My Cuisinart Breadmaker

Woohoo! I’ve got a new breadmaker and I’m so happy. (Picture me doing the happy dance.) My dear hubby bought me a new Cuisinart breadmaker yesterday. I’ve included a photo of a loaf I baked this evening. My intent was to take the picture of the first one yesterday, but that poor loaf didn’t last long…I am a sucker for warm bread and butter.

Fresh Baked Bread

Mind you, I didn’t eat the whole thing myself. The whole family loved it, especially lil Carlos. He woke up this morning asking for bread. This really blessed me because none of my children really care for bread. Nothing like home-baked love to change your mind!.

I’ve always wanted to bake bread but always thought it was too time-consuming and difficult. I am kind of disappointed because it was so easy. All you do is put in the liquids, throw in the dry ingredients and finish off with the yeast. The machine did everything else. Poof! Three hours later I had this beautiful creation and the most wonderful scent of fresh-baked bread running throughout the house. Mmmmm!

I’m Back…Again

Wow, it’s been over a year since my last post. All I can say is that ‘life happens’. I had many good intentions, many unrealistic expectations and many more successes. All in all, I am at a good place. I have gotten rid of alot of the distractions in my life and moving forward in peace. I just couldn’t bring myself to give up on this site. This time around I will take it slow and pace myself.

I’m Back!

Child_Peeking

It has been a while since I last made a post. The absence has been a good thing. I am concluding another year of homeschooling, ramped up on some business interests, and have grown tremendously in my spiritual walk with the Lord.

Don’t give up on me. I am still here and have plenty to share. I will begin posting information on homeschooling, work from home resources, online business tools, and much more. I have so much information and I want to use this blog to share all I have accumulated over the years.

I also have to share all that I have learned spiritually over the last 3 -4 months. God is so faithful and He truly wants so much for us. I have a favorite verse from a song that stays with me always–”Don’t give up on God, ‘cuz He won’t give up on you. He’s ABLE.”

Are You Too Busy For God?

I found this video on Youtube and it stopped me right in my tracks. It really got me thinking how easy it is to get sidetracked and distracted in these current days. It’s easy to get caught up in the news, the economy, and all the other things going on that we forget to concentrate on spending time with the Lord.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VTpm9voCMQ

This month, more than any other, has been extremely challenging for me. Whether it is finances, school, family concerns or personal issues, it seems I am in a state of constant motion. This video made me think about why that may be.

What about you? Do you find yourself at the end of the day saying “Sorry Lord, I meant to spend time with You today.” Have you been too busy for God lately?

Let’s pray:

Father forgive us for being too busy to spend time with You. Forgive us for spending more time in worry, fear, and our own agenda than seeking You. We realize that we need You in all that we do. Help us to be sensitive to Your presence and Your desire to lead, guide, and direct us at all times. Whenever we become too distracted or pull away from You, please draw us near to you, in Jesus name, Amen.


Develop Your Child’s Reading Skills with Speakaboos.com

I found this really interesting site for online children’s stories called Speakaboos.com.  The concept behind the site is to provide classic fairy tales, nursery rhymes, fables, folk tales and lullabies read by celebrities.

I like that it has a teacher’s resource section that provides story guides, worksheets, and arts & crafts activities to tie along with the stories.  I plan to use these to compliment my homeschool curriculum in the areas of  reading, writing, listening skills as well as computer skills.

Check out one of the stories here:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eAzKCGT30A

Homeschool Reading – ClickN Read Phonics

I started my son’s Pre-K education this year. One of the most important subjects I wanted to concentrate on was reading/phonics. I was kind of nervous about teaching my child to read so I began looking for software or online programs to help me. I knew I wanted a program that had the following benefits:

* Complete phonics instruction

* Easy to use

* Not too expensive

* Tracks Child’s Progress

After much research, I found a online program that I thought would appeal to my son. ClickN Read is an online reading and phonics program that teaches the complete K – 3rd grade curriculum. Here is my review of this product based on the features mentioned above.

Complete Phonics Instruction

ClickN Read has a total of 100 lessons for your child to complete. Each lesson builds upon each other and progressively gets more difficult. It teaches letter sounds, sight words, word blending, word and sentencing reading skills, and keyboarding.

The program is interactive, entertaining, and effective. It is animated and is presented like a game so it fun for my son. Even though it looks like a game, I can tell you that it definitely challenges my son. He can not cheat the system because it adjusts to how he is responding. I like that the progress reports let me know how he is doing and if necessary, I can repeat a lesson until he masters the skills.

Worksheets are provided that can be printed out to supplement the lessons. The worksheets are to practice the words and sentences for each lesson. Also there are flashcards to practice vocabulary and Dolch sight words.

Easy To Use
I have three children at home. One is a 2 year old. I needed a program that would be easy to use and would not require me to do a whole bunch of preparation in advance. ClickN Read is easy to setup. Once you have paid you are able to go in a create an account for your child.

Since you don’t have to install on your computer, all you have to do is log into the account you have created and you are ready to go. I added a desktop icon for the program on our computer. My son can log into the program on his own and begin his lesson. After about 15 minutes, he has completed the lesson.

Not Too Expensive

The program is a good value. For the subscription price of $59.98, you get access for 1 child. I chose the payment plan so that I could break that amount over several months. If you need to have several children using the program at the same time, you only have to pay $19.95 more for each child.

What is unique about this program is that you pay for a lifetime subscription and it is transferable. What that means is that you get to use it as much as you want for as long as you want. Since I only have one child using it right now, once he is finished, I can delete his account and add my other son later.

Once all your children are finished with the program, you can give it to a friend or family member that might need the program. I like that it is a gift that just keeps giving .

Tracks Child’s Progress

I wanted a program that would allow me to print out my child’s progress so I could see were he was successful and were he was struggling. I also needed the ability to print his progress for record keeping. For each lesson, ClickN Read tracks when the child logged in, the number correct and incorrect attempts, what was covered and the exact areas your child had problems.

ClickN Read provides a summary report on all lessons completed as well as detailed reports on each lesson.

Overall Review

I love the program and believe it is an excellent value for the money. It has eased the anxiety I had about teaching my child how to read. ClickN Read is comprehensive, fun, and effective. I would recommend this highly to homeschool parents as well as to parents needing more instruction for children that are struggling with reading.

You can check out ClickN Read by clicking below:

Moment of Encouragement

boy_reading

This is my second year homeschooling. To say this has been an interesting challenge is an understatement. So many emotions, doubts and fears have accompanied this decision and many times I have wanted to quit.

When I worked for a living, there was always an outward indication that I was doing my job well: raises, bonuses or promotions. Since I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, I’ve missed seeing the fruits of my labor. The fruits of parenting and homeschooling, to me, haven’t always manifested themselves in the here and now. I find myself crying out to the Lord, “please give me some encouragement.”

Today I received an answer to that request! As I was sitting down with my 4 year old as he did his phonics program, I was brought to tears as he read sentences on the page. This is the child that has had no education outside of the home! This is big for me. I have been able to teach him to read. I can’t believe it.

My daughter went to Pre-K and Kindergarten in private and public schools. With her, I have spent time filling in the gaps in the areas of phonics, reading, math, cursive writing and grammar. She at least had something to work with since the schools started her reading and writing.

My son was a blank canvas. I have had to start from scratch teaching him his ABC’s, numbers and handwriting. That’s scary for me. This is the foundation for everything else he will learn in the future. I don’t want to screw this up.

But God is faithful! He confirmed to me today that He has given me all that I need to fulfill this awesome call to homeschool if I refuse to give up, cave in or quit. I know that the challenges will come as well as the times when I will want to quit. However, I also know that God will never leave me and I can always count on Him to give me the encouragement I need to do what He has called me to do.

Is Your Gospel Easy To Understand?

confusion

As believers of Christ, we are called to share the Gospel (the good news) with all whom we come in contact.  Lately, I have been thinking about that call and how I could be more effective.

As a homeschooler, one of the challenges I have had during this process is explaining things to my children in ways that are easy for them to understand.  Many times the words I use tend to be over their heads.  The words come naturally for me, because I know what I am talking about or I know what I mean, but I often forget who I am talking to.

My daughter will bring me back to reality when she looks at me all confused and says, “What does that word mean?”  I realize at that point that I need to break it down further so it is easy for her to understand.

Likewise, when I am sharing the Gospel, I’ve learned to do the same thing.  Sometimes studying the bible, listening to sermons and memorizing scriptures causes us to use terms that may not be easy for the “unchurched” (not a real word) or those not familiar with the bible to relate.

Think about the last time you shared the gospel with someone.  If that person had never read the Bible or knew anything about Jesus, would they leave your presence understanding Him any better?  Let’s pray and ask the Lord to help us become better sharers of the Gospel for Him.

Dear Lord,

Help me be a better sharer of the good news.  Help me share the Gospel in ways that others can understand and relate.  Help me to meet them where they are without talking down to them or being judgemental.  May all that come into my presence leave with a better understanding of You because of my words and my actions, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your Work is Your Worship

worship

I read an article recently that truly blessed me. It explained that the Hebrew word, Avodah (Ah’-voe-dah) actually has two meanings, to work and also to worship. It got me thinking about the limited understanding I had about work and worship. The two are not mutually exclusive.  It is possible for your work to be an expression of your love and adoration for God.  Sure we can worship God by singing songs, dancing to Him, living godly lives and reading the bible, but do we consider the way we work as a form of worship?

Whether your work is outside the home or you are a “keeper of the home”, it should be done to and for the glory of God. It makes sense that you should enjoy that work if that worship is to received properly. It would seem impossible to be able to worship God through your work if it is something from which you have no joy.

Have you ever experienced when someone is doing something for you but you can tell they don’t want to or just don’t have any joy in doing it for you? I sometimes want to say, “Just forget it, if you are going to have that attitude!” How do you think God feels as we worship Him through our work?

Recently, I was reminded that the “work” I had volunteered for was not glorifying God. I murmured and complained about broken promises, the lack of resources, and how much time it was taking up. I felt convicted about the lack of peace and joy in this situation. I began to ask the Lord to help me with my attitude.

I began to see that this was a season where I was being stretched and instructed on how to deal with situations that don’t quite go the way I think they should. Instead of concentrating on the negative things, I began to focus on the positive things I could bring to the situation. In the end, I learned that all I needed was an attitude adjustment. Not only was I able to complete the task joyfully, others expressed their appreciation and prayerfully God was glorified.

What about you? Can you say that the work you do shows your love, respect and reverence for God? Why not pray the following prayer just in case?

Father God,

I thank You for where I am right now. Help me to have the right attitude for what I am doing in this season of my life. If I am not doing the work You called me to, please direct me in the correct path for my life. Help me to see the good that I can bring to all that I do. May all I do, say and think glorify You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

What Kind of Fruit Are You Bearing?

It’s been a minute since my last post. The last couple of weeks have been interesting for me. I feel I am in the midst of a transition. Change is good but isn’t always comfortable. I am uncomfortable because I know I need to shift from my own understanding, logic and ideas and allow the Lord to lead and guide me. I know there are things and people that I must let go of in order to bear the proper fruit in my life. The kind of fruit that produces life.

Letting go is not particularly easy for me. I used to be a pack rat (calling those things that be not as though they were). I have stacks of magazines, old bills, notes on slips of paper, objects from years past that I will probably never use again. I won’t even mention all the stuff that is stored on my computer!

I always believed that it was good to keep things because you never know when you might need it again. Well, I have come to realize that if I have not even looked at some of these things in 3 years (the time I’ve been in my current house), then it is time to go. The clutter has to go!

The clutter in my head has to go as well. I want my mind to be free and clear. Free from the worry, the fear and mess from the past. No longer will I hold onto the memories of past hurts, unresolved issues and unmet needs. I want all the Father has for me and that means getting rid of the things that are hindering that from happening.

I know the solution. I must go back to the basics. The basics of spending time with the Father, prayer and fasting. Abiding in the Father. Why do we make things more difficult than they need to be? Why do we think we have progressed past the basics? These are the foundation upon which everything else in our life is built. This foundation produces the fruit:

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit
of itself unless it abides in the vine; neither can you,
unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4)

How about you? What kind of fruit have you been producing lately? Why not pray the following prayer so that God can begin producing the fruit He desires from your life?

Father God,

Please forgive me for trying to produce fruit from my own efforts, intelligence and ideas. No longer do I want to produce the works of the flesh. I now realize that real fruit is only produced from abiding in You.  Help me to seek, wait on and rely on You only. Thank You for loving and forgiving me daily, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Living Life By Design