Kids in the Kitchen


Play is a child’s work. And work is child’s play. This is illustrated so well in the kitchen! Children enjoy helping with putting cans away, chopping vegetables, setting the table, and stirring up a batch of cookies. Through imitation they learn from cause to effect, how to measure and count, sequencing, how to read a recipe, and much, much more. Instead of discouraging them by scooting them off to a toy kitchen or to make mud pies in the back yard, enjoying their help in the kitchen can create countless memories and provide them with a wealth of learning experiences.

Children who practice food experiences with their parents, starting at a young age, learn the benefits of a healthy, nutritious diet. It is a well known fact that if kids get to help prepare a recipe in the kitchen they are generally willing to taste and enjoy the end result. The kitchen experience can help them explore new tastes, textures, and nutrients. Additionally, children will achieve a sense of belonging as they contribute to family mealtimes. A sense of accomplishment will result. Quality time between parent and child happens naturally when time is spent experimenting and preparing healthy foods in the home kitchen!

Cooking is a skill that your children will use for the rest of their lives. If children learn to eat healthy as kids, they are more likely to eat healthfully as adults. Skill in the kitchen gives children self-confidence and a willingness to try new things. These kids will be less likely to be swayed by peer pressure, and as teens will enjoy spending time in the kitchen as an avenue to avoid boredom. Enjoy sharing times together as your youngsters help you in the kitchen.


Recipe for Homeschool Teaching


It is the season of thankfulness, and a good time to stop to appreciate the opportunity we have to homeschool our children. It is a blessing that we should never take for granted. Children are a heritage of the Lord and they are precious treasures. It is a parents privilege to be able to educate their kids.

It seems timely to review the core “recipe” for homeschooling. I have always appreciated the one by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, early advocates of home education. Here’s their recipe for home-school teaching:

“The requirements are not complex. Parents need only to be loving, responsive, and reasonably consistent, and salt these qualities with a little imagination, common sense, and willingness to follow a few simple suggestions…And don’t worry about the opinions of neighbors who don’t know or care about the real needs of children. Just be kind to them. Have your children be helpful in your home and in the neighborhood. Visit the old and infirm and ill. Do favors for others without asking any in return. Soon your ‘strange antics’ will be forgotten…or admired.”

They remind us that:

“In one sense you are teaching all your waking moments — as models to your offspring. Yet while some parents are more diligent than others, none need to formally teach a full school day.”

And continue with this:

“Much more important is your working with your children in physical work, helping them learn practical skills and the nobility of work — building character qualities of initiative, industry, neatness, order, responsibility, and dependability, which are hard to find in even one of ten children or young adults today.”

And there’s more!

“Along with these grosser values you can by precept and example teach manners and graces which today are rare — kindness, thoughtfulness, tact, forgiveness, generosity, and a just plain kind of for-others love. This is seldom done in schools these days. Teach therm how to walk tall, how to listen closely, how to speak graciously. Paul was not gesturing idly when he wrote Philippians 4:8, ‘Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;…think on these things.'”

Using the Moore Formula of work, study, and service, children have been found to excel academically and socially. For more on this subject, it’s recommended that you establish your foundation and philosophy for homeschooling by reading several of the books Raymond and Dorothy Moore have written on homeschooling. Most are available on

The quotes above are from the book “Home-Spun Schools” page 12 – 13.

A Relaxed Approach to Homeschooling

When I first began homeschooling, I was obsessed with box curriculums and heavy academics. My daughter was in first grade and I was so afraid of doing a terrible job. I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to keep up with the public and private school kids. I tried cramming knowledge into her head. She cried. I cried. My husband was frustrated with the war zone he walked into everyday and I began to question why. Why is this better than just sending her off to school? Why do other moms make homeschool look so easy? Why do they have such obedient children? What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my child?

We kept this up all the way through second grade. We were all miserable and the bus was looking more and more like a better option. As a last ditch effort, I decided to try a more relaxed approach like many moms had counseled me to try. I shelved the curriculum and went for a free style approach. I started by asking Riley what she wanted to learn about. That’s easy. Horses! So, we bought some unit studies on horses. Then I cut a deal with her. I will let you learn as much as you want about horses, but you have to commit to reading your Bible and doing your math lessons daily. Deal!

Now here we are almost a year and a half later. She’s jumping horses, doing volunteer work on a farm, drawing amazing pictures of horses, devouring books on horses at an alarming rate, and has big plans to become a veterinarian. She’s also a lot more compliant when I ask her to do “school” work. I have used her love of horses and animals to reshape the way our homeschool runs. All of our subjects now include an animal theme and we are all very happy! I am sure if I compared her to an average fourth grader now she would have deficits and she would have strengths. I am also sure that if I compared two children in the same public or private school classroom they would have deficits and strengths. I’ve put less emphasis on her learning the same things as everyone else at the same time everyone else is learning them, and more emphasis on creating a love of learning in her.


Jesse Tree – Day 5 – 8

Is your family having fun starting to create their own Jesse Tree? In my previous Jesse Tree post I introduced you to the concept of the Jesse Tree and the first four Devotional Readings and ornaments you can make for the Jesse Tree. In this post I will share with you the next four ornaments and family worship readings.


Abram, lives in Ur, and the very God of the universe, makes Himself known to Abram there in Ur. He hands Abram no map. He just tells him to go to a land that He’ll show Abram. Would you go? There’s only mention of getting a glimpse of the land, no mention of actually getting it. While He’s there, God tells Abram he will be the father of a great nation — even though he and his wife Sarai are now too old to have children and they don’t have even one child! Would you believe? That Abram would one day have as many descendants as the stars in the sky. But Abram of Ur believes without hesitation in the God who doesn’t make mistakes, the God who can make a man out of the dust of the ground. And when God said that, through Abram, He would bless all the families of the world, God was talking about you, me, all the families on this rotating globe right now. God was talking about our Christmas gift right there and Abram believed the unimaginable, that through his promised family, God would send the crowning blessing of all the earth, that Jesus, that blessing God promised right from the beginning, that baby as small as a seed who would one day crush Satan and free us from the disease of sin. By faith, we believe! The Lord God’s about to appear to us.

Genesis 12:1-7 (NIV)

1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2,3 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing……… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”



The promise-keeping God who lets no word of His fall to the ground forgotten, He does everything in perfect time, and He sends a son to Abraham and Sarah, the couple renamed father and mother of many nations, just as He promised. And they name him exactly what God tells them: Isaac, laughter. for who would have thought that God would make this improbable impossible happen too and they laugh for joy. That God would send a promised child, a King, to be born in a barn feed trough! That He would crush Satan by laying out His own hand for a nail! That the Babe born under a star in Bethlehem would make us laugh wonder at amazing grace made into flesh and forever love that sets us free! God has made us the happiest people, and all the world sings at Christmas.

Gen 21: 5-7

5 Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born. 6 And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. 7 No one thought that I would be able to have Abraham’s child, but even though Abraham is old I have given him a son.”



“Take your only son,” says God. “Take your Isaac, the only true son of yours, the son whom you love, and do you love me more?” says the God who did not take but gave the Greatest Gift of His Son, His only begotten Son, the Son whom He loved. And again, Abraham, who left his country without a map but with a heart directed towards God, he rises first thing the next morning and, without hesitation, he heads towards Moriah. And Isaac carries the wood, like Jesus would one day carry the Cross, and the son lies down on the altar, the boy named laughter now still, and again God keeps His word and God provides a lamb. Isn’t that the gift we always need? The promised Christmas Child who is the lamb sacrificed instead of us .Ours is the God who always provides a ram in the thicket, whatever we need today,whatever is best for us, that even today the people might say, “The Father who tenderly loves His children provides us with grace upon grace,love upon love, gift upon extravagant gift.” Even His own Son.

Gen 22;12, 13

12 The angel said, “Don’t kill your son or hurt him in any way. Now I can see that you trust God and that you have not kept your son, your only son, from me.” 13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a male sheep caught in a bush by its horns. So Abraham went and took the sheep and killed it. He offered it as a whole burnt offering to God, and his son was saved.




‘Tis the season to be going! Banquets and reunions, concerts , caroling and parties. The calendar squares nearly bulge with dates and times, people and places, and yet we read of a man, Jacob, running from home who slept on a stone and had a dream from God. Jacob saw a ladder, and Jesus, that Christmas Child coming to us, He alone is our ladder and we have no way to heaven but by the rungs of Christ. And God, He whispers to us this best gift of all: “I am with you and will protect you everywhere you go…. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” God is with us in this season of coming and going and God is with us in these places, though we know it not, at our tables and in our cars and down our street and in the unlikely, unexpected places, even in a place like the manger of a barn and we meet God today in a thousand places.

Gen 28: 12-16

12 Jacob dreamed that there was a ladder resting on the earth and reaching up into heaven,and he saw angels of God going up and coming down the ladder. 13 Then Jacob saw the Lord standing above the ladder, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your grandfather, and the God of Isaac…..and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. 15 I am with you and will protect you everywhere you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”16 Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, but I did not know it.”


Days 1-4
Days 5-8
Days 9-12
Days 13-16

I hope you enjoy making the next four ornaments for your Jesse Tree.



Encourage with Faith, Hope, & Love


One of my favorite authors is Anne Ortlund.  In addition to her book, Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, she has written an excellent book titled Children Are Wet Cement.  In it she outlines gentle guidelines for parenting.   She encourages parents to help children experience life to the fullest, using all their senses to learn as they grow into beautiful adults.

“So what do we do to encourage them to grow inwardly, to become resourceful and creative, to think, to meditate, to lay the foundation for growing up well? Don’t push, but affirm them! Give them the sense that all is well, that their rate of progress is acceptable to you, that you like them just the way they are…..Guide them but be delighted in them. Let them know that life is to be reached for and drunk of deeply…..Enthusiastic, that’s how you want them to grow up! The word comes from ‘en Theo,’ or ‘n God.’ Support them with words of faith, hope, and love, and in that framework ‘in God,’ they’ll be ready to tackle everything. Fears and cautions are built in at an early age but so is courage! Tomorrow’s world will be different if your child has been released to experiment, to risk, to lead others, to pursue righteousness, to be an effector for good in society, to go courageously after God.”

Children Are Wet Cement, Anne Ortlund