Category Archives: Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014

Weekly Wrap-up . . . Revival Meetings and Some Silliness!

Well! This has been a very busy week! Our church had special meetings this week for our Family and Friends Revival, from Sunday through Wednesday. It was so good, too! Our guest speaker was Brother David Hetzer, and he was just wonderful! He has also been a speaker for our youth camps in years past.

We also were treated to The Epleys coming to sing for us! My family had last seen them many, many years ago, back during the early years we spent in Port Huron, MI. They came with their children and sang at the church we attended at that time, and we just loved them! We still listen to their music in the car! Well, now, We are in New Mexico, and they came to the church we are members of here! These days, their kids are grown and raising families of their own, so it’s just mom and dad singing now. I did not get a good video of them during the meetings, but here is one from youtube of them singing one of the songs they did for us. I hope you enjoy it!

It was a busy but good week! Monday and Tuesday, our church provided a meal at 6:00 for everyone who came before the meeting at 7:00, and then Wednesday we did potluck at the same time. Our pastor says we’re “the eatin’-est church in town”, lol!

Before all the business, we had a bit of silliness at our house one evening after supper, when my husband and some of the boys started fooling around with one of “The Puzzler’s” Christmas gifts, as you’ll see in the video below. They were sure having fun!

All in all, it was a pretty good week! 🙂

This post is being linked up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. If you’d like to write about your week and link up, please click the graphic below for the guidelines.

As always, I’d love it if you’d join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email into the “sign me up” space at the top of the blog, and never miss an update! And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook page and “Like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian faith, Church, family, Mesa Baptist Church, The Epley Family, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . Blessings And a Little Fun!

It’s been kind of a tough time around here lately, and by Monday I(!) was pretty much falling apart already. No, I’m not going into any details, suffice to say that my anxiety was hitting a pretty high level. By Wednesday evening I was basically falling apart.

So . . . the first blessing . . . my husband took yesterday off and declared he was giving ME a day off! Really, all I had to do was get myself, “The Batman” and “The Artist” to piano lesson. He kept “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” at home with him. I spent most of my time before going to piano working on the book launch/review which I posted yesterday. This did help somewhat, but he was nice enough to plan ahead and put in for a vacation day so he could take TODAY off, as well! I did need to take all of the boys to our monthly homeschool co-op at church this morning, which you’ll see and read about later, but once we got home, my husband told the kids that now it’s “Mom” time, and they have to come to him for everything for the rest of the day. He even got supper started for me in the roaster after I told him how to season it (an extra turkey I got on sale at Christmas), since it needed to be started while we were gone. 🙂

Our piano instruction book that our new teacher is putting us into has not yet come in at the music store, so she is kind of just maintaining us with some practice from our old books. It’s been over a year and a half since we had lessons (before we moved here to NM), so this is fine, because I for one, have forgotten a LOT! As they were before, though, both “The Batman” and “The Artist” are WORLDS ahead of me, however our teacher says she believes I will do well. She seems to think she can train me to be a church pianist! We will see. 🙂 Here is a short video of “The Batman” entertaining our teacher’s younger son during “The Artist’s” lesson . . .

There is just no way not to feel happy watching that! 🙂

Last night, since we knew my husband would not be going to work today, we let the boys stay up just a bit later than usual, and watched Iron Man 3. I had not seen it, so that was pretty good. The kids kept almost slipping up and referring to stuff from the Avengers movie (which I’ve not yet seen), things that had a bearing on what was happening. So, now I’m wanting to see the Avengers movie as soon as we can borrow a copy, lol!

This morning, we had co-op with our church homeschool group. We’re doing something a little different this semester, in that we’re trying to do some more educational things as opposed to just social things. For the next few months, we are having what we are calling the A&W group, for Art and Writing. We began with some beginning art lessons . . .

First, making sure the kids know what will be happening, and what is expected!

here’s the agenda . . .
church homeschool group 1242014 011

If you can’t quite read the sign in the middle of the board (the one where each line begins with the letters R O C K S),

church homeschool group 1242014 002

it reads like this:

Raise hand, silent mouth
Obey right away, all the way
Concentrate and stay focused
Keep your stuff to yourself
Show consideration

All good things, I’m thinking!

Miss Erica, beginning some easy lessons . . .

church homeschool group 1242014 012

Here are some shots of the group, paying close attention to Miss Erica . . .

church homeschool group 1242014 003

church homeschool group 1242014 004

church homeschool group 1242014 005

church homeschool group 1242014 009

And some close-ups of my kids, hard at work!

“The Artist”
church homeschool group 1242014 015

“The Batman”
church homeschool group 1242014 016

“Mr. Loquacious”
church homeschool group 1242014 017

“The Puzzler”
church homeschool group 1242014 019

Here is a picture of the pre-schoolers, they had their own activity going in another room!
church homeschool group 1242014 007

One of the things they worked on was the basics of drawing a lego mini-figure, and they’ll be working on their own personal one, which is to show something about their own personality, to bring back to co-op in February.

After art time, we made root beer floats, then watched a video segment from the “How It’s Made” program (shown below) about a factory where they make pop.

After the video, our group split into two sections, early readers/writers, and more advanced. The younger group worked on a little art/writing project on how to make a root beer float.
church homeschool group 1242014 034

The rest of the kids worked on brainstorming their own stories about “A Crazy Day In A Soda Factory”, and began working on their stories. They’ll write them over the next month to bring back to co-op in February.

Working on their stories . . .

church homeschool group 1242014 035

church homeschool group 1242014 036

church homeschool group 1242014 037

They all seem to have had a good time, so I’m glad we’re taking the co-op in this direction! We plan to have a “Creativity Fair” in April, where they may display any creative projects they have worked on during this time, either things from the co-op time or something creative they did on their own. I think it’ll be fun, and my kids are happy, since they totally missed the literature fair last year, because I had surgery the day before.

So, I’m going to go now and finish my “me” day, designing and working on some cards.

How was YOUR week? Why don’t you write about it, and share it by linking up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers?

Click the picture below for the guidelines

As always, I’d love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email address into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss an update! And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please, go to our Facebook page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

4 Comments

Filed under Church, home education, Home-school Group, Homeschool Group Monthly Activity, homeschooling, Kids, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . a Song, a Birthday & Piano lessons

We started out the week with me singing another special at church on Sunday evening, which you can hear in the video below . . .

Then, “The Batman” had a birthday on Monday, his 21st! We got one of his favorites for supper, Dion’s Pizza, and I made his favorite cake, chocolate/peanut butter (aka, “Totally Bad For You Cake & Frosting”).

Alex birthday 2014 001

Alex birthday 2014 002

Alex birthday 2014 003

As you know, he is “The Batman” because he loves all things Batman, so he loved the card I made using my cricut! Here he is, waiting to open the card and gift . . .

Alex birthday 2014 004

And now a better look at the card . . .

Alex birthday 2014 005

Alex birthday 2014 007

I had ordered the next five books in the original Hardy Boys series for him at the beginning of the month, the delivery to the bookstore was delayed, and I was getting very nervous! They did arrive finally, on Monday, the actual day of his birthday! So, after a doctor’s appointment I had in the morning, I zipped over to Barnes & Noble to pick them up. He now has 40 of the 65 or 66 books in the series, and boy was he happy!

Alex birthday 2014 009

Alex birthday 2014 010

Tuesday was kind of a rough day all around, with kid issues, and a husband coming home early because of it, and then on Wednesday my husband ended up staying home from work because he was feeling very rough with what looked like a bad cold or something coming on. In fact, he came home early today and is needing to sleep and try to fight it off.

But on Thursday, “The Batman”, “The Artist” and I began our long-awaited return to piano lessons! I am so happy to be back into it after being out since before moving here to New Mexico! We really loved and miss our teacher back in Michigan, but of course, it was inevitable that we would need to find a new teacher out here. Our teacher is the wife of the youth pastor at our church, and is also the pianist who was playing in the video above. She is really, really good, and believes she can train me to be a church pianist one day. She asked the boys what kind of goals they have for piano. “The Batman” says he wants to learn to play classical music really well, and “The Artist” wants to compose music. Our teacher is putting us all into a beginning adult course, with the understanding that “The Batman” may need go back to they kids books for a while if he runs into trouble with he new curriculum. We are very excited about being back in lessons! Of course, the boys are not terribly thrilled about practice time, nor are they thrilled that they will be giving up about half of our Thursday homeschool park day in order to get to lessons on time, but I feel it’s an important part of their education, so it’s what we’re going to do.

So, that’s how our week has gone! This post is being linked up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

If you’d like to write about YOUR week and link up, just click below for the guidelines.

As always, I’d love it if you join me on all of “my Journeys Through Life”. Just enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog and never miss an update! Also, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook fan page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you would! 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Kids, Piano lessons, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . Pantry Challenge Update

As I mentioned a few posts back, I’m attempting a pantry challenge, an idea I got from reading the blog Good Cheap Eats. If you are at all interested in joining in, click the graphic below . . .

Pantry-Challenge1

As I told you in my initial post about this, I spent an afternoon while all of my kids were gone cleaning out and taking inventory of my deep freezer (which is in the garage). Here are the (then) contents of the deep freezer . . .

Pantry Challenge Jan 2014 001
Pantry Challenge Jan 2014 002

The contents of my refrigerator . . .
Pantry Challenge Jan 2014 006

The contents of the freezer in the top of the fridge . . .
Pantry Challenge Jan 2014 004

And the contents of the pantry cupboard . . .
Pantry Challenge Jan 2014 003

Once I finished doing that, and getting rid of stuff that was out of date, I better organized my pantry cupboard. This is what it looked like when I was done . . .

Pantry Challenge Jan 2014 011

Now that the kids are back, we’ll see how well it stays organized, lol!

Anyway, I don’t know how great of an idea it was to do this right now, because the very day I did all of this my husband took me out to dinner for date night, since we had no kids at home. Of course, we used a gift card to Cracker Barrel that he had received, so that actually brought our cost down to a bit over $10.., after paying the difference plus a tip. Then, the Monday right after was my birthday, and we did get take-out from a favorite regional pizza place called Dion’s.

I think, though, that over all, we’ve been doing fairly well at mostly using what we have on hand, with some filling in around the edges at the grocery store. My inventory showed a woeful lack of meat, so when I shopped that weekend I did buy ground turkey, boneless pork chops, and a seasoned pork roast (for the crock pot on Sunday), all at Sam’s Club. I have also bought dry cereal (store brand Cheerios and corn flakes), milk, eggs, bacon and English muffins (because we generally do breakfast for supper on Saturday, which my husband cooks, yay! I have also continued to buy milk and bread, and just today I bought (as I do each month) a big box of Neuman’s Own K-cups (80 count) at Sam’s Club, for my husband’s Keurig coffee maker. He is the only person in the house who drinks coffee, so the machine was a good investment for us.

So, here are some of what we’ve been having, as we eat down the pantry and the fridge/freezers . . . I had two sets (2 boxes each, we have a big family) of hamburger helper. we had one of those (with ground turkey) last week one night, and will use the last set of two boxes in the next several days. I probably won’t buy them anymore. First, they have been bothering my husband’s stomach, and second, I’d love to get away from using things like this.

We had eggs (with green chile and cheese), bacon and English muffins for supper on Saturday, and will again tomorrow.

One night we had chicken enchilada casserole. Last night, I used the package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, two packages of Stove-top dressing, a package of frozen broccoli cuts and a jar of turkey gravy. I baked the chicken breasts (at 350 degrees), covered with foil, until almost done, then removed them from the (9 x 13) baking dish and emptied out the liquid. I put the broccoli in the bottom of the baking dish, then put the prepared stuffing over that. I returned the chicken breasts to the pan on top of the stuffing, then poured the gravy over it. After re-covering it with foil, I put it back in the oven for about 30 more minutes. I had THOUGHT to have about half of it left for another meal, but it actually went over very well, and I was left with exactly enough left to make into ONE frozen lunch for my husband to take to work one day. 🙂

Pantry Challenge Jan 2014 012

Pantry Challenge Jan 2014 013

Tonight, I will be making pizza casserole and garlic bread. Tomorrow, I am having a Silpada party for a friend who is a consultant, so when I shopped today, I picked up a few things for refreshments. I already have several flavors of home-made goat cheese thawing in the fridge that were given to me by a friend, so to go with that I picked up a few kinds of snack crackers (including one that is gluten-free, as I know at least one attendee is gluten-free), a veggie tray and a fruit tray, a pound of chicken salad, and an angel food cake. I will take the cake and use it along with canned pineapple tidbits and redi-whip that I already have on hand to serve as a dessert tomorrow. Since the party is mid-afternoon, after lunch and before supper, I don’t need to do a full meal. By the way, if you would be interested in “attending” the party via the internet, you can go to my consultant’s site here and click on me as hostess (Lori Moffit). They have beautiful jewelry, made from real silver. 🙂

So, that’s where I am at this point in the pantry challenge . . . and I will continue on with it as long as possible. I really want to use up the stuff we have that I’m trying not to buy anymore, and I want to move into doing things like make ahead freezer meals, both for the slow cooker and for the oven. I think it will help us to be healthier, and save money besides. You might consider doing a pantry challenge yourself, and see if it works for you!

This post has been linked up at . . .

and at . . .
Share-your-Pantry-Challenge

As always, I’d love it if you’d join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go and enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss another update! If you do enjoy “My Journeys”, please, go to our Facebook page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Pantry Challenge 2014, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Weekly Wrap-Up

Unconventional Reading Lessons While Homeschooling

I am taking part in a month-long link up series called “The Virtual Curriculum Fair”, and this week, our theme is “Playing With Words: The Language Arts”.

When my older kids, “The Batman” and “The Artist” were little, I had no idea how to homeschool, and had no confidence in doing it on my own, so I went with a pre-written curriculum, or as I like to call it now, “school in a box”. While this DID give them a good foundation in phonics, it did NOT give “The Batman” the love of reading.

He has several disabilities which have always affected his ability to sit and just read for any length of time, and since it’s important to me that my children learn to love reading for pleasure, I backed off as soon as I was sure he COULD read.

Many years later, when he was a teen, “The Batman” discovered a Hardy Boys book in the library of the church we attended at the time. He began reading it and fell in love! Nothing would do but having all 66 of the stories eventually. In fact, that Christmas, he asked for a set of the first six books he’d seen at Sam’s Club. Of course, he asked for this about 3 days before Christmas, well after he’d made his wish list and I’d finished shopping. Add to that, we had a horrible snow/ice storm, which caused downed wires on our street, keeping us from leaving our block, as the city had it blocked at each end for a few days. Fortunately, I could go from our driveway directly across the street, into the parking lot of the Salvation Army Church, and go around the building, coming out on another street, allowing me to get to Sam’s Club. I made it there just in time to purchase the very last boxed set they had! Well, “The Batman” was thrilled! Ever since then, for each and every birthday, and sometimes Christmas, I have gotten him the next 5 books in the original series. We ONLY buy the original series. I really feel that the ones which came out as a result of the Hardy Boys TV show are not the books we’d like him to be reading, they are not, in my opinion, as wholesome as the originals, and definitely kind of dumbed down in comparison. Occasionally, I also order them randomly during the year as well. I order them from my local Barnes and Noble, to be delivered to the store, where I pay for them using my educator discount card. (You other homeschooling moms DO have a Barnes and Noble educator discount card, right? Because it gives you 20% off your educational purchases). In fact, “The Batman’s” 21st birthday is next week, and just yesterday, I ordered books 36 – 40 for him. Hopefully, they’ll all come in before his actual birthday!

In “The Batman’s” case, leveled readers did not work well to keep him interested and progressing. When he discovered the Hardy Boys, he was hooked, and now reads a large variety of things, from the Hardy Boys, to Star Trek novels, to Star Wars chapter books he’s been finding in our local library. He can now very often be found sitting for long periods, just reading for fun, something I had despaired of him ever doing!

One of our twins, “The Puzzler”, was eight when we adopted him and his brother. They could not read much, other than their names. While his brother “Mr. Loquacious” really is not all that interested in reading (although he can read better now than he lets on), “The Puzzler”, after the curriculum in a box pretty much failed him, ended up virtually teaching himself to read, using the Sunday comics. No, I’m not making that up. He wanted to read them so badly that he would sit and puzzle over them for hours. he would occasionally ask what a word was, and we’d tell him. Sometimes, he’d ask the same word again the next time, and we’d tell him again. Now, he reads them on his own, rarely asking for help with a word, and reads many books, as well, including books which are really beyond where he is. He simply puzzles out the words, and asks for help when necessary. He LOVES to read now. 🙂

“Mr. Loquacious” is still not interested in reading much on his own, but I know he’ll get there, when he is ready. In the meanwhile, we do lots of read-alouds. 🙂

“The Artist”? Well, once he learned to read, I never had to worry about him enjoying it again. He will sit and read for hours, either fiction or non-fiction, as long as it’s within his interests. For non-fiction, he just loves anything science related, especially natural science. He has also developed a love of writing stories, a very good off-shoot of loving to read.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t ALWAYS need a pre-written reading/writing curriculum. Some children do thrive on those, but if yours doesn’t, perhaps a looser, more relaxed method, such as what we have been doing, would work wonders.

All four of my boys love our regular trips to the library now, and choosing their own books their books, even “Mr. Loquacious”, who usually won’t sit and read.(though I retain veto power over choices), and all four of them love to come home and read

To find out more about the Virtual Curriculum Fair, and to read what other participants are doing, please click the graphic below . . .

Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

As always, I’d love it if you’d join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”. Please go enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss an update. If you enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

28 Comments

Filed under education, home education, homeschooling, Kids, Learn to Read, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Virtual Curriculum Fair 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . New Years Week . . .

This week, we had our mid-week service on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. We had a potluck fellowship at 6:00, followed by the service at 7:00. Two of the boys at our church are home from college for Christmas, and they, along with two of the boys from the teen group each were given the opportunity to preach for about 10 minutes each. I thought they did an awesome job! The service ended around 8:30, and we went home to get the boys to bed. In fact, my husband and I did not stay up late, either, because he had to get “The Batman” and “The Artist” up very early, so that he could get them back to the church in time to leave with the youth group for winter retreat, in Colorado.

On New Years Day, the rest of us kind of had a lazy day. I wasn’t feeling real great, and napped off and on, but was better by that night.

On Thursday, friends from church came and got “Mr. Loquacious” and “The puzzler” for an overnight with their kids. I ended up with most of the day yesterday and today to myself!

I told you yesterday what I would be doing with the time, and I did. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve decided to join in with the Pantry Challenge posted by fellow blogger Jessica Fisher over at Good Cheap Eats. As I told I would, I cleaned out and inventoried my pantry, fridge/freezer and deep freezer. I’m embarrassed to say I had to throw out a bunch of stuff. That’s the other reason I’m doing this, so I can learn to keep track of what we have, and use it up, thereby being a better steward.

So, I have rather a lot of odds and ends in the pantry, but very little meat, veggies or fruit. So, before I head out in the morning for groceries, we’ll be going over what we have and figuring out what we need to go with it.

I will update on the pantry challenge at least a couple of times a week. Not necessarily every day, because I have other things scheduled for posting too, but I will keep up to date on this. 🙂 You can find out all about where I got this idea by clicking the graphic below . . .
Pantry-Challenge1

Today while the kids were all still gone, I worked on my ministry cards. I have my own tiny ministry at church with my hand-crafted cards. So far, I have eleven ladies and one family on my encouragement list, and I make them a card every week. I bring them to church to give them on Sunday. I really enjoy it, it feels good to encourage others!

I also worked on getting my blog planner printed out so I can either get it into a notebook or have it spiral bound at an office supply store, and printed out the words to the song I’m singing next Sunday evening, so that the pianist and I can practice it.

Then, it was time to go pick everyone up! We got back a little while before my husband got home, and then he cooked supper, hamburgers and hot dogs, the extras we didn’t use on New Years Day. We also had the rest of the potato salad, coleslaw, and some potato chips. It was nice. 🙂

How was your week? Why don’t you write about it and then link up with us over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers? Click the graphic below to read about the guidelines . . .

As always, I’d love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss another update! And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please do go to our Facebook Page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under card making, Christian faith, Church, family, Kids, Mesa Baptist Church, Pantry Challenge 2014, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Weekly Wrap-Up

“Gone, Gone, Gone, Gone, All My Kids Are Gone”!

OK, so, let’s just be real here . . . I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my kids, and if anything ever happened to any of them, my heart would be in shreds. However, as any of you who are moms surely know, especially if you are fellow homeschooling moms, sometimes, we just need a little break. Right? 🙂

So, my older two, “The Batman” and “The Artist” left yesterday with the teen group from our church for their annual winter retreat to the Cross Bar X Ranch in Durango, Colorado, and the twins, ”
Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” just left a little while ago for an overnight with friends from church who have two kids that are great friends with our kids. I am kid-less until late tomorrow afternoon when the teens return, at which time I’ll be getting the twins back as well.

So what will I do with my time alone, you ask? Well, write this post, for one, LOL!

I will also shortly, be doing an inventory of my pantry cupboard, fridge/freezer and deep freezer, in preparation for joining the Pantry Challenge posted by fellow blogger Jessica Fisher over at Good Cheap Eats.

You can read all about it by clicking the graphic below . . .

Pantry-Challenge1

She is doing a two week challenge, with specific goals. My challenge to myself is not for a specific time period, because I am planning to simply have us use up what we have, with a goal towards purchasing only the grocery items needed to round out meals made as much as possible from existing supplies. This will do a few things . . . it will save money, first and foremost. It will also force me to be more creative in meal planning and preparation, and it will help get these three areas emptied out for cleaning. I think it will also serve to show me where I need to make changes in food shopping, either because we have things that turn out to be something we don’t care for, or because it may give me the incentive to try harder to use more “real” foods, instead of convenient, packaged things. It will definitely help us become better stewards of what we have, which, as a Christian, I believe is something we should all learn to do.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what I find in my inventory, and hopefully, how I plan to implement this whole thing, and we’ll see how it goes.

In any event, I’m going to give it a try. Anyone game to join me? 🙂

As always, I’d just love it if you join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go and enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and you’ll never miss another update! If you enjoy “My Journeys”, how about a little Facebook “like”? I’d sure appreciate it! 🙂

5 Comments

Filed under Christian faith, Church, family, food, home education, homeschooling, Kids, Pantry Challenge 2014, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014