Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Weekly Planner



See link to PDF download at bottom of page

It's so much easier for me to be productive when I have something written down each week.  And, it's so much easier to write something down when it's on cute paper!

I plan to use my weekly planner by putting it on a clipboard and hanging the clipboard on the wall where I can easily see it, make changes to it, etc.

Feel free to use my weekly planners for yourself too.  I made a Christmas one and a regular one. Hope it helps keep your week more organized!

For my weekly planner, I have included the following:

  • Weekly Menu: It's so much easier to cook at home when I have already planned out our menu for the week!
  • Memory Verse: I think it gets even harder to memorize with age, but I know it's so important to commit to memorizing more and more Bible verses.  
  • Goals: I have this broken down into 4 sections:
    1. Health: What goal do I have this week that can make me healthier (ex.Cut out sugar this week)?
    2. Relationships: What is one relationship I want to strengthen this week?  This doesn't necessarily have to be an estranged relationship, but just a reminder to reach out to others.  Maybe you can reach out to a new co-worker or neighbor, etc.
    3. New Habits: What new habit do I want to incorporate into my life?  This is just a great reminder to keep working on things.  An example might be to intentionally read a book to the kids for 30 minutes, etc.
    4. Other: Any other goal you want to work on/accomplish (ex. pick out a paint color for the bathroom)
  • Housework: Each day, list a household chore you want to accomplish.  Monday might be laundry and bathrooms, etc. 
  • To Do: Write down daily schedules such as soccer practice, lunch appointments, etc.
  • I am thankful for:This is just a reminder to be thankful.  It's hard to complain when you are cultivating a thankful heart.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
Download the Weekly Planner here.
Download the Weekly Christmas Planner here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sins that Sneak Up on Us


"But maybe I need to view my trials in a new light because trials show us what is in our hearts..."

Sins can have a funny way of sneaking up on us.  Just when we think we are overcoming one sin, we notice a different sin in our lives.  It can be discouraging because it feels like a battle that we always lose.  When we focus all of our attention on overcoming sins, two things can happen:


  1. We realize we cannot win, and we are overcome with guilt and shame.
  2. We rely on our own power and start to gain victory over a certain sin.  We become filled with pride and look down on others for not having the power to overcome as we have.

Both of these things happen because we begin to take our eyes off of Jesus.  We try to overcome the sin with our own power and we either fail or allow another sin (pride) to take its place.  Instead of focusing on Jesus and using His strength to replace the sin, we try to overcome the sin ourselves.

When a trial comes my way, I often see new sins pop up in my life that I have never had to deal with before.  For example, I never really struggled that much with anger until I had children. I may have looked at people who struggled with that sin and thought they just didn't know how to manage their emotions and pride had settled in my heart.  But now, years later, I see that, in the right situation, we are all capable of ANY sin.

I didn't know that I would struggle so much with the sin of fear and unbelief until my health was threatened and I became terrified of leaving my family behind.
I didn't realize how much I loved material things until we sold our house and moved into an apartment.
I didn't realize how much I loved my children above God until one of our children was very sick and we were afraid he had a life-altering disease.
Sins creep in our lives so quickly.  Many times we notice this happening when we are under extra stress or going through a trial. Sometimes we are in denial that they have crept in, and we try to push them aside, without ever acknowledging or confessing them.

Trials. are. no. fun.  I want out of them as soon as I enter them, and I am always looking for a way around them.  But maybe I need to view my trials in a new light because trials show us what is in our hearts. If a new sin surfaces when I am going through a trial, it is an opportunity for me to cut off a part of my life that is not looking like Christ, a part of me that I may not have seen if I had not gone through a trial.  I was probably struggling with that sin all along, but it didn't come to light until I opened up my eyes to see the stronghold it was having in my life.


As new sins sneak up on us, may we use them as an opportunity to cut off whatever it is in our lives that doesn't look like Christ.  Is my mouth causing me to sin by constantly complaining and arguing?  Then, maybe I need to talk less until I can train my mind to say things that are encouraging and uplifting.  Is fear keeping me from joining a home team and being around new people?  Then maybe I need to make myself join a home team and push past the fear.  Is pride keeping me from making things right with my husband when we got in an argument?  Then, I should humble myself and apologize so that the relationship can be restored.


May our sins be used:

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