Family

Family

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Summer Plans

Summer is just around the corner!! Only seven weeks left of our school year! We have some fun things lined up for our summer including a family mission trip to Canada and hosting a 9 year old boy from China in July. We also are excited about the normal activities that summer brings: swimming, bbq's, picnics, family walks, family bike rides, berry picking, trips to the beach (Lake Michigan), and much more. We can't wait to bring Piano Man along with us and see his expression when he sees things for the first time!!



What about you? What are your summer plans this year? Maybe your plans could include hosting child. Great Wall has about 15 days left to find families to host 23 more children for their Summer 1 program (mid-June to mid-July)! They are also looking for families for the Summer 2 program as well (mid-July to mid-August). This is an amazing opportunity for both the host families and for the children who get to come to America. Most of these orphans have never been outside their orphanage. This month in America allows them to experience living with a family, visiting new things (zoos, parks, swimming, etc), and it allows others to learn about the need for families to adopt older children from China, especially boys. Would you consider giving of your time and love this summer to a child? If you want more information, visit Great Wall (Children of All Nations)


For local friends, I'm hosting a Make and Take Essential oil party at my house on April 23rd from 1-4pm. We'll be making an allergy trio roller, bug spray, an itch stick (for bug bites), and faux-breeze spray. If you are interested in coming, please let me know (rebeccaharder35@gmail.com). The cost is $20. Any proceeds will be going toward bringing Piano Man to America for the summer!!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Catching Up

1 Chronicles 29:11 "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all."

We have been super busy around here working on school, preparing for our mission trip to Canada, and getting the room ready for P-Man. This will be a "catch up" post.


Micaela learned the letter K last week and is working on Z this week. She took yesterday off of school because she wasn't feeling good. You know your child isn't feeling well when they put themselves to bed and sleep. Poor baby!!


Last Friday, 7-11 had bring your own container and fill it up for $1.50. I took the girls to fill up two containers, that we then all shared. Their eyes were so huge and they were so excited about getting their slurpees. We had to run around a little after dinner to burn some of the sugar high off...but it was fun! We're making memories!!




Grace and Abigail played "blindfold makeover". This was the result. I wouldn't recommend doing makeup blindfolded girls.



Saturday was our first week of soccer outside. It was rather cold, but we survived. The girls had a blast playing.


Monday we did school and then watched my friend's kids. I took all 9 kids to the park. I'm sure we looked like a day care or after school group. The kids had so much fun playing outside.



Finally, the girls have been begging me to go buy them some fundraiser chocolate so that they can "help" bring in money for P-man to come this summer. They have been walking around the neighborhood selling candy bars. They are selling World's Finest Chocolate (single bars $1, double bars $2, and jordan almonds $2). If anyone wants to buy some chocolate, let me know...it would mean a lot to the girls.

That's it for now. We are planning on coloring Easter eggs today and then going to a Good Friday service at church tonight. Have a blessed Easter...and remember the reason we celebrate!!

DIY Projects

This week for SUYL (Show Us Your Life), Kelly wants us to share any DIY projects we have done.

I love so many ideas on Pinterest, but I don't have much spare time to do many projects between home school, raising six kids, and being actively involved at church. Two years ago, during Spring break, I decided to tackle some projects that I had been wanting to do. The first one was my cabinets. It was hard to find what I wanted in Ziplock containers and baggies. I invested some money into these great containers from Walmart (I think they were Betty Crocker?). I created labels for the containers, which made finding ingredients so much easier!


The second project I tackled was a menu board. I wanted a visual reminder of meals for the week. This was board was easy to make.  The holders for the menu cards is actually old crayon boxes that you cover! I used some leftover scrapbooking paper to cover a magnetic board that I had laying around the house. I then wrote out some of our favorite meal ideas and laminated them. This made "what's for dinner" easier to tackle each day. Last year I had to take the board apart to use it for another project for school, but I think that I'm going to make something like this again...I need to get re-organized!


What do you do that makes menu planning and dinner ideas easier? I'm always looking for new ideas. Please feel free to share. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday: Favorite Recipe

Fusilli with Spinach and Asiago Cheese (from Food Network)



I bought some organic noodles at Whole Foods a few months ago and was scouring the internet to find a recipe to use. I came across this recipe and I have made it at least four times for our family. It is fast, healthy, and everyone likes it (my picky eaters take out the tomatoes).

*Note* I make this meal for our family of 8, so I made notes of what I use to make more of it for our family.*


Ingredients:

1 pound fusilli pasta (or farfelle)
1/4 c. olive oil (I don't use this much, I use about 1/2 of that)
1 garlic clove, minced (I use 2)
1 (9-ounce) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped (I use a container from Costco-I think it's 16 oz)
8 ounces (1/2 pint) cherry tomatoes, halved (I use a whole pint)
1 cup (about 3 1/2-ounces) grated Asiago
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (fresh is best)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-My addition: I add chicken for some extra protein and to stretch the meal in to a full healthy meal for us. I've also added artichoke hearts before and that was good

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2 more minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and stir to combine.

Transfer the pasta to a serving plate and serve

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/fusilli-with-spinach-and-asiago-cheese-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Hopefully your family enjoys this meal as much as our family does.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Homeschool Fun

Colossians 3:12 "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience."

These are some attributes that we are trying to apply to our lives each day. Homeschooling is wonderful, but one thing that can be hard is that you are with each other every.moment.of.every.day!! Sometimes one or two of us will have a bad attitude or will get their feelings hurt and lash out. We are all trying to ask God to help us be more kind and loving to one another.

Micaela has been working super hard this week on her letters. We had to finish up a project for letter P from last week and then we've been studying K. She is learning how to read some simple words. It is fun to see Joella trying to keep up. I think that when I do kindergarten with Joella, she'll fly through it.





We finally received our ants for our ant habitat (Letter A done months ago). We followed all the directions and set our habitat in the kitchen window. We were getting ready to go buy pizza for Pi-day on Monday and Micaela said she saw ants. I told her, "Of course you saw ants, we put ants in your habitat." She told me, "No. I mean I saw them outside of their home!!!" She was very intense about it since these are mean ants (not sure why they send mean, bitting ants). I lifted the habitat to show her nothing was there and to my surprise, a scream flew from my mouth as about 15 ants (biting ants mind you), were running around my window sill. Needless to say, we must have a flaw with our habitat. The ants immediately went outside. When we checked the next day, all the ants were out and gone. 


We had pizza "pi" and chocolate pie for Pi-day. When you homeschool, you try to find ways to celebrate learning at all times.



Tuesday we combined PE (taking a mile walk) with civics (learning how to vote). I actually made the girls a sample ballot and had them vote at home. They then watched as I voted. I always like to use a paper ballot. They enjoy watching the process. I want them to know how important it is to vote, even if you aren't thrilled with the candidates. I have taken the girls with me to vote for every election (big or small we go). All the polling people know the girls and they always enjoy getting an "I Voted" sticker.


Micaela was so excited to make our project today for letter K. 

Friday I am going to post one of our new family favorite recipes as part of a link up with Kellyskorner blog (in case you are interested)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Catching Up

Isaiah 40:26 "Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."

We had a great week last week. The weather in Chicago has been unseasonably warm. We took advantage of this weather and had PE outside three days last week. We have a park about 0.5 miles from our house that we enjoy visiting. While the girls play at the park, I enjoy walking the path at the park. We were all able to get in exercise and it felt amazing to be out in the fresh air. While walking at the park, my friend Susan and I ran across this snake. Signs of an early spring are everywhere!! 


Last week Micaela was studying the letter P. Whenever we study the letter P, we always make pink pancakes. The girls were all excited about breakfast that morning! Micaela enjoyed flipping pancakes with me. We did lots of fun crafts and projects about penguins. This week we are going to be studying the letter K (for kangaroo). Micaela is very excited about this week since she loves kangaroos.


We decided to take Friday off and visit friends. Since we aren't doing Classical Conversations this year, we have missed seeing some of our friends from our group. Friday we visited one of the families, the Colon family. It was a great time of fellowship and the kids played outside (more PE). As we were traveling to visit friends, we listened to the story of Handel in the car (multi-tasking). 

After visiting the Colon Family, we then visited my friend Karyn and her kids. Karyn's family is in the process of adopting two boys from China. I love Karyn's passion for adoption and kids in China. She is constantly posting pictures of kids on Facebook and God used Karyn to show us the need for host families this summer. I'm so thankful for each friendship that God has given over the years. It is fun to see how God uses different people in our lives at different times. Who knew that a friendship developed our first year of homeschooling at a co-op would be the friend that God used to lead us to host P-Man? God is so good!!


On our way home, we stopped by my friend Ali's house. It was fun to meet her precious new baby Pearl! The girls enjoyed holding a baby again. 



Ali and I have been friends for over 13 years! We met when I was still working at Deloitte. I'm so thankful that God brought her into my life and that we've stayed in touch over the years.


Saturday mornings have turned into soccer mornings. Naomi, Sophia, and Micaela are playing soccer this year. This was our last week indoors. Hopefully our warmer weather persists next weekend. I don't look forward to sitting outside for two hours in the cold.

I think that all moms should start a petition to do away with time changes. Even before I was a mom I hated that time of year when we had to change our clocks. It really isn't good on any of us (increase of heart attacks, accidents, and work related incidents the days following time changes). How can we set up a petition to do away with these silly time changes?




Saturday, March 12, 2016

Introduction

I am linking up today with Kelly'sKorner blog. She has a great blog and recently she started up her Show Us Your Life posts again. It is a fun way to meet other people and get ideas. Today's post is introduce yourself.


My name is Rebecca Harder and I've been blogging for a year. I had an old blog that I wrote years ago, but I got too busy to keep it up. Last year I decided to take blogging up again as a way to document what God was doing in our lives. I mainly blog about my life, my family, homeschooling, and my faith. I also blog about living with cancer...I don't have cancer, but my husband has been fighting brain cancer this last year.

I'm 37 years old and I've been married to my husband Wayne for 17 years. Wayne and I met in college at our church's college group. Wayne is a tax accountant and I'm a stay at home/homeschooling mom. Before I had kids, I was a tax accountant as well. Wayne and I enjoy doing things together...studying the Bible, biking, hiking, taking family walks, etc. We are both go-getters, so we tend to push ourselves to accomplish things.

I enjoy reading and running in my spare time (which I don't have a lot of). I also have a huge passion for orphans.

We have been blessed with six daughters. Abigail 12, Grace 11, Naomi 10, Sophia 8, Micaela 5, and Joella 3. It is amazing to see everyone's different personalities, talents, and interests develop as they grow.

Wayne and I are originally from northern California. We moved to Chicago in 2001 so Wayne could attend Moody Bible Institute. Although our plan was to stay here just for school, God had other plans. We still aren't used to winters after all these years (I guess reading about friends in California wearing sandals and shorts in March when we are still wearing winter coats doesn't help).



Last year our lives were turned upside down when my husband had a grad mal seizure on 2/11/15. The doctors discovered a lemon sized tumor in his left frontal lobe. We just celebrated one year since his awake craniotomy. God has been so faithful to us during this journey. We finished our chemo treatments November 2015. We celebrated this momentous occasion by taking a family trip to Florida in December. Relaxing by the pool for a week was just what we needed after a long 9 month battle with cancer. God has truly carried us through this time and our goal from that beginning has been for God to get all the glory...which He gets all the glory!

We are excited for a new adventure for our family this summer. First, we are taking a family mission trip to Canada. When we return, we are going to host a 9 year old boy from China. I'll be blogging a ton this summer about these adventures and any other adventure that God brings our way






Wednesday, March 9, 2016

One Year: God's Faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new  every morning; great is your faithfulness."

Psalms 36:5 "Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds."


(Right before leaving for surgery)

One year ago today I was waiting for Wayne to get out of surgery. It wasn't just any surgery, but brain surgery. As I look back a year ago, it feels like a dream...a bad dream. Yet despite how long and hard this day was (and the weeks leading up to surgery from when we discovered Wayne's tumor), it was the beginning of an amazing journey. It was the first day of many where we saw God do amazing things in Wayne's life. God is so good and so faithful!! 


(In the ICU after surgery)

We have seen countless answers to prayer, we have seen God's mighty healing hand-His Jehovah Rapha hand, we have seen God provide, and we have learned tremendous lessons while walking this journey. Would I have chosen this path to walk? Absolutely not, and yet I am thankful that God has allowed us to walk it because God has taught us so much. We have learned what an awesome, all-powerful God we serve. We have learned that we need to live each day to the fullest for God since none of us know how long we have here on earth. We have also learned to fully trust God and surrender our dreams and hopes to Him. He is sovereign and has a bigger plan in store, even if we can't see it. 

A year ago we were uncertain if Wayne would be able to walk and talk normal after surgery, if he would return to work...our future was unknown. Today Wayne is working normal busy season hours (which means crazy hours), takes family walks, rides his bike, he plays basketball, and has even preached. If you knew Wayne before, you will notice a few minor differences, but overall, God has brought him a complete healing! We are so thankful for how God has answered prayers!


I want to thank all of you for your prayers for Wayne and our family. Please continue to pray for us! Our next MRI is coming up next month. We rest knowing that God controls the future and we leave it in His hands. Instead of worrying about the "what ifs", we have decided to embrace each day that God gives us. We are excited to see what God has in store for us in the future as we completely surrender the future to Him!! 




Friday, March 4, 2016

Kings and Queens

Kings and Queens by Audio Adrenaline



Little hands, shoeless feet
Lonely eyes looking back at me
Will we leave behind the innocent too brief
On their own, on the run 
When their lives have only begun
These could be our daughters and our sons
And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating
I know my God won't let them be defeated
Every child has a dream to belong and be loved




(Chorus)
Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout Your name in victory
When we love, when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these




Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Won't you look around 
These are the lives that the world has forgotten
Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open




Chorus

If not us, who will be like Jesus
To the least of these
If not us tell me who will be like Jesus
Like Jesus to the least of these

Chorus

*****************************************

I heard this song on the radio recently and it made me think of the 153 million orphans around the world. It is so easy to hear a number like that and forget just how large of a number it is. I read that 81.5 million people in the US have considered or thought about adoption, but haven't taken the step to adopt. If only 1 out of 500 adults adopted, there would be no more waiting children. Many of us come up with excuses for why we shouldn't adopt...we have too many kids, kids cost too much money, how would I pay for college, I don't have enough space...the list goes on. I love reading stories of people who have stepped out in faith and adopted, even though it didn't make sense financially or logically. They felt God calling them and they stepped out in faith. I don't know about you, but my God is big enough to make all the "problems" or "fears" of adopting go away. 

I love Isaiah 40! The passage speaks about the majestic nature of God and just how marvelous He is! Listen to this from Isaiah 40:12 "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?" Does that sound like someone who can't provide money, space, or solutions if you are called to adopt? 

I know I've said it before, but we are all excited about this summer and hosting P-Man from China. Yes, there will be some difficult things to figure out (he doesn't speak English, food selection, etc), but we know that God called us to take this step. I'm sure many people will think we are crazy. I mean we have six kids already, why would they want to take on more? Why? Because we are called to be the hands and feet of God to the least of these. Why not us?? I'm sure we could come up with plenty of legitimate excuses (we have six kids already and live in a "small" home, Wayne's cancer last year and the unknown future, etc). BUT, God didn't call us to live a life of luxury, relaxation, or living in the "known". None of us know how long we have here on earth and we want to live every day to the fullest serving God, trusting Him and His plans, and loving on those who matter to Him.

James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Would you consider hosting, fostering, being a Safe Family, adopting, or helping others taking that step of faith? Please take time and ask God how He wants you to respond and take that leap of faith with us!