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, 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.

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.


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!


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


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?

The Simple Woman's Daybook resides here.  Check it out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Torah School


Hello to all of you using Torah School.  I want to let you know that Lech Lecha and Vayera are ready to use.  We have found some pretty exciting things.  I have been learning so much right along side my kids, and revisiting some things I learned many years ago.  I hope you are enjoying it too.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Torah School - Beresheet


Welcome to my homeschool.  I would like to give you a glimpse (okay, a thesis) of what Torah School looks like in our home.  My children are 8, nearly 7, 5, 3, 11 months, and the youngest just got a heartbeat last week (7 weeks in utero.)  Grades are fuzzy right now, so consider them immaterial.

This week was Beresheet, so we spent a lot of time on creation.  On Sabbath, we read the Torah portion together, and then practiced our hebrew with some excellent worksheets from One Torah for All.  Even Daddy and all the grandparents did these with us.  That evening, I had them draw pictures of each day and what was created, which fit on one page.  I taught them a song that I made up years ago to teach them the days of creation.

On Day 1, we started with reading from our chronological bible "Day by Day Kid's Bible."  Then each of the kids, including the 3 year old, give me an oral narration of the story.  We start every school day with this, and a few minutes at our morning board.  Then we looked at some books (most of my books are simple pictorial nonfiction children's books that I was given or picked up second hand for 25 cents.)  We talked about vision and how we need light to see.  Then the kids drew a full page picture of what they had learned. 

On Day 2, we had a 5 minute discussion about oxygen and carbon dioxide and did some deep breathing.  Then we did some experiments with a glass of water.  We learned about surface tension, floating, sinking.  Then they drew another picture representing day 2.  Isaac's picture had a heavy man sinking in water and being chased by a shark.  There's boys for you!

Day 3, we read about some very cool tropical plants that grow on tree trunks, venus fly traps, etc.  We also perused some volcano books.  Another picture drawn, some very artistic.

Day 4 was nearly an entire bomb.  I tried to show them some photos of nebullas, etc. on a computer program, but it kept freezing up.  So we switched to a field guide with pictures of planets.  But I got so frustrated with the monkeys that I sent them outside and thoroughly cleaned and organized the whole office.  After dinner, I managed to get them to color their pictures, which consisted of colored circles.  Very exciting!

Day 5, with my newly organized office, I had categorized all my books.  So I took the time to choose three books that we actually read through all together.  We learned about crabs and fish, and read a very humorous story about a frog.  The pictures were very well done and the kids were excited to show them off.

Day 6 also went well because mommy was again on top of things.  We read about animals that live in the woods and animals that people use to help them.  The books were set out on the kitchen table and the kids copied pictures of animals for their picture.  Oh, and we sang our creation song every day, so they were able to figure out what we would be learning about that day.

Each day I also work with each child individually for their math and english. 

So that was our first week in Torah School.  I must say that it was a very enjoyable week.  I have used various curriculums in the past, and they were good.  But this time, it was me teaching my children what I knew they needed and were ready for.  The words coming out of my mouth were all mine, and I could share with them Torah, the most important thing for them to know. YHVH was in charge and I could follow His lead.  Doug was thrilled, because the kids never wanted to stop school.  They loved it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feast of Tabernacles

As promised, some pictures of our sukkah!

Daddy with Naomi and Sadie in front of our sukkah. 
We hung pine branches on the walls which the goats ate with great satisfaction.

Our outdoor campfire, which kept us from being asphixiated by smoke in the sukkah.  Yeah!

The girls strolling across the hayfield in a rather little house on the prairie sort of way.
We were in the front pasture so sheep, goats, chickens and cats wandered through camp.

This is the kids' sleeping area.  They loved how we wrapped them up like tacos every night to help them keep warm.  I think they slept better than any of us grown ups.  Every evening they would snuggle up to us while we read scriptures with a flashlight, and I sang praise songs to them as they fell asleep.

Definitely no granite countertops, but who would want those anyway?  Our kitchen was quite homey and it did the job nicely.  We ate great during the feast.

I love how the light filtered through the cracks in the walls and the ceiling.

Sukkot is for all generations!  Elisha was perpetually covered with grass, dirt, mud, well, you get the idea.  Note the grass stuck to his face lol. 

Wow!  I was there too!

I have some more pics of a special project we worked on, but I'm tired of uploading photos on dialup for now.  So I'll show you those next time.  Shalom!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Quick Post

Hello everyone.

First, I want to make sure you read this wonderful post by Suzanne McDaniels on modesty and dress.  I thought it was very well said and thought provoking.  So go check it out :)

Second, I will post some sukkah pics, but I'm finding myself suddenly a bit tired and niggly in the stomach.  Why is that, I wonder? lol  I'll give you one to wet your appetite.

This was our kitchen table.  The kids drew some pictures of sukkahs which we hung on the wall behind them. 

Third, we are working through our first week using Torah School.  So far, so good.  Doug keeps joking that the kids don't want to stop school.  Well, it has been pretty fun.  Did you know that the largest flower in the world doesn't have leaves?  Now you do.  I'll give a summary post, so you can see what our week looked like.

Fourth, is it just me, or does living in a sukkah for a week make life look different?  I walked back in my house and looked around.  My house is full of junk that we don't need or use!  I just want to go crazy and throw half our stuff away.  Sukkah life is so simple, and we do it with so few possessions.  No electronics, just food, Bibles, blankets, and cooking implements.  Anyway, I definitely plan on doing some serious housecleaning, if you know what I mean!  And I will spend happy moments remembering the kids cuddled up in our laps, picking numbers, and me reading the corresponding Psalm by flashlight. 

Okay, I just cleaned up my brain a little, and hopefully something in my rambling post was helpful to you.  May YHVH bless you as He has me.  Shalom!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mama Mission of the Month

Mission Accomplished

I call this month a success.  Aside from Feast of Tabernacles, when we weren't exactly in the house, the laundry was well maintained this month. My laundry room is actually clean at this very moment!

Mission of the Month

So I am moving on to a new goal this month.  We are going to start square foot gardening this next year.  I hope that with dh's help we can get two beds set up this month.  I know it won't happen in the spring, so this is our chance.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Season of our Joy

Happy Feast of Tabernacles to everyone!
We hope you had as joyful a time as we did.

Here we are in front of our sukkah, the whole family in the same picture!
DOUG              ELISHA      HEIDI

I will be posting quite a bit about our celebration, probably tomorrow.  But for now, I wanted to share with you what I found out on a 3:00 am trip from the sukkah to the house.

SEE!  I told you it was the season of our joy!

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