Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sunflower Art

I can't take credit for this idea, but I can post the great job my students did! Back in my Lynden Christian School days, I was introduced to this project by the team of first grade teachers I had the privilege of working with. My mentor teacher (from my rookie year of teaching) was extremely talented in the area of art and also LOVED it. This idea came from her, and all the first grade classes followed her example.
Pretty much. . .we spend a day learning about sunflowers, looking at pictures, looking at a real sunflower and looking at Vincent Van Gogh's sunflower portraits. Then we did a directed drawing activity with sunflowers. And then we paint them. The tricky part, I find, at grade one is the blending of colours! It's amazing though. . .once they are all cut out and piled on a background as shown above, they look absolutely gorgeous!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Menu Plan. . .Do I Dare Say Monday?

Yah, yah. . .late again!

Monday-Chicken Tetrazzini ( I don't know if this is the actual link--my friend, Tara, made it as a OAMC meal, so I just tried to match it. Thanks again, Tara!), salad

Tuesday- Chicken Milani (crock pot recipe--thanks Mom!), garlic bread


Thursday(CP)-French dip (Recipe #1 or Recipe #2)

Friday(OAMC)- left-overs or grilled cheese

Saturday's Snack- Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

Sunday (BFS)-Pancakes (I LOVE this recipe. . .so easy and so good!) and bacon

So, for Saturday's Snack. . .my inspiration was. . .The "BABE" Bars. (I think they were refering to a version of a Babe Ruth-type bar). I was being nostalgic. . .brought me back to my college days, when my freshman roomie and I used to make them every now and then. And because with all the No Nut rules at school, I just wanted a peanut butter snack for at home!

Here is the recipe I have for it:

1 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1-1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
6 c. crispy rice or Special K cereal
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. chocolate chips

*Combine sugar and corn syrup in a 2 qt. microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 3-4 minutes at High until boiling. Stir in peanut butter until well-blended. Stir in cereal. Press into 9x13" buttered pan. Set aside. Microwave chips in 2 qt. bowl for 3-3 1/2 minutes at medium (20%) until they look soft and shiny. Stir until smooth. Spread over bars, cool, cut into squares.

*I did it all on the stove top (see link for directions)--I'm not a big microwave cooker. . . I was back in the day. . . but i am all grown up now. :(

Made them on Sunday. . .they are all gone now. :)
See more MPM at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Words from Wednesday

"He did it before, so He'll do it again."

My daughter is a little clumsy. Granted, she is only two, but she has a funny walk. One that I am finally thinking she may need to go see her doctor about. So, when we are walking or running or dancing or anything that causes one foot to go in front of the other and requires some extent of balance, she is a prime candidate for tripping and falling.

A few weeks ago she got another big "owie." This time it was a scrape across the front of her fingers. She was pretty choked up about it for quite some time, and wouldn't let anyone touch her! She finally moved on to the point where she had to show everyone and get sympathy from whomever she could.

One night she was—again—showing us her owie. We try to show our kids how their scrapes and scratches get better—and God is the one healing them. So when she showed us her wound, we asked (again!), "Who is making it better?" She wasn't in the mood for the attention to be taken away from her at that point and started whining again. This time it was my son who piped up. And he said the most amazing thing: "Don't worry, A. God is going to make it all better. He did it before, so He will do it again. That is just what God does." And to that my daughter replied, "All better?" My son agreed with her and that was that. No more sharing of war-wounds.

I was pretty impressed with my son's little declaration, because it was so true—and he said it as if it was the simplest truth in the world. Yet one we often don't live by. We want to know how life will work out, how we can trust the situation, how we can trust God's work in it all. In school I am teaching my students about Abraham and the covenant God gave to Abraham to make him into a great nation. It's amazing how we, like Abraham, wonder when God is going to follow through on his promises—and then He does. God goes on to make this same covenant to the generations to come, just like He said He would. One of my favourite verses that have to do with this is in Genesis 28:15, when God is speaking with Jacob. He says, "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. . .I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you." Then Jacob sets up his stone at Bethel as a reminder that God made a promise to him right there and will hold true to it.

Later on, in 1 Samuel 7, the people of Israel are in a pinch with the Philistines. Samuel tells the people not to stop crying out to God for help (7:8) and he continues to make his offering to God. And just as God promised, He follows through, sends a huge thunder that threw the Philistines into a panic and allows God's people become victorious in battle. Then Samuel goes and sets up a stone that he calls Ebenezer (v.15) and says, "Thus far has the Lord helped us." God promised to be the protector of His people when they were obedient to Him, and He follows through on His promise.

God is no different to us—to me—today He promises to be our Lord and our Saviour. He promises to love us and protect us. He promises us eternal life is we love and obey Him. He is a God who keeps His promises, just like my son said, "He did it before, so He will do it again!"

Passages for reflection: Genesis 15, Genesis 22:15-18,Genesis 28, 1 Samuel 7

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Blessings I've Been Busy With

I know, I know, some of you are wondering where I have been lately. I have a few reasons for not being so blog-faithful lately!

One reason, I'm working full time now, and trying to still carry on as a full time mom when full time work is done. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. My hubby and I are feeling very blessed to be able to be working 2+ jobs (my hubby doing the 1+ part), and we have felt blessed in doing so. But the simple fact is, life gets busy with that. . .and blogging just isn't one of those top things to do with your spare time. . .because there is very little of it!

I'm also taking a course. I know it, I'm that geek-y type who thinks doing even more school is exciting! But I have found that this time around, it is very time-demanding! I'm thinking that settling for less than an A might be the way life goes when you are 30plus with a family and jobs! And I'm learning again that an A doesn't actually describe whether you learned anything or not, because I've learned enough from this course already to merit taking it! ah, the joy of learning!
And. . .well. . .for the last 14 weeks. . .

This has been time consuming lately, too! It's a blessing, alright, but future #3 is keeping me busy! While my family and I are loving the fact that God has been growing us with another family member, we are earnestly praying that God allows this baby to continue growing and thriving. I have a sub-chorionic hemorrhage. That pretty much means there is a wonderful bubble of blood around this little alien, and it can cause a few problems, such as a miscarriage. But even when all signs have shown otherwise, this little one keeps holding on--for which we are very thankful! 5 doctor appointments, 4 ultrasounds (and some of those cool 3-D images!), 2 trips to emergency, lots of phone calls and appointment-making--and for this little life, we wouldn't change a thing! We are thankful for God's providence and peace in this all and trust in His goodness and faithfulness to us in the weeks to come!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday. . .on a Monday!

Maybe I am catching up on life. . .or maybe I am doing this first and putting off all those other things to do!!! But it is Monday, and I am posting. . .TODAY!

Monday- Fettuccine Alfredo with veggies and chicken (so ti pretty much turned into a pasta-primavera-type-dish), garlic bread and cheese bread (for me--not a big fan of too much garlic lately. My son, however, is. Go figure. )
Tuesday- Pork Skewers, mashed potatoes or noodles (from a package-I know, sorry!), carrots and peas

Wednesday (S&S)-Fancy Grilled Cheese
Thursday (CP)- Tuscan Chicken Sandwiches (I suppose this could go with rice too. . .)
Friday (OAMC)-Tortellini in Marinara Sauce, sausages, salad

Saturday's Snack- Gingerbread Latte (yes, I will comment after!)

Sunday (BFS)- Cinnamon French Toast (I LOVE this recipe!!!!)

Okay, for the snack bit. . .maybe it is just the fact that I lived in the US for too long, but here we had Thanksgiving, and the weather turns kinda sour and. . .I just want to have Christmas!!! In the US, Thanksgiving=the beginning of Christmas! Oh how I miss that! I have very fond memories of all the different places I spent Thanksgiving out there--there were so many generous people who were willing to have me over and let me in on their celebrations. I loved it! I have this little Christmas itch, I guess, but I know it would be almost considered a "sin" to start listening to the music and all. (My husband has standards--and October is too early!!!) So the next best thing is a gingerbread latte. And to secretly hope the time flies by, so that Christmas will come soon! And who can resist a nice hot drink on a cold day?

I know, I'm being kinda pathetic. . .but I'm more than willing to admit it!

See more MPMs at I'm #367!
I'll post a picture of my Christmas--I mean--latte-goodness ASAP!
10-20-09 Update: Here are some photos. . .yummy! I guess you can't really tell what it is, but the fact is there is a picture here! And. . .on my "skinny" dollop of whipped cream, here are some of those VE Coffee Toppers (pictured below). And they are yum too, just if you are interested! (My sister sells it, so I have a little "in" on what is good!) Merry Snacking!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday. . .on Tuesday

Well--Tuesday today. . .but yesterday was Thanksgiving, so we were all eating a great dinner anyway!

Monday- Thanksgiving dinner!

Tuesday-Chicken Bacon Pizza--this one is a favourite!!!

Wednesday- leftovers

Thursday (CP)-Creamy Chicken or Turkey buns

Friday (OAMC)- this one is a CP one too. Chicken curry, rice

Saturday's Snack- Cinnamon Buns

Sunday- Crepes Suzette's (not necessarily with the traditional french topping on it. . .but this website also gives a few yummy fruit-y toppings.)

Mmm. . .cinnamon buns! What a treat! I made these over a week ago, but never posted. Without much extra time, making cinnamon buns from scratch is a HUGE treat over here! (Just for those of you who were jealous over my fb update about these buns. . .they are a HUGE treat over here!!!! Here is the recipe so you can make them yourselves!!! p.s. But I did invite you over for brownies. . .)

This recipe came from my mom. . .I think she got it from a Calgary newspaper once upon a time.

Buns: 1 envelope Quick-rise yeast, 3-1/4 c. flour, 1/4 c. sugar, 1/2 t. salt, 3/4 c. milk, 1/4c. water, 1/4 c. butter, 1 egg,

Topping: 1 c. brown sugar, 1T cinnamon, 75ml. margarine or butter, 1/2 c. raisins (opt)

Set aside 1 c. flour. Mix remaining flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Heat milk, water and butter. Stir into dry ingredients. Mix in egg. Mix in enough flour to make a dough. Knead for 5 minutes. Cover and let dough rise for 10 minutes. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and margarine. Roll dough in 12x9" rectangle. Spread with mixture. Roll up from long side.

Cut into 12 pieces. Put in muffin cups or pan. Cover dough, let rise for 20 minutes. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Remove to cool.

*My changes. . .I have to make sure that when i am mixing that last bit of flour in that I keep it a "sticky" dough. Otherwise they get kinds dry. The last rising bit I often put in a warmed oven. they bloat like crazy then! Yummy!

The finished product. . . This picture is for last week's post. mmm. . .brownies. . .mmm. . .

check out more menu plan ideas at!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Welcome Workshop-Go-ers!

Welcome to my humble little blog! You're probably here via the Touch Tank workshop (NWCSI-CTABC Convention) right now, so I am going to make the navigation really easy!

The Creative Reading and Writing Responses
are located here.
Just click HERE and it will re-direct you to all the possible teaching and tutoring tips I've blogged about. In the future, there is a link to click on the right sidebar under the heading "Week at a Glance." Please feel free to look around the blog and leave a comment or two! I'd love to hear from you. . .or post/link to an idea or two of yours!

Menu Plan Monday. . .or Wednesday?

Okay, Helen, this one is for you! It's been a busy week! We are still eating! You might not have quite as many ideas of things to make, but we are still eating. . . JK! thanks for checking in on me!

Monday- Potato Soup, mesquite sausages (Thanks Oma!)
Tuesday- French Fries and Fish Sticks (homemade)
Wednesday-Grilled cheese and whatever else they have at the Fire Hall Open House (hot dogs, pizza, timbits, etc!)
Thursday- leftovers
Friday-BBq meatballs, rice or mashed potatoes and carrots
Saturday--Fudge Brownies
Sunday--bacon, crepes

My hubby wanted fudge-kind-of-brownies. I pulled out this recipe after searching and searching. He said this was not what he was thinking of. I said I was right, and I would prove it to him. So I made them. He said I was right--they were exactly what he was thinking of. (And he wasn't just saying this to make me happy!) Oh the personal glory!

These are from the back of a Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate Box

Baker's One Bowl Brownies
Prep: 15 min.
Total 50 min.
4 squares Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup toasted pecans (optional)

1. Lightly grease a 13x9 inch baking pan.
2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwaveable bowl on Medium 2 minutes or until melted.
3. Stir sugar and chocolate until well blended; mix in eggs and vanilla.
4. Stir in flour and nuts; spread in pan.
5. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 30-35 minutes or until done. Do not over bake. Cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen or 24 servings.

They are yum! Will post a picture soon!
p.s. Go visit for more MPMs!

Luke 2:52 in the Classroom

In my previous post, I wrote a quasi-review about the book, Emma's Journal, by Ed Rowell. Now I want to share with you how I have used it in the classroom:

1. First, I made a bulletin board like so. . .
Because I teach primary, I made a simple bulletin board--and one that we can write on each month and erase. Instead of using words, like "intellectual", I changed it to primary-friendly phrases, like "With my mind."
2. Next, we had a classroom meeting. this usually happens weekly to talk about issues going on in the school, in the classroom and with our peers. We role-play scenarios and talk about ways to figure out our problems. This time, we read the Bible--Luke Chapter 2. then we talked specifically about verse 52, and how the verse can be broken up into these four areas. We talked about how we want to praise God with our whole beings (insert words of song, Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord here--sure mixes the meeting up by doing a random song!) then we talked about 4 ways that we, as a class, could praise God with our whole beings.
3. We came up with this:
-say one thing we are thankful for each day
-use these words: "please" and "thank-you"
-run or walk around the track one time each day
-read one Fall or Pumpkin book (our current unit) at home with our families
Not bad for a bunch of cute, adorable, eager, wonderful, energetic little primary kiddos!
So. . .now for the rest of the month, we will remind ourselves and check ourselves to see if we can "complete" these goals. If we can, cool, we'll make new ones to grow on these! If we can't, we will break these current goals into smaller steps, so we will eventually be able to do it!

A Great Book--Emma's Journal

I read a great book!!! It's called Emma's Journal –a novella Ed Rowell (2003, WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO).

I'm not very good at picking out books for myself so I generally rely on the opinions of others as a way to choose books. The Shack, The Flamboya Tree—those are a few GREAT ones I have read on the advice of others. A few weeks back I was chatting with my sister on the phone and she said she had a book for me. All my sister said was, "You are going to LOVE it!" And she was right!

The book is essentially about how an old woman was able to touch so many lives by putting the words of Luke 2:52 into practice. Yep, I dare you. Go look it up. Not a clearly laid out verse with instructions on how to change the world! But through the story and many lives that become intertwined, Rowell wrote about how this woman was able to slowly change lives by making some small changes in her own life.

Some things I liked about the book:

1. Rowell deals with some big issues and life events in a small book. Being a "Christian" book, he doesn't sugar-coat these issues or events, and they are not all solved by the end of the novella. I think a person who doesn't believe in Christ could pick up this book and find many truths and many relationships to his or her own life in the story.

2. The characters are not common, nor are they the Hollywood-type of creations. They are characters you and I could relate to—and you can probably find something in common with at least one of them, even if you don't really want to!

3. During the funeral celebration of the main character, Rowell carefully entices you into the salvation message. How wonderful to hear about God's saving grace for all at a funeral where there are people who need to hear it present.

4. The Journal.

Let me further explain #4! The main character in the book was named Emma. She was a grown widowed woman whose two children had already moved out of the house and had busy lives of their own. Emma accepted Christ and made it her goal to learn more about God. One day she stumbled upon Luke 2:52 and from there created her "Living on Purpose Journal." While the book explains it so clearly and eloquently, I'm going to give you an abridged version with the HUGE encouragement to read the book on your own!

Reflecting on the verse, Emma believed, "The verse sums up Jesus' life from the time he was twelve until he began his public ministry around the age of 30" (p. 89 of Emma's Journal). Emma interpreted Luke 2:52 in a way that she could break it up into four areas:



Spiritual=favor with God

Relational=favor with man

Emma proceeded to make small attainable goals in each of those areas to grow in the same fashion as Jesus did, or for us, closer to our Father. She made, "Just a little goal or a little step to take. She said if she couldn't do it, it was too big and she'd break it down into something simple. When that little step became a habit, she'd take another step" (Emma's Journal, p. 91) For example (and note that some of these are taken from the book), a spiritual goal might be to read a psalm each day or memorize one Bible verse each day. A physical goal might be to walk 15-20 minutes each day or learn how to play baseball. An intellectual goal might be to learn Spanish or read one of the classics each month. A relational goal might be to politely greet the people you walk by each day or bring a meal over to a neighbor.

There are two things I like about her goals. One thing is that they are small and attainable. So often we set goals for ourselves that are out of reach, too hard for us to do on our own, or take too long. Emma made them small and simple and built upon then, rather than shooting big right away. Each small goal or step may lead to one of these big ones, but it was enough for her to take it one step at a time, one bit at a time, rather than biting off more than she could chew and getting frustrated at a "failure." Another thing I liked about her goals was that she kept herself accountable to them. She took four areas of her life, looked at small things she could do to change these areas and made a plan. Then she wrote them in a journal to keep herself accountable. And before you get discouraged about the fact that this might involve journaling, I need to tell you about how many people had a journal in this book! (Yes, I know, it's just a book, but I think it is a book that could possibly happen!) The journaling wasn't long and wordy, it was just a goal (and more if you wanted), just to keep yourself accountable. Just so that, if the goal wasn't becoming a habit, you could re-visit it and figure out how you could make it attainable. Or so you would remember it!

On the first page of her "Living on Purpose Journal," Emma had written this:

"When it's time for me to go, I just want to know that my life made a difference. Lord, help me to take advantage of every opportunity to touch others in ways that demonstrate your love."

I can't argue with a statement like that. I'm not sure than many people can. But Emma also recognized that touching the lives of others with God's love was going to happen by just carrying on life as usual or sitting quietly in her house. And so she developed her journal as a way to ensure that she was demonstrating God's love in 4 aspects of her life.

When my sister had told me about this book, she said, "I know you and (another name) have been pushing me to use a journal, but I think this is a way of journaling that makes sense." Who knows? Whether this book (or this little, humble blog entry) encourages you to journal, I hope it does encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities that God gives to you to share His love with others.