Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spring Dance Recital

Kiddos helping Daddy find a seat and posing before Rachel heads to the dressing room.

Check out all the sparkles...  she's glowing!

Posing with Miss Tori - a good friend from church!

All the little cuties lining up to enter the auditorium.

Ballet Beauties!

Working the stage... love that face.

Tap music will start soon.

Rachel is on her "X" - all the girls kept a close eye on their spots.

All smiles.

Check out the gloves.

Do you love me?  Oh yes, precious one! 

Rachel, we are so very proud of you.  Wow - you've come such a long way!  Love you always.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Third Thursday Thought - Chicken Casserole

I'm really out of my comfort zone blogging tonight.  As a Hearts at Home Blogger, I'm chiming in on Third Thursday Thoughts.  The question to be answered is "What is your favorite homemade dish?"  Hahaha - there aren't too many homemade dishes at my house - well at least not by me!  Admittedly, I'm a pretty lousy cook.  More often than not, my hubby handles the main dish.  If I'm in charge, most likely, it is coming out of a box.  I don't what to say other than I think the culinary gene completely bypassed me. 

So... I don't exactly have a stellar arsenal of recipes to draw from.  Honestly, if I'm cooking... it's probably more like arsenic :(  However, I recall right after we came home from the hospital with an infant Caleb, my mother-in-law stocked our kitchen with all kinds of goodies.  She also came with a Chicken Casserole in hand.  It was so yummy, and I later learned easy enough for me to make.  I've actually made it on many occasions. 

This dish was one of the few ways I could sneak some meat into Jeremiah after coming home from Ethiopia.  In fact, he loves it so much!  He tells me it is the favorite thing I cook.  He even asked me to make it for his birthday.  Now, every time we have eaten it since, he is quick to point out that it was his birthday meal.  It's so sweet.  If it brings a smile to his face, maybe it will to you as well.  It is a hit in our family because it is one of the few things that all 5 of us will eat.  Enjoy!


2 (13 ounce) cans chicken breast, drain off water or broth, reserving some to thin the sauce. Or you can cook 4 chicken breasts and chop them.

1 box long grain and wild rice, cooked according to package

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I always add more! Can never be too cheesy!!!)

corn flakes, crushed

1/3 cup butter, melted

Place cooked rice in bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with cooked chicken, spread evenly over rice.
Combine soup, sour cream and cheese. Add a little broth or water to thin slightly, so it's not too thick to spread over the chicken and rice. Combine crushed corn flakes and melted butter, then place over the soup and cheese layer. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Can be made ahead and refrigerated until time to bake. Bake for 1 hour if it has been refrigerated.

Dress Rehearsal

Miss Rachel got all dolled up in her dance costumes for dress rehearsal.  She loves the BIG stage and having an audience.  We're all looking forward to her Saturday performance.  (I'll have better lighting & pics then!)

Little Swimmers

The kids have been participating in our local YMCA's HYPE program all year long.  Each Thursday afternoon, they spend a couple hours with other homeschool children swimming, learning a sport, and participating in a fitness class.  The kids have enjoyed these activities so much - especially swimming. 
Jeremiah and Rachel are so much more comfortable in the water.  They can float alone and Jeremiah can swim short distances unassisted.  Rachel hasn't been brave enough to try it on her own yet.  A few weeks ago, Caleb passed a swim test, so now he's been able to spend some time in what he calls the "very, very, VERY deep 10 foot water."

Next week will be the last HYPE of the year, and it will be more of a party/field day event.  So, I finally remembered to bring the camera for the last regular class of the year.  Enjoy pics of my little swimmers!
 Caleb and his teacher taking a swim in the deep end before everyone else arrived.
 Waiting for their YMCA friends and class to begin
 Jeremiah's making a splash!
My littlest cutie in the pool!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Free to Live - RECAP

A week ago, I was at Southeast Christian Church completing early registration for Summit VII and attending the Free To Live Tour.  I was blessed to have my BFF Jane with me.  It was great to have the road time to and from to chat and catch up with one another.  I was also able to meet up with Kristin - a special member of our AWAA family.  Why so special?  She met and loved on our Ethiopian cuties before we ever did, because her family delivered care packages for us.  It was wonderful to hug her neck in person, and I'm ecstatic to know that within a few weeks she will be relocating to Lexington.  I look forward to getting our whole families together!

I was so blessed by the Free to Live TourThe Desperation Band and Meredith Andrews led us in worship, sang songs exposing their compassionate and voracious hearts for the vulnerable and oppressed, and spoke with conviction and power.  (Let me just say... I was particularly blessed by Meredith Andrews.  She is an itty, bitty, little thing, but oh my - she can flat out wail!  That girl is anointed and what an incredible heart!) Tom Davis, presented some harsh realities and statistics using a few objects to help the info really stick.  He challenged us to respond as the church.  He also had a special guest in attendance.  With the help of a translator (aka - his daughter), Tom interviewed Sasha, a young woman who had a difficult child, grew up in a Russian orphanage, and reached out to Children's Hope Chest in her teens.  It was so uplifting to see the change in her life and the desire of her heart to speak to others so that young girls won't have to endure what she did.

Finally, each member of the audience was asked to pick up the marker/tagboard at their seats and create an I AM statement.  Another object lesson, a moment to stick out in our minds...  When all the cards were held up high, Tom Davis read "I AM JUSTICE!"  "I AM MERCY." "I AM HOPE." "I AM KIND."  and on and on.  My response... "I AM BROKEN..."  and because I have a hard time following the rules and was always annoyed my word count limits I added "... by what BREAKS the heart of GOD!"

I started out SUMMIT VII with the phrase "I AM BROKEN" but I finished with "I AM WRECKED!"  Yes, I know it has been a week, but seriously, I'm still processing all that I saw, heard, learned, and felt.  God is doing a number on my heart that is for sure.  Let's just say, I came home trying to sell my hubby on a larger vehicle and house, or at least, some modifications that can be done to our existing home :-)  More to follow...

FIAR: Night of the Moonjellies

For our last Five In A Row co-op of the year, Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha was the book of choice.  Instead of our normal meeting place, we gathered in a home for our end-of-the-year session.  Unfortunately, the weather was less than May-like.  Cold and rainy and kiddos in long-sleeves and jackets.  Not the run and play outside conditions we were for which we were hoping, but Kathy adapted well.  We painted in the garage, played restaurant in the kitchen, and read/watched a video in the family room.  The kids couldn't tell that we had deviated from the original plans at all.

What kid doesn't love to paint?  (Insert Mommy guilt - I don't like the mess, so I'm not usually one to suggest this activity at home.  I need to work on this!)  My three were very excited to paint replicas of the book cover.  They worked hard to create a horizon line on which to paint their boats.  Their favorite part was using glow-in-the-dark paint to add moonjellies to their nautical scene.  Very cool!

Once most paint traces were no longer evident, we created some newspaper hats - perfect for the restaurant business to come.  We headed inside - did I mention that Ms. Kathy is a brave woman?  I mean really - who wants that many little yahoos in the house?  Following the reading of the story, we were off to the kitchen.  Due to a wee bit of organized chaos, I didn't snap any pictures of the restaurant operation.  Each child was assigned a specific job, and they serves the adults first.  I'm so proud of my lil' workers... Jeremiah placed individual cubes of ice in every cup - yes, he touched them all one-by-one.  (Thank goodness I supervised the prior hand-washing!)  Caleb cheerfully doled out fruit, and most of the time he remembered to use the serving spoon.  Rachel's duty was a bit more laborious.  She opened all the hotdog buns - unfortunately, not all them remained intact, but she did a great job.

After bellies big and small were sufficiently full, back inside to learn more about moonjellies.  The kiddos had time to play.   Just when we feared that the house might get trashed and demolished beyond repair by the Kool-aid, chocolate chip cookie hyped up kiddos, we moved outside to pose for our end of the year picture.  The kids have really enjoyed the FIAR activities and getting to know the other kids.  We look forward to September when our co-op resumes to complete Volume 1 and move into Volume 2.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chocolate Challenge DNG - Review

Chocolate - delectable, delicious, divine, yummy, extraordinary...  and educational???  With Amanda Bennett, it is nothing less!  Only this fabulous homeschooling mom could indulge other mommies deep-seeded craving for luscious learning.  Just looking at the Chocolate Challenge DNG cover awakened my palette!  As far as a challenge, the only way I see it - Mom's you might have to work hard not to gain 10 lbs. to accompany your family's wealth of new knowledge!

If you are unfamiliar with Download N Go's, you will be happy to know the Chocolate Challenge is complete.  Simply download, grab your kiddos, fire up the computer, have some basic writing supplies handy, and get going!  All of the research, legwork, prepping, and planning has been attended to.  Mom, simply set yourself to facilitate and guide your children through this unit.  Honestly, you are going to learn a lot too!

This study is cross-curricular.  There are history, geography, science, math, language arts, Bible, fine arts, home economic, and family fun activities.  Interactive websites, embedded videos, vibrant graphics, quality activity pages, recommended resources, and lapbooking aide in your acquiescence of knowledge and understanding.

Check out an overview of the week and sample activity pages below.
Day 1: Chocolate - What is it?
Day 2: Chocolate - The Story
Day 3: Chocolate - The Types of Chocolate
Day 4: Chocolate - The Science of Chocolate
Day 5: Chocolate - Have a Chocolate Party!

Highlights of the week for my little ones included chocolate math.  What better way to get a 4,5, and 6 year old counting and completing simple addition?  These books and the yummy chocolate treats were definite catalysts to learning.
The M and M's Brand Counting Book The Hershey's Kisses Addition Book
The kids also enjoyed their virtual trip to Brazil.  There were so many exciting sights to see and experience.  It's a beautiful country!  Finally, the Chocolate Challenge DNG has the kiddos re-thinking their chosen future professions.  Yes, policemen, firemen, veterinarians, and dance teachers are wonderful, but chocolatiers?  Now, that is a job they really seem to think they could enjoy.  Not going to lie... I see some perks (as well as tipping scales)! 

Chocolate Challenge was really fun.  It's a great way to wind down the school year or a special treat to share with your family over summer break.  Only $7.95, and you are ready to Download-N-Go.  What are you waiting for?  Not ready to take this chocolate connoisseur's  word?  Then, read what other homeschool moms are saying...  Although, it's a study on chocolate - they are all raving!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

SSMT #10

May 15th brings my 10th verse to commit to memory this year.  I've hidden some precious words from THE WORD in my heart thus far and only plan to continue strong.  My choice to memorize in the upcoming weeks comes from the Old Testament book of Micah, Chapter 6, Verse 8.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

After an incredible couple days at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit VII, I believe this verse is rather fitting.  In the context of the plight of the orphan, what does the Lord require?  In my search for justice, may I not lose sight of love and mercy.  May I be ever mindful that nothing will occur by my might!  It is God and God Alone!!!  He is the Defender of the weak and the Father to the fatherless.  I will walk humbly beside Him... willing to be His hands and feet - forever sharing His heart!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Saturday Plans For You

Saturday will be here soon.  Are you staring at an empty square on your calendar and wondering what to do?  If you are in driving distance of Louisville, KY, I have a recommendation for you.  Why not join us at an America World "Adopted By Design" Seminar???  We'll be at Fern Creek Christian Church from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  All the details and directions are HERE

This freebie event is a great starting place if you have general questions about the international adoption process.  Already confirmed that God is calling you to walk this path?  Then, come chat with families who have been there and done that! 

A special bonus of this seminar is that some members of the corporate staff will be in attendance.  Get to know those who have dedicated themselves to adoption ministry and uniting families.  I know I'm excited to finally be able to attach faces to the names I've known for so long.

The Wells family hopes to see you Saturday morning!  Shoot me an email if you have any questions.


Wednesday, May 11th - I'm going to be at the FREE TO LIVE TOUR... are you?  If it is coming to a city near you, why wouldn't you go?  It's FREE!  The Desperation Band, Meredith Andrews, and Tom Davis are partnering to bring a night of worship, compassion, and a call to action.  We are free...  many are not, but THEY COULD BE!  What are you and I going to do about it? 

“Bringing freedom to orphans trapped by poverty and sex slavery is the challenge of this generation,” says Tom Davis, CEO of Children's HopeChest. “The church has unique resources to share with the 163 million children who are living as orphans today. Those resources bring freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from abuse and violence, and freedom to live as true sons and daughters of their true Father.”

May 11, 2011Louisville, KYInformation and Tickets
May 12, 2011Decatur, (Atlanta) GAInformation and Tickets
May 13, 2011Weddington, (Charlotte) NCInformation and Tickets
May 14, 2011Madison, (Huntsville) ALInformation and Tickets
May 15, 2011Alabaster, (Birmingham) ALInformation and Tickets

Big Prayers - Little Girl

Part of Rachel's Saturday night..."I love my Jesus. I grow, grow, grow and go up to Jesus house and not fall out!"  Oh, how I love this little girl!

When we came home from Ethiopia over a year ago, we taught Jeremiah and Rachel to pray call-and-response style.  Honestly, it really wasn't much different from Caleb's first prayers.  Then, over time, the prayers became their own thoughts.  Mostly, they would thank God for the members of our family. 

It has been such a blessing to hear all three of my children pray autonomously.  You can learn so much from the prayers of little ones.  Caleb prays a lot of prayers of affirmation and adoration.  He recognizes God as Almighty, All-Powerful, and Creator of All Things.  Jeremiah prays with excitement and anticipation.  He prays believing that God can and will do the things he asks.  Often, Rachel's prayers still sound like a recap of her day, but what I like most is the ownership and possessiveness in her prayers.  I love MY Mommy - not just Mommy.  Best of all, I love MY Jesus.  She realizes that while she may not see Jesus - He is her Jesus.  She understands that HE not only loves all the little children of the world.  He LOVES her!  At Easter, she would get sad at prayer time...  I not want My Jesus die on cross.  I'd have to assure her that HER Jesus loved HER enough to do that very thing, but "Hallelujah, HE'S RISEN."

I think you and I could learn a lot from my little girl's big prayers.  I don't just love some historical figure named Jesus.  I love MY Jesus.  I have a personal relationship with My Jesus.  He is My Savior!  

Friday, May 6, 2011

Where A Kid Can Be A KID

We visited the mouse today.  Oh no, not THE MOUSE, but my kiddos know all about Mickey.  They are very excited to someday see him.  Not sure when exactly that someday will be, but a trip to Disney will take place in the future.  No, we visited Chuck E. Cheese!  He is a mouse, right?  Let's hope he is not a rat hanging out at a restaurant.  EWWW - YUCK!
This outing marked Jeremiah and Rachel's first trip to "Where a Kid Can Be a Kid!"  That just goes to show how becoming a family of 5 automatically makes you more frugal.  Did I mention we chose to eat somewhere else beforehand and only play games at C. E. C.'s?  Oh yeah, and we had a coupon to get extra tokens free! 

Anyway, this spot had once been a frequent source of entertainment for Caleb.  However, in the 15 months we've been home from Ethiopia, we have not visited once. Time for the deprivation to end.  The kids all had a great time, and Jeremiah and Rachel took to the arcade games and kiddie rides with ease.  They laughed, giggled, and had lots of fun.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Take This Show on the Road

The Kingdom Kids Bell Choir has performed multiple times for the Graefenburg Christian Church congregation, but it was decided it was time to take the show on the road.  Dismissing our usual Wednesday night Bible Study, our Wednesday night crowd convened at Ashwood Place - a local assisted living complex.  The kids entertained the residents by playing a couple songs from their repertoire.  Actually, due to some technical difficulties, they even ended up playing an encore of Jesus Loves Me.  The kids did a wonderful job and brightened the evening of some sweet people, and Jon closed out with a brief devotion.

Following a performance well-done, the youth budget sprung for an ice cream treat.  By the pictures, you can see it was quite enjoyable.  Well... wearable for certain!  As you can imagine, my three ended up quite sticky in the end.

 Waiting to perform... Is Caleb using his bells as weapons?
Ms. Rita & Ms. Lisa leading the kiddos.



 Look Mom - I'm hanging with the big guys!

Momma's Internal Clock is OFF!

I'm a known planner!  I thrive on color-coding events in my calendar.  In the kitchen, I have not one but 2 large dry erase calendars posted on the wall.  This allows me to to have command of the the month at hand as well as the one to follow.  However, as my hubby suggested, I might need to pay closer attention to these mainstays - fixtures in my life.

Despite the fact that we have participated in a Five In A Row literacy co-op all year long and I KNOW it starts at 10 a.m., my inner Momma clock has recently programmed a 10:30 a.m. start time in my brain.  Two weeks ago, at 10:20 when I was starting to round the kids up, it dawned on me that we should have been at our group at 10 a.m.  Knowing that by the time we would get there we would have missed a third of the session, I opted to appease my littles with an errand run to Wal-Mart and take-out lunch from Long John Silvers.  I hate that we missed The Story of Ping class - my kids really enjoyed the book.  However, I determined not to let this faux pas happen again.

Ha -  I lacked success in that endeavor.  Again, I had 10:30 a.m. on the brain.  It wasn't until we rolled in the parking lot that I realized all the mini-van's were accounted for minus mine.  Ughhhh.... late again!  Oh well.... we were already there, so in we went!  The kids had missed some flower activities and caught only the tail end of The Story of Ferdinand.  My bunch didn't seem to mind or notice their late arrival and jumped right in to play a bumblebee game, complete a geography activity, learn to draw a cow, discuss the 5 senses, and devour snacks.  Their favorite activity was being blindfolded and trying to guess an item using only their sense of smell.  Caleb actually did very well :-)  Hmmm... wonder if we can train his nose to tell time for Mom.  I've got one more shot this year.  Two weeks from now - please let me remember 10 A.M.

The kids gathered around a blind-folded Caleb wondering what Ms. Maria would have him smell.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Curriculum Clean-OUT! WINNERS!!!!


Giveaway #1 - Sonlight P4/5 Guide:  Exploring God's World
Winner - Julie @ julie.en...@.....

Giveaway #2 - Scholastic's Hands-On-History:  Pioneers
Winner - Corina @ Arrows in the Hand

Winners have been emailed! 
Thanks to all those who visited and to the new followers of The Wellspring of Life! 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

SSMT Verse 9

It's May 1st...  time for my Siestas Scripture Memory Team Verse 9.  Beth Moore is such an encourager.  The messages she sends out to her siestas are always so uplifting and refreshing.  I truly appreciate them as well as the motivation to dig in the word and forever write it on my heart. 

For the next two weeks, I have chosen to commit Ephesians 1:5 to memory.  I've read it soooo many times.  Also, I keep a watchful eye on our adoption agency's Ethiopia waiting child list, so I type this scripture verse/password frequently.  I pray for the precious children on the list and ecstatically celebrate when they are removed from the list and headed to their forever homes.

An even greater reason to celebrate.... the incredible message for each of us in this verse. 

In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—