Saturday, July 31, 2010

Girl Time

I want to take advantage of it just being the girls this weekend. So, last night I surprised the big girls by taking them to dinner. (My MIL graciously watched EG.) We didn't go anywhere fancy, but some place I knew they would enjoy and eat all their food! So Steak n Shake it was. We ate and chatted. And each girl got dessert.

Today, we are just going to hang out. I have to go to the grocery store. Not very exciting, I know, but necessary. Tonight, it is a bubble bath and candles. I hope to rent a girl's movie and we will camp out in the living room and watch the movie and eat popcorn. Maybe, just maybe, we will paint nails.

It is so quiet without the boys. Not something I care to get used to . . .

Friday, July 30, 2010

No Girls Allowed

Which is kind of hard to do at our house, considering where ever you turn, there is a girl. Or four. Anyway, this weekend is camping trip number two with the behemoth. And there are no girls allowed. It is just the boys.

Daddy and Boop. Some friends. A camper, a boat and a really, really pretty beach. (Yes, I am jealous and secretly prayed things would fall through so the girls and I could go!) But, now that the boys are getting ready to go, I am so excited that it will be just them. Boop said yesterday that he and daddy were goin' fishin' and made the motions of reeling in a big one. Oh, it was so cute!!

The girls and I actually had the opportunity to go for a night, but early in the week I decided not to impose on the boys. It is so important for Boop and daddy to hang, especially when you come from a house full of girls. The opportunities don't come around very much, so I felt it was important for them to take full advantage of it!

Their big plans are to just fish, fish and fish. They will eat out tonight at a sandwich shop but cook out tomorrow for breakfast and dinner. I am so excited for them. They are going to have a blast. I can't wait to hear all about it.

The only thing I have to say is "Good bye, have a great time, I love you both so much and PLEASE, PLEASE don't' forget the sunscreen . . . "

Thursday, July 29, 2010

First Week of School

Next week our first week of school is shaping up something like this:

Monday - Field trip to Federal Courthouse; 22nd floor of the capital; visit Sissy's office (she works at the capital)

Tuesday - Unexpected doctor's appoint for EG (nothing serious)

Wednesday - Meals on Wheels

Thursday - trip to JoAnn's fabric to get ready for our sewing lessons

Friday - Boop soccer camp

Hmmm, looks like we will be off to a good start . . . :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Science is one of those subjects that tends to get pushed to the side when time is running out. The one thing about the Charlotte Mason approach to science is that children's natural curiosity will encourage them to learn about science.

For the last couple of years, science was reading great books such as Burgess Bird Book and Pagoo. Taking regular trip to the same nature place, ours is the creek, and seeing the changes, trying to identify living things and sketching what we would see. It has been amazing to me what the kids have learned about their natural surrounds just by doing these few simple things.

The last half of last year, we added the book Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. It is a textbook/living book dedicated to a whole lot of God's flying creatures. It goes a little bit more in depth about flying creatures and even gives some science experiments that are possible to do with everyone in the family.

We will hopefully finish that book in the first part of this year. and continue once a month trips to the creek. Still encouraging the kids to learn about nature, which, they honestly do all on their own. I can't tell you how many times they have looked something up in the encyclopedia.

When we finish that book, we are going to study dinosaurs using Dinosaurs by Design. And then we will study Astronomy using Find the Constellations and our really cool telescope. The great thing about the last two subjects we will study is, I already have those books and Boop can join in!

I am hoping to stay a little bit more focused on science this year. As with all the subjects, we will see how it goes . . .

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Horse Camp, Part II

Yesterday we attempted horse camp again. When we had our little dilemma last go around, we asked Nature Girl if she was interested in signing up for a different week. When we gave her the choice, she was told that if we signed her up and paid, she was going to have to go no matter what.

I think she thought about it for a day or two and decided she wanted to go. I explained again, that if we signed her up, she would be going. I needed to make sure she understood. She was sure. I got in touch with the lady who runs the camp (which happens to be our old babysitter) and she told me she would save a spot for Nature Girl. And, that she was happy that NG decided to go.

Over the weekend, we bought riding boots and made sure we had jeans etc. Sunday night, Nature Girl went to bed very excited. And, of course, had a hard time sleeping. She woke up yesterday morning excited and ready to go.

As we drove to camp, she began telling me she was really tired. I told her she would get energy once we got there. I could see, on her face, that we might have a potential problem. So, we started to talk about camp and what was the worse that could happen. I encouraged her to focus on all the great things she had done the year before. All the reasons she wanted to go back this year. I asked her if she was concerned about not knowing anyone. And she said yes.

My heart went out to her. It is so funny to me, as we parent, how much of our own experiences go it to how we parent. I pulled off to the side of the road and we talked a little bit more. We talked about how God doesn't want us to fear the unknown. That He actually calls us to do things that we are uncomfortable with. Because that is how are faith in Him grows. He wants us to have a healthy fear to keep us safe, so we don't do things that are truly dangerous. But, fear that keeps us from doing something good, or something we want to do or that He is calling us to do, can be sin.

We prayed and I asked God to calm her heart and to be with her. I prayed that she would make a friend and be a friend. And that even if she felt alone, God was with her and would direct her and protect her.

I dropped her off and she asked me to stay for a little bit, which I did. Then, lo and behold, a friend from church showed up. Nature Girl took one look at me and said her good byes! All morning, I kept my cell phone close by. But, it never rang.

When hubby went to pick her up, of course, she was so excited. And couldn't wait to go back this morning. I will admit, we went through some of the same things this morning. And, we did the same routine. Talked and prayed and I stayed for a little bit. She then assured me I could leave. Again, I kept my cell phone close. And again, it didn't ring.

I am proud of her for sticking it out. Not falling apart. I hope this experience is great for her, on so many levels . . .

Monday, July 26, 2010

Managers of Their Homes

It has been no secret that I have struggled, the better part of the last year, to get into the swing of things. What I mean by swing of things is to get all the things, that I perceive need to be done, done.

But, with the school year looming in the very, very near future, I knew something needed to be addressed sooner rather than later, about how I manage our home. I want to accomplish a little more in school, I want to cook and bake a little more and I want to have more time for fun, all the things I envisioned homeschool being. But, because I feel like there is something that always needs to be done instead, the other fun things get pushed to the side.

About a week ago, though, I ran across a book called Managers of Their Homes by the Maxwells. I had looked it up once before and, for whatever reason, chose not to explore it further. This time, I sent an email out to my homeschool network and gave a brief description of my personality and my family and asked for recommendations.

Most who replied said it was worth checking out. A wonderful lady, whom I never met, offered to meet me somewhere so I could look at hers. And when we did meet, we had a really great conversation, about a lot of different topics and then she offered me the book, for free. On the condition that if it wasn't for me that I would then pass it on. Which I assured her, I would do.

But after reading the first few paragraphs, I knew it was for me. It was all about scheduling and having a plan. Now I will give a disclaimer: The more I read books about homeschooling, child rearing and marriage, the more I understand that I MUST listen to God first, then hubby and I don't have to use every single idea that an author recommends. Every single solitary family is different and just because one thing works for one family doesn't mean it works for every family. (You would think I would have figured that out before now.)

So, keeping that in the back of my head, I continued to read the book and got some really, really great ideas that just might help me out for this up coming school year. First, her whole theory is every hour of every day is schedule and you don't really ever deviate from that schedule. (She is homeschooling mom with 7 kids, so for her and her husband, that is important. Also, half of her kids are considerably older.)

That whole concept would never work for us in practice. For starters, most of my kids are still relatively young and, as I mentioned before, hubby works shift work, so every day is different. I also felt, that having such a "strict" schedule for us, would not leave time for God to work through us, in a lot of different ways, that I consider part of homeschooling, such as Meals on Wheels for instance.

So, taking all that into consideration, the following is a list of really great ideas that I am going to try to implement:

Our day will be broken up into hour and half hour chunks of time. These chucks of time will have such things as Nature Girl play with EG outside (while Little Mama and Mommy read history) or one half hour slot might be every one do laundry.

The weekly schedule plans, for me, to have play time with each kid individually.

It also encourages a scheduled play time for me with all the kids.

We have a time for PM daily chores, than a snack.

At 5 o'clock, I have scheduled time with hubby.

I even have scheduled time for me to read my Bible and a fun book. Make cards and pay bills.

The author suggested scheduling different play areas around the house and having special toys that only get played with on certain days.

She went so far as to have a weekly lunch and dinner schedule. And a set grocery list. That would never work in our house. I know the system we use for dinner and shopping works just fine.

I know some of these things may seem intuitive to family life, but, the longer I do family life, the more I realize I spend tons of time putting out fires and not getting much else done. If it is written down, on a schedule or a list, I am 10 times more likely to do it. Plus, all the stuff that use to get in my way of having fun would have its own time slot to get done through out the day and week and month.

Yesterday, I finished our schedules for everyone but daddy. He politely told me he didn't want one. :) But, was supportive of ours. Instead, I am going to provide him a list of things that I think need to be done, that I can't take care of myself. And, if he feels so inclined he can do one of his "chores" on his day off. He did offer this suggestion, that given his schedule, our days, when he is home, will not always go on schedule. I kind of already figured that.

But, I am productive if I have a list, a goal, a plan. I like knowing where I stand at any given time, even if it happens to be WAY BEHIND. I am going to use Flylady again, in the hopes of getting rid of the cleaning lady (who I happen to LOVE.)

I have condensed many notebooks and binders down to 3 2" binders: one full of coupons and meal plans; one is my prayer journal and the newest is my Life Journal. It has 10 sections ranging from one section for each school age kid, to "to-do" lists, to my calendar, to Flylady stuff. So, now, instead of going from one notebook/list to another, it is all in one big pretty bluish/purple binder.

I keep threatening hubby, "I am going to be organized." He just kind of smiles. He has heard it all before. I am going to give it a test run in August. We will be partially back to school. We have a few scheduled things going on. So, we will see if my new system makes it through the long haul. If so, maybe I will post at the end of the year, the changes I have had to make.

If it doesn't make it, I am sure you will see a post in about 3 weeks, with my new plan of attack . . .

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Copywork/Grammar/Language Arts/Reading

This is probably the hardest subject for me to "teach." Well, not the copywork and reading part but the grammar and language arts and spelling, I guess. One of the greatest joys I have gotten from homeschooling is teaching the girls to read. When I think of the possibilities that reading opens up for a person, and then think about the fact that I am the one that taught it, I get a great sense of accomplishment (and, I admit, pride.)

Copywork is the easiest. The kids are to take their time learning how to write each letter. If they are learning the letter "a," and have done four perfect ones in a row, but number 5 starts to get sloppy, then I have them stop. They are to be diligent in their handwriting. Every time they write, they are to do their best. Does it happen all the time? In school, for the most part, yes. In their personal writings, not so much. If I happen to see their personal writings, I do take time to mention that if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

Little Mama is still working through the alphabet. It is amazing to me how differently she writes. She has a nice style, a little more flowing. Nature Girl will be transitioning to cursive. She had to show me consistent, perfect writing before I would even consider transitioning to cursive. And, she really does have great writing when she puts her mind to it.

With copywork, they copy, daily, scripture verses and portions of what they are reading for school. The Charlotte Mason thought behind that is, they are learning grammar, punctuation, spelling etc. from copying really great literature. So, when the time comes for formal grammar lessons (later elementary grades) they will have a basis for what they will be learning.

NG will be using a workbook called English for the Thoughtful Child. It is based on the CM philosophy of grammar but is a little more detailed, still using copywork and dictation as a way to learn grammar and spelling. Little Mama will continue with the Explode the Code workbooks which focus on phonics and spelling.

Each girl has a vocabulary notebook. In it they put words they don't know the meaning to. We then look them up and write the definition. Also, in the notebook are "spelling" words. Every time one of them asks me to spell a word, they need to bring me their notebooks and I write the correct spelling. Theoretically we will have spelling tests every 10 words or so. I say theoretically because I have yet to do a spelling test. :)

We are starting English from the Roots Up which teaches kids the Latin and Greek roots of words. I am hoping to use that for a spring board to spelling. And also the beginning of a real foreign language program.

Dictation will be used a spring board for creative writing. Once again, using the CM method. CM believes great thoughts and ideas can be encouraged by reading great writing. It is all a little laid back by most curriculum standards and I have varied the CM approach to get us started in a lot of the areas she encourages children and teachers to wait on. But, because it is not my strong suit, I figured an early start would give us all ample time to learn grammar and language arts . . .

Friday, July 23, 2010

Way Down Upon the Suwanee River

OK, not the Suwanee but a really great spring fed river! Yesterday, we went canoeing and had a blast! All of us! (Except EG, who stayed home with a babysitter.) A friend of ours was going canoeing yesterday and graciously invited us along. And I am so glad we accepted the invitation. We had big fun! And, thanks to my friend because she took pictures.

So, I am going to do my best to do a run down of the highlights. If I didn't just hit the highlights, I would probably write a novel. So, here we go:

The river was spring fed which means three things. First, the water is clear as a window. You can see to the bottom. Second, the water is freezing. Well, 70 degrees which is cold, cold, cold. Third, where the springs feed the river it is this amazing bluish, whitish color.

There was tons of wild life such as great blue herons, turtles of all types, tons of fish, ducks, insects AND we saw at least a half dozen alligators ranging from babies to mamas.

We ate lunch at Big Blue. There was a rope swing, that was a little sketch. My friend's husband actually jumped off of it. I said adventuresome, didn't I?

There was a floating dock, which we were going to eat lunch on. My friend and I, who were going to stay dry (I didn't even have a suit on) were conveniently perched on it just watching the kids play and snorkel in the spring. The kids came up on the dock to take a rest. My friend's husband was paddling around and decided to get on to the dock as well. For some reason, the dock started to sink in one spot. One end was going down into the water and the other end was going straight up in the air. All of us (except hubby) started heading for the water. As I was slipping off the dock, I fought hard to stay on. At some point, as I had the Titanic flitting through my brain, I just decided there was no way I was going to stay on the dock. All of us, except hubby (who jumped into a canoe) went into the very, very cold water! My friend managed to save the camera she had in her hand!! The whole scenario was really pretty funny!

Once we all kind of settled down, we had lunch on the floating dock which we managed to learn to keep upright. As we ate, the kids would jump in and paddle around. Get out of the water and eat and warm up. Then jump in and paddle around some more. It was hard to stay in for any length of time. Some of the kids, when they came out, couldn't stop shivering because they were so cold. But the sun didn't take long to warm them up.

The scenery was incredible. The weather was warm but doable. For me, the biting insects weren't too bad. Can't say the same for hubby. Once again, his ankles were eaten alive.

On the way back, paddling upstream, we took a little side trip to a park that was on the river. It had a little more stable rope swing that the kids begged to go on. We thought what the heck. All of the kids took turns and had a blast. The dads would yell "jump" so no one would come back and smack into the concrete landing.

I was already wet so I thought what the heck. I took a turn on the rope swing. Not once but twice. Very out of character for me. But, they looked like they were having so much fun. And I figured, what was the worse thing that could happen. It really was great fun! Glad I took a chance for once! (Hubby even said he was impressed with me!)

On the half hour trip home, hubby and I talked about the fact that we need to do things like that more often. It was close to home, relatively inexpensive and TONS of fun.

Our friends are adventuresome. And do all kinds of really great stuff. They have a great attitude about doing things they have never done. Making sure their kids have great memories from childhood. So, maybe we will try that attitude out for ourselves. A little at a time . . .

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I like to do math first thing in the morning. For a couple of reasons. First, everyone is bright eyed and bushy tailed. Their brain is still fully functioning. And, if the day happens to go off track, at least we got it done. It is one of the subjects I to try to keep up with. But, for the record both girls are behind at the moment.

We use Horizons. It was recommend by the first curriculum in a box I ever used. And I have just stuck with it. I like the style of teaching they use. Each workbook page builds on several concepts from the days and week before. There might be a new concept once or twice a week. So, any given worksheet, has four or five different types of problems which I believe keeps the kids a little more interested. As an added bonus, the pages are really colorful.

I have purchased the teachers manual for every grade this far. Which is kind of funny. Surely I can do 1st Grade math. And I can. But, I have had to go to the manual once or twice for 3rd grade. Just to make sure I am understanding the way they want a concept to be taught. I also have used the 3rd grade manual to help me correct worksheets. NG is getting to math problems that I can't just do in my head.

One question that a lot of people ask when you homeschool is "What about math?" I honestly don't know about higher math. I do know that my particular homeschool group offers all kinds of classes in science and math. I also know, that as older teenagers, homeschool kids can be dual enrolled at the local community college. So, I will cross that bridge when I get to it. Right now, we are just going to finish 1st and 3rd grade math. I am learning so much a long the way. Maybe we will just do higher math right here in our little ol' homeschool . . .

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Subject Number Two - Habit Training

After our personal quite time, breakfast, Bible and verse memorization, we are going to try a new "subject". We have always done some type of informal habit training but this school year I am going to add it right into our school schedule.

One of the things I notice, when there is a lot of unstructured free time, is the habit of the kids to bicker and fight with each other. Some of the disagreements are "justified". But, in my opinion, most come from selfish desires and an unwillingness to put other's before themselves. Oh, so human of them. :)

I am not a big fan of getting involved. But, I don't think it is necessarily intuitive for them (me) to know or have the skills to solve issues on their (my) own. I think, to some degree, depending on personality type, their are many problem solving skills that need to be taught. Become habit.

So, for the next 12 weeks, we will be working through a book and worksheets called The Young Peacemakers. It is a book geared toward teaching elementary age kids how to solve all kinds of conflicts by themselves, from a biblical perspective.

It gives little life stories and then goes through all the choices that kids can make in response to certain situations. The kids are encouraged to role play and take time to think about their responses.

We will take our time. We will do a lot of talking and exchanging ideas, problems and solutions. We will discuss expectations and how best to meet them. We will talk about loving one another and what that looks like every day. The skills learned, hopefully, will benefit them their (my) whole lives . . .

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Run In With the Law

I speed. Not because I want to, it just happens. Oh, I know that most people speed. Heck, if you drive at all, you know that just about everyone who has a driver's license speeds! I can't tell you how many times I have been stopped. Way to many, that is for sure!

Things get a little sticky now, because the kids can tell if I am speeding. And, a lot of times they will ask "Mommy, are you speeding?" Nine out of ten times I am. Not on purpose, I am just not paying close enough attention. I really, really have tried hard to not speed. I think it sets a horrible example for the kids. Plus, with daddy enforcing speeding laws, my choosing to disobey a law is even worse, in my mind.

But, does that stop me for doing it. No. Does it stop me from getting pulled over? No. And, yes, it happened to me, again, yesterday.

I was on my way to the grocery store at about 10AM. I had all the kids with me and we were cruising down our two lane, old canopy road. I see a deputy car in front of me, coming towards me, lights flashing. My first thought, "oh, daddy is saying hi to us." He knew we were on our way to the store and he was working our area again.

So, I flash my lights and wave as the car comes closer. It then makes a u-turn in the middle of the road with lights flashing. So, my second thought is O.K. let's move off to the side of the road so the deputy can pass and get to his call.

As I pull off to the side of the road, the deputy car pulls up, next to me, and asks me to turn right at the next intersection (obviously not daddy.) I ashamedly put my head down and say "Yes, sir." I call daddy and start to cry. I did it again.

Daddy says just explain who I am. A deputy's wife. For the record, I HATE doing that. It feels like cheating to me. Or that I am above the law. Anyway, the deputy comes up and starts explaining that I was doing 15 miles over the speed limit on one of the most dangerous roads in town (which I already know because I travel it daily.) He asks me for license and registration.

I very humbly look up at him and explain who I am. He immediately says he is sorry. I am like "no, no I am sorry." He says no he is sorry and to please tell hubby he says hello. And, again, I say no I am sorry for not obeying the law and that I really had no idea I was speeding. I really, really try to watch it. He again apologized.

I felt like a idiot. I felt guilty. I told the kids that the deputy was very kind. He had every right to punish me for my disobedience. When we got to the grocery, we prayed and thanked God for protecting us.

Needless to say, I set my cruise control for the right speed on the way home. I think I am going to be using that a lot. I don't need any more run ins with the law. Other than the ones with my hubby . . .

Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Reviews - Dinner With a Perfect Stranger

And A Day With a Perfect Stranger.

Dinner needs to be the first one to read, then, if possible, follow it up by reading A Day. Two easy but wonderful reads! I was able to finish both books in about a week. Because they were so easy to read, if I had a few minutes, I would grab a book and read a page or two.

I thought I would just type a favorite quote from each book. If you haven't read them, I hope the quotes encourage you to look into them. Quick, small books, packed with a great story about a real, meaningful relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Dinner With a Perfect Stranger - "You're bored, Nick. You were made for more than this. You're worried about God stealing your fun, but you've got it backward. You're like a kid who doesn't want to leave for Disney World because he's having fun making mud pies by the curb. He doesn't realize that what's being offered is so much better. There's no adventure like being joined to the Creator of the universe."

A Day With a Perfect Stranger - the stranger is talking with Mattie about her two year old daughter, Sara. "Let me ask you this. If there was a God who created everything, don't you think it's possible that he would feel the same way about you that you feel about Sara? Love you as much? Want to give you the world? Want to be as connected to you as you are to her? In other words, is it possible that your love for Sara is a reflection of who the Creator is?"

What a summer of great books . . .

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not So Silent Sunday

Figured I would just run down how our trip to the amusement park went yesterday while it is fresh in my memory. I have no pictures because it was 100 degrees there (literally), there were 50 million people there (figuratively), 5 kids 10 and under (one of which was EG) and lastly, I couldn't find it through the 3 bags ,plus of "stuff" we brought.

I prayed and had a talk with myself to just relax and all will be well. And it worked! We had a really, really good time!

We didn't leave the house until after lunch and picked up Nature Girl's friend on the way out of town. Both EG and Boop slept on the way, which was a blessing because I knew it was going to be a really long day and a really late night.

We had a plan, not that we stuck to it, but, we had one any way. Each kid got to pick one ride (two if the lines weren't too long) and then we did a couple of all kid inclusive rides. Highlights were, once again, EG and I didn't get to ride any rides (no big surprise), NG's friend HATED the Hang Man and Boop was big enough to go on the Swamp Thing - he was totally psyched and it was totally cool!

Then we ate and went to the water park to play and cool off before the concert. The water park was definitely a highlight. They have a great toddler pool, which EG loved, for about 5 minutes. Then, she wanted to be where the big kids played. Daddy had big kid duty (and Boop) and I just had to follow EG everywhere. I can't tell how many times someone stopped me to tell me how cute she was AND how determined she looked.

ALL the kids did sooooo well to obey the few rules we had. One was to stay with their buddies (I kind of paired everyone up) and the other, at the water park, was to check in with me every time they came down a slide. As you can imagine, it was impossible to see everyone all the time. That part was a little stressful. But, because the big girls did exactly as I told them, it worked out beautifully. Daddy had Boop by his side the whole time, so that worked out too.

The girls and Daddy rode the water slides and the littles and I went in the wave pool. And, by 7 o'clock when the water parked closed, every one got out willingly. Even EG, after one escape attempt back to the toddler pool!

So, actually the best part was the concert. Daddy, when we first got the park, set up our cooler and chairs, so we had pretty decent spots. And, nowadays, they have big screens so everyone could see no matter where they sat.

The venue was VERY family friendly. There was a family with 5 little kids, back and to the right of us. And right behind us was a family with a son EG's age. The concert was great. It was G rated so that made it even better! EG danced to a couple of songs. Boop even danced to one. I wanted hubby to dance with me for one song but he politely declined. :)

We stayed until the very end. Which actually worked out well, because that was right about the time EG started to have her melt down. If there was one down side, I would have to say it was the almost hour it took us to get out of the parking lot! It was just unexpected. But next time we will know.

Because everything went so well, I think we might attempt to go back for Third Day in September . . .

Saturday, July 17, 2010


We are off to the theme park this afternoon. To ride a couple of rides, play at the water park and see Josh Turner in concert. Hot fun in the summer time . . .

Friday, July 16, 2010

School Books - Bible etc.

Because I am in the middle of ordering and receiving books for school, I thought it would be fun to post about the books I have chosen for each subject and why. For three days in a row I have had a book box at the door. The highlight of my day. Granted each box only contains a couple of books, but that is OK because the delight will go on for maybe a week now!

This year I want to concentrate on us as a family. Yes, to learn math and reading and writing but to work on habit training and being good stewards and thinking about what God expects from us. So, the first "subject" every morning is Personal Quiet Time, Bible and Memory Verses.

My goal is to start everyday with this. Of course, with me setting the example, with my own personal quiet time before the kids get up. Each of the kids will have a journal. And before breakfast I am hoping to read (or have Nature Girl read) through Hero Tales Vol 1 &2 by Dave and Neta Jackson. It is a book that touches on the lives of such Christian heroes as Marin Luther and Samuel Morris. The end of the chapter has review questions which can be answered in their journals. After they finish that book, I think we will read Wisdom and the Miller's and then I have a girl's devotional books lined up: Beautiful Girlhood.

I also am going to have them think about personal notes, thoughts, prayers to put in their journals everyday. Requests and thanksgivings. LM and Boop can draw or whatever they feel comfortable with. Even NG can draw. As long as they are building their own personal time with God.

We will continue to read through the Bible, chapter by chapter. I believe we are in Judges. I think we will take a little bit more time this year and talk a little bit more about what we read. Last year, I just had the girls draw a picture. And take turns narrating.

I have collected a memory verses or two to start the girls out this year. (And Boop because he doesn't like being left out. And he really has a great memory!) We have a notebook set up that has the current verse in the front. Then once a week we review the last verse we learned. Once they have remember the verse pretty well, it goes to the once a month section and then lastly to the once a semester section. I am hoping the system of verse memorization will help the kids "hide God's word in their heart."

So, this will be about the first half hour of our school day. And, as I mentioned, this is my intention. I should, in about 2 months, post what is really going on. Ha, ha . . .

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Meals on Wheels

We have officially adopted a weekly route. On Wednesdays. My original intention was to only do one twice a month, but after talking with the coordinator, she gave me the impression it is a whole lot easier to have one person assigned to a route once a week. Which, from a coordinating stand point makes sense. Although, I wasn't really sure we were ready for that commitment.

I asked her if we could try it out for a week or so before we made a decision. And she totally understood. So, we made it one week. Then the following week we had VBS and then the following week we had that really horrible stomach bug. But they were very accommodating and understood that life can be unexpected. (To say the least.) So, we have managed to make it two weeks in a row, now. And I think we really love it!

It only takes us about an hour (including the weekly frozen meals we drop off near the house.) The clients are super. We are learning which ones like to chat and which ones just really want their meals. Although every single person is really, really appreciative.

It has been a great opportunity for the kids to learn to listen and smile and answer in such a way so as others can hear and understand them. LM confessed yesterday that it is hard to hear and understand some of the people. I had to agree. I have a bad habit, sometimes, of not concentrating on what other people are saying. So, I told her it was a good lesson (for both of us) to really concentrate on some one's mouth and face while they are speaking to us. It helps to listen and understand what they are saying.

We will see what the school year brings. If it gets a little much for us, we have a friend who is interested in helping us out occasionally or possibly every other week. But, I think we are going to try real hard to make it work. . .

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Geography Assignment

Not really an assignment. Well, I guess a fun assignment.

A friend of mine gave me a great ides to have the kids, hubby and I make a list of all the places we would love to go. All of the world. And not to be restrained by just places we actually might make it to.

So, yesterday, right before lunch, we sat down and made up a list. We each took turns adding places we would love visit. The list has multiple purposes. One is to motivate us to travel as a family before the kids get too old. If we get to any of the places we will check it off and put the date of our travels on it. Second, each kids is going to get a copy of the list and as they find it on a map, they can check it off. Maybe we will go so far as to pick a couple places and learn a little more about them. There are a lot of things, fun things, we can do with the list.

So, here it is:

Ireland - Mommy
Alaska - LM
The Lighthouse - Boop
Italy - NG
Crested Butte - Mommy
Indian Pass - LM
Montana - Boop
Texas - NG
Alaskan Cruise - Mommy
New York City - LM
Wild Adventures - Boop
Mexico - NG
Washington, D.C. - Mommy
Hollywood - LM
Disney - Boop
S. Dakota (Mt. Rushmore) - NG
Key West - Mommy
Pennsylvania - LM
China - Boop
Hawaii - NG
Grand Canyon - Mommy
Wisconsin - LM
Oregon (fishing) - Boop
New Jersey - NG
St. George Island - Mommy
Russia - LM
Japan - Boop
Mississippi - NG
New Orleans - Mommy
Madagascar - LM
Australia - Boop
Massachusetts - NG
Savannah, GA - Mommy
North Pole - LM
Alabama - Boop
Clearwater - Boop
Tennessee - NG
Kentucky - NG
Kansas - LM
Omaha (CWS) - Mommy
Virginia - Boop
Jacksonville Zoo - LM
Yosemite - Daddy
Yellowstone - Daddy
Costa Rica - Daddy
France - NG

Should be very interesting to see where we actually go . . .

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Review - Same Kind of Different As Me

I don't really even know how to begin "reviewing" this book. God has placed so many great books in my way these last few months and this is definitely one of them! In my humble opinion, it is a book that should be read and discussed in every Sunday School class, in every Christian church, all over!

It is about a homeless black man who was a modern day slave, a million dollar art dealer and the woman who brought them together. (Pretty sure that is what it says on the front of the book.) Anyway, at first I didn't realize the book was a true story. But, once I found out it was, I was moved beyond words.

I am just going to give a general overview because it is so worth reading for yourselves. The art dealer is motivated by his wife to start volunteering at a homeless shelter with her. She truly was moved by God to serve. And really, really loved and had a heart for those she served. Hubby did it just for her. He felt he was a better person because of his willingness to serve.

The main homeless man, Denver, didn't want to befriend anyone. And certainly not rich white folks who felt they were doing their good dead by serving a meal to the homeless once a week. But, Denver began to see that Ms. Debbie was different. She did not feel superior and wasn't volunteering as a feel good mission for herself. She really cared. About him.

The husband, Ron, befriended Denver on his wife's insistence. She truly believed God wanted the two men together. The book is full of short chapters, switching back and forth from Mr. Ron's and Denver's perspectives of the events that happened in each of their lives and also to the extraordinary woman, who brought them together.

The most poignant part in the book, for me, was when Denver was in need of a meal or a place to sleep. Whatever he needed he got from an organization that helped the homeless. Yet, right next door was a church. A place where not one person offered to help him. Or even acknowledge him. And he took notice of that fact.

How many times, as servants of God, do we not do something because it takes us out of our comfort zone or because of our personal convictions? I think of all the times that Jesus helped people. I am not a biblical scholar so I don't know all of Jesus' acts of service. But, from some of the stories I do know, He was always helping those who had no other hope. The people that the rest of society had written off. Beggars and lepers.

I know I haven't done the book justice. All I can say is that it has forever impacted my out look on life. How I perceive others. How I perceive myself. How I would like my children to think and act as they get older.

Check it out on Amazon or some other Internet book seller. I am sure the reviews there will give a much more of the story line and better information. All I know is, I borrowed the book but have since purchased it because it will be required reading in our school. I think it is a must read, for everyone . . .

Monday, July 12, 2010

Big Helper

And I am talking about hubby. For the last bunch of days, he has been patrolling our zone. The area where we live. It doesn't happen often and, in fact, he really doesn't like to do it. Don't know why, but he doesn't. But, the following are some of the benefits of this past week or so, because he has been able to stop in, periodically, throughout the day, if he is not busy (mostly first thing in the morning):

He doesn't have to pay for bottled water.
He made us sausage biscuits one morning.
He washed some breakfast dishes.
He checked on the garden and took out the composting.
He made my coffee a couple of days in a row.
He can stop at the grocery store if I need something.
He is home on time.

I won't get use to it, because I know it is short lived. But, it has been kind of nice to see his face in the middle of the day. The coffee things was really great, too . . .

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010


For school. It takes up much of my time these days. It seems no matter how many years I have been homeschooling, there are always thing to tweak, to improve upon, to do differently.

This year's planning has been an experience, to say the least. I was all ready to kind of try something new. Just a little bit different. Using Ambleside as my base but tailoring it a little bit more to my needs. Including teaching two kids.

Part of my goal was to teach as many "subjects" to the girls, together, as possible. I figure it would cut down a little on what I have to do during our school day. My original goal, when starting my planning process was to do Bible, habit training, history, science, some literature, Shakespeare, Spanish, and Latin (English from the Roots Up) together. (I am sure there are more, I just can't think at the moment.)

I made lists, looked up books, envisioned in my mind how it would all look. I wanted to start a new history program. Invest in a great foreign language program. Buy tons of books and then try to figure out how we would read them all. And where they would fit in our school day. Which, by the way, is about 3 hours.

I got myself into such a state of worry and confusion. There are SO many great books out there to use to teach with. And I just kept feeling we had to read all of them, this year! One draw back for homeschooling for me, is that I want to teach and read EVERYTHING. And, that just isn't possible, especially not in one year! Also, a fear I have, is that I will miss teaching something.

Anyway, as I was looking over our history program, it came to my attention that we hadn't studied the Ancients. That troubled me. How did I miss that? What do I do about it? What else did I miss? In other subjects as well?

So, I finally took a deep breath and developed some real life expectations, and realized, I can't do it all. And certainly not in one year. I also looked forward in the curriculum we use and saw that the Ancients are studied, just in later years. So, I looked through the rest of the curriculum, through high school, and really liked what I saw. It covered a lot of great stuff!

After all the lists and time I have taken, looking up books and figuring out who is going to do what, I am right back at the beginning of my original plan from a couple of years ago. Now, I have added personal quiet time and we will do science, foreign language, English From the Roots Up, Shakespeare and some literature together. But, I am going to continue on just the same as always with history (which was my biggest concern.)

One thing I will be more aware of, is to concentrate more on how the things we are learning connect to other stuff we are learning. And to take our time. Not be in a rush to get school done. We are reading really, really great stuff, packed with really great information. I want us to simmer over stories. Stew on them. Digest them and let them gel in our brains. (Like how I use "our", it isn't just about the kids learning!) I am sure there are other things we will do together once we get started. I am just making a basic plan.

Some advice I have taken from my homeschooling friend, who has graduated a son (and he is doing great), keep my expectations realistic. And, that is what I intend to do. . .

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blueberry Picking

This week I took the kids blueberry picking with friends. And, thanks to my friend, I have some pictures! The kids had a blast picking the big, fat berries.

They each had a gallon jug tied around them and they went from bush to bush gathering berries. Eating a few in between, I might add.

EG went from bush to bush and just shoved berries in her mouth. At one point, she just sat down and ate them off of the ground. I couldn't help but think of the book Blueberries for Sal (minus the bear, of course.) I ended up paying $2 just for all the berries she ate while we were there.

The kids had a great time picking berries with their friends. (I did too.) And now we have berries to last us through the winter. Well, maybe not that long, but certainly a month or two. If we have room in our new refrigerator we may have to go back and get more . . .

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Evaluation Day

Today is the day I see if my 1st and 3rd grader get to advance to 2nd and 4th grade. Well, it really isn't all that serious, I guess, because they advance if I say so - ha, ha ;) But, we do have an evaluator come in every year and check their progress. It is for peace of mind and part of the law we need to follow as homeschoolers. There is a choice, be evaluated or get tested. We have always been evaluated.

The evaluator is very laid back and really interested in the kids and what their individual strengths and weaknesses are. Because she has taught in public schools, I always have questions to ask her, just to keep me on track. Satisfy my curiosity. Or whatever you want to call it.

Anyway, she goes through our 6 binders (3 for each girl) and looks at samples of their work. She asks me questions if she needs to. Then she has each girl read for her. Lastly, she asks questions such as, what was their favorite part of a certain field trip we took. Or what subject they like best.

It is kind of funny because we don't really talk about school in "subjects", per se. We sit down and read Our Island Story (history) or Burgess Bird Book (science). So, I sometimes get a little nervous to see how they will answer, like "Gee, we don't do history." Or something like that.

Our evaluator happens to be a friend. So, I know, if there are any concerns or something she really doesn't understand, she would give me an opportunity to explain. I also see her on occasion throughout the year and the topic of homeschooling always comes up. So, she sees us and hears about our progression throughout the year.

I know of a family that really stresses before the evaluator comes. It is like someone coming in to critique your job. And the end product is what your child either knows or doesn't know. So, I understand why that may be daunting. But, I guess, I have just always felt, so far, pretty confident in what we have been doing. I know they are progressing. I see that they have interests and knowledge. I am always very pleased with their work.

In fact, I think I am going to nominate me teacher of the year! Ha, ha . . . .

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Refrigerator vs. Tuition

And I am sad to say the refrigerator won. My tuition for my first semester at Liberty is due. I am taking (was taking) two 8 week classes. I think Old Testament and New Testament Survey. I was psyched but nervous. How on earth was I going to do it all?

But, as of this past Sunday, I don't have to worry about it anymore. Our fridge is on its last legs. Barely keeping stuff frozen and cool. It is 17 years old, SO we are due for a new one. Doesn't make sense to call someone out to look at it and fix it, ya know.

So, the inevitable had to be excepted. Oh sure, I am disappointed. I was excited to go back to school. To learn all I can about the bible and Christianity. In all honesty, I can probably learn the stuff myself. But, unless I am held accountable, my personal edification, most times, gets lost in the shuffle.

I know God has a plan for me. And right now it seems to be a refrigerator instead of being a theology student. I am OK with that. I will try again for next semester. And, maybe in the meantime, I will search around for some scholarships for stay-at-home moms who want to go back to school.

I will just have to be patient. A recurring theme in my life. Hmmm . . .

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Strong Willed Child

As we were shopping for refrigerators yesterday (another blog post I am sure) my littlest angel was showing her true persona. (As my sister's friend called it this weekend "a big personality.") My mom mentioned on the ride home how she sure was strong willed.

I have used that term before with my oldest child. Very willful. Wanting to do what she is wanting to do. My oldest child had a mild case compared to angel number four. But, my mom's comment led to a discussion about "strong willed" children which has been on my mind, as of late.

I am currently receiving e-mails from Simply Charlotte Mason, a website I use to help guide me in the Charlotte Mason ways for educating my children. And, this particular series of e-mails just happens to be discussing the nuances of "willful" children.

The premise behind the e-mails I have been receiving is this (all based on what Charlotte Mason wrote over a hundred years ago) that strong willed children are not really strong willed after all. They are, in all actuality, weak willed. (Now I am paraphrasing in my own words as I comprehend what the articles have been saying.)

It does not take a will or strength or much thought or fortitude to give in to one's desires. To have one's way. It takes a strong will to curb, to master, to control one's desires. A true strong will, will not give into selfish wants or immediate, perceived needs. (All paraphrasing. The website will have all of the articles, in their entirety.)

A strengthening of the will comes with maturity and learning to control those desires. To be unselfish, to put the needs of others before our selves. And for most of us, these are things we have to learn and want them for ourselves.

Does my youngest have a big personality? Oh yes! Just ask her Grandma. Do I buy into the fact that she needs to develop a strong will? Yes, I think so. It kind of makes sense to me. So, I think, I will be praying for my littlest angel to develop a strong will . . .

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July

For the past 6 or so years we have celebrated with the same 2 or 3 families. Not intentionally. It just kind of happens. Our church puts on a family oriented fireworks display that rivals the big show across town. And we all just seem to gather, together, at the top of the hill. A tradition I guess you could say. My kind of tradition. No planning whatsoever!

There are jumpy things for the kids and concession sales of hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, snow cones, baked goods and sodas. The church is open so you can get cool or use the restroom. And they usually have a silent auction or garage sale going on inside.

So far, every year, we have been able to get a place right on the top of the hill, in the shade. And for as hot as it is in July, we were saying last night, that we have never been uncomfortably warm. Hubby usually goes up around 5 and sets out our chairs and blankets and umbrella. He comes home, we gather up every thing else and head out around 6:30ish.

This year I actually let the kids roam around. Big step for me. I am such a freak when it comes to events with TONS of people. But, early in the evening, it is mostly people from the church and the kids are responsible to each other and they were really good about checking in. Plus, from the top of the hill, you can see just about everything.

They had big fun cruising around with their friends. They would come back and tell me who they saw and talked with. The girls hung around with different friends and even Boop went and played Frisbee with our friend's son. When things got crowded and it started to get dark, they had to stay within eye sight. And they did great.

I even let EG go off with a friend to take a look around the place. Of course, EG was very entertaining. She would toddle around on the hill, loose her balance and fall down. Somebody was just waiting for her to roll all the way down the hill. She just kind of did her own thing. At one point, she put her goldfish crackers in a Frisbee and then added water. I guess she expected them to swim around!

Unfortunately, the fireworks got a late start, so daddy had to leave before they actually began. But, Little Mama cozied up to Grandma. Nature Girl sat with a friend and Boop and EG sat on the blanket with me. Of course the big girls loved the display. Boop was tired and laid down, almost like he was asleep through most of it. And EG, of course, thought they were the greatest thing since sliced bread! I would have loved to get a picture of her first expression. Her mouth opened in a big "O". She was amazed. Never once frightened.

We all had a great time. I think it is one of my favorite holidays. Family, good friends, minimal planning and lots and lots of fun . . .

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Dream Come True

I am so excited for my friend and family prayer warrior. She has had a dream come true. She has published her very first book! Confessions of a Prayer Slacker. It has taken her a long, long time to realize her dream. But with much persistence and prayer, it has finally come true. I just think it is soooo cool!

I have had an opportunity to read it and it really has changed my prayer life. It has helped me realize the priority of prayer in my life. I need to pray for a lot of reasons, but one of which is to grow my relationship with Christ. Prayer is such in integral part of that relationship.

I believe that some of the things going on in my life right now are a direct result of working on my priority of prayer time, quiet time with God. My prayer life is still a huge work in progress but I have been encouraged by Confessions to keep growing in that area.

If any of you are struggling with your prayer life or don't feel your relationship with Christ is at its fullest, I encourage you to check out Confessions of a Prayer Slacker on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or (Available the first week in August.)

Thank you Aunt Diane for being one of our family's prayer warriors. And thank you for passing on some of your wisdom in your book . . .

Friday, July 2, 2010


We left the house at 8AM (cleaning lady came.)

Breakfast at Chick-fil-A. Have I mentioned I LOVE that place.

Got my phone fixed. Yay! I can text again!

Then to the grocery store for food for our fun family weekend. The kids did great!

Home, unloaded groceries, and showered.

Met Sissy at the mall, with the big girls, to do a little shopping.

Then a little lunch and met up with Grandma.

Shopped a little more.

Home by late afternoon to get ready for family dinner. Well, kinda get ready, daddy already had the ribs going.

Hung out with the fam and had a great summer holiday celebration dinner.

Now, kids in the tub and shower.

Ready for bed (me and the kids) . . .

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grandma is Coming Today

Gosh the summer is going by fast! Today Grandma comes for the holiday weekend. We have been vomit free for over 24 hours. But, in an abundance of caution, for tonight, Grandma will stay with Sissy to make sure we are cootie free!

Our agenda is something like this: breakfast tomorrow early (because the cleaning lady is coming), maybe see a friend in a musical mid-morning, tomorrow girls only afternoon (minus quarter pint as daddy calls EG), family dinner of ribs etc. either tomorrow night or Saturday, Saturday morning butterfly exhibit at a local nursery, Sunday church and fireworks, in the evening, at church for the 4th.

That is my agenda for the weekend. We will see what really happens . . .