Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Treats

I prepared these Easter treats for my husband's customer service group at work.


Actually, there wasn't much preparation to it.  I added a "Happy Easter" (from T) label to the back of each wrapper.  Quick and simple...because both time and money are in short supply.  :P


Here is T...ready to go!  T enjoys going to his papa's office and handing out goodies upon occasion.


My husband's boss gave T some Easter eggs.  (My husband's office is having an indoor Easter egg hunt tomorrow for the children of the employees in the customer service department.)  Here is a blurry action shot of T opening his eggs (taken with my husband's Blackberry).


Here is T...feeling happy after giving out his treats.


He did a great job of saying "Happy Easter!" to each person.  :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dinosaurs Lunch

T ate this dinosaur-themed meal for lunch today.


  • dinosaur-shaped sandwiches on pretzel sticks (logs)
  • carrots (vegetation) with dip
  • "D" (for Dinosaur) Scrabble Junior Cheez-It Cracker
  • pretzel balls in a dinosaur cupcake liner with pick
    (It looks like a bumpy-backed dinosaur, right?)
  • a few additional pretzel balls (rocks)
  • peach yogurt with dinosaur sprinkles

Aren't the dinosaur sprinkles cute?  :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Xander's Panda Party

The Family Dinner Book Club selection for April is Xander's Panda Party by Linda Sue Park.

Xander's Panda Party
by Linda Sue Park

                             Xander planned a panda party.  Yes, a dandy whoop-de-do!
                             But Xander was the only panda.  Just one panda at the zoo.
                                       ~from Xander's Panda Party

Xander's Panda Party is such a lovely book.  I love the story line and the rhyming text.  (You can watch the book trailer here.)


However, I had to think twice about purchasing the book.  This is one conversation between two of the animals in the book:


          The crocodile asked Xander, "You've invited all the birds.  Birds and reptiles—long ago,
          we were related, don't you know?"


Evolution.  I will choose to omit that sentence when I read the book to T.  Regarding that portion of the book's content, the author noted in the back of the book:


        Most evolutionary biologists believe that some of the reptiles commonly known as
        dinosaurs evolved into birds during the Mesozoic era.  Today's reptiles and birds
        share common ancestors that lived more than one hundred million years ago.  The
        evolution of life on our planet continues to be a complex and wondrous mystery.


This is not what I (or we, as a family) believe.  That's why I had to think twice.


I am planning to do several fun activities with T, including the following:


Although I have found a slew of ideas on the Internet for panda bear activities, crafts, and foods, I think I will start with these four!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thank You

Dear cohorts in making food fun,

     Thank you for your votes for T's peanut butter themed bentos.  I am honored that "Elephants Love Peanuts" was chosen as Bento of the Week at Bento Blog Network.  :D


Happily,

Koogle

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Elephants Love Peanuts

At least, that's what I thought.  Apparently, it isn't true!  According to the Smithsonian website (and the article, "10 Things You Didn't Know About Asian Elephants")...

Peanut-loving elephants are a myth.  Elephants, Asian or otherwise, don't eat peanuts in the wild, nor are peanuts a typical diet for captive elephants.  In fact, most elephants don't even appear to like them very much.

Well, imagine that!!

Okay...so this was T's lunch today.  :P


  • elephant-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • "DOTHAN AL" Scrabble Junior Cheez-It Crackers
  • roasted peanuts in the shell
  • applesauce with circus-colored sprinkles
  • Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

T loves peanuts...the cookie variety, anyway!  
;o)


Did you know that Dothan, Alabama is called "The Peanut Capital of the World"? Approximately one-fourth of the U.S. peanut crop is produced nearby, with much of it being processed in the city of Dothan.¹

In Dothan stands a brilliant gold peanut monument acknowledging the debt of gratitude the area owes and feels toward this legume.  Back when the boll weevil wreaked havoc on the cotton crops of the South, peanuts became the salvation of the farmer.  This versatile and more pest-resistant crop was highly instrumental in reviving the sagging economy.²

sources:
   
¹Wikipedia
   ²Examiner

Monday, April 7, 2014

Perfectly "P" Lunch

T enjoyed this perfectly "P" lunch today...featuring peanut butter!

    P                nut              butter

The lunch included lots of "P" foods and "P" colors, including:

  • pea- ("P" shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwich)
  • nut (mixed nuts)
  • butter (butter cookie)
  • pretzels
  • peaches
  • pickles
  • punch
  • pink paper and silicone cupcake liners
  • purple placemat

And as usual, we prayed before T ate.  :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dream For Peace

I made this lunch for T for tomorrow.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. - sandwich on whole wheat bread with sprinkles
  • I Have a Dream speech bubble - honey wheat bread with sprinkles
  • "M L KING JR" - Scrabble Junior Cheez-It Crackers
  • arms folded in prayer - Rold Gold Tiny Twists Cheddar Pretzels
  • friends - Pepperidge Farm Ginger Family gingerbread cookie
  • peace - vanilla yogurt with peace ring

"I Have a Dream" is a public speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963, in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, the speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

source:  Wikipedia


Linked to:
   Bento Blog Network
   What's for Lunch Wednesday
   Fun Food Friday

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Winner!

It's exciting to *win* a drawing, is it not?  Well, guess what!?  I won a drawing at the Southeast Homeschool Convention last week!

I received a kindle edition of Relief Notes:  Encouraging Letters for Tough Times by the Christian Authors Guild.



Inside the book are 52 encouraging letters from caregivers, the financially challenged, and even addicts (everyday folks who have experienced the highs and lows of overindulgence).  Their homespun messages offer encouragement, inspiration, and glimpses of victory.¹


Cynthia L. Simmons is a speaker, author, and Bible teacher who uses history to encourage women and illustrate biblical truths.²  She contributed two of the letters in the book:  "Mom of a Special Child" and "Financially Challenged."


I met Cynthia at the homeschool conference, and I attended one of her workshops as well.  (You can view a list of the workshops I attended here.)  I discovered her to be a kind and encouraging person with a heart seeking to help women learn Bible study techniques.


Cynthia also generously gave me a complimentary copy of her study guide, Women in History Who Overcame.  This 12-week Bible study uses the stories in her companion book by the same title, and compares their dilemmas to Scripture.  I'm looking forward to delving into it.  :)  (You can view all of the books written by Cynthia L. Simmons here.)


sources:
   ¹Amazon
   ²Relief Notes:  Encouraging Letters for Tough Times

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Butterflies Lunch

I made this lunch for T last Wednesday...a butterfly-themed lunch.  (Spring, where are you??!)


  • butterfly-shaped sandwich with mini m&m's
  • popcorn clouds with butterfly rings
  • milk in a sky blue cup
  • low-fat strawberry yogurt
  • Little Debbie butterfly cake

This muffin tin meal received an enthusiastic "Yay!" and "Thank you!" from T.  :)  He even blew a kiss to me.  Awww.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Southeast Homeschool Convention

I mentioned yesterday that I attended a homeschool conference.  It was the Southeast Homeschool Convention.

I love to attend homeschool conferences.  It's exciting to browse the many curriculum options.  It's informative to listen to various workshop speakers.  Here are some of the workshops I attended this year:


Thursday (March 20th)

  • Movers and Shakers:  Curriculum and Teaching Strategies for the Active Child (by Kimberly Kulp)
  • The Secret in the Sunset -- Grumble Much? (by Heidi St. John)
  • If Mary and Martha Had Been Homeschool Moms (by Joanne Calderwood)
  • How to Homeschool and Keep Your Sanity (by Cynthia L. Simmons)

Friday (March 21st)
  • Run the Race (by Becky Browning)
  • Improve Attitudes, Learning, and Relationships by Discovering Roots of Problems (by Kathy Koch)
  • Cultivating a Love for Learning (by Ashley Wiggers)
  • Lies Homeschoolers Believe (by Todd Wilson)

Saturday (March 22nd)

  • Restoring Joy in Your Journey:  I Choose Joy! (by Candace R. Hansford)
  • Habit Training:  A Charlotte Mason Approach (by Sandi Queen)
  • 12 Genius Qualities to Encourage in Your Child (by Kathy Koch)

All of the workshops were very good; some were excellent!  :)

By the time the conference was over, I was physically exhausted.  However, I came away from the conference spiritually uplifted and feeling mentally and emotionally energized, motivated, more "centered" and more "focused."  I mean, it's always a good thing to be reminded (1) of some of the reasons why I am homeschooling,
(2) to keep Christ in the center of my homeschool, and (3) to teach to the heart of my child.

Possibly one of the most satisfying moments of the conference for me was when I had a revelation about homeschooling T.  I realized that just because I never had a "being hit on the head" light switch moment when I thought, "Aha!  Yes, I am being called to homeschool!" didn't mean that I wasn't called by the Lord to homeschool. For many years, I kept hearing the phrase "called to homeschool" and I wondered, struggled even, with whether I actually was "called" to homeschool or simply had decided that was what I was going to do.  (Are you still with me?)  Here's the story.


The Lord brought to my mind a conversation I had with my sister, as follows.
Several years ago, my sister reminded me of something I'd said to her years before that in response to her question of whether or not I would be willing to raise her daughter if anything happened to her (my sister).  At the time, my sister was homeschooling as a single mom.  I agreed that I would raise my niece, if ever needed.  I added that I wouldn't homeschool her, but that I definitely would put her in a Christian school.  I never planned to homeschool.


We didn't know of T's special needs until after he was born.  (You can read more about that story here.)  From the very beginning, I wanted the best for T -- the best life I could give him.  His special needs coupled with my teaching background began to evolve into my realizing by the time he was school-aged that homeschooling was best for him.  The Lord knew my major in college would be elementary education, my spiritual gift would be teaching, my passion would be teaching, and my son would have Down syndrome.  He worked it all together...for the good of all of us!


Do you see where the enemy was able to gain a foothold in all of this?  My doubts stemmed from never having had that aha moment that I thought being "called" was all about.  But the Lord revealed to me in a moment at the conference that as my background and my desires for T were knit together and culminated in a decision to homeschool T, that WAS my calling!


I shared all of this with my husband and asked him if he thought it constituted a "calling" to homeschool, and he said YES!  Oh, happy day.  :)  I feel so relieved...so content.  My doubts have been swept away!  I have joy and new purpose in my heart.


Did I say that I love to attend homeschool conferences?  :D

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Blessing

We were blessed in the most wonderful way yesterday evening.  I had just reached the end of a three-day homeschool conference and was worn out, so I met my husband and T for supper at a restaurant near the convention center.  We were eating and talking about the conference when a hand slipped over the back of the booth...and in that older gentleman's hand that touched T on his shoulder was a rolled up bill.  Actually, it ended up being two rolled up $5 bills.  So thoughtful.  So kind.  So generous.

As we left, T told the gentleman and his wife thank you and gave each of them a hug. The gentleman told me that the Lord led them.  I thanked them...and tried to convey what was in my heart.  I don't know that I did an adequate job.  I hope they understood somehow how they blessed me and my family.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

T had leftover pizza for lunch today, so this was his supper.

  • leprechaun sandwich
  • low-fat peach yogurt with green sugar sprinkles
  • baby carrots with Hidden Valley Creamy Parmesan Dressing
  • Little Debbie Shamrock Shortbread Cookie
  • milk in a leprechaun cup with a green-striped paper straw

Here is a close-up view of the sandwich.


I cut bread into a face shape and a hat shape.  I decorated the hat with Air Heads Xtremes Rainbow Berry Sour Candy and a Starburst Fruit Chew.  (I unwrapped the fruit chew and microwaved it for approximately 20 seconds.  Then, I rolled it flat and cut it into a square shape.)

I used candy decorations for the facial features.  The leprechaun's beard is Oven Baked Cheetos.


With a mouthful of cookie, T looked at his sandwich and showed "beard"...and then he pointed to his papa, who has a (reddish) beard.  
;o)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!