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September 9, 2014
bitsofthepast

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It is the Little Things

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Many times, we look for the big and miraculous to say we have been blessed.  But truly it is the small and seemingly unimportant that are the miracles.  As I look back at the simple, but awesome summer our family had, I realize this even more.  It was the everyday, that truly were miracles.

The witness of a colt being born, the holding of my daughters hand, the laughs with my sons, the work with my husband, a dear friend getting married.  All events can be seen as everyday things, but looked at individually are miracles.

The colt, a miracle because I have never witnessed a birth of a colt take place.  A miracle because the mom let me talk to her and touch her baby even though she had no clue who I was.  A miracle because I was able to teach my children important lessons about nature.  Simple yet miraculous.

My daughter holding my had because she wants to.  Simple to most, yet a miracle for me.  A miracle because it has taken a long time to get to this point.  A miracle because 4 years ago she would yell she hated me.  A miracle because she is family even with our cultural differences.

Laughter with the boys because they are growing so much!  A miracle because they are tweens who still want to laugh and hang out with their momma!

Work with my husband is a miracle because we can work together and love one another even when we fight or are not doing something the right way.  A miracle because we have this house we can work on together.  A miracle because we an work with our hands.

Friends getting married is always a miracle.  The miracle of love that reminds us of the reason my husband and I love.  A miracle to see eyes right for the promises made and the love to develop more.

Miracles of the simple, and every day.  Today your day will be made up of miracles.  What will they be?  What miracles has your summer been made up of?

Love,

Suzy

September 8, 2014
bitsofthepast

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End of Summer Bounty

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I sit here in the silence of the morning, getting ready to wake up the children.  Outside I hear the sprinklers run and water the grass, still trying to help it grow even with the cooler temperatures. I think to myself, “I still have to mow the lawn!”  I see the produce that my garden is still producing, and I think, “No not more!”  Not more stuff to do, not more things to think about.

I think to myself, “Maybe I will let my kids sleep in for another hour.  I need the break.”  The silence is nice.

I noticed that I was looking at this day as a chore, and I realized I have a choice.  I can make this day about me and my needs, or I can love.  I can love this day that has been gifted to me.  I can live this day and love the chores that I have been given.  I can choose to teach my kids with enthusiasm and instill a desire in them to live this day they have been given.

I can focus my attention on the amazing things of this world or get caught up in the doing.  My kids are not chores, they are gifts.  The food being provided from our garden is the gift of health and how can I teach my kids to give the gift of health to the world.  I used to dwell on how can I change the world?  I found the answer is living with gratitude daily.  My kids see this gratitude, they go out and are thankful, and guess what?  This changes the world.

So simple, yet so complicated.

I choose to get started on this beautiful day.

Love,

Suzy

September 4, 2014
bitsofthepast

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Cooking from the Garden-Pear Coffee Cake

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We are overflowing!  And I am busy in the kitchen and wanted to share a recipe that I thought was going to be a disaster, but ended up being the best from the day of cooking!

I have made my great grandmothers coffee cake so many times, and love it!  We had so many pears, and thought pears would be a perfect addition to the cake.  So, I found the recipe, and cut up some pears.  For some reason, I found myself straying from the recipe!  Have you ever thought you were following one, only to look down and see that you forgot several steps? That is what happened to me.  Instead of separating the eggs, I plopped the eggs right in.  I also accidentally added a tablespoon of baking powder to the doubled recipe, instead of two teaspoons.  When I realized this, it was a little too late, and I thought, Oh well, let’s see what happens!  Well, the result was delicious!  The baking powder actually caused the cake to bake up and around the pears, burying them in the middle of the cake, which ended up being spectacular!  I love pleasant surprises like these!

Here s the recipe with the mistakes, not doubled.  I hope you try it!

Pear Coffee Cake

3/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup milk

3 sliced pears

Sift dry ingredients together, set aside.  Cream sugar and butter and add the egg.  Alternately add the egg mixture and milk to dry ingredients.  Place in baking dish.  Add sliced pears to the top.  Pour over the top of cake 1/2 stick of melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture over the top.  Bake up at 350 for 25 minutes.

Eat and enjoy!

Love,

Suzy

 

 

September 2, 2014
bitsofthepast

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The Long Weekend

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This weekend was not spent travelling.  Instead, this weekend was spent working.  I guess the name inspired us!  We spent the weekend working on our outdoor kitchen, I built a chicken coop.  Yes, little old me!  We worked in the garden and cleaned up our yard!

It was a beautiful weekend, and definitely feeling like fall!  I cannot believe how early it has gotten chilly for us.  Usually it takes until mid September to have highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s.  Instead it was mid August.  I am not complaining, but I am not ready for summer to end.  I have truly enjoyed all the warm summer days.  So, I am not going to decorate for fall early, and I am going to keep enjoying until it is officially fall, the equinox.  Call me a rebel!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and I look forward to reading all about it!

Love,

Suzy

August 28, 2014
bitsofthepast

1 comment

Homeschool Classroom

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Our classroom has evolved over the past few years.  It started as a little space at the sop of the steps.  Then moved to the kitchen table.  Then my kids expanded the classroom to the entire house, and really this is still our classroom.  However, I did want a space that we could gather in the morning, take care of a few things together, then send them off to their own studies.  A compromise of learning together and learning independently.

Some of the things I am stressing this year is time management, especially for my older son.  He is twelve, and is heading towards the age of having to be organized and thoughtful of his tasks.  When I taught middle school, I never thought I would have a child in this age group, and I assure you it is not easy.  But if I help him to develop these qualities, he will have an easier transition to high school and college. My other two students are beginning to learn these qualities earlier, and I am so happy with the results so far.

We do have a schedule, and as much as I would love the unschooling aspect, it just does not fit with my family.  We need a routine.  We are so busy, that school would never get done.  Plus, I like schedules.  I have tried to change this part of me, but darn it, if there isn’t something to seeing my tasks neatly printed out that gives me a little thrill!

Each child has a drawer system with their classes labeled on each drawer.  This system is really handy to keep things organized.  They each have a binder with dividers for classes.  The part of the drawers that I am loving is the to be graded drawer.  In this drawer, they have an accordion folder that has their classes labeled.  When they need a paper to be graded and I do not have time at that moment, they place their paper in it, and later I can come back and grade.  Love it!

Here are a list of classes we do together:

Devotions

handwriting

German

Science (Middle and Little Bits)

History (Middle and Little Bits)

Art

Music

 

We start our day at 9 am, and I have found myself being strict on the end time at 330pm.  This way, I can actually get stuff done.  What ever they have not gotten done, they must do as homework, but I do not grade it until the next day.  Plus I am not always available to help. Again, time management.

For me, this schedule works, and I think it has a great deal to do with being a public educator for so long.  But I have noticed that my family thrives when I lay out these plans.  It is a great deal of work at first to keep everyone on track, but totally worth the effort!

How are your days planned?  Would love to hear from some of you.  Not just homeschoolers, but traditional school folks as well.

Love,

Suzy

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