Monday, March 31, 2008

Bird Watching

The crows are back - so one more blizzard before spring has really sprung? Well, with the temps as cold as they have been - I wouldn't be surprised if we'd still see another winter white-out.

A sea gull flew over the yard to give us a "nature show" over our supper hour on Friday.

On Saturday Ken also heard a meadow lark... and every morning since.

I saw a bluebird on Sunday on our way to Church.

The birds really want us to have spring already too. It is an unusally cool spring this year - someone said it must have something to do with "glodal warming" HA!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Father at Home

Full-time farming has offered our family the immense benefit of having Dad at home. We're only beginning to recognize the amazing influence Father can have. We knew this is God's way, but it blesses my heart to see Ken's influence in action.

As it pertains to our home-education of the boys, I like to say "It's nice to have the principal in residence." And that's just what he is.

Today, I noticed two times how important Ken's presence in the home is - once he came to see how our beginning reader and I were getting along with our studies and in doing so, he recognized and captilized on a spiritual teaching moment.

The second time I was blessed to see Dad optimizing a teachable moment was in the application of a math concept with another son.

In both cases, Ken used the academic study to make a spiritual application. It was very appropriate. I have done and continue to do some of the same, but a Father's infuence carries so much greater an impact. Besides that is the obvious benefit that there are now two of us optimizing teachable moments.

Of course, a household where Father goes off to work optimizes spiritual teaching moments as well. I'm just noting the benefit of Father spending quantity time with the children in addition to Mother and of course, making it quality time as well.

Deuteronomy 6 lived out on the farm.

To God be ALL Glory!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Seeking the Signs

Everyone had a grand time seeking signs of the cross around the yard. The interest of the older boys was encouraging to see while they took their little brothers with them giving the littles an opportunity to learn what to look for.

Our boys, camera in hand, went in search of crosses yesterday. They came up with 14 pictures, having only "set-up" two of those - the rest were just found. Here are a few of my favorites:

This could well be an ongoing search. It may also be an activity to repeat each year during Passion week. All told, it was is a great idea.

Can you tell how this cross was made?

This ice cross needed a bit of touch-up.
The cross arm needed to be set straight.

The frost this year added to the interest on some of the cross pictures. God made our little game extra pretty.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sign of the Cross

This week is when we remember the work of Christ on the Cross. Without Him we all would be lost for eternity.

A little activity that has come to my attention is to challenge you & your children to go in search of visible portrayals of the cross in your world. The title of this post is an active link to see sample pictures of crosses that Berit Kjos has discovered in the world around her.

In nature, you may find two tree branches at right angles.
Man made crosses may be intentional or perhaps even unintentional like two airplane trails crossing in the sky, or fences posts forming a cross or threads in a fabric.

Whatever you or your children find will be worth the adventure. Be sure to capture the image with a camera to save it and/or frame it for future reference.

If you can, send me pictures of what you find I will post them here or post them on your blog and leave us your link.

To God be ALL glory!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Daily Devotions

Do you spend time daily in the Word of God? Do you spend time as a family reading the Word? There is no better time spent than reading God's love letter to man.

I confess, we struggled for years trying to have consistent Family devotions with our boys - and we're not the only ones. I think because of the impact of this in the lives of our children, the devil will do everything in his power to distract us from that daily time in God's presence.

Finally, through prayer, a sincere desire to put God first in our home, and grace - God gave the grace through a tool that helped us get into "the habit" of daily family devotions.

We've all heard that it takes at least 21 days to form a habit and help it stick. Well, this tool committed us for a whole year - and several years later the habit is still sticking, PRAISE THE LORD!

The tool? It was a copy of "The One Year Bible". This Bible is basically the same as the charts that give you the suggested daily readings from the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Psalms and Proverbs - EXCEPT that the portions are all set in order - so you're not checking the chart or flipping any pages to find the portions for the day.

232576X: One Year Bible KJVOne Year Bible KJV

Those first days, we only spent 15-20 minutes reading Scripture each day - and we read it all the way through, some parts more than once. It was amazing that we could get through so much in such a little time.

That tool is not a necessity, but for us it gave us the motivation we needed to commit to reading through the Bible in one year and sticking with it. So yes, that year, we read the whole Bible out-loud together as a family.

God tells us, "His Word will not return void." We're here to tell you that it doesn't - we have reaped so much blessing through daily family devotions! And the blessings continue to come ... & multiply. Now, that daily time together before our Lord has become an anticipated part of our day - for the children and for ourselves. Again, all PRAISE to GOD!

Fathers (& mothers too) whatever you deem to be most important will be caught by your children. Give God pre-eminience in all things, give Him time in every day to bring your family before Him - that is the way to pass the baton of faith to the next generation. Let nothing come between!

Friday, March 14, 2008

"The Birds Came to Sing"

Spring has sprung here in the middle of Western Canada. The temperature is warming and melting the snow...AND the "birds have come to sing".

Benjamin came running into the house to tell me "Mommy, Mommy the birds have come to sing". He and his brothers had gone out to play. In the middle of their play Benjamin stopped to listen to the bird songs. I'm so glad he came to share the news with me.

Little ones often have such a pure reflection on nature. Their joy brings joy to our hearts...making the bird songs a double blessing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fabulous Four

The twins have turned four. It seems like so long ago that they were born - it seems like more than four years. Then again - it's like eight years packed into four. Four fabulous years with two wonderful blessings from God.

Their cake was an idea they spotted in November already, never letting me forget that they wanted a horsey cake for their birthday - thanks for the idea Karen!:

Edit note: Well then, thanks to Janique for the cake idea (Karen's daughter). Your idea was fun for our creative guys to put together too - AND to eat it! LOL!
Keep on generating those ideas Janique - it will take you places and bless others as you go. Just like this one blessed us! Thanks a bunch!

Egg Sauce Recipe

The recipe I mentioned on the Fishing Friday post has quickly become a regular favorite whenever we serve fish, thanks to John Bishop in his book "Fresh" and to my daring, budding chef - my husband. Ken is the one who dared to try this new recipe, adapting it just a bit to make it easy using our staple kitchen ingredients and our family tastes.

This recipe though served with fish is called an egg sauce - now that is appropriate coming from an egg farm don't you think?

Egg Sauce
Make your regular white sauce or gravy using butter and flour (we use whole wheat). Then when done cooking add the zest of one lemon, 2 tbsp. parsley and mashed cooked eggs (2-3 eggs/cup milk). Garnish with slices of whole cooked egg on the serving platter.

We also spiced it up with garlic salt instead of just salt and pepper.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Fishing Friday

Ice fishing yielded few fish, but at least three of our boys were able to catch their first fish.

Bronlin and Benjamin were glad to catch their first fish while they are still three - just like their oldest brother did when he was three. It may be significant that he was also the one who helped them catch their first fish.

It blesses our hearts as parents to see the older boys tenderly guiding their younger siblings in endeavours like this.

Bronlin had incredible patience while waiting for his fish to bite. In fact, he even caught two little perch that day. Supper was extra special for him - eating the fish he had caught.

Benjamin was just as proud with his prize perch - shh, we know it's kinda small, but to him it's the biggest catch in the world. It is too - because it's his FIRST! That's a big thrill at three (he and his twin will be four in four days).

Timothy's big smile says it all - he was so happy to land his first fish. Last summer he had one on the line, but it got away. This little perch was his first catch and he was glad. Of course, we were glad with him.

Fishing was so fun, we just may try again next week. Maybe, just maybe, we'll catch a few more...

Oh, and watch for a later posting with a new fish sauce recipe we tried and really enjoy ... till then!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Spring Sale - Half-Price @ Vision Forum

Vision Forum is again offering us great deals. They're calling it their Spring Sale with over 250 items at 1/2 off.

Check to see if the things on your wishlist are on their sale. You have until midnight CST on March 11th.

You may even find some gift ideas to stock up for family birthdays. A number of their
boy toys and girl toys are included in the special.

The sale is only while their supplies last.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Harbingers of Spring

Have you seen signs of spring?

Of course, spring comes earlier in some places, but for us here in the middle of the Canadian prairies, spring is just around the corner. How do we know?

We've seen signs. The days are getting longer, the sun is getting warmer - melting snow a bit here and there - and the horned larks have returned to sit on the sides of the road where the dark patches are warm as the snow begins to melt.

To us, horned larks are the harbingers of spring. The first bird we look for when February begins winding down. This year, we spotted this hardy little bird for the first time on February 29th.

The crows will be next. Keep your eyes out for them. Usually there's only one more snow storm after the crows are here.

Of course, after that there's a myriad of things to anticipate ...

Here comes Spring!