Friday, May 4, 2012

Butterfly Cupcakes

I's only been forever since I last posted.  But I'm not here to talk about that.  Birthday cupcakes!  I was tickled to death with these!  We decided to take the birthday cake eating to the park and so I figured cupcakes would work best.  The chosen subject was butterflies.

I saw this idea and LOVED it!   And totally forgot to take into account the heat and the fact that these would start melting the second we walked out the front door with them.  Not to mention, driving in our air conditioning-less vehicle.

At any rate, these are perfect for having in an air conditioned house in Florida in May.  I drew out the shape of the wings, melted some wilton candy melts in plastic zip-loc bags with a little hole cut in the corner (about 10-12 seconds at a time, taking it out and mashing them around in between, until they're good and melted) , put wax paper over the pattern and went to work. I did the outline in the dark chocolate and then filled it in with pink.  I followed that by tapping the tray on the table so the holds would be filled in.  To do the swirls, you really have to do one wing at a time (unless, of course, I did this outside where it would stay melted!!!).  Before the candy hardened, I'd take the time of a sharp knife and pull a little swirl from the brown.  These are my stacks of wings.  40 something of them.  Yes.  It was time consuming.

On another piece of wax paper I just did a bunch of squiggly lines for the body and then did a little V for the antennae.

Putting them ON the cupcake was...interesting.  My cupcakes often come out rather tall in the middle and the wings really just wanted to slide down the cupcake hill.  As fun as that might be, I was having none of it.    I sliced the dome off of the cupcakes so they were fairly flat.  I iced them and I put an upside down chocolate chip on either side of the middle for the wings to rest on. (I guess a picture of that would have been helpful...oh well).  And then added the body and the antenna.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Learning with the Little Ones

I'll get back to the "why I homeschool" thing sooner or later, but right now I want to share some stuff I've been doing recently with my 4yo girl and almost 3yo girl.

I'm not one of those that is in a great hurry to have my little people reading from the encyclopedia before they turn 3 (though they do flip through it to look at pictures), and I'm not sitting there with flash cards trying to teach them words, letters or even colors the second they can focus their little eye balls. I don't parade the 18 month old out for friends and grandparents to show them how they know this or that 4 years before anyone else and can repeat ABC's, etc. Gag. Just live and enjoy and they learn plenty, you know?

But, I wanted something to do with the girls to make them feel included in the whole school thing and something that they could fiddle with at the table while I teach. They love hands on stuff and they ARE rather sponge-like when it comes to learning, so I've been making a few hands on things for my 4yo to do to reinforce some things she already knows or add to soem things she's already been accumulating in that little brain. And the 2yo...she, of course, just wants to be a part.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle is a favorite, read 1000 times, bed-time book for the little ladies. I found a template for some counting cards made from that book. The girls LOVE them! We count the pictures on each card and they work on putting them in order. The younger one doesn't much care what order they're in as long as no one else is touching them. Sweet, isn't it? Hm. It's also good for her to learn color names. They're all red in her opinion.

Something the 4yo particularly enjoys is our file folder game. It was supposed to be an
Even/Odd game for the older boys, but due to the fact that it would have the same numbers in the same place every time (and there are far more than 24 odd/even numbers, right?), I decided to just use blank hermit crabs and use a wet-erase marker so I could switch numbers. THEN I figured I could use it for the 4yo to identify numbers. THEN I figured I could also use it to help teach lower case letters. My kids always know the upper case letters and their sounds while still getting mixed up on which lower case letter goes to which upper case letter/sound. So, on one side are her numbers. I call out a number and she covers it. And on the other side are her letters where I give her a sound and she covers the letter that goes with the sound. And I can change it up once she gets those down. Or, I can use it for the even/odd practice that it was supposed to be for!

Both of these little things only take a few minutes but it seems to be enough to satisfy their desire for school work!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why I Homeschool (part 2)

I had written this all out back in June but I was unable to fit EVERYTHING I wrote into one post and didn't have the time to cut it up just so. At any's the next part of why we homeschool! :)

Still on the note of God being opposed by the schools: The curriculum is written by people who want God to be removed from our minds. Look to two very significant places. The National Education Association has a huge impact on laws that relate to our schools. They are far from a “Christian” group and they are far from concerned about parents rights or, of course, the spiritual well being of our children. They want our children to be introduced to a variety of lifestyles, they want parents to butt out, they have a plan for our children and the future of our country and they have the numbers to act. The NEA is actively AGAINST homeschooling. They want children schooled THEIR way, period. They feel that THEY are the children’s champion and that schools/government should be trusted for their good intentions over that of parents!!! They imply that homeschooled children must be protected from their children, they need to be better monitored to be sure no neglect or abuse is taking place. It’s insane! Their power over the schools (and thus, families) in our nation is no small thing. They have an impact on the curriculum, on the things that children are taught, etc. A powerful force. And none of their values line up with God’s.

Next is that California is the largest buyer of school curriculum. As you might know, California is also one of the most liberal, least family friendly/God friendly states (looking at legislation). What that means is that publishers make their school curriculum with their largest customer (Cal) in mind. Anywhere that morals can be skewed…they are. No more acting like a nuclear family is normal. No reference to America’s very abundant God-fearing American history. These books are then used in ALL the schools in America. American public school students do not realize what America was built on…UNLESS, of course, a spin can be put on it to make people look like religious fanatics who killed and slaughtered and abused others in the name of God. THAT, you might see. Regardless of how sweet your child’s teacher is, it’s unlikely that she will properly fill in the blanks left by the publishers or that she will recognize subtle omissions and sometimes distortions of truth. No, God is NOT honored in our public schools. I could no more send them there than I could send them to a Muslim school or a Satanist school.

There they are taught that tolerance is the greatest virtue but that you should NOT tolerate anyone who thinks there is ONE way to do things or that there is ONE definite truth. Christian adults who have been raised up in these schools pride themselves on their tolerance of other religions because they believe that it’s better to be tolerant than to tell others they are going to hell and have them realize their danger!

Left and right in God’s Word we see that God wants us to BE CAREFUL that we do not forget Him. Be careful that we are not lured into worshipping the false gods they worship (which, in our culture may not be an idol, but many ideas encourage in public schools that are far from God’s ways), not to yoke ourselves with those who do not love and serve God lest our affections be redirected to the things those peers love. We are reminded to keep His words and His actions before us ALL the time, giving honor to Him in all things. The very way God directs us to rmember Him is the opposite of what the powers that be want to occur in school. And they go to great lengths to make sure that it would be very difficult to keep God constantly in the forfront of their minds.

The whole situation of Christians sending their children to school makes me think of Malachi 1:6, “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master” if then I be a father, where is mine honour” and if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Where in have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.”

We do not offer our children to the schools in honor of God because it is there He is decidedly NOT honored. This is nothing like Hannah sending Samuel to serve under and learn from Eli (which was not a normal thing, anyway, and should not be treated as such). We do not send them believing that it is a show of gratitude to God nor do we expect great spiritual benefit to it. It is in no way doing our best to train up a godly seed which He seeks (Mal. 2:15). We’re sending them hoping that not TOO much damage will be done or that we can, hopefully counter the damage in the little time we have during the evenings after we accomplish the homework and other stuff that the schools demand of our family time.

Some people argue that the presence of Christian children in schools will have a big impact. Well…Christians were in schools for a long time and it’s just become worse. At one time, the majority of people had Christian values. This is no longer true and this did not start happening because Christians weren’t involved. This has happened because the schools are turning Christian kids into very WEAK Christian kids, with little conviction and even less understanding. The Christians have less and less impact on the world around us because they are so weakened by their spiritually unhealthy upbringing.

When it comes to our children, the Bible emphasizes how the fathers and grandfathers are to teach things to their children/grandchildren. It does not speak of the government or teachers or friends training their children on a daily basis. The New Testament talks of making disciples. How did Jesus do that? By having the disciples live with Him, go about doing things with Him. He didn't just have them a couple hours that they should have been doing homework in the evenings and weekends. The school format just doesn't appear as a God ordained norm in scriptures.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why do we homeschool (part 1)

I'm asked this every once in a great while. Not often, mind you, but usually from people who are wanting to do it themselves but just can't decide. I'm never prepared...and even if I was, I never have enough time to explain. So, here...for anyone who wants to know:

1. My first reason is because I believe it’s what God wants from us, as Christian parents. To start with, in Duet. 6 God says, “Hear, O Israel: The lord our God is one Lord” And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates….Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage…Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you…”

This is just a starting place but it’s a big starting place. When you read those verses, it’s clear that the WAY God wants His people to instruct their children in His ways is NOT something accomplished by a little something in the morning and a little something in the evening. Look! His commands, His Word, His ways should be lived CONSTANTLY and taught continuously as is indicated by “when we walk by the way…liest down…risest up”. We can’t have a stretch of 6 hours a day, 5 days a week where teaching about God and the Bible is expressly prohibited…and your children KNOW that their God-loving parents are sending them to a place where they are not for God! And if it is not for Him then it is AGAINST Him, right? That clearly would NOT fall into the meaning of this passage. Look, too, at how His words are to be placed in our awareness: "for a sign on thine hand, frontlets between thine eyes…write them on the posts of thy house,” etc. Did He literally mean that’s where you put it? Put it there and then go on with life as usual? For our purposes, He’s saying that He wants us to be continually in mind of His words. Now, it certainly helps to have God's Words written everywhere, but for our children, it needs to be coming out of the mouth of their parents all day so that THEY, in turn, learn how it is a part of our all day, every day. This cannot happen in a school setting. And I’ll say that even in my experience at a Christian school, that did not happen.

But, you know, also from this passage I see that God is putting this responsibility on parents. Let me try and make a little analogy here. If I go on vacation and leave my pet with you, asking that you take care of it for the week, and you decided that you didn’t want to do it and so you sent my pet to someone else’s house for the week, would I not be a little…taken aback to say the least, when I returned? Or, perhaps if I left a dear friend my house key and asked her to check on my house every day while I was gone, but instead she gave it to someone that I decidedly did NOT ask to tend my house, would I be tickled about that? Not only someone I didn’t ask, but someone who’s life’s purpose is to oppose me?

Perhaps you do not see public schools in this light (opposing God). You, perhaps, do not see that they oppose God, or that, at least, not in YOUR public school. If that is indeed the case, let me point out a few things. First, you know that they MAY NOT (as in, do not have the permission to) teach about Jesus Christ. Many Christians don’t seem overly bothered by that but it is alarming and offensive. Imagine if your children were taught that they cannot discuss their parents or any moral teachings that come from their parents. If YOU were banned from the school, would you feel comfortable sending your child there? If so, you hold your relationship with your child far more lightly than you ought!

You also know that they do not teach creation as a fact. They often teach the theory of evolution (which has still not been proven, people) as a fact OR teach it without saying it’s a theory and then blow it out of the water as impossible (as should be done). No one teaches creation science in schools, showing how things might have gotten the way they are by using Biblical accounts. And evolution is loaded in their science books…”millions of years ago”, “Jurassic period” (indicating millions of years ago)…it’s dropped here and there all the time even when it’s not directly talking about evolution. And NO one says “Okay, kids, when they say millions of years ago, we know that this person is coming from the evolution view point…what we believe probably happened in this situation is that during the flood…” Nope, they don’t get a bit of that. What’s a kid to think about the relevance of God when they get pure trash thrown at them, often in very subtle ways, that Mom and Dad aren’t there to help pick through. And you know…Mom and Dad shouldn’t HAVE to pick through trash…their kids should be with them getting the wholesome goodness of a God centered worldview.

More on this subject coming soon (hopefully).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Treats

It doesn't get REAL cold around these parts, but it's chilly today so this evening, for supper, we're having soup. I'm not a big soup person but THIS soup is fantastic. A tad spicey but everyone 6 and up loves it. I got the recipe from my mom who got it from...someone else. :)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 chicken breasts, boiled

6+ cups chicken broth (I just use what I boiled the chicken in)

14 oz. can of Rotel tomatoes (you know...the chopper tomatoes with green chilies in them)

14 oz creamed corn

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 cup diced onion

Simmer all of the above.

1/4 cup cornstarch disolved in 1/2 cup water.
Add to soup and simmer.
6 slices of American cheese (um...I don't think this makes a real big difference)
1 lb velveeta cheese

When you're done, throw some tortillas in a pan with some butter to brown them a bit and then tear them in pieces and put them in your bowl of soup! Delicious!!

Another yummy thing we made today is "haystacks!" They're pretty quick and easy...a nice little treat to take to a Christmas party (which we're going to tomorrow)! And your kids will think you're amazing! Well, mine do anyway. My Grandma used to make all sorts of treats for us when we would visit and this was one of them.

We got some chow mein noodles, (should have gotten peanuts to go in as well, but forgot) and a bag of butterscotch morsels. We melted the butterscotch in a glass bowl in the microwave and then stirred in the noodles until they were well coated. I dont' have just pour them in and stir until they're covered and it looks like you don't have enough to cover too many more. I got a bag of chow mein noodles at Wal-Mart and had at least half the bag left over from the one bag of butterscotch morsels. Then you make little piles of them on a cookie sheet and let them cool. And that's it!! My picture turned out a little odd...they should be the color of the ones on the right.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blog? What blog?

I was doing pretty well blogging for a very short while and then the bottom dropped out!! Wonder if I can get this wagon train a movin' again.
Tonight I'm again pondering on how much I love my Ergo baby carrier. That's one thing I would definitely recommend to any new mom. It's worth it's weight in gold to me. You can start using it early on and use it...well, for a long time. I still carry Ella in it (2 years old). I didn't think Jacob would like it because he's not big on being snuggled chest to chest but he was happy as a lark in it this evening. Happier, I think, than in the Maya Wrap sling. He likes the sling, but it's not the instant soother that it seemed to be for my other babies. But he was quite happy in this. Fell asleep in it...slept while I vacuumed, swept, washed dishes. It's a little difficult to do all that with him on the FRONT but he's a bit small for me to manage getting him on my back in it so you do what you have to do. Though I might see if I can figure out a safe way to get him back there because if that works for him, it would be great. He has reflux something crazy and really likes being upright so that probably plays a part in why he was so content.

He's a little small yet, to have his legs sticking out both sides, so I just rolled him up in a blanket and tucked him in with his feet under him.

Other things of interest: I made an army tank birthday cake for Nate on Monday.

It's not great but my little boys think it was awesome and loved helping me with it so...I guess it was great in all the important categories. I used black licorice for the tracks on the tank...EEEWWW! I think they're nasty and smell yucky to boot. one minded that either.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What a Happy Day!

I had my first doctor's appointment for this pregnancy today and they did the usual "anatomy" sonogram. We got to see baby number 7 and little boy number 5!!! Yep, a boy!

While most of the boys were rooting for another girl ("Why would we want another boy?! We have 4 boys but we only have two girls!" was the comment one made), I have to say that I was REALLY wanting another boy. You see, after you start your mothering years with boy after boy after boy...a feast of baby boys really, and then you have a few girls and your little boys are getting tall and gangly and they aren't small and chubby anymore, you start getting nostalgic. My days of baby boys are a faint, sweet memory that I wish you could relive. I miss the little chuncky guys who pick up the tiniest bugs in the back yard, the little guys who dip their foreheads in mudpuddles, the little guys who don't care about "pretty" but just do the things little boys do. While I love little girls, I MISS my baby boys!!! And I'm SOOOO excited that we've got another little guy coming to join us!! Yea!! And the boys have decided they're glad they're going to have another baby brother!