I Know the Plans I Have for You…

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“For I KNOW the PLANS I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

I am a planner. I always start with a plan. I can flex quite well and can even throw out the plan if need be, but I must start with a plan. Over my 6+ years of homeschooling, I have made many plans. Some we’ve kept, some we’ve thrown out. But always, there is a plan. I’ve learned something, though. I’ve learned that I can get so busy planning the perfect __________ that I never do it. Time and again the Lord teaches me the lesson of laying my plans down and following His plan for my life, all aspects of my life. I’ll admit to being a slow learner in this area. Thankfully, God is patient and long suffering.

With the start of each new school year, I begin feverishly planning, gathering materials, planning some more. Making charts. Scrapping them. Making checklists, scrapping them. I’ve hit upon a system that is working fairly well for us this year and thought I’d share it with you. I’ve no doubt it will need tweaking throughout the year and I know I may go into over planning mode again. If When that happens, I’ll come again and lay it all at the feet of the One whose plans I really wish to follow.

I use Simply Charlotte Mason’s Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education to do the tough work of gathering, sifting, sorting and planning. I highly recommend this resource.

  • I make Term Charts for each child. This is my at a glance cheat sheet for what we should accomplish each term. This is one chart that I have used every.single.year and never change.

For a type-able form, click here.

  • The part that keeps me planning and re-planning are Daily and weekly checklists. I used the CM Organizer from Simply Charlotte Mason for several years and HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. I love how it gives you the next thing and you just KEEP ON KEEPING ON with your work. It is a fabulous resource! However, I find myself too easily distracted by checking e-mail or doing one little thing on my co-op website or . . . when I need to be busy leading my growing brood on their learning adventure. So, I decided to figure out a way to do on paper what the CM Organizer does online. My system is certainly not as sleek or flawless, but it’s working well enough for my purposes. 

How am I doing this type of planning on paper? I’m using A SUBJECT PLANNER. I plan out each subject as far in advance as I want and we just do the next thing. I can plan an entire year if I want to and will not have to change anything if we get behind. EUREKA!! I am using this form for Horsey Girl (11) who is doing well with it. However, I’m now working on a new format for Superstar (8) because the grid format just doesn’t make sense to him. He is used to a very straight-forward list and this is just too different for him. I’ll post what I come up with for him soon.

 

Each subject has a set of 6-six week plan pages. I fill in each block with one day’s worth of work. If a subject uses 3 resources for one day of work, those will all be listed in one block. If we do a subject only 3 times per week, then only 3 blocks are filled per row.

Here are some filled in examples…

Horsey Girl’s 6th Grade Term Charts

Horsey Girl’s 6th Grade Bible Planner

Ultimately, I’m learning that the perfect plan doesn’t exist apart from the Lord. Also, there is such a thing as too much planning. I’m trying hard to make a simple, yet thorough plan to cover us for the year. My next post will include all of our plans for this year.

Blessings,

Christie

Gluten Free Apple Pecan Muffins

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This one is SLAP YOUR MAMA GOOD! It is a simple variation of the previous recipe, but it turned out AMAZING! Enjoy. No pictures this time. Sorry. Hoover woke from his nap feverish and vomiting and that trumped photos.

PREP - 15 Min

COOK - 35 Min

TOTAL - 50 Min

Ingredients

  • 350 grams Whole Grain Flour Mix*
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 180 grams coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • eggs
  • 200 grams almond milk
  • 100 grams plain kefir
  • 100 grams olive oil
  • 1/2 cup granny smith apples diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • cinnamon (5 shakes)
  • nutmeg (3 shakes)

* All-Purpose Gluten Free Baking Mix (see recipe) – This batch made with blanched almond flour & arrowroot.

Preheat the oven to 350*. Grease a large muffin tin thoroughly.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk them together to combine and aerate.

Whisk together the eggs, almond milk, kefir and olive oil until they are combined well. Add them to the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula until the batter is almost fully combined. Throw in the apples and pecans and spices and continue stirring until all trace of flour is gone.

Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full. Slide the muffins into the oven. Bake until the muffins are browned with a bit of a crunch, the top springs back to the touch, and a knife goes through cleanly, about 25 minutes to 35 minutes.

Enjoy!

Raspberry-Coconut Walnut Muffins (Gluten Free)

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GF Raspberry-Coconut Walnut Muffins

Horsey Girl think these deserve a better & shorter name. Like DE-LI-CIOUS Muffins.

Hoover has asked for muffins for two days now. Given that he seems to be sensitive to wheat and/or gluten and who knows what else, I’m experimenting with new ingredients and new recipes. I’ve made Lindsey’s Pumpkin Muffins and Lauren’s Blueberry Muffins, both of which were HUGE hits with all four kiddos and hubby. They were both “SLAP YOUR MAMA, GOOD!” as Lindsey would say. Definite keepers and now it’s time to try another recipe.

I read every blog I could find with gluten-free and sugar-free traditional cooking. I stumbled onto Gluten-Free Girl yesterday and found this flexible, meaning you can substitute a variety of gluten-free flours and starches,  Gluten-Free, All-Purpose Baking Mix, that I think looks yummy and simple, two of my favorite things. I made it tonight using blanched almond flour and arrowroot starch. The recipe makes enough for two big batches of 18 regular size muffins each. With a family of 6, I need recipes that make a bunch! I don’t know about your house, but one muffin per family member is never enough around here.

Why, oh, why does wordpress turn some photos on their sides?

I'm definitely not great at photographing food, but at least you can see how they look.

My GF/AP Baking Mix is all ready to go. It’s time to decide what kind of muffins to make. Let’s check the fridge – fresh organic raspberries, walnuts, oh, and an open can of coconut milk. Hmmm…this could work.

Ingredients

  • 350 grams Whole Grain Flour Mix*
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 180 grams coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 grams coconut milk
  • 100 grams coconut oil
  • ½ cup raspberries chopped
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. *All-Purpose Gluten Free Baking Mix (see recipe) – This batch made with blanched almond flour & arrowroot.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350*. Grease a large muffin tin thoroughly.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk them together to combine and aerate.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, and coconut oil until they are combined well. Add them to the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula until the batter is almost fully combined. Throw in the raspberries and walnuts and continue stirring until all trace of flour is gone.
  5. Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full. Slide the muffins into the oven. Bake until the muffins are browned with a bit of a crunch, the top springs back to the touch, and a knife goes through cleanly, about 25 minutes to 35 minutes.

Prep Time: 15 Min          Cook Time: 35 Min          Serves: 18

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 256     Fat: 18     Sugar: 9     Carbohydrate: 23     Protein: 4

Source: adapted from Gluten-Free Whole Grain Muffins

These turned out a bit oily on the bottom, but they were DE-LI-CIOUS with a bit of pastured butter, according to Horsey Girl. I had only a small nibble since I’m trying to limit my sugar intake and I have to agree, they are DE-LI-CIOUS. Not bad for my first improvisation with some new ingredients. I’m not sure if they rate, SLAP YOUR MAMA GOOD, but they come close.

Becoming Physically Fit…

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A brief update on my progress with this particular habit…

  • I began exercising on 1/1/12.
  • I began training for a 5K on 1/3/12 using an C25K app on my phone.
  • I am in week 5 of the 8 week long C25K training and going strong. I haven’t punk’d out on ANY of the runs! The 5K is on March 10th, so I’m on track to be able to run THE WHOLE THING!
  • Hubby is planning to run the 5K with me and my brother and his girlfriend, both avid runners who are supremely fit, are coming down from NC to run with me as an encouragement!
  • I’ve lost 9 pounds and 5.75″ since I began tracking on 1/12/12.
  • I have given up sugar and grains for the most part. Sugar is HORRIBLE and ADDICTIVE! I never want to go back to consuming it in any quantity!
  • I feel clear-headed, focused, energized and even-tempered. I’m nicer, too.
  • I’m learning to bake with alternative ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour and flax. I’ve learned fat is good, the right fat, that is. GHEE, COCONUT OIL, OLIVE OIL, PASTURED BUTTER – yum! My friend Lindsey who blogs at Today in Dietzville is my mentor through this process. Thanks, Lindsey!
  • I can’t say that I love running just yet, but I do love how I feel afterwards!

That’s all for this brief post. I’m using this blog as a method for holding myself accountable. More on progress in other areas soon.

Shaping Things Up in the New Year

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Let’s face it, I need some new habits. Not resolutions, but habits. There are many things I need to work on, but this is my starting list. Sharing it with others makes me more accountable, so here goes.

PHYSICAL

I’ve become a couch potato or rather a desk chair potato over the last year and a half. I can sit for hours in the evening in front of my computer reading all sorts of interesting things, but I’M NOT DOING ANYTHING except reading. I’ve become out of shape and overweight and I HATE IT. So instead of complaining about it, I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to train to run in a 5K race in March. Did I mention that I’ve never run in my life other than playing as a kid? I need a kick in the pants and decided to give myself one. I found this Couch to 5K training plan and committed to doing it ALL THE WAY, but if I’m going to do this, I will need technological help because I can’t figure out how to check my watch every 1.5-2 minutes and really work hard. Enter the 5K Runner app from HeavyDutyApps.com. Today was day one of my C25K training and this app ROCKS! I survived the running portion which was a bit tough, but no where near as bad as the weather. It was F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G! Seriously, it was the coldest day we’ve had this winter and I didn’t dress properly in short sleeves, light knit pants and a fleece that let the wind blow right through me, but I DID IT without stopping! Yay for me.

I’m also committing to use my T-Tapp videos every week, preferably daily. I feel so much better after one session of T-Tapp. So why do I avoid something that makes me feel good?

MENTAL

I haven’t read a book in too long, preferring short articles online, but I think that reading this way could lead to a real form of ADD with my brain jumping around. Time to fix this problem, too. I’m going to start with Byzantium which my hubby asked me to read about a year ago.

I haven’t enjoyed my family as much as I should. I fall into perfectionist tendencies wanting to plan it all out (meaning ALL aspects of life) before I ever do anything. I know it’s ridiculous, but it’s true. I’m deciding, again, to LIVE LIFE instead of always planning for it. It drives me nuts when everything isn’t just so, but I love this house full of kids and hubby, too and it’s really stupid to miss out on enjoying them to plan to enjoy them.

SPIRITUAL

My time in the Word has been seriously neglected this year, coming in sporadic spurts. I need regular time with my Saviour. I let this priority fall way down on the list and I’m pushing it back to the top. What better way to start my day – TTapp, and C25K training while I I’m listening to worship music and scripture with the Bible.is app.

Today’s music choice:

Newsboys - Adoration Worship Album

I’m also using the One Thousand Gifts app that goes along with the book by the same name. I loved the book last year and I love the app, too.

No, this isn’t all I need to work on, but it’s a good start. Once these habits are in place, I’ll add some more in true Charlotte Mason fashion.

Have a blessed New Year!

Our Charlotte Mason Homeschool Room…an update

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Several months ago, I posted about our CM homeschool room and just how much I love it, bare walls and all. Well, those walls are no longer bare and I wanted to share what my dear friend, Brandie made for them.

Above the windows is our CM motto…

On the side wall above the low bookcases is a favorite quote from Corrie Ten Boom to inspire…

This room is complete. It is beautiful and keeps all of our current year materials. It gives us a space for things like math and spelling that require a table without taking over our dining table. It’s also right by the living room where we do all of our reading. I must run now to clean off the table from Christmas crafts and get ready to start school Monday morning.

Protect Parental Rights

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Are you aware of the very real DANGER that faces American families? The danger that our OWN government poses? The danger that threatens the very fabric of your FAMILY and mine? Parental rights are under attack and many don’t even know the danger exists. Many believe that the US government will protect the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. They couldn’t be more WRONG.

I urge you to learn more about this issue by visiting www.parentalrights.org. They have many resources to help you better understand the danger and what you can do about it. Below is a press release about one of the newest resources, a movie titled Overruled: Government Invasion of Your Parental Rights. You can click this link or the one at the bottom to view the movie. Please share it with as many as possible.

Learning Geography in the Digital Age

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Map drill is a deceptively simple idea. Give the kids a blank outline map. Ask them to label all that they know. Give them the names of one or two new places to add. Repeat next week. Homeschooling doesn’t get much simpler than this. Can this work to learn all 50 states or all of the countries of Europe? After doing it this way for a number of years, I can give a resounding YES. I’ve learned more geography through map drills than I ever knew before. Oh, and my kids are learning, too, which is sort of the point; I know.

MAP DRILL RESOURCES

Uncle Josh’s Outline Maps

This AMAZING ebay find for only $99. I’ll admit that I loved these maps when I was in school and I never thought I’d find one I could afford for our homeschool. Just goes to show that you never know what you’ll find if you keep your eyes open. My kids LOVE pulling it down and finding places, travel routes, etc. This map is great because it’s SO BIG that places are easy to see, but also because it rolls up so small and out of the way!

Montessori Outlet Puzzles, Control Maps & Labels

Our new FAVORITE map drill resource…

The iPad 2 is an incredible resource for geography studies! We have many great apps and I’ll share our favorites with you. You can find them in the app store.

  • Google Earth
  • Stack the States by Dan Russell-Pinson
  • Stack the Countries by Dan Russell-Pinson
  • Shake the States by Third Chicken
  • Montessori Approach to Geography by Rantek (several available)
  • TapQuiz Maps by Rolzor
Do you have favorite resources for map drill?

Housekeeping How-To

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In my previous post, I mentioned my new how-to cards for chores. I thought I’d share them for those that are interested. This was not my original idea, but I tweaked the cards for our family. I hope they’re helpful to you.

Chore How-To Cards - I cut these out on the lines and laminated them. They are stored in a magnetic holder on the whiteboard along with our chore charts. Now all the kids know just what to do without being told or asking. What a tremendous idea!

Remember these are specific to my home, but hopefully the ideas will be helpful to you. As I make more, I’ll add to this post instead of making a new post. Check back periodically.