Thursday, June 21, 2018

Orchard Beach

On Monday we checked the first item off our bucket list...Orchard Beach!  We hit 91 degrees that day, and we were tired after having a mission team here for a week.  The kids were thrilled to go to the beach.  The water was pretty chilly, but we arrived at low tide so the tide pools were full of "treasures" to explore.  The tide was coming in as we left, and that's when the trash washes in!

Nolan found a shell while we were wading.  He stepped on it under the water, then dove to retrieve it.  It was a small shell with a hermit crab inside!  We added another shell to his bucket that I found, and by the end of our visit we had seen the crab attempt to change shells.  In the end he chose neither shell, and our prodding and watching may have been his demise.  :-(

We also rememebered our sunscreen this time (how did I forget last time?!?!) and managed to return home unburned.

I'm not a beach person at all - I much prefer mountains!  Really, I like the water.  But I despise sand.  It's all just a big mess and it drives me nuts.  But I had a good time and the clean up wasn't too bad this time!

Walking to the boardwalk.

Sandcastle building

Nehemiah the sand monster

More sandcastle

First dip in the water

Selfie with mom

Orchard Beach, the "Bronx Riviera"

Nolan's Hermit Crab

Summer Bucket List

We're not really traveling this summer...there are a lot of ministry things going on, and we don't really have the funds for it since we're still finishing the house projects.  And we're visiting a supporting church in OH in October, and we're saving to stop at the Ark on the way home.

But I have five energetic kids who no longer have school to occupy their mornings, so I knew we needed a summer plan.  I scoured some websites like Mommy Poppins and other urban bloggers for the best things to do with kids, and I limited it to the free stuff. 

Mondays are Ben's "day off", so we alternated those days with outings that require Daddy's help, and with house work projects.  This coming week we are finally getting to replae our garage door!!!

Tuesdays are library and reading days.  Maybe I will even get to sneak in a book or two this summer!  The kids were thrilled for summer reading program to start, and we have a great "small town feel" library branch.  However, the prizes are kinda lame this year, and the theme doesn't thrill me - it's "Turn it Up" and its all about music.  Most of the recommended books are NOT on my recommendation list!  But we are finding other things to read, and Nolan is really taking off in reading too.

Wednesday is our outing day.  A lot of attractions have free days on Wednesday, and we don't have any other committments that day.  I can wear the kids out, stay out as long as needed, and collapse when we get home!

Thursday nights are Bible study nights, and its at our house for now.  So we're not going anywhere on Thursdays.  We have piano lessons, a baskeball hoop out back, a patch of grass, and a whole closet full of games!

My assigned summer project from Ben was to finish teaching the kids to ride bikes with no training wheels.  So we will probably spend Fridays at Van Cortlandt Park, working through this one kid at a time.  I already feel tired!

Summer Bucket List items:

  • Orchard Beach (the only beach in Da Bronx)
  • Little Red Lighthouse (under the GW Bridge, but we need to park and walk in)
  • Hike the Palisades
  • Explore Fort Tryon Park
  • Try the Van Cortlandt Park Pool
  • Take a day trip to Lake Taghanic upstate
  • Visit Ben's parents
  • Visit the splash pad on top of the American Museum of Natural History
  • The AMNH is free for a donation, so we will head there on a super hot day to explore while staying cool
  • Bronx Zoo (an old favorite)
  • Cow Appreciation Day at the largest CFA (in Manhattan)
  • Ride the tram to Roosevelt Island and have a picnic
  • Explore the Bartow-Pell Mansion and Carriage House in Pelham Bay
  • Visit the Bank Street Bookstore in the Upper West Side
  • Visit the Strand Bookstore in Union Square
  • Visit the Ninendo NYC store in Rockefeller Center
  • Explore new splash pads - like St. James Park, Pelham Bay, DeVoe Park, etc.
We'll see how much we get done!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

New Visualized Hymns: The Bible Stands and My Jesus I Love Thee

In April we learned "The Bible Stands" as our hymn in morning time.  The kids really got into this one, I think because it is a peppy, upbeat tune.  Though Elaine did say, "Wow, I'm really out of breath after this song!"  I wanted to make it a song that the kids could color in the visuals, but I couldn't find the right pictures for each page.  So some pictures are black and white clipart, and others are full color photos.  

Late in the month, our Thursday night Bible study was about the surety of the Bible.  Ben chose this song to sing, and my kids were excited to know the song already!

This month we are learning a slower song, "My Jesus, I Love Thee."  It's a nice change after last month!  Again, the pictures are designed to be colored by you or your kiddos.  While one verse focuses on death, the next verse speaks of eternity in heaven praising our Jesus for His love.  This has been a good lesson to teach my kids!


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Here are a few favorites from recent weeks...

::| HAS Fit on YouTube
I've been using this for exercising at home.  I love that there is very little background music, and it's a husband/wife duo that lead the exercises.  Claudia always does an easier version of the particular exercise move, and Coach Kozak does a more challenging move.  This allows me to customize my workout to what I can do!  They have exercises for every level.  There is a monthly schedule that will work through all muscle groups, or you can select individual workout videos.  There is an app now, but I think it's kind of small to watch the videos on my phone. 

::| Skillet Cookie
I bought this mini cast iron skillet on Amazon as an add-on item.  Since then we've been enjoying skillet cookie desserts at home!  This recipe comes out just right, and topped with lots of ice cream, it's the perfect dessert!  Each of our kids got to help make and eat one on their stay-up-late nights in March, and they loved it too!

::| Homemaker's Friend Planner
I really love this planner - it lets me have a place to jot all my notes, but I still keep a primarily digital monthly calendar on Google Calendar (so it can sync to Ben and mobile).  I love the section for the menu, the Bible verses (KJV!) spread throughout the pages, and the perforated shopping lists.  Plus it's super affordable, especially compared to Erin Condren and those types of planners.

::| VidAngel
We don't really watch very much that doesn't go through this streaming filter program.  I can customize the filters to very strict for the kids, even taking out "slang" words and derrogatory language.  The subscription fee is very reasonable for unlimited streaming per month, though some movies do requrie a rental fee through Amazon.  We use this with Netflix (thanks Wesley!) and Amazon Prime.

::|  BJU Distance Learning Videos
Last year Elaine did videos for every subject in 2nd grade.  This was a lifesaver as we finished deputation!  Now that we are more settled we use videos for about half of our subjects.  I really like the Bible program.  I was struggling to teach Bible class in homeschool because I always wanted to dive right into the daily required subjects, but then we squeezed Bible right out of the schedule.  Now we use the videos and the kids begin their school day with Bible class.  But since it's a video, I can finish up breakfast dishes, settle the three younger kids, (take a shower), start the laundry, or whatever while they are working on school without me.  And each Bible lesson includes memory work, each unit teaches a new hymn (I absolutely LOVE this), application stories, and a few crafts are sprinkled in.  Pretty good deal for $50 right?  And that includes all the workbooks!

I am very pleased with BJU curriculum - since my mom used a lot of it on me, I already knew what to expect.  But the videos for English, History, and Science, have made it easier for me to incorporate more variety and crafts/hands on activities.   Usually they offer a deal for 50% off if you order 6 subjects.  With two kids in class, I can always get 6 subjects, and it includes all the textbooks, workbooks, tests, etc.

::| Bible Truth Hymnal
We ordered this hymnal for our church plant...and we really love it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Elaine’s Baptism

On March 11, 2018 Elaine made a very important step in her spiritual growth.  It was an answer to a prayer I have been praying over the space of a couple of years.  Elaine asked to be baptized.  We had talked through baptism on several occasions, but always felt as if she didn’t understand completely, or as though her motives were wrong.  We didn’t push, but we prayed.  Elaine was in the Sunday morning service when Pastor Bickel announced an upcoming baptism.  She came to me and asked if she could be baptized.  We talked through things again and it was different this time.  Elaine called Pastor Bickel to talk to him.  He sent her a packet of information that she had to read and complete before she could be baptized.  It included a written testimony of salvation, and also several passages to look up and study to be sure that the picture and purpose of baptism was understood.

Elaine completed her packet and submitted it to Pastor Bickel.  He approved her for baptism, and gave Ben the choice of baptizing her.  We left this choice with Elaine, and she chose to have Pastor Bickel perform her baptism.  As it turned out, Elaine was the only candidate for baptism.  Pastor Bickel was kind enough to go forward with the service just for Elaine, since we were soon beginning our own services in the Bronx and wouldn’t be able to have him do Elaine’s baptism after that.  Ben’s parents and sister were able to join us, as well as the Lewis family from our church plant in the Bronx. 

Elaine was quite nervous about giving her testimony in public.  She has reluctantly done special music at church before, and she is very shy to be in front of people.  We made this a big matter of prayer.  She practiced her testimony, and we left it with the Lord.  She didn’t look up much while speaking (she had found an object to focus on and didn’t move her gaze), but she spoke clearly and gave a great testimony of how and when she was saved.  I was so glad to see how God worked in her heart to want to be baptized, and then gave her the courage to go through with it when it was scary to her. 

While baptism doesn’t wash away our sin or gain us favor in God’s eyes, it is a clear testimony and picture of what Christ has done on our behalf – he was crucified, buried, and rose again.  Because of HIS work on the cross and in resurrection, we have the ability to die to self, and walk in new life with Christ.  It is also following Christ’s example, when He was baptized by John the Baptist.  It is a step of obedience, and a necessary component of church membership (in the early church in Acts, people were saved, baptized, and added to the church).

It was thrilling to see Elaine as a young five year old girl, sitting on the couch and praying with her Daddy to ask Jesus to be her personal Savior.  It was thrilling to her share this experience with her church family in clear, bold words.  It is thrilling to know that God is working in her young heart, and that she wants to do what pleases Him, and what He asks of her, even when it is uncomfortable.  It will be thrilling to see how He continues to use her in the future as she walks ever closer with her God.

 Giving her testimony 

 “On the profession of your faith…and your desire to follow Him in obedience, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit…”  

 “…buried with Him in baptism…” 

 “…and raised to walk in newness of life…” 

I love you Elaine!  So very proud of you!

Resurrection Day Resources, and "Christ Arose" Hymn to Download

Here are some resources and printables for you as you prepare for Resurrection Sunday!

  • My friend MaryEllen shared 15 verses for the Resurrection, and she includes a free printable hymn art.  I love decorating my house with Scripture, so these kind of printables are right up my alley!  Read the post at Imperfect Homemaker HERE.
  • Available in MaryEllen's store, you can get a beautiful printable set of Resurrection verses to use in family devotions, as well as a printable banner (my newest favorite in home decor  is changing out a banner with the season or holiday!), and three printable hymn arts.  Purchase it HERE.
  • The Isaiah 53 study in the Busy Mama's series is excellent. Study the prophecy of Jesus as the Lamb of God.  You can purchase the PDF or paperback HERE.  You will finish after Easter if you start now, but it is still worth the time and effort!

  • When I was studying Isaiah 53 through Doorposts two years ago, I created this picture of a Spurgeon quote.  Download here (PDF / JPG)
  • I visualized "Christ Arose" to teach to my kids this month.  Download my visuals HERE.
  • Ever Thine Home has some nice Easter decor also.  Shop HERE.
Let me know if you have some great resources not on my list!

Friday, March 9, 2018


We got just enough snow this week for a sledding day.  We have been eyeing a big hill by the reservoir but never had enough snow (or not-too-frigid temps) to give it a try.  The kids did double school lessons on Tuesday in hopes of a snow day on Wednesday.  When we woke up on Wednesday they were dreadfully disappointed that there wasn't a single snowflake on the ground!  However, the snow came that afternoon and we hurried to the sledding hill Thursday morning before it all melted.



Henry did better with Daddy than Mommy

The kids spent a lot of time belly sliding down the hill!  This is Nolan...

Twins race down the hill.  Liberty won because she chose the sledding path!

View of our hill from the bottom