3/29/09

"Stuck" at home.

Yesterday we began preparations for going to church. Things like making sure we had a breakfast casserole to pop in the oven, planning a fellowship meal etc. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon it began to snow: big, white, fluffy flakes. Weather.com said that current conditions were "rain". I hate to be disagreeable but that "rain" sure resembled snow to me.

By 11 O'clock last night we had a good 3-4 inches of "rain" (read white, fluffy, frozen flakes of SNOW) on the ground. By midnight we had a tree that just couldn't take it anymore. It just fell over. Fortunately, it's a small tree and fortunately it missed the van. Unfortunately, it blocked the end of the driveway. By morning the snow was beginning to melt but the end of our driveway and our cul-de-sac could have been used as a skating rink.

With ice at the bottom of the driveway and a bigger problem of a tree blocking our driveway, honeybear decided we'd just stay home. It's noon now. The tree has been removed and the ice has melted. The sun is shining but there are still patches of snow.

When honeybear called to get the tree taken care of the man on the phone could not understand how it was that we had so much snow the tree fell over. When he came out to cut up the tree, he saw it for himself. I don't know where he lives but he only got a trace of snow. Apparently it didn't help that the roots of the tree had begun to rot.

So I've lost a tree and I missed out on church but the sun is shining. That it is a most precious treasure here in the Pacific Northwest.

3/28/09

"Profound" thought for today.

So we're looking at Daddy's photo albums with pictures from his childhood.

BooBear: "Wow, Grandma's hair looks like the 70's"

Daddy: "It was the 70's"

Good to know that the 70's are recognizable as the 70's. It'd be a shame if the 70's looked like today.

3/26/09

Quick Bible Reading update

Last week I mentioned that I was hoping to finish Exodus and start Leviticus. I haven't posted my Bible Reading yet but I wanted to share that I finished Exodus, started Leviticus and I finished Joshua. I've also continued with my reading of Luke.

Edited to Add: Oh yes and I started reading Deuteronomy this week.

So just who was doing school today?

I’m supposed to be the teaching parent. Today I felt like I was the learning parent. Science was not a requirement for high school graduation when I was in school, so I didn’t take science. Now as an adult I have discovered that I really enjoy science. Yesterday, BooBear had a question about her physical science. She’s currently studying Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion. She needed help setting up the equation so that she could figure out the answer to how much force was applied to move the rock or something like that. This required a crash course on Physics for me. I told her to bring me her science book and we’d talk about it tomorrow.

I ended up reading and re-reading the section in order to understand the relationship between force and friction. Using the Charlotte Mason technique of “narration”, honeybear got to be my sounding board as I tried to understand the science well enough to teach it to my daughter.

So this morning we sit down together to go over the section of text and to work out the practice problems. Instead of a teacher/student situation though, we had more of two students working together to understand the concept. I think I get it now. There’s an old saying that you know you’ve mastered the material if you can teach it to someone else. I can now figure out the amount of force necessary to maintain constant velocity if the kinetic friction is exerting a force of 16.5 newtons to the south.

Cost of Physcial Science Home School course: $117
Time Spent on Newton’s Second Law: 2 hours
Seeing daughter’s face light up with the “I got it!!” Look: Priceless

3/24/09

She's Growing up!!

My baby turned ten this past weekend. It's seems like a blink of an eye since she was a little newborn snuggling in my arms. We make a big deal out of birthdays in our house. The birthday person gets to pick breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tailor chose French Toast Casserole for breakfast, canned soup for lunch (yes, canned soup. I laughed so hard. I make homemade soup on a regular basis so Campbell's Chunky or Progresso is a special treat I guess.) and since it was Friday she wanted Calzone's so that we would still have our pizza theme but it would be different enough to be special for a birthday. Oh and the calzone's... she wanted "white ones". At first I thought she meant no tomato based sauce but ranch or something instead. Nope. She wanted white flour since we usually have whole wheat. BooBear had offered to bake her cake but BooBear got sick so we bought a cake. Chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling with chocolate frosting. Yes it was too rich. But just how often do you turn ten? And yes we did have birthday cake for breakfast the day after the birthday. It just wouldn't be a birthday if we didn't eat cake the next day.


We like to decorate for birthdays. It helps make the day seem more special.

Everyone gets excited about birthdays here. Especially Supergirl. She's just so excited because Tailor will be opening her gifts.

"I think there's something in here"

The Birthday Girl

3/16/09

Bible Reading 3/9 through 3/16

I am still making my way through Exodus and Joshua. I did finish Mark this week and started Luke. I did not read as consistently as I had planned but still making progress towards my goal.

Here's what I read this week:
Exodus Chapters 28-34
Joshua Chapters 8-12
Mark 15-16
Luke 1

I am hoping to finish Exodus and start Leviticus this week.

3/13/09

Needed a Facelift and Challenge update.

For the second time in two weeks, I'm feeling pretty miserable. Two weeks ago I came down with some sort of cold/flu/virus. It worked its way through the whole family, *except* for Honeybear. Just as Supergirl was starting to recover, Honeybear came down with a nasty head cold. So now this virus is working its way through the whole family. Yuck.

So since I feel pretty clogged up and miserable and unable to focus and concentrate on things like Algebra and Physical Science, I decided to play with my blog background. BooBear helped picked out a couple of designs to try out.

Now a challenge update. Since I was feeling good last weekend and he hadn't got sick yet, Honeybear and I went with $20 cash only to the grocery store and spent only $18.00! I'm sure we made quite a spectacle standing in front of the frozen lemonade debating between the Ritz crackers and Pink Lemonade. The Lemonade won! We did get a box of saltines though and the girls were happy to have crackers.

The really cool update: I decided I needed to see what was in the freezer. We found chicken wings (1/2 of a bag-- the really really big bag from Costco). We found a Costco bag of cheese ravioli.

I'm learning that one can use flour instead of corn starch and still be "lump free". I'm also learning that green bell pepper, though nice, isn't really necessary if you have celery and onions!

But most of all I'm learning that God does provide.

3/9/09

Bible Reading 3/3 through 3/8

This is what I read this past week.

Exodus Chapters 21-27
Joshua Chapters 4-7
Matthew Chapters 26-28
Mark Chapters 9-14

As I was reading through Exodus, reading all the commandants, I realized how thoroughly God provided for every circumstance. And a distinction was made between intent to harm and negligent homicide. I could see how our own laws have their basis in the Mosaic law of the Old Testament. If a thief died while stealing, no one had to pay for his death. We have provision in our civil law for protecting our property and provisions. I just had never really thought about that before.

3/3/09

The Challenge

Now that I've posted about my rotating meal plan, I'm posting about a challenge that I've given myself. I've named it "the Debra game" in honor of my friend Debra who inspired me. She had not done what she called "real grocery" shopping for something like 6 to 8 weeks (I'm sorry Debra, I couldn't remember how long it had been). I like challenges. I like being told something is hard, difficult or just not done and then setting out to prove that I could do it anyway.

So I've challenged myself to see how long I can go without doing any "real grocery" shopping. And to add to the challenge I want to see if I can stick to my rotating menu plan. Can I be creative and stick to the menu plan? I do intend to buy things like milk and eggs but at the moment I am blessed with a full chest freezer and a fairly well stocked pantry.

Would anyone (besides Debra *grin*) care to join me in this challenge?

Let the Game begin.

Meal Planning: Creating a Rotating Meal Plan part 2

It took approximately 8 hours (give or take) to make the rotating meal plan. Sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? But it has been *so very worth it*. We finished round 1 and this past weekend marked the end of week 1 of round 2. We haven’t followed it *exactly* and I know that this coming week we won’t follow it exactly either. I haven’t had to spend time *thinking* about what to make for dinner. I just have to go over to the binder, open it up and look to see what’s on the menu for this week. By making it 6 weeks long, I hope to be able to take advantage of buying in bulk and buying only on sale and in the long run saving money. I can also do bulk cooking and make life even easier but I think that is a topic for another day.

So here’s what I did step by step to create a six week rotating menu dinner menu plan of meals my family would actually eat.

Step 1: I asked honeybear to help. We gathered the children together and he stood at the white board. Honeybear divided the white board into sections labeled: Beef, Chicken, Bean, Soup and Misc. Then we brainstormed as a family, while Daddy wrote our choices. I vetoed anything that they came up with that “sounded good” but that was not “tried and true”. I wasn’t about to put *new* recipes on a rotating meal plan just because they sounded good. Once we had several choices for section I typed them up into word documents so that I would have them if I wanted to swap things around at some point.

Step 2: Decide on a theme for each day. Some theme ideas I had heard before “leftovers”, “fun night”, “cook’s choice” “kid’s choice” or perhaps “breakfast for dinner”. Another option is to assign by “main protein”: beef, chicken, bean, vegetarian, fish. Some that we have done in the past include “Taco Tuesday”, “Tortilla”. Taco Tuesday wasn’t just tacos but I liked the name. And the Tortilla night was more of a wrap as it was summer. We’d grill some meat and veggies and wrap it in a tortilla. We decided to blend an “ethnic” theme into our rotating menu plan. We love Asian style food and Tex-Mex/Mexican has really grown on my children. We eat Pizza every week. We want to eat a bean or vegetarian meal each week and we want to eat soup one night a week.

We went with these for our “themes”

Sunday: Leftovers.
Monday: Italian
Tuesday: Tex-Mex/Mexican (formerly known as Taco Tuesdays)
Wednesday: Soup
Thursday: Asian
Friday: Pizza Night
Saturday: Other

We decided that we would like to have a “cook’s choice” once a week and have that rotate between the different themes. This would allow us to try new recipes and give my daughters a chance to experiment in the kitchen.

Step Three: Picking out the meals to fit the theme. Taking the meals from the earlier brainstorming I wrote them on the board by theme. We wanted to have at least one bean meal a week but we decided to have it float between themes. So for Italian night, I put all the dishes that seemed to fit in that category. We then voted for our favorites. The rules were that you had to vote for at least one bean dish.We only needed 5 meals because Cook’s Choice would be the 6th. We did this for each category except Pizza and Leftovers. We did end up with ONE week that does not have a cook’s choice.

Step Four: This was the *hardest* step. It involved solving a puzzle. I wrote each meal on a color coded index card. (Yellow is Italian). I did NOT create index cards for Pizza Night, Leftovers or Cook’s Choice. I used White Blank Cards as “place holders”. I used the index cards to create grid. Instead of trying to type it into the computer and keep deleting or cutting and pasting and instead of using a pencil and erasing, I could move and rearrange each card until I had them arranged to my satisfaction. The white blank cards helped to keep the grid shape. I used a blank calendar page and wrote the final deal in pen. I put the paper in a sheet protector and put in a binder. I’ll talk about this binder in separate post.

The above is a picture of the color coded index cards. Once I knew where they went, I wrote the week number in the lower right corner. On the back, I put possible side dishes and notes and grocery list for that meal.

3/2/09

Bible Reading 2/24 through 3/2

I didn't spend as much time working on my reading goal this week but here's what I read this past week:

Exodus Chapter 20
Joshua Chapters 1-3
Matthew Chapters 13-25
Mark 5-8

A very dear sweet friend of mine, shared with me that she too is working on reading through the Bible this year. Adapting her idea to fit my preference, I have taken to putting my One Year Bible and placing it on top of my closed computer and reading *before* I even turn on the computer. It takes a long time (supposedly 21 days but I think some of us, or me anyway, need longer!) to develop a habit. So I am working on creating a habit of working on my Bible reading goal *before* turning on the computer.