Friday, November 27, 2020

Five Minute Friday - Grateful

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One word. Five minutes to write about it. This is the idea behind Five Minute Friday and this is today's free-writing post.


with grateful hearts

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At Thanksgiving we all focus on all the things we have that we should be thankful for. And of course that's a good thing because we do have so much. I certainly need periodic reminders of just how much, and I need to regularly ask myself if I express gratitude or if I sound like I'm constantly complaining. Ouch. But wait - most of the things that inspire gratitude during these couple of days are things we have or enjoy throughout the year. So are we grateful all the time? Do we live with grateful hearts all year?

I've been reading a book with just this title - Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks by Diana Butler Bass - that explores the different ways we experience gratitude, and what it means to be grateful. One of the first realizations I had while reading is that it's harder to define 'grateful' than one might think. If it's a feeling, how do you describe it and do you have any control over when you experience it? Or is it an action or mindset? Perhaps the old advice of having an "attitude of gratitude" is especially helpful and accurate the more I consider these questions. 

To me, being grateful is recognizing that every good thing is a gift in some way. Having a grateful heart means being generous and making the most of all those gifts. Not hoarding these many gifts for myself but appreciating them, using them wisely, sharing them. All the time. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~James 1:17


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This post is linked at Five Minute Friday for the word prompt "Grateful".



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 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Twenty-Six List - The Thanksgiving List - #twentysixlists

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog.


Welcome to Twenty Six Lists! I hope you'll join me in using some fun List prompts for writing. Every other week I'll share a writing prompt and invite you to link up your list, and wherever the prompt takes you. You may want to simply make a list of five or ten items that answer the prompt, or you may elaborate on the items in your list, or even write an entire article. Be creative, and have fun!

I planned this link-up for every other Thursday, and as this one happened to fall on the Thursday designated for Thanksgiving, it only makes sense that we make a list of things we're thankful for. My list is only a tiny representation of the many reasons I have to be thankful. Thankful all the time, not just at this time of year. 

List #24 - Thankful for . . .
  • Life and health! I'm thankful to God for every day that I'm alive and for every breath I take. I'm so grateful that I and my family members enjoy good health.
  • My dream home - the fact that we have this house to live in is a blessing from God. The fact that it's this house and property is special to me, because a long time ago when we first moved to the United States, I had a dream about where we would live. It might sound funny the specifics that were in that dream, but they meant something to me. I envisioned a house in the country with a big yard and where I could see the stars; a house with a covered wrap-around porch; a house with upstairs bedrooms; and in that big yard there would be a clothesline for my laundry. Well, my covered porch only goes along the front of the house rather than wrapping around, but other than that - God gave me a house with those features that I dreamed about. And I'm grateful. Every time I come home at night, I step out of the car into the driveway and look up at the stars and sometimes get a bit choked up at how good this is. Thank you.
  • My crazy but loving family - I come from a crazy but loving family with parents and grandparents that set the example for marriage and parenting. I have had a good relationship with my in-laws over the years. Our four children are all wonderful people that love the Lord, and they all get along with each other (What??? Yes, it's true!). We have two amazing daughters-in-law (well, one's not quite official yet as the wedding is still a few months away) and we have the most precious granddaughter ever. Six of us (hubby and me, three younger children, and the fiancee) all live in this house and get along! What a gift!
  • Many friends - God has blessed me with so many generous, trustworthy friends over the years. Kindred spirits, as Anne of Green Gables would say. Friends that are like family, and are so precious to me. And my kids' friends are so dear to me that many of them are like family too. In fact, we consider quite a few of them our Auxiliary Kids.
  • Music and beauty - I'm thankful for music and how it speaks to my soul. I'm thankful for the ability to make music, especially with my family. Those times when a piece of music or art or something beautiful in nature just touches my heart or steals my breath for a moment - those are moments of gratitude.
  • Good jobs - Super practical! I'm deeply grateful for the wonderful, stable job my husband has had for all these year that has provided a good reliable income for our household. I'm glad for the job I have and how much I enjoy it. I'm thankful that the kids have steady jobs that they enjoy. 
  • All the little daily blessings, like the ones in my Simple Pleasures list - Twenty-Six Lists - Joy in Simple Things
  • A hope and a future - There are many things to look forward to, even in this crazy unpredictable world we live in. I'm one to really live in the moment and enjoy today, but boy I need things coming up on my calendar to get excited about too. Christmas is coming! And in the spring there will be a wedding! We have vacation plans and we have bucket lists we're working on! And no matter what, we have heaven to look forward to as well!



Last year's Thanksgiving dinner photo - The 2020 edition coming later today!



See my past Thanksgiving themed list - our menu: 52 Lists #46 - Thanksgiving Menu

52 Lists #46 - Thanksgiving Menu on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - includes recipes for Pineapple Casserole and Cranberry Crumble



What's on your Thanksgiving list? Link up or tell me in the comments!

Please use the hashtag #twentysixlists if you post on Instagram!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter



Bonus List - Upcoming in Twenty Six Lists so you can think ahead!

December 10 - Winter Activities
December 24 - Christmas and Holiday Traditions

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 ©2006-2020 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/ 

 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

November Photo Album

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog.  


Not many photo occasions this month. Or more accurately, I'm sure there were plenty of photo opportunities, but I only took advantage of a couple of them.

We did our best to live our lives as normally as possible, but we stayed close to home and things were quiet. The hubster and I tried to get some walking and a few low key dates in. Early in the month, we went to Fountain Rock on a sunny Sunday afternoon. 




That day we got to say hello to the muskrats preparing for winter.
A bunch more photos are included in my Just A Second post: Wordless Wednesday - Fountain Rock.


Just outside my window, we were finally successful in attracting blue jays to our feeders.



There were some spectacular sunsets, sunrises, and foggy mornings. I got a couple of sunset photos.




This past weekend, the hubster and I went for a walk along Carroll Creek in nearby Frederick. The Sailing into the Winter Solstice display had just launched, and it made for a very nice date night.
See more in my Just A Second post: Wordless Wednesday - Color on the Creek.








I expect I'll get a few Thanksgiving dinner photos tomorrow - it's a family tradition, after all! 

Happy Thanksgiving!


This post is linked at Wordless Wednesday, hosted by Life on Chickadee Laneand at Pictorial Tuesday, hosted by Peabea Scribbles.


 


 ©2006-2020 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/ 

 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Friday, November 20, 2020

International Flavors ~Africa~ Morocco

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog.  


One of the things I really liked doing with my kids when we studied geography was to learn about the foods that are associated with different regions, ethnic groups, or people groups. There were a few school years when we made it an ongoing project to try foods from the countries or regions we studied. It's been a few years since we did that as part of our homeschool, but I still find it interesting - and honestly, I need some help and fresh ideas for meal planning too. I don't have a great system for planning these international inspired meals, but am trying to get something a little out of our ordinary on the table every once in awhile.

On November 18th, Morocco marked its Independence Day, a national holiday commemorating the nation's independence on the date King Mohammed returned from exile in 1955. Since the mid-seventeenth century, Morocco has been ruled by the Alaouite dynasty, but in the nineteenth century the influence of European countries grew stronger. After a war with Spain, Morocco had guaranteed its independence, but France had an increasing influence, and Germany got involved to agitate France and Great Britain. In 1912, Morocco was forced to sign a treaty making it a French Protectorate. Although still a sovereign nation, Morocco was ruled by a colonial administration. In 1953, amid rising calls for Moroccan independence, King Mohammed V was exiled to Madagascar. Moroccan demands for independence grew, and on November 18, 1955, the king returned and negotiations for formal independence began.

Did you know? In Arabic, the country's name means "place the sun sets"? The English name Morocco is based on the former capital city, Marrakesh. Morocco is in north Africa, on the Atlantic coast. Spain is to the north. The Strait of Gibraltar is located between the two countries, and is the passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Algeria lies to the east, and the territory of Western Sahara is to the south. Morocco has Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, includes part of the Saharan desert, and much of the country is mountainous, with the Atlas Mountains in the south and center and the Rif Mountains in the north. The capital city is Rabat, and the largest city is the port of Casablanca. Morocco has several climate zones, but is mostly Mediterranean and Continental.

Flag of Morocco

A majority of the population has Berber origins and Islam is the dominant religion. The culture has been influenced throughout its history by Phoenicians, Jews, Arabs, Sub-Saharan Africans, Romans, and Andalusians. 

With all those influences, the culture and cuisine of Morocco is pretty diverse! Cuisine is a fusion of Moorish, European, and Mediterranean. They use a lot of spices and citrus fruit, and the most widely eaten meat is chicken. Lamb is a preferred red meat, but because its expensive, beef is more popular. The national delicacy, and the dish many people associate with Morocco is couscous. 

Cinnamon, cumin, ginger, saffron - all taste and smell so good! These spices are used in meat and vegetable dishes as well as in sweet dishes. Apparently couscous isn't that difficult to make steamed in the traditional way, but it takes more time, so personally I'm fine with just using the stuff out of the box. Tagine is a conical clay cooking pot used for slow cooking meats and vegetables, and the foods cooked in these pots are also called tagine. I thought about cooking a version of the classic dish, but went simpler with a baked chicken dish. 

Let's eat! My version of the recipes and some links to more are included below. Our Moroccan menu was Baked Moroccan Chicken Thighs, Couscous (courtesy of a Near East mix), and Moroccan Carrot and Orange Salad.


Baked Moroccan Chicken Thighs (based on the recipe at The Stay-at-Home Chef)
Slice one lemon into thin slices and place in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Slice another lemon into wedges. Mix up the spices (2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger) and rub on 3 pounds worth of boneless chicken thighs. Put those on top of the sliced lemons. Squeeze the lemon wedges over the chicken and toss the wedges in there. Dot it all with little chunks of butter. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes. 


Moroccan Carrot and Juicy Orange Salad (found at Global Table Adventure)
Peel and finely grate a generous pound of carrots. Add a generous cup of high pulp orange juice. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon or so of cinnamon and stir it all together. Before serving dust a little more cinnamon on top.

To make this right, it should have orange blossom water in it, but that's something I couldn't find on short notice. Ideally I would have also used fresh squeezed oranges instead of orange juice, and I would have served it in little tea glasses. I'm not that fancy or that dedicated. My carrot salad went in a big glass bowl and it still looked pretty, although my picture of it did not. It was blurry and thus does not appear here. 

I feel like I will have to try making Moroccan Honey Buttered Semolina "Cratered" Pancakes for a lunch or breakfast sometime. I mean - honey butter? Yes, please.

I could have made Za'atar Bread to go with this meal, but my oven was full of chicken. 



Information gathered from these websites: Office Holidays and Global Table Adventure
 


 ©2006-2020 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/ 

 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

From the High School Lesson Book - The Blessings of Homeschooling Teens

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog. 


Yes, homeschooling all the way through high school can be a challenging task, and many parents are a little apprehensive about it. After all, there's algebra and credits and college prep . . . and part-time jobs and driving . . . and some valid questions about whether they'll miss out on experiences like sports, proms, or graduation ceremonies. But there are so many rewards and blessings of homeschooling your teens! In fact, I once did a blog hop series entitled The Rewards of Homeschooling Teens and found plenty to talk about. I'd like to summarize some of that series from a few years ago and talk about why we can be thankful for the blessings of homeschooling our teens.

Homeschooling holds the potential for many benefits for the students. Teens can focus on the things that interest them and really focus on an individualized course plan. They can explore possible career paths and have the flexibility to drop or adjust the course if they find something else is a better fit. Teens that have a clear idea of what they want to pursue in college or as a career can hone in on the specialty courses or experiences that will get them there. 

Teens will have a more flexible schedule when doing school at home, even if they are in a co-op class or are dual-enrolled and taking a few college courses. That means flexible time for a part-time job or to help out around the house, or just to make sure they are getting the sleep and downtime they need. 


The Rewards of Homeschooling Teens - Time - on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - part of the 5 Days of Homeschool blog hop hosted by HomeschoolReviewCrew.com

During the high school year, homeschool students have the chance to practice learning independently and be responsible for their own time management. This can be a relief to a homeschool parent who wonders if they will have to put in all the active teaching time equivalent to the time spent in a public school classroom! Most kids will need some help learning those time management skills, but they are quite capable of reading the textbooks, completing their work, meeting the deadlines, and planning their schedules. This may be one of the most valuable skills they can have when they start college. I've seen and heard a lot of evidence that homeschooled kids do better overall at managing their study schedules and taking ownership of their education during college.

Developing character is a wonderful blessing of homeschooling, especially during the teen years. When teens are spending more time at home with family and having positive interactions with their parents and siblings, that is good for their character development. Parents have a little more control and influence over the kinds of friends their teens are spending time with. Parents are better able to guide kids towards wise choices, help them develop healthy habits, and respond promptly and lovingly to problems.


The Rewards of Homeschooling Teens - Socializing Well - on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - part of the 5 Days of Homeschool blog hop hosted by HomeschoolReviewCrew.com

Family time and time to have good conversations with teens can be a blessing to everyone in the family. Homeschooled teens are more likely to be respectful and have warm, positive relationships with their parents and many other adults. They usually are able to develop close friendships with their siblings, and they learn to get along with people of all ages.



The Rewards of Homeschooling Teens - Family Time on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - This post is part of the 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop hosted by HomeschoolReviewCrew.com  #homeschoolThe Rewards of Homeschooling Teens - Conversations on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Part of the 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop hosted by HomeschoolReviewCrew.com

As parents, we had the privilege of handing the diploma to each of our graduates and turning their tassels. It was a culmination of the blessings of being there throughout their school years and being present for them and with them through those milestones.



From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions




Be thankful for the blessings of homeschooling your teens!


Dear Mom Who is Homeschooling Through High School . . . on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com



 ©2006-2020 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/ 

 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.