Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dona, Santiago, and Tobolsk

Meet Dona, Santiago, and Tobolsk. I picked them up today knowing that later on this summer, they will produce beautiful heirloom tomatoes!

I am thinking of planting them between the brussel sprouts that have yet to produce any brussel sprouts.

Not sure how much bigger the broccoli is going to get this spring, so maybe we should harvest some of this and roast them to have with dinner tomorrow night.

Could there be a chance we might have blueberries this spring?

We might need to put a net over these to keep the birds away from enjoying them all.

And I need to figure out what pesky pest is eating up my garden.

But in the meantime, I love smelling the sweet fragrance of these...

...and these.

Since we are at the end of March, I really need to start planning my summer garden. What yummy things will you be planting this spring?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Have you written to your sponsored child lately?

Tonight, I attended a Compassion Advocate training call on the Ins and Outs of Correspondence. I love attending these training calls! This training call reinforced for me the importance of writing to our sponsored children regularly.

The trainer tonight gave an example of a young boy in Indonesia. This young boy was discouraged because he kept losing his sponsors. He was considering leaving the Compassion program. Then someone starting sponsoring him who wrote to him regularly, encouraging him. This young boy ended up staying in the Compassion program, graduated out of the program, and is now working for Compassion in Indonesia. Because one person decided to make a difference in a young boy's life.

Need more motivation to write to your child? Here are 10 motivating reasons to write.

Not sure what to write? Here is a great blog post from the Compassion blog to help you get started.

Don't have a lot of time to write? Be sure to check out the new online letter writing tool!

Want to do something a little creative? Instead of sending them a blank coloring page, draw a picture for them!

Just think of your sponsored child's happy, smiling face when they receive that letter you took the time to write.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My take on 'The Hunger Games' movie

Yesterday, I went with Matthew to go see 'The Hunger Games' movie. He has read all of the books, and I have not. Due to some reviews I had read about the books and the movies, I felt that his dad or I should be along to watch the movie in order to have some discussion about the movie afterwards.

I did not enjoy the movie...

Here are some of the reasons why I did not enjoy the movie:

1. Government control over children - this was really disturbing to me and reminds me of what is happening to a lot of our children in the public school system. How could any parent allow their child to be 'reaped' for the sake of the government? I know this is part of the plot line of the book, but we are already seeing the government take too many liberties with our children. The children belong to their parents, not the government.

2. Children killing other children - when did this become entertainment? Don't we see enough of this going on around the country that this needs to be part of what 'entertains' our children? What exactly does this teach our children? For the sake of the game, it is all right to kill other people?

3. Adults manipulating for their pleasure - during the 'game' portion of the movie when the children are roaming around the 'game board', I couldn't believe the manipulation that was going on by the adults who were 'controlling' the outcome of the game, basically so people would watch. This really bothered me, especially when their manipulation caused the death of some of the children.

I know that many people like to read these types of books and watch these types of movies simply to be entertained, but where do we draw the line.

Thankfully, the movie and its plot/theme were the subject of a long discussion last night. Sometimes, we need to discern ourselves whether these are the types of movies/books we want to watch/read. Just because 'all of our friends' are reading the books or watching the movies does not mean that we need to jump on the bandwagon.

I don't write this post to judge what other families have decided about the books and the movies. I write this post as an observer who has a different view which may not be popular. My view may be different than yours, and that is okay.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thankfully, the rain stayed away today

We have been watching the weather forecast all week for this upcoming weekend. The threat of rain stayed away today and we ended up having a beautiful day today at our first Civil War reenacting weekend event for the year.

Normally, our whole family participates by dressing up and camping out for the whole weekend, but with the anticipated rain and wind in the forecast, Matthew was the only one who dressed appropriately for the weekend.

That is Matthew in the middle of the picture

Some of his friends came by for a visit

Really hard to find Matthew among all those boys in blue out there

The covered bridge at this location is always a great backdrop for pictures.

We usually participate in five or six Civil War events every year. Our next event is at my favorite location close to my favorite national park. I am sure I will have more pictures to share after the next stay tuned...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making good use of that Costco chicken

Going through my Food Network magazines, I had found a recipe for a BBQ Chicken Pizza that sounded really good. So I pinned it on my Recipes I Want to Try board.

Yesterday, while we were at Costco, I picked up one of their roasted chickens knowing that the pizza would be perfect for dinner tonight.

I have some garlic shoots growing in my garden, so I added some chopped garlic shoots to the top of the pizza. This will definitely be a repeat recipe at our home.

There was still quite a bit of chicken left on that chicken, so I added it to a stock pot and will be making chicken broth. It will make some great soup this weekend since we are expecting quite a storm again.

How do you stretch out a whole chicken?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Keit, Andreas, and Pamela

Today, I would like to introduce you to three Compassion kids who are looking for sponsors.

Keit lives in Burkina Faso with her mother and one sibling. She just had her 11th birthday in December.  Keit likes to play with dolls, play hide and seek, and play group games. She helps her mom at home by washing clothes, running errands, and cleaning.

Andreas is an 8 year old boy who lives in Indonesia with his grandmother and one sibling. His school performance is above average, and he likes to read and bicycling. Andreas helps his grandmother by running errands and cleaning.

Pamela lives in Peru with her father, mother, and one sibling. She will be 6 in May. Pamela enjoys playing with dolls and helps at home by running errands.

These children would love to have a sponsor who will write to them and encourage them, be praying for them and their family, and share with them that Jesus loves them. Would you like to be that person? If you would like to sponsor one of these children, please leave a comment on this post.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Work and Flowers

For the past couple of months, Matthew has had the opportunity to work for some friends of ours. We met them while Civil War reenacting. Their company, Lumenaris has wonderful products! I really like their wool felt products and their puzzles. You can purchase most of the items online, or you might just find them at a Living History event, homeschool conference, or even a quilt show. Since their shop is about 1 1/2 hours from us, Matthew has been spending a couple of days with them.

While Matthew has been away, Kelsey and I have had some one on one time together. Yesterday, we took our cameras and walk around our neighborhood. On our walk, we found some different flowers then what we have in our backyard. We would stop and take pictures, she like some, and I liked others. Overall, we had a very nice walk together (especially after all the rain we had over the weekend!)

This morning, we uploaded her pictures to my computer and played around with them. I had suggested that we make a collage of her pictures and she can hang them on the wall in her room. So here is what we came up with:

We decided to order a few extra copies so she can mail the pictures to her Compassion correspondent kids. She is even thinking of making cards from the individual pictures to start a little business. I will keep you posted...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Meet Our Compassion Kids Monday: Kawllian and Karan

By now, you have met our 3 sponsored children and 7 correspondent children with Compassion. A few weeks ago, there was a Facebook post on the Compassion International Facebook page looking for correspondent sponsors for 150 children that were just sponsored (probably by a corporation). I asked Kelsey if she would like to be added to the list. Of course she said 'yes'! So I made the call.

A couple of weeks later, Kelsey and I both had new little boys added to our accounts and they are both from India. So I decided to introduce both of them today.

This is Kawllian. He is currently 5 years old, but has a birthday coming up in May. Kawllian lives with his father and mother. His favorite activities are soccer, playing with marbles, and hide-and-seek. He is responsible for caring for animals, and helping in the kitchen.

This is Karan. He is 5 years old and has a birthday in October. Karan lives with his father, mother, and one sibling. His favorite activity is to play with friends. He is responsible for caring for animals.

As soon as the boys showed up on our accounts, we both sent letters using the online letter writing tool, which is available on your Compassion account. A couple of weeks ago, we hosted our monthly Compassion Sponsor Letter Writing night, so we were able to send special letters to each of these boys, as well as the other 10 children we sponsor and correspond with.

So here is your test: who can tell me the names and countries of all the kids we sponsor and correspond with?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Today's kitchen line up...

Tomorrow, we will be having dinner with some friends and I was asked to bring dessert. Browsing through Pinterest, I had found a recipe for these Lemon Tea Cookies. I thought they would be really nice to have with a cup of tea after dinner. I have to say, I was not impressed. They were very dry. I didn't even bother making the glaze for them. We might just have to stop at Costco and pick up an apple pie for dessert instead.

Dinner tonight, however, included 2 tried and true recipes from around here...Irish Soda Bread and Split Pea Soup.

Until a few years ago, I don't believe I had ever had Irish Soda Bread. I used to get a yearly calendar from Gooseberry Patch that had a new recipe each month. As far as I know, we are not Irish, so we don't really get into the whole Irish dinner celebration, but it is fun to make something different for St. Patrick's Day.

The Split Pea Soup recipe comes from Cook's Country. For a while I was receiving their magazine and I used to watch their TV show when we still had cable. I was so glad we still had some ham in the freezer to add to our soup for tonight.

I did add some new recipes to my Recipes I would like to try Pinterest board today though. My sister renewed my subscription to the Food Network magazine for me for my birthday. So instead of tearing out magazine pages, I have been finding the recipes on the Food Network web site, then pinning them on Pinterest. In fact, I think we need to try this pizza recipe really soon!

Do you have a new recipe you would like to try soon?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pennant Banner Tutorial

My mantle was looking a little bare of spring

So I created a triangle template and cut the triangles out from some spring looking scrap material (I cut 2 sides with my pinking shears and one side with regular scissors)

I found some single fold bias tape in a good coordinating color

At the sewing machine, I folded over the bias tape along the raw edge of the triangle

The middle triangle needed something a little extra, so out came the box of felt and jar of buttons

Using a template, I cut a flower shape out of the felt

Hand stitched a button through the center of the felt flower through the middle triangle on the banner

And now the mantle looks a little more like spring!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When the skies are grey and cloudy...

It was dark and cold this morning when we woke up... I was glad that we had these ingredients at home... that I could bake up a batch of these... :o)

What do you like to bake when it is grey and cloudy outside? Tell me what you like to bake and I will send you the recipe for these cookies!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meet Our Compassion Kids Monday: Murimi

This is Murimi. He will be 6 years old this month and he lives in Kenya. There are 3 children in Murimi's family and he likes to play ball. We don't know a lot more than this about Murimi yet because we are still waiting for our first letter from him.

When Kelsey and I started signing up for correspondent kids, my husband decided he wanted a child to correspond with also. So he called Compassion and got himself on the waiting list. When we received his packet in the mail, we were excited to see that he received a correspondent child in Kenya! We have friends who are currently living and working in Kenya with Agape Children's Ministry. They were just getting ready to leave for their trip, so we were able to send over with them some items for Murimi.

Kevin is anxiously awaiting his first letter from Murimi, so if you think about it this week, pray that a letter comes soon!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Cake Challenge

A friend of ours issued a challenge to Kelsey...try making a cake more moist without adding more liquid. So we took a recipe which was easily divided by four and started adjusting ingredients.

Kelsey kept notes of which batter contained which ingredients.

It was interesting how different each set of cupcakes turned out.

Her favorite cupcake was the one where she accidently added butter and shortening to the batter. Which goes to show that sometimes mistakes turn out just fine.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fix Fatao's Heart

Fatao is a young boy living with his family in Burkina Faso and he needs to have heart surgery. He has a hole in his heart that needs to be repaired. Thankfully, he is a sponsored  child with Compassion! The total cost of his surgery is $23,000 (this cost includes the surgery, travel expenses, and follow up care.)

Read more about his story on the Compassion blog, then be sure to make a donation today!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Meet Our Compassion Kids Monday: Alesi

Let me introduce you to Alesi from Uganda! This is Kelsey's third correspondent child.

Alesi is 9 years old and lives with her father, mother, older brother, and uncle. She likes the color red, social studies, and net ball. Her favorite Bible story is when Jesus calms the storm. She wishes to one day to see an airplane and would like to become a nurse when she grows up. Her prayer is that God gives her wisdom to pass her class.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." - Matthew 7:7 (ESV)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Back to our regularly scheduled blogging...

Now that the voting for the My Gift of Compassion Video Contest has closed, I will now resume my regular blogging. :o) By the way, as far as I know, we did end up in the top 3 for votes. We will know on March 7th the winner of the contest. I will be sure to keep you all posted. :o)

Any way...we have just finished what I consider the hardest 2 months of homeschooling...January and February! There is usually not a lot going on outside the home in these 2 months, the weather is cold and dreary, and you spend many days just going through your routine of day to day homeschooling. My solution to all of this to is plan a field trip or two!

So the kids and I headed over to San Francisco to spend a day at the Exploritorium.  This museum (if you haven't been there before) is really an enormous museum filled with many hands-on science exhibits.

We were able to see a demonstration of how to make a light bulb with some basic items.

Matthew was able to create sparks on Kelsey's hand.

We were able to see huge leaves that have been preserved from the rain forest.

After we were done in the museum, we spent some time walking around the Palace of Fine Arts. The last time we visited the Exploritorium, renovation work was being done at the Palace of Fine Arts. It was a chilly afternoon, but a great time to get some photos.

If you look closely, you can see a couple of new additions... :o)

Have you been on a field trip lately? I would love to know about it!