Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hamburger Cabbage Stir- Fry

Hamburger Cabbage Stir-Fry
Over the past three weeks, I've started cooking, baking and eating "cleaner" and healthier! I'm helping our family make a gradual lifestyle change so that our plan sticks and isn't just a phase. Indeed, we love "Paula Deen" kind of recipes, so it's been a challenge but we are all embracing it!

Sadly, I'm the one in our family working hardest at "cleaning" up my lifestyle and I've lost the least pounds (4). Josiah has lost 12 and Rob has lost 9 pounds. Now mind you, I didn't start this plan with the intention of dropping a huge amount of weight (although I have it to lose), I just wanted to feel better and healthier, but you know how it head thinks, "If I'm eating this many fruits and vegetables, I should be dropping pounds!"

Click on the recipe name (Hamburger Cabbage Stir-Fry) for a printer friendly copy of this recipe that we gave a HEALTHY TWO THUMBS UP! If you have any recipes or other ideas on "cleaning up," I'd love to hear them!

That's all the BUZZ in our house!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Make Learning POP!

I always strive to keep learning fresh and fun!  So, this week we mixed up our spelling review time with a POP! However, this fun activity could also be used for other basic test review (Bible, Science, Social Studies, etc..).  

Supply List: 

  • small latex balloons  (Suggestion: Use different colors for different kids or different lists (if you plan to use this in the classroom)
  • small pieces of paper (one for each spelling word or review question)
  • sharp object to POP the balloons (Suggestion:  sharp pencil, safety pin, needle, etc...) 
  • black Sharpie marker to number the balloons
  • master list (of the words or questions that will correspond with the clue inside the balloon)
  • Optional:  some small candies like Smarties, Skittles, or M & M s (if you want to reward your kiddos for getting the word or question right-- popping the balloon was good enough for Josiah!)


I wrote each of Josiah's spelling words on a small slip of scrap paper, folded it, and squeezed them into a balloon.  Then we both blew up the balloons, since we both had a lot of hot air to waste!!! 

Remember to number your balloons to correspond with your "master list" so that you know which words are inside. The video reveals the comedic mistake we made doing this!

We hope our idea and video inspires you to creatively mix up your homeschooling or classroom learning during what might be some long, cold, and "boring" days in January.   It only takes a bit of pre-planning, but very little, if you recruit your kiddos to help blow up the balloons.  

Extending Ideas: 
  • Chore List 
  • Brain Breaks
  • Play Date Activities
  • Blizzard Blowout Activities
  • Bible Verse Review 
  • throw darts at the balloons (Josiah's idea-- not mine, ha, ha)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank you, Veterans!

Veterans Day is one of the most important holidays we celebrate in our home!

Both of our dads, many uncles and a host of cousins and friends are beloved US veterans. Words cannot even begin to express how grateful we are to those that lay down their lives for our freedom. Thank you!

Josiah and I have been studying the grim topics of WWII and the Holocaust recently, so this Veterans Day he has a deeper understanding of the enormity of the sacrifices that were made throughout history and those that still are being made everyday.

Please watch the video with a message from Josiah about some reflections he shared about Veterans Day today.  (Note:  He makes a special request to share some information and he is excited to hear from you!)

Saying "thank you" seems too simple and trivial for all that Veterans have done and still do, but we truly mean it and honor you today!  Please take time to remember, thank and pray for our Veterans and current servicemen and women serving in all the Armed Forces throughout the world.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Editable Home School Checklist

Both Josiah and I like using a checklist to keep track of his tasks and assignments throughout our homeschooling day.  I found it helps keeps us more organized, focused and minimizes "nagging" (me) & "attitude" (Josiah).  :)

I created the checklists in PowerPoint with editable text boxes so you can format them to fit your family's and/or each child's individual needs. All the checklists are essentially the same except for the cute clip art in the corner.  

I'd love to hear if you found them helpful or have suggestions to make them better.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Becoming Becky...

I've gotten several questions inquiring why I decided to leave classroom teaching when I seemed to love it so much. Here's my vulnerable answer...

For three years, the focus of our family's life was my teaching career.  Although I taught at wonderful, private, Christian school, I confess I didn't balance home and work, at all, not even slightly!!!  I LOVE teaching (and feel it's my God-given talent) so it was easy for me to pour my heart and soul into my "classroom".  I taught 1st grade my "first" year back and 2nd grade for two consecutive years.

During my teaching tenure, Rob and Josiah were EXTREMELY supportive.  They both (and many others) went above and beyond to show their support for me and my lofty classroom endeavors.  I can't even begin to relate how patient Rob & Josiah were!

Josiah would go to school early and stay late.  Because of my drive and focus, he didn't have the opportunity to join in extra curricular activities or enjoy friendships and play dates outside of the walls of school.   Rob took over most of the parenting duties and all of the cooking duties, as well.  After working 10-12 hours at his full time job everyday (4am-??), he would immediately come to school and be my "helper" the rest of my school day.  Both Rob and Josiah stayed to help me clean up, correct some papers and help prepare for the following day.  We'd arrive home around 5pm and I would nap until Rob waked me up for supper. Then, I would be with Rob and Josiah until they would go to bed and I would continue correcting papers, preparing lessons, etc... until quite often, 2-3 am. On the weekends, they helped me drag everything home and I would work nearly non-stop until Monday morning.

I literally became a workaholic and because I was doing the Lord's work, I convinced myself, everything was a-okay. I thrived on my students enjoying school so much that they were sad when the school day ended.  I was motivated when parents spoke words of affirmation.  I loved helping other teachers find joy in teaching.

Unfortunately, Josiah and Rob were often left begging for my attention and affection.  They grew weary when I'd half haphazardly spend time with them or break yet another promise of "not working" as hard this weekend. There was always another activity, unit, email or classroom Facebook post that "required" my attention. Gradually our family's happiness seeped into a quiet puddle. Not only that, but I completely abandoned friendships, as well.

You are probably expecting I had a nervous breakdown or that some huge turning point or catastrophic event caused me to reevaluate my priorities.  Thank goodness God spared me, our marriage, and my family from such a life-altering event.  Rather, I slowly realized my selfishness and became emotionally and physically tired of the insane pace I was keeping.

Although I knew God and my family wanted AND needed me to resign from my teaching position, doing so was agonizing for me.  As I worked through the decision to quit, I was forced to slow down and examine the current state of my life.  I became uncomfortable in my own skin because I found the real Becky was hiding behind teaching triumphs and trials.  I had lost sight of who I was and was created to be outside of being "Mrs. Thompson".

It may sound strange, but I was apprehensive to quit because I only knew how to be "Mrs. Thompson".  I had forgotten how to be "Becky".  I was overwhelmed by the facades I needed to crumble and baggage I needed unpack to find who I really was.  But, at the same time, I was also sad that I worked so hard to become a wife and mom, yet I wasn't taking time to actually enjoy being one.

As our family considered me quitting, we quickly realized our family was meant to home school for this season of Josiah's life.  Home schooling is allowing us to reconnect as a FAMILY.  We can spend oodles of QUALITY time together and Rob and I finally feel like we are raising our son, TOGETHER!  Of course, I am not only able to enjoy being a mom, but also I can still be a teacher.  I love investing my time and talent into Josiah and ONLY Josiah (instead of putting him and his needs & wants on the back burner)!  Rob and Josiah are overjoyed that the kitchen is once again my domain. We are thriving on having a slower more meaningful pace of life.

Best of all, I am slowly becoming Becky...

Friday, September 4, 2015

Day 1 & "Classroom" Tour

Josiah's official 1st day of 5th grade was on September 2, 2015.  

In typical Josiah and Becky fashion, we started our school day "late" in the day vs. early.  We started at 11:45 am.  Now for you naysayers and Type A personalities, no worries, we will be starting a normal school schedule after Labor Day.  But for this week, I followed the advice of other home schooling moms and we've enjoyed half days to get us back into the groove of learning.

We had a super, first day together!  We both set academic and personal goals, enjoyed devotional time outside under our big maple tree, saw a hummingbird at our bird feeder, created a prayer bucket, took Max for a walk (PE), played a math game together and I taught Josiah the ins and outs of interactive notebooks (or also sometimes called lap booking or note booking).   Overall, we spent 4.5 hours learning, which included math, vocabulary, grammar and writing.  

Queue the highlight reel-- Josiah will share a bit more about our home school room and his first day highlights.  If the PLAY button doesn't work, just click here:  Josiah's Home School Room Tour

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pushing "RESET"

After a three year hiatus of not buzzin' on my blog, I'm back!  

In fact, our family is pushing the RESET button. We've decided HOME is where MY heart is!  ALL of us missed me being home, so we are in the midst of refocusing our lives and I am lovin' being a stay at home mom, once again. 

However, I'm not spending my days alone anymore...Josiah is with me and as of yesterday, we departed on our HOMESCHOOL adventure!  

So, stay tuned and follow our blog if you'd like to walk alongside us as we venture out into the great unknowns of homeschooling and "tween"hood! :)