Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Breakfast Porridge


What a great time of year to have something pumpkin-y for breakfast.  I saw a post the other day for a breakfast porridge, but decided to adapt it for our family.  We had it this morning, and I got thumbs up from my kids.  

The great thing about this recipe is you can change it up however you want.  Don't like one of the fruits in this recipe? Substitute if for another one! It was nice to serve something different for breakfast, and the pumpkins and apples are always a treat for fall.  

Ingredients:
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (make sure pumpkin is the only ingredient)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (any milk will work)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • walnuts or almonds, crushed (optional)


Instructions:
  • Use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend the bananas and pumpkin puree.  Add the milk and eggs and blend to combine.  
  • Pour into pot and heat over medium heat.  Add butter, vanilla,  and cinnamon and stir constantly.  
  • Once warm, whisk in coconut flour and keep stirring until well incorporated.  
  • Spoon into bowls and top with diced apples, raisins, and nuts.  
  • Makes 4 bowls



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Unit Ten: Water

To see a list of posts for all of our units for Kindergarten, see here.  This post contains information about only Unit Ten: Water.

Unit Ten focused on the letter W for Water and the coordinating Bible truth was "Jesus gives my spirit living water to drink." Benjamin really enjoyed this unit because it gave him the opportunity to do a lot of hands-on activities.  I found a great 36 page resource for $3 that was worth every penny (see below)!
Benjamin cut out items from a magazine that were solids, liquids, and gases.  All I had was a Pottery Barn magazine, but we made it work :) He cut out cucumbers for the solids, glasses full of water and juice for the liquids, and the sky for his gas.  

Here, Benjamin drew his own solid (Lego man, of course), liquid (water in a swimming pool), and gas (helium in a balloon). 


Some supplements we used for this unit:




My favorite thing that I found for this unit was a 36-page printable from Teacher's Notebook. It cost $3, but it was totally worth it!  My son really enjoyed all of the experiments and it was fun to have bright pages at which to look.  I would definitely recommend getting a copy!  If you've never used Teacher's Notebook before, I would recommend creating an account and browsing through their stuff.  You can get a lot of great stuff for free or pay a few dollars for some great stuff too.  See the lesson on matter here.  

ABC Memory Verse Cards
In addition to the Bible truth, we are also memorizing a Bible verse that begins with the letter of the week. I received some ACB cards as a gift and they are by Dayspring, but I have also seen these online that would work just as well.

This week our W verse was: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for man" (Colossians 3:23). 


Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader K
This book is perfect for kindergarten, as it has a well-illusrtated animal lesson for each letter of the alphabet.  This week we learned about whales.  






I've mentioned that we use this book before, but it had a great section on matter.  We always love The Berenstain Bears!



Some books we enjoyed for this unit were Water Changes and Down Comes the Rain

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cauliflower Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce



I was a little skeptical when I tried making this recipe today.  I'm trying to cut back on carbs and eat more vegetables, and I read somewhere that cauliflower can be used in place of rice or to make a pizza crust, etc.  So, I found a "fried rice" recipe that substituted cauliflower for rice and decided to give it a try.

The Results: We really liked it! Now, I did some tweaking of my own to the recipe to make it a little more tasty for us, so that's why I'm posting it here so I won't forget what I did.  I was amazed at how much the cauliflower looked and even tasted like rice.  What a healthy alternative to incorporate more veggies into your diet without even realizing it! Hope you enjoy it as much as our family did!

Cauliflower Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey (ground beef or chicken would work, or leave it out completely)
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce (omit this if gf or using something in its place)
  • 1 Tbsp Sherry
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 large head of Cauliflower, cut in small chunks
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into small chunks
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice


Peanut Sauce:

  • 1-2 Tbsp. peanut butter (depending on how pea-nutty you want it)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (regular milk will work)
  • 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar


Instructions:

  • Stir together sherry, soy sauce, minced garlic, cumin and ground turkey and set aside.
  • Place cauliflower in food processor or blender and pulse for one second a few times.  You just want the consistency to be like that of rice, so don't blend it or it will get mushy.  Set aside.
  • Cook peas and carrots on stove until tender and drain.
  • Melt 1 Tbsp. coconut oil in skillet on medium heat and add ground turkey.  Cook all the way through and set aside.
  • Using the same skillet, melt 1 Tbsp of coconut oil and place cauliflower in skillet and brown.  Add orange juice.
  • Make a well in center of skillet and add egg and scramble.  Once it is scrambled, toss with cauliflower.
  • Add peas and carrots and turkey.
  • In microwave safe bowl, mix your sauce ingredients and microwave for 30-45 seconds.  Whisk sauce and pour on top of stir fry.
  • Serve immediately.


Original recipe came from here.




Sunday, September 28, 2014

Unit Nine: Octopus

To see a list of posts for all of our units for Kindergarten, see here.  This post contains information about only Unit Nine: Octopus.
Unit Nine focused on the letter O for Octopus and the coordinating Bible truth was "Even the octopus praises the Lord!" This week got cut a little short, as we went on a little vacation to the beach for a few days to celebrate Daddy's birthday.  How nice it was that our unit study was on octopus while we were at the beach, though!  It was so nice to have the beach all to ourselves and not have to worry about being in a formal school setting.  We talked a lot about our unit as we walked on the beach together. This is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling- you can set your own schedule!  

My son really enjoyed making a watercolor painting of his very own octopus.  

Some supplements we used for this unit:

ABC Memory Verse Cards
In addition to the Bible truth, we are also memorizing a Bible verse that begins with the letter of the week. I received some ACB cards as a gift and they are by Dayspring, but I have also seen these online that would work just as well.

This week our O verse was: "Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" (Ephesians 6:1). 

Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader K
This book is perfect for kindergarten, as it has a well-illusrtated animal lesson for each letter of the alphabet.  This week we learned about the ostrich.


Ocean Pack
Here is an AWESOME resource and it's FREE!  We have completed printables from this site before and I had every intention of printing off and using this pack, but we didn't get to it this week.  It looks super cute, though!  There is also a Hermit the Crab one too, to go along with the Eric Carle book.  

Two books we really enjoyed for this unit were: A House for Hermit Crab and Mister Seahorse. Both books are by Eric Carle.  We also checked out several books about the ocean and talked more about ocean life.  



What's Under the Sea is a great educational book.  Each page is FULL of information about the sea, sea creatures, divers, etc.  



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Raspberry-Chocolate Oatmeal Bars


As much as I try to eat healthy, I've got to have a few sweet recipes to turn to!  This dessert has a fraction of the calories/sugar/fat grams of most raspberry bar recipes, but it still tastes pretty great.  So, make this instead and you won't feel as guilty when you eat a piece!

Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Flour (I used a gluten free flour mix, but regular or whole wheat flour should work)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda (omit if using gf flour that already contains this)
  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp Coconut Oil (at room temp) or softened butter
  • 6 oz. pureed raspberries (one small container)
  • 1/4 Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup Chocolate Chips


Instructions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • On low/med speed, mix together butter/coconut oil and brown sugar.  Slowly add flour, baking soda, and oats.  
  • Using 1/4 of this mixture, press it on to the bottom of a 8x8 baking dish.  
  • Pour pureed raspberries on top. 
  • Combine chocolate chips with the remaining flour mixture and crumble on top of raspberries.  
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown on top.  


Monday, September 22, 2014

When God Re-directs Our Plans

"You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail."
Prov.19:21



Sometimes we pray about something and feel like God has told us exactly what do to and we set out to accomplish it.  Sometimes, however, we think we know what God wants us to do, but when we set out to accomplish it, He changes things completely.  When things do not go the way we expect, we have two choices: will we keep trusting Him OR will we lose faith in Him and try to do things our own way?  Our family recently went through a major shift of plans.  I'm writing this so I can look back on it and remember that God led us to do this when life gets hard in a few months and we begin to question things.  

When Scott and I were first married, we served as short-term missionaries with the International Mission Board for a year. After that, through a series of God-ordained events, Scott and I came to Macon, Georgia to work with the youth group at Northway Church over 6.5 years ago. These past 6.5 years have been some of the greatest years of our lives.  We love nothing more than getting to see our teenagers fall in love with Christ and obediently follow God’s call on their lives.

Several years ago, we began to sense that God was calling us to serve Him overseas as missionaries again.  Of course we were willing to follow God, but it was definitely a lot harder this time.  We had a family now and we loved our students at church, but we followed the calling and began the application process with the International Mission Board.  We also put our house up for sale, knowing God would have to take care of the sale of our house amidst a very unstable housing market.   After lowering our house several times and knowing we would lose all of our savings, we lowered it one final time and received an offer over Christmas break last winter. 

After our house sold, we moved into an apartment and were about to share our news with our church family when a health crisis put a major halt on our plans.  I almost had a heart attack and had a stent placed in my LAD artery, where 70% blockage was found. Our plans to go overseas were not going to be able to happen.  So, we had just sold our house and gotten rid of a lot of our possessions, we had just lost all of our savings, and then we are told that we can’t do what we felt God calling us to do.  We began to wrestle with God about what He was doing, not understanding why all of this would happen.

To be honest, I started to have a crisis of belief.  Sure, I knew all the right answers. I knew God was in control of the situation and was not surprised by any of this.  But, I could not understand why He would place a calling on our lives to go overseas, have us sell our house and then close that door.  It made no sense.  People are dying everyday who have not heard the name of Jesus and we are willing to go, and yet, God says no. 

Had we not heard Him correctly when we started the process to be overseas missionaries? 

A few months later, God began to show us that He did have a purpose and a plan for us; it just looked a lot different than we imagined.  My brother, Will Blanchard, is the pastor at a church plant in Northwest Arkansas called Northwest Community Church. Will began sharing with us their main needs at Northwest: they really needed someone to help them launch a brand new youth and missions program. We began to see that God would be using our calling for overseas missions and our love and experience of working with youth.  But then came the scary part: Will shared with us that Northwest would initially only be able to provide our health insurance.  Scott would need to be bi-vocational and Scott's parents would have to help provide our housing for this to be possible.  

Were we really considering this?  Were we really about to leave a stable job in a church that we loved to move to Arkansas where we would not have a salary?  

When I think back to when Scott and I first started the mission’s process, I truly believe we were being obedient to the calling God had placed on our lives.  But, God re-directed it.  He may have re-directed it in a way that was hard for us to accept, but that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t have a plan for us.  Two years ago, I never would have thought that we would be moving to a small church plant, where my husband would be working as a school bus driver or substitute teacher and we would be depending on his parents to provide our housing.   But, God used His initial calling on our lives to get us to where we are today.  Two years ago, we may not have been strong enough to accept a call like this.  But God has used these past two years to strengthen our trust in Him, even when life’s circumstances were out of our control. 

One thing that I have really learned through this experience is to KEEP WALKING IN OBEDIENCE, even when my plans don’t go the way I originally thought. We were completely confused and crushed when we were told we could not go overseas.  But that’s when it’s the toughest to keep walking in obedience.  It is then that we have to decide  to keep trusting and looking to Him because God will not fail us.  We can’t always control the outcome, but we can control whether or not we will be obedient. 

May we walk in obedience, trusting that He has a plan, even when life doesn't make sense.  

"We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God." 
-2 Corinthians 3:4-5



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Unit Eight: Dinosaur

To see a list of posts for all of our units for Kindergarten, see here.  This post contains information about only Unit Eight: Dinosaur.




Unit Eight focused on the letter D for Dinosaur and the coordinating Bible truth was "Big and Small, God made them all." Our boys love dinosaurs, so this was definitely a fun topic!  There are a lot of resources out there too!

Some supplements we used for this unit:

ABC Memory Verse Cards
In addition to the Bible truth, we are also memorizing a Bible verse that begins with the letter of the week. I received some ACB cards as a gift and they are by Dayspring, but I have also seen these online that would work just as well.

This week our D verse was: "Do everything without complaining or arguing" (Philippians 2:14). 

Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader K
This book is perfect for kindergarten, as it has a well-illusrtated animal lesson for each letter of the alphabet.  This week we learned about Dolphins. 



Dinosaur Pack
Here is an AWESOME resource and it's FREE!  We love this and it includes everything you need to make a fun unit on dinosaurs.  Learn dinosaur names, play games, work on handwriting and math skills...it's great!  Choose which pages you want and just print those.  There is also a TOT version available for younger children!  

Play Dough Dinosaur Tutorial
...For those of us who are not as skilled at play dough creations

Dinosaur Creation Video
This is a little on the long side, but my son watched most of it.  

Books:
There are obviously a TON of books out there on dinosaurs!  However, it is pretty difficult to find books that support creation and dinosaurs.  We did enjoy the book suggested by MFW, What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?  We read and looked at a lot of other books that do not support creationism, but we looked at the pictures and talked about how some scientists believe things that we do not.  I am surprised at some of the awful comments that people have made about What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs.  We found it helpful and fun.  We also liked Dinosaurs by Design, although it is a longer book with a lot of words and my son could not sit through the whole thing at once.