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Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Letter B

This is what we've done for the letter B...
  • Read Old Bob's Brown Bear (over and over and over and over)

  • Memorized a "B" verse 
     Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.
    Luke 11:28b

  • Found objects around the house/garden that start with B
  • Added "B" to our laminated flip book of letters & words, along with new words we can read (BAG, BAT, BUG, TUB, CUB, CAB, COB, BOB, BUT)
  • Decorated a letter B with beans
  • Read a Buffalo Poem from our favourite Alphabet Book (It has an animal, poem and recipe for every letter of the alphabet.)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I was reminded of this today, and had to go search the MySpace archives to find it! Thought I would share it here...

From July 2, 2008:

I read this yesterday, through my tears, and I just had to share. I couldn't believe how much I related, and with the freshness of visiting an orphanage....

The Tear Collector

And today we were at another orphanage! My heart just broke for those children. And then I walked into a room full of babies, cribs lining all the walls. The first baby I saw was a tiny new baby that had been abandoned. She was so precious and innocent that my heart melted! So in need of a mother. I could hardly hold back the tears. She had only been there for days and was assumed to be a couple weeks old. As I write this, I still want to go back and get her and bring her home with me. As I held her, she yawned and put her tiny fingers in her mouth to suckle. Lord, I know you love her and have a plan for her life. Please allow her the opportunity to know the love of a mother and a family, and through that love, see You!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Slow Cooker Sugar Bean Curry

+/- 1/4 Cup Oil
1-2 Points Star Anise
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Bay Leaf
3 Tbsp Curry Powder, more or less, season to taste (I use Osman's Taj Mahal Extra Special Hot Curry Powder)
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 Tomato, chopped
500 g (about 1 lb.) Sugar Beans, dried (like Pinto Beans)
3-4 Potatoes, cut into large chunks
*can also add chilli powder (not Mexican chili powder, but ground chillies) to add heat

Heat oil in pot on stove, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Add spices and onions. Cook until onions are transparent. Rinse beans and pick out any bad/broken pieces. Add to slow cooker with 5 cups hot water. Add spice/onion mix, tomato and potatoes. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours and then switch to low and cook another 2 hours.

Serving Suggestion:
Serve with a hollowed out section of bread, which is know as bunny chow. Could also be served with roti.

*I have also used this recipe to make Chicken Curry - instead of adding beans and hot water, add 4 frozen chicken breasts. Cook about 6 hours on low, until chicken is cooked through. Use a wooden spoon to break chicken into smaller pieces, so it goes further.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Letter G

This is what we've done for the letter G...
  • Read The Day Gogo Went to Vote (over and over and over and over)(Gogo is Zulu for Grandma)
Here are some links to free unit studies for this book:
  • Memorized a "G" verse 
     God is love.
    1 John 4:8b

  • Found objects around the house/garden that start with G (grapes, grass, glue, garbage, glitter, globe, glasses, guitars)
  • Ate Grapes
  • Added "G" to our laminated flip book of letters & words, along with new words we can read (HUG, GOT, TAG, TUG, HOG, GAG, GAP)
  • Decorated a letter G with glue and glitter
  • Read a Giraffe Poem and made Giraffe Giggles from our favourite Alphabet Book (It has an animal, poem and recipe for every letter of the alphabet. I was kind of disappointed that the animal for the letter G didn't have the "hard" G sound, but Giraffe are my favourite African animals, so I guess it's ok.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Royal Diaries & Tapestry of Grace

The Royal Diaries, like Dear America, is another series of historical fiction books with a target audience of 8-13 year old girls. However, unlike the Dear America series which is written based on the accounts of fictional girls in America's history, the girls that The Royal Diaries are written about are women of royalty all over the world. Some of the books were made into TV movies and are available on Netflix.

Following is a list of the episodes that are available on Netflix, along with a link to the actual book.
  • 57 B.C. Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, Egypt, by Kristiana Gregory 

  • 1466 Isabel: Jewel of Castilla, Spain,by Carolyn Meyer
  • 1544 Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, by Kathryn Lasky

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dear America & Tapestry of Grace

I just became aware of the Dear America books, a series of historical fiction books, aimed at girls ages 8-13. Each book is written in the form of a diary of a young girl during a different era of US History. They also made some of the books into episodes that are available on Netflix. I am excited to read & watch some of these with my daughter as we study the coinciding time periods in Tapestry of Grace! 

Following is a list of the episodes that are available on Netflix, along with a link to the actual book (some of which are even available on Kindle!),the week I plan to use it with Tapestry of Grace and a link to the discussion guide from scholastic. There are a lot more books available, but this is where we will start!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

ABC Memory Verses

We are working on one memory verse with each letter of the alphabet we learn. I printed them all on A5 sheets, laminated them, punched them and added rings so they are easy to study and review.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord. Colossians 3:23a

Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it. Luke 11:28b

Casting all your care upon Him, for he careth for you1 Peter 5:7

Depart from evil and do good. Psalm 34:14a

Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:13

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

God is love. 1 John 4:8b

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down. Proverbs 25:28

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. John 20:31b

Keep thy tongue from evil and thy lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:13

Lying lips are abomination to the LORD; but they that deal truly are His delight. Proverbs 12:22

My God shall supply all your need. Philippians 4:19a

No man can serve two masters. Matthew 6:24

O give thanks to the Lord for He is good. Psalm 118:1

Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; Psalm 147:1

Quit you like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13b

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8

Seek ye the Lord while He may be found. Isaiah 55:6a

Trust in the Lord forever. Isaiah 26:4a

Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: Psalm 75:1

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. John 6:47

Wlove Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

eXceeding great and precious promises are given unto us. 2 Peter 1:4

Ye are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14a

Zion heard and was glad. Psalm 97:8a

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Letter O

This is what we've done for the letter O...

  • Read Why Can't I Fly (about an ostrich) (over and over and over and over)
  • Memorized an "O" verse 
  • O give thanks to the Lord for He is good.
    Psalm 118:1

  • Found objects around the house shaped like O
  • Added "O" to our laminated flip book of letters & words, along with new words we can read (hot, hop, top, pop, pot, cot, cop)
  • Decorated a letter O with Otees (Cheerios)
  • Read an Ostrich Poem and made Ostrich Omelets from our favourite Alphabet Book (It has an animal, poem and recipe for every letter of the alphabet. Have I mentioned that I LOVE this book??)
  • Found O's in a bowl of all the letter magnets and arranged them on cookie sheet. I asked Mya to make a word with an "O" in it, and she spelled out the word, "MOM" on the cookie sheet.
  • Watched the Sesame Street Podcast, Celebrating the Letter "O!"(free from iTunes)
  • Memorized a portion of the Little Housewife ABC book, 
O stands for Order, each thing in it's place,
Anything, Anywhere, - what a disgrace

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Whether ye eat or drink...

(So, whether you eat or drink), or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God
1 Corinthians 10:31 (emphasis mine)

I had a LFL (lesson for life) moment in church this past Sunday. This is something that will seem so simple to you! However, it was an aha moment for me which was a reminder from the Holy Spirit to apply this verse to where I am in my life right this moment.

Above is how I usually read/quote this verse. I emphasize the italicized. I use it as a reminder to myself when I'm cleaning, cooking, doing a mundane project for someone else, the list goes on endlessly! I quote it to my children, probably far too often, but there are so many situations to which it applies - whatever you do, do all to the glory of God! (Now I'm singing - "Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you, 'cause He made you, to do everything you do to the glory of the one Who made you" - "Do Everything" by Stephen Curtis Chapman)

BUT, I have always conveniently ignored the part of the verse that says whether you eat or drink. I know in context Paul isn't referring to overeating when talking about what you eat, but it's another "whatever you do"! I struggle with my weight/diet/exercise which I have blogged about before. I have a hard time keeping motivated in this area and have come to the realization that this is a lack of self-discipline in my life. But I have never connected this verse to this struggle! And when I read this verse in church on Sunday, it was like a light went on. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for this gentle reminder that God's Word is a sword in my battle to strive to be more like Christ.

God, help me to throw off every weight so I can run with patience and abandon!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 1 - A Greek Play

One of the suggestions for the older students this year is a Greek play, but we wanted to try a Greek play for our LG, UG and Dialectic students and the script provided was just too much for them. I was thrilled with the challenge of putting it all together, but we didn't want to write our own script so I went to work searching for just the right one on the internet.

This is what we found, and we were very happy to pay for it. It's well worth the money!

We practiced weekly, and students were responsible to learn their lines at home. For casting, we just started at the oldest child and worked our way down the list. It happened to work out just right for the genders as well! The children got involved with ideas for staging, props and choosing background music. I directed the play while other moms created props and masks for the play and cared for the preschoolers, secretly working on some things for them to present at the unit celebration, too!

We performed this at a clubhouse near to one of our homeschool families. We thought it was perfect with the water running by behind our "stage". 

For two reasons, I have very little video and no pictures of the play. :( Our camera ran out of batteries, and I was back stage while my husband was looking after two little ones. Oh well! Memories are priceless! The other families have video, and I'm sure photos as well, so I could probably beg and get my hands on some.

Here is a video of the beginning of the play:

And not to be left out, all of their younger siblings put on a little show for us before the play! Here's a video clip of them, too:  (Sorry for the poor sound quality. It was windy!)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 1 - Rosh Hashanah

Here's another long overdue post from co-op last year. Rosh Hashanah! 

We went to a nearby lake and talked about the meaning of Rosh Hashanah. One of the moms brought a shofar and we took turns trying to blow it. 

We ate Challah Bread with honey and apples,

and threw our bread crumbs into to "sea" to
symbolize God's forgiveness of our sins.

As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalms 103:12) 
He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19) 
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Tapestry of Grace Year 1 Unit 1 - Challah Bread

Flash Back to March 2012 - We made Challah Bread in co-op. Here are some pics!

Teach Your Child To Read In Just 10 Minutes A Day

I found this book on kindle and bought it on a whim. It is an easy read, and so easy to understand and implement. I had decided to do a letter a week (or so) and it fit right in!

Sidney suggests teaching the letters in a specific order so that your child feels the accomplishment of reading quickly. For example, the first letters you learn are "U" and "P", and then you can already read up and pup. I copied that order, implemented his ideas, and off we went!

I decided to center our weeks, for now, around each letter. I am using the Little Footprints on our Land curriculum, which is based on African children's stories, so I just pick a story that best fits that letter and we're set for the week. After I choose from Little Footprints what activities I would like to do, I just add in whatever activities that sound fun to us that I can find based on that letter.

I also created a little laminated flip books of letters & words, so that Mya can master the sounds of the letters and sounding out each subsequent word. I typed them all in MS Word and printed, cut and laminated them. Then I used a 2 hole punch to punch holes in them and added rings. We try to practice every day. There are so many cards that in the end we will have 3 of these books, as the pile of them is too thick for the rings.

Tapestry of Grace - You don't have to do it all!

I am a mom. I assume if you are a mom, that you, like me, feel the need to do it all, and do it all well! Everyone's "all" may look different, but we each have a desire to be the best good at what we do - parenting, teaching, housekeeping, ministry, etc. That rolls over into expectations for homeschool and into our expectations for our children. It can take over our lives and become so overwhelming that it's hard to breathe sometimes!

Our family, plus Mickey, saying goodbye to a visiting missionary

Imagine me homeschooling 2 of my children, age 13 & 10, add to that my busy 5 yr. old as well as caring for an extra 2 year old each week from Sunday - Friday afternoon around the clock. On top of that add missionary wife, homeschool co-op, drama practice for the kids, music ministry at church, being a leader at Jr. & Sr. Youth, teaching children's Bible Study, discipleship, packing to move and anything else that might come along, and how do you do it "all" and be the best at it?
Imagine almost 1 1/2 years into using Tapestry of Grace when a kindred homeschool mom pointed out to me in co-op the phrase printed in my curriculum, penned by the author that says,
"Remember that you should always choose among (the activities); no one student can possible do all of these in one week!" 
What?!?! Really? How in the world did I miss that?? It was printed on every activity page, every week! I can CHOOSE among the activities? My children don't have to do them all? I don't have to feel guilty when there's no way we can fit it all in?
I started to breathe again, no longer needing to hold my breath! It was amazing how freeing it was to know that there was no expectation to do it "all"!
So, if you are a new homeschool mom, new to Tapestry of Grace, or just needed a reminder, here is your ticket to freedom. You don't have to do it all! So let's go have a cup of tea, make a few choices, have fun with our families, and do our best while not feeling the need to BE the best. Slow down and enjoy!

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Free Kindle Book

Excellent book - How to Break a Stubborn Habit by Erwin Lutzer

Free on Kindle for a limited time

Mya's School

Through prayer and consideration, I decided to start Little Footprints on our Land when we returned from our time away in Joburg. I love this preschool curriculum based on African children's stories! We also added in Math U See. So we are now doing a combination of the following:

Little Footprints on Our Land
Math U See Alpha
Teach Your Child to Read in Just Ten Minutes a Day
ABC Fun & 1-2-3
Letter of the Week
Handwriting Without Tears

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Letter H

This is what we've done for the letter H...
  • Read Charlie's House (over and over and over and over)
  • Memorized an "H" verse 
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down.
Proverbs 25:28

  • Decorated a letter H with sticker H's
  • Cut and pasted a Hippo picture
  • Downloaded a new iPad app to practice writing letters (free for a limited time)
iPad Screenshot 1
  • Read a Hippo Poem and made Hippo Hoorahs from our favourite Alphabet Book (It has an animal, poem and recipe for every letter of the alphabet. Have I mentioned that I LOVE this book??)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

People of the Interior

The People of the Interior section of All About South Africa (South African History) would fit into Tapestry of Grace Y1.

Before I started with Tapestry of Grace, a friend and I did some homeschool unit studies on South Africa with our 6 children. Now that I am using TOG, I would do one of two things. First, South Africa has 40 weeks in their school year, while TOG only does 36, so I could take a week away from TOG here and there and add in a week of SA History. But if my year is too busy, I would just take the time to read the section in All About South Africa and add one of the books to read, if I have it.

Ideas to Incorporate:
  • Learn some Tswana
  • Make South African flag from beads
  • Make Samp and Beans
  • Make Ndebele homes
  • Mark people groups on wall map

Books to look for: 
I have had some success in finding SA books by watching on, and don't forget to check your local library!

The Ndebele Art & Culture by Aubrey Elliot
Abantu by Martin West and Jean Morris