Monthly Archives: March 2014

School Evolves With Spring

Spring has arrived in Alabama.

The kids are more easily distracted from book work. The lure of a warm sunny day calls to them. It beckons to be played in, and discovered. So with that our lessons evolve from snugly days reading, afternoons coloring, regular crafting, and page after page workbook lessons to a world of discovery outdoors.

School Evolves With Spring

Paige’s craft from when we discussed chickens.

We are discovering animals  anew. Long walks lead to a discussion on cows, and their nature. An introduction of the baby chicken to their new environment, begins a discussion of life cycles. The planting of seedlings produces a wonder in the cycle of life that the Lord has created. The children marvel at how a seed so small can grow so large, which again open the door for more discussion.

School Evolves With Spring

The baby chicks around 1 week old.

Teamwork and diligence are demonstrated as a green house is being assembled. The value of hard work is being passed on to the next generation.

School Evolves With Spring

Rusty and a family friend working on the frame for our large greenhouse.

Playtime out doors brings its own lessons. Creativity and imagination develop as they turn an old box into their play house. They learn the value of sharing when there are three of them and one softball bat. New skills are being discovered as they are roller skating, riding bikes, and learning to climb trees.

The lessons don’t stop because the weather is warm. They simply evolve.

There is time enough for book work and crafting when the weather is  poor. So while the sun shines I will let them play, for in play they are still learning.

What are some ways that you can inspire learning outdoors where you live?

***Share this post with a friend if it has touched or inspired you in any way. Please just be sure to link back to the original post.***

Please continue to bear with us as we slowly work to update and improve this blog. 🙂

Transferring Servers

We are in the process of transferring servers.

Please be patient with us as we try to make this transition as painless as possible.  Some of the widgets didn’t save properly, and I will be replacing those in the next couple of days.  Sorry about that.  Most of the media saved, thankfully.  May God bless you and everything you do.

Rusty and family

Spring on the Farm

Recently I lost the joy in writing I have been writing along a series Fruit of the Spirit. I think there is much that even I can learn from the series, but I think it might time to put it aside for now and write from the heart for a bit. Perhaps by writing what is on my heart and mind I will be able to find some of that joy and passion again.

As spring is arriving in Northern Alabama life is changing around the Russell household. Planting has begun in the small greenhouse. My laundry room is being taken over by seedlings. Baby chicks are taking up residence in the master bedroom. We have even said goodbye to Chloe’s chicken, Tinker Bell.

Spring on the Farm

Rusty has taken on a number of projects around the property. If you wandered around you would find the new chicken coop he is building, and the large greenhouse he is assembling. The back yard now has a small fenced in area for the dogs, now if only we could find all their escape routes from it. The CNC machine is coming along, and the business along with it.

We have even brought in a new member to the household, my sister-in-law, Samantha. She is staying with us for at least the next few months. I have to say the extra set of hands has been a godsend.

Spring on the Farm

Rusty and Chloe working on the frame for the large greenhouse.

I have been managing the chaos of this place the best I can. If you  were to peek in on me, you would find me: cooking, cleaning, teaching, writing, building my BeachBody business, and tending to our little farm. In the midst of all that chaos comes challenges with health  (not only my own hurdles, but for the family as well.)

***What is new in your world?***

 

 

No-Cook Playdough Recipe

My girls and I are fans of anything crafty. I love sitting down working with them on a project. It is just so much fun to see what they will create or how they will interpret what I demonstrated. Sometimes though when they really want to create, I still have house work to do or other work that needs to be done.  This is where playdough comes in, because a little girl can see crayons for only so many days in a row before revolting. (Disclaimer: While yes, I pull out the playdough when I have other work to do, I still must be nearby to supervise. Playdough must not leave the kitchen!)

We have done store-bought playdough in the past. In terms of consistency, it is great I know what I am getting, but it can get expensive to have to continually replace. I also prefer homemade because then I know first hand what is going into the product, and then the girls can also get involved in creating it.

I have tried my hand at both cooked playdough recipes, which for us were a flop, and no-cook recipes. A simple Google search led me to The Best Ever No-Cook Play Dough Recipe. Anna, the author of the blog, offers up this simple recipe. It creates a soft dough that the kids have used for the last two days and there have been no signs of drying out. It produces a great end result that I will turn to again and again.

As great as the result was though I noticed it was stickier and tackier than playdough should be, when I followed the recipe exactly. So what follows below is a slight adaption of the original recipe. (It is worth noting that she does say that you might need to add a touch more flour, but since what I had to add, 1 cup, was more than a touch I will explain how I did this.)

No-Cook Playdough Recipe

No-Cook Playdough Recipe

(Adapted from The Imagination Tree)
 
 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (reserve one of the three cups)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • Up to 1.5 cups boiling water (add in increments)
  • food coloring (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Mix the flour, oil, and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. On a low-speed add the oil.
  3. Add the boiling water in  1/4  cup increments mixing until the dough is smooth.
  4. If you still have tacky sticky dough and the mixing is not helping go to your flour reserve, and add a 1/8 cup at a time till dough is smooth to touch.
  5. Divide playdough into the different number of colors that you wish to create. Work food coloring into dough by hand, kneading the dough as you go. (This can get a bit messy so gloves are an option here.)

Store your playdough in an airtight container, and it should last for months.

 

Dreaming of Summer

With the night’s getting longer, it has me thinking of summer already. In that spirit I am digging out an old photo.

Dreaming of Summer

What do you most enjoy about summer? What are some of your favorite things to do with the kids or maybe what do you hope to do with the kids?

Fruit of the Spirit: Discovering Your Joy

Have you ever met a person that seemed no matter their circumstance to be full of joy? I have been accused of being that person. I say accused because I am not sure I am as full of joy as I might like to be or even should be. Perhaps it is all a process and all I can do is to press on and strive to be more like the one who has saved my soul. So today the wisdom I share with you is wisdom I am still learning. It is not my own wisdom that I seek to share, and I am writing to remind myself as much as anything else, today.

Discovering Your Joy

How To Discover Joy In Your Life

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15: 9-11  Here we see Jesus instructing us to keep his commands and in doing so we will remain in his love. It is through him and his love that we discover joy and that our joy can be made complete.

To find out what Jesus commands of us all we must do is go to: Matthew 22: 36-40. “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  It won’t always be easy to love your neighbor as yourself, but it will be worth it. Tough times will come and you may question how God could even be a loving God, and then you might even begin to wonder how you could love God when it doesn’t even feel like he loves you.

But he does love you. He loves you so much that he has something better in mind for you, for each of us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 So even though we live in this world that is broken and filled with pain and sin, God loves us enough to offer us a path to his salvation. All we need to do is accept Jesus.

 

It is through these three truths that we can begin to discover a deep and lasting joy. This is a joy that no one can steal from you. It will not be dependent on your circumstances, but rather you can radiate this joy even in the toughest of times.

 

***Please feel free to comment with any thoughts or questions. I welcome feedback. Thank you for visiting. Now if you have missed any of my prior posts here are the links just for you:  IntroductionLove Your GodLove Your Wives, Submitting To And Respecting Our Husbands, Love Your ChildrenLoving Your Neighbor, and What is Joy.***