusiastic kid...hum, kind of like me :P !
He's putting his car on the starting line.

Waiting patiently for his turn in the "pit".

Mom and Larry came over for the event. They are so good about coming over for the kid's activities. Josiah and Hailey were thrilled to see them. Hailey's always happy to see "her Larry Pop". They have a really special bond. How about those yard sale boots? Aren't they adorable? Michael was able to be there, too, which even made it more special for Josiah. Of course, he had the loudest cheering section when he raced, since we're such quiet people ;) He's already making plans for next year. He's thinking camo for decorations... surprise, surprise!
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nearly Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

I found another recipe from Camille's blog that I decided to try. I put a healthy spin on it and it still turned out yummy. Normally I can't stand chocolate cake, but since this was more like a custard, I loved it! Here's the recipe:

Nearly Flourless Chocolate Cake:

2 squares unsweetened Bakers Chocolate
3/4 cup butter
1 & 1/4 cup sucanat
5 large eggs
1 Tbl whole wheat pastry flour

Preheat oven 375 F. Line bottom of 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper and butter the sides. Using a wire whisk, melt chocolate and butter in a pan on the stove over very low heat. Stir in sucanat and mix until smooth. Let mixture cool for 5 minutes, then add eggs, stirring them in one at a time. Add the flour and mix well. Pour batter into springform pan and bake 25 minutes or until center of the cake is barely set. Let cool 15 minutes, then loosen the sides of the cake from springform pan. Flip cake upside down onto a piece of parchment paper on a plate. Carefully remove the other piece of parchment paper that was on the bottom of the pan that is now on the top of the cake.

Serve with raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream sweetened with honey.

Raspberry Sauce:
1 cup raspberries
1 tsp tapioca flour (instead of cornstarch)
honey to taste

Mix raspberries, tapioca flour and honey (fresh or frozen) in a small pan. Stir over medium heat until sauce coats spoon. If too thick, add more raspberries. If too thin, add more tapioca flour, mixed in a little cold water, then reheat sauce until thick.

To serve:
Spread sauce on cake. Add whipped cream on individual servings.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our Thankful Tree

I got this wonderful idea from . My sister did it with her kids, too and today I put one together with Josiah and Hailey in no time at all. I just love this idea! I'm all about easy when it comes to crafts or creative ideas and this fits the bill perfectly. All I did was pull some branches off our red dogwood osier bush, wrapped the stems in a cloth napkin and stuffed them inside the vase which made arranging the branches a lot easier. Then got a extra few photos out, string, tape, hole punch, and some markers and let the kids have a ball. They made crosses out of popsicle sticks, and Josiah wrote "Jesus" on them. We have pictures of various family members, one of Josiah's first place medals from the AWANAS Grand Prix races and a chain celebrating families that he made in Sunday School today.

I though it turned out great. I'm going to make this a yearly Thanksgiving tradition in our home. What about you? I love to hear from my readers. What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions that are easy and fun?

God Bless,
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day!

Happy Veteran's Day to all the men and women who have served and are presently serving our country. This family appreciates you so much! I want to especially thank Michael's brother, Nathan, and our good friend, Rick, who are currently serving overseas. Our prayers are with you and you families! We went to our town's Veterans Day Parade this morning. It was great and thankfully to cold. It started raining after the parade so we were blessed to have stayed dry. Last year we got soaked! We are a patriotic family to the max, so it was another chance for Josiah to dress in his WWII soldier uniform and the rest of us in our patriotic clothing.

This year, we got to enjoy the parade with several MOPS friends. I did a presentation last year at MOPS on different ways to teach your kids patriotism. One suggestion I made was that they take their kids to the Veteran's Parade. It was so awesome seeing so many of these ladies at the parade this year with their kids waving flags.

These are some vehicles from our local National Guard unit.

Usually Michael rides with the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Club. Unfortunately, he had to leave town for a doctor's appointment today since he got the day off. So this year, we waved to club from the sidelines.

I hope that where ever you are today you take the time to show your appreciation to those who have served and are serving this great country we live in. Please teach your children to do the same. It is so important!

God Bless,
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Visiting My Other Half (Literally)

I got to see my sis last weekend. My hubby was gone for a National Guard training so we decided to make a weekend of it. My mom took the four eldest kids (including Josiah) and dropped Hailey and I off at Stacie's house. As usual, we had a fabulous time watching movies, cooking, cleaning, even doing a little craft. "War in Peace" is a great movie to get through when you get to talk the whole way through it. Makes the slow parts go really fast! Here are a couple of sweet pictures of Stacie and my Lilylicious niece.
Yep, we are identical twins, so she is technically my other half. As one person so delicately put it, "Whoa, what an egg split!". I think that was the most original of all twin comments I've received in my lifetime thus far. She just cut her hair and went back to her natural color, so we don't look as much like twins now.

We made mock maple syrup, acrylic name magnets for our consequences charts, a fabulous maple glazed pork roast (see Stacie's blog for recipe, and a couple of gallons of raw raspberry freezer jam sweetened with honey (see Labels-->recipes-->condiments on my sidebar). Andrew, Stacie's 4 year old, was very into helping us make the raspberry jam since he is a raspberry eatin' fool. Can you see the evidence on this kid's face. I'm truly surprised we had any raspberries left to make jam with! He ate so many as we were thawing them out. He was only too happy to stir the honey and pectin into the jam as you can see ;) This little guys just cracks me up. It was fun getting to know him even better this weekend.

My sister is freaking me out, but I'm lovin' every minute of it! She actually let me talk her into making some natural cleaner concentrate (good for floors, counters and urine spots on carpets and furniture: for recipe see sidebar, Labels-->Natural Cleaning). As a reward for her open-mindedness to the natural cleaning world, I deep cleaned her kitchen for her. This is a really hard thing for a mom of six to take the time to do. She totally deserves it and I only wish I could have done more. We also took the time to give each other several deep tissue massages. It was wonderful!

Thanks again, Stacie, for yet another wonderful weekend. I treasure the moments I get with you.

Love and Blessings,
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

...3, 2, 1 --> BLAST OFF!!!

Even though I do the bulk of homeschooling in our family, Michael does a great job helping me with all the mechanical/scientific subjects. Someone gave us this rocket at a yard sale. There were a couple pieces missing, so Michael went down to our local hobby store and found what he needed. We all went down to the field near the school where we live to launch the rocket.

Michael had bought three medium grade engines to "fuel" the rocket.

We were in the middle of the field, see how far away the fence is? Michael was fully expecting the rocket NOT to work, so was surprised when it did ignite while he was still looking at the battery, not the rocket. We had three shots at this, since we had three engines. This baby went way higher in the air than we expected.

So where did they land? The first launch landed the rocket in the rode on the other side of the fence. The second time it landed on the opposite side of the field in someone's backyard. The third launch landed the rocket back on the other side of the field and in someone's yard, two houses down. We didn't find it until the next day. I think next time we'll use smaller engines or find a wheat field :) Josiah and Michael had a great time, while I stood helplessly by with Hailey hoping we wouldn't catch someone's house on fire. I know, I'm such a typical woman. Boys and their toys, you gotta love 'em!

God Bless,

"The Blast Off Song". This song also helps a Bible verse. Any of you remember singing this verse in Sunday School?

Somewhere in outer space
God has prepared a place
For those who trust Him and obey
Jesus will come again
And though we don't know when
The countdown's getting lower every day.

10 and 9, 8 and 7, 6 and 5 and 4,
Call upon the Savior while you may,
3 and 2, coming through the clouds in bright array
The countdown's getting lower every day.


Jesus was crucified, suffered and bled he died,
But on the cross He did not stay
He made this promise true, I will come back for you,
The countdown's getting lower every day.


Soon will the trumpet sound, and we’ll rise off the ground
With Christ forever will we be
Children where will you be, throughout eternity?
The countdown’s getting lower everyday!


"And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you
unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:3

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Consequences Pyramid

So, I was on the phone with my sister last week and we were swapping homeschooling woes. Both of us were complaining about the amount of time we were disciplining compared to teaching and neither of us were satisfied with what was happening in our homeschools. We were trying to figure out how to keep our kids on-task without losing our minds in the process! We were being consistent with the "break system" but it just didn't seem to be enough. Half our energy and brain power was being drained just in trying to figure out what privileges to take away, what would be fair and deflecting the arguments that would inevitably come our way when we would apply a consequence.

Thus, the Consequences Pyramid was born! Ours may look a little differently, but I think we have the same basic idea. We decided that a simple visual reminder and "code system" just might do the trick. This way, everyone is on board and knows what to expect if they aren't able to turn their behavior around. Kind of like how God deals with us adults when we are disobeying Him. He starts chipping at us with a hammer and ends up bringing in the jack hammer if we still aren't "getting it". As you can see from the picture above, I've got my pyramid broken out into five "codes":

Code Blue: Take a break
Code Green: No snack
Code Yellow: No electronics (including anything with batteries)
Code Orange: Take a nap (or one hour rest time)
Code Red: Go to bed right after supper

Infractions include: disobedience, disrespect, bad attitude, arguing, not staying on task, etc...

We decided that our homeschool day would be over at 3pm. If the kids weren't done by then, they would automatically go to code red. A couple of days of that and we knew we'd have the upper hand again. We also having them do their extra chores after homeschooling is over for the day and before they are "released". Same system applies.

So, how's it working? Josiah has only gotten as far as code yellow (once). Blue or green is about the average. We've been getting our homeschooling done in record time (as well as chores) and the attitude has been completely different. My energy isn't getting drained by the constant arguments and goofing off. Stacie reports similar results. She works hers a bit differently because she is disciplining more than one child. When I can tell Josiah is having a hard time turning it around, I tell him he needs to ask the Holy Spirit to help him. I want to teach him at an early age that he can't be "good" on his own. Many times he'll ask me to pray for him. As you can imagine, this has helped tremedously and it is teaching a spiritual truth.
I'm so excited about this new system! I just had to share it with you all. I drew the hearts on my chart to remind both Josiah and I that the reason there are consequences is because I love him.

God Bless,

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Fall Princess

I quickly took these pictures of Hailey just before we headed to church yesterday morning. The sweater she is wearing was crocheted for Josiah when he was a baby by his Aunt Abby. Of course I kept it and now Hailey is wearing it. Isn't it darling?

Little Miss Attitude!
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