Homeschool and preschool

Letters, counting, Bible stories, baking, art projects… These are things we (and most moms) were doing anyway, but I decided to add a little more structure and novelty by planning some activities and calling it “homeschool.” No, I’m not attempting to teach my kid to read at four, that’s not even developmentally appropriate, but I’m spending some extra time being intentional and planning teachable moments.
I’m talking one hour, one day a week. We’re doing a letter of the day, and I’m planning a few activities related to that letter or a theme.

First day: A
Looked at the letter A
Drew A in salt
Traced A’s on a paper
Colored a picture of A things
Learned A in sign language
Read the book “Amazing Airplanes”
Made paper airplanes
Baked an apple dessert
And because we want to encourage STEM for girls at an early age, we assembled a chair from Ikea. Just kidding, that was just random.

Hannah will be back to preschool at the Baptist church close to us. It will be her third year, and she is full of anticipation. We went to the open house night, and it was fun to find out that one of her teachers is the mom of a boy from her class last year. The classes are arranged by birthdays, and Hannah’s class is June-September with Hannah being the youngest. There are several kids from her class last year and several from her class two years ago. So familiar faces as well as new friends. Her buddy Cody is in a different class again, but they are totally fine with that and usually see each other at playground time.
Preschool is two days a week from 9-2, which seems to be just the right amount for us. Enough to give Hannah some fun social time (and me some quiet time) but not so much that it takes over our schedule. We still need days for dance lessons, MOPS and plenty of playtime around the house.
So that’s what we’re up to “school”-wise this year.
Anyone have fun ideas for First Day teacher gifts?

Grow in His word – Colossians 3:16

My friend Vanessa is hosting a link-up with some of her bloggy friends to encourage personal Bible study. The idea follows the acronym GROW:

G – Greet – Welcome God’s presence into your study with prayer
R – Read – Read the verse a few times, both silently and aloud
O – Observe – Ask yourself what stood out to you while you read the verse
W – Write – Write out the verse, note your observations, and share a prayer for this verse

For my fourth element:


Context: Colossians 3 describes what a Christ-follower’s life should look like. It contrasts the old and new and uses the analogies of put off and put on. Toward the end of these instructions, verse 15 starts “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” and verse 16 follows “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” Peace and the word, ruling and dwelling.

col 3 16 grow

The first line of the verse stood out to me this time.

Let – this word speaks openness to me. It’s not complicated or necessarily requiring much effort. Just stand back and allow it to happen.

the word of Christ – there are many ways God has spoken – prophets, visions, Jesus – but we can access His word any time with the Bible. His word. Isn’t that amazing? It’s there, was there, will always be there. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1 It’s stable and reliable. Jesus is the Word, truth personified.

dwell in you – for His word to dwell in us, we have to know it. And sometimes, after being in “the church” for a while, we can know a lot about His word without letting it dwell in us. We might keep it in our heads or use it to measure where others fall short, but we don’t let it dwell, really live as an active part of us. Memorization makes this easier. As the spirit also dwells in us (James 4:5), He can bring the word to mind. It’s there, hanging out, some of it in a back closet of the brain, but it’s still dwelling.

richly – the Greek word is plousios which means abundantly. We can’t just open the door a crack and let a few things in. “John 3:16 is pretty good, and all the love stuff. Y’all can come in. I think I’ll try to do the rest on my own. Encourage and teach on my own. Between Google and Pinterest, I should come up with some good stuff.” Nope, let the word dwell richly. It’s comfortable, it’s at home, it fills us. Richly. Like a dark chocolate molten lava cake. Mmmmm.

And that’s as far as I’m going to go today. Click over to Hearts on Guard to see the link-up and check out what the others are writing about this verse.

Olive Street highlights

If you’re new to Life on Olive Street, or if you’re like me and could always use a refresher, here are some of my favorite posts from the last two and a half years. Family and fun first, then food. Mmmm, looking back over these is making me hungry.

smashing cookies

Happy Father’s Day – drama!

Nice donkey.

Wild West Fest – miniature donkey and miniature Hannah, the cuteness is off the charts


Violet’s birth story – written by our doula


ginger chicken noodle soup

Ginger chicken noodle soup

verde soup

Chicken verde soup

apple small

Crockpot applesauce


Fancy acorn squash


Brussels sprouts hash


Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin and green bean casserole


Vietnamese noodle bowl


Chicken salad

Last – Five Minute Friday

My first link-up… Crossing my fingers this all works…

Five Minute Friday

Today I’m joining Five Minute Friday, a link-up where hundreds of bloggers write on the same topic and post their links together. Each Friday, a new word is posted, and the challenge is five minutes of writing – unedited, real and flowing.

As an English major, I took a creative writing class in college. We were supposed to write essays each week. Essays? I thought, no sweat. I can crank those out, no problem; I had the formula down. Five paragraphs, thesis statement, blah blah, three points, closing paragraph. But in creative writing class, my products were stiff and formulaic… because that’s exactly what I was doing. I had to let go of the comfort of my five-paragraph form and re-train my brain.

That’s kind of how I feel right now. Wow, five minutes goes fast.

Today’s prompt: Last


After eight months as a “host family” for an international student, we were saying goodbye before she went home to Korea. To mark the occasion, we went out for a sweet treat. Cupcakes!

The last time to see her. It’s hard to make those final moments count. You feel like some significant wisdom should be passed. Significant memories should be made. The last words, the last moments. Must be just right.

But maybe they were. Cupcakes and giggles, then tears and goodbyes. Sprinkles help.

Smothered chicken – a no-recipe recipe

There are lots of things you can serve with chicken, but lately I’ve had fun putting things on chicken. I stick with simple chicken itself, either tossed in flour and pan-cooked in olive oil or seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled. These basic preparations provide a great base.
Then on to the fun part! Smothering. This is where you can be creative with whatever’s in your fridge or at the farmer’s market. Like tomatoes and leeks…
blt chicken
This is a pan-cooked chicken cutlet with a bacon, leek and tomato sauce. I cooked the bacon then took it out, leaving some bacon drippings. Then I sautéed the leeks and tomatoes in the bacony goodness (how to: prepare leeks). With a little bit of butter and a couple table spoons of flour, I made a roux and stirred in a cup of chicken stock. When this thickened, I added the bacon back in, mixed it together and there’s the BLT sauce.

And when life hands you hatch chiles…

green chile chickenThis is a similar process – a no-recipe recipe! I sautéed the mushrooms and green chiles then made a roux and added a cup of chicken stock. I added a dollop of sour cream at the end. Spooned over grilled chicken, tasty!

So the basics:

  • saute chopped veggies
  • make a sauce with a roux and chicken stock
  • serve over simply-prepared chicken

Easy, right? And all “real food” ingredients. No cans or cream of whatever soup. This could be good with all kinds of veggies, peppers and herbs. And of course bacon.

What would be some good combinations to try? Give me some more ideas…

New gig and night away

I teased it a couple months ago, but I’ve got a new gig on our MOPS steering team as social media co-ordinator. I redesigned our website and will be posting regularly on that blog. I will also be the admin for a private Facebook group for our MOPS members to post questions and make connections.

It has been a lot of fun and work getting the website to match what’s in my head. I’ve really enjoyed the graphic design element, and I’m excited to start writing more when the year starts.

We had a steering team retreat this weekend to plan the upcoming year. Some sweet church members offered us their whole house for the weekend; it was lovely! We each presented on our area and were able to brainstorm and co-ordinate, and maybe some meetings were held while lounging in a pool. Seriously, we were productive!

I was looking forward to this weekend for months, but having a baby who still nurses 6-7 times a day makes leaving difficult. And when offered a bottle, she’ll only drink about 5% of the time. Brett was willing to give it a shot, and I assured him she wouldn’t starve. The retreat was two nights, but I decided it would be easier on the family for me to leave early and just be gone for one night. Luckily, this worked out pretty well with the retreat schedule. So I was off for a night and day away.


Things started out pretty well, but by lunch on Saturday, Violet was in total meltdown mode. Luckily, I was only half an hour away, so Brett delivered her to the retreat house for some mommy time. Did I mention she was teething, congested and constipated? Not a great combination. And now I can add sunburned from some pool time with mommy.

Despite my cute and clingy addition, I had a great weekend with the steering team. The first night, I was going to crash on a couch since I would only be there one night I didn’t want to take up space on one of the real beds. But when the girls heard I was still getting up 1-2 times a night with a baby, they insisted I spend my night on the king bed and enjoy a comfy night of peace. I was amazed by their selflessness and consideration, and I woke up feeling amazing! :)

Good sleep, good food, new friends, new projects… I’m excited for this new adventure. This will be my fourth year in MOPS, and I am thankful for the opportunity to serve and encourage other moms of littles. Posts on this blog have been sporadic lately, and I’m afraid that will continue to be the case as I devote more time to the MOPS blog. But check it out sometime to see what I’m up to over there.