I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Oh Fudge.

You know how most people have one or two things that they look forward to having at Christmas time?  Pumpkin spice latte...roasted turkey...chicken and dumplings...whatever it is, it's what makes the Christmas season the Christmas season.  For me, it's this peanut butter chocolate fudge.  I have no idea where this recipe came from or even when we started making it, but it's hard for me to remember a Christmas when this wasn't a part of our family's dessert table.  I love it.

Plus, it's so simple, you can let your kids make it!

What you'll need:
1 package of cream drops candies (these are in the seasonal candy aisle)
1 cup of creamy peanut butter

Yep.  That equals awesome fudge.

Pour both ingredients into an 8x8 glass dish.  Don't mix them together just yet.

Microwave for two minutes and IMMEDIATELY stir until it's all completely combined.

Let it cool some so it sets up a bit.  Cut it into pieces and watch it disappear like it's Christmas magic.

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's Beginning To Smell A Lot Like Christmas- Pumpkin Bread

Do you feel that?  There's a nip in the air.  Our house is decorated with lights and trees and glitter.  Rudolph and Frosty and Charlie Brown are all over the television, and warnings of shooting our eyes out can be heard over and over.  At this time of year, nothing seems to fill my Christmas food cravings better than a yummy, warm, spiced bread, and pumpkin bread will forever top my list of "things I'm willing to go up a size for."  Recently, I introduced this beloved recipe to my two oldest kids, and much to my dismay, they loved it...no more full loaves just for Mommy.  Bummer.  If you're in the mood for your house to smell like what Christmas should always always smell like (plus you get a yummy treat to go with that great smelling home) make this bread.  If you don't like it, bring it to me and I'll hide it from my kids and eat it alone in my closet while I let out my pants.

This recipe makes 3 loaves of bread or 3 dozen muffins.  I like to split the difference and make 2 loaves and a dozen muffins for the kids.

What you'll need:
3 cups of sugar
2/3 cup of Crisco
4 eggs
2/3 cup of water
1 can of pumpkin
3 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
2 tsp of baking soda
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of cloves
1 tsp of nutmeg
1 cup of chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Now, before I get started on the actual recipe itself, I want to mention two things about the ingredients. First, you'll notice there is cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Yes.  All three all necessary.   They each add something important to the recipe, so you don't want to skip any of these.

Second, you may notice in my ingredient picture, I don't have a carton of eggs.  That's because in my breads and cakes, I prefer to use powdered eggs.  I wouldn't recommend them for an omelet, but for baking, powdered eggs tend to make the end product much more moist and delicious.  Of course, you can always use eggs you crack, too. 

Now on to the actual recipe...

Start by creaming your Crisco and sugar in a mixer until it's fluffy.

Add eggs and pumpkin and mix it really well.

In a separate bowl, combine all your dry ingredients.  This is important.  Without this step, the dry ingredients won't properly incorporate into your wet ones, and it could be really bad.

Before you add the dry to the wet, chop your nuts up to have them ready to fold in.

Now, a spoonful at a time, add the dry to the wet and mix it up until it's just incorporated.  This is technically bread, but I love the cakey texture it has when the gluten isn't well developed.

My kids aren't fans of the pecans, so I made a dozen muffins that were nut free.

Fold in the pecans (or walnuts...I bet that would be awesome) and split the batter into loaf pans. 

Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes at 350, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Bake the loaves for about an hour.
Here's hoping you have some sweet little beauties that will enjoy these with you this holiday season, too!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Slam, Bam, Simple Flan! (or Flahhhhn...but the real pronunciation didn't rhyme)

I have been married for six and a half years now to a very patient man.  My husband grew up in a very different culture than I did, and one of the things he had that I really didn't was amazingly delicious Mexican food.  I don't mean Tex-Mex.  I mean honest to goodness authentic and amazing Mexican food, and six and a half years ago, I had no idea what that meant.  I'm only starting to learn that what I grew up knowing Mexican food to be was a bit (how can I say this..?) less than authentic.  When my sister and I were in high school, we took a Spanish class, and at the end of that course, our... eccentric...teacher, had a "congratulations!  You passed!" party.  One of the things she served was flan...from pudding cups that you can buy at the grocery store. (For those of your who are like me and have no idea what flan is, imagine a caramel cheesecake.  That's what my recipe is like.)  I had no idea until Bird brought a real one home one day that a friend's Mexican wife had made that what we had tasted in our Spanish class was no where near genuine flan.  He (and my sister) just kept a fork on the plate the flan was on in the fridge, pulled it out every so often, and went to town.  That thing was gone in two days.  So, being the good little wife I am, I learned to make the real deal...and it only took me six and a half years.

I want to add that this picture is not mine.  This IS, however, what my flan looks like.  I just wasn't able to snap a shot of mine flipped out yet!

What you'll need:
1 cup of sugar
1 8 oz package of cream cheese at room temp
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 can of evaporated milk
1 tsp of vanilla
5 eggs

You also need 1/2 cup of water, but I forgot about that before I snapped this picture...

Preheat your oven to 350.

The hardest part of this recipe is making the caramel sauce, and it's so not hard.  You just have to pay attention to it.  Stir together your cup of sugar and your half cup of water in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Now put your spoon down and don't even think about picking it up to stir your sugar water mixture again.  Every few minutes, you're going to swirl the sugar so it doesn't burn, but if you stir it, your sugar will crystallize and you're going to have a big mess.

Let this boil until your sugar turns to an amber color.  This should take between 10 and 15 minutes.  Just be careful.  It can turn from amber to burned in a matter of 15 to 20 seconds.

Once your sugar turns to a caramel, quickly pour it into your dish and move your dish around to coat the bottom.  (I use a 2.5 quart round souffle dish, but you can use a 9x9 square dish, too.)  Be VERY careful.  This sugar is HOT.

Set this aside and let it cool and harden.

While you're waiting for your sugar to harden, put everything else into the blender.  No, seriously.  Throw it all in.  Turn it on.  Blend it until it's smooth, and pour it on top of the hardened caramel.

You're going to cook this in a water bath, so grab a 9x13 baking dish, and throw in about 4 to 6 cups of water as hot as your tap can get it.  Add in your flan dish, and put the whole thing into the over.  Cook at 350 for an hour and twenty to an hour and thirty minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  Be aware: this is absolutely going to jiggle, but it sets up completely as it cools.

Let it cool to room temperature then refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours, but it's best over night.

To remove it from the dish, run a knife around the edge and hold the very bottom of the dish in a sink of very hot water for a few seconds just to loosen the caramel sauce.  Put a plate on top of the flan dish and very quickly flip it.  The caramel sauce will ooze all down the sides, and you can cut into it like a delicious caramel cheesecake!

Friday, November 30, 2012

My Favorite Christmas Decor- Advent

My family has a thousand Christmas traditions.  There is the ceremonious hanging of the ornaments on the tree, a candle lit dinner on Christmas Eve, and the bell that must ring before we can rip into our gifts.  I love it all.  Tradition is so comforting, and this year, we decided to add another to our family- the Advent celebration.  

Advent is basically a season of expectant waiting- a time to spiritually prepare our hearts before Christmas.  I adore this idea. For our first year in this new tradition, we decided to do something that would constantly point us to God and His Word.  What better way to celebrate the birth of our Savior than to know Him more?  And what better way to know Him more than to understand His names.

For the first 24 nights of December, we will read a passage of scripture that explains a different name of our Lord, each showing us a different part of His character.  We chose a vast array of passages.  They range from Lamb of God (John 1:29), to Keeper (Psalm 121:7) to our final name to contemplate before we go to sleep on Christmas Eve, Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23).  These names are attached to an ornament, and the kids will get to hang the name-bearing ornament each night.  These 24 ornaments will serve as a constant reminder throughout this holiday season what it is we are celebrating, and surely His name shall be praised!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Shredded Beef

I can't believe I'm doing this.  I'm making a blog post without pictures (gasp!).  I have been meaning to put this recipe up for a good long time now, and I've had several people ask me for it.  I made it today with the expectation of taking lots of pretty pictures to illustrate just how each step looks, but my lovely 36 week pregnant brain forgot to start taking pictures until it was too dark outside for them to look lovely...so eventually, I'll make this again and tell the story in photographs.  For now, if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

I started making this recipe to stuff inside tamales.  That's really what it's used best for, but the tamale recipe I use is a bit too much to put into one big long post.  Lately, I've been making this and using it just for tacos (later this week I'm going to try rolling it in corn tortillas and frying them to make taquitos..stay tuned...).  I love love love this stuff.  I make it and then eat it straight out of the pan.  It's much closer to "authentic" Mexican food than anything you can make from a packet and ground beef, so it's a wonderful addition to taco night.  It also stores really well to be reheated later, so it's perfect to make a huge batch and keep it in the fridge for a quick meal all week long!

What you'll need:
(for the first part)
4 lbs of rump roast
2 cups of water
2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
2 tsp of garlic powder
2 tsp of onion flakes (or half of an onion not chopped up)

(for the second part)
Beef you've shredded
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp red pepper flakes

This is a genuinely simple recipe, but be prepared that it does take some time.

First, you're going to throw your roast as well as all your spices and water into the crock pot.  I don't even stir it or anything.  Turn it on low and cook it a good 12 hours.  If you don't have a crock pot, you can do this in the oven.  Cook it for a few hours at 325 until it's cooked through completely and is super tender.  The longer you cook it, the more tender it will be.

Once your roast is cooked, pull it out and let it cool.  Then put on a movie because this is where that time comes in.  It takes me at least an hour to shred all of that beef because I take very special care to get rid of ALL the fat that clings to it.

Here's where you start part 2.

Gather all your spices and measure them all out into one bowl.  That's the chili powder, oregano, salt, garlic powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes.  Measuring them now will make it easier on you in a minute.

In a large pan, heat your oil.  Add your flour and whisk it together, getting rid of any lumps.  This is called a rue, and it's not something you'll taste later, but it's what thickens the "gravy" part of this recipe.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes while you whisk it to make sure and cook that flour taste out.  Slowly add in your beef broth while still whisking out any lumps.  Congratulations...you just made gravy.  Add your bowl of premeasured spices and the vinegar.  Stir it together, and it should be thickened.  If it's not pourable, add more beef brother and stir.  Add in the shredded beef very last, and give it a good stir to completely coat the beef with the gravy.  It shouldn't be too gloppy...just slightly moistened and yummy and full of spicy flavor!

Add to a homemade flour tortilla with some cheese, and promise me you'll never buy another "taco seasoning" packet again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

She Don't Know She's Beautiful...and that's what makes her beautiful?

I love being the mother of a daughter.  In just a few short weeks, I get to add an "s" to the end of that word, and having two little girls has really stirred my heart over something lately- something I can't seem to shake.

When My Izzy Belle was born, she had the most hair I'd ever seen on a baby.  It was past her ears long, and full and thick and dark and lovely.  She was lovely.  Everyone told me so.

Now that she's 2, she is so full of personality that sometimes she just bursts.  She is funny and charming in a way that I've rarely seen in a child.  There is no doubt she is her father's daughter.  She gets her charisma from him.  (I'm awkward and uncomfortable with people...it's sad, really.)  On top of that, she still has her long, beautiful locks that now go down to the middle of her back, big, beautiful and expressive brown eyes, and a skin tone people pay big bucks to try and get.  Plus she's a teeny little thing.

I'm sure you can imagine that she gets complimented on her looks or how cute or funny she is all the time.  For a long time, I took so much pride in this.  "That's my daughter!"  I would squeal with glee in my mind as people fawned all over her.  I would imagine the suitors who wouldn't be near worthy enough for my baby.  I just knew she would find success in this world because she would be the total package- brains and beauty with a personality to boot!

Then one day as I was putting a shirt on over my ever-growing baby bump, looking in the mirror disgusted at the fact that this shirt, too, did not fit, I realized I'd lost it.  I wasn't....skinny....anymore.  Sure, I'd had two kids and another on the way, but I always felt confident in who I was because I had this tiny little body I could fit into whatever clothes I wanted.  That was no more.  In this moment of despair, I found great peace in scripture.  "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (Proverbs 31:30)  I needn't fret over my failing appearance.  I feared the Lord, and that was above all else.

Uh oh.  I have daughters.

Of course I think my sweet girl is beautiful, and her charm is most certainly appealing, but my prayer for my own heart would be that I would show her that fearing the Lord is so far above both of those things.  I pray I would nurture into her the fact that what this world finds important is fleeting.  I want her to be praised...not envied.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Solids and Liquids.

One of my very favorite thing about homeschooling is that we aren't limited by much.  We get to learn what we want to learn and teach what we want to teach whenever the mood strikes.  This very thing happened this week, and it was such a fun little reminder of why we are doing this.  I mean, what better time to teach something than when our kiddo actually wants to learn it??

Isaiah started asking why ice melts.  Then he wanted to know why popsicles need to be frozen before we can eat them.  Well, hello opportunity to teach.  Nice to meet you.  Of course, the hubs needed to make it more fun...and I needed to make it yummy.  So as a compromise, I led in making chocolates and Daddy lead in making molded crayons.

After searching high and low...and not on the internet...for a mold of the alphabet, I finally found one on Brookside.

First, we needed to make a list of all the names we wanted to make.  We just had to make some for our friends.

I got these wonderful little spots of deliciousness from the same store I got our mold from.  It's the smoothest, yummiest imported chocolate around.  It can also be purchased at the chocolate shop in downtown Broken Arrow...so worth it.  We talked about how the little wafers looked.  We tried to fit the into our mold.  We even tasted them.  Then we melted them in the microwave.  (Be super careful if you try this because chocolate burns really really easily, and once it's burned, there's nothing that can be done besides trashing it...unfortunately)

Once it was all melted, we poured it into the mold.  We noted how it looked and fit into the letters now and felt very different...but it tasted the same.  Okay, so maybe I tasted a bit more than necessary. We let it sit and re-harden.

While we waited on the chocolate to become a solid again, we ripped the paper off of the crayons.  Izzy was shockingly the best at this job...Ultimately, we did the same experiment with the crayons as we did with the chocolate.  Melted, poured, let it sit and solidify.  Awesomeness.

Once our chocolates were set, we popped them out of the molds.  Voila!  Names....yummy, yummy names.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Similar Differences.

One of the things I love about being a mother of multiple children is finding out as they grow just how different they really are.  I don't think I really had high expectations that Isaiah and Izzy would be extra similar simply because one is a boy and one is a girl.  In fact, I'm always pleasantly surprised to find ways they are the same.  They both love chocolate milk.  They both love playing with cars (though I think she does it for him).  They both love helping me cook.  They both hate helping me clean.  Their differences, however, are quite glaring, but I don't think I realized just how different these two children were until Bird and I were going through some baby things getting ready for our new hatch-ling, and we came across Isaiah's first Halloween costume.  He was a puppy, and he hated it.  Even in the picture above (he's on the right), we only were able to snap this shot moments after a huge crying fit.  At first, we thought he just didn't like that particular costume, but year after year, Halloweens and plays and dress up time with friends led us to realize that those tears were genuine.  That kid hated dressing up.  This, though heart breaking a bit for the mommy, came to be just an expectation with life.  No big deals could be made of his role in a Christmas play.  No Halloweens with tons of pictures and parties.  No.  I had come to grips with the fact that costumes and dress up would not exist in our house.

Enter: Isabella.

This girl is a princess.  And a pirate.  And a doctor.  And a train conductor.  And, quite happily, a puppy dog.  (It's especially amazing that this still "fit" her since she should have outgrown it a year ago...)

Both of our kids are wonderful in their own right, and I can't get enough of their differences.  Though I will admit, just as playing cars has rubbed off on Izzy, I think her adoration for playing dress up has rubbed off on Isaiah, too.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Grape Salad

I have been wanting to share this recipe for a while now.  I think I have waited as long to share it as I did to try it.  Truth is, my dear sister was making this dish long before I had the nerve to give it a shot.  She made it often, and I always looked at it, turned up my nose, and insisted it could not be delicious in the least.  I was so wrong.  Since then, I've been making it on a pretty regular basis.  It's become a family staple at parties and holidays and potlucks.  The hubs always loves when I make a big bowl of it just to keep in the fridge for snacking, too.  I love it because it's not overly sweet, it's creamy, and it's got this wonderful POP! of flavor every time you bite into a grape.  Do yourself a favor and make this one a staple in your kitchen, too!

What you'll need:
2 lbs red grapes
8 oz of cream cheese
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer until this mixture is smooth.  It's not going to look like much in the bottom of your bowl, but trust me, it's plenty.  Try to keep your fingers out of this because I promise if you taste it, you won't want to add the grape.  I could eat this by itself by the spoonful.

Make sure your grapes have been removed from the stems, washed, and are at least mostly dry, then just mix!  You'll want a bigger bowl for this just to make your life a bit easier.  Refrigerate or eat right away...but do try to be kind and share.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Today my sweet boy woke up, had breakfast, did his day or school work, and changed my outlook on something.  I struggle with pride a lot.  I'm, let's say, a bit of a perfectionist when I'm not too lazy.  My husband will attest the the fact that I drive myself crazy over things I have no control over because I like things to be a certain way.  I had a mini heart attack (metaphorically) when we skipped a night of meals I had planned because he had a softball game.  What is a girl to do with extra chicken and a bag of salad?!

Often times, I tend to take this need for perfection inward when I feel my life isn't as perfect as someone else's, and it can turn to bitterness very quickly.

My 5 year old is very sensitive and sweet.  After he finished his school work, as he often does, he wanted to keep working (his daddy's work ethic on display!), so he asked me what my favorite shape was.  I told him I liked hearts, so he, very secretively, created a "card" for me covered in hearts.  He had written "i (heart) u mom" in big pink letters.  I thanked him profusely, and he kissed my cheek, cuddled up with me and said, "Mom, why are you so nice to me?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, it's just that, you don't have to be nice to me, but you are."

"How am I so nice?  I tell you to clean your room and go to bed."

"You made me breakfast, and you didn't have to.  Isn't that what being nice is?  That's what dad said.  Doing things you don't have to for someone."

Tears welled up in my eyes for a moment, and I kissed his sweet face and told him I did those things because I loved him.  And off he went to his room to race his cars.

I sat and thought about that for a while.  I don't have a fan club.  I don't have hundreds of people who follow my blog.  I don't have a bank account full of money.  I don't have the perfect body or hair or clothes or home.  Things get messy and dishes don't always get washed, and sometimes, I lose my mind for a moment over it.  But there are some things I do have.  Some things that, no matter how perfect I'm not, won't disappear, and I can't believe how un-thankful I've been.  So here's what I've got:

I have a husband who will stay up well past when he should to help me make lunches for the next day then wake up early and write notes for me reminding me how "the kitchen doesn't own [me]" before he treads off to work in the heat for hours at a time with no complaint.  If I continued to write all the wonderful things about this guy, I'd never stop writing...

I have a daughter who makes me laugh, let's my fix her hair, and always want to lay down with me to cuddle.   This girl is a spit-fire, and there are moments I look at her with such wonder and think "there's no way this thing is half me" because she's just so charismatic.

And this guy.  I have this guy.  My sweet boy...there aren't many words I can use to express just how much this kid means to me.  I adore him, and I pity his wife a bit because I fear she'll never be able to love him as much as his momma does.  He's so smart and is full of surprises.  LOVE this kid.

Not pictured, of course, is our soon-to-be 3rd baby bird.  I'm so excited to kiss her little face, and I'm so grateful I get to mother a third baby!

Most of all, though, today I'm so thankful to my God- the one who, even through my sordid imperfections, sees the creation He made and loves me because I'm His.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Dish Cleaning Wishes Have Come True.

If there's anything in my life that bugs me, it's having dirty dishes in my kitchen.  I've noticed in the past few weeks that if I wake up with dirty dishes, I'm immediately in a bad mood.  It's silly.  I know I could easily just wash them when I get out of bed, but it's such a burden to my morning routine, even if there are just a few things that need a scrubbin'.

Frustrated with having to run a full sink of dish water for just a few things last week, I started to wonder if I could just buy some sort of a wipe...like baby wipes, but for dishes.  Now, yes, I'm fully aware that I can purchase a sponge that holds soap and you can wash your dishes without running a sink of water.  I have two problems with these.  First, it uses a lot more soap than I like to use.  Soap costs money.  Second, gross.  No matter how much soap is used, it doesn't take away from the fact that the sponge is sitting out, being covered in germs and used over and over without being sanitized.  Turns out, no.  You cannot buy wipes like this.  So I made my own.

What you'll need:
A roll of paper towels, cut in half (I used Viva brand because they are the thickest, most cloth like I've found, and I cut it in half with some muscle and a serrated knife.)
1 3/4-2 cups of water
1/4-1/2 cup of dish soap
Gallon sized ziplock bags

I'll start by saying that there's nothing crazy inventive about this idea.  It's all over the internet how you can make your own baby wipes.  I simply adapted that idea to make them for dishes.

Start by cutting your roll of paper towels in half to make two equal parts.  This did take a few minutes and a descent amount of muscle to accomplish.  If you have an electric knife, let me suggest using that.

Next, mix your dish soap and water together.  Try to avoid bubbles.  Once it's well blended, place half of the paper towel roll in a ziplock bag and slowly pour the soapy water over the paper towels.  You don't want a pool in the bottom of the bag.  It's important that the towels absorb all of the water and soap.  Gently pull the center cardboard out by pouring the soapy water between the cardboard and inner paper towels.  Once all the moisture has been absorbed, close up your bag and you're done!  These work perfectly if you just need a few dishes washed or you want to use them for an entire load.  Plus, they are great to wash your hands when messing with uncooked chicken and meats.  Store them under your sink, and they are read to use when you need them!

Friday, August 10, 2012


I mentioned this little undertaking our family has taken on of homeschooling.  Now let me tell you how I'm learning more than my children.  In the first week.

Everyone is a creature of habit.  Some people have a habit of sleeping in late, and some get up early.  Some people have a habit of drinking 5 or 6 Dr. Peppers a day.  Some people drink no soda at all.  Some people have a habit of laying on the couch for hours a day watching Law & Order.  Some people play with their children.  The problem with homeschooling is this: of all those habits, I had the wrong ones.

For some time now, I've known I was lazy.  I'm not talking the occasional "I want to do nothing today" kind of lazy.  I mean the "I am depressed at the idea of having to wash that huge load of dishes I've let pile up for a week now" kind of lazy.  It's ridiculous, really, and I have no idea why my sweet husband has not put a stop to it.  (That guy is the hardest working person I've ever known...) The good news is, I have been in Scripture more in the past few weeks than possibly any other time in my life.  The bad news is, that meant conviction.

On Tuesday, after getting up and having breakfast and having school, I made the realization that this is what I'm going to be doing.  Every day.  There wasn't a part of me that didn't want to do it, but every lazy, sinful part of me struggled with the idea of it.  "But when will I be able to sit and do nothing?!" And boy oh boy did the tears flow as I began to feel sorry for my selfish little lifestyle being gone.

So I prayed.

And I read.

And I talked to the two people in my life who spur me on toward love and good deeds mare than anyone else.

And ultimately, the grace of God stepped in and began to help me battle that sinful desire to be lazy and selfish.  This has been the most habit-forming and habit-changing week of my life, and I'm praying desperately that it continue because even though I loved being able to sleep on the couch all day if I so desired, there is a deep, yearning desire in my heart and soul to parent and to teach and to be a good role model for my children.  That's the habit I want to form.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

School Days, School Days (dear old golden rule days...)

This week, we as a family embarked on possibly the craziest journey of our lives.  After years of talking about it, months of planning, weeks of decorating, and days of freaking out a bit, we started homeschool!  The night before, I'm going to admit that I was a bit more than rattled.  For the first time (since he turned 5, at least) I realized my baby boy was no longer my baby boy.  I looked at pictures and videos of him as a baby.  I laughed and I cried.  I prayed for him.  And then for me.  And then for him again.

And then Monday morning was here.

We woke up extra early (not a feat you'll see repeated again anytime soon) to have breakfast with Daddy before we got started and he rode off into the sunrise for work.  Our menu consisted of a very simple pancake and strawberry breakfast.  It's the kiddo's favorite, and we wanted to make him feel extra special.

We left Sister to get a bit more sleep.  This was a morning for just us and our big guy.

Please note the hair.

I have been working on our setup for weeks now.  I swore it would never show up in my living room.  I was convinced guests would not set the eyes on our little corner of education.  Unfortunately, with baby number 3 on the way and an already shrinking house, we were left with no choice.  What this meant, of course, was weeks worth of "what's that?" and "when are we going to use that?" and "what's that for?"  Over and over, he heard "You'll see...when it's time."  The excitement and anticipation in his face was priceless that morning over the idea that today was finally THE day.  It was almost too much for this 5 year old to bare.

Once Daddy was gone, we began our day.  Calendar time.  Talk of seasons and weather.  What's today?  What's tomorrow?  What was yesterday?  Verse for the week (Psalm 24:1) and word of the week (Creation/creacion)...and so on.  We did our Bible lesson, learned what God made on the first day, and colored and cut and glued.

Please note the size 3t pajamas.

We have opted out of doing a ton of worksheets.  We order a curriculum, and we will do what has come with it, but anything we can use our handy dandy dry erase board for, we will...like reviewing basic math facts.

Look who decided to join the homeschool party!

Reviewing ABC's is something that, honestly, this kid doesn't love.  He says every day "Mom, I don't need to do this" but I give him a pointer, and it's the best thing ever.  This, by the way, was my first attempt to hide our school setup.  Our doors all have letter charts or number charts or color posters on the backs of them.

In all, our first day was super fun and made us look forward to the next however many years we can do this. We are excited about field trips and weekly trips to our public library, but mostly, I'm just excited that the hubs and I get to do what we feel we are supposed to be doing- to teach our children in the way he should grow, to know and love and glorify God, and the have a servant's heart.

At least, that's what we are shooting for.