Saturday, January 28, 2017

Winter/Spring Semester: Advanced Foods Class

Last semester, I taught a Textiles and Clothing Construction Class
as the first part of this year's Family and Consumer Science Course.
You can see some of our projects here.

This semester, my students really wanted to continue into our
exploration of cooking and baking, so I'm teaching an
Advanced Foods Class.
Last year we journeyed through Beginning Foods and Nutrition,
so this year we're diving deeper into that subject.
One of the first units we are doing is a beginning cake decorating course.
We are using the Wilton Beginning Cake Decorating Course 1
instruction book and kit as our guide!

What fun we are having!!

Next week, I have a guest teacher coming in to give my girls some of her
best tips for cake decorating as well as sharing her experience as
an entrepreneur.
She's a 16-year old homeschooler who has her own home business
and does cakes for weddings and other special events!
I'm also excited for our final project as each of my girls will be
baking and decorating a cake for this church's Valentines Banquet
and it will be displayed on a very special dessert table!!
Such fun times!!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Volleyball Champions

My middle girls love to play volleyball!!
Three years ago, when we first started participating in a local homeschool group,
they were given the chance to be a part of a volleyball team.
For three years they have traveled two hours away for 
an annual all-day volleyball tournament,
and for two of those years they have taken second place overall.

Well, not this year!!!!

This year, this hard-working team played their hearts out 
and were determined to come home in first place,
and THEY DID!!

First Place!!

These girls just ooze determination, good sportsmanship, kindness,
and a love of the game!
What a great opportunity for my daughters to learn the principle of not giving up,
 it takes time to build a team, encouraging each other,
and courageous teamwork!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Celebrating America!

So last week we inaugurated a new President.

While two of my girls were two hours away at an all-day volleyball tournament,
I kept the other three home from their homeschool group for a real-life
 Civics and Government lesson.
We just had the best time sitting around our makeshift classroom in our jammies,
sipping hot cocoa and talking about the 3 branches of our government.
Calmly discussing the duties of each branch and who are the leaders
of each branch of government.

How amazing to watch the head of the Judicial Branch swear in the new
head of the Executive Branch with leaders of the Legislative Branch watching on.
I loved that my children could SEE who John Roberts is and what our
Vice-President and his wife look like.
We saw several former Presidents including our local neighbor, President George W. Bush. 

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of 
President of the United States......."

We talked about things we don't like about this new President as well as the things
we hoped he would be able to accomplish which he spoke of in his campaigns.
**No windows were broken or cars smashed in this conversation.**

We had some colorful snacks......

.......and were captivated too "meet" all the adorable children and grandchildren
of our new President.

I am so thankful that we live in a place where we have the freedom to do this!!!
The freedom to vote, to participate in choosing the leadership of our government.
The freedom to teach my children about patriotism and honoring the office
of the President of the United States in spite of who is in it!
The freedom to safely watch displays of the American Armed Forces and 
to thank them for the protection they afford our country!
The freedom to watch the peaceful transfer of power from the outgoing President
to the incoming and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with it!
The freedom to voice our concerns in a peaceable manner, and the freedom
to pray for our new leadership 
who ultimately have the eyes of their Creator upon them!
I hope my children will remember witnessing this historic moment
 that only comes once every four-years.
God bless America!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy 9th Birthday!!!!

It's the kick off of birthday season in our house!!
Our youngest turned 9 last week, and we spent a couple different days
celebrating her joyful, enthusiastic life!!

Special birthday breakfast alone with Mom!
{Free breakfast sandwich from Chik-Fil-A!!  Score!!}

Sharing cupcakes with all her homeschool group buddies!

Special visit from Grandma!!

Freebie ice cream from Dairy Queen!  {Score!}
Daddy just happened to be working a minor fender-bender
in the parking lot and we snapped a quick picture!

The following weekend, two of her cute friends joined us
for lunch out, the movie Sing, and ice cream to keep the 
celebration going!!

We love you Aryn!!!
Happy birthday!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

When God Sees What I Cannot: When life gets you sidetracked

So this happened to me over the weekend.

Here's a little of the backstory:
On Saturday,  I took my youngest daughter out for the afternoon, 
with two of her little friends,
to celebrate her 9th birthday.
We had a grand 'ol time!!
While we were out and about, I got a text from my mother-in-law,
asking if our family could come over and have supper with her.
I thought through where we were in our activities,
and where we still needed to go,
but assured her we could join her although it would be a bit later
than we normally have dinner.
Upon completing our list of fun, I started out on the hour-long journey
of returning both friends to their respective homes
on opposite ends of the county.
Unexpectedly, I realized I was going to be chased by a nasty looking storm.
My 3rd daughter called me from home and asked where I was
because she needed to know what to do if the storm got scary.
I assured her it wasn't going to be dangerous and that I would be home
relatively soon, but that she and her brother with her could go
down to the neighbors house if they got scared.
I arrived at our final destination with time on my side.
After talking for awhile with the Dad, he mentioned he had
dropped of his truck in our town earlier in the day
and that at some point they would be needing it.
Since his truck was in a lot that I would be passing on my way home,
I offered to drop him off.
He went in to get his kids situated, and I let my husband know
that I would be making a quick stop before getting home
but would be there soon so we could go to dinner that was waiting 20 minutes
away at my mother-in-law's house.
The Dad jumped in my van and we were off.
I've only been to this home a couple times and as I was backing out,
my mind said, "I think this driveway has a slight curve to it."

That was the exact moment I drove our van off the edge of their driveway.
He jumped out and ran to the rear and knew immediately that my axle was sitting
right on the concrete and the wheel was spinning freely in mid-air.

I jumped out humiliated and the anxiety kicked right in.
I knew everyone was waiting at my house 20 minutes away very hungry.
My Mother-in-law was waiting with a fully prepared meal at her house.
And I had just backed my vehicle over a ledge.
And remember that storm that was chasing me?
Well, it had caught up and was starting to toss some 
raindrops on us with the lightning flashing
When the Dad said we were going to need a wrecker, I knew this was going to ruin
our entire evening.

"....I am with thee,
and I will keep thee in all places whither thou goest...."
Genesis 28:15

what neither of us knew....
Also at the exact moment I was backing out.....
the Dad's neighbor had brought his pudgy dog outside for a walk.
He observed everything as it happened.
He calmly walked over, assessed the situation, and said to the Dad,
"Hey, I have a floor jack. I think we can fix this ourselves."

In the meantime, I wasn't hearing this but had made a phone call
to my husband to let him know what was going on.

"....I am with thee,
and I will keep thee in all places whither thou goest...."
Genesis 28:15

Within TEN minutes, I was back on the road!!!!
He brought his jack over.
The guys jacked up my van, used 4 x 6's as levers, and simply
pushed my van back over onto the concrete!!!

That, my friends, was God!!
HE knew what was going to happen as I obliviously backed out
that driveway.
HE orchestrated that neighbor's time to have him walking outside
just as this happened.
GOD had this planned to have a calm, competent man with a plan
and the tools to help to just walk up to us as we needed it.
I ran over to him and hugged this complete stranger and thanked
him for being an angel of the Lord to help me when I 
didn't even know I was going to need the help!!

I'm just so grateful today that I serve a Heavenly Father
who I can trust.
I can trust that He is ever-present.
He is watching over my every move.
I am in His care, and He has everything planned out for me
even when I don't have the ability to see what's ahead (or behind!)
What do those do who don't have such a God 
to be present with them?

"....I am with thee,
and I will keep thee in all places whither thou goest...."
Genesis 28:15

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Rare Weather Phenomenon We Caught on Camera: FogBow!!

Over the weekend we had frightening weather here in the DFW area.
Think severe thunderstorms, tornado alarms, and flash flooding.
In January.
We had a reunion of the participants of the MIT 2016 mission trip
 to New York City on Sunday evening at our church,
 and unfortunately we got caught
in the blinding rain and darkness on our ride home.
At one point, I just burst out laughing because of the insanity
of no street lights along the highway combined with 
the pounding rain that was blowing sideways making it
just very harrowing.

The very next morning, we woke to clearer skies, but some lingering fog.
I was teaching at our homeschool program that morning, 
so I had to get myself and 5 kids out the door with all their stuff.
After the previous evenings excitement, we were all pretty draggy.
We needed a pick-me-up, and fast!!

Imagine my surprise quickly followed by confusion
when I saw this immediately upon driving into the parking lot:

I couldn't imagine what-on-earth we were seeing!!
At first glance, it looked like a white tube of bright light that ended 
at a thick fog.
 It almost struck me as a funnel cloud of some sort, 
and I looked closely to make sure the end points were not rotating.
I had never seen such a phenomenon before so it was almost scary at first.
I snapped pictures with my phone and unfortunately couldn't get back far enough 
to capture the entire perfect arch that went completely over the church building.

I later learned that this rare phenomenon is called a "fogbow."
It is a cousin to a rainbow but caused by sunlight being at the perfect angle
and the droplets of fog being misty fine to prevent the reflection of any color.
You can read more about this here and here.

 What an awesome blessing for the Lord to allow such an amazing
weather phenomenon to happen for us after such
a scary experience!!
We were carried, and protected, and kept safe through an example of His mighty power seen through creation and nature.
Then reminded of His grace and beauty and holiness through this
"white rainbow" right over the place we needed to be that day!
What a gorgeous example of how He reveals His presence to us!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

95 years ago today

A stunning thing happened on this day in history.
Most people aren't even aware of it.
It was the silent miracle that literally raised the dead.
It's incredible to me that this discovery, which had such dramatic effects on the lives of so many, can still be within the memories of those alive today.  It really wasn't such a long time ago.
Many advancements in treatment have been made since this life-saving discovery, and for that I am so thankful.

According to this website the above picture was taken in 1922.
On this date 95 years ago, January 11, 1922, insulin was injected for the first time ever into a 14-year old Type 1 Diabetic child in Canada.  One of my favorite stories about what happened after that date is this story taken from Wikipedia:

Children dying from diabetic ketoacidosis were kept in large wards, often with 50 or more patients in a ward, mostly comatose. Grieving family members were often in attendance, awaiting the (until then, inevitable) death.
In one of medicine's more dramatic moments, Banting, Best, and Collip went from bed to bed, injecting an entire ward with the new purified extract. Before they had reached the last dying child, the first few were awakening from their coma, to the joyous exclamations of their families.[45]
Can you just imagine?  Knowing that a diagnosis of diabetes was a death sentence for your child.  A very slow, horrible death.....and there was nothing anybody could do?? And at that time, they did not know enough about diabetes to have the distinctions of Type 1 and Type 2.

A couple years ago, I was fiddling around with some of my family genealogy.  I was pretty much blown away to discover that my great-grandfather had passed away in January 1922 of diabetes. Nobody in my family had ever mentioned that before.  I found his death certificate online!
I knew at that point that scientists first treated someone with insulin in January of 1922, but I was thinking it was later in the month.  So when my friend mentioned on facebook (January 11th a couple years ago) that insulin was first administered this week 94 years ago, I ran and pulled out my notebooks.
Could not BELIEVE what I found.....

My great-grandfather died of diabetes 95 years ago YESTERDAY....January 10, 1922.
One day before insulin was first injected into a dying patient.
He was not quite 30 years old.
My grandfather had been married not quite 3 years earlier.
He left behind a nearly 23 year old wife with 2 children.
The youngest of which was almost 5 months old.
She would eventually become my grandmother.

This is my Great-Grandfather and Great-Grandmother on what we assume is their wedding day.
June 2, 1919

How grateful I am that his great-great granddaughter was sovereignly chosen by God to be born in the 21st century and given Type 1 Diabetes where the treatments and technology for this horrible disease have advanced so far that patients can live fairly normal and healthy and long lives!!

I can't WAIT to see what God is up to in our Ashlyn's life, and why He chose this for her/us!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Textiles and Clothing Construction Class: Project #2 Blouse/Top With Sleeves

Last semester, my students in our homeschool program completed
two sewing projects from a pattern in our 
Textiles and Clothing Construction class.
The first project we completed was pajama pants
and you can click here to see my post on that.

For our second project, we constructed a top or blouse with sleeves.
What fun it was to shop with these girls and watch
their personalities blossom as they chose the styles
and fabrics that appealed to them!!


This project was particularly challenging to the girls 
as we learned to measure their body type 
against the measurements on a pattern envelope.
Off-the-rack clothing and measurements on a pattern are inevitably
never the same. 
I let the girls chose whatever pattern suited them,
and a couple of them had tons of little steps that just seemed
to take lots of time.
The girls had never executed some of the skills presented to complete
their garment, so it took us several weeks to get through
all the instructions.

In the end, I was so very pleased with how each girl's
garment turned out.
They learned how to choose appropriate fabrics for the garment style they chose,
  measuring their body types and choosing a pattern size to construct,
how to set in sleeves, top-stitching, hemming,
pressing and seam finishing.

What a delight it has been for me as the guide to watch these
young ladies learn perseverance when the struggles were real,
how to envision a finished product when it looks like a hot mess,
and how to express their individual styles in their clothing choices!!
But most of all as they graciously are learning to live out our theme verse:

"She seeketh wool and flax,
and worketh willingly with her hands."
Proverbs 31:13