100 Ways I am Blessed {days 78-84}

Week 12 in over and Caroline and I are getting ever closer to the end of our summer-long challenge.

Here’s a recap of my week, also make sure to head over the Caroline’s blog to see her photos.

 

78. Ending the day with #CookOut! #100waysiamblessed

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79. Went shopping this morning with my mom and sister and got a great discount on this necklace that I’ve been eyeing for a while. Score! #100waysiamblessed

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80. My view during my run earlier. God’s creation is breathtaking. #100waysiamblessed

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81. Way back when we both were still young tomboys. Haha! What an incredible blessing this gal has been in my life. Happy Birthday, dear @ebbyfaith44! Just a few more weeks ’til I catch up with you in age. #100waysiamblessed

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82. Bind my wandering heart to Thee. #100waysiamblessed

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83. #Autumn is making it’s way into our lives! Yay for fall colored #MandM’s! #100waysiamblessed

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84. Fantasy football draft with the family. #footballseason #letsgo #100waysiamblessed

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Homemade French Bread

I love to bake. I have for a long time. And a few months ago I started to have “baking days” every Saturday to make breakfast foods, or sweet treats – and lately I have been making fresh, homemade French bread to go along with Sunday dinner the following day. I searched for a good recipe and got started. I absolutely love the smell of the yeast rising and rolling out the dough and watching it rise.

Anyways, I found a really yummy recipe that I love to make and my family likes to eat. So I wanted to share my find with you all today.

 

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Here are the ingredients:

French Bread

1 1/2 T instant yeast

1/2 C very warm water

1 1/2 T sugar

2 C water

1 1/2 T oil

2 1/4 t salt

6 C flour

 

The yeast and sugar will be set in the 1/2 C of warm water for ten minutes. While you’re waiting for that to rise, get your oil, water, and salt poured into your bowl or mixer. When the yeast is ready, pour it into the mixer with oil, water, and salt along with 3 of the 6 C of flour. Mix together. Gradually add one cup at a time of the remaining 3 C of flour.

Knead for 5 minutes.

Set out on floured surface and let dough rise for one hour. During that one hour, knead the dough every ten minutes. So, if you start your hour at 1:30, knead at 1:40, 1:50, etc. and will knead for the last time at 2:20 before your hour is complete at 2:30. (Does that make sense?)

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Divide dough into four equal parts. Roll out each chuck with rolling pin and roll up into small loaves of bread. To give it that simple but pretty look, slice three diagonal lines through each of the loaves and brush the top of each loaf with an whipped egg white.

Let loaves rise for 30 minutes.

Bake in oven for 10 minutes on 425* F, then 20 minutes on 375* F.

 

When it’s all done enjoy the wonderful delight of warm, fresh baked French bread.

 

*The original recipe was found here and there’s a tasty looking spread to go atop the bread if you so desire!

100 Ways I am Blessed {days 71-77}

Week eleven is finished! And what blessings to be found from this past week! Praise the Lord! Here you go, look at the photos, and also be sure to click over to see Caroline’s week of blessings as well! Enjoy!
71. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” -Hebrews 11:1 #faith #100waysiamblessed

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72. Playing some evening #football. #100waysiamblessed

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73. Little pumpkin, grow up big. Grow up beautiful. And most important, be tasty. Getting ready for #pumpkin season! #ComingSoon #100waysiamblessed

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74. Black and white keys. 88 of them all in a row – and, if played right and with passion, produces the sweetest kind of magic. It has been said that where words fail music speaks. It has the power to evoke great emotion. And I love it. #piano #100waysiamblessed

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75. Hot coffee and cozy slippers makes for a good morning. #100waysiamblessed

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76. #sewing and #creating and having a blast! I’m so happy I have the equipment I need to put together fun projects. #100waysiamblessed

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77. Today @keysia_curry turns one year older! So blessed to have you as a friend. You have no idea just how much you’ve encouraged me and been an inspiration. Of course Texas had to steel you… Who knows, maybe I’ll follow you someday. I love you so much! Happy Birthday, dear!!! #100waysiamblessed

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Joy-Filled

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We all desire joy. We crave a joy-filled life.

Such a small word, with such an enormous purpose.

To have joy means to be thankful and content in its entirety with what God has given. To have joy means to leave no room for hate, discontentment, or doubt. To live a joy-filled life means to see day-by-day life as an opportunity to praise our heavenly Maker for each and every gift He gives, every prayer He answers, and every moment He allows us to live.

That is joy.

Being filled with the light and love of God is joy.

How, then, do we grasp this thing called “joy”? I believe it starts with another simple yet meaningful word: thankfulness.

Being thankful for that basket of laundry to fold. Being thankful for that sink-full of dirty dishes. Being thankful for the glorious sunrise that smiles on us each morning. Being thankful for the birds singing to greet us, “good morning“.

When we are thankful for what we have because of the grace of God, we will truly experience a joy-filled life. No, it is not something that is instant. It is a moment-by-moment choice to keep our eyes on God and His will for us. If I want to truly live joyfully, I must recognize and be thankful for the small, every day blessings that God has so graciously given me. It is work. I’m not going to lie. Because to be joy-filled means to keep our eyes on God and thank Him and praise Him even when everything around us is crashing down, blowing up, and we feel burnt out. To not become satisfied with self-pity and give in to the ever present desire to put me first takes a strength not found in a mere human heart. It takes a power and certain strength not in this world, but above it. It takes an All-Powerful God.

But through prayer and focus on His righteousness, we can come to experience this thing called “joy” only found in His arms.
We can truly live a joy-filled life.

Boy’s Toddler Pajama Pants Tutorial

I’m one of those people who look forward to Christmas way before other people are ready to hear a Christmas carol. So I have actually already started making my gifts for this year! I just finished the first half of my little brother’s gift: PJ’s. So I want to share with you all how I did it. So here we go…

 

I did some reading on how to make PJ’s for little boys, and most of the beginner tutorials didn’t use a specific pattern they just used a pair of pants to “guide” them. So, that’s what I decided to do! The pants I used were 24 months, but when cutting it, I left plenty of wiggle room for 1) sewing, and 2) growing little boy!

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I folded the pants in half to get them into the position I needed to cut the fabric (at the fold!) And here is the product:

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Fold them inside out and pin down the side that will make your leg for you (on both pieces of fabric!)

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And sew them (See how I stopped at the point where their bum is going to go? Make sure you stop there! Or else they won’t able put the pants on!)

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Alright, now it’s time to put the two halves together. Pin the edges together all the way around (on both sides) and sew…

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Try to end the seam at the bottom on both sides. That way you don’t have to worry about any odd strings hanging out anywhere.

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Then you’ll need to make the waist band. Fold the top down just far enough for your elastic to fit snug and easy inside the seam, and sew most of the way around… save a hole big enough to fit the elastic through.

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Now we’ll need to put the elastic through the hole we have! A neat trick I learned is to stick a safety pin at the end to help you feed the elastic through the whole thing.

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Once it’s all the way through, you need to attach the ends of the elastic. Sew it back and forth several times to make sure it’s good and strong!

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When you’re done, Sew up the hole!

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Last thing… to hem the bottom fold over just a small portion, pin, and sew.

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Showing you the inside and the outside of the finished hemmed legs.

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And ta-da! You have your PJ bottoms!!

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Alright, so I am by NO means a skilled seamstress. But I am learning and really enjoying the projects I’m undergoing. I also hope everything makes sense! This blog post was a lot of fun to put together, and my first one, so I’m still learning how to put it all together.

Enjoy!!

Favorite Homeschool Resources

My mom’s (Melanie) latest post here on Blessings, Bliss, and Bedlam! She’s a (very experienced) homeschooling mama of nine children and is sharing a bunch of her favorite resources for homeschooling today! Enjoy!

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I am looking forward to starting my 14th year of homeschooling this September, and for the last several years have been keeping a running list of favorite homeschool resources. I send this list to friends and others I come across who want to begin homeschooling, are considering the idea, or are even just looking for fresh ideas for their already established homeschool library. Each of the below resources are things that I have relied on in our homeschool at some point or another. As with many homeschools, I do switch things up at least yearly, if not more often, as our needs change.

 

Part of the beauty of homeschooling is the freedom to adjust schedules, routines, curriculum, and even how we use curriculum to better suit the needs of our family. It is a freedom I cherish. However, I would also like to share that at one point I realized that I was probably using that freedom, well, too freely. I realized I had Grass Is Greener Syndrome and was looking for the “perfect” curriculum. While I have come across many that I heartily recommend, there is no such thing as the perfect curriculum. I realized that I needed to learn self discipline and contentment. At that point, I set a rule for myself to complete a book before switching to something else. I have relaxed on that rule since then, but it was good for me to set that boundary for a little while.

 

Here is my running list of favorite homeschool resources – thus far. :)

 

Books

The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore

 

Actually, anything by the Moores would be great to read as far as homeschooling or parenting in general.

 

The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach by Robin Sampson

 

Anything by Ruth Beechick

 

 

Anything by Clay and/or Sally Clarkson

 

Websites

http://hslda.org/

http://heav.org/

http://theteachinghome.com/

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/Home.html

http://www.homeschoolshare.com/

http://homeschooling.about.com/

http://heartofwisdom.com/homeschoolstore.html

http://www.homeschooltracker.com/ (FREE software download for tracking everything homeschool – from grades to study time, field trips to reading logs)

http://notebookingpages.com/

http://www.currclick.com/ (I go back to this over and over and over again. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter so you can get some great freebies each week!)

http://www.thehomeschoollounge.com/

http://www.christianbook.com/ (I buy most of my curriculum here. They have a catalog specifically for homeschoolers, so make sure you sign up to receive that!)

http://www.starfall.com/ (Let your pre-readers play on this website to review their letters. Great site!)

http://www.homeschoolhop.com/

http://edhelper.com/ (This site does offer some free materials, but for the majority of its pre-8th grade offerings, you’ll need to purchase a yearly subscription of $20. For high school level worksheets, the $40 yearly membership is required.)

http://donnayoung.org/index.htm

facebook.com/Endeavor2Encourage – my own page for mothers, military families, homeschoolers or those thinking about it, and anyone interested in healthy living

 

 

Software

Marvelous Math

Scrapbook Max – (I like to use lapbooking with my younger students. Digital Scrapbooking is a popular middle/high school version.)

 

Curriculum

*Saxon Math

*D.I.V.E. CDs with Saxon (grades 4 and up)

* BJU Press English

*Learning Language Arts Through Literature

*Heart of Wisdom (for History, Science and Bible)

*Mystery of History

*Christ Centered Curriculum – For phonics. I do not recommend the math program. This program is for someone looking for a thorough curriculum that will give the student a firm language arts foundation. It IS time intensive for such young students. Sing, Spell, Read, and Write may be a secular alternative.

*Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons – This curriculum is great for the homeschool mom on the go. It is just ONE book. It takes only minutes a day to a confident reader.

*Rod and Staff ABC Preschool Series

*Apologia Science Curriculum

*In the Hands of a Child – Unit studies in the form of lapbooks, notepacks and type-it-ins. These are great unit studies with a planning guide that makes life easier. Throw in a read-aloud book and some enrichment activities, or just do it as is. Your kids will love these.

*Institute for Excellence in Writing  – I can’t say enough about what a great writing curriculum this is. On the pricey side but worth every penny.

*All About Reading

*Character Quality Language Arts – The content of this curriculum is superb, however, as a visual person myself, I do not like how it is set up. It looks cluttered and overwhelming to me. I do not give the entire workbook to my children for them to work on. I present only pieces at a time. This might work well for someone who enjoys a workbox system.

 

What I have learned about homeschooling:

 

RELAX. Guess what? Every student has gaps in their education. Every student. Your job as teacher is NOT to fill your child’s head with all the facts you can, but to teach them to LOVE TO LEARN.

 

Don’t feel guilty at not being able to write your own curriculum. Start out with whatever you need to feel comfortable and your family will grow from there.

 

Don’t be afraid to “waste” money on your child’s education. No one wants to be wasteful, but keep in mind that this is an investment and it will cost you – a lot. It will cost you money, it will cost you even more time, and at times it will cost your sanity. The rewards are worth it. Give it your all (plus some) and wait patiently to see the fruit.

 

Don’t spend a ton of money on preschool. You could give a preschooler a quality education for free, if you wanted to.

 

Your home comes first. A child who does not know how to WORK will be a terrible student. Have your children finish their chores before they start their schoolwork. They will have a better attitude and learn more.

 

100 Ways I am Blessed {days 64-70}

Week ten is over! It’s hard to believe Caroline and I only have THIRTY days left in this challenge! And what fun it has been! Alright, so here’s this week’s photos:

 

64. Rehearsal for special music this morning in church! So exciting to sing this song! If you haven’t heard this song, I highly recommend listening to it! Beautiful! #Alive! #NatalieGrant #100waysiamblessed

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65. Thank you, Pinterest, for toddler activity ideas! #100waysiamblessed #bigsister

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66. Playing “coo” (cars) with Sammy. #vroom #100waysiamblessed

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67. Brother and sister relationship. I love these two with all of my heart. #MyLoves #100waysiamblessed

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68. Brushing up on my fort building skills with my brothers. #100waysiamblessed

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69. Homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast! So yummy! Good morning to me. #100waysiamblessed

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70. Beautiful baby brother. #100waysiamblessed

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