a week off

>> Monday, August 15, 2011

We've been dealing with a lot of sickness in our household for the past several weeks.  Fortunately I've been well, but the rest of the family... my hubby, both girls, and our cat, have not been so well.  Last week we just decided to take the week off and have a chance to rest and recover.  But this week we are finally back in to school!  Hopefully I'll have some pictures to post by the end of the week.

I've got to share something funny my daughter said to me over the weekend...  we were at the store, and I was holding my youngest daughter's hand.  She's 7, and is at the point where she doesn't want to hold my hand in public.  She'd rather walk a step or two ahead of me, as I guess that way she feels more grown up.  When I asked her why she didn't want to hold my hand she replied she wanted to be like her big sister, and not have to hold my hand anymore.  Well, my older daughter still likes to hold my hand when we go out.  So when she heard her younger sister say this, she came back and held my other hand.  I thought that was so sweet... and then she said, "Mommy, do you know why I want to hold your hand now?"  I thought she was going to say something sweet, but instead she said, "Because I know it won't be much longer that I'll be able to hold your hand... before we know it, instead you'll be holding a walker."  That stinker!  :-)  At least being sick hasn't hurt her sense of humor!


World Cake

>> Thursday, August 4, 2011

I've got the pictures on my computer, so I decided I might as well go ahead and upload them.  At first I had around 20, and decided that was probably too many.  :-)  It's tough to decide which pictures to put up here, but I've finally whittled it down a bit.  :-)

 Here's D, outlining Australia.
 Europe, Africa, Asia...
 A is filling in the oceans.
 I thought about just leaving the continents bare with no frosting, but my kids weren't having any of that!  :-)
 Filling in the continents...
Voila!  Our finished Cake!
 Two proud girls  :-)
 But of course no cake is complete without sprinkles! :-)
Sugar!  :-)


Week 2

We've only got one more day for week two, and we're doing great!  We did have a light week of school this week, though.  The girls are going to VBS every morning from 9-12, and it's just too much to have 3-4 hours of school in the afternoon.  So we've been doing the fun stuff, and the things that would be too hard to catch up with next week. 

I didn't take many pictures this week, until today.  We made a cake and decorated it like a map of the world.  That was so much fun!  I took lots of pictures of this activity, and will try to post them this weekend. 

This morning the girls got up early so they could help me make the cake and get it in the oven before breakfast.  Once it cooled I found a map in one of our school books that was about the size of our cake.  I unfolded a paper  napkin and placed it over the map, then carefully traced the shapes of the continents in pencil.  For the continents that were very close or touching (Africa, Europe, Aisia; North and South America) I made it all one shape, to make it easier for my girls to decorate.  Then I cut out the continent shapes and carefully placed the napkin shapes on our cake in the correct places.  This afternoon the girls mixed up some blue and green frosting, and took turns tracing the shapes of the continents with the blue icing in a ziplock bag with the tip cut off.  Next they filled in the blue oceans, then took the napkins off the cake and filled in the rest with green.  Oh, my oldest daughter suggested we use the plain white frosting for Antarctica, since it's not green that far south.  :-)  The finished product was great!  We lost quite a bit of detail when spreading the frosting, but you can still tell which continents are which.  The perfectionist in me really wanted to take over and do it all myself, but I had to keep reminding myself that this is for my girls, not me.  :-)  And they really did a great job!  I did help a little, and did just a bit of touch up work.  But for the most part, my girls decorated the cake! 

I'll try to post pictures either later today, or sometime this weekend.  Enjoy your weekend!  :-)


Week 1 pictures

>> Saturday, July 30, 2011

Here is a collection of pictures from our school work this week.  The girls have sure had a lot of fun this week, and so have I!  :-)

 D & A drew the continents on oranges...

 We sliced and peeled the oranges, then tried to put them back together in a flat map.  Here is D's orange...
 ...and A's orange.

 Here is A's John 3:16 poster...
 ...and D's John 3:16 poster.

 Wednesday the girls studied our backyard habitat.

 Later we went on a nature walk at the park.  A sat down on the bench and drew a water fall.

 On Thursday we started an experiment with worms.  We'll keep an eye on them during the next week and see how they mix the layers of the soil.
 watching the worms wiggle around in the dirt
 A is drawing her findings for her science notebook.
D is drawing her observations for her science notebook

This has been such a fun week learning about the world God has created!  We're looking forward to see what else we'll discover next week!  :-)


Week 1 - Day 4

>> Thursday, July 28, 2011

What a wonderful week this has been!  We've still got one more day of school this week, but it looks like tomorrow will be a light day.  Which works out great, as by Friday we're usually ready for a break.  :-)

I'm hoping I'll be able to post some pictures this weekend of our first week of school.  We didn't take any pictures the first couple days as my oldest was sick and feeling pretty miserable, but starting Wednesday we started taking pictures.

Here's a bit of a recap of our week.  Monday we started the week with prayer, saying the pledges, and taking communion.  I think I already wrote about the rest of Monday.  The highlight for the girls was filling out their passport applications.

Tuesday we learned about Ecosystems, and read about what the first ecosystem in the Garden of Eden might have been like.  We did all the basic things... spelling, handwriting, math, LA, geography and science.  For art the girls each made a John 3:16 poster.  They cut out pictures of people from around the world and pasted them onto their colored paper, then wrote the Bible verse to go along with it and pasted that on their papers, as well.  They put those posters in their geography notebooks.

Wednesday during Bible we read a book called God Speaks Numanggang, about a family who moved to Papua New Guinea 30-40 years ago to start working on a Bible translation.  That was an interesting book.  The girls' favorite activity was a nature walk we took in the park.  Each of the girls took a clipboard, blank paper, colored pencils and a magnifying glass.  We walked one of the trails at the park and they each chose something to draw.  My oldest drew a waterfall, my youngest drew a rock.  Yeah, that pretty much sums them up.  :-)   We'll try to plan a nature walk every week.

Today in science we learned about niches.  The girls really enjoyed today's activity!  We filled a large pickle jar (empty and cleaned, of course) with layers of moist soil, sand, soil, sand, and a thin layer of oats on top.  We were going to try to dig up some worms in the back, but the ground is too dry so we weren't able to find any today.  Instead we drove to the local sporting goods store and bought a dozen night crawlers.  We brought  them home and had fun dropping them into our jar.  My youngest wouldn't touch the worms, of course.  My oldest thoroughly enjoyed playing with the worms.  :-)  They each drew the jar and wrote their observations, then we covered it in dark paper and put it in my closet (a cool dark place).  Each day we'll take out the jar and see how they've mixed the layers as they tunnel down into the soil.  We'll do this for 10 days to two weeks, and when we're finished we'll set the worms free in the garden, if any survive that long.  :-)

Tomorrow looks to be a light day with just the basics.  Hopefully I'll get some pictures posted sometime this week, and next week I'll have more fun school activities to report.  :-)  We're really enjoying this new curriculum!


First Day of School with My Father's World!

>> Monday, July 25, 2011

What a day!  It's been a long day, but overall, a good day!  Unfortunately my oldest daughter has been sick... she felt pretty miserable over the weekend, so this morning we made an appointment for her to see the doctor.  I told her yesterday if she wasn't feeling up to it we didn't have to start school today, but she said she really wanted to.

This morning when I went into my younger daughter's room to wake her up, I noticed she was snuggled under her covers, fully dressed for today wearing khaki's and a long sleeve shirt.  When I woke her I asked if she had gotten up early and gotten dressed, then went back to bed.  She shook her head "no."  I asked when she got dressed and she sleepily replied, "I wanted to be ready for school."  I distinctly remembered her wearing her night gown when I put her in bed last night, so I asked her if she changed into her day clothes after I put her to bed.  "Yes.  I wanted to be ready for school!"  Silly girl!  But I'm really glad she was so excited to start school today!  :-)

Even though my older daughter said she was miserable, she really wanted to start school today.  So after breakfast we opened our day in prayer, then said the pledges to the flags (we have an American flag and Christian flag hanging in our school room).  After that we had communion, then began our learning with reading from Window on the World.  We also reviewed our memory verse for the week, John 3:16.

Some other subjects we worked on this morning were language arts and math.  Then the girls filled out their passport applications.  Since we'll be studying geography this year both girls will receive passports, and get to enter in a sticker for each country we study.  They were pretty excited about filling out their applications, and turning them in to the Passport Office, aka Daddy!

After lunch we made the trip into town to see the doctor.  It turns out my daughter has a left ear infection, a right eye infection, a sinus infection, and possibly bronchitis.  Poor girl!  No wonder she's been so miserable!  On the way home I told her we don't have to do any more school today, she could just relax.  To which she replied, "No, Mommy!  I want to finish school today!"  So once we got home we finished our day with some geography, followed by science.  This year in science we'll be studying ecology.

I think that about sums up our day.  It was a great first day of school!  I wanted to take some pictures, but since my daughter was feeling so miserable I decided to wait on that, until she's feeling better.  I'm thinking we did more than what I've written here, but it's late and I can't really remember.  And this post seems a bit scatterbrained, but I wanted to at least get a quick post up and say how wonderful our day was, despite my daughter being sick.  Hopefully the antibiotics will kick in soon and she'll be feeling better.  And now I'd better get to bed so I can get up early to give her the next dose...  If you've got a moment, she could sure use your prayers that she'll recover quickly from all these infections.  Thanks!


Trials and Blessings

>> Thursday, July 21, 2011

What a month this has been.  We've had plenty of trials, but we've also seen God's hand in our lives.  It's been a month of car repairs, washing machine repairs, and vet bills.  Last week I was praying, asking God how much more could we take?  There were so many unplanned expenses this month... we didn't know where the money was coming from.  We just kept trying to trust God to take care of it.  My husband kept reminding me to be joyful in our trials... but that's really hard to do!

One of our biggest trials this month has been with our cat, Autumn.  Autumn has become such a wonderful part of our family over the past 4 years.  We adopted her 2 days before Christmas, and were so excited to give her a forever home.  It seemed she might have had a rough life.  She was afraid of everything, at first.  The agency we adopted her from said they picked her up as a stray 6 months before.  She was sick and malnourished, and wouldn't trust anyone.  By the time we adopted her she was healthy, but still didn't quite trust people.  But over the past 4 years we've really become attached to her, and she has her place in our home.  She seems happy, she's finally gotten used to having kids around, and is content to just sit in your lap and purr.

Well, a couple weeks ago she started getting sick.  Autumn had an accident outside her litterbox, which she had never done.  We took her to the vet and he ran some tests.  Our first thought was some sort of parasite, but that came back negative.  She was underweight, and not eating.  We took her back again a couple days later, because she seemed to be getting worse.  The vet ran more tests, and called us the next day, asking us to come in.  He said he's not 100% certain, but it looks like Autumn has lymphoma.  Another possibility is Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but the word cancer really stuck in my mind.  Our oldest daughter was at camp, our youngest was home with Grandma.  How could we tell our girls their beloved cat might be dying of cancer?  We told them both when our daughter came home from camp, and that was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  My oldest daughter, especially, was just crushed. 

So yes, it's been a difficult month.  We're seeing some progress with our cat.  I'm not convinced she has cancer; I don't know if I'm just in denial, but I'm not ready to accept it.  The vet did give her a couple of shots that he explained would help her feel better, at least temporarily.  We've changed her diet to something that is good for cats with IBS, in case that's what the problem is.  She's eating again, and is putting on a little weight.  I just keep praying that God will heal her, because I know He cares about the animals He's created.  But if He doesn't heal her, well, I know He knows what is best, and will continue to take care of us.

As far as the finances go, it's amazing how quickly vet bills can grow!  My husband and I decided that we've done all we can.  We won't take her in for any more tests, and we can't afford treatment.  So we'll just make her as comfortable at home as we can.  It's just been tough, with the vet, the car, and the other unplanned expenses.  But you know... God has been trying to show us all this month to trust Him.  My husband and I both subscribe to K-Love's Encouraging Word of the Day.  I've just got to share a recap of the emails we've received...

The day we received the news from the vet, the verse was

Psalm 120:1 -  I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to Him, and He answered my prayer. 

Saturday, the day we had to tell both of our girls the news...
Psalm 3:4 - I cried out to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy mountain.

During this time we were wondering about finances... how were we going to pay for it all?  Sunday's verse was
Psalm 38:15 - For I am waiting for you, O Lord. You must answer for me, O Lord my God.

And the verses continue to be so encouraging!  But now I need to share with you God's blessing in our lives this month.  We experienced something I've heard about, but never experienced myself.  Someone, we have no idea who, gave us a gift on Sunday... a gift that covers every single dollar we've had to pay this month on these unexpected expenses!  It covers the car, the washing machine repair, and all the vet bills!  I've heard of this sort of thing happening, but I've never experienced it myself.  I am humbled and awed that God would provide for us in this way!   It is so apparent to us that this was God answering our cries to Him, providing to us in this amazing way.  It's not a coincidence.  It's God showing us He loves us, and is taking care of us.  The money didn't come before we had the expenses, it came at just the right time.  Like I said, I am so awed and humbled.

The funny thing is, yesterday we took the car in for an oil change.  They did whatever inspection they do when they change the oil... and at the end of the inspection the gentleman informed us that there is an oil leak.  The part to replace isn't that much money, but because of the place it's located, it will take around 15 hours of labor.  Normally this would really stress us out... but after seeing God's hand at work in our lives this week, my husband and I know He's going to take care of us.  I'm not even going to worry about the car.  Oh, and the funny thing is, here are yesterday's and today's verses...
Philippians 4:6 - Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
1 Peter 5:7 - Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
I just have to smile, and trust God.   Because I know He's got it all under control.


A Fly Went Bye Bye

>> Thursday, July 7, 2011

When my youngest daughter was five, one of her favorite books was A Fly Went By.  We would read this book over and over.  And that really has nothing to do with today's post.  Well, other than the title.

Last night after we put the girls to bed, my oldest told me my youngest was in desperate need for me to come upstairs - there was a fly in her room.  I went up to see what all the fuss was about.  I can't catch a fly, they're way too fast.  And I didn't want to squish it... anyway, she was freaking out because there was a fly on the edge of her bed.  She had a crumpled up tissue that she pressed into my hand, and told me to "get it."  Yeah, right.  Well, I figured I'd try, and then it would fly somewhere else.  It was a big old fly, one of those fat lazy ones.  Probably at the end of its life.  I grabbed at the fly with the tissue... and guess what?  I caught it!  But then what do I do with it?  I didn't want to throw it in the trash, it would crawl out and fly around the house.  I didn't want to throw it outside, I figured it would come right back in.  So I did the only logical thing I could think of... took it downstairs to flush it.

Well, when I lifted the lid, I noticed someone forgot to flush.  Gross.  Oh well, I was planning on flushing, anyway.  I threw the tissue and fly into the toilet and flushed.  But then the tissue came back up.  I figured the fly probably drowned, and was about to flush again, when I saw the fly float out of the tissue toward the surface of the water.  I couldn't imagine it would be alive, but before I got a chance to flush... it flew out of the water!  Unbelievable!  So now I had a pee soaked half drowned fly, buzzing around the bathroom.  Fortunately I had shut the door.  First the fly landed on the toilet.  I grabbed some toilet paper and made a swipe at him... but apparently his near death experience gave him a boost of adrenaline, because he was quicker than me.  Great.  Then he tried to get out of the bathroom, and landed on the door.  I was afraid it would fly out under the door, as there is a pretty big gap there.  But I was able to catch him that time, and lost no time in flushing him.  I watched carefully, and this time both the fly and toilet paper went down to their watery grave, and didn't come back up.  Although after that I was a bit nervous to use the toilet, because you never know...

When I told my children the rest of the story of what happened to the fly after I took it downstairs, my oldest said I should make this story into a children's book.  And my youngest said, "Yeah.  It could be a Little Golden Book."  Oh my.


19 days and counting

>> Wednesday, July 6, 2011

This past Friday was our latest Box Day.  We received our school supplies, and had fun looking through all our new books.  Our math books came today, so now we're all set for the upcoming year! 

This is going to be such a busy month!  On Sunday our oldest goes to camp, and she's so excited!  The day after she gets home from camp both girls will be staying with their grandparents for a week.  Their church is having VBS, so the girls are looking forward to going to that.  Then on July 25th we start our first day of school!  :-)

I've spent the past few days looking through our curriculum, and at first I was a bit intimidated.  The instructor's guide seems a lot more detailed than what I'm used to.  But after spending more time with it, I think it will work out just fine.  I figure the first couple of weeks we'll all be getting used to the new program, but after that it should come a lot more easily.  Hopefully in about three and a half weeks I'll be able to write a new blog entry about our first week of school!  It's amazing that it's coming up so quickly!

Last night my oldest was sitting with me as I was putting all the worksheets into sheet protectors.  She was looking through the art book we'll be using this year, and she found a lot of interesting projects.  As she was just about ready to go to bed she turned to me and said, "I'm so excited for school to start!"  That's such an encouragement to me, and confirms to me we're doing the right thing with homeschooling our girls.  :-)


Convention - more fun than I realized!

>> Monday, June 27, 2011

This weekend my hubby and I traveled up north to go to our state homeschooling convention.  His parents were wonderful and kept the girls to make it easier for us.  We only went to the curriculum exhibit, but we still had a lot of fun!  I was amazed at how many companies were represented!

Our first stop was the My Father's World exhibit.  It was wonderful being able to see all the curriculum laid out, and the people there were so friendly and helpful!  Even though we knew we wanted to buy from them, we decided to wander around the exhibit hall before coming back and making our purchases. 

At first I was a bit nervous, as there were so many people there!  It was a bit overwhelming.  But God is good, and within two minutes of walking  in to the convention center we saw another homeschooling mom from our church.  We visited with her for just a couple of minutes, but that really helped to make it seem not quite so overwhelming.  She said this year they had the biggest turnout they have ever experienced.  That's pretty cool!

As my husband and I walked around to see the different vendors, I commented to him that it was kind of like walking around at the fair, only most everyone there were Christians.  I loved it!  And my husband said next year he'll have to try to get both days off work, so we can go to the entire convention.  That will be so much fun!

There were some really fun exhibitors we visited.  There are a couple of creation science based organizations in the Pacific North West, and it was fun to see the different tours they offer.  There is even a creation museum up near Mount St. Helens!  We would love to take a trip up there someday with our girls.  It's several hours away, but that would be a wonderful field trip someday.

We finally made our purchases, although most everything we bought will have to be shipped to us, as by the time we went they were out of some of their packages.  We were going to take the Light Rail back to our car, but it was such a beautiful day my husband and I decided to walk.  Saturday was really a wonderful day!

Yesterday after the girls came home we showed them the few things we brought home from the convention, and they were so excited!  Each of the girls will have a  pretend passport this year, and each time we visit (learn about) a country they will get a flag sticker to put into their passport.  They both thought that was so cool, so last night when they were talking over the computer with my parents, my oldest had  fun showing Grandpa her new passport.  It was a lot of fun, because then he was able to show her his real passport.  She was amazed at how similar they looked, and how real her passport looked!  :-)  The girls were also really excited to see some of their new language arts books, and thought they looked like a lot of fun.  I've had some reservations about the LA recommendations, but I decided to go ahead and give it a try this year, and if we don't like it we can try something else next year.  But my oldest was so interested in the book  she curled up in the recliner with hers and started reading!  I think she's fascinated because it is a reprint of a book that is almost 100 years old. 

All in all, Saturday was such a fun day, and now we're even more excited to start school in a few weeks.  In about a week or so we should be having our "box day," so we'll have a lot of fun going through our new books.  I wish we could start school sooner (and so do the girls!) but my oldest will be away from home for 2 weeks next month, so we'll need to wait until she's home.  She'll be going to camp for a week, then the girls will be be with their grandparents for a week so they can attend VBS and Grandma and Grandpa's church.  Once they get home we'll start school, so that will be July 25th.  We're all anxious for that day!  And I look forward to having some fun topics for my blog, once we start school.  :-)


thoughts on next year

>> Monday, April 25, 2011

I've been giving more thought to my blog lately, and I'd really like to get back to updating on a regular basis.  I don't know if that will actually happen, but it's a goal.  :)

We're wrapping up our current school year, and I've been giving a lot of thought to next year.  A couple weeks ago we visited my parents in Arizona, and somehow during that week the topic of next year's schooling came up.  I'm not sure what all we talked about, but I got to thinking about the possibility of trying something new next year.  We've been using Sonlight for the past 5 years, and we've really enjoyed it!  But I think we're ready to try something new.  Sonlight has a lot of reading (which we love), but not much of anything else.  I think we'd all really enjoy some hands on activities.

The past two weeks have been crazy with researching different curriculum options!  When I began  I didn't really know what I was looking for, although there were a few things that were important...

  • I want a Christian curriculum.  Something that gives a lot of focus on the Bible would be terrific.
  • I'd prefer a lesson plan that has everything planned out for me.  I'm not comfortable in my ability to put everything together.  It's too stressful (I tried that in preschool and it didn't go so well) and I'm not confident I'd include everything my girls need to learn.
  • Combining lessons would be terrific.  My girls have had separate lessons in everything up to this point.  It would be great if some subjects could be combined.
  • Hands on activities are fun, but I'm not at all creative... if we're going to do these kinds of things, it needs to be planned out for me, and scheduled in.  Otherwise it's not going to get done.
 As I searched online for various curricula, I found a few that interested me.  At first I was drawn to Tapestry of Grace, but the cost of that one held me back from putting too much research into it.  So right now the top contender for me is My Father's World.  It has everything I'm looking for, and the cost is about half of what I'd pay for another year of Sonlight.  And the way they save money is by using the library for most of the readers.  One thing we loved about Sonlight is the wonderful library we have built up over the past 5 years!  But the cost of continuing to build our own library is just not possible right now.  We do have a wonderful library system in our state, so I'll be able to make use of  that.  We can look online to find the books we'll need, and have them sent to our local library for pickup.  And through the course of the year if there are any books we find we just love, we can keep our eye out for a used copy somewhere.

During my research I've read about some fun activities that are planned during the year's study of Exploring Countries and Cultures (the program we'd start with My Father's World), and it looks like a really fun program!  I've shared my findings with my girls, and they are both really excited about the prospect.  In fact recently as I was looking online for other curriculum choices my oldest asked what I was doing.  When I told her she said, "No, Mommy!  Don't look at any more!  You might find something that's not as fun!"

Although I haven't decided 100% on our choice for next year, at this point it looks like we'll be going with My Father's World.  I'm excited to go to our Homeschool convention in June so I can see the books in person.  This will be our first time at a homeschooling convention, and my husband and I are really looking forward to it.  We won't be going to all the different workshops, as this year our focus is just to see the exhibit hall.  While we're there I'll also be looking into a new math program, but that's a post for another time.  :)

I'm excited to see what the coming year has in store for us!


lost in space

>> Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wow, it's been way too long since I've updated this blog!  School is going alright.  We're not as far along into the year as I'd like to be, but such is life.  I guess that's one of the beauties of homeschooling.  I wanted to finish in May, but it looks like we'll go into June.  I'm just thankful I have the freedom to arrange our homeschooling schedule to fit our lives, rather than the other way around!

It's hard to believe my girls are 7 and 11!  And I'll have a 5th grader in the fall!  Where has the time gone?

Although I've neglected this blog for the past several months, I've been working on another one, lately.  I'm not sure if I've got the courage to share the address for that one, though.  :-)  My husband and I started a new  weight loss journey last month, and I've been chronicling my journey, stumblings and all.   He's trying to get his diabetes under control, so I'm joining him in our new exercise routine, trying to give him whatever support I can.  It's been a wonderful change for our family, although it sure has been a challenge!  Whenever I start a new exercise program I almost always end up injuring myself, and this time has been no exception.  But I'm finally back on track.  Anyway, most of my blogging efforts lately have been with the other blog.  If I ever get brave enough (or if someone requests it), I might post the link from this blog.

In any case, I figured I'd better check in to let you know we're still kicking.  :-)  And still pressing on with our homeschooling!


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