Saturday, January 20, 2018

Journaling Through the Bible: Joseph's Dreams

A Mom's Quest to Teach

"Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, 'Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me."
Genesis 37:9 NKJV

As much as I love reading the story of Joseph, I have always had trouble understanding why he continues to share his dreams when his brothers are obviously envious. Maybe Joseph is so innocent that he does not see their envy. Is Joseph only seeking the approval of his brothers and father when he shares these dreams? 

Why do we share our own dreams? Sometimes our dreams are funny and we want to share the laugh with a friend or loved one. Sometimes they are scary and talking about them makes them less scary. Perhaps sharing them helps others understand why we may be reacting differently to events than before we experienced the bad dream. But why does Joseph share the dreams that get him into so much trouble?

It seems like the sharing of his dreams begins the plotting against Joseph by his brothers. It really kicked the journey towards sin in the hearts of his brothers into high gear.

I think one needs to skip to the end of Genesis to see the end of the story to truly understand how it all would work out in the end.

"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." Genesis 50:20 NKJV

Despite the brothers' envy and jealousy, if they had not sold their brother into slavery he might not have saved 'many people,' including his own family. I find it very probable that Joseph would not have journeyed to Egypt, become an aide to the Pharaoh, and planned for a future famine if he was not sold into slavery. Things really do have a way of working out.

© Aask | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

I have to admit that I am probably more familiar with the story of Joseph than other Old Testament stories thanks to the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. I cannot even remember how many times I have seen it on the stage as well as viewing the film starring Donny Osmond.

"I dreamed I saw eleven stars,
The Sun the moon and sky,
Bowing down before my star..."
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat lyrics to Josephs' Dreams

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ten Things You May Not Know about the Mom of 'A Mom's Quest to Teach'

A Mom's Quest to Teach
Gypsy - Boer Goat
Affiliate links included within this blog post. 

Reptiles, Birds of Prey, and Goats, Oh, My! 

I have mentioned before that I worked at a zoo. During my tenure at the zoo, I volunteered with the Development Department, Marketing Department, and Education Department. I also was on the staff for many years as an education substitute and then full time as a classroom educator. For a few short months I had the pleasure of helping to take care of the Children Zoo's goats and sheep (and I loved every minute of it!).

A Mom's Quest to Teach
Sunshine - West African Pygmy Goat
While working in the education department, I helped take care of our reptiles and amphibians. This meant everything from daily care (cleaning cages/terrariums) to feeding (which might be only bi-monthly for some of the larger reptiles). I also helped write and design lesson plans and curriculum with some of the best people.

A Mom's Quest to Teach
Sunshine - Box Turtle

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Roxanne - Boa Constrictor 

Go Boldly into a Galaxy Far Away...with Unicorns and Elves  

I have been a fan of the science fiction/fantasy genre of books, television, and movies for quite a long time. My love of sci-fi/fantasy might have started with my mom introducing me to Star Wars helping me be Princess Leia from The Return to the Jedi. My mom and uncle also introduced me to Star Trek and I remember seeing several of the movies with the original cast and then the Next Generation cast in the theater. I also enjoy movies like Legend, The Last Unicorn, and Labyrinth. Among the authors that I enjoy reading are: Mercedes Lackey, Orson Scott Card, and Ray Bradbury.

I Used to Like Video Games...

A Mom's Quest to Teach
Fallout 4

As you might have guessed from my Minecraft post, I enjoy video games - both playing and watching others play them. Some of my favorite games include those that I can play with my husband (and stepson now that he is older) like those in the Borderlands series.  I also enjoy the single player games like Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, Oblivion, and Skyrim. I enjoy the stories that are told as much as the game play. Depending on your child, these games may not be age appropriate to share with them, so please review ratings and video game play before making an choices for your own family.

(P.S. This title is a reference to Skyrim's "I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow to the knee.")


One of the most difficult things to share with people is the fact that I suffer from anxiety. In today's world, it should be easy to state that fact since both anxiety and depression receive attention from the media. Yet, it has never been easy for me to share details about me that I count in my weakness column.

Most days I can function pretty normally, but there are times when my anxiety hits me hard; making it difficult to be the wife and mom I need to be for my family. Thankfully my immediate family is very understanding and forgiving. They stand with me as I work through challenges and panic attacks. They are okay with changes in plans for outings or activities if my anxiety makes it difficult for me to leave the house (let alone the bedroom). I also find that having a commitment to homeschool our younger children and having a well-polished blog helps me find purpose each day. But there are times when I wish I owned the t-shirt that states: "I am sorry I am late, I didn't want to come" because I still have days where attending family functions and other events is nearly impossible.

"One Day More"

In the past, I highly enjoyed going to the theater to see musicals with my mom. In the past 8 years or so, I have not really enjoyed that due to my anxiety and depression. Some of my favorite musicals include The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and My Fair Lady. I am fortunate enough that -- living near a metropolitan city -- I have been able to attend many touring productions of popular musicals. But I did get to see the original cast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast on Broadway as part of a bus trip.  It was excellent!

© Casadphoto | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Let's Go...Ice Hockey 

Ever since I was little, I have been an ice hockey fan. Again, I owe the introduction to ice hockey to my family, in particular my mom. For a number of years, my family had season tickets to our local ice hockey team and I fondly remember attending games (bundled up in my snowsuit). We would leave early but listen to the third period on the radio while my mom drove home.

My stepson has been playing ice hockey since he was seven years old. It has been a joy to watch him grow and play on numerous teams (sometimes alongside NHL players' sons). Up till this year he has only had one major injury, a broken arm in 2011, but that changed with 2017. He is old enough now that he is playing in a checking league which means intentional contact with other players. And unfortunately, he received a concussion this fall. We are very grateful that it is a very mild concussion but it is really scary as a mom to think what if it was worse.

"I have an intelligence of 6"

A Mom's Quest to Teach

Okay, my characters actually have higher intelligence scores than six but it is great quote from Travis Willingham of Critical Role.

Ever since my husband and I married, he has been trying to get me to play role-playing games with him, his son, and family.  I have to admit I was very hesitant because, after all, people who play D&D are geeks, right? After much soul-searching, I finally realized, "Wait, I am already a geek!" and joined him in playing a modified version of Dungeons and Dragons.

I have a host of characters that I created including an Elven Magic-User and her red-tailed hawk, a Human Fighter and her 6 month-old owlbear, an Elven Druid, a Human Cleric, and a Dwarven Thief. The characters that I have used most frequently in a 'single-player' campaign are my Magic-User, Morna, and my Fighter, Zharina.

For those wanting to learn more about role-playing games in general, I recommend taking a look at some of the (free!) rules light versions. There are even RPGs inspired by the likes of Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate SG-1, Middle-earth/The Lord of the Rings, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, James Bond and espionage stories, westerns, post-apocalyptic tropes (such as the Mad Max movies), 1930's urban America, the novel Watership Down, Marvel Comics and DC Comics superheroes, and multiples based on various eras of world history.

What could go wrong with being a Z Nation Fan?  

Unlike many people, I am not currently following The Walking Dead but I do enjoy Z Nation on the SyFy channel. I did watch The Walking Dead for several seasons but I prefer the humor of Z Nation. The idea that there is one person, Murphy, who is immune to the zombie virus interests me more than some of the stories of the genre. I do find it funny that there are so many people who have a strong dislike for one series or the other.

"Once Upon a Midnight Dreary"

In high school, I started volunteering at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. I really enjoyed learning from the Park Rangers and sharing my love of Poe with visitors from around the world. I was also able to develop my own tour comparing and contrasting Vincent Price's Poe films with the actual poems and short stories.

A Mom's Quest to Teach
My collection of Edgar Allan Poe related books. 

"I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire"...I just want to listen to Music 

I think I have a rather eclectic taste in music. I used to enjoy going to concerts to see some of my mom's favorite artists including Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, and Huey Lewis and the News. I also have among my music collection KISS, Kansas, The Heavy, and Billie Holiday. Thanks to the music of the Fallout series, I have found a love of many new artists including The Ink Spots, Roy Brown, Bob Crosby, and Marty Robbins.

Do you share any similar interests with me?  I would love to hear about your favorite movies, books, video games, and music. 


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Painting with Kwik Stix

Kwik Stix

This is a non-sponsored post. I am sharing my opinion with you regarding this product because we have found them valuable in our household. Affiliate links are included. 

For Christmas, we purchased a 12-set of super quick-drying The Pencil Grip Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint. I had seen these recommended on numerous blog posts and Facebook posts, so I wanted to try them with our children. I was not disappointed. They are great! 

While my 4 year-old son played with his older brother, my daughter and I used her new Kwik Stix to paint a picture of a truck I drew for her. 

Kwik Stix

What I really like about the Kwik Stix is the fast drying time. As my 2 year-old daughter likes to add lots of paint to her art work, having paint that dries very quickly helps prevent all her work from merely look brown or black as the colors blend together.  So, for projects where you want the colors to remain crisp and clean-looking, these are great.  

Kwik Stix

My only concern is how quickly children might use up the paint as they repeatedly press onto the paper as they are painting. I found even my 4 year-old son had the tendency to press too hard with the paint tube. Even with this concern, I highly recommend them. 

We have only used them in two projects so far, but I have lots of ideas as to how they will be useful. 

Kwik Stix
My son's tepee at sunset.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Crafts: Christmas Tree Ornaments

Each year, my children have been making ornaments as presents for their godparents and grandparents.  This year, we made Christmas Trees.



1. Gather all materials.

2. Distribute materials.  We have these trays that were perfect to hold the kids' pieces.

3. I let my children pick out a certain number of pieces to attach to their trees. 

4. Glue three Popsicle sticks together in a triangle/tree shape.


5. After the glue has dried, glue on your decorations.

6. After the glue dries for your decorations, attach strings to the back so you can hang your trees.  If you want them to look more like trees than ours turned out, don't forget to add the trunks!


Fun Craft Kids' Popsicle Tree Ornaments 
One Little Project's Glittering Popsicle Stick Christmas Trees 
Frogs and Fairies' Popsicle Stick Christmas Tree Ornaments
Housing a Forest's Popsicle Stick Christmas Tree Magnet 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Crafts: Christmas Ball Paper Plates

 Christmas Crafts



1. Gather all materials.

Toddler craft supplies

2. Either with the help of your children or before gathering everyone for the craft, cut circles out of the tissue paper.

3.  Glue the tissue paper circles onto the paper plates.

Christmas CraftsChristmas Crafts

4.  Attach the top of the Christmas Ball to the back of the paper plate with glue or tape.

5. Hang in your house. My kids wanted them on the front door.

Christmas Crafts


Crafty Morning's Paper Plate Christmas Ornament for Kids
Artsy Momma's Simple Tissue Paper Christmas Tree Shaped Ornament Craft 
Arty Crafty Kid's Paper Plate Baubles 

Christmas Crafts

Friday, January 12, 2018

Journaling Through the Bible: Rebekah

"But before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah, coming out with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down to the well and drew water. And I said to her, 'Please let me drink.' And she made haste and let her pitcher down from her shoulder, and said, 'Drink, and I will give your camels a drink also.' So I drank, and she gave the camels a drink also."
Genesis 24: 45-46 

From my reading of Chapter 24 of Genesis, I took away two points: the importance of praying for assistance and serving with grace.

Abraham's servant prays to God that the next woman who comes to the well will "...'be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master's son.'" (Genesis 24:44) Too often in my life, I tend to forget to ask the Lord for help.  He is willing to provide answers.  I must remember to pray and ask. The Lord provided Abraham's servant with an answer to his prayer - a bride for Abraham's son.  The beautiful Rebekah goes willingly to marry Issac.

© Branok | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

The second key point that I took was: serving others with grace is very important.  Rebekah gladly serves Abraham's trusted servant, at his request.  She didn't just retrieve water for the servant but also for his ten camels who must have been thirsty as they were laden with bridal gifts.  Rebekah poured water for the servant and his camels  and showed her willingness to help others in her actions.  Serving others is sometimes taken for granted.  As a mom, I serve others all the time.  It seems endless but it is so important to serve others with grace.

(Tradition holds that Abraham's servant's name is Eliezer but there is not definitive proof that he is the same man mentioned in Genesis 15:2.)

How do you remember to ask for assistance?  When you serve others, do you remember to do so with grace?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Book Club: Reading List for 2018

How many books do you want to read this year? How many books did you read last year?

Last year, according to my Goodreads account, I read 107 books which included biography, fiction, non-fiction, young adult, children’s, science fiction, fantasy, horror, comic books, and others. I kept track of all my books (even those I read with my children) to have a complete record. This year I am challenging myself to read the same number of books (100) as last year. 

There are twelve specific books I want to read during 2018, in addition to those that I pick up at the library on our weekly trip with the kids.

I received this book last year for Christmas and it sat among my 'to read' books all year.  I am determined it will be completed by the time Christmas comes again.

I purchased this edition many years ago to discover more about the men who lived during one of my favorite time periods in history.  I have read many other non-fiction and fiction books that provide accounts of the Tudor time and I have many more left to read on my shelves.

3) A Study in Sable by Mercedes Lackey


At one point in my life, I enjoyed reading almost all of Lackey's books.  I would purchase them as soon as they were published (sometimes waiting for paperback) and I have read and reread many of her novels.  Of late, I have drifted away from her books and I hope that this helps recapture the enjoyment I garnered from them when I was in college.

4) The King's Confidante by Jean Plaidy

This is one of the many fictional books of the Tudor Time period that I wish to read. I have read others in the same time period by Plaidy and enjoyed them. 

5) Star Wars: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson 

I enjoyed reading some of the other more recent Star Wars books and I hope that this will continue that trend.

6) You're Already Amazing by Holley Gerth

I find that like many individuals I tend to judge myself harshly.  I am hopeful that this book will help me see that I am "already awesome."

7) God Loves You by Dr. David Jeremiah

8) A Life Beyond Amazing by Dr. David Jeremiah

My husband introduced me to the work of Dr. David Jeremiah a little over a year ago.  I have found Turning Point and his other works to be encouraging and I am eagerly awaiting reading these two books.

9) Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

In addition to some of the other books I have chosen that might fit in the 'self-help' category, I selected this one amongst those recommended by friends.

10) Doctor Turner's Casebook based on the BBC Hit Drama Call the Midwife

I don't know exactly when I discovered the TV series Call the Midwife, but I am really glad that it has become one of the few shows I eagerly look forward to each Christmas and Spring.  I have read the books by Jennifer Worth (which provided the basis for the show) and I am looking forward to reminiscing about some of my favorite characters and episodes with this 2017 Christmas gift.

This was also a 2017 Christmas gift.  I have read all the books in the Mitford Series and I am looking forward to trying out some of the recipes made famous by Karon's characters.

12) The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Over the years during high school and college, I read most of Dickens' books  There are still a few that sit unread on my shelf and this year I am determined to cross another off my 'to read' list.

Have you read any of the books on my list?  Do any of these sound interesting to you?  Please let me know in the comments if you set reading goals for yourself (or your family) each year.

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Kristen has read 0 books toward her goal of 100 books.

Looking for a new homeschool curriculum?  Take a look at the 2018 Fresh Start, New Year sale at It is an opportunity for homeschooling families to add a wealth of resources (including many eBooks!), electives, and new course options to their curriculum lineup for the second semester - and at a super-affordable price!

A Mom's Quest to Teach