Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Little Scientists

 I love the look of joy on my child's face when they have what I call a light bulb moment. It's when they figure out a concept, or accomplish a task that they have yet to face. It's one of the best aspects of homeschooling. I got to see that look of joy on Eden's and Josiah's faces this afternoon.

This week we are studying Rocks. Today's science experiment was to create a small volcano. What a great science experiment for little kids! We molded play-doh onto a volcano shape, then hollowed it out with a spoon. I let the kids measure baking soda into the hole. Then I let them pour in red tinted vinegar and watched their looks of delight as their volcano erupted.

The kids loved this experiment. We are also growing crystal rocks, but those will take a while longer to emerge.  For now, I'm going to hide the baking soda and vinegar just to make sure we don't have any unplanned explosions. :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

H is for Horse

On yet another of our farm themed field trips, the children we able to visit another friend's home and ride horses. Savannah, and another homeschooling family joined us for an unusually warm January afternoon of farmed themed fun.

 We started our visit by exploring their property. They have a beautiful piece of land with chickens, peacocks, goats, puppies, and horses. It is every kids dream to have a back yard like theirs!

Titus was really interested in the chickens. 

He also thought the puppies were neat!

We brought carrots to encourage the horses to like us :)

But Titus figured, 
If it's good enough for the house, it's good enough for me! 
And he ate the carrot :)

The kids took turns brushing the horse.

 Then off they went ridding!

Daylin rode with the younger kids. She did such an awesome job!

After Titus watched Eden and Josiah ride there was no stopping him!

As long as he could keep wubby (his little blanket) Titus loved it! 
 Eden took this experience very seriously. She listened well to all that Daylin instructed her to do and even rode bareback. Eden tends to be a little timid of new situations. I didn't know if she would want to ride or not. I was so proud of her for facing her fear and enjoying this experience. We're in the planning stage of riding lessons for her once the weather warms up a bit.

A few of my other favorites from the day.

Water Break

Chris being sweet with a puppy
 Lydia loving on Macy

Titus and Anna taking a walk :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

G is for Goat

As I mentioned in my last post, we have just finished a farming theme in our home school curriculum. I've been excited about these lessons because when we finish our school work our learning continues as we explore our community. We didn't have to look very far to find goats. Our sweet neighbors have all kinds of animals for the kids to enjoy: goats, chickens, miniature horses, peacocks and a sheep. So on an unusually warm January day, we headed over to explore and feed their animals.

I love this picture of the kids. 
See how Titus is trying to keep up with Eden and Josiah :)

We were greeted by what I called The 3 Billy Goats Gruff

My curious boys checking them out.

Feeding time. Teamwork!

Even Titus feed the animals.
 I was so impressed with how eager Titus was to have a turn in feeding the animals.
 He wasn't afraid at all. I'm not sure if I should be proud or worried :)

Josiah on his tip toes feeding the goats.

 We had a blast! The kids loved seeing, touching and feeding the animals. I love how we got to enjoy  a hands on learning projects. This is one of the great benefits of living in our community and choosing to home school.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

C is for Cow

I'm not sure who has enjoyed home schooling more, The kids or me! We use a curriculum called My Father's World  that organizes our daily lesson into themes. The past few weeks we've had a farming theme that we were really able to explore and do lot of hands on projects. During our "C is for cows week," We studied dairy products., and were able to make our own butter, buttermilk, whipped cream and cheese. 

My kids love being in the kitchen with me. To be honest, It's always makes a mess to invite 2 kids into the kitchen, But life wouldn't be half the fun without the messes:) I have learned to have everything I need pulled out, measured, and ready for them when I call them in to join me. Without a plan, and assigned tasks messes can grow expediently in a matter of seconds!

Making butter was a fun task. This was my Granny's butter churn. I bet she would be tickled to know that we were using it and had so much fun learning a "old" skill. Eden poured in the heavy whipping cream and we got to work.

You can see, churning takes a long time. It only took about 15 minutes, but that's a long time if you're 5 :)

Josiah sticks his tongue out whenever he is thinking about something or working hard at a task.

The finished product, milk and butter milk. 
And yes, Eden loves wearing a  dress and tiara when she cooks. 
 They also made whipped cream.

   The next day, Eden and I tackled making mozzarella cheese. 
It was neat to make, but I wish the recipe I used would have called for salt. Our cheese was a little bland.
I have since ordered some additional supplies and hope to make more cheese in the near future.

Eden measured the temperature carefully.
Making cheese is equal parts science and luck.

This is after Eden cut the cheese :)
into curds and whey 

Then she strained it with a colander until all that was left was the hard cheese.

That's all the whey that was left over from a gallon of milk. There are lots of uses for whey.

After we strained all the cheese, I microwaved it for a minute at a time. Then I began pulling and stretching it until it became smooth and shinny.

Homeschooling 101, Eden and I got to enjoy making dairy products

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

God Seems Closer at a House by the Beach

God Seems Closer at a House by the Beach.

That saying is sewn into a pillow on my Momma's couch, and she swears it's true. 
Often when we talk, she'll tell me how beautiful the sunrise was that morning. It seem to be one of her favorite times of day. 

Momma also has an added bonus to her sunrise, the view! My parents live on the end of a canal in the Panhandle of Florida. The area they live in is a beautiful combination of waterways and exotic marsh. Water surrounds the front their property and there is always neat wildlife to watch.  

Watching a sunrise is not a frequent occurrence in daily life. I try to squeeze out the last possible moment of sleep into each morning, so I miss most Sunrises. But on our past visit, I decided I would get up and enjoy some of what Momma seems so enamored with. I wasn't disappointed. 

 As the sun slowly crept up behind the marsh, small flecks of gold sliced through the dark. Night made room for rich blues and warm pinks, then those quickly gave way for a glorious golden ball to rise up and up. It was amazing how much the sky changed in just 15 minutes. Watching the darkness give way to light was a tiny taste of God's promise for the future.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him. Lamentations 3:22-25

As pretty as these photos are, they pale in comparison to the real colors and beauty that I witnessed that morning. This world pales in comparison of how great heaven will be too. But every sunrise is a reminder of our hope in the Lord, His never ending compassion and his great  faithfulness!

 The sunsets are not bad either :)

Full Circle

This post has been on my heart for months, actually it's been over a year. I'm bad at blogging :) This story has been on my mind a lot lately as I keep reflecting on what God has shown me and how he has blessed my family over and over this past year.

Last year Eden had heart surgery to correct a condition she had called SVT. You can look here and find the post I wrote following her surgery. She is doing fantastic! We continue to have check-ups with her cardiologist, and her heart is doing great.  She fully recovered from the surgery and has finally begun to put on some weight and has hit a growth spurt.

While Eden was in the hospital, our family was able to stay at the Ronald McDonald house in Greenville. It was a huge blessing to be able to be so close. At the time Titus was only 6 months old and was nursing him every 4 hours. He refused to take a bottle. We worked out a plan so my wonderful In-laws would keep the boys and bring them to me when Titus needed to eat. I was able to keep Titus with me at the Ronald McDonald house and Larry was able to stay at the hospital with Eden overnight. I tell you, there has never been a situation where my heart was so torn between wanting to be with each of my children and serving them both at the same time. I had to realize the importance of the people God put in our lives to help and accept the generosity other others. It was a learning period for sure, and everything worked out beautifully.

Oh the story gets better :) Here is the letter I wrote to the Ronald McDonald house:

Dear staff of the Ronald McDonald House,

I wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt thank you for the wonderful hospitality we received while staying at the Ronald McDonald house in Greenville. I also wanted to let you know that Eden is healing well and has a great prognosis for her future.

If you would please allow me a moment, I would like to share a story with you. Our family moved to Williamston almost 4 years ago for my husband to pastor a church. One of our  sweet church members was a lady named Mabel Roberson. Small in stature, but big in heart, Miss Mabel was an incredible woman. Mabel was a nurse and spent her whole life caring for others, especially children. She was known to take sick children home with her to continue their care. Mabel was a talented woman and quilting was one of her passions.  When Mabel passed away, her family gave her quilting material to our church.

A suggested was made that we gather some of Mabel’s Christmas material and make Christmas quilts for the Ronald McDonald house. I’m not a quilter, but I helped cut material and gather supplies for the other ladies as they made the quilts. It was fun making the quilts, but soon I moved to other projects and life with small children. I didn’t give much thought to those quilts or the families who would receive them, until Eden’s surgery.

As I completed our check out, one of the ladies took me to a side room and shared with me how every child that stayed at the Ronald McDonald house received a quilt. As she opened the cabinet, in the bottom corner, there were two of Miss Mabel’s Christmas quilts.  

It’s hard to find word to describe that special that moment.  I know Miss Mabel would have been so pleased to know her quilting supplies were still bringing joy to sick children. I never imagined that my family would have been one of the families that would have received one of her quilts. That gift was a sweet reminder of Mabel’s love, and the love of the women of our church who quilted the blankets. It was also a great reminder of God’s love for our family and for Eden. It was a reminder of His love for each of the children and families that the Ronald McDonald house serves.

I hope this letter will be an encouragement to the Staff and families at the Ronald McDonald house. As someone who has been on both sides of the ministry, making the quits and having a child that received one, it is a pleasure to share this story with you in hopes of encouraging others. May the Lord bless and keep you as you minister to the children and families who stay with you.

These are some of the special women of our church as we dropped off more quilts at the Ronald McDonald House. You never know how an act of service or kindness will effect others, and how it might return a blessing to your own life.