Heavenly Sunlight

This is one of my very favorite songs to sing in church. Okay – I truly like so many that it is not fair to say I have favorites but this one struck something in my heart today.

I thought about all those I know. Those who have been struggling under a load. Those whose worlds have seemed dim or have recently gotten dimmer from loss of a loved one. Those whose bright blue, sun-lit skies have been darkened for whatever reasons.

Whatever had made your worlds seem less bright, I want to offer you the encouragement from the words of this hymn. The second verse is what got my attention so that is what I am sharing with you.

Heavenly Sunlight

At Home.

L is for Looking at Microscope Slides

L looking at slides

We have spent this week looking through various lenses and talking about what a scientist is and does. We have talked about asking and answering questions and how using magnifying glasses, microscopes, binoculars, and telescopes can help them.

As part of the microscope study, I have created a page for the girls to complete, comparing four different levels of magnification. I thought someone might be interested in it as well. I designed it to be a comparison of a single slide using a handheld magnifying glass and three different levels of magnification on the microscope. But, you could easily adapt it to compare others magnifiers that you might be studying.

L looking at slides pic

microscope slide comparison PDF
(click here to print a copy)

**Feel free to use this but do not sell it or claim it as your own. Please share this and link back to http://3gigglygirlsathome.wordpress.com/ and list At Home: where life happens as the creator.**

I’ll be sharing more about our study of microscopes as part of our Poppins Book Nook post on Monday. I will also have another printable to go along with this study. At Home.

Cleaning Up – weeks 1, 2, & 3

I am joining in with Michele who blogs at Family, Faith, and Fridays. She has begun a weekly series: 34 Weeks of Clean. Her goal is to help us get our homes tidier and closer to clutter free by the time the next holiday season rolls around. You can read more about it in her first post.

Due to some things that have been going on around here, I didn’t get a chance to work on the first two weeks’ tasks when they were first posted. But, they were good tasks and needed tasks. So, I am combining all three of the first tasks but I am modifying them a bit to keep from overwhelming myself.

Week 1: Christmas décor

We did finally get our Christmas decorations put away. And while we were doing that, I purged. I do this every year, whittling out the items that are torn or not in good shape or we just don’t love any more. The girls are just as sentimental as I am so not much goes away. That being said, I was able to combine a few things and get rid of several boxes. In the process, we also mended and repaired a few items that were broken either in storage over the year or in the joy of the holiday season. The most serious repair was a nutcracker who had lost his head! It was a grumpy elf day so you don’t get any pictures of it. Instead, enjoy this lovely picture of holly berries, representative of all the Christmas joy that we were packing away.

Clean - substitute Christmas pic

Week 2: Pantry

This one was not too bad for me because the kitchen is one area that I am pretty conscientious about keeping straight and knowing what we have. I keep the pantry purged pretty well and I worked hard on organizing it about two years ago. I must have done a decent job because it has stayed and everyone puts things up where they go. It has stayed with this basic organization for at least two years. I did do some tidying and tossed a few small items. I don’t have a picture of the entire pantry after the bit of work I did but here is a before picture. We keep our aprons and lunch bags hung on the door with those hooks that don’t damage walls.


Here are the shelves of the pantry.

Clean - Pantry top

Clean - pantry middle

Clean - Pantry bottom

Week 3: Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

This is where I modified big time. Part of the reason I modified is because I like the organization of the kitchen. When we moved in but before we unpacked, we talked about where things would work best for the way both my husband and I cook and clean. We were thoughtful about where things were put and we like where things ended up. The other part of the reason I modified is that since I didn’t need to reorganize – only purge – and I was combining three weeks worth of tasks, I didn’t feel it best to pull everything out of the cabinets and drawers. I tackled several of our problem areas. Here are the after pictures of the areas I tackled.

Clean - cabinets

Clean - drawer 2

Clean  - drawer 1

I still have a couple of areas to work on, like the one where we keep our food processor, extra plastic containers and aluminum pans to be able to take food to those who need it, and a host of other larger items and the one where we keep our cookie cutters, toaster oven, and miscellaneous items. (I think it is the miscellaneous items that always get to be the problems. Hmmm – something to think about…)

I can’t wait to see what Michele has for our task for the next week but I am sure it is an area that can use some attention. At Home.

Shipwreck Dinner

Make It Work Monday is a different type of post today. A recipe. For you to make work for your family.

This is one of those simple, quick dinners (or lunches) that is filling and not expensive. Something we really needed tonight. We went on a field trip today. We left at 10 and got home at dinner. I needed something I could get on the table in about 30 minutes. This is it.

Shipwreck Dinner

Basic Ingredients:
1 C long grain rice, cooked according to package directions

1 C ground meat, browned (We used ground turkey.)

1/2 C chopped onion

2 carrots, sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup corn

1 cup peas

2 T olive oil

salt, pepper, garlic powder – to taste


Directions: Cook the rice according to package directions. Put the onion in a skillet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the sliced carrots. Cook for about 3 minutes more. Add the bell peppers and cook for about 5 minutes. Heat your corn and peas and then add them to the mixture. Add the browned meat. Once the rice is cooked, add it to the skillet as well. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.


The beauty of this recipe is that the recipe is not set in stone. No peas or corn but you have left over mixed veggies? Or maybe just some broccoli? Perfect. Toss it in. No rice but you have some quinoa? Definitely. (This, by the way, is something I really want to do but on one else likes quinoa in the family.) No ground meat? Leave it out or throw in some of that leftover chicken. Whatever you have on hand works. If you like other flavors and spices, by all means, add them. I am pretty basic in what I like so I don’t do too much but my husband will add lots of spices.

The name is flexible as well. You can call it whatever you want. My husband calls it dirty rice. I like to call it Shipwreck Dinner. The girls go back and forth.

Whatever you put in and whatever you call it, this is a simple combination for a quick, healthy dinner that hits the table in about 30 minutes. At Home.
Make It Work Monday Title

Good Reads At Christmas, part 3

Good Reads part 3I know. This is A LOT late. But, maybe its better late than never. Regardless, something to pin for next Christmas, right? Let’s get started with the final installment.

Strega Nona book

Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola – This is another of the wonderful books by one of our favorite author/illustrators about doing for others and enjoying your ability to do so. The activity to go with this one is baking something for others and sharing it with them. We chose to bake cookies.



Twelve Days book

The Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrated by Claire Counihan- We have this book illustrated through decorated cookies and candy. It is awesome! We could have chosen to make cookies for this book’s activity but we have planned that for a few other books. Instead, we each designed and illustrated our own 12 Days of Christmas Tree.



Santa Bear book

The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan and Jan Berentain – A fun book that reminds us there is more to Christmas than want, want, want. The girls got to help Daddy pick out gifts to give to someone in need and wrap them for the little boy and his mother.



Mole Family book

The Mole Family’s Christmas by Russell and Lilian Hoban – This is a book we stumbled upon but fell in love with. Giving out of love is shown so clearly in this book and the magic of Christmas shows up in unexpected ways. The Mole Family wants a telescope for Christmas to see the stars so we went outside and used our telescope to view the stars.



It's Christmas book

It’s Christmas by Jack Prelutsky – We absolutely adore his poetry. The girls enjoy writing so they wrote some poetry after looking at this use of descriptions and rhymes and other poetic conventions. J just did hers aloud.




Santa book

The Santa Claus Book: A Golden Super Shape Book – This book is just like one I had when I was little. I was so excited to find this one and some others in excellent condition at the library books sale a year ago. For this, we printed out a Santa Clause face with a countdown on it, even though it was pretty far along in the month when we got to this book. J really wanted to make a countdown using cotton balls for Santa’s beard. I did a search on the internet and found one she liked. I didn’t think to keep track of where I found it, so if you happen to recognize the one on the right and know where it is from, please let me know and I will give credit where it is due by including a link to the site.Santa countdowns




Nutcracker book

The Nutcracker. The retelling that we read was very different from others we have read before and had lovely pictures. We painted nutcracker ornaments that were found at a local craft store. We also got to go see The Nutcracker Ballet performed live. A wonderful opportunity if you have it but there are plenty of videos and you can often catch it on television, as well.Nutcracker ornaments


Rudolph book

Parents.com Rudolph cookies
Parents.com Rudolph cookies

The Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Book: A Golden Shape Book – This is another of the shape books that I remember from childhood. So much fun! My activity plans for this book were on the assumption that we would hit it during a school week and I have lots of cool printable sheets to go along with it. We may pull some of those out just for fun.  We also could have made Rudolph cookies. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest. I liked these from Parents.com. The girls had never seen the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that I grew up watching on TV. I had bought it last week because we don’t have access to watching it unless we own it. So, we watched Rudolph. They loved it and have noticed several stamps on letters and things around the house that have the Rudolph illustration on them.


Max Christmas book

Max’s Christmas by Rosemary Wells – The girls seem to really appreciate this one because Max asks so many questions and is not satisfied with the answers he is given. We did not do an activity to go with this but one I do have one that might be fun. The last illustration shows Max with lots of wrapped presents and the girls have always enjoyed trying to guess what each was. A fun activity would be to hide various items under blankets or in wrappings of any sort and to have the kids describe the attributes of each, trying to guess what they are. Sort of like they try to do with Christmas presents, anyway.


Candy Cane

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg – This one is new to us and we all fell in love with it. Next year, I hope this one pops up in our rotation sooner so that we can hand out candy canes. With it coming up on Christmas Eve, we didn’t have an opportunity. We had planned to hand out candy canes with a tag attached to them describing the colors and shapes and their attributes to help remind us of Jesus and his sacrifice for us. These could be handed out in a neighborhood, at church, or any gathering of folks. There are lots of free printable tags available to go along with this activity.

So that’s it. Finally. All of the books and activities we did during the month of December. There were lots and it kept me really busy trying to figure out the activity each night after they had unwrapped a book. Maybe next year I will be a little more on top of things and decide all of this before I wrap the books and forget which ones I wrapped. We’ll find out, I guess. At Home.

K is for … Keeping Track

K is for Keeping Track with a free printable chart from At Home: where life happens

As we get further along the reading trail, I find that it is so easy for me to lose track of what we have done each week. Part of this is because I have been a little lax about setting goals. The other part is that J doesn’t have a good way to tell what progress she is making. So, I have decided to make both of those concrete this month and into the future.

The goal: 10 books on level per week. More if she can but at least 10.
Progress measure: a chart that she can mark off.


K Keeping TrackK Keeping Track PDF

J asked for a chart so I created one for her. We are printing it off and posting it. Each time she completes a book, she gets to put a sticker over the next number on the chart. (Bonus: number practice and as she completes charts, counting by 10s.) She loves giraffes and purple so I chose those for this first chart. As we move along, I will be adding more charts for her and I will try to remember to share them with you all.

If you would like your own copy of this chart, just click the link below the picture for a PDF file to print.

I would enjoy hearing about the various ways you have kept track of reading with your students. Please share your ideas in the comments. And as J takes off with reading, we will be marking off numbers and completing charts. At Home.

J is for … Joy

Something that has been on my heart a lot lately is joy. What is it? Where does it come from? What does it mean? How do we show it? How do we see it? How do we share it?

Joy is defined on Dictionary.com as

the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

Just reading through that brings a feeling of joy to my heart, though it is heavy with worldly thoughts. The reason: when I think of JOY, I think of God and all that He has done and is doing in my life.

A while back, I wrote a study about the Fruit of the Spirit, of which joy is a part. I shared that in this blog post. Feel free to go back and look at it. I did. I looked at the verses I chose for that study.

Some of the verses I chose:

Deuteronomy 16:15 For seven days celebrate the festival to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

I Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

Proverbs 15:20 A wise son brings joy to his father but a foolish man despises his mother.


Luke 24:52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy my brothers when you experience trials of many kinds.

It showed me that joy can be found in any number of different place and any number of different ways. But there is one common thread that runs through joy – it can be found in God. He is the source of joy. He has plans for each of us and He will guide us to joy that is everlasting.


This is the word I will be focusing on this year. Finding joy in everything. Every day. Every circumstance. Joy. Keen pleasure. Elation. Great delight. Happiness.

What God wants for us is to find joy, pleasure in the gifts He has given us. As your new year begins, I hope you are able to find the joy God has placed within your life and that you will join me in focusing on joy. Focusing on it. Finding it. Sharing it. Bringing it to others. Thanking God for it.



At Home.


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