Friday, January 29, 2010

An Oklahoma Drivers Prayer of Guidance and Protection in Winter Weather

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in my nice warm bed and dream of green pastures,
He leads me beside the still waters so I can not slip in.
He restores my soul and redeems my sanity;
He leads me in paths of right driving
For His name's sake.

Yea though I drive on the Mingo Valley Expressway in the shadow of death I will fear no evil.
For You are with me;
Your steering rod and Your guiding staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil so I can think clearly when making defensive driving manoeuvres.
My cup runs over, but not my coffee cup when I'm driving, and it does not spill in my lap.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and every mile I drive.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I dwell in the secret place of the Most High
I shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God in Him I will trust. ........

A thousand may slide into the ditch at my side,
And ten thousand may slide through the red light or stop sign
at an intersection at my right hand;
But none of them shall come near me.
Only with my eyes shall I look,
And see the reward of the idiot Oklahoma drivers
who still try to drive the speed limit on ice.
Because I have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High my dwelling place,
No evil shall befall me,
Nor any evil plague come over my vehicle;
For He gives his Angels charge over me,
To keep me in all my ways I drive.
In their hands they shall bear me up,
Lest I dash my tire into a pothole and ruin my alignment.
My car shall tread upon icy roads and snowy roads,
They icy roads and the snowy roads it shall trample underneath.

Because I have set my love upon Him,
therefore He will deliver me from the ditch.
He will set me on the high road, because I know His name.
I shall call upon Him, and He will answer me,
He will be with me in times of trouble and icy weather.
He will deliver me and honour me.
With long life to my car will God satisfy me.
And show me His salvation.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Psalm 112

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord.
Who delights greatly in His commandments.
His descendants will be mighty on the earth.
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches will be in his house.
And his righteousness endures forever.
Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
A good man deals graciously and lends;
He will guide his affairs with discretion.
Surely he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord,
His heart is established;
He will not be afraid,
Until he sees his desire upon his enemies,
He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endured forever;
His horn will be exalted with honor.
The wicked will see it and be grieved;
He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
The desire the wicked shall perish.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tackle it Tuesday - Cleaning the Kitchen

Don't have much time to blog this am. I need to have my sweet Jesus time :) But to stay consistent with the Tackle it Tuesday theme I've started, here I am! :)

Last week my focus was the girls' room and closets. And we made great progress. We took about 6 huge sacks full of stuff to Goodwill, and threw away countless items. I still need to work on their room a little more, but it looks much better.

Next I want to focus on my kitchen. It needs a good deep cleaning. But with break ended, school started again yesterday, I really don't have much time to tackle a big project. So, I'm going to have to break this one up into small projects, and probably over then next two weeks.

My focus today will be 1 cabinet, two shelves, in side and out. During the little breaks through the day, I will be taking everything out of the cabinet, wiping off the contact paper, and replacing everything. I will be starting with the food cabinet today, and the counter space underneath it.

What is a project that you've been meaning to take on? Is it a big project? How many little projects can you break it into? Find something small that you can do, and do it. Then find something else small to do in that big project, and do it. Keep chipping away at the small things, and pretty soon you'll have the big whittled away to a manageable size.

Today it's supposed to be in the low 30's, so this afternoon I may try to bundle everyone up and take a quick walk around the block. I hope you all are staying warm. Take some time to cuddle up in a blankie, with kids if you have them, and read a good book.

Have a blessed day.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Meal Plan Monday - Daniel Fast Recipes

Vegetarian Crock Pot Chili

2 Tablespoons Oil (Olive, Canola, or Coconut)
3 cups chopped onion (white or red)
3 cups chopped green pepper
2 cups chopped celery
4 - 16 oz cans Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
2 - 28oz cans whole tomatoes
2 - 6oz cans tomato paste
3 cups water
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder (more or less to taste)
1 Tablespoon ground Cumin
2 Teaspoons oregano
1 Teaspoon pepper
1 - 16 oz pkg firm tofu (optional)

Place all ingredients except tofu in a large crock pot. Cook on low (6-8 hours) or high (4-6 hours).
20 minutes before serving, with a potato masher, mash the whole tomatoes (don't have to take them out of the crock pot, just press the masher into the crock a few times)
If Tofu is desired, open package and wrap tofu in paper towels. Press lightly to remove any excess moisture. Cube tofu into about 1/2" cubes. Gently stir into chili.
Cover and warm, stirring gently, till tofu is warm.
Serve with a side of whole grain wild rice, brown rice, or quinoa. Or serve on top of prepared spaghetti squash with some marinara for a version of 3 way chili.
Top with vegetarian cheese if desired.

Vegetarian wraps

1 whole grain tortilla OR one large Romaine lettuce leaf, washed and patted dry
1-2 oz vegetarian cheese, sliced thin
1/4 Red pepper, seeded, and thinkly sliced lengthways
1-2 cups mixed prepared Romaine lettuce and baby Spinach leaves
1 Tablespoon Honey Mustard
1 Tablespoon mashed advocado

On the tortilla or the lettuce leaf, spread hummus, layer the cheese, sliced pepper, and mixed lettuce to fill. Top with mustard. Start to fold and roll tortilla/lettuce leaf. Spread the mashed advocado near where the seams will meet up to help seal the wrap, and finish rolling up the wrap.

Eat with a piece of fruit or some berries.


Black Bean Salsa
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes -undrained
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
2-3 green onions, finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
1 lime
sea salt

In a large bowl, combine diced tomatoes, tomato juice, black beans, frozen corn, green onions, cumin, cilantro. Cut lime in half, and squeeze juice into salsa. (If you like more lime juice, use another lime). Add sea salt to taste.
Cover and let set overnight in refrigerator to let the flavors meld.

Spaghetti Squash Supreme
1 large spaghetti squash
1 - 16oz Box Firm tofu (optional)
1 small red onoin, chopped
4-6 medium mushrooms, rinsed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 -15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped spinach - tightly packed in measuring cup
4-8 oz vegetarian cheese

To prepare Spaghetti Squash, cut in half. Scoop out seeds with a spoon. Put in a large dutch oven or pot, skin side down/cut half up, with about 1 2 inches of water. Simmer on stovetop till tender, about 30 minutes. Remove squash from pot, and fluff strands with a fork. Scrape strands out into a bowl.

In a large pan, heat oil. Saute all vegetables till tender but not too mushy. Remove tofu from package, wrap in a paper towel and press lightly to remove moisture. Cube into 1/2" cubes. Add to pan with vegetables. Heat till tofu is warm, stirring gently.

Mix tofu/vegetable mixture into the spaghetti squash.

Grate cheese and sprinkle on top.

Creamy Corn Potato Soup
Oil (oilive, canola, or coconut)
1-2 cans of corn.
6 medium to large Red Potatoes, cleaned and diced into about 1/2"cubes
6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large red onoin, peeled and finely diced
2 green or red peppers, seeded and finely diced
2 bay leaves
3 teaspoons marjoram
3 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper
3 - 32 oz boxes vegetable broth

In bottom of a large stock pot, drizzle oil. Heat slightly. Add vegetables and spices. (Add the 1st can of corn, then rest of veggies. If more corn is desired add the second can). Saute vegetables over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Add broth. Heat to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from heat.
If a creamier texture is desired: Remove about 3/4 of the soup in small batches and blend. Keep the blended soup in a separate bowl till all the batches are blended, then add the blended soup back to the larger pot. OR lightly blend soup in the stock pot with an immersion blender.
Add water if desired to thin to preferred consistency.

1 cup Quinoa, rinsed in a strainer
2 cups water or vegetable broth.
1 medium onion - diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, put water or broth, and bring to a light boil. Add diced onion, garlic, and Quinoa. Bring back to a slow boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

100 KBS

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saying goodby to the homeschooling rat race!

The beginning of the school year, we started off pretty well. It took me a while to get into a good daily routine of chores, table time, and coordinating Jordan and Joelle's lessons with me around Jada's nap. But within a month we were on a pretty steady roll, getting lessons done and progressing through the math textbooks easily.

Then I started getting worried about whether or not my kids were being "socialized" well. So I joined a few local groups so my kids could meet other homeschooling kids, and make more friends. Along with the groups, came activites such as meetings, group classes, play dates, group field trips, etc. (Art Class? Why not, Jordan LOVES art!) (Oh, a fossil dig group field trip, I'm so there!)

On top of that I was a part of my church's women's fall bible study (Which was totally awesome and would do again in a heartbeat).

And our life got crazy.

I signed up for activities that had us leaving the house one or two times a week. There were even a few weeks that we were gone from home every single day of the week.

It was a train wreck slowly happening. We would get one good school day in, then be gone a day or two, and then have to take a day to get back into our routine. Maybe having one or two good full days of learning at home a week.

Most of the activities ended the end of November, leaving December to just focus on the core studies. It was wonderful. Our days were uninterrupted for the most part, only leaving the house for select activities, church, and family stuff. We were able to keep our routine consistently. Naps were taken. And I had sweet one on one time with each of my girls during their lessons.

The days became more relaxed, because I didn't feel like I had to cram two days of work into one day to make up for the day we would be out. Jordan seemed to understand her math lessons better, and retain what she did learn. Joelle improved in her phonics and handwriting and was able to read half of "Hop on Pop". Jada was happier because we were home during her naptime and not out doing something.

We took half of Christmas week off, and all of last week off of school to give the house a small cleaning and purging, but we still did some learning every day. Jordan wanted to continue her math, and also wanted to learn to knit. Joelle played with her abacus alot, counting out 100's then by 2's and 5's.

But I'm so ready to get back to our normal school routine on Monday. In order to keep consistent in our routine, I really do not think we will be doing very many activities with the Homeschool groups. I feel we need to be home more, and focus on us more as a family, and strengthen my relationships with my daughters.

I realize that in worrying about the whole "socialization", I have let us neglect what was really important in giving my kids an education. We chose to homeschool because we felt that our daughter was not learning to the full of her potential where she was. Not to socialize her.

Children are not properly educated through being highly socialized, but they can be properly socialized while being highly educated.

We have made a few really good friends, in these groups, and am thankful for the new friendships I have found. But was also neglecting old friendships with families we really cherish.

So no offence to anyone who may be reading this, but we probably will not be joining you for your scheduled play group, or group museum tour, or group art class, or day at the movies. I just find that they are not beneficial for my family.

I find that when at the museum with a group, my girls are more concerned about hanging with their friends than they are exploring the exhibits. We tend to try to keep up with the group instead of lingering at the exhibits that interest us the most.

I find that getting to many kids together for play group at once, can render more bad than good (especially when some of the other parents don't watch their kids).

I find that the leaders of some of the groups have scheduled activities that are convenient for their families and schedules, and it just doesn't fit for my family. Plus some of the activities were doing things my girls really weren't interested in, or did not get much out of because of being distracted by the other kids.

We will attend a few activities, a few zoo trips, play dates, etc. We'll still get together with select friends and families who don't let their kids run around like ________. But only only when it fits into the schedule of my family and is not detrimental to our lifestyle of learning.

Friday, January 1, 2010

100 Kettlebell swings

Catching up on my knitting..

Today is a beautiful and sunny day! It's really soggy and muddy outside from the melting snow, but I don't think I'm going to let that stop us from getting outdoors today. Even if it means going for a walk on the road, we need, no I NEED to be outside basking in some sunshine!

But first, the kids are napping. And I'm taking the brief opportunity to work on some knitting.

I have let my self get so busy that I have neglected hobbies that I really enjoy. And knitting is one of them. My hands would really ache to be holding some needles and yarn, but I would be to busy to go pick some up. I had 2 knitting projects stored in my crafting tote because I haven't worked on them in so long.

But one of my resolutions this year is really two fold. My resolution is to have one project out, to be ready and on hand at all times, for when I have a minute or two to knit/crochet a few stitches.

One fold is that I can make myself take some time out for me. Two is to hand craft as many of our Christmas presents for 2010 as possible, to help stay within our Christmas budget. (I've already started a gift list for this year's Christmas, and noting who I think would really appreciate something hand made and who I need to buy a gift for.)

I found some yarn that I absolutely fell in love with at Michaels and snatched up a few skeins. It's a lilac/olive ombre, and is beautiful in the skein. Plus it's an acrylic so it would be pretty easy care. I started a scarf with it, but I didn't like how the colors were matching up row by row. So I frogged the scarf, and searched for a shawl pattern. I found Multnomah on Ravelry and loved how the wrap in the picture looked, so I figured I would try this pattern for this yarn.
Multnomah is written in a garter stitch pattern, but I didn't like how it looked, so I switched to a stockenette stitch after 10 rows. I am loving how the yarn is working out in this wrap so far, but still not sure I'm happy with it as a gift. I may just finish this one up for myself and give my Candle Flame shawl as a gift.

My Candle Flame shawl is still a work in progress, but I got about 20 rows finished on it yesterday, and I believe I'm about one fourth of the way to being finished. I love the candle flame design. And think I'm going to try to work up a scarf using the candle flame stitch after I'm done with the shawl.

I have a third project, Lacy Leafy Baby Afghan still stored in my tote. I started it almost 1 1/2 years ago, and am determined to finish, but not feeling up to it right now.

Christmas gifts are priority right now, as strange as that may seem.