Monday, December 17, 2012

I apologize in advance...

...if you're hungry right now. Or on a diet.

I've discovered a couple of new recipes that you really should try. People will want to be your friend if you make this stuff for them.

A-Little-Over-One-Hour Dinner Rolls

These claim to be a one-hour recipe, but honestly they do take a little bit longer. You've got 5 minutes of kneading (in your mixer, if you have one), 40 minutes total of rise time, and 13-15 minutes of cook time. I cook a lot, but I can't mix the dough AND form it in the remaining 0 to 2 minutes. But, whether one hour or 75 minutes, these are worth every second you put into them.

A note: I have been using regular yeast (instead of the fast-acting stuff) since that's what I have. I allow a little extra time for the yeast to proof and also increase the first rise time. Also, I tend to make these earlier in the day and let them rise for the second time (formed and in the pan) in the fridge. They take a few minutes longer to cook, but that way I'm not scrambling at dinner time. And I know, I modifications totally defeat the "one hour" purpose of this recipe. But, hey, it works for me.

Click on the photo for the recipe!

Once you've gorged yourself on dinner rolls, it's time for dessert, right? (Carb-lover here....)


So make a batch of these cookies full of oats, butter, caramel, chocolate, butter, brown sugar, and butter...and get ready to melt in a blissful, buttery carb coma.

The recipe-writer points out that she reduces the butter when she makes these, and they turn out well, though more crumbly. I didn't reduce the butter, and they were (of course) fantastic.) In the future, I may reduce the butter for the topping, but I'd want to keep the crust as-is since it holds its shape well that way. Actually...I'll probably just use all the butter and try to limit how often I make them!

Again, click on the photo for the recipe, and...enjoy!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I'm going to save you .025 seconds. You're welcome.

I kinda hate word verification. And's on my blog because it eliminates most spam. (Blogger's spam filters work quite well, but those spam comments still all get emailed to me, individually. And they were out of control until I re-instituted word verification.)

But...drumroll, please...recently I discovered something. When using Blogger's word verification, which currently consists of a string of numbers and a string of letters, like so...

Photobucket don't have to put a space between the numbers and the letters. In the above example, you could type "11819folsire" and it works. You don't have to type "11819 folsire." Get rid of that needless space!

I just saved you .025 seconds, every time you use Blogger's word verification. Use this tip consistently, and by the end of 2013 you may save up enough extra time to take a nice, deep breath.

And don't we all need that during the holidays?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Homeschooling...a very simple tip for staying sane

We are enjoying homeschooling, but I'm definitely not an expert. Some days I feel like I'm just flying by the seat of my pants! But there's something we started from Day One that has really helped me.

We have a "Daily Schedule."

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

You'll notice that it's not an overly-scheduled schedule! I'm not the type of mom who wants to say, "From 8 to 8:05 I will pour cereal in the breakfast bowls" or "From 10 to 10:10 we will do a math worksheet." Even the "15 minutes" of journaling is flexible.

But having a general routine to help us get started every day has been so helpful! At breakfast, our "Devotions" are built around my kids' AWANA books. (AWANA is a Christian club that focuses a lot on Scripture memorization.)

Next we do the Pledge of Allegiance (as well as pledges to the Christian flag and our state flag), and it's time for Chickie to do her daily journal (which is a combination of writing and drawing.) The beauty of daily journal time is that it also gives me the chance to do any last-minute curriculum plans!

Chickie checks the weather, and uses a little chart we have to mark what the day's weather is. We use our calendar to talk about the day of the week and month, and then we go over our weekly character trait.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

By that time, it's natural to go right into school work. I love having this morning routine; I think it helps us both to get focused so that we can get down to the business of reading, writing, and 'rithmetic! And the day is usually ended by Chickie having about 20 minutes of independent reading time, a great time for her to pursue her own budding interests.

I'm far from being a homeschool expert, but it's nice to be able to share one thing that's working for us!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A sad phase indeed

Zoodle is growing up.

Silly boy.

(Don't worry. I still steal plenty of kisses. And he laughs when I do it.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Update on big life stuff

A couple of months ago, I blogged about big life changes. I'm happy that I have good updates to share!

My dad had surgery for his prostate cancer 2 1/2 weeks ago. My sister Becki and I were able to go to Arizona for the surgery. He's had some complications in his recovery but is doing better and better. When they checked out the prostate after removing it, they found the cancer was more aggressive than the biopsy had shown. But because they found it very early, they were able to get it all with surgery. No radiation, no chemo. He should still live another four decades or so. (He's 61 now. I'm thinking positively here!) We are so, so, so glad that this was found early and that they handled it aggressive treatment. We had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Not bad for one day post-surgery, eh?

I also shared in my previous post that our church decided to disband. We checked out several churches, and we found one in our area that we really like. That "in our area" caveat is an important one. Ever since moving to the metropolitan area where we've lived for 12 years, we'd had to drive a pretty good distance to church. That gets old. So to find a church close to home is fantastic. And it's a church that isn't "churchy," if that makes sense. It's casual. It's full of people with very imperfect lives. Well, every church is full of imperfection, but at this place, we're made to feel that we can be honest about that, instead of hiding it. That's pretty cool. I'm going to start working in their children's ministry, so I'm looking forward to that. We think this is the place for us.

Life is good. God is good.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Turkey life cycle minibook for Thanksgiving lapbook

I really do want to blog about homeschooling. Really, I do! But I'm so busy homeschooling that I have trouble blogging about homeschooling.

I have all sorts of fun stuff I want to get up here about the great theme weeks we've been doing. But for now, I'm just going to quickly post something that other homeschoolers might be looking for in the next couple of weeks.

We are doing Thanksgiving lapbooks this week (using many of the ideas I've linked here.) I wanted to introduce a bit of science into the lapbook, so I made this minibook about the life cycle of a turkey. This is a quick and easy project and would even work well as a standalone Thanksgiving science activity.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Turkey Life Cycle Minibook

As always, feel free to use and reproduce this for noncommercial purposes; please just don't claim it as your own.

I showed Chickie pictures of turkey eggs, baby turkeys, and adult turkeys (found through Google Images searches) so that she could draw her own. Alternatively, you could print small pictures and glue them in.

Also, I'm behind on posting character traits. I'll get caught up with that soon! But going with the Thanksgiving theme, here's our character trait this week: Gratitude.

Character Trait Gratitude

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Weekly Character Traits: Perseverance and Friendliness

Each week as part of our homeschooling, we focus on one character trait. Last week it was "Perseverance," and this week it is "Friendliness."

Character Trait Perseverance
Character Trait Friendliness

To see all the documents I have available, just click the "homeschool downloads" tab at the top of this post. Or you may easily view and print or download all of my documents by clicking this: cbethblog's Scribd documents.

You may use any of these documents for any purpose as long as you are not selling them or otherwise making a profit from them.

Friday, October 12, 2012

USA week!

We recently did a USA week as part of our homeschooling. I plan to do at least one more week like this during the school year--there is still a lot more I want to cover about our country!

On my Delicious page, I've bookmarked lots of ideas for doing a USA week. You can check that out here if you're planning your own USA curriculum.

The kids made lapbooks again, and they turned out great! We used parts of this free lapbook template, and added our own touches too. Again, we coordinated our theme week with Ann, and at the end of the week her son Coqui and my kids Chickie and Zoodle enjoyed presenting their lapbooks to each other.

Click any of the photo collages to see them larger!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Coqui worked hard on his lapbook, and it turned out great!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Here is Zoodle's lapbook. I loved the "Civil War" part of his U.S. History Timeline (top right photo.) That's one guy saying, "I Wen" (I Win) and another saying, "I Loz" (I Lose.) I also laughed at the sentence he asked me to write on his Statue of Liberty minibook: "I wish Lady Liberty was MISTER Liberty!"

Chickie was proud of her lapbook, and it turned out great. You can see in the top right photo that when she drew our first President, she thought his classic portrait was a little too somber. Her version is much more cheerful! The bottom photos show one of the votes we did during USA week. The kids and I voted for what we should have for lunch. Grilled cheese won over PB&J--in fact, it was unanimous!

I'm still really enjoying doing theme weeks in our homeschool, and I'm learning right along with the kids!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Weekly Character Trait: Obedience

Each week as part of our homeschooling, we focus on one character trait. This week it is "Obedience."

I used this opportunity to talk about being obedient to authority, but also to discuss times the kids shouldn't obey authority--any time they're told to do something bad. I also told them if someone tells them to do something bad and keep it a secret, they should still come tell me. It's not the type of stuff I like to think about, but it's important, and I'm glad we had the discussions we had this week!

Character Trait Obedience

To see all the documents I have available, just click the "homeschool downloads" tab at the top of this post. Or you may easily view and print or download all of my documents by clicking this: cbethblog's Scribd documents.

You may use any of these documents for any purpose as long as you are not selling them or otherwise making a profit from them.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Apple Bacon Chicken recipe (and lots more apple ideas...)

I'm still getting Bountiful Baskets produce, and loving the experience! You can read about it in my blog post here.

A couple of weeks ago I got my regular basket, plus a big box of Gala Apples...about 38 pounds worth. I'd paid $24 for them. I couldn't pass up such a great deal, but I had to figure out what to do with so many apples! I have made...
I haven't used all the apples.... There are some still in the fridge, and I also froze a bunch of slices for future use.

But let's go back to that last bullet point...Apple Bacon Chicken.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

It was a big hit. I used this recipe, but I adapted it for the oven instead of the slow cooker. My recipe follows. Enjoy!

Apple Bacon Chicken (adapted from

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 large apples, peeled, cored, and diced
8 slices bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Trim chicken, and pound it to a uniform thinness (doesn't need to be super-thin; just pound out the thick parts to match the rest!)
  3. Cut each chicken breast in half.
  4. Wrap a piece of uncooked bacon around each breast half. Arrange chicken in a large baking dish.
  5. Mix together barbecue sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, and diced apples. Pour over chicken.
  6. Put a meat thermometer into one of the pieces of chicken. Choose the thickest chicken piece in the dish. (If you don't have a meat thermometer, it's a great time to get one! I like the digital ones that beep when they hit a certain temperature. I think mine was about $10 at Walmart.)
  7. Cook until temperature reaches 145 degrees. Honestly, I don't know how long this took...maybe 30-40 minutes. If you don't have a meat thermometer, cook until the chicken is almost done, but not quite.
  8. Turn on the broiler. Keep the chicken on the middle rack. You're just going to finish cooking the meat, while letting the bacon get more crisp.
  9. Cook until chicken is done (internal temperature of 165 to 170 degrees.) Be sure to scoop some of the yummy sauce on top of the chicken when serving. We had ours with rice.
Note: As much as I love leftovers, this was a bust when I reheated it in the microwave. So if you're serving just 2-3 people, you may want to halve the recipe. The men at the table ate two pieces each; I ate one piece; my 6-year-old daughter ate about 80% of one piece; and my 4-year-old son ate about 20% of one piece. Unfortunately, he's very picky about meat these days, so eating more than one bite is a victory for him!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weekly Character Trait: Kindness

Each week as part of our homeschooling, we focus on one character trait. This week it is "Kindness."

Character Trait Kindness

To see all the documents I have available, just click the "homeschool downloads" tab at the top of this post. Or you may easily view and print or download all of my documents by clicking this: cbethblog's Scribd documents.

You may use any of these documents for any purpose as long as you are not selling them or otherwise making a profit from them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A week full of changes

Last week was crazy.

Monday I got bad news about a friend who is making some really poor choices. I can't go into more detail than that, but I'm still trying to figure out how to respond.

As I was still mulling over that, I got a call on Tuesday evening from my mom.

"I'm going to tell you something that's going to be hard to hear," she prepared me. "Your dad has prostate cancer."

Ugh. My dad, who is almost 61 and has run multiple half marathons in the last few years, has cancer. The same cancer that took the life of my grandfather (my dad's dad) and my father-in-law (who passed away before I met The Engineer.)


My parents had just gotten the news Tuesday, and they weren't sure yet how bad the cancer was. I felt a deep trust in God when I heard the news, and both of my parents were displaying peace and faith. But I was still stressed and emotional. It was still hard to wait until Thursday afternoon/evening, when my dad would see the urologist and get more news.

Thankfully, the news Thursday was very good! The urologist is 99.9% sure the cancer has not spread. They found it early! My dad has been very consistent with his checkups and bloodwork, paying special attention to his PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) levels. There's a lot of controversy right now about how useful a PSA level is. My dad's was very low, and the doctors did not think he had cancer. But the number was rising, and with my dad's family history, that was enough for the specialist to suggest a biopsy, just in case. Thank God my dad said yes!

So he will have surgery in November to remove his prostate. The doctor expects it to take care of the cancer completely, and my dad has a very good chance of not having any serious side effects. If you pray, we'd love you to join us in praying for my dad (Sam) and my mom (Cathy) during this time!

Let this serve as a reminder to you and those you love--whether you're male or female, get your regular checkups! And ladies, get your men to go in. Make the appointment for them if necessary! Women tend to get checkups more regularly than men, and this needs to change! A couple of years ago, The Engineer started having annual physicals, including bloodwork to check his PSA. When Zoodle gets older, we'll impress on him the importance of regular checkups too.

"It's cancer"--two terrible words. But "We found it early"--those are four words that make the news much easier to take.

So, that's brought us through Thursday of last week. The week wasn't over yet!

When The Engineer and I moved to where we live now, we had already connected with a church. They needed a worship leader, and that's The Engineer's area of passion and gifting. (He plays guitar and sings.) We have been part of that church family for the last 12 years.

And I really do mean that word, family! They were a wonderful support to us during rough times (like The Engineer's brain surgery), and good times (like the birth of our two children and the recent birth of Munchkin, the baby I carried for Ann.)

The church changed through the years, as most churches do. The first pastor moved when Chickie was a year old, and last year the second pastor moved. Through the years people came and went--in fact, The Engineer and I have been at that church longer than anyone else! But with all the changes, it remained our home, our community.

After our last pastor left, things just never really recovered. We called a new pastor but it didn't work out for him to move out here permanently. Many people felt it was time to find new church homes, and our numbers dwindled. Finally, we made a decision last weekend, that it's time to disband this community of believers.

It sounds like sad news, but I'm actually really excited. The gradual decline in numbers over the last year or so was very hard and very sad. But we were stretched in so many ways during that time, and God used it to bless us and grow us. And you know, it's okay for something good to come to an end when it's time for that to happen! It means we are free to find another church where we can grow and serve, to find a new community that, I am confident, will become our family!

And so many of those we've connected with over the last 12 years are still part of our family. The best example is Ann and her husband and kids. Ann and I have been very close for some time now, but when I had the extraordinary privilege of carrying her baby, it knitted our families together in a deep, beautiful way. And there are others, people I know I can call on to share my joy and my pain. We'll keep those relationships, whether or not we share a church with those individuals.

So this ending is really a very cool opportunity to discover a new beginning, and I am excited!

This week there isn't too much going on. Zoodle has a cough. We're studying spiders in homeschool. It's Wednesday morning at 8:30 and we're all still in our PJs. It's been a fairly normal week, and I like it that way!

But life moves forward, and big changes come, whether we like them or not. I'm just glad I can trust a big God to be with me on normal days and days that are full of turmoil. Every day, He is there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pioneer Week

A couple of weeks ago, we had a homeschooling Pioneer Week. It was so fun!

My favorite project of the week was making applesauce...only it wasn't actual applesauce, it was pearsauce! I'd gotten a box of apple pears (a.k.a. Asian pears) for a fantastic price from Bountiful Baskets. I used ten of them to make pearsauce and wish I'd used more--it was a big hit! (I used this slow cooker recipe, and have also used it for a bunch of applesauce recently. It's delicious, though I do reduce the amount of water; I use a little more than half the amount the recipe calls for.)

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

The reason I loved this project so much was because I used it to teach every major subject! I started by having Chickie predict what would happen to the pears when we cooked them, and how long it would take them to soften (Science). She wrote down her predictions (English/Language Arts). We talked about pioneers and why they had to make their own applesauce (Social Studies). Before we put the pears in the slow cooker, we counted them by tens, as shown in the photo above (Math). I even talked about healthy vs. unhealthy foods (Health), and I had the kids play outside while I peeled and cut pears, which is practically P.E., right?!

This was the type of project I really looked forward to when we started homeschooling!

We did one other cooking-related project. We made our own butter using these instructions (though, since we were using the butter immediately, we did not rinse it.)

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

It was delicious, and, once again, I had Chickie predict how long the process would take. (With both the pearsauce and the butter, she was very close!)

As a math activity, I set up "Beth's General Store" (an idea I got from this pioneer lesson plan--the same source for the applesauce idea.)

The kids had fun choosing what items they wanted to purchase. We then counted up their totals, and I helped them use play money to pay. Chickie and Zoodle love this type of role-playing, and it makes learning fun for all of us.

The cutest activity we did was making cornhusk dolls, using these instructions.  They turned out adorable! (I'll admit, I had to do the bulk of the work on this project; it requires some advanced fine motor skills. But the kids helped!)

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Ann and I have been coordinating our themed homeschooling weeks--you can read about her Pioneer Week here. We then gather together to do activities related to the theme. Our kids had fun playing marbles and Hoops and Sticks (another idea from this lesson plan.)

Coqui and Chickie both quickly figured out how to use their "sticks" (wooden spoons) to push their "hoops" (offbrand Hula Hoops from the dollar store!)

The next week, we enjoyed the main event--the field trip that inspired our Pioneer Week. Ann and I took our kids (along with others from a homeschool group to which we belong) to a nearby museum made up of all sorts of pioneer-era structures. The kids got to see how people in that day lived, even observing a longhorn bull and a real blacksmith! (Click photos to enlarge.)

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

(In that bottom-left picture I was comparing my comfy toeshoes to the narrow, painful-looking boots women of that day wore!)

It really was such a fun week. We did other projects I didn't take pictures of. Most of those activities (as well as many we didn't do) are in these Pioneer links on my Delicious bookmarking site. If you're planning a Pioneer Week, I hope you find my links helpful.

Pioneer Week was a lot of fun...and a lot of work! We don't always do such involved theme weeks, but I do like having a theme (complex or simple!) around which to base our lessons each week. It gives me direction as I plan, and it makes things a lot more fun for the kids!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Baby steps

I want to be more environmentally-conscious. In fact, my kids actively encourage me to do so, which I appreciate! I remember to bring my reusable bags into the grocery store a higher percentage of the time than I used to remember. Baby steps, right?

The next step? Cloth napkins. Ann gave me the brilliant idea of buying a bunch of bandanas for $1 each. They come in such cute prints these days! So I picked up 12 at Walmart today. I let the kids each choose two, and I chose the remaining eight (all matching.) I love the adorable owl print!

Assuming we like using cloth napkins, I think it would be nice to make some eventually, with thicker fabric. But for now, these will do just fine. They were inexpensive; they're cute (well, some are gaudy, I admit!), and I didn't have to sew the hems myself!

I like when baby steps are so easy to take! Maybe some day I'll eliminate paper towels in my house too!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekly Character Trait: Consideration

Each week as part of our homeschooling, we focus on one character trait. This week it is "Consideration."

Character Trait Consideration

To see all the documents I have available, just click the "homeschool downloads" tab at the top of this post. Or you may easily view and print or download all of my documents by clicking this: cbethblog's Scribd documents.

You may use any of these documents for any purpose as long as you are not selling them or otherwise making a profit from them.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

All About Me lapbooks

Lapbooks are a homeschooling trend. I was going to try to define what a lapbook is, but instead I think I'll just show you the ones the kids made a couple of weeks ago. You'll get the idea!

Our theme was "All About Me." Much of our lapbook design came from the free download at this site.

The kids worked hard all week on their lapbooks. (You can see any of these photos in more detail by clicking on them.)

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Chickie, Zoodle, and Coqui (Ann's son) all did this project. They then presented them to each other.  They each really enjoyed being the center of attention, showing each other what they'd made!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Here are a few more pics of Chickie's lapbook:

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

And Zoodle's:

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Because Chickie is so interested in anatomy, I wanted to include a fun human body project as part of her lapbook. I drew an outline of the human body (available in PDF below). Chickie then traced it on five pieces of tracing paper. On the original paper, she decorated the body to look like herself, and "dressed" it in her favorite outfit. (Zoodle did this part too!) On each piece of tracing paper, she drew a different body system: Skeletal, Digestive, Nervous, Cardiovascular, and Muscular. These were all stacked and stapled together so that it made a book with "layers" for each body system. She did great--I love how this project turned out!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Here is the body outline I made. Feel free to use it or share it.

Body Outline

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Weekly Character Trait: Patience

Our homeschooling this week has been so much fun! I'm excited to share more with you soon. But in the meantime, here's our weekly character trait.

Each week as part of our homeschooling, we focus on one character trait. This week it is "Patience."

Character Trait Patience

To see all the documents I have available, just click the "homeschool downloads" tab at the top of this post. Or you may easily view and print or download all of my documents by clicking this: cbethblog's Scribd documents.

You may use any of these documents for any purpose as long as you are not selling them or otherwise making a profit from them.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Weekly Character Trait: Selflessness

Each week as part of our homeschooling, we focus on one character trait. This week it is "Selflessness." Like last week's trait, "Respect," I have plenty of opportunities to reinforce it throughout the week!

Character Trait Selflessness

To see all the documents I have available, just click the "homeschool downloads" tab at the top of this post. Or you may easily view and print or download all of my documents by clicking this: cbethblog's Scribd documents.

You may use any of these documents for any purpose as long as you are not selling them or otherwise making a profit from them.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

5 x 7 = 35

I'm 35 today. Thirty-five! And I'm okay with that. More than okay, I'm happy to claim it, because I was thinking this morning...35 years. And not a bad year in the bunch.

Thirty-five feels like a milestone. As I lay in bed this morning, I considered what "big stuff" has happened in each five-year block of my life. Here's what I came up with.

Ages 0 through 4: Birth. And Imagination.

Well, I guess being born was an important start. Here are my sister Becki and me with our parents.


Of course, I don't remember the birth, so I'll move on! What I do remember from my first five years is that I started to develop an imagination. Becki and I loved playing make-believe. Blankets became princess capes. We had conversations on the red, plastic phone that stuck to the side of the tub with a suction cup. Sometimes our brother Sean even joined in and that made it extra-special! In this picture, Becki and I are pretending a box is a boat.


Okay, we probably weren't pretending it was a boat; we were only 15 months old. But I don't have that many pictures, so you'll have to use your imagination!

Creativity has remained such an important part of my life, even if I'm no longer using blankets as capes (not often, anyway!)

Ages 5 through 9: Faith

When I was five, I decided to follow Jesus. How much can a five-year-old really understand about faith? Maybe not a whole lot, but with the mind and heart of a little girl, I believed. More importantly, I've continued to believe. And my friendship with God...imperfect, at times shaky, and at times strong...has given my life depth, meaning, and direction.

My first day of kindergarten.

Ages 10 through 14: Piano

When I was 10, I started taking piano lessons. I don't write much on my blog about playing piano, because honestly, it's not something I'm passionate about. But I play keyboard nearly every week at church, and when I was young, it was a pretty big part of my life. It was a great way to help develop and exercise that artistic side of my brain.

Me, at 12

Ages 15 through 19: Becoming Me

Of course, I've been "Me" through my whole life. But high school and college were times of big growth for me. I became more and more confident and comfortable in my own skin, and I started to really become the "Me" I am today...someone I really do like.

High school graduation

Ages 20 through 24: Marriage

I started dating The Engineer when I was 21, and we married about a year later. He's a huge part of why I love my life today. He's such a blessing to me!


Ages 25 through 29: Chickie

When I was 28, Chickie was born. Life suddenly developed more depth and beauty. I absolutely love being a mom to my girl.


Ages 30 through 34: Zoodle, and a Special Pregnancy and Birth

Several months after I turned 30, Zoodle was born, completing our family (unless God has any surprises for us!) He is such a source of joy in our home!


And then when I was 34, I had the amazing privilege of carrying my best friend's baby. I expect that when I look back on my full life in future decades, I'll remember my experience of being a gestational carrier as one of the most beautiful and profound times of my life.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Ann and beautiful Munchkin, a few hours after the birth

Ages 35 through 40...Who knows?
I'm excited to see where God will take us in the next five years. I bet it will be wonderful.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Me, at 35

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Homeschooling documents to share

I want to share homeschooling documents/resources that I create, to help other homeschooling families (or teachers who are looking for supplemental resources.) To see all the documents I have available, just click the "homeschool downloads" tab at the top of this post. Or you may easily view and print or download all of my documents by clicking this: cbethblog's Scribd documents.

You may use any of these documents for any purpose as long as you are not selling them or otherwise making a profit from them.

Character Trait: Respect
We will be focusing on a different character trait each week. Our first is Respect. To see all the character traits, click the "character traits" label at the bottom of this post.

Character Trait Respect

Labor Day Worksheet
We are doing a unit on Labor Day this week. Today I told the kids about the history of Labor Day in the U.S. (based on this article.) Early labor rights protestors asked for "8 hours of work, 8 hours of rest, 8 hours of recreation." This two-page worksheet is based on that concept.

Labor Day 24 Hours Worksheet

Writing Paper

I've made several types of blank writing paper that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Daily Journaling Paper (Primary-Ruled Writing/Illustration Paper)

Primary Ruled Writing Illustration Paper

Primary-Ruled Writing Paper

Primary Ruled Writing Paper

Small Pictures Plus Wide-Ruled Lines Paper

This is the paper we used for our science project on our first day of school. Chickie taped nature items in the boxes and used the lines to describe her observations about each item.

Small Pictures Plus Wide Ruled Description Page

Wide-Ruled Writing Paper
This is not primary-ruled but is much wider than typical wide-ruled paper.

Wide Ruled Writing Paper

Our first days of homeschooling

Well, we've completed two days of homeschooling, which makes me an expert!

Or, maybe not quite an expert. Truth be told, I'm figuring this out as I go along. But I'm having fun doing it!

The kids were so excited to start their first day of homeschool!

Chickie, 1st grade

Zoodle, Pre-K

We have a daily schedule (that may be tweaked through the year!)


So yesterday morning, we had breakfast and read a Bible story/devotion from this book:
(Click the picture to see the listing on Amazon.)

The Kindle version of this book is currently $3.99, but Amazon Prime members can borrow it for free. My kids have really been responding well to it. It's interactive, with questions at the beginning and the end, and the Bible story is short--appropriate for their ages (six and four.)

We then did the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag, using a computer flag image. (We did the same with our state flag and the Christian flag.)


Then it was time to get to work! I'm having Chickie start each day with 15 minutes of free journaling. I instructed her to fill up all the lines on the page with writing, and then to draw a picture to go along with what she wrote. Zoodle wanted to get in on the action too.


Today I took a video of them explaining what they'd written and drawn.

Next I pulled out our calendar so we could review the day and date, and the kids took a quick trip outside to check out the weather, which we briefly discussed. I ordered a wall calendar that will facilitate this calendar/weather time, and I'm looking forward to its arrival.

Each week we'll be focusing on one character trait that I want the kids to incorporate into their lives. This week it's respect. We talked about how to be respectful, and reviewed a pertinent Bible verse.


Then it was time to do the work I'd planned for the day. Both kids did various worksheets. Chickie's covered reading, writing, math, and social studies. Zoodle is currently doing worksheets that help him learn to recognize and write letters, but he also watches some of what his sister does.


Next it was time for science. The kids were very excited to do this project! We went outside, where they collected various small nature items.


Back inside, Chickie taped her items to paper and wrote brief observations about each item. (The ladybug was dead before we picked it up and taped it to the paper....)


Zoodle turned his into a nature art project. (Wow, that kid can use a lot of tape!)


Finally, it was time for Chickie to do 20 minutes of quiet reading, a very important part of our daily schedule! So far she's been happy to read out loud so that Zoodle can share the stories too. I'm so glad my girl has inherited my love for reading! She really has an aptitude for it!


And that completed our first day of homeschooling. Today was similar. Chickie is really enjoying it. Zoodle told me it's boring (except the science part), and I assured him he doesn't have to sit there the whole time. He's just in pre-K, and I don't mind if he's playing during much of our "school day." So we'll try to find a good balance for him. He likes learning, but his attention span is shorter than his sister's, and that's okay.

Now that this happy mommy is a happy, homeschooling mommy, I imagine I'll be writing a lot about our adventures in home education. Whether or not you're a homeschooler, I appreciate you reading!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Maybe it really is more blessed to give than to receive

For Father's Day (yeah, yeah, I know, it was a couple of months ago, and this blog post is super-late...) Chickie made a coupon book for her dad, during her Sunday School class.


I looked at the first coupon.


Um, okay, maybe Daddy would like a walk too.


And, you know, maybe he really does want to watch her at the pool.


Okay, that settles it. She really didn't get the point behind this project at all.

But I'm sure she's very anxious for Daddy to "redeem" his coupons....