Sunday, September 30, 2012

B is for Big Boat (aka Ark)

This week we went full force with Tot School.  We actually did it four days this week and “Miss Priss” cried because we weren’t doing in on Friday so we ended up having a little “mini” Tot School then!  I still don’t have our area exactly like I want it but I did finish and put up her learning board.  I love having this to go over each morning when we first get started.  I found this idea from here.
Here are some highlights from what we did and learned last week in Tot School:

Bible Story:  Noah’s Ark

Day 1 -Read story from our Bible Story Book and Colored theArk

Day 2 - Reread the story and talked about the rain. Did a little Science Experiment I found on Pinterest on clouds and rain.  

Put together our Noah’s Ark puzzle.


Day 3- Using the pictures and story book “Miss Priss” told me the story.  Then We counted out two of each animal cracker and placed them on the ark.

Day 4 – Retold Noah’s Ark focusing on the rainbow and then she painted a rainbow

Memory Verse- John 14:15

Song – Arky, Arky

Letter B:

-Put buttons on letter “B”

-Used our dot markers for letter “B”

-Played in our “B Bin” which included beans, a bottle, banana, ball, brush, block, buttons, and bells.  She sorted buttons, counted beans, and put them in the bottle.

-Sorted buttons by color talked about which color we had the least and most.

-Created a butterfly with our feet prints.  I painted “Miss Priss’” feet.  Then she painted “Sunshine’s”.
-Played with blocks

Number 3:

-Read Three Little Bears

-Counted out groups of 3 buttons

Fine Motor:

Introduced scissors and practiced cutting paper

Laced a bear
Gross Motor:  Rolled and threw a ball.

Field Trip: We went to Nocolulla Falls this week and visited the barn where they keep the bunnies.

Books We Read This Week: 

This week is Letter C and Joseph's Colorful Coat! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A is for Apple

I think apples are quite possibly the world’s most perfect food!  I LOVE them straight off the tree, baked, fried, in a pie, in a cake, cut up, smashed up, with peanut butter or caramel, etc., etc.,etc.  I can easily see how Eve was tempted by the apple J  Nothing says the beginning of fall like apples and here are some highlights from what we did and learned last week in Tot School:

Our Bible Story for the week was Adam and Eve.  We read from our Bible Storybook each morning. "Miss Priss" also did the coloring sheets from ABC Jesus Loves Me and by our third morning was telling me the story.  Our Bible verse for the week was Psalm19:14.

Song – O Be Careful Little Eyes

Here were some of our letter "A"activities:

Using our dot markers on the letter "A"

Adding apple stickers to letter "A"


We also took a trip to our favorite apple orchard, Mercier Orchards
Picking Apples with PaPa
Enjoying an Apple
Listening about the apples on the hayride

We had LOTS of apples from our orchard visit so we ate them and we also made Jewish Apple Cake and a couple batches of Apple Butter.  "Miss Priss" helped make our apple cake.  Her favorite parts were chopping the apples and sifting the flour!


Our Crock-pot Apple Butter

For more apples ideas check out last years' blogs:  Happy Birthday Johnny Appleseed and Tot School: Week 4.
Resources and Additional Links:


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tot School Returns-This time with a Curriculum

So I realize this is my first blog on it (Sorry!) but we're actually on our 5th week of Tot School!! 

For those of you who may not know, Tot School to us is basically just a way to hold myself accountable for spending some time with "Miss Priss" each day and teaching her some of the "basics."

This year we are using a curriculum.  I use the word curriculum just as I use Tot School - very loosely!  Nothing is forced or set in stone but funcitons more as a guide for us.  I love doing Tot School with "Miss Priss" and she loves it even more! (Did I mention it's usually the first thing she asks to do when she gets up in the morning?)  What I don't always enjoy is all the planning that goes into the lessons.  Especially with me doing everything from "scratch" last year it was taking alot of my time. This year I knew I was going to have even less time since we also have a 5 month old now! (And boy was I right; thus our fifth week of Tot School and I'm just now blogging that we have this curriculum!)  

So while I do think Tot School and spending time with "Miss Priss" is VERY important I wanted something I could at least use as a guide then add what I wanted to it according to our needs and time!

After searching and reading about many curriculums online, I finally decided on ABC Jesus Loves Me.  I started looking for a curriculum to use at the end of last school year and looked off and on all summer going back and forth between two or three.  Then one day I stumbled across her schedule on ABC Jesus Loves Me and realized it already fit my own schedule almost exactly!  Then I found a link to her blog, Our Out -of-Sync Life and while I was doing my God First Challenge she was doing her on series on scheduling your time to align with your priorities! A lady after my own heart!  The more I read the more I loved so I purchased the curriculum that day.

Here are a few reasons why I chose this one:

1.  It includes Bible lessons and scripture memorization.

2. It is flexible and incorporated throughout our day.  This works well with my schedule and "Miss Priss'" attention span! 

3.  There are several options for you to pick and choose.  You can do as little or as much as your time allows.

4.  There's a built in review week every fourth week to cover anything you may have missed, didn't have time for or just need to work on more.

5.  While letters are introduced and covered, writing in the 3 year old curriculum is not a primary concern. There are several tactile letter activities which is exactly what I wanted for her at this point.

6.  While you can (and I did) order everything already printed out (saved me more time!) it's also all FREE!

7. Includes great selections, ideas and incorporations with the books of the week.

8.  They have a wonderful support group which includes a facebook page, forum, and other bloggers for you to find even more ideas and help if you need it.

That's just a few reasons why we are loving this curriculum.  "Miss Priss" is also loving it too.  Hopefully, in the next few days I will show you some things we've been doing in these first few weeks!

Do you have a curriculum you use with your preschooler? Please share!

In case you are considering a "curriculum" for your little one  here are a few more I thought were great and considered:

Brightly Beaming Resources (Free)
Letter of the Week by Confessions of a Homeschooler (Free)
Hubbard's Cupboard (Free)

Hands on Homeschooling
Little Hands to Heaven (Heart of Dakota)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

God First Challenge: Day 15-Commit and Continue!

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Day 15 Challenge:  Commit and Continue

Day 15 Scripture:  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:  because he trusteth in thee.”  Isaiah 26:3


Congrats!!! Woo Hoo!  You’ve made it to the end of the challenge! 

I hope by now you...

Now what?  Your last challenge is to commit and continue!  I hope that by now you have found a NEED and a DESIRE to get up and into God's Word first thing in the morning.  I also hope that you have someone(s) that will keep you accountable and encourage you along the way.
If you're not sure where to go from here then check out GMG.  We will start studying Colosians on Monday and then end this session Christmas. 
I hope this challenge has blessed you half as much as it has me. Now I'd love to hear from you... Anything I didn't mention that helps you put God first in your day?  How did the challenge go for you overall? Something you plan on committing to and continuing?  I certainly hope so because the only way to have that perfect peace is to keep your mind on Christ and strive each day to keep Him first! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

God First Challenge: Day 14 - Live it!

Day 14 Challenge:  Live it!

Day 14 Scripture: James 1:22

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

We’re almost at the end of our challenge but here’s the thing…If you don’t do today’s challenge then the last two weeks have been in vain and utterly pointless. 
WHAT??  Shouldn’t you have told me this at the beginning?  Maybe so but you’ve came this far so don’t stop now…

LIVE IT!   Let’s not just wake up, study, and even ask God what He wants us to do with our day.  Follow through with what He tells us. 
Live out His Word. 
Make our choices based on what we’ve learned about His word.  Not on what society is telling us, not on what I tell you, not on what your parents have told you and not even on what your church leaders are telling you but on what HE has told you. 
I wanted to share this video from Francis Chan that's really stuck with me.  He makes a great point - one that I can easily relate to as a Mom!  I can only imagine how furious I would be if I told "Miss Priss" to go clean her room and she came back and told me she'd thought about, studied it, and even had some friends over and talked about it but didn't DO IT!!  Is that what we're I'm doing with God's Word? 

Let's apply this morning time to our life and LIVE  boldly for HIM!

It may not always be the EASY way but it’ll always be the BEST way even when we don’t see it at the time.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

God First Challenge: Day 13-Prioritize!

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Day 13 Challenge: Prioritize

Day 13 Scripture:  "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."  Matthew 6:33

I have some bad news and some good news for you.

Bad News:  If you’ve made it this far you’re probably really starting to get challenged!  Satan is probably starting to throw things at you (besides sleep) that are starting to keep you from getting up and spending those first few minutes of the day with God.    

Good News:  You’ve actually already beat this challenge!  Every morning that you’ve chosen to successfully get up instead of sleeping in you’ve chosen God over sleep.  Every morning that you’ve gotten your Bible and went to your solitary place you’ve chosen God over that cell phone or television. 

As you continue even after these 15 days you’re going to have to choose and prioritize every morning but the good news is you can do ALL things through Christ!

Prioritizing  and Simplifying have become almost synonyms for me.   This blog was actually a result of me really questioning my priorities and how I was spending my time.   This is further explained here.

Now when I hear someone say, “I just don’t have time for that.” Or “Sorry, I meant to _______ but I just didn’t have time.”  What I really hear is “It wasn’t a priority for me.” 
And sometimes that’s ok.  Sometimes I even smile to myself and think “I’m glad they have their priorities in order.”  Of course there are other times I think, “Get your priorities in order!”  May sound a little harsh to you but everyone that lives through today is going to have 24 hours.  The difference is what we CHOOSE to do with that time.  And (as I said in my first blog) whether you realize it or not how you spend your time is a direct reflection of your priorities.

So you may be getting to (or maybe already reached) the point where things are getting chaotic.  Where you really need to get some other things done in the morning or you really just need your sleep back. 
I challenge you to prioritize.  Realize what your priorities are then make sure your time is spent according to them.  If God really is your number one priority then it shouldn’t be such a problem to give him the first few minutes of your day.  Only then will you truly find happiness and peace.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

God First Challenge: Day 12 - Put on Your Armour!

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Day 12 Challenge: Put on the Armour of God

Day 12 Scripture:  Ephesians 6:10-18, Matthew 4:1-11, Psalm 119:11

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

Why are we studying and meditating each morning?  So that we are prepared for the battle and whatever the devil may throw our way.  Don’t leave what you’ve read, studied and meditated on in your solitary place but take it with you throughout your day! (And it’s a lot easier to take it with you it you’ve memorized it, right?)

I love reading about when Jesus was tempted by Satan.  Did you ever notice what his response was each time? 
It was the Word of God.  Each time Satan tempted him he started with “It is written…” followed by the scripture.  The Bible is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword.”  You really want to give Satan a good blow – then really know your Bible. 

One thing I’ve realized as I’ve gotten deeper into His word is how much easier it is to make a decision when you know what the Bible says about it.  God’s not the author of confusion.  His Word is plain and clear, black and white. 

You’ll be able to offer encouragement since you’ve already been encouraged.

You’ll be able to control your temper a little more.

You’ll have more peace about a situation.

You’ll have more patience when you are reminded each morning how much patience God’s had with you.

It’s amazing how the first 15 minutes of your day, if spent with the right person, can change the remainder of the day.  So I challenge you today - don’t leave your house or even begin your day without your sword…

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

God First Challenge: Day 11 - Memorize Scripture

Day 11 Challenge: Memorize Scripture/Post it Around the House

Day 11 Scripture:  Proverbs 6:20-22  “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:  Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.  When thou goes it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.”
This is my weakest link. I try to memorize scripture. I mean really start out with good intentions but the older I get the harder it seems to really retain it! 

My main inspiration for memorizing scripture is my great-grandad. He lived to be 105 and was still preaching. He truly believed that retirement was up to God. God would call him home when He was ready for him to retire. When he first started preaching he couldn't read and my great-grandmother read Him the scriptures and he would memorize them. He later learned to read but then once his eyesight started to fail it didn't really matter because he had it all I'm his heart.  Even at 100 years old he could still quote chapters at a time.

There's so many reasons for memorizing scripture-to use in our defense against temptation, to encourage others.  Or you never know when we may no longer have a Bible or our own eyesight becomes to weak to read it.

I also love this verse for today's challenge.  Bind them continually on your heart, tie them about your neck - wherever you go have scripture with you.  On your heart, on your mind, even written down on index cards or placed somewhere you will see it often.  For me that's the best way to memorize it!

So I challenge you today find a scripture and memorize it! 

Maybe it's one that's become dear to you during this study. 

Maybe it's one that you need to know and recall often for this period of your life.

Maybe it's one that you need to know to encourage someone else. 

Whatever the reason find it and bind it!

Monday, September 10, 2012

God First Challenge: Day 10 - Meditate on Scripture

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Day 10 Challenge:  Meditate on Scripture

Day 10 Scripture: Joshua 1:8  “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein:  for then thou shalt make the way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalm 1:2

“Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”  1 Timothy 4:15

Now you’ve dug a little deeper and read what God has to say about the issue – now dwell on it awhile! That’s one reason I love the SOAP method.  I like just taking a couple verses at a time and really letting them sink in-not just my head but my heart -letting God use His word to speak to me.  That’s just another one of the benefits of getting in God’s word first thing in the morning you have all day to meditate on it.

When talking about prayer earlier I mentioned taking some time to listen not just letting it all be about you talking.  It’s the same way with studying God’s word.  Don’t just read, read, and read some more but stop and listen to what God’s telling you through his Word.  If we're talking about God's Word being nourishment for our souls then let it be a delicious dessert and savour every last bite!

Our church presents each high school graduate with a new Bible.  When I received my Bible our pastor at the time told me that all I needed to study God’s word was a KJV Bible, a Webster’s dictionary and most importantly the Holy Spirit.  I can look back now and see just how right he was! 
Not sure what a verse means?  Ask the author-He’s there with you. 
Not sure how it applies to your life? Continue to seek His will and way through his word and prayer. 
I challenge you today to spend some time truly meditating and allow God’s word to come to life!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

God First Challenge: Day 9-Study

Day 9 Challenge:  Study

Day 9 Scripture:  2 Timothy 2:15  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

There are two reasons this challenge is so important and life changing for me: (1) I need spiritual nourishment. (2) I need to study God’s Word and KNOW what it says.
I think that’s one of the main problems with our country today. We’ve all taken others’ at their word and their interpretations and trusted on that instead of truly studying God’s Word and knowing for ourselves what it says. Our morals and our standards are more influenced by society than God’s Word. If we truly want to see things change then change must start within us, within our family and our home, then to our community and so forth. And the way for things to truly change within us is to truly get in God’s Word and study. Don’t be ignorant concerning God’s Word!
One thing that has really helped me in my studying is the SOAP method. SOAP stands for –Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. I was introduced to this method through GMG. I like it because it’s easy yet thorough and effective! 
Scripture - you actually write down the scripture you read.  I like that I actually write down the scripture. There’s just something about writing it down that helps it to sink in a little more. 
Observation- To me the observation part is just the“digging a little deeper”. It usually includes what stuck out to me on a verse and other verse references. 
Application - Then the application part is how I can apply it to my life. It still amazes me how the Bible was written so many years ago yet is still so relevant today. 
Prayer -Then the last one is prayer. I usually start and end my bible studies in prayer. Praying over what I’ve read and asking God to help me truly apply it to my life and live it!
Here's an example of my SOAP sheet from James:

To read more about this method or to create your own SOAP journal online click here.

So I challenge you to really dig a little deeper in His Word today.  Maybe use a page of your journal and try out the SOAP method or maybe you have another method you like to use.  If so, then please share!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

God First Challenge: Day 8-Keep a Journal or Notebook

My journal at the top- then my GMG notebooks

Day 8 Challenge: Keep a journal/notebook

Day 8 Scripture:  Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Psalm 119:18
My son, forget not my law; but let  thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.   Proverbs 3:1-2
Congrats you've made it half way through the challenge! Hope you're still hanging in there with me-if so I have a little giveaway at the end of this blog post!!!
Getting up early - check
Motivational Scripture - check
Someone holding you accountable - check
Comfy, cozy quiet place - check
Now let's look at why/how we study.  Today's challenge is something I started the first day I begin getting up early. I wrote down the scripture I'd read and any notes/ideas God showed me.  I was doing it completely on my own at that time and studying the book of Nehemiah.  (great study and SO relevant to today). 
Within about 6 weeks of using my journal I discovered GMG and the SOAP method and I've been using it every since.  (I'll discuss the SOAP method in more detail tomorrow.)  With each study I've printed out the GMG study guides and made a binder. 
I now have the entire books of James, 1 John, and Ephesians along with Proverbs 31 completely written out with notes and how it can be applied to my life!  If you're looking for a study to do after finishing this challenge then I highly recommend GMG. They study begins September 17 and they already have the free study guide and a bookmark ready to download-just click the pic below:
Just in a year and a half I've been doing this I've already pulled back out some of the binders to look back over something.  It's a  wonderful resource to have so I encourage you to do the same!  Another great way to use your journal/notebook is for keeping a page of things you're praying for and a page for prayers answered. I'm a little slack on this one!
So in celebration of making half way through the challenge with me I'm giving away a journal!!!  Just leave me a comment here on the blog telling me how the challenge is going for you (it's ok-be honest!) and you'll be entered to win!  I'll choose someone using and announce the winner on Tuesday, September 11th.
Good luck!

Friday, September 7, 2012

God First: Day 7-Find An Accountability Partner

Most of my GMG group
Day 7 Challenge:  Find an Accountability Partner

Day 7 Scripture:  Proverbs 27:17, Ecc. 4:9-10

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”  Proverbs 27:17

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:  but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”  Ecc. 4:9-10

It’s amazing how much more you can accomplish when someone’s holding you accountable.  For me it’s my Good Morning Girls Group. We contact each other every morning (Monday-Friday).  I have to admit there have been a couple mornings I’ve still been in bed and I get a notification from one of these inspiring ladies and it encourages me to get up but also puts some extra pressure knowing they’re expecting me to post too.             

I suggest finding at least one friend-maybe more-that you can text, e-mail or even as we did set up a private Facebook group page.  Even if it’s just a simple “I got up and in God’s word this morning!”  It’s a start!  Ours started out this way but now it’s “This is how I can apply this scripture to my life…” or “This part really stuck out to me…”  Every now and then we’ll even have a post end with “Sorry about the book this morning!”

Some of these ladies were really just acquaintances when we first started our group.  But over the past year and a half we’ve shared prayer requests, struggles and victories! They have come to be some of my closest and dearest friends and now I can’t imagine my life without them in it.  I pray that everyone will find ladies as committed and uplifting as I have!  For my complete “story” on how our GMG group was created read here.

So what are you waiting for?  Call, text, e-mail, or tweet someone today!  There are SO many ways to communicate now there really is NO excuse!! Do you have an accountability partner(s)?  How do you keep in touch?