Wednesday, September 29, 2010

crafts, cream & color

I had just been thinking. . .

It would be fun to get together with friends and do crafts together.

God blessed me today with a friend who stopped by with

water colors, brushes, and a fun craft idea for the kids!

Little did she know it would be ME to jump at the painting project first!

The kids gathered leaves, we traced them onto water color paper and then

used the water color pencils and paints to re-create the leaf.

I think I was the one who had the most fun!


After the boys had completed their Nerf gun war,

they too enjoyed making their own unique leaf creations!

A few feared failure. . .but "you cannot fail", "there is no wrong way"; We

tried to encouraged them.

And while some were painting, others were rolling.


Yes, rolling the ball to make home made ice cream.

Have you seen this?

It would be a great Christmas gift. 

( I know. . .Christmas presents. . .scary thought, right?)

The Play-Freeze-Cream-Maker is $30 at and makes one quart.


The kids have fun rolling it ( NOT throwing it; we learned the hard way!)

around the yard for thirty minutes and then. . .

D E L I C I O U S home made ice cream!


We are at the peek of our beautiful fall season.  The colors glow in the sunshine.


Little A has made it clear that she is her own stylist.  At 3 years old, she holds

distinct opinions on what she wears each day.  (I think I had it comin', huh Mom?)

Today, she chose a vest which was made for me as a child.

And after the TWO hair cuts she has given herself, I have to wonder. . .

Will she one day be a hairstylist like her Great-Grandma?


Thank you Lord for beautiful, sunshiny, fall days and unexpected blessings you send our way.

Happy Wednesday!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

simply grand reading

Have you ever been disappointed when you turn the last page of a book?

Such was the case with me last night.

Thankfully, there are many more in this series and my sister, Cathy, kindly

said she'd send the next one my way.  

The name of the book, already, you ask?!

The Yada Yada Prayer Group


There are eight in the series.

Here's the synopsis of book #1:

What do an ex-con, a former drug addict, a real estate broker, a college student, and a married mother of two have in common? Nothing, or so I thought. Who would have imagined that God would make a prayer group as mismatched as ours the closest of friends? I almost didn't even go the Chicago Women's Conference--after all, being thrown together with five hundred strangers wasn't exactly my "comfort zone." But something happened that weekend to make us realize we had to hang together, and the "Yada Yada Prayer Group" was born! When I faced the biggest crisis of my life, God used my newfound Sisters to show me what it means to be just a sinner saved by grace.

I loved this book because it inspired me to live my faith "out loud", daily, in the relationships God places along my path. 

It also exemplifies the verse. . ."Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn."


The author is Neta Jackson. 

She and her husband Dave, live in Chicago and have

also written the popular Trailblazer Series





hero talesand the Hero Tales series which we've enjoyed during our

morning home school "table time".



Books can be dangerous.  The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life."      ~Helen Exley


My handsome H-man celebrated his ninth birthday, recently.


So I asked him what his favorite book has been?

Without hesitation, he said The Boxcar Children.

The author is Gertrude Chandler Warner.

There are 150 mystery books in the series.


It is definitely a favorite around here. 

Especially when Oma reads out loud. . .sometimes an entire book in one sitting.

Happy Saturday and Happy Reading!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

fall thanks

Count your blessings.

Be thankful.

In all things, give thanks.

I want to begin this week of our very full family fall routine,

with a heart of thankfulness.


To God be the Glory, Great things He hath done. . .

            I'm remembering the awesome worship time at church today.

Harvesting fresh vegetables from our garden is a daily blessing.

A safe and secure home for my family.

New friends and old friends. . .God blesses me with special relationships.

Knowing my eternal future is secure!

For His angels who surround me.

Unlimited choices and freedoms living in America provides.

Loving family who are there to help, to pray, to laugh, to love, and to encourage.



Sunday Blessings,


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tomato Time

The time has come.

Tomato time that is.

Tomatoes arriving on my counter.


By the dozens.


So far, I've made a big pot of spaghetti sauce, and delicious salsa.

Tomorrow it will be chili.

My question is whether we will eat them as fast as they come. 

So far the above is true.  But I would still love to learn to "can" this year.

I've been enjoying the cherry tomatoes. . . Just pop 'em in my mouth for a snack.

Then I got to thinking. . . Is the tomato a vegetable or a fruit?

This is what I found. . .

To really figure out if a tomato is a fruit or vegetable, you need to know what makes a fruit a fruit, and a vegetable a vegetable. The big question to ask is, DOES IT HAVE SEEDS? If the answer is yes, then technically, (botanically) you have a FRUIT. This, of course, makes your tomato a fruit. It also makes cucumbers, squash, green beans and walnuts all fruits as well. Along with the fruit from from a plant or tree, we can often eat the leaves (lettuce,) stems (celery,) roots (carrots,) and flowers (broccoli.) Many of these other parts of the plant are typically referred to as VEGETABLES. Now don't go looking for tomatoes next to the oranges in your grocery stores; fruits like tomatoes and green beans are usually (alas, incorrectly) referred to as "vegetables" in most grocery stores and cookbooks.

So now I know.

And you know too.

Although, maybe you already knew what I did not know.

Ok, I'll stop.

Look what else I found. . . 5 Lessons from the garden about fruit bearing:

1. Fruit needs water in order to reach it’s fullest potential

You can probably ask your five-year old how to take care of a plant and they will tell you that it needs water to survive. And if you have ever kept a garden, you have surely realized that if only water it once a week during the summer months your harvest is going to be much smaller. On the other hand, if your plants are receiving frequent and consistent watering, the plants are going to be stronger and the fruit is going to be better.

Psalm 1:3 (NIV) - He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

2. Good soil is very important

The soil contains a lot of the nutrients that cause the growth of the plants. There are tremendous differences between good soil and bad soil. This was one of the reasons I said that good potting soil was one of my 10 things worth spending more on. We need to be spiritually receptive to allow the seeds of God’s word to grow and develop the way they should.

Matthew 13:23 (NIV) - The one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

3. Death brings life

John 12:24 (NIV) – I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

We must die to ourselves and our own desires and submit to God’s plan. In doing so, like the above verse states, we will bear much fruit.

4. Pruning produces more fruit

I am by no means an expert gardener, but I have found this one to be true. It doesn’t make sense while you are doing it, but the results prove its effectiveness. God is an expert gardener and He knows which areas of our lives can be pruned to make us more effective. It does hurt, but the end result is beautiful.

John 15:2 (NIV) – He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

5. A branch can’t bear fruit separated from the plant

That is a no-brainer right? Well, I don’t know about you, but I have caught myself trying to do that in my own life. I will find myself trying to accomplish things in my own strength rather than “abiding in Him.” All the fruit that we will bear in our lives will be a result of us being connected to our source: God. Just like a severed branch can bear no fruit, neither can we bear any fruit if we are not abiding in Him.

John 15:5 (NIV) – I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.


Blessed Sunday,


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Look, there they are!

Labor Day weekend around here means lots of traffic.

But not if you're traveling in the sky!

Longtime friends came by plane to visit.

We kept checkin' the skies and listening to the radio.

First, we heard them. . ."3 miles out".

A few moments later, "Look, there they are!"

We watched them make a smooth landing on this very windy day.




Papa has had a dream of owning his own plane.

His hanger worked perfectly for storing the plane for the weekend.

Bob and Judy are special friends of our family.

My mom grew up with Judy.

In fact she doesn't remember life without her special friend.

They each grew up in Illinois, married their husbands, and ended up in Southern California to raise their families. 

We spent many holidays together with them and their children, Bryan and Kym.

Judy is the "original" Oma (German for grandmother).  Judy became a grandma first and her grandkids called her Oma from the beginning.  My mom always noted what a very special relationship Judy had with her grandchildren.

When my mom became a grandma for the first time, almost thirteen years ago, she decided to be called Oma too.

So that's my story for today.

Special friends.

Special Omas.

Happy Saturday!


Friday, September 3, 2010


This week we welcomed began a new home school year journey at Simply Grand Faith Academy.

(I've read that you should name your home school. Not sure about Simply Grand but it seems to go with the theme; the blog. . . Simply Grand Central; the cattery. . . Simply Grand Bengal Cattery)

ANYWAY, the students weren't as excited as I'd hoped but Mr. E. said my expectations were a bit too high.

We've started slowly and I've found a few holes in my curriculum ordering but I must say that it feels good to be back into the routine.  AND I can tell the kids are a year older and maybe (shhh) able to work a bit more independently.


This seems to be my goal since there's only one of me around here. 

I could use another me.  A tutor, a cook, a housekeeper, a. . .

Truth be known, God takes good care of me. I have the best family, friends and neighbors AND six kids who I'm teaching to tackle more of mom's tasks!

Since my usual question to any home school mom seems to be, "What curriculum do you use?" I thought I'd share what books we'll be opening throughout the year.

Math:  ABEKA(1st, 3rd & 7th) and Teaching Textbooks(5th)

Language:  ABEKA(all)

Bible:  Alpha Omega Lifepac(5th and 7th)

Science:  ABEKA(1st, 3rd, 5th) and Apologia General Science (7th grader)

History:  ABEKA(all)

Vocabulary:  Wordly Wise (3rd, 5th & 7th)

Spelling:  Building Spelling Skills by Christian Liberty Press (3rd, 5th, 7th)

Geography:  ABEKA (all)

Reading Comprehension:  ABEKA (all)

General Reading:  Sonlight  (all)

7th grade Composition:  Write-At-Home (online assignments and writing coach)

7th grade Latin:  Z-man is on a wait-list at Veritas Press Academy for their online class.

It's always a bit "rocky" getting settled into the school year. 

We're looking forward to the long weekend.

Plans for boat and water fun may be on hold as the weather has turned windy and quite chilly on us.

We see signs of fall as the first few leaves begin turning beautiful autumn hues.

Happy Labor Day weekend!