We studied the Garden State of New Jersey. Having visited New Jersey in the past, it was nice to be able to talk with first-hand experience about New Jersey. We had a nice, down-home kind of meal. We had a chicken casserole that I cooked in the slow cooker. I was able to pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes prior to serving to give it a little crispness on the top. We also had macaroni and cheese and some chicken tenders. We have enjoyed our tour around the North East. I will be wrapping up my posts on this area of the United States in a few days.
We studied the state of Rhode Island this week. We learned about the state bird, state motto, capital, and location on the map. Our notebooking sheets and daily reading have been nice additions to our state study each day.
For our evening meal, we had New England Clam Chowder served in bread bowls, garlic green beans, bacon-wrapped chicken breast grilled on the outdoor grill.
We are learning a lot about cooking this year with this study. I think that is a pretty good side benefit of learning this way. Mama and the boys are learning lots of new recipes together. One day they will make excellent husbands.
We had a wonderful time studying about Connecticut. I also picked a meal that I could cook in the crock pot. This makes meal preparation easier, and it also means we get to smell it cooking all day long. The day we studied Connecticut was a busy day for me, so my son helped me get the food prepped and into the crock pot. Basically I supervised from the table while he did the food prep. I am blessed!
We started our day off working on the page for Connecticut for our state notebook. I read to the boys about Connecticut, and we found Connecticut on our big, wall map.
We had Beef Stew in the crock pot for this meal.
We have all enjoyed learning about each state and having a theme meal. It has given new excitement to our evening meal time.
Life is messy. Love is messy.
Love is a beautiful thing when Jesus is at the center of it.
Several months ago I met Darlene Schacht, The Time Warp Wife, at a homeschool convention. I had seen Darlene around social media and loved her Time-Warp Wife graphics. What I really loved about Darlene was her unabashed support of marriage and loving her husband. Having been married for almost 25 years to my husband, I have read a lot of books on marriage and being a wife. I won’t bore you with the list. I am sure you have read many of the same books I have read. Darlene sent me a copy of her new book, Messy Beautiful Love, and I was excited to dive in and see what God had placed in her heart to share.
What I did not expect was to be stopped dead in my tracks reading Chapter 1.
As you can see, I sat with a highlighter when I read the book. It is a book I will read and re-read.
When every thought told me that I was unworthy of love, something miraculous happened that changed the way that I looked at marriage and the way that I looked at our Savior. It was the realization that I am saved by nothing but the power of grace. (Messy Beautiful Love, p. 6)
There are times in marriage when the husband or the wife commits a wrong against the other one. Getting through those times without bitterness means extending grace and forgiveness to the other person. It means moving on and letting the hurt feelings go. It means not keeping an account of the wrongs committed against you. It means leaving bitterness behind and not letting it take root and grow in your heart. It is grace in action.
We have all been through tough times in our marriage. It is how we react to these tough times that can make or break our relationship. Darlene devotes chapter 3 to talking about the Biblical way exercise patience and kindness when the going gets tough. I can look back to some of our tough times, and I can say I could have been kinder and more patient with my husband.
Conflict and Communication
Aren’t these two big things in a marriage?
How we handle conflict with our spouse can make a happy or less-than-happy marriage. Throughout the years, my husband and I have had very few times where we completely disagreed on something. What I had to learn in those times is that sometimes I have to allow him to lead and make the final decision even when I do not agree with him. That takes a lot of dying to self. I don’t always do that gracefully. Darlene refers to Luke 22:42 in chapter 7 on conflict.
Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. (Luke 22:42)
Jesus knew He would die on the cross for the sins of the world. He knew the Father’s will for His life. He surrendered what He wanted for the good of all mankind.
Am I willing to surrender what I want for the good of my marriage?
I am not saying that I will always agree with my husband, but I am saying I can change how I react when we do disagree.
Men and women communicate differently. Women can be very cutting with their words to their husbands. Men need respect. I need to talk to my husband respectfully. This does not mean that I need to stop giving him my opinion on things, but it does mean that I should consider carefully how I give my opinion to him.
In chapter 12, Darlene talks about building a strong friendship with our husbands. I think this is a very important part of the marriage relationship. Many times a marriage will drift into auto-pilot. Each person orbits their own little path and rarely crosses the path of the other. It is important to nurture the friendship side of the marriage. You should make time each day to connect with one another and not drift through the days, weeks, months, or even years without making time for one another.
Social media can paint a very pretty picture of other people’s lives. It can breed discontent in your heart when you see all these great things other people have going on in their lives. Be aware that social media and blogging often show the good side of things. Many times you will not see the reality of the hard things going on in someone’s life on social media or on their blog. I know for me it is hard to share deeply with others when the times are tough. But I can share those deep, hard feelings with my husband because he is my friend.
The last chapter in the book is an important chapter. Darlene gives 31 prayers we can pray for our husbands. She even has free downloadable cards on her website for you to download and pray over your husband each day. Did you know it is really hard to be mad at someone whom you are praying for? I find that I am more loving and forgiving when I am praying for someone. I pray for my husband every day, and I love that Darlene has made these prayer cards available to help wives remember to pray for their husbands every day.
I recommend this book for engaged women, newlywed women, and women who have been married for a while. I read this book in just a couple of days, but I plan on going back and re-reading it more slowly. I have printed out my prayer cards, too. You can buy it from her website for the book, Messy Beautiful Love. It’s available in print or digital format. You can even read one chapter of the book for free from her website.
Messy Beautiful Love releases on September 16, 2014. If you pre-order now, you can receive over $50 in freebies.
How to Claim Your Freebies
Once you have purchased one book or five, simply email: MessyBeautifulLove@gmail.com. Provide them with your receipt/order confirmation number & the number of books you purchased, and claim your freebie package! Please be patient as it may take a day or two for the freebies to arrive.
I was provided a copy of Messy Beautiful Love to read. I was not paid for the review. I have expressed my own opinion of the book.
We studied the state of Massachusetts, and I picked a theme of “Boston” for our dinner menu. We had Boston Baked Beans, Boston Brown Bread, and Boston Cream Pie. We also had a great time reading and discussing what we knew about Boston from our Revolutionary War studies. It always encourages me to hear what the boys remember from our previous studies. It has been two years since we studied the Revolutionary War, but they remembered things we read about from the book, Johnny Tremain, and the book, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. Now, I have added a food memory to what they know about Boston.
The meal was very good. Both the Boston Baked Beans and the Boston Brown Bread had molasses in them. It made it very rich tasting.
The start of our second week of our geography study across the US brings us to New York. We talked about the vast differences in New York from the big city of New York to the rural farm communities of New York state. New York is such a melting pot of cultures, I could have spent a week picking menus and cooking. I decided to go with a simple menu plan for New York.
The last day of our school week brings us to the state of Pennsylvania. Several years ago, I was able to spend some time in Pennsylvania. I had very fond memories of eating Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, and later going to Hershey Park. So it was pretty easy for me to pick a menu for Pennsylvania. We spent the morning doing our mapping activities and dissecting a crayfish.
Boys love meat sandwiches, so these were a big hit for dinner. The Hershey chocolate bars were eaten so quickly that I did not even get a picture of them eating them.
Our third day of studying US Geography brings us to the state of Vermont. I had such a great choices of menu items for Vermont, so I decided to do a full Thanksgiving menu. I invited my young adult children and my mom to join us for this meal. It was much more involved in the planning and execution of the cooking. I do not normally cook our Thanksgiving meal. My mom does that for us, and I help her. So this was my chance to do the whole meal on my own. I was also blessed to already have a whole, frozen turkey on hand when I made this menu plan, so I did not have to buy the turkey on this week’s food budget. We will just say that our first meal from Maine was definitely a meal that made the food budget go up.
This meal was a HUGE success with everyone, and we also had leftovers that saw us through a few extra days after the meal, too.
Our second day of studying US Geography brings us to the state of New Hampshire. I have a very dear friend who lives in New Hampshire, and she is one of my prayer partners. So it was extra special for me to spend a day learning about New Hampshire with the boys.
We did our mapping activities and talked about the different industries in New Hampshire. After our study of Maine the day before, I picked a more simple menu for New Hampshire.
The corn chowder was delicious! I will definitely make it again in the future.
It’s been ten years since I did a really good unit study on US Geography. I decided this year, it was time to revisit this study. I use KONOS (www.KONOS.com) for a lot of my planning ideas, but in addition to the reading, hands-on activities, writing, and activity pages, I am cooking a theme meal for each of the 50 United States. This is an ambitious project, and there are a few states where I planned more than one meal. I am chronicling these meals on Facebook, but I thought it would be fun to write blog posts, too. I can tell you that my older children who did this study 10 years ago still remember doing this, and the younger boys who are doing the study this year will remember it, too. I love combining fun, food, and activities with our school day. It just makes things memorable. I also think it is important for families to sit down and eat together on a regular basis.
How did I decide where to start our study?
I decided to start with the Northeast part of the country and work our way around the country by region. It will take me the first semester of this school year to cover all 50 states. I have worked around our planned days off and holidays and birthdays with my meal plans. I spent one Friday evening making menu plans, and I tried to keep it kid-friendly and semi-healthy. I used a book called, Eat Your Way Through the USA, for many of my menu choices, but I also used Google and Facebook to get ideas for different states. Most weeks we will cover 3 to 4 states.
We started our study off with map activities and the state of Maine.
I will be posting these in a series and will link to them on this page, so you can follow us around the country at our dinner table.