Sunday, November 30, 2014

November's Project

I have had a project hanging over my head. Something that needed to be finished but it just wasn't happening. It wasn't that it was difficult. It might have been a bit time consuming. So at the beginning of November I decided that I was going to take 15 minutes a day and sew binding on a stack of quilts that I had machine quilted (meaning someone else quilted them on the machine) and I needed to sew the binding on so they would be finished.

I knew that this was an easy project to begin and stop. I decided to make it a priority for November and see what I could get done. I mentioned my project here.

The sailboats was the first one I finished. I had already finished about half of the binding so it didn't take me long to finish this one.

Then I worked on what I have called Bright & Bold. I have no idea where I bought the fabrics. It must have been half yard pieces or maybe even a yard. This is the 2nd quilt that I made with these fabrics. I wanted to be able to see the large print. For me one of the hardest parts of making a quilt is deciding on the pattern and making those first few cuts.

as he leads is joy

I sewed some big rick rack along a few of the seams just to give something different and to break up the lines. That quilt took be about five days to sew the binding on. I didn't have enough of the backing so I ended up cutting stripes of the fabric and using that so the binding is all the different fabrics.

I have always liked Amy Butler's fabrics. This was another fat quarter bundle and again it was big prints and I didn't want to lose that look by cutting it into small pieces. It is just simple squares.

as he leads is joy quilts

I wanted to make a coin quilt. This was a charm pack. I have to say that it is amazing what you can do with a charm pack. It is a cheap way to get certain fabrics when you can't afford a fat quarter bundle. I am not sure what I am going to do with this quilt. It looks like a nice baby girl quilt. Too bad the latest baby was a nephew. I guess I will just need to give it to the next baby girl that I know.

I ended up piecing the back. I think just because I had some extra squares.

I finished those four quilts and then I began the binding on this quilt. This is about a single bed size so it is larger than the others. I got about 1/4 finished this month.

These quilts are mainly lap size and just joined the pile of quilts in the living room. So if you come to visit on a cold winter evening, you can curl up with a quilt and I will offer you a nice hot drink.

I want to finish the red and yellow but I am not going to keep this as a project in December. I do have an idea of another 15 minute project for January. You will have to wait till then to find out what January's 15 minute project will be.

Do you have a project that you can work on for 15 minutes a day and make some progress on finishing it?

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Week in Review - 28 November 2014

It is hard to believe it is the end of November. I am beginning to think about Christmas and also thinking about what I want to or need to do before the end of the year. Thinking of things that I want to have done so I am ready for the new year.

This week we went to the local museum. I have wanted to do more outings and decided to begin there as it is free and local. I will share a bit more about the museum in another post.

I think the Saxon Math calendar book was not made for UK weather -- Miss K filled the cloudy days and still had a few days left in the month.

We moved out of Africa and into Asia in our Geography. I am at least excited and I think the kids as well. I think a big part of that is I know and love Asia.

We invited some of our teammates to join us for an American Thanksgiving dinner.

I made a turkey -- my husband and J said it was the best turkey. Miss K said it was "gross". She was told not to say that. I made stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with gravy, banana bread, and green bean casserole. I could not find the French's fried onions so I made some caramelised onions for the top. That dish was a hit -- two of the teammates really liked it.  I bought cranberry sauce and discovered that is really is sauce. It was runny and not firm. That made it easy to just pour on the turkey. It was a fun evening.

We talked about the first Thanksgiving and how the Pilgrims were thankful for the help of the natives and that they made it through the year. Our teammates said they would check in with us in March to see if we survive the winter.

We had pumpkin pie. Auntie Mel said it has been 30 years since she had pumpkin pie. The pressure was on to make sure it was a good pie. We made apple pie. J loves to use the apple peeler. I love that he loves to use the apple peeler.

We did some Play-doh sculpting of things we were thankful for. I think the bird was just a "playing at the table" when we were finished. Can you tell that we had the bird painter at dinner with us?

It was a good week. I still have a bit of cleaning to do after the week.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in November is an American holiday. Canada has Thanksgiving in October. It is a time of remembering and giving things. Remembering that First Thanksgiving so long ago and the kindness that was shown to the Pilgrims.

The kids love having the Fisher-Price Mayflower. It only comes out at this time of the year. We also put the few Thanksgiving books on the table next to it.

I wasn't sure I was going to do a big Thanksgiving meal but then a teammate was insistent that I do as she feels it is a holiday that my kids need to remember plus I think she was wanting pumpkin pie. So the turkey is in the oven and the side dishes are prepped except for the green bean casserole. We have invited four of our teammates to join us. Just like the pilgrims we are new to this land and have received so much kindness from the natives.

I asked my family what Thanksgiving dinner means and after the turkey the answer was cranberry sauce. Thankfully that is here and I bought two jars. It does seem a bit not like Thanksgiving not to have the lines from the can to mark where to cut your piece. We will enjoy the cranberry sauce.

Then my husband remembered that Thanksgiving also means pumpkin pie which is his favourite kind of pie. I had bought 3 cans of pumpkin back with me from the States. I normally use shortening for my crusts and a friend told me to use Trex. The apple pie looks good. The pumpkin pie has some dark spots but I think it will still be good. I hope so because a number of people are looking forward to pumpkin pie.

We do have so much to be thankful for this year. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Working from a Place of Rest

These are my notes from the conference we were at in October. This was the field conference for our team. Our morning speaker was Tony Horsfall the author of the book, Working from a Place of Rest.

Just pause with me and think about the title Working from a Place of Rest. Is it possible? What does work look like? What does rest look like? Before the conference I wasn't so sure about this topic. Let me share some of the things that I learned or maybe I should say the notes I took and the things I am still learning and working to apply in my life. I hope this will encourage you as well. My work at this time is primarily home schooling my children, supporting my husband and keeping the house. So can I do these things from a place of rest?

Our Bible passage for the week was John 4. This is the passage of the woman of Samaria. We spent about the first 3 or maybe even four days in just the first six verses.

Reading #1 - The Journey we are on  John 4:1-6

Jesus was on a journey both from Judea to Galilee and a journey from heaven to earth and back again. (John 16:28, Philippians 2:5-11)

We are on a journey. We are called to be pilgrims. We are journeying through life (Psalm 119:54 and Genesis 47:9)  and through discipleship (Hebrews 11:8-10, Isaiah 35:8-10) . Our journey is one of transformation (Philippians 3:12-14, 2 Corinthians 3:18). Our journeys overlap and intertwine it is important that we know where we are on our journey. Our journey should be a longing to know God more just like Moses asking to see God's face.

We want a fruitful life vs. a productive life. A fruitful life is sustainable.

In Scripture we have an invitation to come and there are also commands to go. We need to find God in those places and follow him.

Being vs. doing - Character comes from becoming. The primary purpose is Christ likeness. Who God created us to be. Who Christ died for and how the Holy Spirit is holding us. 

The reflections questions were quite simple:
Where are you in your personal journey?
Where are you in your ministry journey?
Where are you in your spiritual journey?

Reading #2 - Feeling tired on the Journey John 4:1-6

The exhaustion epidemic - the church is on its knees and not because of prayer. As we thought about this from a ministry viewpoint we realised some of the reasons we are so busy is because the needs are so great, we have a team culture of overwork, possibly lack of structure, pressure to produce are just some of the reasons. While that might be true in ministry, I think the same can be true in homeschooling -- there is always something to learn, an idea to learn it all, and the pressure to make sure that my children are getting a good education.

"The soul was not made to dash."

It is natural to be tired.

I personally am not normally a fan of The Message but I will say that I liked this passage.

           "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with
           me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with
           me and work with me --what how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
           I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and
           you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30

Look at that passage there is a trio of questions from the Great Physician, a series of invitations from the Great High Priest and a piece of advice from a wonderful counsellor.

In this passage we see the humanity of Jesus. The Word became flesh. His humanity frees us to embrace our own humanity with its weaknesses and limitations. If Jesus was human, then I can be human as well.

Our own humanity. God is aware of our limitations. He created us and knows we are dust (Psalm 103:14).

So steps to take:

  1. Reviewing your energy level
  2. Knowing your load and your limits
  3. Living with margins
  4. Establish healthy boundaries - learning to say "no" in order to say "yes"
  5. Being kind to yourself

Reflection questions:

  1. How does the reality of the humanity of Jesus encourage you? What does it mean to embrace your humanity?
  2. In you would describe yourself as "busy" think about what motivates you. What is currently draining you of energy?
  3. How do you maintain margin in your life?

Reading #3 - Stopping to Rest on the Journey John 4:1-6

The discipline of stopping
Jesus is practicing this. He is stopping and in this passage we are given a specific location where he stopped at Jacob's well.

In John 15:15 Jesus says, "I call you friends." Do we spend time with Jesus as a friend or are we too busy with work and being a servant?

We need to redeem the time. Redeem means to buy back. "There is enough time to do what God wants us to do." So when I am busy I need to pause and check if what I am doing is what God wants me to be doing.

Sitting is a spiritual posture
Where is Jesus now? He is sitting at the right hand of God. His work is done (Hebrews 1:3, 8:1-2, 10:11-12; Ephesians 1:19-20; Colossians 3:1, Acts 2:34; Psalm 110:1)

It is not that we work for God but that he works for us. God gives us our position of rest. he brings his finished work.

Look at the beginning the story of creation. God works, then rests. Adam rested and then worked. We need to start from a place of rest.

The principle of Sabbath rest

The importance of leisure

The abundant life vs. the exhausted life -- God calls us to abundant life.

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you ever feel guilty when doing nothing? How can you practice the disciple of stopping?
  2. How do you currently practice sabbath?
  3. What do you do to relax? How do you find recreation?

 These are my notes from the first three days. I will share more later.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week in Review - 21 November

Monday we had a wonderful day in York, here are some of the photos. J has already asked when we are going next.

He is heading towards the Minster. 

Tuesday is our crazy day. We still have houseguests and while in many ways they didn't not disrupt our schedule is was a bit of a challenge to continue school while they were visiting.

So all of that made Wednesday the Monday of the week. Getting back into our routine was a challenge. There was a mini protest complete with signs stating "No school". It really didn't last long.

History - We were reading about Martin Luther this week. We finished the 1st quarter. Time to find the test and see what we remember.

Science - I was amazed at how J remembered the cell cycle. I had some cards that I had made and mixed them up, asking him to put them in order. He got it and it had been a week. I might need to do more things like that. I think just the process of drawing it helped him to remember it and understand it.

It was one of those weeks. On Friday morning I fixed a coffee for myself while we were doing school. I love using these cups and having a saucer with it makes me almost feel like I am in a coffee shop. I needed that feeling for a few minutes and then I was able to make it through a bit more of the day.

Some weeks it is an accomplishment to make it to the end of the week. I felt that way this week though one student had half their work to finish today. That was a result of not getting started and not focusing.

I am thankful for the weekend.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Day in York

I think York is my son's favourite city. If you come to visit us, he will probably want to take you to York. He is already planning the next trip with Aunt Becki.

We had houseguests and decided that we would go to York for the day. There is a park & ride outside of the city but since we were only planning to be there for a few hours and since it was not summer we decided to park at Castle Parking Lot. It is called that because it is next to the Castle.

Last time we took a walking tour. J did say that this time we didn't see as much as we did on the walking tour. I think he wants to go on the walking tour again and see the city gates, walk along the wall, and see more of the city.

Our first stop was the Jorvik Museum. We had walked past this and did learn that the museum began when they were digging to build the shops they excavated and discovered the remains of a Viking house so they turned it into a museum.

There is glass on the floor so you can walk around and look at the old floor of the Viking house. The Viking house will make any house look big. There is a ride that takes you through what it would be like in the Viking village of Jorvik. It was realistic with sights, sounds, and even smells.

We met a Viking in the gift shop. No, it was just Miss K.

The museum took about an hour and was a fun experience. I had packed some sandwiches and so we found a place and ate those before heading to the Minster. We did walk through the Shambles. The Minster is an amazing sight as you walk through the city.

Last time the kids and I just went for Evensong but this time we took a tour. I have found that tours give you so much information and you learn so much more of course it does depend on the tour guide. J was burnt out on tour guides after our experience with Chinese tour groups. Thankfully our tour group was just the six of us.

We learned some about the building of the Minster which began in the 1200's. We saw the St. Nicholas Chapel with a painting of St. Nicholas on the wall. The cushions on the chairs were needlepoint of the 12 days of Christmas.

Miss K got a Little Explorer backpack or is it a rucksack? There was a simple form to fill out, no ID, no deposit necessary. Fill out the form and then return it on the way out.

I was impressed with the things inside - a magnifying glass, binoculars, pencils and paper, a map, and a few other things.

I am impressed with the way that places like this make it children friendly.

Our tour guide had a been a headmaster for a number of years. He told us that Americans always ask so many questions but they don't walk. I think we were too busy trying to look at everything and get photos.

We finished our tour and then went to the undercroft which sounds so much better than saying basement. Here there was more information about the building as well as some interactive things for the kids. J is building an arch.

I have learned from a friend that most places have dress-up things as well. Even here at the Minster there was a section of dress-up.

We did spent quite a bit of time in the Minster. Our tickets are good for a year so we might go back again.

We came out and found the statue of Constantine. J wanted to use his sword. The end of the sword is broken and laying on the statue. It was made that way. I wonder if there is some meaning to that. Could it be that Constantine was the one to end the persecution of Christians? I don't know.

The day was overcast and it rained but thankfully when we were in a building and stopped by the time we came out.

We enjoyed dinner at the same Italian restaurant that we did in June. We did plan that though as we were trying to find that restaurant again but we couldn't remember the name. When we were inside, we realised it was the same one. I did try something different this time.

York is full of history and so many things to do. I think it is a city we will visit often which will make my son happy. Come visit us and we will take you there.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cell Cycle

I mentioned that we spent some time on the cell cycle in the week in review. I decided that it needed its own post.

Metaphase, anaphase, telophase -- what is the order? What do they look like? I ignored any questions on why we need to study this.

How do I make this topic easy to visual and tasty?

Just to give a bit of hands-on experience. I asked J to copy the Cell Cycle.

That did help to get the different phases in order and to begin to understand what is happening in the cell during each phase.

Then to make the activity a bit more tasty we demonstrated the cell cycle on cookies.

I went to the shop near our house delaying a bit of school looking to see what they had that we could ice and decorate. We considered pancakes but would have had to buy two packages. Yes, we can buy pancakes in the store. Then we found a box of cookies (these were called cookies and not biscuits) that had 18 cookies and were reduced so that is what we bought. That is a confession on how I plan school as we are getting ready to do the activity.

J iced the cookies and then began the decorating. I separated the sprinkles into piles of the different colours to make it easier.

Upper left is the Interphase where all the chromosomes are in the middle.

Then begins the four phases of mitosis moving to the right we have prophase where the chromosomes begin to coil up and are composed of two identical sister chromatids. Then it goes to metaphase where all the sister chromatids are lined up in the centre of the spindle (we didn't include the spindle on the cookies). Anaphase, the top right cookie is where the sister chromatids separate into two chromosomes. Telophase shown on the bottom right is where we see cytokinesis beginning.

The last phase is cytokinesis complete is on the bottom left.

We did it. We made studying the cell cycle fun and tasty. I think it was helping when J asked to eat telophase.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Week in Review - 14 November 2014

It is mid-November; the days are short. I am thankful for my new coffee maker. Coffee keeps me going. I will sometimes drink just hot water. I started that when I lived in Asia and it was cold and the buildings were cement and so it was cold to the bones. It is not that cold here and our house does stay nice and warm.

So what did we do this week besides drink coffee?

We went on a nature walk. I know not the season or weather but we did it. Miss K filled her bag and ended up with some things in the bag that she did not plan on putting in. Check here to see what was in her bag.

J discovered all his art supplies this week. He brought them downstairs and so the kids had fun drawing the other morning.

He said he missed his art classes from Seattle. I need to contact the art teacher here to see when she is offering classes.

One of the activities that I had Miss K do this week is one for finger strength and fine motor. She was pushing/pressing Wiki sticks onto a piece of paper. To check how she pushed I turn the paper over and see if the Wiki sticks stick.

J amazes me at times with the things he is able to build with Legos. I have tried to build and it looks like a bunch of bricks stuck together. The other day he came down and showed me what he had built -- the Ruins of Ephesus.

He took a few photos but I don't know that we got a good overall photo. It was two boards together and in moving them Ephesus had further ruins.

J wants to start a Lego link with a theme. Let me know if you are interested. He has already come up with some themes. We will host it here on the blog.

In the midst of all those other activities we did the book learning -- maths, history, grammar, reading, spelling (we finished Sequential Spelling Book 3 -- why do they do 180 days?), geography and science.

We are doing Life Science this year and using BJUP. I wanted to give some time to transition to that type of learning as we prepare for high school. Life science and biology are not his favourite science. He would rather mix some chemicals or build something or try to create an explosion. He just didn't see why he had to learn the cell cycle. He even asked me if I remembered any of this. That is totally not a fair question -- doesn't matter you still need to take this class and to take this you need to learn this.

We paused and reviewed the cell cycle today and drew it.

That helped a bit to understand the cell cycle but there is nothing like eating it to really learn it.

We iced cookies because that was what we found at the store this morning and then decorated them to show the cell cycle. I picked the sprinkles and put them in piles so he could arrange them on the cookies. He did say that helped him as he ate metaphase and telophase. Yeah, me I found something that was exciting and helped him to learn life science. Thanks to some time on Pinterest last night and a quick trip to the store this morning.

That about wraps up our week. We have a busy weekend with some events at church, houseguests from a church in the USA arriving, and my online grocery order coming. That might become my new love.

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