Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Homeschool Day

Homeschooling is a joy and a challenge. I am still trying to figure out what works for us. With Christine's therapies and Joe's developmental preschool schedule... I'm often working school in wherever I can fit it in. Some days Nate and I get a good start on school right after breakfast and are finished by lunch. Other days we are finishing up subjects as I am cooking dinner. Or sometimes I stick to the core subjects and skip the fluff.
As I have mentioned before we are using Heart of Dakota Little Hearts for His Glory this year. Here is what is assigned daily:

Bible Study
Reading about History
Math Exploration
Fine Motor Skills/Handwriting
Corresponding Music
Rhymes in Motion
rotating Science/Art/Drama

*the last three subjects are the ones that the curriculum suggests as optional and we bypass on really busy days (such as days when we have field trips or such).

Sunday, November 27, 2011


This year Thanksgiving Day started unlike any other for me. My friend and I got to participate in the ninth annual Drumstick Dash which is a fund raiser for Wheeler Mission Ministry in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here we are when we got to the parking lot. We were all cheerful and bright eyed. After an hour of waiting in the brisk November air for a shuttle from the parking lot to the event we were a little less bright eyed to say the least.
In fact we were on one of the last two shuttles and the roads were already blocked off for the race by the time the shuttle picked us up so they dropped us off a couple of blocks from the starting line. Rather than fight through this mass of 15,000+ people to get to the start we decided to just jump in where they dropped us off. We were not running competitively anyway, seeing as I am really out of shape and Jess gets shinsplints really badly.
The crowd was pretty overwhelming at times. I have never participated in an event like this so it was a completely new experience for me. It was very exciting to be a part of something with thousands of other people all working together for a worthy cause. Wheeler Mission Ministries is a non-denominational, Christian, social services organization, which provides critically needed goods and services to the homeless, poor, and needy of central Indiana without regard to race, color, creed, national origin or religion.

And here we are post race proudly sporting our Drumstick Dash shirts, ready to head to our respective family Thanksgiving gatherings. What a great way to start the holiday! Thanks for doing it by my side, Jess! Love ya!

The rest of the Thanksgiving day and weekend has included gatherings at my Grandma's house (which is always a full house) and my inlaws which is a smaller gathering but with an awesome spread! My MIL is an great cook. Here are links to the foods that I personally made for this year's Thanksgiving feasts.

Pigs in a Blanket
Pumpkin Cookies
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad (this one I actually use the Aldi version of this and add a bag of frozen peas and carrots, extra bacon bits and a cup of shredded cheese)

Pumpkin Mousse Pie (I used cheesecake Jello instead of vanilla - Yum! Would have been just a bit better if the guys hadn't let it sit out so long, it was a little more like pudding than like pie by the time I ate it. But still good. ;-)
S'mores Pie (this called for you to make your own whip cream and I just bought mine because Meijer was out of whipping cream. It worked just fine. Everyone loved it!)
Pecan Bars (delish!!)

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Sometimes I have days, maybe weeks where I feel alone. I may be surrounded by people, heck, I'm nearly always with my kids at least... so I rarely am physically alone. But inside... I feel it. It is during those times that I have to remind myself that I am never alone.

But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance. Psalm 22:19

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24 (KJV)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

"O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me....How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You." (Psalm 139:1-10 & 17-18)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Have a Little Faith BOOK Giveaway!!!

I have been asked to do another giveaway! Yay! This time it is a copy of Mitch Albom's book: Have a Little Faith which is going to be released as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Here is a little about the story:

Henry Covington was a Detroit preacher who overcame – along with his wife, Annette, played by Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose (“Dreamgirls,” “Caroline, Or Change”) – a life mired in drugs and crime. Mitch Albom, portrayed in the movie by Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”), met the reverend-in-recovery when he wrote newspaper columns about homeless people and homeless shelters. Covington’s I Am My Brother’s Keeper Church provided food and a place -- on the church floor -- where homeless people could sleep.

The other central character in Albom’s book and movie is New Jersey Rabbi Albert Lewis, played by Academy Award winner Martin Landau (“Ed Wood,” “Entourage”). “The Reb,” as Albom calls him, asks Albom – who had briefly attended the rabbi’s synagogue as a child -- to write his eulogy.

On the surface, these two larger-than-life characters, the charismatic African-American preacher and the feisty, funny rabbi, could hardly be more different. But they each in their own way profoundly affect the writer. It’s a story about life’s purpose – losing belief and finding it again – and about the divine spark inside all of us. One man’s journey is really everyone’s story.

I am looking forward to reading my copy of Have a Little Faith over the holidays. If you would like to enter to win your own copy of this heartwarming book
please comment on this post with your email address (mandatory for giveaway entry). For extra entries you can 1) become a follower of Wani's World 2) like Mitch Albom on facebook - if you do the extra entries please leave additional comments telling me you have done them. The giveaway will be open until 12/1/11 and then I will post the winner (maybe even multiple winners, you never know! ;-)
**Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Love Languages

Marriage is work. There are no perfect people, therefore there are no perfect relationships.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Italian Tonight!

I like to improv cook a lot. Its not fancy, just try variations of dishes that I have made before. Sometimes its out of necessity because we are missing some ingredients. Its always (ok, maybe not always ;-) fun to see what I come up with. Just the other night I wanted to make a french bread pizza but didn't have the usual sausage and pepperoni so I used canned chicken instead. Yum!

French Bread Chicken Pizza

1 loaf French Bread
Slice loaf in half and lay open on baking sheet.
Top with Sauce/Spread
1 can tomato paste
1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I used Pampered Chef Parmesan Garlic Seasoning)
Then mix together:
1 can chicken or 1 cup of shredded chicken
1 Tablespoon olive oil (garlic infused)
1-2 tsp Italian seasoning or pesto
And spread over bread. Then top with your choice of toppings:
1/2-3/4 cup chopped spinach
chopped peppers
diced zucchini
1-2cups of shredded cheese - I used slices of provolone, shredded Mexican style cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350degrees until toasty (about 20min)! Yum!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Taming the TV too

I'm a sucker for tv shows. It doesn't take much for me to get hooked on a new show. When I was growing up we didn't watch a whole lot of tv but we did get to enjoy the Friday night ritual of "TGIF". In college I remember arranging my schedule around "Must See TV" and going to my friends' dorm room to watch Friends and ER together. My hubby and I were big Lost fans (though we disagree on how we feel about the way it ended).
Over the years I have noticed the quality of television changing. In some ways its getting better; the acting, special effects, etc. But in others I think the quality is going down. I cannot think of any shows that are genuinely family friendly anymore. When I was a teen we watched Saved By The Bell now teens are watching Gossip Girl, Secret Life of the American Teenager and Skins. I read an interesting article comparing what teens in the '80s were watching versus current trends in teen viewing. What a huge difference in the content of shows marketed toward teens now. The media is encouraging teenage sexuality and substance abuse more and more.

According to an article on the Presidential Prayer Team's website: “Television carries the imprimatur of acceptability for all kinds of activities,” according to popular culture expert and Syracuse University professor Robert Thompson. “Once prime time television decides to absorb something, it becomes a stamp of normalcy. It’s no longer controversial. It’s no longer a big deal. It makes it a casual, accepted sort of thing.”

As someone who has pretty traditional family values I have had to reevaluate my own tv viewing. Do I want to support shows that do not share my values? It seems to me that most tv shows now do not have any values at all. I have been convicted about my tv choices for awhile. And over time I have chosen to say goodbye to a few of my old tv shows... Glee, Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy, Vampire Diaries... I have by no means found any perfect shows, but because it is so hard to find quality tv viewing, we primarily are watching older shows on Netflix now.

Everyone has different views on values and tv viewing. I am not trying to convince anyone to give up anything. Just sharing about what I have been thinking about. Do you need help deciding what tv shows and movies are appropriate for your family viewing? Here are a few resources to give you the needed information to make educated decisions about your screen time.
Plugged In - gives reviews and content breakdowns for movies and tv shows - full content reviews - offers a Christian look at pop culture

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Friday, November 11, 2011

Little Angels Giveaway Winners!

I'm here to announce the winners of the Little Angels DVD giveaway...

Julie R.

I'll be in contact with you ladies and making arrangements to get your dvds to you! Please check out Little Angels online or facebook.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Homeschool Group Projects Ta-Da

I get inspiration from so many blogs and websites. I love that through the internet we are able to share our love of many other hobbies and activities. Here are a few of the projects we completed in the papercrafting class I did for the kindergarten and first graders in our homeschool group this fall semester.

We made contact paper stained glass windows. I used this tutorial as a guide to get me started. I was going to give the kids shapes to fill in like she does in the tutorial but I decided I didn't want to cut out 20 shapes. So I just let them do their own thing (Nate's is on the right in the pix, his was supposed to be Daffy Duck). Some of them were pretty clear what the kids were trying to make and others... well lets say they were more "modern" art. ;-)

Here is Nate with our paper pumpkin ta-da. He was so proud. ;-) I got the idea from Craftaholics Anonymous. She posted a tutorial HERE. It worked pretty well... but since I was using the hot glue I had to do most of it and the kids could only help so much... I am learning as I go with this class. By the time the semester is over I'll have finally gotten the hang of it. ;-)I was inspired by this tutorial on My Blessed Life and modified it for the kids. We let them use a lot of stickers and they had a good time with this one.

For awhile now I have been seeing tutorials for silhouette projects on a several blogs. This one and this one are the ones that I referenced when I planned this silhouette project for the class. I combined the silhouette idea with paper covered notebooks using this tutorial. So the first day of classes I took photos of the kids and got prints made. I cut their silhouettes out then taped them face down on a large sheet of cardboard and spray painted them black. I pre-cut the decorative paper before the class time. Once in class we had the kids do all the gluing. I found pre-cut paper frames at Target (in the school supply clearance) and the kids glued those to the front and pasted their silhouette inside the frame. I was pretty proud. ;-)

There was a lot of trial and error for me with this class. I've not taught in a setting like this before and it was a learning experience for me. Figuring out what the kids were capable of doing in the amount of time we had was a challenge. I almost feel like I was just getting the hang of things as the semester was ending. But the leadership must have liked what I did with the class because they asked me to teach it again next semester for the second graders. I am a little more confident going into this next semester now that I've already done most of the pre-planning and have already done it once. Hopefully things will go smoothly in the spring too!

Monday, November 07, 2011

DIY Wreath

I've been getting my craft on! Take a look at my latest "ta-da"!!
I did not take step by step pix of this but I do have a few links if you are interested. I was inspired by some ideas I found on Pinterest. Here is a link that shows how to make a wreath form out of plumbing foam tubing. Have I mentioned how much I love to save money? ;-)
First I assembled the wreath form - basically just sealed it, curved it into a circle and taped it closed with heavy duty duck tape. Then I wrapped 2in strips of fabric around the form and hot glued it to the foam form.

After it was all wrapped, I added the flowers to finish it off. Here is a tutorial for the felt flowers I used. I'm not going to say for who but this wreath is going to be a gift for someone. I'll be blogging about that soon enough. ;-)

The Southern Institute

Friday, November 04, 2011

Hearty Pumpkin Pancakes - YUM!

For me pumpkin is a seasonal treat and I eat the heck out of it during the fall and winter seasons! A while back I did a google search for Pumpkin Pancakes and found several recipes that I modified into what I found worked for us. I love it!

Hearty Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup

4 Tablespoons. packed brown sugar

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon apple or pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

optional - 1 cup chopped nuts, chocolate chips or butterscotch chips (or if you're crunchy you could add flax seed, oatmeal or other healthy add-ons).

1. In a large bowl combine eggs and remaining wet ingredients. Stir sugar, spices and other dry ingredients into wet mixture until slightly lumpy.

2. Heat a lightly greased griddle over medium heat. For each pancake pour approximately 1/8 cup batter onto griddle - I like to fit four small pancakes on a square pan. Cook until golden; turn when tops are bubbly and edges are slightly dry (about 1 to 2 minutes per side). I don't usually get a good count on how many pancakes this makes because we eat them as we make them - but I paid attention today and got a count of about 30 sm/med pancakes! Top these babies with your choice of syrup, caramel drizzle or cream cheese frosting!