February 25, 2010

Crown of Thorns.

This post is really for me.  I almost forgot about this until I was laying in bed last night (unable to sleep because I was soooo cold--the furnace is out) and it hit me.  The kids absolutely love this.  You make a crown out of salt dough, insert tooth picks broken in half as thorns, bake at 200 degrees until hard and dried.

Explain to your children that all those thorns cause Jesus pain like our sins.  When we help each other, and are kind and generous, then we can remove a thorn.  Each time we remove a thorn, we are taking away some of the pain and showing Jesus how happy we are he sacrificed for us.  The idea is to have the thorns gone by Holy Saturday so that you can make Christ a proper King's crown.  We usually paint it, or glitter it, and glue on gems from Hobby Lobby.  At this point, remind your kids that He is our King!  It always amazes me how much the kids love this and work so hard to remove all those thorns.  And, frankly, we need a little Lenten vigor right now!

Salt Dough Recipe

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 -1/2 cups hot water (tap water)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (optional)


Combine the salt and flour in a mixing bowl
Gradually add the water until the dough becomes elastic
Add the vegetable oil, knead until combined.

Roll into "snakes" or "logs" as my kids call them, and braid.  Add toothpicks.  Bake at 200 degrees for about 40 minutes (could be more or less depending on the size and thickness of your crown).  Any leftover dough can be made into ornaments and baked as well.  I think one year the extras became hearts that we painted.

I think I originally got the idea from here.  Just trying to give credit where credit is due!

February 24, 2010

Scripture verse for today.

I heard this one on the radio today.  You know how sometimes, you can read the bible but it just.doesn't.soak.in.  In goes in your eyeballs and out your ears or something.  This little book of Lamentations, so little yet poignant.  Anyway, it never hit home with me until I heard it. 

Good is the Lord to one who waits for him,
to the soul that seeks him;
It is good to hope in silence
for the saving help of the Lord.

Let him sit alone and in silence,
when it is laid upon him.
Let him put his mouth to the dust;*
there may yet be hope.

Lamentations 3:25-26,29-30

*My bible says Let him put his mouth to the dust=in humble submission.

Have I been letting my soul seek the Lord in silence? Uh, no.  Good reminder this Lent--let us seek the Lord.  This takes effort!  It isn't always easy!  Let us be submissive and put our Lord first, there may yet be hope.  Oh, there is hope.  He is coming!

Recipe of the week!

Gingered Salmon.

We had this recipe for dinner on Valentine's Day.  YUM!  I am going to make it this friday and I am posting this early.  Now, I must say we don't normally have salmon on friday for Lent.  But, my husband was so smitten with it he asked to have it again.  I'll take a picture when we do.

Oh, and I don't know where this recipe came from.  I Googled it--I was trying to give someone credit but the closest I came was Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Ginger, which is very close.

4 Salmon Fillets
1 Cup Pineapple Juice
1 Tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 tsp. gingerroot, grated
1/8 tsp. pepper (I just use fresh ground over the fillets to taste)

In ziploc bag, combine all ingredients and add fish, turning to coat (gently).  Marinate in fridge for about 20 minutes.  Preheat oven broiler.  Drain fish, reserving the marinade.  Place fish on greased broiler pan (or foil for easy cleanup) and broil 5 or 6 inches from broiler for 8-12 minutes or until fish flakes (it won't be mushy).  While fish is cooking, put marinade in pan (I strain mine because I don't like the bits of gingerroot in my sauce--but you don't have to do that), bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes or until thickened.  Pour over fish and serve with rice and a vegetable.

And, well, to just throw in another salmon idea I saw this one on Food Network one day and I want to try this in the summer.

February 22, 2010

First ski day!

Today was the first time skiing for Nathan and Patrick.  Nathan loved it, Patrick enjoyed the skiing part but didn't like the chair lifts so he spent most of his time on the bunny hill. And, even better, it was a homeschool field trip so it was cheap!

Simple Woman's Daybook.

February 22, 2010

Outside my window...dreary, cloudy, rain.  Very unmotivated to go to the grocery store (as I really need to do) but cozy inside for painting and hot cocoa.

I am thinking...about my two big boys who are skiing for the first time right now.  I really hope they are having fun and that they are safe.

I am thankful for...all the opportunities we have.  How lucky are we that we get to go skiing on a Monday!  And that my husband has a job and a cozy house and all of these beautiful children.  We are so blessed.

From the learning rooms...Lenten Studies.  Still working on Lapbooks for Catholics, this will continue until Easter.  Alphabet letters J, K, L with Liz and Jake.  Focusing on phonics with Patrick and math facts with Nathan.  Nathan just started reading Little House in the Big Woods.  All.by.himself.  Wow.  Chapter books.  Wow.  I'm so glad he finally likes reading!

From the kitchen...big pot of chili tonight for dinner.  Cincinnati-style for the kids.  Chicken pot pie tomorrow.  Making some freezer meals this week at some point.  My F-I-L is having surgery in March and I want to have a meal ready to take to them.
I am wearing...turgoise tee and jeans.  Ponytail and no earrings!  My morning was a whirlwind getting my husband and older boys out the door and the little kids were very anxious to paint.

I am creating...wallet-size phone lists for the co-op.

I am going...to the grocery store later.  Hopefully, sans kids.  Piano has moved to Wednesday.  Co-op on Friday.  Storage unit one day this week to hopefully find my Lent/Easter tote.  I would like to find my stations of the cross candles.  Probably a trip to the pediatrician--I have a feeling Nicky is developing an ear infection.  Anywhere else?  I don't know.

I am reading...  Leisure--still.  And I am ordering A Charlotte Mason Education and A Charlotte Mason Companion for inspiration for next year.  Its time to have my own copies.

I am hoping...for this house to sell.  Still.

I am hearing...Nicky babbling. And Max and Ruby.

Around the house...Furnace isn't working.  Hopefully, the technician will come tomorrow to fix it.  Have to go buy a wood floor SOON for the new house.  Also, need to pick out colors for the kids rooms at the new house.  Continuing de-cluttering.  Maybe start boxing stuff up.

One of my favorite things...babies who snuggle all night with their head pressed next to yours, especially when they aren't they super-snuggly type (and Nicky isn't).  Children's Tylenol.  Goes with the snuggly baby.

A few plans for the rest of the week: trying to stay sane and not lose my temper with my two-year old.  And all of the above.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

My snow bunny.  She loves that hat and it barely fits her!

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook for more daybooks!

February 21, 2010

Cinnamon Roll Snow.

We had great fun out at the new house yesterday.  The snow was packing awesome and we were able to roll up these big haystack-size rolls of snow.  The kids said they looked like cinnamon rolls.  I thought they looked like a rosette.
Our biggest cinnamon roll.

Nathan's on top!  This roll was as tall as my brother.

February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.
Joel 2, 12-14
Pondering the word of God this Ash Wednesday.
Ashes from last years palms.
Blessed candle.
Holy Water.
Crosses on Foreheads.
Sacrificing with each other for the One who sacrificed for us.

Hot Cross Buns.
Hoping for the One who will come again in Glory.

February 16, 2010

Shrove Tuesday

Last year for Shrove Tuesday, I just made a chocolate cake with white icing and yellow, green, and purple sprinkles.  So, this year, I thought I would go all out and make a real King Cake from this recipe at Catholic Cuisine.  And there are more ideas here for other versions.

Liz and Jake help with the mixing.

Final product!

So, ignore the fact that the King Cake is still on the cookie sheet and that my icing was runny (and brown--I opted to substitute vanilla extract for the lemon juice in the icing) and the cake came out a success.  I did hide 4 quarters in it instead of a baby or a gold coin, just to keep Liz from arguing with whoever actually got said item!

February 15, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook.

February 15, 2010

Outside my window...snow, snow, and more good snow!  I do like the snow because it removes us from all activities and obligations and keeps us home together.  And the kids love it, too!

I am thinking...lots of things!  That I think it is hard to get used to writing 2010--I think it is the zeros!  That I am not sure I will take part in the Google Buzz thing.  Does anyone really want to hear what I say at any given point in time?  I don't Twitter and I don't Facebook---oh, I like them but they are time-wasters and my life isn't that exciting.  I also think that I am ready for spring.  Anything else?  Um, no.  I'm so simple-minded!

I am thankful for...sweet children who love to love. 

From the learning rooms...gearing up for Lent and getting ready to work on Lent, A Journey Toward Easter lapbook from Lapbooks for Catholics.  We just started doing lapbooks this year and we all love them.  I was happy to find this one because I really need my life simplified right now and thank goodness someone did it for me!

From the kitchen...a big pitcher of sweet tea.  I only wish it was caffeinated!  And today or tomorrow, we'll have to make some red velvet cupcakes from a mix that a friend gave me. YUM!

I am wearing...yoga pants, a t-shirt, and a ponytail.  I forgot to put in my earrings!

I am creating...nothing really.  Just preparing to create and coming down off all the creating we did last week.  The next couple of days will just be getting everything together for Lent and clearing spaces.

I am going...nowhere!  I love being snowed in!  Friday there will probably still be co-op but until then, we'll just stay here and drink lots of hot cocoa.

I am reading...Leisure: The Basis of Culture as suggested by Leila.  I really needed someone to suggest a book so I jumped right in!  And the Bible, of course.  That's a given!  But, I would like to refine a reading schedule for Lent.  Any book suggestions?  Any Lenten scripture schedules?  Am I just going to have to Google it?

I am hoping...the drywall goes up this week. But I doubt it.  And that no one else in the family gets sick.  We battled a little stomach bug with the littlest ones over the weekend.

I am hearing...the humidifier over the baby monitor and a dog barking.  I think the baby monitor/humidifier is drowning out the noise of the other kids.  I think.  Better go check on what they are up to.

Around the house...getting started on the 40 bags in 40 days program highlighted here by Jessica!  I am really excited about this because I have been really overwhelmed with the prospect of moving all of this STUFF, especially since I have a whole storage unit full of who-knows-what.  If the weather warms up, we'll takle that, too.  I needed some motivation and now I've got it and I'm hoping to get the kids involved, as well.  I'll have to get a little tracker of some-really-basic-kind up on the sidebar.

One of my favorite things...roses from my true love.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  hot cocoa, marshmallows, lots of books, Ash Wednesday, hopefully getting to confession before then, starting our lapbooks, and then co-op at the end of the week.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Visit The Simple Woman's Daybook for more great Daybook posts!

February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!  We have been crafting up a storm over here and preparing for celebrating lots of love!
Yes, there's candy in there!

Candy Holders (from Martha Stewart Crafts)

Complete with a hot cocoa fingerprint from Liz!

Gifts for Godparents (from Pondered in My Heart)

and a gift for Ken (a photo desk calendar)!

We hope you all are loving on each other, too!

February 10, 2010

Recipe of the week!

So, you've probably seen this recipe.  Maybe you forgot about it.  It isn't gourmet.  It is not fancy.  It doesn't look pretty. 

However, it is delicious and requires no prep time.  I have no idea where I got this recipe or who told me--so whoever you are, thank you.  My entire family loves it and gobbles it up and it is sooooo easy to make.   Here goes:

No fancy, done up plates here--just real food!

Crockpot Chicken (well, that's what we call it)

1 can cream of mushroom
1 can cream of celery
6-8 chicken breasts (thawed, if frozen) or whatever your family will eat plus make some for leftovers.

Throw it all in a 4 quart crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8.  Serve over brown rice (I usually double whatever my family will eat and freeze half for later).  I recommend lots of the sauce over the rice and freshly ground black pepper.  We also add in a vegetable (not pictured--already gobbled up) or a salad.  The cream of ... soups are interchangeable but my family prefers the celery and mushroom combo.  You can also swap out the chicken for pork chops--one of the few ways my kids will eat pork chops (you know how they can be tough if you're not careful).  And if you like lots of sauce you can also add more soup but I find this is ample for 6 full-fledged eaters.  And, boy, do they eat this up!  Even the two year old who can be picky.

This recipe is a perfect solution to the "witching hour" when all the kids in the house are going crazy and hungry and you just need to get dinner on the table even with a baby on the hip!  Throw this on the table and you will be mom of the month!

February 9, 2010

Snow Day!

Untouched snow on the swing!
Building an igloo with the neighbors.

Watching the kids.
Experiencing the snow for the first time.

Scripture verse for today.

The first reading from today, 1 Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30, just really resonated with me today.  Here goes:

Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD

in the presence of the whole community of Israel,

and stretching forth his hands toward heaven,

he said, “LORD, God of Israel,

there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below;

you keep your covenant of mercy with your servants

who are faithful to you with their whole heart.

“Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth?

If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you,

how much less this temple which I have built!

Look kindly on the prayer and petition of your servant, O LORD, my God,

and listen to the cry of supplication which I, your servant,

utter before you this day.

May your eyes watch night and day over this temple,

the place where you have decreed you shall be honored;

may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place.

Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel

which they offer in this place.

Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon.”

February 8, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook.

Daybook February 8th, 2010

Outside my window...it is really really cold.  But sunny and snowy and beautiful.  I love the way the ice glistens on the trees.

I am thinking...about more snow and wondering if I have everything we need or do I have to go to the store?

I am thankful for...heat and blankets and little girls with pony tails and babies who are soft and snuggly.  I am also thankful for my husband who gets up early, in the cold, to catch a plane to provide for us all.

From the learning rooms...working on math facts.  The building block of math.  Piano lessons later today.

From the kitchen...trying to decide what valentines treats to make.

I am wearing...argyle cardigan with tee underneath, grey slacks, socks and slipper socks.  With my standard silver hoop earrings.  Don't feel ready for the day without them.

I am creating...scrapbooks, window clings, and valentines for our co-op friends.
I am going...to piano and sledding at a sister-in-laws today.

I am reading...nothing!  I need to get to the library for a book.  But that isn't looking like it is going to happen this week.

I am hoping...the new house gets done on time.  And that the old house sells.  When I start to have an anxiety attack about it all, I breathe deep and remind myself that I need to leave it in God's hands.  He has always provided for us, and he will continue to do so.  Then, I say a prayer!

I am hearing...Bob the Builder on PBS.  Birds in the trees.

Around the house...enjoying a clean house.  We had two showings yesterday and the house is impeccably clean.  So I'm going to capitalize on that and try to keep it that way as much as possible because it really brings me peace.

One of my favorite things...valentines day!  It is such a simple celebration at our house with the whole premise of showing each other love. 

A few plans for the rest of the week...laying low.  Ken is out of town for a couple of days.  I'm going to keep it simple and try to have some fun with the kids.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Some little boys who had great fun with Dad at work.

Visit the Simple Woman's Daybook at http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/ for more daybooks!
Have a great week!

February 5, 2010

A Poem for Jacob.

Written when he was a tiny baby almost five years ago, found in my dresser drawer.  I don't profess to be a poet but I wanted to save it for him.

Do you see the tree,
mybaby boy?
Will you rock and enjoy,
the view with me?

If you sleep, no matter.
There is joy in now,
And I'd rather,
Snuggle with you anyhow.

The softness of your feet,
Kneading my thighs,
Your breath so sweet,
And the softness of your sighs.

Here in the dark,
Just the two of us,
The time goes so fast,
Who needs sleep?

February 4, 2010

Recipe of the week!

All I can say is , YUM!  I happened to find some boneless ribs on sale and marked down for quick sale--so they were a good price.  I have never made ribs before but I have to say that the two day process for these ribs were well worth it.  The recipe does call for bone-in ribs and to grill them.  Well, my grill was out so I broiled (gasp!) instead.  But, no matter, they were still yummy.  And I did half with the glaze in the recipe and half with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce.  The glaze had a little zing to it but I didn't think the kids would like that much.

I noticed ribs were on sale at a lot of stores this week, I'm guessing in preparation for the Super Bowl.  So, go get some and try this recipe!

February 3, 2010

My Little Frodo.

Jacob:  Mom, I haven't had grapes in soooo long, I can't even remember what they taste like!

Me:  Okay, Frodo.

Jacob: What?

I did go buy some grapes.  :)

Things homeschoolers do...in their spare time....

They play checkers and chess!  Aren't they so smart?  Never mind the fact that they are still in their pajamas and the living room is a mess......   But really, I do find it amazing.  Especially since I can never ever remember how to play chess (my husband taught them).  It has gotta be good for analytical skills, right?  And well, they just look smart (and they are!).

February 2, 2010

First haircut.

Not that you can tell so much.  I was hoping his hair would grow out curly like some of the other kids but as it kept getting longer and longer I had to give in to a haircut.  Little Nick didn't seem to mind so much as long as I let him chew on the comb!


I really should check and double check what I say before I post.  I will get better at this.  So much can be misunderstood in the written word, do you know what I mean?

Liz's Story.

As told to me by Liz (but she was pretending to be one of the Little People who has a book and they were reading the book to the animals):

Once upon a time there was a baby monkey and he like to swing and play in the trees.  The End.

But, of course, she said it in only the way Liz can--very deliberately and haltingly.