Our Family

Our Family

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Visit to the Precious Moments Chapel

I got my first Precious Moments figure when I graduated High School. I thought they were very beautiful and started collecting them for myself and then Chelsea when she was born. Then, when each of the other children have been born my parents have started collecting the birthday train for the boys and the Growing in Grace series for the girls. I have an entire cabinet filled full of Precious Moments Figurines. The Precious Moments Chapel is an hour and a half from my parents in Carthage MO. I had driven past it several times when heading to another destination but had never stopped. Last week we took the children and drove up to Carthage. What a beautiful, peaceful place! It is free to tour the grounds, chapel, museum, and gift shops. They do an hourly guided tour (free) or you can wander through on your own. The murals and the stained glass windows (photos didn't turn out very good of those) were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The museum had some very interesting items from the very beginning of the creating of Precious Moments. There were also some figurines (like the one photographed above to remember the children from the Oklahoma City Bombing) that are one of a kind. In all my years collecting, there were several there I had never seen before. It was a wonderful trip and a great place to fill you heart with serenity and peace especially if you have lost a loved one.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NWA Homeschool Convention

We had a very busy 4 days in NWA. Besides the Homeschool Convention, we celebrated my nephew's birthday, took all 8 children to have their pictures taken, went to Carthage MO to the Precious Moments Chapel, had a picnic in the park, and went to Chuck E Cheese. Hopefully tomorrow I will have time to load some pictures and do a separate post about the Precious Moments Chapel and our picnic in the park.

This is only the third year of the NWA Homeschool Convention. There is another Convention that takes place in Searcy and it has been going on much longer. I was warned by a friend that the NWA Convention was much smaller than Searcy and was not as good but it is growing and expanding every year. I have to say that even though it was a little smaller it was just as good. I did get there a day later than I had planned (because of bad weather) and because of our busy schedule did not make it to any of the workshops. This year they recorded them and made them available for purchase on CD and Mp3 so I may still buy the ones that I missed. I enjoyed visiting the Vendor Hall and there were quite a few Vendors there. I got to have a look at some books I was deciding on and got to see quite a bit that I never even knew about. For instance, I have used A Reason For Handwriting for several years, but never knew that they also had a fantastic Science, Spelling, and Guided Reading Curriculum also. Check out www.ABeginningAdvantage.com to see all of the wonderful Bible Based products they have available. I also was very pleased to visit the Math U See Vendor. Some of you may not know about the changes they have made to their product. For several years they have been trying to find A USA publishing company that would produce a hard backed Teacher Manual and they finally located one that would do it afford ably. It is a much nicer product and one that will last much longer (the spiral bound pages were always falling out) for only $5 more. Go to www.mathusee.com to see their product list. There was so much to see that for a book lover like me that I wanted to buy one of everything.

At the used curriculum sale, I thought there was a large variety of each age range. I picked up several good chapter books for .50, a complete Abeka Spanish 1 for $10, brand new 1st grade handwriting for $6, a brand new Color the Phonics Computer Program for $10 (I hope it works to motivate Alex) and some other misc books for less than $2 each. Chelsea was very happy to accompany me to the book sale and help me spend our book money.

I thought it was very good and look forward to going again next year.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another School Year Complete!

We are officially done! The 2009-2010 school year is over. I am very pleased with how our year went and all of the things the children learned. They always amaze me! I really enjoy homeschooling, but I am glad for a little break. We will of course be looking out for fun educational things to do this summer, and do a lot of reading. We are leaving in the morning to head to Springdale for a few days and go to the NWA Homeschool Convention. We were planning on leaving today, but heavy rainstorms made us decide to postpone for a day and should be there tomorrow early in the afternoon. I am hoping to attend some of the workshops, used book sale, and visit the Vendor Hall. I have never been to this convention before so I hope it will be a good one!

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's Friday!

Doesn't she look sweet? I can't believe it is Friday already! We been really busy this week. In addition to our "regular" schoolwork this is what we have been up to.
Monday-Took Chelsea to Confirmation Class and ran errands to 3 friends' houses to pick up/drop off various things.
Tuesday- I spent quite a bit of time on Ebay. I am listing several things for myself and a homeschooling friend who is moving in a couple of weeks so most of Tuesday afternoon was spent on the computer. I also have been shopping on ebay and found 2 great deals this week. I got Chelsea's 9th grade Science for.99 plus shipping and a complete set of Algebra I for $19.
Wednesday- We had company. We were entertaining an extra 8 year old, 5 year old, and 3 year old. The children had a great time playing with their friends. In the afternoon we were off to a 4-H meeting for the boys to build bird houses (which turned out really great by the way) and then to Walmart to buy groceries.
Thursday- Catching up on some house cleaning (always a work in progress) and had a great time playing baseball outside.
Friday- We went and visited our ladies in Assisted Living and served them brunch this morning. Pizza and a movie for this evening.
We are winding down our School Year and will be finished on Thursday then we will be heading to 4-H for B Day then to Springdale for the Homeschool Convention. I am planning on doing a lot of reading this summer and am working on a reading incentive idea for the children. Chelsea and Nick both love to read, and the little ones love to be read to, but Alex needs to keep working on reading and I want to be able to do this in a fun way so it doesn't feel like work.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

I hope all of you mama's out there had a great Mother's Day. My children are so sweet. A few months ago, the blender that we got for my Bridal Shower finally bit the dust when I was whipping up some baby food. Since then we had not gotten a new one. Since it has been getting warmer outside, the children have been asking for milkshakes and smoothies. Unfortunately, I cannot make those without a blender. So, you guessed it I got a new blender and a bucket of ice cream for Mother's Day. The children also made me cards and a cake. We had cake and milkshakes for dessert. I also got a new muffin pan because our old one was in horrible shape and was very hard to clean. Chelsea was very happy to throw it in the trash. Even though it is nice to be recognized on Mother's Day, it is a great blessing to be a mom and have such a wonderful family. The greatest joy in my life has been being a wife and a mommy.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Favorite Recipes: Cheese Ravioli

My kids love to eat at Olive Garden. One day to surprise them, I made an entire Olive Garden meal for 9 at home including the salad and breadsticks for under $20. Cheese Ravioli is a big hit at my house, is quick and easy to make, and is great for when you need to make a meal for someone.

What you need (I double this recipe for my crew):

1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 can diced tomatoes undrained
1/2 cup water
1 pkg frozen cheese ravioli
1pkg 3 cheese blend shredded cheese
2 TBSP grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 400. Mix sauce, tomatoes and water; spoon 1 cup in the bottom of 13x9 baking dish. Layer half the ravioli and 1 cup cheese over sauce. Top with remaining ravioli and sauce mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more min or until heated through. Sprinkle with Parmesan, let stand 10 min and serve.

Monday, May 3, 2010

8 Week Old Chicks and Their New Home

The chicks are 8 weeks old and have grown all of their feathers. They do not need a heat lamp anymore to stay warm at night and can eat regular chicken feed. Art designed a movable chicken pen so that the chickens will be both grass and grain fed. The whole family did the building, painting, and wiring and finished it up yesterday. The chickens were moved to their new home and seem to be doing very well. I am very proud of my husband for all of his hard work and all of the children for the time they spent on this project and all of the things they learned while working with their daddy.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Choosing Curriculum for Next Year

It's that time of the year again. The school year is winding down and it is time to start thinking about what we want to do next year. I need to have curriculum for K, 1, 3, and 9th grade next year and curriculum can be very expensive for one child, let alone many children. Last year, I started noticing how much more expensive books can become when your children get into the older grades. I spent some time in prayer over not only what to use for that year, but about my concern over having multiple children that I needed to teach. Although homeschooling can be almost free if you do a lot of research and prep on your own, I have spent some time using that method and tend to reach burn out stage by February, and although we like to do Unit Studies and similar things, I like to have a main curriculum for our every day course of study. God answered my prayer and He dropped a lot of curriculum in my lap. I had never used the Abeka curriculum before and honestly never even thought about using it, but how could I not when I was given hundreds of dollars worth of books in a wide variety of ages not just once but from 3 different sources? We gave it a try and I found that I liked it quite a bit and it is a fairly inexpensive curriculum to buy used. I do not use and Cursive Writing for the little ones and do not do seatwork. We just have used Health, Science, History, Language, and the Readers. We read it together and do discussion questions aloud. I say all this to explain that choosing a curriculum for next year has already been done for me and I just need to fill in some spots. I began going through what I have to see what I need to buy and what I have more than one of to pass on to others. I also have been checking ebay auctions to see what I can find very inexpensively. I still have some decisions to make on Art, Music, and a Foreign Language, so I have been reading reviews and searching for these products and praying about these areas. I will be attending a Homeschool Convention in about 3 weeks and will check out the vendor hall and Used book Sale to make some final decisions. If anyone has used a great curriculum in any of these areas please leave me a comment.