What is my blog about? It's about Torah family living. It's about letting Torah affect our daily lives, from mealtime to bedtime, homeschooling to farm chores.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baking Day!

After some weather delays, we were finally able to go to my sister's house to bake cookies. 


Holy cow!  Look at that big mama!



Ok, I confess the cookie recipe was full of sugar and white flour, but we will improve on the toppings as you will see later.


Yogurt frosting.  See, that's a step up!



Many of our cookie cutters were hebrew letters, very cool.


Here is our attempt to keep the little bakers contained on plates while they decorated.  They did pretty good, I think.


We decorated with different jams, coconut, nuts, chocolate, and the yogurt frosting.
Thank you, Aunt Leslie, for letting me make this post on her high speed internet.  On my dialup, this would have been a career.  Have a great day!




Monday, December 27, 2010

an inspiring birth

I just stumbled upon this birth account and found it very inspiring.  It was written by a Jewish woman, after the birth of her daughter.  Her faith and confidence, despite her fears, was amazing.  I hope you enjoy it.  I also want to remember where it is, lol, so I can read it again.

Overcoming my fear of birth

Life in my brain

Yeah, I know, this post sounds kind of scary lol.  But I thought I'd take a few minutes and share some of my hopes, dreams, and failures of late. 

~ I am working very hard on setting up long term food storage in our home.  Doug put up three shelves in the basement today and I filled them with all the canned goods I put up this last summer.  Very good feeling!  I have been putting in larger grain and bean orders at the food coop.  I also am trying to make food with the ingredients I can keep on hand at the house.

~ I am anxiously awaiting my new kitchen island.  Well, ok, it's actually two woodworking benches that we will be making into an island.  Doug wants to keep the vice on the end, just in case he wants to do some woodworking in the kitchen!  It will probably double my island storage, give me eight drawers, and two big shelves underneath.  Very excited!  Oh, and it's made of oak!

~ I am trying to write a beginning reader's version of Leviticus.  That is a real stretcher, and makes me wonder what I was thinking!  But when YHVH gives us a job to do, He helps us figure it out.  I have the first portion in Leviticus written, and I learned alot about the sacrificial system in the process.  I concluded that if we still had to sacrifice an animal every time we sinned, we would a) quickly run out of animals, and b) probably sin alot less.  We, and I speak for myself here, seem to easily lose touch with the cost for our sin.  We get careless.  I want to be more careful with everyday living.  Did my Messiah die because of the nasty attitude I am displaying this morning?

~ I have been on a mission to get my house running smoothly and have my children helping where they can.  Thus far, Naomi and Holly feed and water the chickens every day.  Isaac and Sadie help bring firewood up on the porch.  The kids know how to use the dishwasher, load and sort the laundry, clean the bathroom, sweep, tidy, cook simple foods like eggs and pasta, and help with baking.  My hope is that as I get fatter and after baby comes, they can help keep things running somewhat smoothly with mommy overseeing.  Not to mention, I want them to be well prepared for their own homes and have the varying jobs second nature.  I also moved all the sheets to the laundry room today.  Why?  Because now they will get put away right out of the dryer, rather than getting buried in a pile on top of the dryer, never to be seen again.  Hey, I know my limitations!  Better to work with them than fail miserably.

~ I was surprised to get an email that took me back about four years.  I used to have a business knitting, and dying yarn.  I was asked if I would consider dying a little yarn for a previous customer.  It was really nice to know I had been missed, and if I have enough yarn, I think I might just dye some for her.  It's been a while, and I've missed it.

~ On a daily basis, I go into the bathroom to look at my belly in the mirror.  I say, "It's not that big."  Doug says, "Not for twins!"  He has teased me for six pregnancies, and never misses an opportunity.  It will be an amazing day when he actually gets proven right!  YHVH only knows!

~ I am planning a blow by blow post of our typical school day.  However, I don't know if I'm ready to reveal that!  People will find out how simple our school is and laugh at me lol!

~ Well, I could keep going but I have to visit the bathroom again!  Oh, there's another little tiny kick!  Hello, little one!  By the way, congrats to all you ladies that are expecting blessings.


The girls are having fun playing with photography!
Bye bye for now.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Real life Math

I just finished reading the math section in The Three R's
by Ruth Beechick.  It contained a very helpful reminder that young children learn with their hands.  They need to count the spoons, sort the blocks, etc.  Numbers on a page don't mean anything to them yet.  This is where real life math comes in. 
So I have been making a deliberate effort to use math in every day life.  I have done this some in the past, but here are my efforts to step it up.

First stop: the kitchen.


We made cookies.  We counted the scoops of flour, practiced reading the recipe, and figured out how many 1/2 cups we needed to get two cups of sugar.  Sadie worked on her counting, Isaac and Holly got some practice with addition, and Naomi worked some with fractions.  Yes, I still have a head, by the way.

When we set the table, I may say, "I've got 5 plates, how many more do we need?"
"If everyone gets two cookies, how many will we all eat together?"

Next stop: math box.


Just to make sure we use lots of manipulatives, I put together a math box.  We use Math-U-See, which I love, but sometimes we need to slow down the pace.  So I will now make a point of letting the kids have a couple days to "play" with the manipulatives and the Math-U-See blocks when we learn new concepts.  I collected all kinds of interesting things for the kids to count, sort, add, subtract, etc.  They have already been anxious to try it out.


This is Isaac using lock washers to figure out simple addition problems.

Have fun with math this week!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Little fiber artist

"She worketh willingly with her hands."



Holly used her "Chanukah" money from Gramma to buy a wooden peg loom.  I am so thrilled to see her take to it like she has.  She comes from a long line of women who worked willingly with their hands.  My grandmother made embroidered tablecloths.  My aunt spun wool and hooked rugs.  My mother did a lot of weaving when she was younger, and is currently the best seamstress east of the Mississippi.  (I love you, Mom!)  I spin, dye, and knit.  So, I am thrilled to have a budding fiber artist in my midst.  She has about completed her first project, and is thoroughly enjoying it.  Paper and scissors are great, but I love seeing my children involved with really useful projects.



We wouldn't want to leave the boys out, so here's a tribute to my little man, Isaac.  He's a true knight in training.  If only he didn't cry louder than the girls when he gets hurt lol!



Have a great day with all the little people in your life!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Prep day followup

I didn't quite make it before the 3:00 pm deadline, but here I am anyway.  Elisha and I got a little distracted.  I was trying to clean the living room floor, and decided to do it with a wet wash cloth.  Then I could practice crawling around, which will be good for baby positioning later on.  Well, Elisha was so excited that mommy was the same height as him, that we had to play for a little while. 

Isaac is of course sword fighting in this picture lol!
I am doing quite well on my list.  I still need to prepare the enchiladas and the barley for breakfast.  I also need to load the dishwasher after dinner.  Baths are half done right now.  Otherwise we are in good shape.

Shabbat Shalom to everyone!  I hope you had a productive prep day, and will be able to fully enter into the rest and peace of Shabbat. 

My prep day check in

I thought I'd check in real quick and give you a picture of prep day at our house.  The key for me has been maintenance throughout the week.  I can't be hohum about housework for days 1-5 and then magically become Martha Stewart on prep day.  Believe me, I've tried.  A good working schedule has been very important for me.  Then I'm not trying to do a week's worth of work while the sun is rapidly setting on Friday night. 

This has been a weird week, and has shown me the need to tweek my schedule once again.  I planned a trip that had to be cancelled because of weather delays at my husband's job.  I made several business calls.  I'm trying to get back in the swing of school after forgetting the kids' books at Marme's house last week.  My mind keeps drifting to pregnancy topics.  I also starting writing my book about Torah for beginning readers.  This sounds like a good time to rethink my schedule.  I need to block off more time for certain activities, so that I can set them aside and focus on other things, knowing the time is there to work on them later.  This applies mostly to writing for me.  I can work on cleaning the house if mentally I know that I have all evening to focus on writing.  You may have things like this in your life, too.  Try working out a schedule, so that you can put all your energy into the task at hand, and not be distracted by everything else that needs to be done.
(The link in my sidebar, Telling your Time, was very helpful to me.)

What does this have to do with prep day?  You have to maintain a good level in your home all week, so prep day simply consists of doublechecking and putting on finishing touches.  At least, that's the ideal lol!

This week I am sharing some before pictures of my kitchen and living room.  I will do my very best to post the after pictures before 3:00,  when this linky ends. 




Here is my to-do list for today.  It could have been shorter if I had paid better attention to my schedule lol!

1. Put away clean laundry
2. Bake bread
3. Feed animals
4. Take out garbage
5. Clean kitchen
6. Make sure kids clean their rooms and bathroom
7. Everyone bathed
8. Check sandwich fillings for Shabbat dinner
9. Plan and prepare dinner for tonight, probably enchiladas
10. Make barley cereal in crockpot for Shabbat breakfast

That should do it.  The other thing I've learned about prep day is prioritizing.  I learned from Sandra Felton in one of her books, that you do the 20% of work that makes the 80% impact.  No one will know if you didn't scrub the tub with a toothbrush.  But your baby will notice if you didn't wash his diapers.  Have a lovely prep day, and I'll check in again this afternoon, if all is going well!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An unexpected bike trip

I would like to retell a story that was a real blessing to me.  I heard it from Thurman Scrivner on one of his teaching tapes.  It may not be an absolutely faithful retelling, but I will do my best to keep the spirit of  it.

A man, happily married for many years, decided one day that he wanted to increase his faith.  So he prayed and asked God to give him a greater measure of faith.  Satisfied that his prayer would be answered, he went to sleep.  The next morning, his lovely wife rolled over and made a simple comment.  He simply thought, "How dare she talk to me that way?"

The day began and again, she made a comment.  "This woman is out of control!"

By the time a third innocent comment came out of her mouth, he completely lost it.  "I've had it with your bickering and complaining!  You always nag and talk to me so disrespectful!  I'm leaving!"
His dear sweet wife simply asked, "We only have one car.  How are you going to leave?"
To which he responded in exagerrated tones, "I'm taking the bicycle!"

With that he was gone.  He rode that bicycle like it was a mad bull.  Or was he the mad bull?  He fussed and fumed, and the farther he rode, the madder he got.  Eventually his adrenaline and anger gave out and he fell off the bike into a heap.  He soon found himself in the bottom of a ditch covered with crawling ants.  He jumped up and began to yell at God.  "How dare you let this happen to me?  I asked for more faith and here I am in a ditch covered with ants!"

He heard a very simple, quiet response.  "You failed your test."

As the truth of this statement sunk in, he fell on his knees and repented for his awful spirit.  God was quick to forgive, as He always is.

But now the man was in a ditch, with no idea where he was, and nothing but a bicycle.  He saw a gas station across the street, and began to make his way there, to get directions.  But before he made it inside, a familiar car pulled in.  It belonged to some friends of his.  They saw him and rolled down their window.  "What are you doing here?  We were just on our way to visit you and your lovely wife!"

Yes, his dear lovely wife that he had yelled at and abandoned at home.  His friends asked to follow him there to make sure they didn't get lost.  "Where's your car, so we can follow you?"

"Well, I don't have the car."
"So how'd you get here?"
"I took the bicycle."  This response was, of course, as quiet as possible.
"You rode the bicycle?  You're 50 miles from home!"

But the gracious and loving God we serve not only sent friends to this dear man, but they were driving a truck that he could throw the bicycle in.  When he reached his home, he immediately ran inside and begged his precious wife for forgiveness. 

She simply responded, "I thought something funny was going on, so I just prayed for you the whole time."

When we seek to grow in our faith, we must prepare ourselves.  We seek to climb a hill, but our desire to climb the hill does not make that hill flat.  Faith and growth comes with testing.  We have a wonderful, loving God to help us when the testing comes, but the testing will come, all the same.  Sometimes we will "fail," and He will pick us back up so we can try again.  But sometimes, we will remember to lean on Him, the author and perfector of our faith, and we will climb to greater heights of obedience and faith.  But, no matter what, we must never stay in the ditch, covered with crawling ants!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Banana Bread

I've been teaching the kids how to use my Zojirushi bread machine this week.  They have been learning to read the recipe and measure correctly.  With my supervision, they have been doing quite well.   So I thought I would learn something new, too.  I have heard about soaking grains and flours, but have never actually done it.  (blush)  I pulled out my copy of "Nourishing Traditions" and decided to try banana bread.

Here is a picture of my fresh ground flour soaking.  I didn't have buttermilk, so I used the old trick of adding a little lemon juice to the milk.  I managed to let it soak for about 18 hours before I added the other ingredients.  I added cinnamon, since you can never go wrong with cinnamon.  Well, it went so well, that it also disappeared quite quickly. 


Here it is 5 minutes after I cut it.  Yep, we'll do this one again!  I definitely liked the soaked flour, it gave the bread a nice texture.  Now to go check on my cultured cream cheese. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why we keep Torah

Rather than give you a thesis on how wonderful Torah is, and the blessings of obedience, I'd like to put this on the bottom shelf.  I'd like to give you a top ten list that will give you a very clear picture of why we keep Torah.  Enjoy!

Top Ten Excuses children use for not cleaning their room.  (Or top ten reasons people don't keep Torah.)

10.  I can't clean it perfectly, because I can't reach under the bed.  So I just won't bother.
9.  I'll wipe the kitchen table off, and that will be good enough.
8.  I don't feel a warm desire inside to clean, so I don't have to.
7.  Only 16 year olds with red hair are expected to clean their rooms anymore.  The rest of us don't have to.
6.  I'll clean it on Tuesday, today's not a good day for me.
5.  Mommy really doesn't mean "clean your room," she means "tell your friends to brush their teeth."
4.  I don't understand why I have to clean my room.
3.  Dustcloths and vacuums are not cool.
2.  I'm okay with picking up my clothes, but making beds is completely out of date.
1.  Mommy made her bed, so now I don't have to make mine.

Just in case you missed it, let me translate that list into the reasons people don't keep Torah.

10.  The law is impossible to keep, so why try?
9.  I can invent my own ways to worship God.
8.  I don't have a conviction to obey.
7.  The law is only for the Jews.
6.  I can worship God on Sunday.
5.  I can spiritualize the law, in effect removing the need to obey.
4.  The law doesn't make sense to me.
3.  I don't want to be different from other people.
2.  I can pick and choose the laws I obey.
1.  The Messiah kept the law, so I don't have to.

If you are finding yourself holding onto anything on this list, I would encourage you to put your faith in action.  Begin to obey, and then watch as your Heavenly Father shows you the meaning and the blessing of keeping His precious Torah.  If you claim to be part of His family, then please begin following His house rules.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

(1Jn 5:3)

Many of my precious brothers and sisters in the house of YHVH are doing their best to obey the house rules.  Praise YHVH!  I just want to encourage you that we are asked to try, not keep it perfectly.  Just keep "cleaning your room," and YHVH will be there to help you get the stuff under the bed.  :-)

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Healing, Part 6

I feel like Job in chapter 42.  I am humbled before an Almighty Elohim who controls the weather and creates mighty beasts that no one can tame.  He is not to be questioned and not to be told what He will do.  I am not worthy of His attention or His favor.  Many others suffer great pain, financial loss, death.  I face none of these things.  I am truly blessed with health, prosperity, and freedom to obey my Creator.  I fall on shaking knees not daring to ask for a thing for me.

But then I look up and see my Savior.  He is suffering great pain, disease, humiliation and death.  He has all power in the universe yet He is brought this low.  And then He catches my eye.  He looks directly into my soul and says, "I do this for you, so that by my stripes you can be healed."

To be given another day is more than I deserve.  To be given eternal life is sufficient.  To have Him care about my little "problems" that mean nothing in the scheme of things is love beyond compare.

YHVH, my Father, you have given me everything.  You have healed my heart broken by sin.  You have healed my life that could have been utterly destroyed if not for You.  It is sufficient.  If you choose to heal more, I can only offer up a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, which is truly no sacrifice at all, but the least I can do.  So for all that you have healed on me beyond man's explanation, I am truly grateful.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Little Torah Books

I would like to introduce my latest project.  It's a series of printable books that you can make up and use as another way to teach Torah to your little ones.  Little kids will enjoy having mommy or daddy read it to them, and beginning readers will enjoy reading a book all by themselves.  This first book is all about preparation day.  I hope you enjoy it!  We gave ours to our cousins, so we need to print a new one lol!



Download:  It's Preparation Day! printable book

More are on the way as I'm able to get them ready.  Be watching for them!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Outdoor Hour - Challenge #2


This week's challenge was to focus on what we could hear, see, and feel.  Thanks to Daddy coming along and acting as photographer, we have a few extra photos this week.  :-)

Overall, it was very quiet during our nature hike, but we definitely could hear lots of snapping branches.  There is lots of deadwood where we took our walk.

We saw something very interesting, goldenrod in three different stages, all within a few feet of each other.

goldenrod in full bloom

goldenrod forming seed heads

goldenrod seeds ready to take off

We also felt some things, one of which was very cold wind on our faces lol!
We also felt some spongy, fuzzy moss.



We hope you enjoy each of your hikes into creation.  There's always something new to learn, because our Creator has infinite creative juices flowing!

To enjoy The Outdoor Hour in your family, go here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Positive Reflections

My Mom and I were talking about the power of our positive words.  When we speak goodness, truth, positive words, particularly Torah, the whole universe is knit together.  However, when we speak negative, hurtful words, we actually bring violence to the earth.  Storms, hurricanes, volcanoes, are the earth violently responding to the curse and our negative words.  Words are powerful.  I believe it is Brad Scott who teaches more on this subject.  Well, this thought has really stuck with me the last few days.  What is my speech bringing to the environment around me?  What is it bringing to my family?  What is it bringing to me and the little baby inside me?  I have tried to be very mindful of my speech the last few days, and I encourage you to do the same.  I have failed miserably, but I'm trying and growing.

Here are some positive thoughts to get us all going.  They are quotes from the Amidah.  Doug pointed out to me that each prayer ends with "Blessed are you, YHVH..."  So, here they are.

Blessed are you, YHVH, the shield of Abraham.

Blessed are you, YHVH, who resurrects the dead.

Blessed are you, YHVH, the holy Elohim.

Blessed are you, YHVH, gracious giver of wisdom.

Blessed are you, YHVH, who desires repentance.

Blessed are you, YHVH, the gracious one who pardons abundantly.

Blessed are you, YHVH, the Redeemer of Israel.

Blessed are you, YHVH, who heals the sick of His people, Israel.

Blessed are you, YHVH, who blesses the years.

Blessed are you, YHVH, who gathers in the dispersed of His people of Israel.

Blessed are you, YHVH, the King who loves righteousness and judgment.

Blessed are you, YHVH, who breaks enemies and humbles sinners.

Blessed are you, YHVH, mainstay and assurance of the righteous.

Blessed are you, YHVH, the builder of Yerushaliym.

Blessed are you, YHVH, Who causes the pride of salvation to flourish.

Blessed are you, YHVH, Who hears prayers.

Blessed are you, YHVH, Who restores His presence to T'zion.

Blessed are you, YHVH, Your name is the Beneficient One and to You it is fitting to give praise.

Blessed are you, YHVH, who blesses His people with shalom.


Shabbat Shalom, everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's here! Jonathan's Story

Feeling a bit dreary and cold outside?  Try celebrating Chanukah in a whole new way.  Focus on the true story of the Maccabees and do some great activities as you go along.  I have written a family friendly version of their story which I call "Jonathan's Story."

"Jonathan's Story" is finished and ready for you to download.  There are eight parts to the story, one for each day of Chanukah.  Be sure to check out the activities before Chanukah.  Some are spontaneous, but some may require you to gather some materials ahead of time.

Download:  "Jonathan's Story"

Please take the time to share your Maccabee based Chanukah celebration with us, so we can all get more ideas for next year.  Post a link to your blog post below.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

The womb


Why are you having a sixth baby? How will you take care of them all? How will you feed them? How will you pay for their education? How will you give each one individual time? Are you crazy? Don’t you have any self control?


Yes, I’ve heard all of these questions, many legitimate. What is my answer to why I’d have another baby?

Simply put:

I have been counted among the blessed.

My muddy, noisy, rambunctious, sweet, intelligent children with large appetites are truly a blessing to me. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

Sure, it’s a challenge to manage a large household where every recipe is tripled. Occasionally the dirty laundry pile ought to have its own summit. It’s hard work to raise animals and butcher them so I know my children are getting plenty of good quality meat. I work hard to make sure my children are well schooled, not just in the 3 R’s, but in the very foundation of life, the Scriptures. I pass out hugs and lap time liberally and do my best to know what’s going on in each of my children’s minds, often a challenge. Sometimes I think I’m crazy, but that’s because I got sloppy and let things get ahead of me. As for self control, that could be worthy of its own post. But let’s suffice it to say, when you look up self control in the dictionary, you will find our picture.

So life isn’t perfect at our house. We face challenges. We have problems. We sometimes mess up. But last I checked, we were all living outside the garden. (Even outside the garden, the scenery can be beautiful, and the walks to the mailbox with little helpers can be very refreshing.) So why does YHVH choose to give children to parents who are bound to mess some things up?

Because YHVH intended for us to give life (torah) to our children. Our children would give life (torah) to their children. They would give life (torah) to their children. And as this continues, all the world is blessed. The beautiful irony of it all is that children themselves are called a blessing.

Now I’d like you to read some of the many Scriptures that beautifully show just how important the fruit of the womb is to YHVH. To have a child wrap their arms around you and say, “I love you mommy,” is to see the heart of YHVH.

When YHVH saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.

                                                                        (Gen 29:31)

He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.

                                                                          (Deu 7:13)

Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of you.

                                                                          (Psa 71:6)

Behold, children are a heritage from YHVH, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

                                                                        (Psa 127:3-5)

As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

                                                                           (Ecc 11:5)

Thus says YHVH who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

                                                                             (Isa 44:2)

Thus says YHVH, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am YHVH, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,

                                                                             (Isa 44:24)

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

                                                                         (Psa 128:3)

The voice of YHVH makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, "Glory!"

                                                                          (Psa 29:9)

He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise YHVH!

                                                                         (Psa 113:9)

But Yahshua said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

                                                                        (Mat 19:14)

 
So these are a few of my thoughts, and many thoughts from our Heavenly Father. Ever think about how big a family He has?

For those of you moms out there, with one child or nineteen, I salute you. May your children rise up and call you blessed. YHVH already has. Shalom to you all. I shall now return to my anxious wait for that first kick.  :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A teeny tiny sneak peek

Forgive me ladies!  I couldn't resist posting just a little snippet.  We have to keep those appetites whetted until the PDF comes out, after all.  Enjoy, the rest will be following very shortly.



We had no woman in our household to help us prepare for Shabbat, so Eleazar made the extra bread and set aside some special dried fruit he had grabbed when we fled Modin. We were anxious to rest since it had been a very long week. We had no torah to read or synagogue to meet in, but we each had memorized many sections of torah, and Simeon would recite the portion for us. As the sun went down, we did our best to lay our cares aside and rest in YHVH’s wonderful love. The cave was damp and smelled funny, but I preferred it to Modin, where the soldiers had taken over every house.


As the sun appeared on the eastern horizon, Simeon awoke us all with beautiful Hebrew phrases. The story of Phineas rolled off his tongue as we rose from our slumber. Phineas was so brave and did what was right. I hoped I could be that brave.

As the sun rose the next day, a man came running toward the opening of our cave. He was a friend, a man that had been hiding several miles from our cave. He nearly tripped in his hurry to reach us. My Father met him outside and spoke quietly with him. He brought the man inside and gave him some bread and water. Then he looked up at us and said, “We will choose life. Our brothers have just been killed, one thousand of them, because they would not fight on the Sabbath. But YHVH wants us to live! We will fight and we will live and we will give torah to our children’s children. Those wicked men will not wipe us off the face of the earth!”


Chanukah - Jonathan's Story

Thank you, everyone, for your very positive response to "Jonathan's Story."  I plan to have it completed in the next few days, and it will be available in PDF for your convenience.  (Thank you, Pam!)

I hope everyone has a very meaningful and powerful Chanukah this year!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chanukah - my contribution

There has been much talk of Chanukah lately, especially with it only two weeks away.  Parents want to teach their children truth rather than fairy tales, but still maintain the fun and build memories.  I humbly offer my contribution.  I propose a dramatic retelling of the Maccabees story, with a cliffhanger at the end of each day.  I have also included a few fun activities to follow each day's part of the story.  I have posted part 1 below, to be read on the first day of Chanukah.  If you like it and think it would be helpful to your family, please, please leave a comment.  Then I will post the other seven parts of the story.  I hope you enjoy it.


Jonathan’s story part 1




My name is Jonathan. When I was young, terrible times came to our people. We were told we could no longer obey the precious torah of our fathers. A strong and mighty, but desperately wicked king named Antiochus Epiphanes rose to power. I remember it like it was yesterday…



My brother Judas burst through the door.

“Father, have you heard the news? The beautiful lamp stand and all the wonderful things in the temple are gone!”

“Yes, Judas. I heard.” Mattithias, my father, looked up and I could see that he was weeping.

“I fear terrible times are about to visit our people. Many have not been faithful. YHVH promised to curse us if we do not obey. If only they could see that the precious commandments bring life and happiness. They teach us how to love each other and worship our Creator.”

I began to cry too, to see my father so upset.

As the days passed, news came that Antiochus had reversed all the laws of torah and set up false gods, idols, and pagan practices throughout the land of Israel. The family down the street had a little baby boy named Caleb. They circumcised him on the eighth day, just as torah commands. But soldiers came for them. My father did not hear in time to help them.

He gathered my brothers and I together and we did not eat. I was hungry, but I knew there were more important things than food. We prayed, and confessed, and pleaded with YHVH to save our people. When we finally got up from our fast and began to eat bread, I saw a look on my father’s face. I shall never forget it. He was determined, his face in stone, and he simply said, “Boys, we will obey YHVH no matter what.”

The next day, I helped load food on the donkeys. Dried fruit and cakes and wine in a goatskin were loaded, along with blankets. We began our trip to Jerusalem. I was worried. Wouldn’t there be trouble there? Hadn’t they already sacrificed a pig on the altar? I shuddered at the thought. What was my father thinking?

As we saw Jerusalem rise up ahead of us on the horizon, my father began proudly singing the songs of ascent.

“Praise ye YHVH! Praise, oh ye servants of YHVH! Praise the name of YHVH! Blessed is the name of YHVH from this time forth and forevermore.”

My brothers and I all lifted our voices together. It seemed as though the rocks sang out with us, relieved to hear a familiar song.

And then the gate loomed up ahead of us, and I wondered what lied ahead.



TO BE CONTINUED…



Activities: Read the Psalms of Ascent - Psalm 113-118. Use tambourines, drums, whistles etc. and pretend to march up to Jerusalem while reading the psalms. Even in troubled times, the Maccabees held their heads high, determined to obey YHVH.
A beautiful cd with the Psalms 120-134 sung in hebrew is available here.

The scriptures tell us that even the stones want to cry out and praise YHVH. Paint some rocks with pictures of YHVH’s beautiful creation.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Outdoor Hour - Challenge #1

I know I'm a bit late in the game, but I was pleased to discover The Outdoor Hour last week.  I have the book "Handbook of Nature Study," but it had been sitting on a shelf.  We are not new to the idea of nature study however.  I have been teaching my children flower names and looking for spider webs, etc. for years.  I have fond memories of walking the yard with my Dad, while he checked on all the trees he had planted.  He loved to show me the new growth on the pine trees and name the wildflowers that he knew.  I used to joke that any tree that was shorter than me was only a stick in the ground.  Perhaps this fed his desire to check for growth literally every day.  At any rate, he gave me a love for nature and walking around looking for details.  Thanks, Dad!

So we got back in the habit this week, and went for a nature hike along one of our property lines.  My kids were very excited to go for a walk with mommy, but were a bit skeptical when I told them to try to find something new and special.  Holly told me, "Mom, there is no way we are going to find something new.  We've seen everything out here."  At first, I was tempted to believe her.  We have seen these trees, and grass, even the remains from squirrels eating up in the tree.  But YHVH is not limited by trees and grass.  He gave us some wonderful new things to see.

First, they noticed that the grass and weeds were changing color, just like the leaves on the trees.  We found red strawberry leaves, and orange fern.  Some seagulls flew overhead.  Then, as the kids ran ahead a little, I looked down and saw a rather surprising thing, a piece of birch bark.  I didn't know we had any birch trees.  So I showed the kids the unique bark and challenged them to find the tree it came from.  A search commenced, and soon we found a lone birch tree that even I couldn't get my arms around.  What a delight, especially since this is one of my favorite trees.  We talked about birch bark canoes, and how I used to write notes on the pieces of bark. 

We also discovered some lovely green moss on the ground.  The kids enjoyed feeling the fuzzy texture.  We, of course had to see if we could find some on the trees.  We found about three varieties.  By the way, moss does not just grow on the north side of trees, as I had always heard.  So, if you're expecting to use moss to get you out of the woods, think again!

Our other very cool discovery was a fallen tree branch that was bigger than the tree it snapped from.  It must have come down in our recent nasty wind storm.  I was able to nonchalantly point out that the wood turns gray as it is exposed to the weather.

An old bottle, a wayward corn husk, and the always essential pinecones made their way into our collection.


What did we learn from challenge #1?
Even my seven year old tree climbing genius has not discovered everything in YHVH's wonderful world!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

We Stand with Israel

Israel, our Jewish brothers, we want you to know we stand with you.

We are Ephraim, your brother.
We may look different, but we serve the same Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We read the same torah portion to our children.
We are learning the same Hebrew language.
We eat kosher.
We celebrate the same holy feasts as you.
We keep the seventh day Shabbat.
We wear the same tzitziyot.
We pray the same Amidah.
We teach our children the Shema.

We love you and we support you.

When you are blessed, we are blessed.  When you are cursed, we are cursed.
We pray for you, we speak in your defense, and we will fight for you.

Shema Yisrael, YHVH Eloheinu.  YHVH Echad.

We are one.  It is time to stand together and see the salvation of YHVH!


(Those who count themselves as Israel are encouraged to post this wherever they can.  Please link back to this post.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Praying the Amidah

I have been blessed to begin praying the Amidah every night before I go to bed.  In case you are unaware, the Amidah is a collection of 18 prayers that Jews around the world pray three times a day.  When you see people at the wailing wall, they are praying the Amidah.  I was surprised to find out the Yahshua and even Daniel were probably praying the Amidah.

It is beautiful and so relevant.  I would like to share some of my favorite parts. 

"You sustain the living with kindness, resurrect the dead with abundant mercy, support the fallen, heal the sick, release the confined, and maintain the faith of those who sleep in the dust."

I love the idea that even when His people are dead and gone, He maintains their faith and promises to resurrect them when the time comes.

"Forgive us our Father, for we have sinned; pardon us, our King, for we have willfully sinned; for You pardon and forgive.  Blessed are You, YHVH, the gracious one who pardons abundantly."

This is something we should certainly be praying three times a day.  To be quick to confess is to find forgiveness quickly.

"Sound the shofar for our freedom, raise the banner to gather our exiles and gather us together from the four corners of the earth."

I feel like this is our call home, and Judah prays it every day!  Some day soon, they will recognize their brother Ephraim and we will all live together in the land with Yahshua at our head.  Praise YHVH.

"We shall thank You and relate your praise - for our lives, which are committed to Your power and for our souls that are entrusted to You."

This is something I have been trying to pray from the bottom of my heart.  The idea of resting myself in YHVH's hands can be scary and also is the only thing that brings real peace.  But as I read the Psalms and even the prayers in the Amidah, YHVH is a God that can be trusted.  He shows great kindness to His people and never forsakes them.  His compassion never ceases.

"For Your miracles that are with us every day and for Your wonders and favors in every season - evening, morning, and afternoon."

I want to be watching so I can see the miracles and favors.  He is so good and His kindness is shown even in the things that seem hard to us.  May I recognize His hands even when the road seems rough.

If you are interested in learning more about the Amidah, I found an excellent article with the full Amidah at the end, found here

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reading Readiness

How do I know if my child is ready to learn to read?  Is three too young?  Is six too late?  I tortured myself over this with my first and have since learned ways to watch an individual child to see if they can handle learning to read.  I would like to share a little trick that I came across a few years ago.  It really seems to hold true, so here it is.

Does your child draw people in their pictures?  If they do, what do the people look like?  Are they big circles with a face?  Do they have arms and legs?  Being able to draw a person and put the parts in the right place seems to match up with the brain's ability to put letters together to form words.  Let me show you what I mean.


Notice that the people are primarily heads.  The "legs and arms" are simply lines that are tacked on after, but not really in the right spot.  There is also no body.  This is a first stage person.  Sadie drew this the other day.  She is 3 and a half.  I can also say that she is no where near being ready to tackle even the alphabet, let alone beginning reading lessons.  I am teaching her to write her name, but she can only trace over mine at this point.  I will continue to watch her pictures, and I also play copy games with her to let her try to write letters.  I point out letters in books, etc.  I'll continue to watch for comprehension.



This drawing has all the parts in the right place.  We have a head with face and hair.  The body is proportionate.  The arms and legs come out at about the right place and we even see hands and fingers.  No, those aren't bunny ears, silly!  This is an indian with feathers.  I would call this a stage two person.  Not a lot of detail yet, but everything is in the right place.  This child would definitely be ready to tackle an actual reading program.  This is Isaac's drawing from the other day.  He is five, and on lesson 17 in "How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons."  He is reading 3 and 4 letter words, and can write his name as well as copy anything I put in front of him.  He also can write letters from dictation.  He is probably my most advanced student for his age.




This picture has no stick person elements.  There is also a refreshing presence of clothing!  I would call this stage three.  Many grownups are too lazy to go to this effort lol!  We like stick people.  As I said before, stage two is usually a good indication of reading readiness.  This stage is just a great bonus.  This is Holly's drawing.  She just turned seven.  She is a little bit ahead of her little brother in reading ability.  Why is she not farther along?  Well, I didn't watch closely enough.  I spent months trying to teach her the alphabet, and ending up boring her to death and making zero progress.  I finally wised up and put her in "100 easy lessons."  They have the child reading actual words by about lesson 7 or 8.  She just took off at that point because she had a reason for learning.  She is now reading sentences and doing quite well.

Do I think "100 easy lessons is the only acceptable reading program?  Absolutely not.  I started Naomi in it and took her out.  She learned to read through a combination of several sources.  The whole point is to watch closely.  Are they ready?  Are they progressing?  Is the method I'm using slow enough, or, more likely, is it fast enough?  Do they enjoy learning to read?  I can't stress enough that if what you're using isn't working, try something else.

May your journey with your child down the road to reading be a happy one!  And may all their drawings be fully clothed!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Homeschool philosophy - my roots

First, I must admit that I did spend some time in public school.  But when my mom found out that homeschooling was legal, those years became a distant memory.  She went to a homeschool conference and came home with our books on order.  She sent a letter to the superintendent to pull us out of school.  I was about to enter 10th grade, and my little sister was starting 6th.  The first year, we used a packaged christian curriculum.  I remember filling out pages of schoolwork that we sent in to be corrected.  We soon learned that it drove me crazy to answer meaningless science questions, but I could talk for hours about what I was learning.  My little sister, however, would hide in a corner and read for hours, secretly despising my need to talk through every assignment.  (Love you, my dear sister!  We are such good friends now.)  We would later find out that I was an audio learner and she was a visual learner.

I discovered that the public school had never heard of infinitives and gerunds.  World history was another topic I knew little about.  My mom, who loves history, made timeline notebooks for us with the years going across the top of each page in a binder.  We added maps, dates, illustrations.  It is still a cherished possession that I hope to add to along with my children.  I already have two timeline notebooks on the shelf (made by Marme, as we call my mom) waiting for them to get a little older.

We started having Bible study together as a family in the evening.  My Dad would quiz us for tests.  I loved having a dad that really tried to be involved where he could.  He tried to help me with my physics workbook, but it didn't end well, for the book.  (Mental note that later became a guiding principle:  Workbooks are not always the best option.)  We played educational games like Muggins and AC DC, dad's personal favorite.

The next year, my mom got very brave and chose all her own curriculum.  Before the days of the internet, she drove hours to book fairs, and conferences.  She had to buy some things blind and hope that they would work.  Later she would confess, "How did I buy that many books?"  Well, mom, it was completely necessary.  How else would I have all these books to homeschool my kids?  The historical novel became a staple in our educational diet.  Cultural literacy became a household phrase.  "Far above Rubies" was used extensively.  My mom also became the matriarch of homeschooling for several counties at about this time.  Anyone interested in homeschooling came to her.

Did I miss school?  NOO!  I loved being at home with my family, and never missed the shallow and irrresponsible kids my age.  I much preferred the company of adults.  By the way, what about driving, etc?  My dad taught me how to drive, and I took my test at 19.  I still took private flute lessons, and traveled teaching Bible clubs every summer. 

When I graduated, I homeschooled college, too.  I took correspondence courses until I met Doug.  I managed to get 34 credits and was happy to set that aside and take up home life again in a different home.

Well, I could say much more.  Those years were very full and happy.  But I will refer to them more as I look at specific topics.

Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Homeschool philosophy - intro

I am a second generation homeschooler, meaning I was homeschooled and now I am homeschooling my own children.  My mom and I have spent many hours discussing this and that aspect of education.  Then we went to the trenches and tried it out.  Perhaps some of you homeschooling for the first time would appreciate a little insight from someone who's been there, from both sides of the desk, as it were.  (ok, kitchen table)

If you find my well organized ramblings helpful, great!  I have fulfilled my destiny.  :)
If you think I'm crazy, well, that's ok too.  I fully respect your use of the circular file.  (trash bin)
If anything, I get to write down all my ideas and insights and experience.
I hope you enjoy it.

My next installment will be titled:  My Roots.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My week in two words

I love how people do posts with two words, so I thought I'd give it a try.  So here's my week in two words.

sheep butchering
(obviously no picture here)

bye-bye flu
(again, an obvious lack of picture)

hello schedule
(perhaps there will be pictures of the benefits forthcoming)

new friend
(okay, I'm really bombing on pics here)

tomato sauce
(how'd that get in here?  tomato sauce tastes terrible to me right now!)

Pagoo grows

see, there's a picture

fur hat


blog ideas
(these will be appearing soon, particularly in my new tabs at the top)

So, there you have it! And for my two final words:

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Really good soup

Sunday we butchered a sheep, and cooked down as many bones as we could fit in our pots.  Today I was feeling much better after my little visit from a friendly little flu bug.  (Okay, he was really mean, and beat me up and left me for dead.)  So I made some soup from the broth. 

I strained out the bones and yucky stuff, and removed the fat.  Then I added enough water to give me about 5 quarts.  I added boullion.  Gramma chopped up lots of carrots, celery and onion.  Then we let it simmer for awhile.  I added about 1 1/2 c of lentils and some sage, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.  Doug helped me refine the seasoning a bit at this point.  I throw in things from an herbalist point of view.  He throws things in from a culinary point of view.  He added some garlic (how did I forget how healthy garlic is?).  Last came a whole bunch of vegetable rotini. 

Everyone loved it.  It even set well on my not so settled tummy.  We served it with fresh warm bread with lots of butter.  Yummy!

By the way, Mom, I have a couple quarts of broth in the freezer for you, too.  :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

That still small voice

I have felt very overwhelmed the last couple days.  I have a college assignment to finish, sheep to butcher, a house that just isn't good enough right now, homeschooling, and sick kids.  And pregnant hormones have the wonderful ability of making things look twelve times their normal size.

And then, in a rare moment of silence, YHVH whispered in my ear.  "Why don't you just ask me for help?"

That's a very good question.  Why did I fuss and fret and basically freak out? 

So, right there, in the middle of changing a diaper, I simply called out, "YHVH forgive me.  I need help.  I neeeeed help."

And next time, YHVH please help me to remember to call on you first thing.

EDITED TO ADD:  Please read comments for the rest of the story.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quick update and a recipe

Hello again!

Update for torah school homeschoolers: Chayei Sarah is ready to go.  Please accept my sincerest apology for taking so long on this one.  I just learned that some families study the week prior to the reading of the torah portion.  I will try to avoid this delay in the future.

I would like to share my recipe for chili.  So many of you do such wonderful cooking and I enjoy your photos and recipes so much.  I am not typically one of those gifted women, my talents lie elsewhere.  But I will be referring to this recipe for torah school, and I thought you all might enjoy it.

Vegetarian Chili

1 c dry garbanzo beans
1 c dry kidney beans
1 c dry lentils

Throw all these in your crockpot and cover them with lots of water.  Cook on high until tender.  Drain, removing all liquid.  Throw them back in the crockpot.  Okay, you might not want to throw, per se.

Add:
2 cans diced tomatoes, or total of 28 oz. roughly, or 1 qt. home canned tomatoes
1 T chili powder
2 t season salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t sugar
1 t cumin

Stir in real good.  Turn on low or high, depending on how long until dinner.  You are really just heating through at this point.

Put corn chips in each bowl, top with chili, garnish with lots of shredded cheddar cheese.  Enjoy!

And there you have it, chili that doesn't have meat, even though I have been asked what kind of meat I put in it.  The chickpeas have an amazing ability to make you think there is meat when there isn't.

Have a great day!  I am off to bed, so I won't get in trouble for staying up too late.  :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Torah School - Lech Lecha

Torah School for Lech Lecha.

http://torahschool.wordpress.com/

 
We had a slightly shorter week this week, because I had to run errands one day, but I have some exciting things to share. We started something new this week that went tremendously well. I added hebrew words of the week to our morning board. At the top I wrote the title of the torah portion in hebrew, and then chose two everyday words that we could practice in our conversation. I chose abba and eema, daddy and momma. Daddy and Gramma got in on the action and practiced all week, too. On review day today, they wrote the hebrew words of the week as part of their score.

Some other fun things we did:

We made paper tents for Abraham and Sarah to live in.


We got out the history books and learned about ancient Sumer.  The kids drew pictures of ziggurats, Sumerian princesses, and jewelry.  Then we made playdo cuineform tablets.

My children discovered the wonderful world of puzzles.  I got them several 24 and 48 piece puzzles very cheap on errand day.  They have not gotten tired of them yet.

We also printed off a bunch of pictures of ancient sandals.  They colored, cut, glued, and collagededed.  That's a word, isn't it?

Oh, and I had an epiphany!  I was having a mental block.  Every week we have a list of great topics to study that match the torah portion, but next week there's a whole new list.  How do we work in a longer study?  For example, in Vayeira next week, a study of the seashore is suggested.  My kids would love that and we haven't studied it in depth in the past.  I looked ahead at Chayei Sarah and didn't see anything of great interest to us right now.  So we'll just keep studying the seashore, in particular, tidal pools.  When I began reading "Pagoo" which we will be basing our study on, I knew we would need three weeks.  So we will cover the torah portion each week on Sabbath, and continue our tidal pool study for three weeks.  So try it!  If a topic just really fits for your family, keep going with it!  Those other great topics will be waiting for you until next year or even another torah portion.

Shabbat Shalom, and have a great week teaching your children the blessings of torah and the creation of YHVH!

PS:  Our hebrew words for this week are: mayim (water) and chalab (milk).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Healing, Part 6

Update:  75% of my scar is barely visible, the remainder is not far behind.  Ever since my first c-section, I have had severe bleeding in early pregnancy lasting at least a month and putting me on bedrest.  This time around, praise YHVH, it has been negligible at most.  Praise YHVH!

This journey has been humbling and enlightening, and has forced patience upon me.  Last night I prayed and asked YHVH to forgive me for being cranky with the kids and then getting mad at them for getting mad at each other.  Enter Sadie, 2:00 am.  She wakes up screaming, and I yell at her.  Oh how quickly we forget our best intentions.  A very sobered mother apologized to her daughter and lay awake for at least an hour reflecting on the things learned in the last 4 months.

I have discovered three things about sickness, disease, and injuries.  I humbly present them for your consideration.  I am the mother of the previous paragraph, and I don't know much.  But here are my thoughts.

What causes "disruptions in our health?"

1. Sin.  No one can read Deuteronomy 28 and not realize that our sin does result in curses, and many of those curses affect our health.  Solution: Confess your sins, and begin living your life without those sins.

2.  YHVH is sending a wake up call.  Psalm 91 talks about dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, and being under the shadow of His wings.  What an intimate relationship that portrays!  Perhaps sometimes YHVH sends us physical ailments to bring us back under His wings.  We got too busy, we got dry and boring when we talked to Him.  For whatever reason, we left that secret place.  He wants us back, and he knows that physical pain cannot be ignored and will bring us to our knees.  This has been an important thing for me to learn.  YHVH doesn't just want a holy bride, see #1 above.  He wants a holy bride.  He wants the intimacy and the closeness. 
"Trust in Him at all time; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: YHVH is a refuge for us."  Psalm 62:8

When is the last time you simply told YHVH how you really feel, perhaps with tears?  He already knows, so why not be honest with Him?

3.  YHVH wants the glory.  I think of the man born blind that Yahshua healed.  People asked whether it was his sin or his parents' sin.  It was neither.  He was born blind so that YHVH would be glorified in his healing.  Perhaps sometimes things happen to us so that others can see YHVH work, and glorify Him.

What should our response be when physical problems come our way?  I think we should always start by looking for sin.  Then we should check our relationship with the Father.  Is it as close as it could be, or ought to be?  And, through it all, we should glorify YHVH for how He works in our lives. 

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but YHVH delivers him out of them all."  Psalm 34:19

For whatever reason, we will face physical problems, but the outcome is simple.  YHVH delivers us out of them all, in His way, and in His time.

Praise the name of YHVH!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Torah School - Noach

Wow, another week complete, and here I am, ready to give you all the intimate details.  Torah School has been a tremendous blessing in our home.  Daddy has been asking for assignments for him lol!

http://torahschool.wordpress.com/

 
So, here's our week with Noach!

We learned some more hebrew with lessons from 'One Torah for All' on Sabbath, after reading the torah portion together.  The kids put on a short play for us about Noah's ark, very cute.

Day 1, we focused on art.  I let the kids cut up paper and make a collage representing Noah's ark.  (Shown by age, top left clockwise)  Sadie loves to try everything we do, whether she gets it or not lol!  Note to self: never, ever, ever use white school glue.


Day 2, we learned about hurricanes.  We checked out some neat stuff at weather.com.  Did you know that a tropical storm becomes a hurricane when it hits 74 mph?  It's ok, I didn't either.  I printed off some stuff, and gave the kids some copywork to do.  In the next pic, you can really see how giving the same assignment to 4 different aged kids will work.  Each did what they were capable of.  Sadie cut out the picture and glued it on.  Isaac copied the title, glued the picture, then got distracted and drew a dinosaur.  Holly glued, copied title, did part of the copywork, and then began decorating.  Naomi did all the assignment and then really beautified her work.


Sadie, Isaac


Holly, Naomi




Day 3, we learned about the Johnstown flood.  I remember reading a book about this in high school, and it always stuck with me.  We went to a great site with those much coveted first hand accounts.  The kids really connected with the little girl that survived riding on a mattress and then being thrown to safety by a very brave man.  We had fun picking photos to print, even a map made near the time of the flood.

Day 4, we pulled out the box of blocks.  Each kid built their own tower, which we then measured.  We also simulated an earthquake, and discussed foundations and arches.  Then they had fun bulding a tower all together.  We even managed to protect it from Elisha, who was crawling around like king kong, ready to destroy any vulnerable structure.




Day 5 was a catch up day.

Day 6 we tried something new that worked extremely well.  I have dubbed it review day.  I printed a simple notebooking page with room for writing and a picture.  Each child came into the office with me, one at a time.  They orally told me what they remembered from the week, which I wrote down on their paper.  Then they drew a picture from the week.  I graded them by assigning a point to each topic covered, and a point for the picture.  If I felt they remembered an age appropriate amount for each topic, I gave them a point.  This gave me a quick summary of how they listened, and I then reminded one of them to work a little harder next week.

There you have it.  YHVH has been good to us for yet another week.  I hope your week went well too.  Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Simple Woman's Daybook


 
FOR TODAY

Outside my window...it is very dark.  The goats are asleep under the bathroom window.

I am thinking...how fun this post is to put together.  I have been focusing on school alot lately and this has been a nice change of pace.

I am thankful for...YHVH seeing fit to bless us with another little person to raise for Him.  My precious little person, I do not know your name yet, or what you look like, but please know that you are most welcome here.  Daddy and I love you already and we hope you are enjoying being fashioned by your Creator.  He loves you so much.

From the learning rooms...Wow!  We learned about the Johnstown Flood today.  I have learned that my children are creative, easily distracted, remember things well, and are very fond of scissors.  I have also learned that white school glue needs to be re-engineered.

From the kitchen...I can see Gramma doing most of the work.  Bless her heart, she is so good to me and does things before I even get a chance.  I do plan to make a loaf of bread in the morning, however.

I am wearing...a black top, red handkerchief on my head, denim skirt with an elastic waistband I added to accomodate my soon to be bigger belly, purple kneesocks and slippers.  Oh and the key to my office on a string around my neck.  Do you really think I'm going to let the kids in my newly organized office?

I am creating...lists of ideas for Torah School.  I'm trying to keep ahead of the current torah portion by a few weeks if I can.

I am going...to town next week to pick up my food co op order.  I don't get out much, so I'm very excited.  I'll be going to the dollar store to buy some pink and purple bandannas and I'll go to the thrift shop to peruse their children's bookshelf.  Hey, maybe I'll even find some new maternity tops!

I am reading...All New Square Foot Gardening

I am hoping...to make it through the next 2 months with minimal discomfort.  I'm also hoping my vitamin order will get here quickly so I can start taking milk thistle to relieve my tummy.

I am hearing...the refrigerator hum and the dog snore.  Everyone else is sleeping.

Around the house...grows lots of grass.  Inside, grows lots of messes.  I work more diligently on the inside, sometimes I win, sometimes I lose.  I think today might be a draw.

One of my favorite things...hand knit knee socks.  Why do I only have one pair?

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Install a phone line for Gramma, finish some more Torah School posts, get the house ready for Sabbath, build block towers for school, and begin work on my final writing assignment for my college class.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

How's that for a smile inducer?


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