Monday, January 31, 2011

B.E.E. 90x Challenge – Check In

How is your B.E.E. 90x Challenge going?

Last week was one that proved rather challenging for me.

The addition of Ruthie allowed me to revisit sleepless nights, interrupted afternoons, and the necessity of applying a watchful eye to survey what the bundle of red fur was refining her hunting skills upon.  

Mix that in with some throw-up and a few fevers . . . and you have a Granola Mom who is a bit remiss in practicing what she preaches.

But as Toby Mac would say,

We lose our way, we get back up again
It’s never too late to get back up again
And one day you gonna’ shine again
You may be knocked down, but not out forever

We lose our way, we get back up again
So get up, get up, you gonna’ shine again
It’s never too late to get back up again
You may be knocked down, but not out forever

Remember, the B.E.E. 90x Challenge isn’t about outdoing someone . . . or striving to achieve perfection . . . or completing the goal precisely. 

It’s about taking 90 days unto the Lord.  It’s about setting an attainable goal.  A goal with a boundary.  A goal with a finite date.  Not something you attempt to do for an entire year.

That doesn’t mean you will quit after 90 days . . . but it makes your task doable . . . smaller . . . manageable. 

30 days makes a habit.  Perhaps after 90 days your habit will become a lifetime commitment.  You won’t even think of it as a New Year’s Resolution – which was/is the VERY LAST thing I wanted the B.E.E. 90x Challenge to be for me . . . for you. 

Continue on your journey.  You just need to get back up again.  Like me. 

B is for Bible:  Still reading chronologically (out loud to the boys) through the Bible, in addition to Beth Moore’s Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study, and attempting to dive into the book of Ephesians . . . or maybe it’s Galatians with our home fellowship.  (Either way, I am allowing Kay Arthur’s study titled Free From Bondage God’s Way to guide me.  And the reason I don’t know  which book we are studying. . . I was babysitting the 1 million children in our basement.  I could ask the Hottie, who is our fearless leader, before I post this but he’s not on Twitter.)

And my heart?  It misses God.  I feel a wee bit too busy.  Sometimes I don’t show up to my coffee date with the Lord when I told Him that I would be there.  I know that makes Him sad.  It makes me sad.  And my children notice when I don’t have a Moses glow. 

E is for Eating:  We have had a lot of good food emerging from our kitchen, thanks to the Nourished Kitchen menu’s . . . but I have been eating past full and in-between.  I’ve come to falsely believe that to have fun, food has to be involved.  Food pretends to be my best friend . . . but it makes for a lousy confidant.  As soon as it is in my mouth, it spreads its lies on my hips. 

E is for Exercise:  Non-existent last week.  I’ll be honest.  I already gave you my paltry reason why.  I can’t change it.  But I can have a new goal: I will exercise three times this week.  That is a reasonable goal for all this is going on in this household.

What about you?  Fill me in!  I love your comments . . .

Friday, January 28, 2011

Elementary Round Up

Granola Mom 4 God
Asher ~ First Grade

Elementary Round Up is here again.  We have had lots of life-learning going on . . . with the addition of a puppy to our family, Asher has been learning how to be a responsible dog owner. 


Little House on the Prairie continues with this orange craft . . .


and making molasses candy out of snow . . .


More phonics . . .


Learning about space . . .


Playing memory as part of our Nutrition 101 course . . .


Learning the game of basketball . . .


You can see what other curriculum we use throughout the week here that I have not shown you pictures of. 

What has been going on in your school room – and if you don’t have a blog to link up with . . . leave a comment and tell me what your family did in the Learning Room!


  1. Write a blog post about your elementary aged child(ren), first through fifth grade, comprising the activities you did the prior two weeks.  You can include pictures, bullet points, tools used, learning gained, God moments, etc.
  2. Be sure to include a link back to my blog.  By doing so, other like-minded readers can hang out in a central location if they are looking for Elementary School ideas.   Publish your post and then head back to my site. 
  3. Provide the exact link (URL) of the Elementary Round-UP blog post you wrote, not your blog’s home address, through the provided MckLinky.
  4. Optional:   I would love it if you grabbed my blog button over on the side.
  5. You can combine this with other meme’s if that helps you to save time (as long as it is OK with the other blog owner). 

BIG IMPORTANT HEART MOMENT:  This isn’t a blog post to WOW other moms . . . the point of this is to help YOU document on YOUR blog what you and your child(ren) are learning.  My link-up is only to provide some accountability.  I won’t come and leave nasty comments on your blog if you don’t link up. 

NOTE:  And this might be the last time you see Mr. Linky . . . as using this tool will require a yearly fee.  I don’t make enough off of my blog to pay for a Linky subscription.  Now, if I have 20 people link up to this Elementary Round Up . . . then I might rethink my decision.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

True Treasures: Not Just A Book With A Pretty Bow

I am wooed by pretty packages. . .  . a crisp white box with a small trinket dangling from a red ribbon,  kitchen goodies veiled by an ornately printed plastic bag, a new baby outfit tied with twine and adorned with a felted ornament, a homemade name tag complete with a brad, or a book sealed shut by some tulle. 

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They say, “Open me.  My previous owner was thinking about you.  You are special.”

God has indeed blessed me with such packages over the years.  Some packages have had twine; one sparkled under a little blue lid held together by a small gold lock; four have come out crying; recently, one gift has given me the gift of sleepless nights and nips on my toes, and one came with tulle.Christmas Vacation 238 

The sticker value of True Treasures is miniscule ($19.97)  compared to the golden nuggets of wisdom that Visa can’t buy within this book.

True Treasures: 10 Years of TEACH Magazine,  is a collection of the best of the best articles from the 10 years TEACH Magazine has been published.  Each article takes up no more than one or two pages . . . which allows you to sneak  some encouragement an article in while nursing, before lunch, during the kids’ baths, while waiting in the Starbucks line, or on the potty (did I just write that?)

I admit that in the past I have always avoided all such publications that dabble in a bit of Scripture and a bit of feel good material. 

Until now. 


I often only have 5 minutes to myself sporadically throughout the day.   The True Treasures collection caught me by surprise.  It doesn’t contain just a little scripture but a lot of scripture.  And it doesn’t make me feel good. It convicts me.  It makes me want to be a better mom, an effective homemaker, strive for an even more meaningful marriage, and improve my parenting skills.

You could say that there is some underlining going on in my copy of True Treasures.

What is TEACH Magazine?

We are a magazine that will help you with your God-assigned tasks as a wife & mother by:

  • Encouraging you with wisely spoken words.
  • Convicting your heart as He refines you into His image.
  • Challenging you to continue to strive for improvement.
  • Touching your spirit with heart-warming stories.
  • Entertaining you through life-learning lessons.
  • Inspiring you to immerse yourself in the holy promises that are yours.
Each issue of TEACH covers a specific topic, topics that are relevant and revealing for homemakers and homeschoolers.

You will love the tips and advice from our team of wonderful writers, or should we say experienced wives and mothers, ladies just like you?

See what else TEACH Magazine has to offer you as a wife, mother, or homeschooler at


I received this product for honest review from TEACH Magazine as part of The Gabby Moms blogging program.  All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Introducing the Newest Addition . . .

After much prayer, and believe it or not, humongous confirmation from the Lord, let me introduce to you . . .


Ruth . . . or Ruthie

We had many names picked out . . . but Ruth was the name that ALL the boys agreed upon.  We thought it was kind of cute since we have a Naomi that was just born.  But that isn’t to say or mean that Naomi is Ruth’s MIL, like the story in the Bible. 

Umm . . . because Naomi is a baby and Ruth is VERY much of a dog. 

I’ll have you know that taking care of a newborn is MUCH easier than taking care of a puppy. 


I’m glad that my dog won’t be in diapers for 3 years, but taking her out to potty every 1.5 hours . . . in addition to getting up to feed Naomi . . . makes for a very tired mommy.

But the SHORT inconvenience will reward a lifetime of blessing and reward for our family. 

We look at our unusual dog as a conversation piece.  It gives us opportunities to talk with people that we don’t know or wouldn’t normally talk with when walking around town. 


There is so much joy in my heart when I see my sons step up to the plate and take ownership of their new sibling. 

I love seeing the dog bound after their heels in the backyard . . . my brain fast forwards 9+ or so years when our first drives a car with Ruth happily sitting in the front seat, when one of our boys is courting a girl and they take Ruthie on a walk together, or even when one of them leaves for college . . . this will be their dog.  The dog they tell stories about.

If you grew up with a dog as a child . . . you know what I mean.  My dog was Toby.  And my adult dog was Mussie.  Their dog will be Ruthie.


During the day they have been responsible for watching Ruth when I am changing a diaper, nursing, or making a meal.  They feed her, give her water, and generously reward her with treats.  They have created tunnels and made her a kennel of pillows.  They have even shared their Ahh! Bean Bags with her . . . (by the way, if you ever have a child puke all over your Ahh! Bean Bags – don’t worry.  They clean up GREAT!  Not that I would know or anything.)


I love knowing that I know that I know we are completely in the Lord’s will by purchasing Ruth so soon after Mussoorie’s death.  The way the pieces fell into place reveal to me that Ruth’s arrival into our family is no accident.  And that our God cares about even the little details in our lives.


In fact, her presence in just two short days has given me a new perspective . . . on our controlled chaos.  And I’m happy. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fermented Lemons

We are eating THEM tomorrow night.

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I am slightly scared.  (Not really . . . things have grown in mason jars on our counters for longer than seven days before . . . try 20!)

At least we won’t get scurvy.

The boys learned about bacteria . . . and culinary practices . . . and why they should have a little something fermented with every meal.  Improved digestion, in case you were wondering.

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This was a new type of fermentation for me, though. 


Thank you Nourished Kitchen.  Jenny’s cooking comes into my “in-box” every week.   And she said that I could share some of our meals with you. 

I don’t know why, but I like Jenny.  She takes good pictures.  She also lives in Colorado.  (I think.)  She cooks really good food.  At least, it tastes good on my dinner table.

I subscribed to the Nourished Kitchen meal plan for a lot of reasons.  For starters . . . I needed a menu plan.  Secondly, I needed someone else to do it for me.  I’m more like a sheep in the kitchen.  Tell me what to cook and I’ll follow.  Thirdly, the Nourished Kitchen meals are exactly how we eat anyway.  (Minus a few  choice animals, which I substitute.)

Lastly, Jenny sends me a grocery list.  I loathe making grocery lists. 

Oh, one more reason.  I almost forgot.  I hardly have to change my produce bin for my Green B.E.A.N. delivery.

I need simplicity.  Likewise, I need fermentation.  I crave it.


Fermented (Preserved) Lemons


  • 2 lbs lemons, preferably Meyer lemons  (The reason—they have a softer skin!)
  • 2 tbsp unrefined sea salt


Cut the lemons, as though to quarter them, without splitting them completely through. For some reason, I struggled to understand this . . . lack of sleep, I suppose.  The point being, keep your lemon in-tact.  My thumb is hiding the fact that these lemons really are attached by a pretend neck.

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(By the way, I’m assuming you {the adult} will cut the lemon – not your child.   I just thought I would clarify.)

Sprinkle the flesh of each lemon with sea salt.  You might want to supervise this task if you have little helpers. 

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If it happens to be snowing outside, you might find salt descending upon your kitchen counters in the same way.  Just saying . . .

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Umm . . . your kids will have fun with this.  Just make sure they don’t have a paper cut or tiny flesh wound on their fingers.  Salt will slightly aggravate said cut and potentially cause a wee bit-o-pain and a slight spillage of tears.

Manually force Place the lemons in the mason jar.

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Mash the lemons with a wooden spoon (we used a wood rolling pin) until they release their juice. 

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Their juice should combine with the salt to create a rich brine. 

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Continue layering, salting, and mashing until your lemons are exhausted and the brine covers the lemons.

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Place a lid loosely on the jar and ferment at room temperature for one week before removing to cold storage.

Wanna know what we are going to eat this with . . . Moroccan Chicken.  (The bird is thawing right now.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guidecraft Construct-It Early Building Set: A Review and Giveaway

Christmas is over.  Hopefully most of your decorations are put away.  Maybe even some of the new toys are hidden, only to emerge at a later date when the February doldrums sets in and young bodies are anxious to be busy. 

I tried as long as I could to hide a certain building toy set sent to us by Guidecraft. 


No, let me take that back.  I actually had it “stored” in our family room for a long, long, long time.  I wanted the boys to get super-duper curious. 

It worked.

On a particularly boring day (for them), due to the fact that I had to devote more attention to Naomi, I unveiled unpacked the Construct It Early Builder Set.

Why were they so curious?  Well . . . imagine a boy suddenly acquiring 160 pieces to build as many machines and toys as his imagination will allow.  In our house, if it has a hammer, pliers, and a screwdriver . . . it is sure to be a hit.  (Not to mention the fact that this toy is geared toward ages 4 and up.  Yup, we got a few of those walking around our house.)

They were enticed to build this . . .


and this . . .

 imageand this . . .


What does a 6 year old do with this toy?

He treats it like a set of Lego's.  Except he can build more useful things.

But a 6 year old who is used to following step-by-step instructions becomes frustrated when those instructions are NOT included.  He has to look at a picture and somehow figure out what pieces to use to mirror the aforesaid object.

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I, personally, don’t have a problem with the lack of instructions.  I think it is good practice to employ problem solving skills.  But it was a little hard to convince a certain 6 year old that there is value in working through something difficult to create something useful.

What does a 4 year old do with this toy?

He mainly watched his brother.  Smart little tyke.  He wanted Asher to construct the toy, and then he would play with it. 

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But he could (for school or for play-time with mommy)

  • sort colors
  • sort shapes
  • follow my step-by-step instructions to create something

What does a 2 year old do with this toy? 

He looks at it.


He tries to figure out what on earth his brothers built.


He takes his brothers’ creations apart.

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What else could he do with this toy?

  • refine his fine motor skills by dropping dried spaghetti through the holes
  • pound the pegs through the base rectangles with the supplied hammer
  • experiment and see what pieces fit through a paper towel tube

And what will brothers do when they play with the Construct-It Early Builder set?

preserving lemons 028

They will turn a laundry basket into a boat.  Underneath the basket you will find a blue blanket that is actually water.  And with the Construct-It Early Builder set, they will attach the blanket to the basket so that they can pretend to be the captain of a pirate ship.

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Looks like the Construct-It Early Builder set must be an open-ended toy.  I like that.

And if you like that . . . head on over to Mama Jenn’s to win this very set!  Giveaway ends January 21st! 

And if you don’t win the giveaway, , you can head over to the Guidecraft website OR purchase the Construct-It Early Building set through Amazon!

As a Guidecraft Mom blogger, this product was given to me for review purposes. I do not have to return the product to the vendor and I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

B.E.E. 90x Challenge: Belated Check-In

Granola Mom 4 God

The Hottie is having a contest at work.  I got roped into it.  As a result, I have become a bit completive about it. 

So competitive that I secretly went to work out in the basement after Monday night Bible study . . . I know . . . real holy.

But he was upstairs running in place, while I was studying the Word of God.  Sitting.  You know, like Mary.  Jesus did say that was the better choice.

Christmas Vacation 327

The Hottie was doing it on purpose.  He was being a Martha.  He wanted to win.

Honestly, we do have a healthy competition going on.

Why?  Whoever (in our household—not at his office) has the most steps at the end of the day, wins a massage that night.    And with the Arnica Lotion we are reviewing from Tropical Traditions right now – you bet I wanted a massage.  That stuff soothes the muscles. 

Note:  Whoever has the most steps at the end of the week at the Hottie’s office gets some money or something lame like that. 

I was excited until I reset my pedometer on accident last night.  Blast.

But I am back in the game.  After fuming at the pedometer for 12 hours, it is back on my hip.  I am walking in place as I type this. 

Christmas Vacation 258

Gotta keep moving. 

Remember B.E.E. 90x is about setting REASONABLE goals that you will fulfill in 90 days.  And the prayer is that in those 90 days you will establish life long habits.  A habit to read your Bible daily.  A habit to eat wisely.  A habit to move your body.

And remember . . . there will be some giveaways at the end of the 90 days here at Granola Mom 4 God.  Leave a comment.  Make some changes.

Do something. 

Christmas Vacation 053

B.E.E in the Bible:  This week’s chronological readings are as follows:

  • Monday . . . . Genesis 12-15

  • Tuesday . . . . Genesis 16-18

  • Wednesday . . . . Genesis 19-21

  • Thursday . . . . Genesis 22-24

  • Friday . . . . Genesis 25-26

  • Saturday . . . . Genesis 27-29

  • Sunday . . . . Genesis 30-31

B.E.E. eating well:  Learn to make yogurt.  Cut out white flour and sugar.  Eat whole wheat.  Have a smoothie for your meal.   Eat ONLY when you are hungry.  Or take the Eat Fat Lose Fat Challenge.

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B.E.E. exercising:  go on a walk, run in place, lift something heavy while you do squats.  Place a pedometer on your hip (they are cheap) and make sure to walk over 10,000 steps in one day.  I have been using Biggest Loser Boot Camp, Biggest Loser Yoga, Wholy Fit (which has been a huge blessing to do with my sons and is a GIVEAWAY ITEM), and P90x Kenpo X.

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Can’t wait to hear from you!

Wordless Wednesday: Mutilated Sweet Potatoes

When I gave my sons the task of poking holes in the sweet potatoes for this recipe, I had no idea how thoroughly they would accomplish said task.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy 3 Months!

It is so appropriate that today my little girl learned how to flip from her belly to her back.  And she was none too happy about her new found strength.

Three months . . . I can not believe how fast time is flying by.


Already . . . Naomi’s newborn cry is gone.  As are the little mouth clicks . . . sighs . . . gurgles.

However, they have been replaced with bright smiles and delicious laughs and warm snuggles that feel like hugs.


And . . . she has found her hand.  Not her thumb.  Her entire hand.


Monday, January 17, 2011

A Timberdoodle Review: Critical Thinking Press

He completed the book in 4 sittings . . . if even that. 

Dear Timberdoodle, my favorite homeschooling supply store, the workbook was supposed to last longer than that!  We want more books from Critical Thinking Press!  Thank you!


Granola Mom

xmas sitting 001

Mr. Smackdown and I  went on a date to Starbucks.  Instead of chatting like we normally do . . . making up stories . . . he wanted to do school work.  Specifically, he wanted to turn multiple pages and finish his Visual Perceptual Skill Building (Book 1), that we were reviewing from Timberdoodle.


He didn’t finish on our date, but not many more school days later . . . the book lay completely used and lonely. 

Does that mean it was potentially too easy, not age appropriate though the Timberdoodle website states that it is for ages 3-6?

No.  I think the book is just that much fun for children – especially after reading some other reviews regarding the Visual Perceptual Skill Building workbook.


What are visual perceptual skills?  They are the set of skills we use to gather visual information from the environment and integrate them with our other senses.  These skills tap into previous learning and life experiences in order to derive meaning.  Without visual perceptual skills you basically can’t learn.  Things like reading, giving directions, copy work, visualizing objects, even discerning where a sound is originating from becomes difficult.

The purpose of Visual Perceptual Skill Building is to provide exercises in “a clear, uncluttered format, perfect for the easily distracted preschooler.”   This workbook endeavors to prepare students for high achievement in reading, spelling, writing, spatial reason and visual math. 

Each topic begins with a pre-test and ends with a post-test so that you can “marvel” at the progress that your child made (according to the Timberdoodle website).

And that is what I did.  “Marvel.” 

Thumbs up for the Visual Perceptual Skill Building Workbook that can be found at Timberdoodle for $24.99.


Mr. Smackdown wasn’t the only one who has been enjoying a workbook by Critical Thinking Press.


Sir Honey Ezra, my kangaroo, is L.O.V.I.N.G. his Math Reasoning Level A (kindergarten) workbook. 

This seriously surprises me.  This is my little boy who has to be moving, running, or vigorously touching you 99% of the time.  But when it comes to “math time” his is engaged .  . . .

as long as I am hovering over. 

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If I am absent, a little someone gets distracted.  It becomes difficult to hold his pencil correctly.  Then, mysteriously random lines begin to appear all over his workbook page.


As soon as I reappear to work alongside the little man, he is happy to continue his learning. 


But I can’t blame the little guy.  If I basically had a personal teacher . . . I would want their ever-present help, too. 

Not to mention the fact that Sir Honey is only 4 . . . doing a book intended for kindergarteners. 

The Math Reasoning A Kindergarten workbook features (in full color) activities such as:

  • addition
  • bar graph
  • calendar
  • capacity
  • coins
  • count
  • fractions
  • language
  • length
  • likelihood
  • match
  • number line
  • odd/even
  • order
  • pattern
  • real world problems
  • shapes
  • subtraction
  • time
  • weight
  • whole numbers

I should have warned you that it was a long list . . . but because this list is so long . . . it covers everything that I would like Sir Honey Ezra to learn this year.  Thus, Math Reasoning A Kindergarten has become his math textbook.  We do about two pages a day.  I think it is a very affordable curriculum . . . $39.99 at Timberdoodle.


We picked this book, Can You Find Me Preschool, for Gabe (2.5). . . thinking based on the description that he would be able to participate . . . ummm . . . didn’t happen.  Not even close.  But the boys and I enjoyed it!


The great thing about Can You Find Me Preschool is that it is a book that can be reused and works well for a special snuggle time! 


This book can be used to develop your child’s “skills in using similarities and differences, sequences, classifications, analogies, and logic to solve colorful rhyming riddles. All riddles require the answering of two or more clues to figure out the answer. Each book covers reading readiness, science, math, and social studies. Includes answers and a chart of skills developed in each activity.”

This book was a breeze for Mr. Smackdown (6). . .

031(Do you know the answer?  Let me know and you might win my copy!)

And an appropriate challenge for Sir Honey Ezra (4).


My only bug-a-boo about this book . . . these guys are weird looking, don’t you think?


Thanks, Timberdoodle! 

Legal Disclosure:
As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of these books in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.