Thursday, March 31, 2011

Slow Cooker Taco Chicken and Veggies

1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (16 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) whole kernal corn, drained
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
5 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
shredded Cheddar cheese

Put the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, and diced tomaotes in the slow cooker. Add and mix the taco seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.  Put chicken breasts on top of vegetable mixture. Cover and cook on low heat for five hours.

Remove chicken breasts from slow cooker and shred. Return shredded meat to slow cooker, mixing with the vegetables. Cover and cook for another hour or until ready to serve. Serve topped with Cheddar cheese (optional).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Daily Journal Thursday March 30, 2011

Some of my favorite things today were - reading with Austin and Amanda this evening (shown is one of the books we are currently reading), and playing games with the little ones.

Some of my least favorite parts of the day were - snow and rain, sneezing all day, and having the hiccups during story time. Seriously, it's really hard to read stories and sing songs with the hiccups! The  kids found it funny though so I guess it was good for something.

What my family is up to -
 Doug taught the 6-11 year old class for the first time tonight. He was told at the last minute (after he got to church) that he was going to be teaching. He said he was nervous but it went okay. He will be the substitute teacher now. He's always stays when he takes Austin and Michael and helps out wherever needed so this will work out well.

One of Austin's friends is on spring break this week so came over yesterday and spent the night. They had a good time and we all enjoyed his visit. They decided to order pizza for an evening "snack" so we pooled our cash and all had some.

Amanda has had a quiet day taking care of her pets, baking cookies and spending time with the little kids.

Michael has been his usual busy self. He spent most of the day excited because he was going to church this evening with Doug and Austin. He loves to go anywhere with Daddy.

Here are a few pictures that I took the last few days.

I went out to the garage Monday evening to see what kind of adventures Doug and Austin were having and this is what I found.

Some of Amanda's pets.

Landon and Michael watching the tractor in field next to our yard.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Joseph - Story, Songs, Coloring Page and Puppet

The preschoolers Bible story this week is The Story of Joseph.

Each morning at circle time we read The Story of Joseph, and then talk about the discussion questions on this page. We also sing two songs - God Made Families and I Am Special. Then we go on to our other circle time topics - the letter, number, color and shape of the week, calendar and sign language lesson.

This morning after circle time each child colored a Joseph coloring page

Then we made a Joseph puppets using these patterns. I cut his coat out of printable scrapbook paper. I wanted striped paper but couldn't find any quickly so I used the circle paper instead.

The kids didn't care if Joseph's coat had stripes or circles and really had fun putting this together and showing off the finished puppets.

After craft time the kids took their puppets into the playroom and played with them and the legos.

We had a lot of fun with this lesson.

Alphabet Flashcards

We've been focusing on one letter of the alphabet each week and are now on the letter Xx. When we finish the alphabet we're going to spend some time focusing on Easter and then on seeds, plants and gardens. Anyway, I thought I would make some new activities for us to do for the next few weeks focusing on the alphabet.

I found these printable alphabet flash cards and printed two sets. Then I cut them apart and glued them to construction paper.

We will be using these in a couple different ways. One way is to let the kids play with them, look at them and find the pairs of matching letters. Another way is to divide one set among the kids and the as I hold up one letter from the second set, let them tell me who is holding the matching card. I'm sure at some point we will use them in typical flashcard form as well.

My group of kids love games like this and I'm sure the pictures will spark some interesting conversations.

play academy

Monday, March 28, 2011

Same and Different

We've been talking a lot the last few weeks about the concepts of "same" and "different." One of the main ways we've been learning about this is through playing Flower Memory Match.

I printed these flower pictures from DLTK Kids and glued them on to white construction paper squares. It would have been nice to have something sturdier but that is all I had available at the time so that is what I used.

Each time a child turns over two cards I ask - Are they the same or different? And they really picked up the concepts quickely and are having a lot of fun at the same time.



Childhood 101

One Thing

Some days I wake up in the morning ready to dive in and get my work done. These are the days when everything seems to flow smoothly and everything on my list gets done and there's time to spare. Other days (way more than I'd like) I struggle to wrap my mind around everything that needs to be done and how to get it done in a timely fashion. Even with a plan or a to-do list somehow things just don't seem to come together.

This morning was one of the second type of mornings. I knew what needed to be done, but couldn't seem to pull my thoughts together around the interruptions from the kids, to actually get it done. So I employed one of my fall-back methods for getting started. It's a simple one, but it usually works for me. It's just this -

Do one thing. The first thing I see that needs to be done. It doesn't have to be the most important thing, just something to get me started. Somehow the simple act of doing one simple thing seemed to flip a switch in by brain get me started moving forward.

This morning's one thing was to put a pair ot tennis shoes that desperately needed washing (don't ask) in the washer. From there I moved on to loading and starting the dishwasher . . .

. . . and then to folding and putting away the clean laundry waiting in the laundry room.

By lunch time I also had a second load of laundry started, one of my kitchen counters cleaned off and wiped down and some other misellaneous clutter cleared away, as I moved through my mornig with the kids.

But I had to start with one little, seemingly insignificant step.

Interestingly this seems to work in other areas of life as well. When I feel completely stuck and am having a hard time deciding where to start, stop thinking and do the first thing in front of me. The rest will come after the first little forward momentum.


I am finding this journey of counting my blessing to be both more difficult and more rewarding than I had expected. Difficult, not because I lack blessings, but because I forget to look and do not always recognize them in the moment. Rewarding as I am filled with a fresh wonder at how very blessed I truly am.

Blessings 43 - 49

- Discovering Kindle for PC (free app) and free downloadable books

-Leota's Garden by Francine Rivers (one of the free ebooks I downloaded and then stayed up way too late reading)

- Planting garden with my family during warmer days last week - beets, carrots, and peas - and dreaming of how tasty they will be.

- Quiet Sunday's when I can write, read and create to my heart's content.

- a nice evening walk with my kids as we become familiar with our new neighborhood

- salt and vinegar chips

- looking at the snow outside and knowing that it is winter's last hurrah, and warmer days will return.

A Love Song

You are the air I breathe

I'm desperate for you, I'm lost without you.

These lines sound like they come from a love song. And they do. But not just any love song, but a love song to my Creator. A love song to the One who loves me more than any earthly mortal could possibly love me. And while I can sing these words and sound (and truly feel) like I am mean them with all my heart, I can in no way match the tenderness and love He has in His heart for me. He has a love for me that is beyond anything that I can comprehend.  He is there at every turn, at every breath.

And yet, knowing that, why do I allow myself to stumble along as if I'm alone? Why do I worry and fret as if I'm the one in control and everything depends on me? Why do I insist on carrying today's burdens, worries and troubles by myself? Why do I ignore the hand He is holding out to me, the offer to carry me over the roughest places, hurting Him with my rejection?

And, yet, even though I have treated Him this way, He gently calls me again. And when, through the noise of my own troubledness, I finally hear Him, and reach for His hand, I feel safe again.

Isn't He beautiful,
Isn't He wonderful
Friend like no other to me.

Finding Heaven