Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gooseberry Patch Gratitude Cards
Hello, I hope you're enjoying your weekend.  I just found these Gratitude Cards from Gooseberry Patch.  Perhaps you'd like to save the file for next year.  Just click on the photo to go to Gooseberry Patch to download it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Old Fashioned Cocoa from Scratch

My family just loves the rich flavor of old fashioned cocoa made from scratch.  Scratch means you start with basic ingredients and go from there.  I love it because I always have the ingredients on hand.  My kids will have the memory of Momma over the stove stirring the cocoa.  They come running when they hear the sound the whisk makes in the pan.
 Here’s how I make mine.  All you need is Hershey’s cocoa, sugar, milk and a bit of water.

Old Fashioned Cocoa from Scratch
1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa
1 cup of white sugar
1/3 cup of cold water
Enough milk to fill 3 quart saucepan

Combine 1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa and 1 cup of white sugar in a three quart saucepan using a wire whisk.  I do this while the cocoa and sugar are still dry so that the cocoa will mix in nice and smooth without a bunch of lumps.
Add about 1/3 cup of cold water and mix until smooth.  Bring to a boil and continue to boil it for about a minute, stirring constantly.  Don’t worry if it sticks to the sides, it’ll melt back into the cocoa as it heats up.
Fill the pan with milk, It”ll be a little more than a half a gallon of milk.  Stir and heat using  medium heat.  If you need to walk away from it, just turn it on the lowest heat.   I check to see if it’s hot enough by dropping in a miniature marshmallow.  It’s ready when the marshmallow just starts to melt.  I offer extra milk to my little ones to cool it if they want it.
This is so easy, we can make it any time we want it.  Read aloud time is one of our favorite times to enjoy Old Fashioned Cocoa.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sometimes Life Isn't Very Happy...

... life isn't very happy
... things don't work out the way you want them to
... the world seems to spin out of control
... finances are a struggle
... loved ones are straying
... illness prevails
... prayers seem to go unanswered
... loved ones pass on
... your children are prodigals
.... You could fill in the blank spaces with any number of things.  But God.

God is still on the throne.  God is still in control.  God still loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins.  He loves us so much that He sent His Holy Spirit to comfort us.  I don't know all the answers, but I know this.

No matter what I see, 
no matter what I hear, 
no matter what I feel, 
I will yet praise Him.

There is No One else.
No One else to turn to.
No other god is truly God.
My loved ones are safe in His care.
I will continue to pray for them.
I choose to trust Him.
I choose peace.

I praise God in my pain.
I praise God in my sadness.
I praise God in hope.
I praise God in love 
He is Love.
Praise the Lord.

Maybe this is not a happy time for you.  Praise God.  Choose to praise Him regardless of your circumstances, regardless of your pain.  I call it defiant praise.  We are defying Satan when we praise God through our pain.  God is glorified, and He takes notice.  

May you draw close to God.  He promises to draw near to those who draw near to Him. James 4:8
I do pray that you will find peace and happiness in God's presence.

God bless you all.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: DVD When Calls the Heart

When Calls the Heart has just been released.  I had the privilege of receiving a free copy for review.  It's a movie based on the book of the same name by Janette Oke.  I first read my first Oke book back when my oldest son was a preschooler.  She's had several of her books made into movies.  You might recognize the Love Comes Softly series.

We enjoyed this movie very much.  The scenery, the costuming, the details were wonderfully rich.  The acting was superb.  The music was appropriate and good.  We liked everything about this movie from beginning to end.  Except. One. Thing.  I forgot that this book was the first in a series.  Therefore, when we got to the very end, it ended.  Abruptly.  Without Closure.  Ugh!  My kids complained.

Will we watch the television series when it comes out?  No, at least not unless it comes out on video someday.  We don't have television access.  We just watch selected movies.

Would I still recommend the movie?  Yes, it's really good.  I loved the interplay of the characters.  Two story lines are being told at the same time.  Well, the best thing I can do is suggest you watch the trailer.  The movie receives four stars from us, but only because we like movies with closure.  Enjoy the preview.


When Calls the Heart is the story of Elizabeth Thatcher, a cultured young school teacher in 1910 who, through the discovery of her aunt's secret diary, finds the courage to leave her big city home to accept a teaching position in a frontier coal mining town.  And in the process, she also finds the potential for love with a handsome Royal Canadian Mountie.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thankful for Mother

Judith Ann Benson Lane
May her name be blessed forever.
I will miss her for the rest of my life.
I am blessed to call her Mother.
She called me her daughter.
I thank God for my mother-in-love.
She taught me about love and encouragement.
I know that someday I will be a good mother-in-law
because I was taught by the best.
Jesus, I thank you that we'll
be together again one day.
Please tell Mother I love her.


Dear Readers,

Please forgive me if I do not respond to your comments in a timely manner.  My dear mother-in-love went to be with Jesus quite unexpectedly late Thursday night.  My attentions will be elsewhere for awhile.  Right now, my family needs me, and I need them.  May God bless you all during this Thanksgiving season.  Please, please take lots of photos.  Please, please make sure you've made peace with your loved ones.  I don't have near as many photos as I wish I did.  I haven't found any of Mother and I together yet.  I truly am thankful that I have the blessed assurance that Jesus is mine, and Jesus is Mother's.  We shall be together again.  Praise Jesus.


P.S.  I always called my mother Mom.  Judy always preferred me to call her Mother, even before I married her son.  She decided I was a keeper before he did! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Homeschooling Family's Day

Hello!  We're the Lane Family.  I'm Laura Lane.
My husband, Lowell, works at a church.  My eldest, Matthew, graduated in 2009.  He attended high school after being homeschooled for 10 years.  I currently homeschool Emily, 16, Michael, 14, and Amy, 12. 

We're rather relaxed, eclectic homeschoolers.  I didn't really plan it that way, but life happens when you have a husband who is in ministry.  There's a bit of drop everything and go when he calls to our life.  Two years ago, our area was devastated by what the world knows as the Joplin, Missouri tornado.  We live about ten miles from Joplin.  A couple of days after the tornado, my husband walked in and asked Pastor Dan what he could do to help.  He walked out with a job as the coordinator and community liaison and a plan to house volunteers in the vacant house next door (about 400 over the summer by his estimates).   Though we no longer have volunteers staying with us, the kids and I have been on call to volunteer for the last two years. ~smile~  Things have finally settled down giving us the chance to settle down into a new autumn school routine. 

This is what our school days look like if all goes according to plan. ~smile~

We try to get most of our work done in the morning.  The first child out of bed gets the first chance to do math.  All of the children use Teaching Textbooks, a computer based math program.  There's a bit of competition between my two youngest children to see who's first. ~smile~  We eat breakfast and two children do dishes while the third goes on to start Bible.  The others start Bible when they're done.  Math is done as the computer comes available.  We will work all morning, then hopefully, be able to do some more creative activities in the afternoon.  Of course, if the lessons aren't finished, they'll have to be finished.

We homeschool all over the house.  I want my children to be lifelong learners.  I think that allowing them a little flexibility in where they do their lessons makes them less resistant to learning.  I also catch them doing what I jokingly call "unauthorized learning" once in awhile.  You know, reading a book or studying even if it wasn't assigned.  I make a big deal out of it in jest. ~smile~

Much of our learning is reading based.   We read a lot of whole books.  I was attracted to Charlotte Mason's teachings but never followed her 100%.  We have used a combination of textbooks, workbooks, computer programs, videos and hands-on lessons over the years. We're still reading a lot for Science, but my older children are studying Biology this year.  History and Latin are video based.  Michael and Emily do history together.  All of the children learn Latin together.  I have to admit, Latin has been rather hit and miss this first semester.  Spelling, grammar and writing are usually a bit more mom intensive. ~smile~ 

To put it simply, God told us to.  I explain it all in detail in this post:  Why We Homeschool.

Helpful hints:
  • Pray!  God cares deeply for you and for your children.  He will guide you.
  • Read read read to your children from birth.  Keep reading even after they learn to read.
  • As soon as they can read, require them to sit and read/look at books for thirty minutes a day, perhaps after lunch.
  • When they graduate to chapter books, increase their silent reading time to an hour a day.  My children have become excellent readers as a result. 
  • Don't give up!  Your family is unique.  Your homeschool will be unique.  Don't try to do it just like someone else.  Pick and choose ideas and find what works for your family.

What I really want you to know:  You will not be perfect in your child training, your homeschooling, or your homemaking.  It's okay.  Pray, research the best methods for you, and be flexible in your implementation.  Teaching your child to love the Lord our God with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength is ultimately the goal.  God wants that, too.  He'll help you.

Be blessed!

P.S  Favorite resource:  The Well Planned Day planner

*Affiliate Link

Laura Lane is mom to four children, ages 14-22.  She has homeschooled since 1996, is married to her high school sweetheart, and is debt-free.  She writes about homemaking, saving money through thrifty living, homeschooling, books, her family life, and her love of God and her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Find her at Harvest Lane Cottage.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

You've Gotten a Taste of How I Blog!

My husband asked about what I baked yesterday.
I didn't.
I was reusing a format from a previous blog post.
Somehow I published it before I'd written it!
So, you now have gotten a taste of how I blog.

It's kind of like your slip showing!


My apologies!

Give me another chance.

Have a terrific Thursday!

Transparent whether I want to be or not!

Ha ha!
You laugh or you cry!

If you don't know what I'm talking about- Yay!!!
If you want to see every foible I make, just follow me or subscribe in the sidebar!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: The First Christmas Night

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

One of my favorite things about Autumn is choosing a unique Christmas book to enjoy each Advent and Christmas season.  Each year I keep my eyes open for a book that will capture the meaning of the Christmas.  This is that book for us this year.

I've shared the details from the publisher near the bottom of this post.  Do take a look.  The first several lines of the book are included.  It's written in the style of A Visit from St. Nicholas: The Night Before Christmas.  The poetic cadence is soothing to the ears as a read aloud.  I enjoyed the creative God honoring lines.  The pictures were beautiful.  I don't like silly pictures that insult a child's intelligence.  Oops, you just found one of my soapboxes!  I seek out books that include illustrations that are like fine art.  I believe that the text and the illustrations are God honoring.

I look forward to sharing this book with my family this year and in the years to come.  Oh, shhhh.... Don't tell my kids about the book.
Happy at Home
In Love with My Savior
Jesus the Christ

~~~~~From the Publisher~~~~~

About The First Christmas Night

The First Christmas Night is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and winds though Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men.  The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich acrylic illustrations of Laura Jacques.

"’Twas the very first Christmas 
when all through the town
not a creature was stirring—there was not a sound.
The moon shining bright in the heavens so high
gave the look of midday to the Bethlehem sky.
The animals were nestled in warm, cozy places
with looks of contentment on each of their faces."

About the Author
Keith Christopher is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and educator, and he has served as editor and producer for several major music publishers. In addition to writing and studio producing, Keith served on the faculty at the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.

About the Illustrator
The First Christmas Night is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and winds though Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men.  The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich acrylic illustrations of Christine Kornacki.

Who is it for?

Kids ages 4-8 - The rhyming language can help them develop verbal language skills and learn to read.

Laura here:  I'm using this with my 12-16 year olds!  If y'all like picture books, y'all aren't too old. ~smile~

Family story time during the holidays

Children's Ministers and Sunday school teachers
Christmas carolers could set it to a tune!

        The First Christmas Night

        Written by: Keith Christopher

        Illustrated by: Christine Kornacki

        Publisher: Ideals Books

        Hardcover: 32 pages

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Woo Hoo! My Recipe Was Published in Gooseberry Patch Hometown Christmas! Spicy Can Opener Soup

Woo hoo!  Rejoice with me!  I Was Published in Gooseberry Patch Hometown Christmas! 

I have to admit, I was truly surprised when I received a letter from Gooseberry Patch requesting permission to use my recipe in their newest Christmas cookbook. 
It's truly a recipe that I threw together using items from my nearly bare kitchen cupboards last winter. I called it Spicy Can Opener Soup.  They changed the name, but the ingredients remain the same.

I was thrilled to receive my very own copy of the book. 
Of course, I had to make it up and take some photos to share with you dear ladies.
It's simple, quick, and delicious.
It's also one of those scrape the bowl clean recipes.
You saw it here first!

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