Sunday, April 4, 2010

Resurrection Sunday

We should remember every day that Jesus died for us, but I do really love that we have a special day to remember and celebrate that He not only died to pay the price for our sins, but that He conquered death and rose from the grave as alive as any healthy, breathing man on earth. We have the promise of eternal life with God. The very first verse I memorized as a child was John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

Jesus left us the gift of the Holy Spirit and a real relationship with our Creator. No longer do we have to go through a priest or a sacrifice to talk to God; we have direct communication. Not only that, we are adopted into Jesus' family, joint heirs in the Kingdom of God.
Ephesians 1: 5-7 "having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace"

This was a windy, but beautiful day. Here are some pictures of our family:

I didn't realize, until too late, that I didn't have a good picture of Ellie in her pretty, new dress. The kids both ran off, but Wyatt came back for this photo:

Wyatt and I made some candy later on: Wyatt wanted to take a picture of the two of us when we were done making candy, so we set the camera on timer. You can see the crockpots for supper in the background. :)

Since Ellie was hanging out with Grandma Joan while we were candy making, and I didn't get a good picture of the family with her, she allowed me to take a picture while she was drawing in her "World Book".

Happy Resurrection Sunday!


This is the first Easter that I can remember spending without my family (as in my Mom, Dad, Brother, and Sister). This is also the first non-traditional Easter meal that we've had as a family. My mother-in-law came to visit for the weekend. My brother went riding on his motorcycle. My parents went riding on their trike. My sister, her hubby, and three girls went to Sunrise Service at their church, breakfast with his family, and then a quick visit with our folks before they went on their ride.
I stayed up late last night making muffins for breakfast at our church. Then had church services. We invited some friends and they came. Then we came home and took some pictures and put Rigatoni in the oven (I had pre-made the basics and put it in the fridge, to it just had to heat up). This is a favorite family recipe that my mother-in-law passed on to me when Thomas and I were engaged. I have altered it just a bit, but the taste still remains true.
Here's the recipe:
1 box Rigatoni noodles
2-26 oz jars of spaghetti sauce (We like traditional, but any kind will do.)
1 beer (I buy this specially for Rigatoni, because I just don't drink it. You can omit it, but I've come to like the unique flavor that it gives the dish.)
2 to 3 cups of Colby cheese
2 to 3 cups of Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan, if desired (I haven't added that in about 10 years or more)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook Rigatoni noodles to the minimum time on the box, drain.
Use a 13 x 9 inch pan.
Pour in 1 jar of sauce and add 1/4 to 1/2 of the bottle or can of beer.
Layer 1/2 of the rigatoni noodles and 1/2 of the cheeses.
Then add the next 1/2 of rigatoni noodles on to of the first cheeses, top with the 2nd bottle of sauce and the other half of the cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes.
I love to make an extra in an aluminum pan and freeze for another day. This is such a simple dish, but so yummy and filling. The whole family likes Rigatoni! We like to have Rigatoni with garlic bread and salad.

Sign of Spring

I love to see my bright yellow daffodils bloom. Then I know that Springtime is really here. I love to see the plants come back to life in Spring. I love living where we have all the seasons. I appreciate them all for different reasons. The mild weather and nature's rebirth of plants and new baby animals just puts me in such a good mood.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Freebie Sites

I was asked to be a part of a homeschool mom panel for a local support group today. One of my areas of "expertise" (why I was asked to be a part of the panel) was homeschooling on a budget. My handout from the mini-conference workshop is still available under Homeschoooling on a Budget.

I thought it would be nice though, to post my Top Ten Favorite Freebie Sites. These are sites I go to a regular basis, some of them daily! I will describe them for you, and you can click on the highlighted title to go directly to the site.

The Homeschool Freebie of the Day is a site I frequent Monday through Friday. The daily freebie could be an e-book, a classic book scanned or typed to e-book format, a unit study, a classic radio drama, downloadable coloring book, and list goes on. The Freebie of the Day is available for one day only, so that why I'm on there each day. It doesn't take long to download and I save the file on a USB memory drive under the appropriate file to find when I'm ready to use it. Sometimes we change our plans for the day and study whatever they have for us. Right now, if you sign up for their weekly e-mail "heads up", you will recieve their directory of free worksheets that they compiled and researched after many of their readers suggested sites. I have checked the directory out and it is awesome!

Honestly, the Erskine Family who runs the site are an awesome family! They have a sister site, called Homeschool Radio Shows or "Living Books for the Ear". These are classis radio dramas of everything! There are research shows, biographies, old family radio shows, classic books and plays. They are a wonderful addition to any homeschool.

Another daily freebie favorite is the devotional from Alpha and Omega. You'll need to sign up for an account with them, go to the freebie tab, then to the e-news link and check the box for the Daily Focus. I liked the devotionals so much, I bought the book through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op (you can get free student and teacher ids with them!). I still get the Daily Focus in my inbox though. Sometimes the devotional is so touching, I have to comment on the site.

I told the ladies at the meeting I am a bit Charlotte Mason in my teaching style. My favorite Charlotte Mason site is Simply Charlotte Mason. They have a free curriculum guide for those who are interested in teaching with the Charlotte Mason Method. There are three wonderful free e-books under the book section. You can download free samples of the things for sale. My husband originally got on this site and printed the free guide for Scripture Memory. There are loads of cool things to explore on this site. They have a wonderful e-newsletter, too, that I enjoy.

The Old Schoolhouse has some very enjoyable free we-e-books. Look on the left hand side under categories for "Freebies". The books range from things for the teacher to things for the student, and even things to share with those who are skeptical about homeschooling. You can also sign up to be on the list for the monthly free we-e-books.

A friend of mine, locally, has a great site called the Homeschool Helper. Before I knew this site belonged to her, I saw it in all kinds of national homeschool publications. I felt like I knew celebrity when she told me that was her site! Amy is a wonderful person, amazing mom and friend. Her site is a place that homeschoolers share unit studies, lapbooks, worksheets, and much more. She also shares homemaking tips, menus, and more. She also shares about homeschooling and family on her blog. She has an e-newsletter that updates you on the newest additions to the site.

Speaking of next site is not just freebies, but amazing online homeschool magazine started by two Amys. I have won a couple of free things from the site and many homeschool moms share unit studies, lapbooks, crafts, and so many helpful teaching tools. This is a site that I have actually made friends with ladies across the country. I have done multiple Bible/devotional studies with my cyber-friend, Lori (that is to make the distinction between her and my co-op friend, Lori, and my sister-in-law, Lori). This site is the Heart of the Matter. They also have an e-newsletter that always includes a freebie link.

A site that I discovered through a couple of these sites is Don Potter, a Christian school teacher with a heart to share what really works with parents, educators, and homeschoolers. He has spent much time and energy to share old books and links and even make mp3 tracks to teach Math, Spelling, Phonics, and many other things. This is a site well worth spending some time perusing. He also has links to other sites and books and things related to the things he shares on his site. Checking out his "Education Pages" is a must. You can even learn Greek, Latin, Spanish, and Hebrew on his site! I'm looking forward to using his materials in the coming school year.

I recently discovered a couple of sites through the Homeschool Freebie of the Day. One is Practical Pages. The homeschool mom, Nadene, who runs this blog is incredible! She could totally being selling all the wonderful things she shares for free. She is Charlotte Mason style teacher. She has incredible notebooking pages, lapbooks, paper dolls,... you name it, I think she does it.

The other site I found recently through the Homeschool Freebie of the Day is kind of three sites all hosted by one homeschool mom, Lee Giles. Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers is her newest site, I believe. She has also written a book called The King Will Make a Way (which I'll be reviewing at a later date) and has a blog called Just Us, which was linked to by the Homeschool Freebie of the Day, where she shares free lapbooks and homeschool info. These are new sites to me, but I really like what I've seen!

So, that is my top 10, but I'll give you two extra freebies! Another favorite spot of mine for freebies is Currclick. Not everything on the site is free, but they have weekly freebies and sometimes huge freebie selections for Mother's Day or some other event. If you sign up for their e-newsletter you'll find out what the current freebies are and know if you want to hit the site for a download.

Bonus number two is the place to go for free American History curriculum, Kindergarten through 12th grade. American Heritage (.org, not .com) has award winning American History curriculum for free. You can get the whole set of K-12 on cd, mailed to your house, for free! If you'd rather have paper form, they have the printed version in a binder for $19.50. This would be the one site of the twelve that I don't frequent, but should visit more often.

I slept and woke up and remembered another wonderful freebie that I have been enjoying during our homeschooling adventure, No Greater Joy magazine. You can read the magazine on-line, or get a print version for free! The magazine has information on homeschooling, child training, Bible Study, marriage, and much, much more! There is even a recipe for Peanut Butter Play Dough in a back issue that I shared with a friend recently.

So, that completes my baker's dozen of favorite freebie sites. Hope you all enjoy these freebies! I'd love to hear from you by e-mail or comments.