Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Children of Light on the Darkest Night of the Year

A Traditional Celtic Jack-o-Lantern
Is Halloween just a time of fun dress up for our children? I struggle with this "holiday" every year as many of our friends celebrate it and my children often ask me why we don't. We cannot participate in a real celebration of the dead that involves communing with spirits, and is celebrated around the world on Halloween. The Wiccan religion considers Halloween, or Samhain, one of it's biggest spiritual days, where the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest. THIS IS REAL PEOPLE!

Jack-o-lanterns were originally made to look like the spirits of the dead, carved out of turnips. Later, in America, the pumpkin became the vegetable of choice. The dead are invited to attend Samhain services to commune with the living. The spirit world is believed to be most active on this night. And we send our children out to participate during this night?

If you claim to be a child of God, please consider the following quotes, many are first hand accounts from people who worship on Halloween. Please consider the concluding Bible verses. Let the Holy Spirit work in your heart to see if this is something even worthy to be participating in. Satan is real, his demons are real, evil is real. God is holy and jealous. He has called us out of darkness.

"Halloween, plain and simple is our favorite time of year. A true time for witches, Witchcraft itself, and Wiccans alike who feel that on this night the separation between the physical and spiritual realities is it's least guarded and it's veil the thinnest. It is a time for dimensional openings and workings, it is a somber holiday, one of dark clothes and thoughts for the dead, it is said to be the time when those of necromantic talents can speak with the dead and it is certainly a time to remember ones own dead. Witches believe it is a time of endings of relationships and bad situations and it is the time when one can see the glimmer of hope in the future. There are as many concepts attached to this holiday as any other, truly a time of remembrance of our ancestors and all those who have gone before." From Witchway.net

"Wiccans celebrate a variation of Samhain as one of the yearly Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year. It is deemed by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four "greater Sabbats". Samhain is seen by some Wiccans as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have died, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the dead are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of light and fertility.

Wiccans believe that at Samhain the veil between this world and the afterlife is at its thinnest point of the whole year, making it easier to communicate with those who have left this world." From Wikipedia

"October 31st is the midway point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. As such it is considered the end of the harvest time, when everything has stopped growing and the earth goes back to sleep. On the Wiccan calendar, known as the “wheel of the year” it is also the day when the god dies, to be reborn again on the Winter Solstice. Samhain is therefore the day when the veil between the living and the dead is considered thinnest, and is a time to remember people in our lives who have passed away." From "I'm Wiccan and this is what Halloween means to Me"

1 Thessalonians 5:22
Abstain from every form of evil.

1 Corinthians 10:21
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

Ephesians 5:11
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

3 John 1:11
Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ephesians 5:6-12
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. ...

Romans 13:12
The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Romans 12:9
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

Ephesians 5:7-12
Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. ...

Ephesians 6:12
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

See here for more Bible verses related to celebrating Halloween.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Moist Chocolate Cake and Frosting without Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Nuts, and Soy!

Here's our new birthday cake recipe that safely feeds everyone in our family (not an easy feat)! I made it a couple weeks ago for my parents who have birthdays five days apart. It was a hit among everyone served! You can also use regular flour in this recipe if you're not gluten free, as that is what the original recipe called for, but I adapted it.

I also made the frosting from a lard base, since there isn't much else that my hubby can have when it comes to frosting. I added some strawberry extract to give it a yummy strawberry flavor, which blends well with the chocolate cake. You could also choose another extract flavor, depending on your preferences.

Moist Chocolate Cake (without Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Nuts, and Soy)

2 2/3 cups gluten-free flour (I used 2 1/3 cup rice flour mixed with 1/3 cup potato flour)
2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup cocoa
2 cups water
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup oil (I used canola)
2 tsp. vinegar

Mix the ingredients well. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Allergen-free Lard Based Frosting
1 cup of room temp lard whipped, until almost twice its size.
3 cups confectioners sugar added slowly, while whipping at slow to medium speed.
1 tsp. of extract of your choice (strawberry, vanilla, peppermint, lemon, etc.).

If your frosting is too thick, add water, a tablespoon at a time, and whip thoroughly in.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A peek into our home school week: Noah's Ark and Rainbows

We have been learning about Noah's Ark this week, reading "A New Beginning" in our Jesus Storybook Bible. To correspond with our Bible lessons, we've also been learning all about rainbows. Here's a peek into our week.

A little artist: working on her "What Makes a Rainbow?" book

I'm amazed at her artistic abilities... she draws a better giraffe than me! :)

Anna went on a color hunt outside to find items of all the colors of the rainbow.

Her completed color wheel.

Rainbow math is fun!

Anna got to draw in some animals on the ark (A giraffe, porcupine, dove, snake, and zebra)
Brother got to help with our rainbow carnations science experiment.

We mixed food coloring into seven jars to make the colors of the rainbow. 
Then we added white carnations to see if they would turn colors from the dyed water.
It makes a pretty table centerpiece, too.

During free play, Anna made the alphabet out of play doh. She was quite proud of herself.

Play doh phonics.

Play doh phonics.

Mr. Roy G. Biv.

A project we didn't get to last week during our Adam & Eve/Reptiles week: Snake Pattern Math.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Free Little Girl Leggings with Shop Your Way

Shop Your Way gave me $5 more in free points today! I was able to get Anna a free pair of denim-look leggings from Sears with free store pick-up. These will be great for Fall/Winter and very versatile.

Yay for free clothes!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A peek into our home school week!

Playing letter-sound bingo, one of Anna's favorite games.

Completing a cross puzzle to go along with our Jesus Storybook Bible lesson.

Learning about the life cycle of a frog.

Part of Anna's Creation Lapbook.

Part of Anna's Creation Lapbook.

Decorating frogs and toads based on their characteristics.

Highlight of our week: Creation Lunch! Even little brother got to participate.

Creation Lunch: We had a food that represented each day of Creation, and I managed to make them all allergy-proof.
Our classroom, in our basement for now.
My little girl and I have been having so much fun with our kindergarten home school! I'm really enjoying the freedom of not using a specific curriculum this year, but instead planning out my own weekly lesson plans by using a variety of resources from around the Internet (Pinterest is a life saver)!

Consequently, I've been much more excited to teach and Anna has been much more excited to learn; it also enables us to work at the pace and with the learning style that works best for her. I've already seen great leaps and bounds in her reading progress in just one week compared to the frustration and lack of success we were experiencing last year!

In case you're interested, here's what our school day consists of:

  1. Opening: We say the Pledge of Allegiance, pray the Lord's Prayer, have a prayer request and praises time, followed by prayer, go over our weekly letter/sight words/math problems, and then work on our calendar notebook
  2. Bible: We're going through the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones currently, completing a chapter a week. I'm using the wonderful resources here to supplement additional activities to go along with each chapter. 
  3. Geography/Science: We're using the Window on the World: When We Pray God Works by Daphne Spraggett and Jill Johnstone for geography. This book has information on a variety of different countries as well as information on the Christian population with ways to pray for each country. We also use an inflatable globe, which helps in understanding where places are located. For science, I'm using various ideas from around the web, such as this week we learned about frogs and toads and all their differences/similarities and life cycle. 
  4. Phonics/Reading/Writing: I found this amazing word families resource that we're currently using for phonics. Anna has already learned to identify her letters and their corresponding sounds last year in home school, so we are beginning the fun of reading! We also use Bob Books and some fun online reading sites such as Starfall and Progressive Phonics
  5. Read aloud: We have a read aloud time with books from the library or that I already own. We've been reading Fish is Fish by Leo Leonni and Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel this week to go along with our science unit. 
  6. Math: I purchased a math workbook that we are working through. Anna does really well in and loves math! She's already at first grade level, so we're focusing more time on reading this year, with math as a fun reward afterwards.
Anna also gets to participate in a local Christian school's afternoon art/music/PE classes. She is really enjoying the time there with friends and I'm enjoying the structure and motivation to complete home school on time each day (as a mom who tends to be Type B)! 

I've found myself extra tired since school began, even managing to give myself a decent burn while trying to cook popcorn over the stove late one night, but we're enjoying the start of school and looking forward to the new year!