Our first week of school!

Kolby and Kamryn had their first day of school today at Lynden Academy! God was so good today and so faithful in answering my prayers. All week Kamryn was full of mixed emotions. One minute she was excited for school and the next she was scared and didn't want to go. I was unsure how today would go and a little nervous for her. Kamryn may seem like a loud crazy kid but that's only when she's comfortable :) She needs a good 15-20 min to warm up to new environments or to adjust to a new situation (even if its a familiar place with people she knows) I know it's wrong but I used to get irritated and frustrated because I can't relate to how she is, but thankfully, God has been working on my heart and I have learned to have compassion and understanding...I give her the time she needs but try not to coddle her too much. Anyway, I was concerned she might lose it when I left, so I have been praying fervently this week for her and myself. We arrived 15 min early, got her situated and I stood on the side until class started, she got a little emotional and clingy as I expected but she did good when I left, praise God for that! She wanted me to come for lunch so I did and I was filled with JOY when I saw her sitting eating her lunch with a bunch of little girls. I sat at a table with Kolyn and Kam stayed with the girls but kept giving me sweet smiles as she ate her lunch. She was very quiet but said she was having a great day and really liked school. My heart was so emotional seeing my little girl, growing up before my eyes...and I thank God so much for blessing her with a great first day. I also thank God for softening my heart towards her...as a mom I think one of the hardest things for me is to figure out how to be an understanding mom who has compassion for my kids when I really can't understand or relate to them at all with some things...Kamryn and I are so different, but I love her so much and want to have a close relationship with her, where she can trust me, and know that I am there for her regardless of how different we may be. I know God will continue to help me and give me insight and understanding, I know what it comes down to is loving her like He does and appreciating how He made her. KOlby, AKA Mr. Social, had a great day too, and he loved being at school again. Homeschool went great this week too, lots of learning! It didn't begin how I had planned which I find funny because a few posts ago, I wrote about all my planning and also that I was ok with "life" happening! Well "life" sure happened Monday morning. Sunday night, Ace (our puppy) got his ear swiped by a cat...we thought by morning the bleeding would stop, well I let him go to the bathroom at 7am and he got his bandage off and got blood all over again. I was holding him because if he shook his head, blood went everywhere...Kolby and kam were up and then I heard kolyn crying in her room but I couldn't let the dog go,so kolby went to get her... I called my mom and she came over, God bless her! I got him wrapped up and took him to the vet, long story short, they couldn't get it to stop with a stitch and glue so I left him at the vet for the day...that was my morning...then we were about to start homeschool and I ran upstairs to find my dishwasher didn't seal closed and there was water over half the kitchen floor! AHHHH!!! At this point I was laughing, saying "ok God, I get it" I can plan all I want, but really I have no control over anything. It really was a great reminder for me...to my surprise I handled Monday pretty well, I only cried for minute in the craziness of things and I didn't even snap at my kids even though it was stressful (I don't know about you but that's something I struggle with too, letting my stress out on my poor kids sometimes)...we started school 2 hours late but we did it! Here are a couple comparison pics of the kids from last year...They have grown up so much in a year! I pray God helps me treasure these moments!

Delicious Chicken Enchiladas

Another hit in our home! My chicken enchiladas!


1 can chicken broth
1 can chili no beans
1 can green enchilada sauce (mild for us)
3-4 good size chicken breasts (cooked and chopped)
5-6 large tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mont. jack cheese
6 oz cream cheese
Chopped onion

Preheat oven 375

In a sauce pan, warm on medium the chili and enchilada sauce (stir occasionally)

In another saucepan, warm on low chicken broth

Cook chicken in frying pan ( I season with garlic salt)

Once chicken is cooked, chop it up and mix it with 6 oz of cream cheese. once that is mixed well, add 1/2-3/4 cup of mont jack and 1 cup of cheddar. Add in chopped onion. mix well.

Take a tortilla and dip it fully in the chicken broth, lay in the 9x13 dish, fill with the chicken mixture and roll up...do this for all tortillas. After all the tortillas are filled, pour the remaining chicken broth into the chili/enchilada mix, stir and then pour over the enchiladas. Add the remaining cheese on top.
Bake for 45 min  (uncovered).

Serve with salsa and sour cream!

Easy Italian Meatballs

Tonight I made Italian meatballs for dinner and they were a hit...the kids loved them and I know sometimes it's hard to find an easy meal like that so I thought I'd share :) It took me about 5 minutes to prep and 20 to cook!

Italian Meatballs

1 Small onion chopped
1 egg
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
1/3 cup of parmesan
1 TBSP of Italian seasoning
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup Italian dried bread crumbs

In a medium bowl combine onion, egg, worchestershire sauce,parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic powder...mix well.

Mix in beef...once combined, mix in the bread crumbs.

(Made about 24 meatballs)

Greased baking sheet (I put foil down, easier clean up). 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Homeschool organization

Homeschool organization! For me that's everything from our weekly lesson planning to meal planning, to cleaning schedules! Last year was my first year and I feel a bit more on top of things this year because for the most part, I know what to expect :) I thought I'd share what I'm doing because I have learned from some inspiring veteran mom blogs out there and if for some random reason someone reads my blog, I hope this inspires them in some way too, just like I have been inspired and encouraged by those other ladies. First of all, keeping a clean and tidy home is important to me, but managing my time in order to do it is the hard part! So last year I came up with a cleaning schedule and it made such a difference for me! So here it is! Also, having meals planned out ahead of time saves me time and money...I go grocery shopping on Fridays and do food prep for the week so if I have all my meals planned out, my list is super easy to make and follow :) I got some of this from my favorite blogger "confessionsofahomeschooler.com" so be sure to check her out, she has AMAZING ideas for life! So now that I have those basic wife/mother duties figured out...I am left with homeschool organization and planning! I decided to use a "workbox" system this year but I am limited on space so I used wall file holders instead...Basically, each pouch has a file folder for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (those are the days I homeschool-the kids go to school Thursdays and Fridays)...I have also made a calendar that coincides with the pouches so I can just look at my calendar to see what we are doing and then put each paper/book/assignment in the files. I will have Thursdays be my "teacher planner" days where I put the following weeks stuff in the folders...Come Monday, everything will be ready to go! I chose to teach the kids the same for History and Science and then Math and Language Arts will be their grade level. We will also be doing Spanish this year! The school had a rosetta stone homeschool program so I am super excited to use it with the kids! Well here are some pics of our homeschool area! I also have examples of my workbox calendar...I have it planned out til Christmas break! Yay me :) Here is our area...we also have a wall for morning activities like calendar, weather, time, question of the day (which will either be from science or history)...And our white board will have their sight words...I will also use it when teaching Kamryn reading lessons (from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy lessons-DISTAR reading program-Which I HIGHLY recommend!!) IF anyone is curious what curriculum we are using this year here it is: Math: Saxon Language Arts: Explode the Code and other workbooks Science: Apologia: Human Body History: Mystery of History-Volume 1- Creation to Resurrection Spanish- Rosetta Stone and Speedy Spanish Primer 1 Well that's about it! I am so thankful that I get to do this!

Organization, decluterring and getting ready for 2014 School year!

Wow, I can't believe it's almost time for another school year to begin! 2 in school this year is pretty exciting for me and if I am honest, a little intimidating...So knowing myself, I prepared EARLY this year, and started major organization...the more organized I am in the beginning, the easier and more smooth things will go throughout the year, right?! :) I can hope! I absolutely loved homeschooling last year, the time spent with my kids and the opportunities I have had to teach Kolby not only "school" stuff but also life lessons...and most importantly God was in every subject and lesson. School was out in June but the lessons haven't stopped! I think the biggest lesson we are working on right now is greed/discontentment with what we have, our circumstances, and our choices or lack there of...the only thing we ever always have a choice of is our attitude and unfortunately too often I see my kids choosing a negative attitude with TOO much complaining. I have been studying Ecclesiastes this summer and one point Solomon makes is that we need to watch out for our love of money (and "Stuff") because it won't make us happy, it will only encourage us to want more and more (GREED/COVETING)...nothing ever satisfies, it's all vanity. While self examining my own desires and attachments to things, I realized that we breed greed in America. We have SO much stuff, excess in pretty much every area of our lives, and we continue to want more! I am guilty of this at times and my children are definitely guilty as well. So how do we teach our kids and raise them to NOT be this way in a society and culture that breed this greed? I have no idea, but Im going to try and battle it because it only creates unthankful hearts which is the exact opposite of what we are supposed to have...we are supposed to be filled with thanksgiving and praise to God in EVERY circumstance. So here is what I have done, and I am praying fervently that it will help! 1.) Had a chat with my kids, told them my concerns and shared with them how fortunate we are, I showed them a touching video of kids in Africa, who have nothing, not even clean water, yet they wore the most beautiful smiles on their faces- this actually worked how I had hoped it would...it gave the kids a visual and a better understanding of who these "kids" are when I tell them there are kids in the world who have nothing...and now they want us to adopt one of the kids ;) So as a compromise, we will be "adopting" a child and sending money each month...They are very excited! 2.) we went through ALL their toys and they were allowed to keep 10 items/types of toy. We got rid of everything else. Kamryn has barbies and was allowed to keep 5 (as "one" toy) and got rid of 8 just like Kolby was allowed to keep all his millions of legos :) You know, they honestly haven't missed anything... 3.) We went through ALL of their clothes...They were allowed to keep a certain number of each type of clothing (ie. Kam loves dresses so she got to keep 7...mind you we got rid of about 10) I let them pick out what they wanted to keep and they did SO good with it...if they had me their number but came across a few more items, they just traded what they would rather have. I was seriously SO proud of them. We donated 3/4 of their clothes and they were very happy to do so... 4.) Thankful wall- They can add daily to it with things they are thankful for...I haven't got this up yet but we will be starting this Monday when we start school! 5.) Once a week, we write a thoughtful note or thank you note to someone of their choice. 6.)We will be doing a character study this year in homeschool! Now before you start to judge me for being "mean" to my kids, know that I TOO went through ALL of my stuff and got rid of 3/4 of my clothes as well...It was very easy for me to do theirs and to expect them to do it with a good attitude which they did, but when I came to my room, I had such a sinful heart and did not want to do it...but about halfway through, God changed my heart and I was SO happy to get rid of my excessive clothes and God really opened my eyes to see how I am my children's example...I can do all those things that I wrote about above but what will make the biggest difference in their lives is how I live my life not just in words but in deeds. God is so good and I seem to always learn such amazing lessons myself, when I am trying to teach my children... Here's ALL our bags of clothes!
Now beyond those HUGE lessons for me and the kids, as I said before, I started getting organized for homeschool in July and I am so glad I did because I am READY for school to start next week :) Woohoo! I am so excited about our curriculum this next year! We are studying the human body in Science, the Mystery of History-Creation to the Crucifixion, Spanish, Language arts and of course good old Math! I am using a workbox system this year and I have my calendar organized for school up through December! Yay me! (Ill post some pics of our school area another time) And I decided to go back to monthly meal planning! I literally have it planned out for every meal/snack...I know that seems like a lot and for some people that would be absurd, but I work SO much better being organized, the less organized, the more stressed I get and so I am being proactive...but I am also very ok with NOT following all my calendars and schedules to the T...life happens and I am ok with that...I think that's another huge lesson I am currently learning and I can say with God's help, I am learning to let things go, and let the Spirit lead me...Praise God for that...I am also learning to say no to doing things...this all may seem like a lot to some of you reading this but to me, it's not...I often do WAY too much and lose my peace...in bible study, I read this quote that John Wesley said and it is something that I try to remember daily... " Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry, because I never undertake more work than I can go through with calmness of spirit." It might seem like a "duh" kinda statement but I had never realized that...now I have been really trying to examine and consider all I put on my plate, if I feel like it will take away my calmness, I say no or I let go of something else so I can do it. Again, I want to be an example to my kids and this world is all about keeping busy and I really dislike being busy, when it comes to running around and such...so keeping a balanced plate is good for me and my family and being wise about what activities we do is also very important. We haven't done sports yet and I am thinking this year will be our first...and I am ok with that but will not let it become an idol in our lives (when I was a kid, sports was my idol-I played sports every weekend on traveling teams) With God's help, we will put sports and any other extra curricular activity in its proper place: after God, church and family...Well I want to leave you with some mom encouragement from one of my favorite blogs (confessionsofahomeschooler.com) , this chart on Super mom vs Abiding mom...it blesses me everytime I read it..and I hope it does you too!

Kids & Learning...Focus on the Family message

Driving home the another night, I was listening to Focus on the Family on Praise and was immediately captured by the discussion topic...how our children learn...within minutes I was laughing because as they described the different learning styles, I could think of specific examples of my kids, and could see which learning style they had...I don't know about you but I fail as a parent daily...and this message reminded me of a few things and opened my eyes to some core issues that will hopefully help me as a mom with all the day to day stuff and if you listen to it, I pray that it encourages you and helps you too! http://www.focusonthefamily.com/popups/media_player.aspx?&FAMILYTYPE=null&Tab=Shows&subcategory=FamilyNewsInFocus

Can't believe she is almost 1!

I can't believe my sweet girl is almost 1! We have so much fun with her! I can't imagine life without her :)