Monday, February 28, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 2/28/11

I am a definite advocate of making a weekly meal plan. It saves money and saves a lot of headache. Some weeks I forget or think I just don't have time to sit down and come up with a meal plan. On those weeks, my husband and I have the same conversation each night. It goes something like this:

Me: "What do you want for dinner?"

Him: "I don't know what do you want?"
Me: "I have no idea. What sounds good to you?"

Him: "I don't really have a preference, what do we have in the freezer?"
Me: "Hardly anything, and what we do have will is still frozen and will take too long to fix tonight". we end up going out or ordering take out, which REALLY adds up. So I'm back on the meal planning bandwagon. I'm motivated, now my only problem is deciding what to fix and not having the same meals week after week. I have found this website where quite a few fellow women bloggers post their weekly meal lists on Mondays. It has given me some great meal ideas. If you decide to post your weekly meal list, link your blog to the end of her post.

So here it meal plan:

Monday- cook out food (hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, pasta salad, baked beans)

Tuesday- Paprika Hungarian chicken (Pampered Chef recipe)

Wednesday- Grilled chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, broccoli

Thursday- Stove-top Chicken casserole

Friday- Baked Ziti, salad, garlic bread

Saturday- Veggie Pizza

Sunday- Lunch out after church


Tomorrow is the BIG day!!

31 Rubies will be live!

Don't forget to stop by and see what we have in store for you. Great discussions, yummy recipes, awesome giveaways..just to name a few! ;)

Want to know more? Check us out!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Imagine a place...

where you can read about the lives of Moms just like you.

Moms who make mistakes. Moms who are still learning and still growing.

Imagine a place...

where no one pretends to be perfect,

where no one is competing for a wife/mother of the year trophy.

Imagine a place...

where you can learn about budgeting and organizing,

where you can share in the homeschooling journey.

Imagine a place...

where you can steal a few minutes of "me time"

and pick up a new recipe for dinner.

Imagine a place...

where God is glorified,

where we can laugh together, cry together, pray together.

Imagine a place like that...

It's coming... 3/1/11

Monday, February 21, 2011

Glimpse of Heaven..

Since I've been reading One Thousand Gifts, I've really been trying to change the way I look at life. I'm trying to make a point to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. To see God in everything.

Today, I saw just that. Not only did God give us a beautiful day, (78 degrees and sunny in February..THAT is definitely a gift), but while sitting at the park with my children today I got to see a glimpse at the way Jesus envisioned the world.

You must be thinking that I saw something miraculous..but no, a simple game of tag is all that it took to cause me to take out a pencil and scribble this blog post right on the inside cover of my copy of One Thousand Gifts.

A game of tag..

at least 15 children...

of all ages...

of many different races (seriously, I counted 4 different ethnic backgrounds)

and I'm sure of different religions.

They ALL played together.

They ALL laughed together.

They welcomed in new kids as they arrived..

They helped each other up when they fell.

Pure innocence.

Completely unaware and uncaring of any differences.

Only focused on playing together and having fun.

No division - only joy.

These children. They know the secret of life. The secret to unlocking the beauty of the world.

I couldn't help but sit there and think that this must be what Heaven is like.

Matthew 18:3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

1000 Gifts

I am now about halfway through the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and it just keeps getting better. I find myself going back and re-reading chapters and each time I find something different. The Bloom (in)Courage book club vlog posted the first video on Sunday and hearing Ann, Jess, and Angie speak about the book and relate it to their lives made me think even more. I said it in my previous post, but this book really is life-changing.

Before I continue counting my gifts, I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the vlog and the book.

"It takes darkness to see the light." - Ann Voskamp- Bloom vlog- Chapter 1 discussion

"The only real prayers are the ones mouthed within thankful lips." - Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts pg. 60

"Take the pain that is given, give thanks for it, and transform it into a joy that fulfills all emptiness." - Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts- pg. 100

"Wherever you are, be all there" Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts- pg. 77

Continuing my list:
4. Twice a day girl talk chats with my grandmother.
5. Sharing a profession with my mom- someone else who "gets it".
6. New friends with common interests.
7. The after-bedtime whispers of sisters and best friends.
8. Realizing it was only a dream.
9. Warm blankets on a cold night.
10. Books with words from You that speak straight to my heart.
11. A pastor who is real.
12. Little ladies who still like to be held by Mommy.
13. Protective arms around me at night.
14. Ability and opportunity to educate my children at home.
15. Morning coffee made by my husband who doesn't even like coffee.
16. Golden morning sun peeping through the door.
17. A new day, another chance.
18. New beginnings
19. Forgiveness- undeserved.
20. Little girl imaginations.

Our week: 2/7-2/12

We started out so strong!!! Little did I know what was coming...

Monday- More work on telling time...still going very well! Now they're constantly telling me what time it is instead of asking a million times a day!
Tuesday-Counting/writing numbers 1-20. They are past this..and are bored with it. Do I skip it or just keeping going with the order of the book?
Saturday- shapes/following directions/thinking critical. They are also beyond shapes, but the following directions/critical thinking aspects were fun for them.

Monday- Introduced the letter "Z", and completed a reading review worksheet.
Tuesday- Phonics evaluation (A+ for both girls! YAY!!), reviewed "z" blends, and we are beginning to learn parts of a story. Today we learned about "titles".
Saturday- Introduced the concept of "s" being pronounced as "z" in certain words.

Monday- Weather unit: Snow, something we are all too familiar with this year!!! We also reviewed temperature and reading a thermometer.
Tuesday- Weather unit: Wind- time didn't allow for us to make our windmill project but we will get back to it in the coming weeks! We watched a Sid the Science Kid video titled "What is wind".

Social Studies-
Monday- NC unit: We learned all about the state insect- the honeybee! We also learned about voting and did an activity about voting that also tied in Math.
Tuesday- NC unit: We learned about the state capital- Raleigh! We even made a trip to Raleigh to visit the Marbles Museum. Our friends Jonna, Jackson and Austin went with us and we met our friends, The Saufley's, there. This was our first trip to Marbles and we will definitely be back. We loved it!!!

What happened to Wednesday-Friday?!! I was so sick and in bed for the better part of 3 days. Friday evening I decided we would use Saturday as a catch up day. It started out okay, but an hour into our lessons Shaylie starts feeling bad and has a high fever, so off to the doctor we went.

So somehow I have to incorporate the rest of our studies for this week into next week. Come on Spring!! We need these winter illnesses to go AWAY!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

I have recently joined the Bloom (in)Courage book club. I've never been involved in a book club before, but it's something I have always been interested in. I absolutely love to read and when I saw that the February selection for the book club would be Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, I knew this was the time for me to join. So I signed up, ordered my book and waited patiently for it to arrive. For those of you who have never heard of this book club, I strongly encourage you to check it out. Visit their website and it tells you all you need to know. Since this is my first month I definitely don't know all the details, but I do plan to blog about the book and the book club along the you can learn with me!

I received my book in the mail earlier this week and oh my gosh I love it. I love her writing. I've read the first few chapters and I can already tell this book will change my life. If you haven't heard of the book, please go here and watch the trailer. You owe it to yourself. This book is like none I've read before. I am a very fast reader. It's nothing for me to finish a 400 page book in just a couple of days. But this is different. I was telling my husband this morning, this is a book that I read a page or two of and then I sit and think..and think..and pray. It's a book I want to savor. I want to stay fully immersed in it because I can feel it changing my heart. You just have to read it to understand.

From the inside of the book jacket of One Thousand Gifts, "As Voskamp discovered, in giving thanks for the life she already had, she found the life she'd always wanted". That is really the basis of the book. We can't fully grasp the goodness and the love of God until we live a life full of Thanksgiving. It challenges you to look at the gifts all around you. Look at the blessings God gives you each. and. every. single. day. Count them. Write them down. The longer your list grows, the more your faith will grow. As Voskamp writes many times, "Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle". Try it. See what happens.

I've taken the challenge and here starts my list...

1. Little laughs coming from downstairs.
2. Rainy mornings for sleeping in.
3. Open minds in our home, always willing to learn.

Please continue to check back to follow my journey to an emptier, fuller life. In the meantime, go here to read chapter one of this incredible book. I bet you'll be hooked!

Homeschool week review 1/31-2/5

This week we picked up school again after a loooonng break and let me just say and I'm positive that I speak for the girls too, it is SO nice to be back. For me, it's nice to have our routine back, but for them, they just thoroughly enjoy school time. I am very blessed to have children who love to learn and who get excited about having school. Each morning they get up and ask "Are we having school today?" and if it's a day that I have to work (which means we don't have school) they are really bummed. Now, I know they're only in Kindergarten and I'm really hoping their love of schooling continues for years and years to come. Even though they are only in Kindergarten, we do have a pretty rigorous school day including Math, Phonics,
Writing, Science, Social Studies and Bible each day. So, here's a quick recap of our week.

Monday- we reviewed even/odd. We initially learned about even and odd in the beginning of the school year and have done very little review of it (One thing that I do not like about this particular curriculum.) but I was suprised at how much they remembered.
Tuesday- We practiced writing our numbers 10-20, which was also a review for them.
Wednesday- Worked on completing patterns.
Saturday- We began learning to tell time. This was a brand new concept for the girls. They know how to read digital clocks, but have never learned to tell time on an analog clock. It went very, very smoothly. I'm amazed at how quickly they picked it up. They love to draw on the white board, so I let them make their own clocks and they "taught" me how to tell time! It was fun!!

Monday- We had a phonics eval scheduled for today. To say I was nervous about it was an understatement. Remember today was the first day back after a long break and I was scared they weren't going to remember all they had learned. But alas, I should not have been worried. They both aced it! 100% for both of them. Mommy was so proud! Looks like they really ARE learning something :)
Tuesday- Review day- which they were pretty bored with, so we read Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. Well actually, they read the majority of the book to me.
Wednesday- We introduced the letter X and reviewed sentence structure.
Saturday- We talked more about the letter X and I was explaining to them that X was usually found in the middle or end a word, not in the beginning. Well, of course Shaylie goes on to tell me that Xylophone starts with an X..LOL, she's too smart for me! We also did two phonics worksheets today. Both girls love worksheets and they're finally at the point where they can do independent work...and so I love worksheets too :)

We introduced letter X and did several practice worksheets on the rest of the alphabet.

We began our weather unit. I won't go into daily details because each day built on the one before. We began the week learning about temperature. We made a large classroom thermometer out of posterboard and white/red ribbon. After we cut out the thermometer and wrote in our temperatures, we cut two slits in at each end. We attached the white ribbon to the end of the red and then threaded it through the slits, so now we red ribbon represent the alcohol and we can pull the ribbon up or down to change the temperature. It's great practice for learning to read a thermometer. If anyone wants pictures/instructions, let me know. I would be happy to email them to you. We learned about rain and on Wed. sat out a rain guage..and low and behold Thursday-Saturday God sent us some rain to measure. As of 10:00 this morning, we had 3.25 inches of rain. :) While learning about rain, we learned about evaporation and did an experiment. We measured one cup of water and left it sit out in the kitchen for 3 days. After the 3rd day, we remeasured the water and only had 2/3 cup left!! We were all surprised at just how much had evaporated. See- this is another reason I love homeschooling. I learn too!

Social Studies-
We began our unit on North Carolina. We've learned all about the history, location, flag, state bird, state seal, state motto, state flower, state tree and started talking about the NC zoo. We plan to take a trip to the zoo in March. The state motto of NC is "Esse quam videri" which means "To be rather than to seem". I love that!! Do you know what the state motto of your state is??

As I've said before the Bible curriculum we're using right now focuses a lot on character development and uses scripture to back it up. Each lesson starts with a story, then asks two questions, and ends with a prayer. We really enjoy it and it sparks some great conversation. This week we've covered: love, contentment, confidence, and appreciation. Today's lesson started a conversation on unanswered prayers. And we really had an awesome discussion. It started with Nevaeh saying "God hears all of our prayers, right?" And I said "yes, each and every one". And she says "well then why doesn't he always give us what we ask for?" And I asked her what did she ask God for that she didn't get. And she says "well the other night I prayed that we would be able to get ice cream and we still couldn't get it". (back story: the girls weren't allowed to get ice cream this particular night because they had not been listening very well all day and that was their punishment) So I had to explain to her that God knows what is best for us and while he hears ALL of our prayers, sometimes we still don't get what we want, because God knows what we NEED, better than we know what we want. And that God wants and expects us to obey our parents. GREAT learning experience and she asked such a mature question! :) My baby is growing up.

We had a full week! But the absolute highlight of our week was a day trip to Greenville on Thursday to have dinner with new friends! We met up with the Saufley's and the Bost's and everyone had such a GREAT time. There were 6 adults and 8 kids and as Laura posted on Facebook, the good news is McAlister's is still standing! Seriously though, I'm so glad God has brought these wonderful people into our lives. I'm sure that was the first of many many great times to come.

Shaylie and Nevaeh with their new friend Madalyn!