Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Traditions

I thought it would be fun to talk about are Christmas traditions.

I think that every child loves to have family traditions. This is true of our children.

When my husband and I were saved in 1992 Christmas took on a whole new meaning to us.

It wasn't just the presents any more that mattered it was a time to remember what our Lord had done for us. So my husband and I have tried to make the birth of Christ be the most
important thing in our Christmas celebration.

There have been many things through the years that have become part of our family traditions.
Every year we visit a local park where there are thousands of lights strung through the park.
Many are in shapes of animals and stars and other things. My children Love going to this every year. It is beautiful.

Every year we have our annual Church Christmas program. This year several of our children are taking part. Our son Collin is going to be a shepherd and our younger children will be singing with the Kids Choir.

We also love to watch the Polar Express together. We do not teach the children that Santa is real but that it is just a nice fairy tale.

On Christmas eve the children have decided that they love to have a table full of finger foods so they can just snack and enjoy something special. We attend our Christmas eve candle light service which we always end with the song Silent Night.

On Christmas morning we wait until everyone is up and we start our day with the Christmas story in Luke 2.

We then turn on some Christmas music and then take turns opening our presents that the Lord has blessed us with.

For lunch we all loaded into our full size van and off to Grandpa and Grandma's house and of course more gifts!

Does Christmas end there? No!

We still have to get together with the other side of the family :) So we have them over and you guessed it more food and more gifts!

It is no wonder our children love Christmas time!

My four year old Caleb has been asking every day for the past month is it Christmas yet? :)
I gently reply not yet Caleb. His response ooooh. :(

How do you spend your Christmas? We would love to hear from you. God Bless, Kathy

More Math Fun!

Well it is Thursday again wow does the week fly by!

This week I am going to talk about another math program that we used for our High School Algebra. It is a program called Video Text.

I used this at the same time for my three older children. My oldest daughter has always struggled with Algebra and as I mentioned before I had tried the Math U See Algebra with her but it did not work for us at all.

This program worked much better. It is a DVD based program that has a teacher teach you the lesson for the day and then you have the assigned work to complete.

This was helpful by telling us more in detail the new concept.

The down side that we found was that it is very expensive. I found that I had to sit every day with my children to listen to the new material or it was very hard for me to be able to help them if they did have a question.

The upside with this program is that they do have a phone number that you can call for help which is why we had decided to purchase this program.

I do believe that it can be a great help to a student if they are good independent learners. This has not be our experience though so I do not know if I will use this program again with my younger children.

You can check their website for more information here at Video Text Algebra

On my next homeschooling post I will tell you about a wonderful math program that the Lord lead us too.

Have a wonderful day! God Bless, Kathy

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Books, Christmas, and More!

Hi to all!

I am so sorry that I have not had a chance to post this week. It has been so busy this past week!
I am sure that you all know what I mean. With Christmas coming things never seem to slow down. :) We have been quite busy. We have enjoyed two Christmas parties. One last Saturday and one this past Thursday night.
The party that we attended last week was wonderful. It was a community party and there was a young lady there who had collected a lot of books from people in the community. She allowed all of the children to pick out some books. God was so good! We took home two boxes full of books!
Our children were so excited! I love it.

We love to go to our local public library so this was like having a library right in our home.
We have been trying to find better things for our younger children to do during the day. I love when they read books, build puzzles, and play games.

In the winter we tend to be in the house more so I want to find things that they can do instead of sitting in front of the TV.

With that said we are still trying to do a little Christmas shopping too.

I hope that all of you are doing really well! I am sorry that I missed my Thursday post I will try to catch up for next week.

God Bless, Kathy

Friday, December 5, 2008

Yummy Chocolate Syrup!

Our Frugal idea for this week is homemade chocolate syrup!

We found this recipe over at Hillbilly Housewife some time ago and we just love it!

My daughter Rebecca made this just the other night.

It only takes a few ingredients and it comes out really good!

My children love this in their milk and it is great on icecream as well.

Give it a try I am sure that your children will love it!

God Bless, Kathy

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm no Einstein

As I have mentioned in some previous posts we have been homeschooling now for over 13 years.

We have tried numerous curriculum's through the years and have tried many different styles of learning so I thought that I would write about one style or curriculum each week.

I will try to make this special posting on Thursday. I asked my daughter what to call this special day? They have Menu Monday, Frugal Friday, Wordless Wednesday. Hmmm. Any ideas?

Well any way today I thought I would talk about a math program that I have used.

This program is Math U See.

I did not start this math program until I was home schooling a for a few years.

I taught this program to our three older children starting in level 4. We went through until Algebra.

I really like this program.

Here are the positive things I found about the program:

The programs main premise is using blocks to help you see the Math problem. It makes the problem concrete to the child.

I love this approach. I am a visual person so this made a lot of sense to me.

They also teach skip counting early on in the program starting right in the Kindergarten level.

The skip counting has enabled our children to go right into multiplication with out a problem.

They see that skip counting is an easy way of multiplying fast.

This program also has fraction overlays which makes fractions make sense.

When our younger children began school I continued with this program and began with the first level.

I also like the fact that this program starts Algebra concepts in the very early stages. Finding what x is for 5x + 3= 13. Or telling them to find the area of a rectangle to just multiply base times height.

I have learned so much from this program and have often said why did I not learn this way?

Here is the down side that I found for our family.

We used this program through to Pre Algebra.

When I tried it with Algebra we did not do so well. It has been a long time since I did Algebra in school and I feel that the Algebra is not taught comprehensive enough for someone who does not know Algebra.

I feel that the Author assumes that all parents have a full hold on the subject but I am sure that this is not so true.

So I would highly recommend this program at least up to Pre Algebra. Unless you are an Algebra wiz!

You can check out their web site here.

I will talk next week of a curriculum I used for Algebra and how it worked for us.

If you have any questions feel free to email me rkmothersgarden (at) gmail (dot) com.

God Bless, Kathy

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Enjoying the Little Things!

Psalm 127:
3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in the day to day tasks that you stopped enjoying the little things that God brought into your life?

This can be said about me.

I have been a mom for almost 20 years and I love being a mom. All I used to dream about when I was a young girl was about getting married and having a large family.

I have always desired to have a lot of children. I think that God placed that desire in my heart all those years ago. I was not saved then but God was working in my life.

After having our first two children my husband was quite content with two. I still felt this strong desire to have more children though. My heart ached for them.

In the fall of 1992 the Lord saved my soul and shortly after my husband received him as well!

With in two months I was pregnant again with our third child!

Through the years the Lord worked in my heart and my husbands and we came to a place of trusting him for our family size. He then blessed us with 5 more children ( I was already in my mid thirties by this time)
The Lord was also working in our hearts about homeschooling. Which we have been doing for 13 years now.

With the added laundry, dirty dishes, homeschooling I forgot to enjoy my children. I let all of these things take that joy away from me and I forgot to enjoy the little things.

The Lord has been working in my heart a lot lately about this. Today I was looking at our little 2 year old daughter and she was singing and talking away and I looked at my husband and said isn't she so adorable! My husband and I never would have thought that we would have a two year old child at 45 years old. We often joke that when she is getting married we will need to retire Amen! :)

Time goes by so fast. My oldest daughter will be 20 next February. I remember bringing her home from the hospital like it was just yesterday. Okay I know that you have heard that saying before but it is so true.

So should I keep my house clean? Should I do all those piles of laundry? Yes, but I also need to remember to stop and to just enjoy the little things!

May God bless you as you enjoy your little ones (and bigger ones :) ) As you continue to serve him.

God Bless, Kathy

(Photo is courtesy of J's Magic)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Busy Day!

Today I decided to get some baking done. There is a cold going through our home so I decided to let the younger children take a day off from school to recover.

I needed to make some bread. We mill our own grain and my wonderful husband bought me a Bosh mixer several years ago to mix and knead the dough.

So I ended up making three loaves of bread. Next I moved onto some hard rolls. Tonight we are having Barbecue beef. My family loves this. We shred the beef after it is nice and tender and then we serve it on hard rolls with cheese.

After making our own rolls one day my family fell in love with them and the store rolls just are not the same any more.

I made 24 rolls so we could freeze some for future meals. I am trying to learn to make extra's if they freeze well since I already have the mess to clean any way! :)

Next I moved onto making 2 apple pies! I love apple pies! I have a recipe that you can check out here if you are interested! I had some extra apples so I did not want them to go to waste.

We are also going to visit a family tonight so my husband requested apple pie to bring along.

I do enjoy baking but it can be a lot of work :) I am so thankful for my children who help especially my oldest daughter who helped with the cooking and the dishes !

With ten people in our home to feed this food will not last long. For lunch we used almost 2 loaves of bread! Well it does help heat up the house!

I hope that you are all having a great day!

I hope you do not mind my old pictures. I just love them! :)

God Bless, Kathy

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Encouraging Words

I hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving last Thursday! We had a wonderful time. The Lord blessed us with a lot of food and we had a quiet time visiting with my Father ,Mother and my Brother.

This year we cooked a 25 lb turkey! We still have a lot of turkey left so we have a lot of meals to fill this week on our menu!

Turkey Pot Pie sure does sound good to me!

I wanted to apologize for not writing many posts lately.

I started this blog a few months ago in hopes of being a blessing to a few women out there.

I can tell you that I have had some wonderful comments that really blessed my heart and encouraged me.

I have also received some comments that were not so nice. I received a comment like that about a month or so ago and it really discouraged me.

So I stopped writing a lot of posts. My desire is to be a friend and to encourage others out there not to discourage any one, that is truly not my intentions.

I pray before I write most of my post because I really desire to please the Lord with every thing that I do and I do not want to be a hindrance to any one.

One thing that I have found in my Christian life is the lack of women who take the time to encourage younger women in the Lord.

We all need encouragement now and than. We all need to know that other women have the same struggles that we are going through. I have seen this through many of the other blogs that I have read.

I surely do not have all of the answers and I am still learning but don't we all keep learning until the day we leave this world?

I am so thankful to the Lord that he keeps working in my life changing me! That is my prayer that the Lord will keep working in my life and change me into the Godly women that he desires me to be.

The Lord has sent a few godly women along my way these past few weeks to encourage me and for that I am truly grateful!

So I will try to post more often as the Lord lays some things on my heart.

I thank those that have been visiting my blog! May the Lord encourage us to keep our eyes on him and to continue this race until we have finished!

Ephesians Chapter 4

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

God Bless, Kathy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Our Wonderful Weekend Getaway!

(Mystic Ct)

My husband and I attended our Church's annual Couples Retreat which was held in Mystic Ct this year! We had a wonderful time!

The Lord blessed and over 80 couples attended! The guest speaker and his wife were a true blessing to be with.

My children did very well while we were away Praise the Lord! They enjoyed all of their treats too!

There was many things that the guest speaker shared with us but I think that the one thing that stood out the most for me was how important it is for husbands and wives to have biblical communication.

Many marriages fall apart due to the lack of communications in the home.

I am so thankful for my husband, for my children and for his wonderful gift of salvation and the Bible which teaches how to have the right kind of relationships.

I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Let us remember that we have so much to be thankful for!

May God Bless you all! Kathy

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our Weekend Getaway!

Hi to everyone! I am so excited this weekend my husband and I will be going to our church's annual couples retreat! This is something that I look forward to every year!

I wanted to make sure that my children will have a bit of fun also while we are away so we are planning some fun and frugal ways of doing this.

Crystal mentioned over on Money Saving Mom that she was going to be baking and freezing ahead of time.

I decided this week to do a bit of cooking and freezing ahead of time also.

Yesterday I made three pizza's. I cooked the dough partially, let it cool and than added the toppings. I froze them so all our children have to do Friday night is just pop them in the oven and enjoy! No major mess. Here is the recipe we like to use.

We are also going to splurge and buy some Costco muffins for Saturday morning breakfast another treat. Off to the Red Box to rent a few movies for the weekend and a few snacks from Aldi's and they should be able to have a fun and frugal weekend!

We have even decided to grab a couple of those yummy muffins for our selves for our Saturday breakfast so we can just relax in our room a little longer and not feel rushed. Not to mention that it will also be much cheaper than running out for breakfast at a restaurant.

I will try to post some pictures of our weekend when we get back! Have a great and blessed weekend! God Bless, Kathy

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Aniversary Dad and Mom!

I want to wish my Father and Mother a Happy 46th Anniversary!
My Father and Mother married 46 years ago on November 10th 1962.
They were both born and raised in Canada Quebec province.
My father came to the USA looking for work.
He came here with some of his brothers and they worked for his uncle.
When he returned to Canada to visit family he meet and fell in love with my mother and they were married within 6 months!

Rebecca recently was talking to my parents and asked them to share about there memories of that wonderful wedding day.
Grandpa replied it was a beautiful sunny day!
Grandma looked at him and said no it was raining and cold!
I guess Memories can change in 46 years!
God has blessed them both with good health and a lot of grandchildren 11 in all!

I thank God for my parents and I want to Wish them a Wonderful Anniversary! Love You Both * Kathy and Family!

Click to play Happy Anniversary
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Our Decision to Homeschool Part 2 "The First Year"

In my first post "Our decision to Home school Part 1" I left off with my husband and I deciding to give home schooling a try.

So I thought I would write today about our first year home schooling our children.

At this time of my life I had been blessed with three children. Our oldest daughter was ready to enter 2nd grade and my second child our son was ready for Kindergarten. We also had a 3 year old son.

We decided to stick with the curriculum that Rebecca had used in school for the first two years which was the Abeka curriculum. I ordered all of the work books and teacher books and test books and quiz books, teacher keys and the readers. It was a bit overwhelming but I just figured I would need all of this right?

I went straight to work and set up a little spare room that we had at the time on the first floor.

Our Christian school just happen to be getting rid of some desks and chairs for school and I thought this is exactly what I needed so I was so happy to be able to get these and to place them in our little school room.

I bought our little flags , the Christian flag and the American flag, to make sure that we started our day just like they did in school with our pledges.

We posted our Large letter cards at the top of the wall along the room and I even made some adorable curtains with a school print for the two windows that were in our new school room!

Every thing looked great and we soon received our books.

I even had purchased our teachers lesson planner I was well on my way to a great year!

We started our school year at the same time as our Christian school did. I just figured we would follow their schedule and all would be great!

The first day came and we started out on this new journey. By Gods grace second grade was basically a review of everything Rebecca had learned in 1tst grade so this was a great blessing.

I did not learn reading with the Phonics approach so this was really new to me.

As I began teaching my second child I discovered very quickly that this was not going to go as smoothly as I thought it would.

He seemed to struggle with remembering what he had learned and I did not know how I was going to help him through this.

The other challenge would be to keep my three year old busy while the other two where doing school.

By Gods Grace slowly we began to work out the problems and things began to fall into place.

I discovered that I did not have to keep up with our Christian school and that one of the greatest blessings of homeschooling was being able to work at my children's own pace .

We are not entering into our 13th year of homeschooling and a lot has changed. The room with the desks are gone and the kitchen table is where we do most of our school work. The curriculum has changed some and by Gods grace I have one graduated!

If you are thinking about homeschooling and you feel the Lord leading you to do this then I would encourage you to take that step of faith and by Gods Grace he will help you to accomplish something for His Glory!

I hope to continue this series to share with you some of the bumps in the road and some of the many blessings!

God Bless, Kathy

(repost from 8/8/08)

Photos by J's Magic

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Family Trip to Yankee Candle

Hear ye! Hear Ye!
The Royal children say hi!

A few weeks ago our family was able to visit Yankee Candle!
The Christmas mood is so enjoyable there! The sights, smells and sounds are so Christmassy!

We enjoyed seeing the candles, trains and nutcrackers too!

Collin and I loved the castle!

Mom's favorite display!

This was everybody's favorite!

Yes, we are down to blogging about 1 time a week!
We hope you don't mind!
We would love to hear from our readers about what you would like to see on our blog!

~Rebecca and Kathy!

Enjoy the slideshow!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

An Unusual Game

Playing "Travis"

The game of "Travis" is so fun and simple!
My 4yr old brother invented it!

He has a Playmobile soldier which he named "Travis".
And this lizard next to him is "Kobi"
They own the castle and all the other toy animals are their friends!

This game has become very popular!
We have a"lookout" Brontosaurus,
A "General" T-Rex, a "cook" named Mooch the Monkey, and on and on!

We have alot of fun playing this game, and alot more fun cleaning up all the animals after!

It's amazing how a simple game can be so much fun!
"Travis" is a great game for my two youngest siblings to play while Mom teaches school.
But sometimes Mr. Dinosaur roars a little bit loud!



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our Decision to Homeschool Part 1

I thought I would write about our homeschooling journey and how we decided to take that step of faith to home educate our children.

Back in 1992 my husband and I received Christ which changed our whole lives for ever.
At this point in our lives my husband and I had been married for 6 years and we had a daughter Rebecca who was 3 years old and a son Brandon who was 1 year old. Of course we were not really thinking about where our children were going to attend school up to this point but God definitely had a plan for us that He would reveal as time went on.

The church that we began to attend was a Bible believing church and they had their own Christian school so we began to think along this avenue. We did wonder how we would ever be able to afford Christian education on one income.

As our oldest daughter was drawing closer to school age we decided to enroll her in the Christian school at our local church. She attended there for Kindergarten and first grade. We noticed that she was starting to separate from our family and we were not pleased with her attitude that she was also developing. We knew that we really wanted to have more input in her daily life and that was not very easy to do when she was gone most of the day. Our son was approaching school age by this time and we really did not know if we could afford two in school.

Around 1995 the Lord brought a dear couple into our lives from our church. They had adopted a beautiful little boy who was my older daughters age and they had been homeschooling him.
I had never heard of homeschooling before so I had a lot of questions for them.
Why were they homeschooling? After all we had a Christian school at our church.
How were they homeschooling?
What about the law?

My dear friend was so wonderful, gently telling me about homeschooling and why they had decided to home educate their son.

I began to pray to the Lord about this. It was such a new idea for me. Could I really home educate our children?

I decided to talk to my husband about it.

My husband was not sure if this was really a good idea. It was new to him too.
He really did not think that this was a wise decision for our family. After all we had a Christian school at our church.

At this point I was also doing day care in the afternoon, and the Lord had blessed us with our third child, so it would be a challenge to manage school, day care and all of the many tasks of running a home. As I continued to pray about it my heart grew more and more burdened and I really felt like the Lord wanted me to take that step of faith and to trust Him.

I knew though that it would have to come from my husband to make this decision which was really hard for me.

As we continued to pray about it my husband and I decided that I would attend a homeschooling convention to learn more about homeschooling, and to see the curriculum that was available to parents.

I remember attending with my dear friend who was taking me under her wings. As the day went on every thing went very well until we attended a class about teaching higher math. As the class went on my heart sank and I know that it was very visible on my face. I began to think oh Lord how could I ever teach Calculus? Then I was reminded that my children were only going into 2nd grade and Kindergarten. What a great relief!

I went home that day with great excitement and shared with my husband all that I had learned.
We decided to give it a try.

Was I nervous? Oh yes! But I knew that the Lord would help me if I just put my trust in him.

In part two I will talk about our first homeschooling year.

(repost from July 7th, 2008)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yummy Apple Pie!

Can you smell that crisp fall air? See the leaves changing colors?
Up here in New England that is what we are seeing and with the change to fall is the wonderful smells of Apple Pie!

I always look forward to fall for those wonderful apple pies. We went to a local apple orchard and we were able to buy some second apples for 38 cents a pound. So my husband bought us 23 pounds of apples.

We have made some fried apples and of course apple pie.

My dear friend Pam moved to upper state NY and she asked me a couple of weeks ago to write a post about making apple pie. Now that I cannot make her one, since she is no longer here, I told her that I would post the recipe on our blog.

Here is how we make our apple pie.

First I pick about 7-8 nice large apples. Peel and core and slice into nice size pieces. If you want the apples really soft you can slice them really thin. My husband likes a little bit of a bite so I do not cut them really thin.

After I place them in a bowl and add sugar, flour and cinn. I set this aside to let the sugar create a nice apple juice in the bottom of the bowl.

Then I prepare the pie crust.

Combine flour, salt and shortening.

Cut shortening into the flour mixture.

Then I ad 7-8 tablespoons of very cold water to form the pie crust
I add ice cubes to my cold water a trick that I learned from a friend to make sure that the crust really forms well.

Then form into a nice ball on a floured surface and I wrap with syran wrap and place in fridge for a little bit. I find that if the dough is nice and cool it rolls out better.

Cut dough into two equal parts and flour counter. Roll out dough for bottom half.

Carefully lift crust and lay into pie dish.

Add apples, pile up nice and high!:)

Add a few pats of butter. ( I often forget this part:) )

Roll out the other crust and lay onto the top of your apples.

I like to fold and tuck the upper crust under the bottom crust to seal the pie and to give me a nice thick crust.

Then I pinch the edges to give it a pretty look.

Add a few slits on top of the pie to release the steam.

Now it is time to bake. Oven temp 425 degrees 40-50 mins

I like to place foil around the edges so they will not over cook. I remove them about 10 mins before the pie is done.

The best way to know that the pie is done is when the juice begins to bubble out of the slits that you made in the top of the pie.

Yum, doesn't that look so good! It smells good too! Add some ice cream and you are all set!

Here is the Recipe:

Pie Crust-
1 cup of shortening
2 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
7-8 tablspoons cold water (add a little bit of Ice)

Pie filling-
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp cinn.
7-8 large apples peeled and sliced
3 tlb spoons of butter or margarine

Well Pam I hope that you enjoy!

God Bless, Kathy

Fried apples are also good so give that a try too!