Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Mystery of History, Volume 1


We chose to homeschool almost 20 years ago. I knew when I started that I would have challenges, simply because of who I am. I’m a bit scattered. Really. When I nag Caleb, my text-book ADD child, to focus on what he’s doing, he quips (respectfully) that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Ah, so true.

I’ve tried, over the years, to fix myself, but I finally have just come to grips with the fact that I am not and never will be super-organized or completely on schedule.

My homeschooling style reflects my personality.


That’s a very kind way of saying hodge-podge, seat-of-your-pants, sporadic.

But I try.

Homeschooling is a struggle. Homeschooling while being missionaries in Mexico is a struggle of a whole new level. We take one- or two-month breaks every six months, a month’s vacation at Christmas, time off any time there is a mission team or evangelical crusade or VBS or other church event and school is canceled as soon as it gets too hot to concentrate (usually about two months of the year) and if anyone stops by to visit, we generally have to stop classes for the day.

That happens a lot.

Sometimes I wonder how we ever complete anything! Oh, I’m such a whiner!

Once in a while, though, I feel like I’ve really succeeded at something. The Mystery of History is an example. Never mind the fact that we started Volume I (a one-year class) the year that we moved into this house.

We have finished. We ALL took the massive 30 page final and EVERYONE scored in the 90th percentile. I feel that we have really accomplished something. Yes, it took us almost 4 years to get through a one-year course, but we DID finish it and we really learned a lot.

On our dining room wall hangs a wonderful timeline depicting history from creation to the crucifixion of Christ. As the author of the textbook states, the timeline reflects the personality of those who built it.

Jesus Christ: Yesterday, Today and Forever

The Powers of Mesopotamia

Israel Falls to Assyria

Many of our timeline figures are quite "tongue in cheek", some are plays on words and some are really silly, but if it helps us remember the event…

Lot's Wife

The Great Wall of China -- note the skulls and bones built into the wall. Kind of morbid. Believe it or not, Evie made that one! And I just noticed that I spelled Colossus wrong. hehehe

You'll have to read the book of Malachi to understand why this one is funny.

This is Sarah's personal favorite. If you have to explain it, it's just not as funny.

The guy in armor on the right is Alexander the Great. The guy with "censored" across his buttocks is Archimedes. Do you like the little guys with wiggle eyes in the middle? Those are Alexander's 4 generals.

Our timeline has been quite a conversation-starter. Many facets of history (such as creation) are simply not mentioned in the public schools here, so kids who come over are understandably curious. Not only has this course helped our family to put Biblical history in its place with the history of the ancient world, but it’s been a great way to share with our neighbors.

What’s next? Volume II! But I’ve promised the kids that we’ll be finishing it in a year! Absolutely!!!

Here’s a question for you: Do you ever struggle with finishing what you start?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Autumn - Otoño

Fall is really my favorite season. The smells and the feelings, more than the sights and sounds, evoke memories from my childhood -- freshly turned soil, burning leaves, chilly morning air, heavy fog. In Oregon, I savored the turning leaves in red, orange and yellow. Here in Sinaloa, fall brings the vibrant rainbow colors of bougainvillea and the bright green of corn, milo and wheat fields. Autumn in Oregon brought mornings of dense fog which sometimes didn't burn off till midday. Foggy mornings are part of autumn here, too.

Long-sleeved shirt, warm socks, hot coffee.

I do love autumn.

Here are some "Autumn in Sinaloa" photos. Enjoy!
Maria nibbles grapes at our friends' house in Tamazula.

My $1 pumpkin -- found at Wal-Mart. Pumpkins sell here before Halloween for about $2 per pound. I got mine for $.10 per kilo. Goooooooooooal! I see pumpkin swirled cheesecake in the near future.

Ramon arrives to deliver milk in the morning.

Making fresh butter.

Freshly baked apple coffee cake -- made, with love, by Seth.

Feliz otoño a todos!
Happy autumn, everyone!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Time Flies Like an Arrow...

...Fruit flies like a banana.

Today marks 4 years of banging my head against a wall blogging. To celebrate, I baked a cake!

In years past, I've hosted a "Round TUIT round-up" to commemorate my blogoversary, but this year...I didn't get around to it. Such is life on the beach!

We've been building a fellowship center, going on mission trips, planning a Bible school and getting ready for mission teams -- in addition to schoolwork, housework and laundry. A cake seemed much more accessible than a blog carnival!

I used the basic recipe for THE Chocoflan and crossed it with an amazing Crimson and Cream cake I saw somewhere -- memory fails. I had something in mind when I started this project.

I must say, this wasn't it.From the very moment that the pristine, white cream cheese mixture touched the creamy red cake mixture, I knew I had a problem. Note to self : Red food coloring is very invasive!!!

The kids' #1 comment: "Wow. That's red." #2: "Mom, why is it red?" #3: "Is it supposed to be that red."

It's a Red Velvet cake. Yes, it's supposed to be red.

So, I wiped ideas of "Crimson and Cream" from my mind and replaced them with thoughts of "Burgundy and Rose".

Everything baked according to plan.

But when it came out of the oven, I got ahead of myself.
I was a bit over-anxious when lifting the pan off the top and...sigh. Some days are cake-baking days. Some days are just NOT.

You can tell by the photo, though, that the top of the cake wasn't wasted. In the time it took me to grab my camera and shoot a couple of rounds, the mistake was eaten. Verdict: Red is good.

I put the cake in the fridge to chill for 24 hours.

Now here we are, all chilled and ready to turn onto the very-beautiful-cake-stand.
And here we are...

Happy blog-o-versary to me! Whipped cream covers a multitude of faults!!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Life is Back to Normal

My house is loud again!

Doug and the boys arrived home from their mission trip to Quimichis, Nayarit, México, last night. They were glad to be home and we were glad to have them home!

I think that they grew. Caleb says he doesn't believe that's possible in only 5 days, but I don't know. I was starting to feel tall while they were gone (Andrew and Evie are still a bit shorter than I), but now I'm reminded how short I am! lol

Today being a national holiday, día de los angelitos, the guys won't be working on the construction project. Instead, I'm giving the kids extra chores...mwa hahaha! Doug and I will be heading to Los Mochis in a little while to pick up lumber (pray that they have what we need!!!) and have a "date". oooOOOooo Yes, almost twenty years of marriage, and we still date.

Speaking of anniversaries, my 4th blog-o-versary is coming up in just a couple of days. I think I'll bake something wondrous and invite my friends over to help me eat it. :^) You're all invited!!!

Any suggestions of what I should make???