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Today was day two for Gislaine’s trip into first grade. Of course, we are spending time reviewing things she learned in Kindergarten. I would skip the review, since she only finished Kindergarten last Friday, but she enjoys writing and needs the practice writing letters.

And with spelling, apparently, as you will see in a moment.

After we finished the lesson for the day, I went to take a nap before I had to start lunch. While I napped, she drew a picture and wrote a story to go with it. Keep in mind that she has only learned one sound per letter so far, and only short vowel sounds. She also knows the word “the” by sight, but has never had to learn to write it yet.


Because spelling errors are more numerous than correctly spelled words, I found it necessary for her to translate it for me. She forgot what some of the words were herself and I suspect made up some of them as she went along. Here’s the translation:

The cat is tired. The kid is having fun. The hours went here. The sun is hot. The Glad (name of cloud) happy. Sun is happy. Done.

I did casually point out her numerous and creative spellings for the word “the”, and just as casually mentioned the correct spelling. But other than that, I didn’t criticize the work at all. I think she was very creative to write backwards when the words were going from right to left, and I loved the arrows telling the reader which word to read next.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she begins writing more. I expect her spelling will improve. She can write 2 and 3 letter words that I dictate if they have a short vowel in them, most without any prompting at all. She is bright and creative. I want to foster that.

This is going to be a great school year!


Today the kids found a yellow caterpillar that has the body of a woolly bear (you know, those red and black banded fuzzy caterpillars). Ever since we studied the letter B for Butterfly and watched caterpillars metamorphose into butterflies (they came with Gislaine’s kindergarten kit), we have wanted to use the butterfly house again. But we were not able to identify any caterpillars until today, and I felt identification was important so that we would know what to feed it.

A quick search informed us that the caterpillar is called a Yellow Bear and will turn into a white moth. It eats all kinds of greens, including grass and clover, which is quite abundant around here, so it was a good choice.

Now we have it in a glass jar with a sprouting lid on top. Gislaine has promised to give it fresh greens daily, so we’ll see what happens.

Can you see him hiding there in the jar under the leaves? He’s gone to sleep for the night.

I’ve been absent from this blog for a while. Just got a new (to me) iPod with a more up-to-date OS, so I’m going to be able to post now and again in my spare time. Including pictures, since it has a camera!

I discovered this post sitting pending, so here it is. It’s a bit old, but still good. Enjoy!

Have you ever had a child use a simple growing ache to try to excuse themselves from some aspect of life? I have! My daughter was complaining that her leg was sore, but I knew it wasn’t sore muscles. I had sore muscles, but I was carrying on without using them as any kind of excuse. She, on the other hand, was limping around, declaring that she couldn’t get up to get a bowl or cereal to put in it.

So Daddy, recalling something he had heard on a child training CD, found some apple cider vinegar, mixed a spoonful with some chili powder, and offered her a spoonful, promising that it would cure her leg.

She held it in her mouth until she couldn’t stand the taste anymore, then ran to the bathroom to spit it out (since she couldn’t bring herself to swallow it). Daddy called after her that if her leg kept hurting that she should come back for another dose.

Notice that she ran! When she returned, the limp was gone. It was a miracle cure!

The amazing thing about this medicine is that it will cure more than just the person who takes it. Her brother observed the whole drama, and announced cheerfully, “I not have any pain.”

I will admit that I had a hard time keeping a straight face throughout the ordeal. I just stood at the stove and flipped Sweet Potato Pancakes and tried my best not to laugh at her!

The great thing about this medicine is that it has more than one recipe. You can use any nasty-tasting healthy ingredients you have available. Garlic is a good choice, as would radish juice or castor oil or whatever you have on hand.

As the guy on the CD said, three doses are guaranteed to cure all present and future pains, as well as prevent the development of future hypochondriacs!

I love it!

While many adults seem to have a hard time memorizing anything, children usually find it easy to memorize. And most people find that the things they memorized as children stick with them for life. So what better time to fill their heart with God’s Word than when they are children?

As a teenager, I began to memorize copious amounts of Scripture. I not only memorized single verses galore, but I also memorized whole chapters and even several books of the Bible, such as James, Romans, and Galatians (among others). Life got in the way, and although I made some stabs at memorizing several times during my 20′s, it has been hard to really get back into it.

But then I was challenged by a blog I was reading to start my daughter memorizing again. I have watched her learn a Bible verse in 3 days. She has been memorizing little thoughts for Kindergarten, one every unit, and she can recite the last 10 of them in order. We are still working on Unit 11.

Kimberly at Raising Olives has 11 children, if I’m counting right, and she has them all work on Bible memory. It goes along with her desire to have her children think Biblically about life, and I am realizing that I want that for my children too. I don’t want to be content to have them memorize a memory verse for Sabbath school and then forget it later. I want them to really have God’s Word in their heart, so that they will understand why we do what we do, why we live the way we live, why we make the choices we make.

So Kimberly’s post about their Bible memorization system really inspired me. However, I’m a high-tech, thrifty kind of gal. I don’t like spending money if I don’t have to, and I love saving paper when I can. Kimberly’s method involves making cards for all the Bible verses, as well as a slightly complicated filing system (that makes sense, but it does involve about 2 packs of dividers). I don’t have the dividers, and I don’t want to go out and buy them. I want to implement the system right now.

Enter Errands. Errands is a to-do app for mobile devices. I’ve been using it for several years to help me remember all the things I need to do but would otherwise forget, and I love it. I consider it the ultimate to-do app ever, and it’s free! It doesn’t get better than that! Someday I’ll write a post about how I use it and all it’s wonderful features, but for now, let me tell you how I have set it up to use for Gislaine’s Bible memory.

First of all, Errands allows you to make different folders, or lists, so I made a folder just for Bible memory. This way it won’t get mixed up with things like taking my vitamins and washing windows. *smile* Then I made tasks with the references of the verses my daughter either had memorized or was working on.

The app doesn’t have a Bible picture, so I chose the church. I can change that later. Anyhow, here you can see the verses she is reviewing, like Matthew 24:44, and the new verse we started learning today, John 6:35 (I marked it done after taking the screen shot).

The neat thing about this app is that it allows tasks to repeat. This is nice, because I can, for instance, set it to remind me to mop my floors every Thursday or wash my windows every 6 months. So this is also perfect for the Bible memory system. We will work on any verse that shows up in Today (and overdue, if we missed a day). I put “NEW” in the description section to indicate verses we are actively working on–these we will repeat 2-3 times to learn, instead of just once to review. I have set the repeat frequency to daily (or every weekday for reviewing; the repeat function is amazing and extremely flexible), and once I’ve decided that Gislaine has learned a verse well enough, I’ll change the repeat frequency. To keep the list of verses to review down to a manageable size, I can specify an end repeat date, say 6 months or a year or whatever, and it will mark the verse as completed. It will then appear in the recycle box (the little recycle triangle next to the plus at the top), and I can recycle it from time to time for review.

Now, just because these aren’t cards doesn’t mean that I have to grab a Bible every time we want to review verses, or even close Errands and open the Bible app. That would be too time consuming. See that note symbol by John 6:35? Here’s what it looks like when I click on it:

I don’t have to do that with all verses (John 3:16, anyone?), but for verses I might not know well, I can paste in the whole verse. For verses I know well but don’t remember by reference (I mean, how can one recognize a couple thousand verses by reference only?), I can just enter the first few words, either here on in the description line.

I can even set up verses that I want her to memorize in the future. I put no due date, so it shows up in a section called “No Due Date” at the bottom of the list. I do, however, set the repeat frequency to every day, so that once we have clicked on it, it will repeat the next day and the next and so on.

This way I can input a bunch of verses all at once, or add a verse whenever I think of it. I’m thinking that I will add several verses¬† from the Child Training Bible on specific topics that will address character issues we are dealing with. What better way to remind a child about a character flaw than to point them to God’s Word? I believe this will make the memorizing even more powerful.

So essentially, my method is exactly like Kimberly’s, except that it’s paperless, and I can take it anywhere, even reviewing in doctor’s offices and such. I might not always do it this way. Maybe once my daughter is older, I will encourage her to make her own card file system. I don’t expect I will get her an iPod for a long time, though if I ever do (or if she buys one someday with her own money), I could help her set up her own Bible memory system with it.

Just in case you are wondering, this is not the method I use for myself. I have a program called Bible Verses that allows me to add my own verses and even record audio (my favorite method of memorizing is to hear something–it’s the way I memorize best). It doesn’t have a fancy review system, but that’s okay. I don’t need it. And I don’t work on it every day. Often it’s the last thing I do before closing my eyes at night. It’s free, and it works just fine for me.

So what about you? Have you done any memorizing? Do you encourage your children to memorize? Do you have a system? Please share!

This post is linked with the Works for Me Wednesday and Modest Monday blog carnivals.

And we have two winners! Go to the original Child Training Bible Review and Giveaway post to see who they are!

Okay, so let me tell you how last Friday was NOT–on the opposite fashion.

I did NOT set a full bucket of very warm mop water on the floor in the kitchen where the baby was playing. I’m way more responsible than that. And of course I did NOT leave it alone for a few moments. And when I was not looking, the baby did NOT grab the edge to try to stand up and dump the whole bucket-full of water on the floor. My baby would never do something like that! And I did NOT have to change him from the diaper out.

And then that spilled water did NOT manage to seep over to where the library books were sitting on the floor between the upright freezer and the school cabinet. All of the books did NOT get warped bottoms of pages, and were not subsequently stacked under a pile of big Bible story books in an attempt to straighten said pages. Nope. I would NEVER leave library books on the floor, however convenient a space might appear.

Later, as I was opening the bag of alfalfa seeds to add some to a jar, I did NOT spill about half of them in the open drawer. I had NO need to be grateful that the drawer was open and had a white bottom–unlike the brown floor–making the seeds easy to rescue. Nope, no need to be grateful, because it did NOT happen. :P

Then later on I did NOT leave the baby on the porch for a few minutes next to a pot full of muddy water, and he did NOT turn over THAT container too. I did NOT have to put on the third outfit for the day (he usually wears only one all day). He was NOT filthy dirty and needed to be rinsed off in the shower–with the extendable shower head, of course. And I did NOT decide that said rinsing off qualified as his bath for the day. No, I wouldn’t think of saving lost time later in the day that way! Not me!

So what have you NOT been doing lately?

Last December, right before Christmas, my husband and I discovered the curriculum My Father’s World, and within a couple of days decided that not only would we use that curriculum over the hundreds thousands of curricula out there. I used mostly A Beka when I was growing up, but I decided I didn’t really want to do that, especially when I saw how much cheaper MFW was. Add to that the fact that everything was on an end-of-the-year sale with free shipping, and we decided to give it a try. We bought the Kindergarten Deluxe pack and the 3-5 year Preschool pack.

This isn’t a review of MFW, but I will say we are really enjoying it, and I plan on using it for as long as I can.

What I really wanted to do, though, was show some pictures of some of the projects we’ve been doing. This is only a handful, really. There have been tons more.

First, during the first 7 days of school, she made this mural, colored it and everything. If you look closely, the 7th one (which was blank) has a church that Gislaine designed herself.

At the same time, she made a Creation book. She did all the artwork herself:

Recently, Gislaine was supposed to finger paint with pudding, but I don’t buy pudding. So I looked in the fridge to see what I had, and came up with some almost-too-old-to-eat-but-not-yet-smelly gravy. Divide into cups, add food coloring, and voila! Finger paint! I know the first picture has a bad backdrop, but she is just too precious!

And the completed artwork:

A couple of weeks ago, we studied D for Dinosaur, and Gislaine and I made models of clay dinosaurs. The one in the middle was her first one. The two on the left are mine, and the two on the right are her attempts to copy mine. I think she did a really good job!

And then this week we were studying O for Octopus (no, we are not studying the alphabet in order). The instructions were to cut a hot dog into an Octopus by cutting down about half of it into 8 legs, leaving the top “head” uncut, and then boil it to make the legs curl up. Ours didn’t curl (Tofu Pups–they don’t have gluten in them, and are non-GMO, which is why I buy them), but they did get soft. We had them in sandwiches later. Yummy!

Now I’m just curious, but can anyone tell me why so many children’s books spell the plural of “octopus” as “octopuses”? I mean, it is octopi, right? That’s almost as bad as “sheeps” and “mooses”…

So that’s some of what we’ve been doing in the past two months.

What have your kids been doing?


This post is linked with the Modest Monday and Works for Me Wednesday blog carnivals.

Update: First, Tuesday was my shopping day, so I didn’t have time to get the giveaway closed yesterday. So I’ll let the couple extra entries count.

And now, for the winners!

#107 is Becky

#93 is Lauren Mueller

I will be contacting the winners. Congratulations! I am really happy with the results. I believe these tabbers will be going to people who really need and will use them.

Remember, If you didn’t win, you can still purchase your own set of tabbers and make your own Bible at the Child Training Bible.

Have you heard about the Child Training Bible? I heard about it several months ago and was intrigued. I may have even participated in a giveaway for the kit. I decided it was something I would get… eventually. Then I saw a 2-for-1 special and bought it. But I didn’t have the budget for another Bible, and I didn’t have a blank one in my preferred translation (which happens to be KJV, by the way), so I filed it away. I also didn’t have the markers and tabs they recommend to go mark the Bible with.

A few months later, my husband brought home a Bible from church. It had been left in the “Free Books” section, and was hardly marked at all–appeared brand new, in fact. There was no name, so the librarian had decided to give it away. It was a study Bible, full of commentary at the bottom of pages, but it was KJV–actually, an updated KJV, which changed a few words, like which to who, ship to boat, updated some of the really archaic words like astonied, etc. I decided it was perfect.

The finished product--for now

Last Sabbath, I woke up feeling off. Not exactly sick, but I had a sore throat, and decided I would just stay home. I quickly decided it was the perfect opportunity to work on the Bible. I still didn’t have the markers or tabs, and there wasn’t money in the budget to get any, so I improvised. I picked out crayons to match the colors and marked with those, and I cut up some colored Post-it notes (coloring some to improvise colors I didn’t have), and used those to mark the pages. Sometime I plan on going back and changing to the proper tabs, but for now, I’m very happy with the results. It’s fully functional. I’m still debating whether to glue the master tab sheet on the cover as you can see in the picture, or just keep it inside the front cover as I have been keeping it for now.

This is what we are giving away. *

In case you’re not familiar with the Bible, here is how it works. There are a list of topics covering character issues, such as tattling, anger, lying, discouragement, etc. Each topic has a list of verses, and the topics are color coded. There are cards that go with each topic that also have heart questions and prayer suggestions on the back. What you do is go through and highlight the verses in colors that match the cards, then put matching colored tabs on the page to mark where it is. Then when you need to see what the Bible says about a particular character issue, you can open the Bible to one of the colored tabs and find the highlighted verse quickly.

As I went through the verses, I realized that this Bible isn’t only going to be useful in child training. It spoke to my heart to. Many of the verses spoke to me. Verses about self control reminded me that I haven’t always been the best example of keeping my emotions controlled when dealing with exasperating children.

Monday I took my first opportunity to use the Bible. I recently implemented the ticket system, and she had run out of tickets around 7:00 in the evening, not long before bedtime, so I told her to brush her teeth and go straight to bed. When I finished feeding the baby and came to see her, she was sitting on her bed, arms crossed, head down, lip slightly out, and darts of rebellion and defiance shooting out of her eyes. So I went and grabbed the Bible.

I opened it and read a few verses on anger, defiance, and obedience, asking her to say short prayers based on what we had read. At first, it didn’t seem like the verses were having any kind of impact; I would ask her what I had read, and she would just grunt and look away, or hide her head under a pillow, or something like that. But with each prayer, she became less and less resistant, until finally her last prayer was heartfelt and unprompted, and she was all smiles. Of course, she still had to go to bed, but now her heart was in the right place, and she went cheerfully.

But I’m not going to use the Bible just for discipline issues. As I went through it, I realized that we could use it for family worship. We could pick one verse or several on a topic that we felt needed to be addressed, read them, discuss them, illustrate them, and pray over them. There are 21 topics and an average of 8 verses per topic, so one verse a day would keep us busy for several months. I believe it will also be helpful for me when I find myself struggling with specific character issues (anger, discouragement, etc).

This shows a Bible done with the proper tabs. *

And here’s the best part: Mindy from the Child Training Bible has agreed to help me with a giveaway. I have no real use for my extra set, except to share it, so I thought I would do that, and she agreed to send an extra set to whoever wins the giveaway. So we will be giving away 2 sets! As in, two winners!

To keep things simple, I will avoid using a rafflecopter or some other fancy gadget to do the giveaway. Just make one comment per entry. You get one entry just for reading this far, and for extra entries, you can do one or more of the following (let me know what you did in the comment):

So that means you can enter up to four times. You can do both of any of the “or” options–blog and share on Facebook, for instance–but you only get credit for one of them.

This giveaway ends 3/4/13–that is, Monday, March 4. I will count the comments, enter the number in a random number generator, and will generate two entries to be the two unique winners.

I can’t wait to see who gets this wonderful resource!


* Photos courtesy of The Child Training Bible. Used with permission.
This Post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday and Modest Monday blog carnivals.

Lately I feel as though discipline has gotten away from me. I have been tired a lot, and exhaustion doesn’t lend itself to consistency. That, and my daughter is at the age where the simple methods I used when she was young aren’t effective anymore.

Enter the ticket system. I just read about this, and I can’t wait to try it.

I’m going to briefly outline the method, but I highly recommend that you go click on that link and read the comments, as well as the link to the source of the idea in one of the comments.

Basically, you make 3 (or more) tickets and stick them to the fridge. Then you highlight certain infractions that will result in losing a ticket. Then at each infraction, tue child must surrender a ticket. When all are gone, he gets to sit on his bed the rest of the day and go to bed early. There could he a practice day before you start, where you warn them each time they disobey, saying, “That would be a ticket.”

So I have written down the 3 most important areas for each child that I want to focus on. Here they are:


  • Tattling
  • Dissolving into tears when disappointed
  • Not obeying promptly


  • Hurting the baby
  • Not obeying promptly
  • Throwing a tantrum when things go wrong

I suppose there could be more, but those are the top 3 for me right now. Obviously, not obeying promptly covers a multitude of transgressions.

I’m not sure if I will implement this the same for Manny as I will for his sister. He is pretty young, and I may have him sit in a chair an arm’s length from wherever I am. I will also confiscate all toys if they are in their rooms. I may also try setting the timer for 2 hours initially and starting the tickets over when it goes off, but I’ll wait and see how it goes.

I’ll do my best to keep you all posted!

This post is linked to the Works for Me Wednesday and the Modest Monday blog carnival.

So I’ve been conspicuously absent from this blog for several months. Sorry about that. I’ve just been really busy. I know, we all are busy, but I’ve just not been motivated to do anything here. It takes a lot of time.

And I’m probably not going to post a lot here regularly even now. I just started an official Kindergarten homeschool program with my 6-year-old daughter. We are using My Father’s World Kindergarten curriculum and loving it! I’ll see if I can take some pictures and post them sometime.

If you’ve been following my son’s story with eczema, well, he’s really improved lately. We are very hopeful on that front.

I’ve continued to follow a lot of blogs, and I figured that since I’m not up to giving you a lot of original content, I would point you to some great content I’ve read lately. So in no particular order:

100 Ways to Make Your Marriage Mediocre is worth reading. And sharing. And pinning. And tweeting. Etc. And if you’re want an interesting insight into what your husband really wants (anytime, not just on Valentine’s), read this post.

One mom of many writes On Encouraging Self Sufficiency in Children. The post following it is interesting too. And be sure to check out the links at the end to get the perspective of other moms of many.

I’ve told myself that soap making is too hard, but then I saw this post about homemade soap and changed my mind. So I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for a hand blender, and when I get some, I’ll buy some lye and try it. I’ve got some delicious-smelling Lime oil that would make a simply lovely-smelling soap!

How can we teach children to work hard with a good attitude? There is some very practical, Biblical advice in there!

Ever heard of Dry Shampoo? It’s the secret to washing your hair less without it looking greasy. I’ve only shampooed my hair 3 times in the past 2 weeks, and in between I use this recipe for dry shampoo (using carob instead of chocolate, because that is what I have), and I’ve been loving it. I also try to give my hair somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 strokes every night, just like they used to in the old days (when my grandma was young). I don’t count, but I brush it a lot. I think my hair is going to be healthier for it, and I’m saving money on shampoo too! Woo hoo! I love saving money!

If you homeschool, you need to check out these ideas for making flashcards fun. The 5 posts following that one each have some really neat ideas. Definitely something I’m going to do!

Have you ever wondered how to get it all done? I have taken this to heart lately and tried to bring my life into conformity to what I learned in this post. It’s well worth reading, especially if you have a lot of things to do!

Okay, I think that’s enough. Time to work on making my marriage better than mediocre. :)