Our Family

Our Family

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Arkansas Homeschool Paperwok

It's getting to be that time of year again.  If you will be homeschooling in the state of Arkansas you need to get your Notice Of Intent and Waiver filled out.  These forms need to be received (not postmarked by but actually received) by your local Superintendent by August 15th in order to legally homeschool in Arkansas.  If this is your first year homeschooling you must drop them off in person.  If you have previously homeschooled you can mail it in.  You are not required to be "interviewed" by the Superintendent when you drop off the paperwork.  If your child is over the age of 14 and wishes to obtain a driver's license, the paperwork needs to be notarized.  If you have any questions or problems filling out your paperwork you can go to The Education Alliance website for more information or call them at 501-978-5503.  Of course, if you have any questions that I can answer for you I would be more than happy to!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book Review: Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann

Trevor McDaniel is a former Olympic skier whose injury ended his career but not his drive and determination.  Now a search and rescue volunteer (and outdoor store owner) he meets Natalie Reeve the sculptor moving in next door with an incredible gift which is both a blessing and a curse shortly after Trevor rescues her nephew from a mountain lion.  Trevor and Natalie being to grow closer as danger begins to draw near.  A twisted mind is fixated on Trevor and the story of his heroism.  The threats Trevor receives chill him and those he cares about.  Jonah Westfall, chief of police will do whatever it takes to bring this monster down.  The monster cries out in the only way he knows how, by recreating the nightmare that created him.

This book is not the type of book I would normally choose.  I picked Indelible because I had read the author's Diamond in the Rockies series and really enjoyed it.  My favorite type of books to read are Christian Romances or Historical Fiction.  This book is more of a psychological thriller.  From the first page to the last you are sucked in to this amazingly suspenseful story.  The plot is very well constructed and the author gives an amazing amount of insight into the characters.  So often in books you are just given a small glimpse of each of the main characters, but Heitzmann goes much deeper into her character development.  The whole time I was reading I was torn between not being sure I wanted to continue and being compelled to find out how the story was going to end.  If you are looking for a great uplifting suspense story, pick up a copy of Indelible or the other book in the series, Indivisible.

I received a complimentary ebook copy of Indelible from WaterBrook Multnomah for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fun at DeGray Lake

We are so blessed to live in an area where there are so many great family friendly places you can go for the day.  One of our favorite places to go in the summer is the lake and there are several close by that we can choose from but DeGray Lake State Park is our favorite lake to spend our day swimming at the beach.  They have shaded picnic tables, grills, and a nice swim beach.  The water is pretty warm and is very clear (my pictures don't do it justice.)

Last night I made Oven Fried Chicken, Potato Salad, and Chelsea made Chocolate Chip Cookies to take with us.  We added some chips, bottled water, and juice boxes to the cooler and we were all set for lunch.  It was so nice not to spend time cooking the food on the grill there and have an option other than sandwiches.

The weather was absolutely perfect!  Only 93 degrees and partly cloudy skies made it much more enjoyable than having the sun blazing down on us (believe me 93 feels cool when it has been over 100 for weeks.)  It was Emelia's first time swimming and she was neither excited or upset about it, just very interested in what was going on.  Anthony and Christian were like little fish, but next time I will make them wear life jackets.  They think they are bigger than they are and kept wandering a little farther out than I liked.  Nick, Alex, and Chelsea had a great time playing football with their daddy.  Lily loved playing with the beach ball and squashing the sand castles I made for her.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fun at the Waterpark!

Friends of ours reserved the local water park for a birthday party earlier in the week.  We have a neat little water park, but it is a whole lot more fun to go to a party then to go during normal daytime hours for two reasons: you get the whole place to yourself and it it at night when the sun has started going down.  The children had a great time (I made them stop and pose for the pictures since my zoom does not work on my camera.)  Lily was not at all intimidated and thought she was big enough to go down the water slide (ummm no.)  Chelsea is not in the picture because she was not there, she had something else to do that night.  We are not going to talk about the fact the party had to end 15 minutes early because of a leaky swim diaper.  Nor are we going to talk about whose child it was with the leaky swim diaper because I still feel terrible about that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The School Room Is Not Completely Finished But.....

Here are some pictures of the progress.  The blackboard has not been painted yet because it has a very potent odor and Art wants to wait for a day the children and I are not at home to paint it, and the door from the laundry room/bathroom to the school room/playroom has to be painted.  I wanted to take some pictures (forgive my camera I really need a new one)  now though because this is probably the cleanest this room will ever be!  I still have to buy a table, make the curtains and a cushion for the window seat.  Then, we will get to move the toys and school stuff back where it belongs!  The family room is coming along too and should be done in a couple of weeks.  I will post pictures of the remodel from beginning to end when both rooms are finished.

I just need to say what a wonderful husband I have!  Not only does he work so hard to support our family at his job, he has done almost all of the work on the remodel by himself.  I am so blessed to have such a hard working, talented husband!

Homeschooling With Toddlers and Preschoolers

A question that is often asked about homeschooling by first time homeschoolers or those that are interested in homeschooling is, "What do you do with your little ones when you are homeschooling?" My first year of homeschooling, Chelsea was going into 3rd grade, Nick was 3 1/2, Alex was 20 months, and Anthony was a newborn.  Since that first year we have added 3 more children, so something that our family is quite used to is homeschooling with newborns/babies and homeschooling with toddlers/preschoolers.  While different things work better for different families, this is what works for us.

Homeschooling is a family affair for us and that includes the little ones.  I want them to feel included in our school day.  We start out our school day working on subjects we all can do together Bible, History, Science, Art, Music, Read Alouds.  The little ones either sit on someones lap or can play quietly in the room while we are reading.  To minimize interruptions, I try to make sure babies have clean diapers, toddlers have gone potty, and everyone has had a drink of water before we get started.  Of course there will be times that 5 minutes into reading someone will have to go potty, but there are going to be some interruptions when you have young children.  Sometimes they forget to play quietly while I am reading and I will have to stop and give a reminder.  After one reminder they have to put their toy away and come sit with me if they can't play quietly.  We keep toys, coloring books,paper, crayons, picture books, puzzles, play dough where they can be reached without having to interrupt for someone to go get them.  We do spend part of each day reading their favorite stories too!

After reading time we usually have some kind of hands on projects to do.  We do most of our projects around the kitchen table. Our littles always want to participate in these so I make sure I have plenty of supplies to go around.  I usually will just hold the baby or put her in her exersaucer while we are doing projects.  If it is something that could be dangerous for the little ones, we will wait until nap time to work on it.  If the boys have worksheets to do, I print off extras so the little ones can "do school" too.

After lunch is nap time for 3 and under and quiet time for the rest of the children.  During this time they can get their independent work completed and I can work one on one with those who are learning something brand new or need help with something.  The younger children K,2 ND grade need me to work with them much more than my 4th and 10th graders although I need to be available to help them if they are having trouble with something.

By 2:00 all of our school work is completed and the children get to have 30 minutes of media time.  The rest of the day is productive free time until we have to begin evening chores.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Making a menu plan can seem like a pain sometimes, but it saves you lots of money and time in the kitchen.  Plus it helps to get me organized (and I need all the organizational help I can get!)  My menu runs Friday-Thursday since we do all of our shopping on Friday mornings.

Fri 7/22-pizza
Saturday 7/23- taco salad
Sunday 7/24- roasted chicken, oven roasted potatoes, corn
Monday 7/25- the 6 year old birthday boy picked McDonald's for his birthday supper (Art and I are getting Subway)
Tuesday 7/26- spaghetti, bread
Wednesday 7/27- BBQ meatballs, mashed potatoes, green beans
Thursday 7/28- breakfast

Visit www.orgjunkie.com to see some other great weekly menus!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book Review: Sweet Sanctuary


By Sheila Walsh and Cindy Coloma
Published by Thomas Nelson

Average Blogger Rating: 3.6 Stars

Book Description

"Without the storm, how would we know the sweetness of shelter?" -Ruth
Out of the clear blue, Wren’s Grandma Ruth arrives on her doorstep, dreaming of a grand party to celebrate her 90th birthday. Wren and her young son Charlie love the idea, but it quickly gets complicated: Ruth wants Wren’s estranged siblings to attend and she wants Wren to sing her all-time favorite song: “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” It’s the very song Wren sang one fateful day during her childhood . . . and Wren hasn’t sung a note since.
Though she’s glad to have Grandma back in her life, Wren’s sleeping on the couch in her own house now . . . and worried about the expenses piling up. After all, her job at the community library is in jeopardy after budget cuts, and the fancy music program she wants for her son is getting farther and farther out of reach. What’s more, Paul—the guy she's drawn to yet avoids—ends up being a major part of an important library project.
With family arriving and old wounds resurfacing, Wren’s about to fly when she discovers something special—a gift of grace beyond her wildest dreams.

I really enjoyed reading this book.  It is a sweet story of grace and forgiveness in today's setting.  The character's are very well developed and believable.  They face many contemporary problems that people today can relate to such as: the challenges of being a single mother, trouble from facebook, job changing with new technology, strained relationships, and of course forgiveness. Wren has to learn that God is in control of all things and that change is not something to fear.  She has to learn to forgive the cause of an old tragedy that tore her family apart in order to stop an other's child from going through the same thing she suffered as a child: blame.  She learns that while forgiveness is not easy, it is necessary to move on with her (our) lives.  While I enjoyed Wren, Charlie, and Paul's character, I loved Grandma Ruth and her determination to bring her family back together even if there is a little lie involved that she herself has to ask forgiveness for.

I received a complimentary e book copy of Sweet Sanctuary from Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Arkansas Tax Free Weekend 2011

I just found out today that Arkansas will be having its first tax free weekend!  You can shop tax free starting at 12:01 am Saturday August 6th until 11:59 pm Sunday August 7th on eligible purchases.  Each eligible clothing item has to be less than $100 and accessories, school supplies, art supplies, and textbooks must be less than $50 for each individual item (your total can be more than $50 or $100 each individual item must be less.)  Disposable diapers are on the list as a clothing item!  To see the list of eligible items for the tax free weekend click here.  My understanding is that this only counts for in store purchases, not online.  I knew there was a good reason to procrastinate in picking up school supplies!  Can you guess what I will be doing one of those two days?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Favorite Recipes: Apricot Glazed Chicken

I made this for the first time the other day, and it was quick, easy, and delicious!  A definite keeper in our favorite recipes!

2 lbs chicken drumsticks (you could use a different kind of chicken you will just need to adjust cooking time)
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegarette dressing
2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Place chicken in a 13x9 baking dish.  Bake 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven turning chicken after 10 min.  In the meantime, mix all other ingredients.  Coat chicken with mixture and bake another 20 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Serve and enjoy!

Dog Sitting

For the next week, we have 3 four legged house guests.  My mom and dad had to go out of town, so we are dog sitting their three dogs Misty, Shania, and Jackson.  We have 2 dogs already, but they are outside and are chained up.  Our house is on 11 acres and Misty and Shania are used to a fenced in yard, so we have to walk them on a leash (Jackson will only go where he is told.)  I was worried the dogs wouldn't adjust very well to my dad being gone (they follow him everywhere), but they are being good and spoiled by the children and coping just fine.

This is Misty.  She is a Yorkie-poo and is almost 10 years old.  She had an accident a few months ago and has lost some vision in one of her eyes, but she is coping well.  She is making herself right at home.

Jackson is 11 years old and has recently been diagnosed with cancer in his shoulder.  He is a great dog especially around kids.  My parents have decided against radical treatment (amputation was an option) and are just going to keep him comfortable.  He gets an anti inflammatory and a pain pill every day mixed into ice cream (the other dogs get ice cream too so they don't feel left out.) Hopefully when his time comes he will just go to sleep.  He loves having the kids around and has been acting like a puppy since he got here.

This is Shania a 9 year old German Shepherd who was born with a hip problem.  She is my dad's baby and pines for him when he is not home, but she id doing well.  She likes to be away from a lot of noise and likes to keep to herself so she is downstairs in our almost finished family room (hoping to be done in the next week or two!)

The children have been doing a great job taking care of the dogs.  Chelsea has even given up her bed to sleep in the living room with them.  The boys help fill their water dishes and walking them and Lily even gives their bones when they come inside (she did try to give Shania 5 bones one time but I caught her.)  Even though they like being around the kids, I am sure the dogs will be very happy to see Papa next week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Apologia Science

I have been doing a series on the curriculum choices we have made this year, many of it brand new to us.  So far I have blogged about Excellence in Literature, All About Spelling, and Mystery of History.  Chelsea has used Apologia Astronomy and General Science a few years ago, but the boys have never used it before.  For the last couple of years we have used Abeka Science.  It really was not as in depth and hands on as I usually like, but it was free and last year having morning sickness all day for 6 months, I really wasn't able to do much more than read out of textbooks.  This year, we will be doing Apologia's Zoology 1 Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day with the boys and Chelsea will be using High School Biology.

What I love about Apologia Science:

  • Creation based
  • Texts are written to the student
  • Full of fun, interesting,educational information
  • Great hands on fun experiments to reinforce the lesson
  • Notebooking exercises to go along with the lesson
  • Hard cover text book with lots of great pictures
  • Teaches uses the immersion approach so students have the opportunity to really learn a lot about a topic instead of just getting little chunks of information
  • Elementary texts can be used with a wide range of ages
Cost is something that is very subjective and what I think is expensive someone else may think is very inexpensive, but I think Apologia Science is very affordable especially since they are hard cover texts that can be used my multiple children or resold.  Compared to other High School programs it was the most affordable that I found.  I bought my books at www.christianbook.com when they have their 33% off Apologia sale and got a great deal.

One question I have been asked is if the notebooking journals are necessary to buy.  No, they are not.  You can easily buy a 3 ring notebook and make your own (that's what we did before they came out with them.)  Each textbook has an online site you can go to that has many free notebooking sheets you can print.  I did buy one notebooking journal that I am going to have the boys work on together.  It is a very nice product to compliment the text book with a lot of fun activities. I think Nick (9) could easily do one on his own, but Alex (7) and Anthony (6) would be a big challenge so they will do it together and we will see how it goes.

I also decided that I am going to buy lab kits this year.  I have to buy the dissection kit for Chelsea anyway, and I know if I don't have the materials on hand to do an experiment when I need them or can't find what we need, the experiment won't get done.  I have seen the lab kits for as much as $80 which includes literally every single thing you need to complete the experiments.  I can handle having to provide some cotton balls or a tea bag, I just wanted a kit that had some of the harder to find materials.  I found this kit on www.homesciencetools.com and at $25.95 it was just what I was looking for.  They also have the dissection kit for Chelsea for $30.95 and I will be ordering both of those at the end of this month.

I am very excited to be using Apologia Science this year and can't wait for the school year to begin in a couple of weeks!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I had a really hard time writing this week's menu.  I just couldn't sit down and put it together, and when I did get a chance to sit down the night before shopping, I was lacking inspiration.  Good thing for great menu planning posts like http://www.orgjunkie.com/.  Hop over there to check out some tasty menus.  Here's my menu plan for this week:

Fri 7/15- homemade pizza
Sat 7/16- apricot glazed chicken (will post recipe soon), rice, corn
Sun 7/17- ham steaks, cheesy mashed potatoes, broccoli
Mon 7/18- baked ziti, bread and butter
Tues 7/19-chicken patties, fresh fruit, carrots
Wed 7/20- slow cooker swiss steak over egg noodles, green beans
Thurs 7/21- chilli cheese dogs, corn on the cob

Sunday, July 17, 2011

They Think We're Crazy For Homeschooling But........

Even if you take away many of the negative things public school has to offer such as: socialization, evolutionary teachings,bullying, drugs, and cafeteria food (sorry it had to be said) the question remains, Is the public school system doing it's job?  Is public school succeeding in educating our children and preparing them for the world? 

First of all, I have to say that I am not speaking negatively about teachers.  I know a lot of teachers and people who are going to school to become teachers.  I believe that the majority of teachers are good teachers and work very hard at doing their job.  But, they are stuck in  an impossible system.  Even if you take away the impossibility of trying to successfully teach over 20 children who all learn differently there job is still made more difficult.  The system's biggest focus is not on educating our children, but to increase test scores on standardized tests.  That is what they work on all year round starting as soon as children enter school and continuing until their graduate.  Subjects that don't appear on the test are no longer being taught and electives like Art and Music are becoming obsolete.  School districts are forced into teaching to increase test scores because their funding and bonuses depend on it.  Is it working?  Are students testing higher or learning more?  No.  Test scores are not improving and in some places teachers have been cheating on standardized tests in order to show higher scores so they will not lose their grant money.  Students are not learning more, they are actually being taught much less than even a few years ago.  It is not getting any better, it will continue to get worse.  I read a quote once that said trying to reform education is like trying to cover a serious gunshot wound with a band aid.

This trend to teach only to increase test scores is just another good reason to homeschool.  We get to teach for the purpose of educating our children and prepare them for their future.  We get to watch them delight in doing a hands on science experiment or all of the snakes that live in Arkansas not just because they need to pick the correct answer on a multiple choice test but because they are learning.  Why homeschool?  Because you can provide the kind of education at home that public school can't.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let's Talk Curriculum Link Up

Don't you just love to see what other people are using for curriculum.  I know I have found great products that I have never even heard of before by reading about what other people are using.  Very Blessed Mamma at Training up Children for Christ is having a curriculum link up.  You can see what other's are using and link up your own curriculum choices for this year.  Click here check out the post and link up your own!  You can find my High School Curriculum Plans here and my Elementary Plans here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

4 H Sewing Workshop 2011

Every summer, 4 H does a sewing workshop for ages 9 and up.  Each year they tackle a different project with the help of some volunteers from the Extension Homemakers.  In the past we have made pajama pants, hand bags, shirts, rag quilts, and several different home furnishings items.  This year they made pillowcases and aprons.  All of the material and supplies were donated  and there was plenty of fabric to choose from.  The girls got to keep one of the pillowcases and then made and donated several to Arkansas Children's Hospital.  Here is the pillowcase Chelsea kept and also her apron.

In addition to the sewing workshop, Chelsea has been working on a sewing project at home too.  She picked out a skirt pattern and material when we were visiting my mom and has been working on the skirt (I hope our Walmart gets fabric back.)  She had some trouble with part of it and got some help from the ladies at the workshop.  She finished it up today.

She did a great job on it!  She is very creative and becoming very talented at sewing!  She will enter all three of these items in the fair and also a rag quilt that she made.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh, You're One Of Those Parents

The first time I ever heard that comment was about 5 years ago.  I had taken the children for their well checks (back when we used to go to well checks) and my youngest at the time was just starting to be mobile.  After spending about 10 minutes looking him over, the doctor sat down to give me a lecture of rules I should follow to keep the baby safe.  You know, always keep him in a car seat in the car, make sure he is sleeping in his own bed, tips on starting solid foods, etc..etc..Then the doctor told me to make sure I kept him in a playpen at all times during the day to keep the baby protected from his older siblings.  I actually was pretty surprised by his comment and must have shown it by the expression on my face because he said, "Oh, you're one of those parents who don't believe babies should be kept in a playpen.  You're the reason I get called out in the middle of the night because baby just swallowed big brothers Lego's."  I told the doctor no I had never used a playpen for any of my children and certainly would not keep a baby confined to a playpen all of the time.  We try to keep small toys away from the babies and talk to our older children about the things we need to do to keep baby safe.  I thanked him for his time, loaded up the children and went home.

Since then I have been called, "One of Those Parents" many times for different reasons: when people find out we homeschool, don't take our children for well checks, or  feed my babies table food.  Also when I insisted on nursing even though I was pregnant, and when I refused to stop nursing to take medication and insisted on a different treatment.  But, I have to say it doesn't offend me like it did that day in the doctor's office.  I don't claim to have all of the answers in parenting or that my way is always right.  I do however pray daily for wisdom and guidance in making decisions for my children, and also for courage when the decisions we make go against what most people believe is the best choice.  I will happily be "One of Those Parents" who wants nothing but to raise happy, healthy children who love the Lord. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: Treasuring Emma

Emma has put everyone else first in her life. Now at nearly 25, has she missed her chance at marriage?
Emma was Adam's first love but circumstances made them both choose different paths in life. Emma's heart breaks all over again when Adam returns to the Amish community of Middlefield, Ohio, years later.
For the past ten years, Emma has been a care-giver. First for her mother who unsuccessfully battled breast cancer, and now for her grandmother who gets more frail with each passing year. Emma has always put the needs of others above her own. With more time on her hands, she determines to focus on herself and her dream of opening a rescue shelter for stray animals in the community.
With Adam's return come feelings Emma's long buried. They're older and life hasn't turned out the way they thought it would. Adam's feelings for Emma are stronger than ever, but will he be able to convince her to put the past aside and give their love a chance?

I started out really enjoying this book.  It is not just a typical Amish Romance type story, there is also a mystery involved.  I got involved in the story and the character development and enjoyed the "bad guy" element and the mystery of what he was going to accomplish.  But, I have to say that I was greatly disappointed in the ending of this book.  The author put so much time and effort in building such a great story and wonderful characters and then at the end simply cut off the story.  We are told at the beginning of the book how much Emma loves animals and would like to open an animal shelter, but that part of the story is never developed.  We assume Emma and Adam have a happy ending along with her sister and her husband.  We are told but not shown Adam's coming back to the Lord.  We never find out what was truly troubling Carol and whether or not she found peace.  We are introduced to a brand new character whose fate is left hanging.  The "bad guy" does not come to justice but instead seems to go on his merry way.  One of the things I love about reading is getting to the end of the book and having all of the loose ends tied up and the characters getting to live ,"Happily Ever After."  I found this to be very disappointing in this book which is too bad because it had wonderful elements of being a great story.

I received a complimentary copy of Treasuring Emma from Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Menu Plan Monday

It is very hot here in Arkansas!  So hot you don't really feel a lot like cooking or eating very much.  I am very thankful for our air conditioning!  This week's menu is very simple:

Friday 7/8- pizza
Saturday 7/9-blt's and fruit salad
Sunday 7/10- pork chop parmesan
Monday 7/11-tacos
Tuesday 7/12- chicken salad, fruit
Wednesday 7/13- burgers, baked beans, potato salad
Thursday 7/14- meatball sandwiches, carrots, leftover potato salad

See some great menu plans over at http://www.orgjunkie.com/!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mystery of History Vol 1

This year we are using curriculum in several subjects that we have never used before.  I am writing a post on each one talking about what I liked about the curriculum and why I chose it.  So far I have written about Excellence in Literature and All About Spelling.  Today's focus will be on the Mystery of History Volume 1 Creation to Christ.

I really wanted to find a history curriclum that we could all do together.  For us that is a little challenging because my oldest will be in 10th grade, plus I have children in 4th, 2nd, K and a couple of tag along preschoolers.  I also wanted something that would be biblically based, and would be more than a textbook.  My children learn best and enjoy doing lots of hands on projects.  My 4th grader really enjoys making time lines and doing mapping activities also.  I did not want to have to buy a lot of extras or seperate books or schedules for each level.  We have done quite a bit of American History, but the boys have not done any Ancient History at all.

I had heard of The Mystery of History and started investigating it more.  I got on their website and read a lot of reviews about the curriculum.  I also had the opportunity to briefly look through a book that someone had and decided to go ahead and order it.  I found the best price $39.99 on http://www.christianbook.com/ .  I was so excited when I got the book in the mail a few days later!  Unfortunately it was damaged during shipping, but I contacted Christian Book and they got a new one out to me right away.  After having a chance to look over it thoroughly, I knew I had made the right choice.  It was just what I was looking for!  I took it to a friend of mine who was still looking for history for this year.  Not only did she decided to buy it, she showed it to another friend who order it too.

What I Love:

The book is all you "need" to teach history from K-12 th grade.  There are of course extra resources listed if you would like to go further in depth on certain topics.

Bible lessons correspond with History.

Easy to follow lessons with plenty of hands on activities listed by appropriate ages.

You can pick and choose the activities you want to go along with the lessons.

Plenty of time line and maping exercises including suggestions on making different types of timelines.

We all can work together!  Chelsea will have to go more in depth than the boys but we will all be studying the same topic at the same time.

I never liked history when I went to school, but since I started homeschooling, it is my favorite subject to teach.  I learn a lot by teaching the children and I can't wait to get started with The Mystery of History next month!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Emelia Rose 4 1/2 Months

Babies grow and change so fast!  Emelia is now 18 weeks old and is such a sweet baby!  She loves having her brothers and sisters play with her.  They all adore their baby sister!  Lily gave her the doll she is playing with in the picture. She is rolling front to back and back to front and chewing on everything in sight.  Two of my children had teeth at 4 months old, but I am hoping it will be a bit longer for Emelia.  She takes three one hour naps during the day and then sleeps from 9:30 until 2 am, nurses and goes back to sleep until 6:30, nurses and goes back to sleep until 8:30.  The last two nights she has slept past two am and not woken up until 4am.  Unfortunately, my internal mommy clock has woken me up at two both days!  I wish she wouldn't grow up so fast and just enjoy being a baby for awhile.  Oh well, we'll just have to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dog Daze of Summer 4 H Workshop

Whew!  It has been a long day for us today.  We had a 4 H workshop that started at 9:30 this morning which meant we had to be up, fed, dressed, and all chores done so we could leave by 9:00.  For the workshop, the children talked about their different kind of pets and listened to a talk on basic pet care.  Then they split up into 2 teams to make homemade doggie treats. 

The dough they made had ingredients like: flour, wheat flour, wheat germ, yeast, powdered milk,salt, and chicken broth.  Then they rolled out the dough and used 4 leaf clover cookie cutters to cut them out.  They were then brushed with egg and milk and baked in the oven.  While we waited for the treats to bake the children played a few games and also got to eat lunch.  After lunch we headed over to our local Animal Shelter to have a tour and donate the dog treats and other things like blankets, rugs, and dog toys that the children collected. 

At the animal shelter they talked about the different kinds of animals they get and why they are getting so many right now.  This morning alone they picked up 30 kittens!  They showed us the equipment that is used when capturing animals.  We got to tour the kennel where the animals are kept and he talked about how they feed, care for, and adopt animals out.I didn't get very many pictures at the shelter because Emelia was asleep in my arms!
Christian petting a puppy

We were finished touring the shelter by 1:45 and we still had to get to Walmart.  Lines we very long at Walmart of course and we stood in line for 30 minutes.  We finally got home about 3:30.  I was planning on making pizza for supper tonight, but I am worn out!  I am ordering pizza from Pizza Pro instead ($4.99 for a large cheese, can't beat that!)  It was a fun, educational, busy day!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Favorite Recipes: Chicken Burrito Bundles

I'm always looking for something new and interesting to make for supper.  This one is different because the chicken is the burrito and the other ingredients are rolled up in it. I made these for the first time the other day and they were delicious!  As written this recipe is supposed to serve 4. 


1/4 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup rinsed canned black beans
1/4 cup salsa
3/4 cup shredded cheese
8 small boneless skinless chicken breasts thin cut
1 pk shake n' bake (I used great value chicken coating mix)

How to make it:

Heat oven to 400.  Combine corn, beans, salsa, and 1/2 cup cheese.  Place chicken on work surface, top with corn mixture and roll up tightly (I used a toothpick to keep the chicken roll closed.)  Add shake n bake to shallow dish add chicken and coat all sides.  Place in a baking dish and bake 30 minutes or until chicken is done.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to oven until the cheese is melted.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Review: A Vision of Lucy

When I started reading my latest review ebook, A Vision of Lucy, by Margaret Brownley (295 pages), I thought it was simply going to a damsel in distress type of book.  I must say that though there is a damsel that is often in distress, this book turned out to be much more than that.

Book Description:

Trouble may follow Lucy wherever she goes, but with the help of God and the rugged, reclusive David Wolf, she'll never face adversity alone.
Lucy Fairbanks dreams of working as a photographer at the Rocky Creek newspaper. If she can earn money making photographs, then maybe her father will see that what she does is worthy, more than just a distraction. And her deepest hope is that he’ll see her as an artist, the way he thought of her deceased mother, a painter. But trouble follows Lucy on every photo shoot: a mess of petticoats and ribbons, an accidental shooting, even a fire.
When Lucy meets David Wolf, a quiet, rustic man who lives on the outskirts of town, she thinks she can catch the attention of the town with his photograph. She doesn't count on her feelings stirring whenever she's near him.
Two things happen next that forever change the course of her life: Lucy meets someone who sees her as no one else has—as the compassionate, creative young woman that God made in His image. And Lucy helps David uncover a secret that forces him to change his perspective on an event that left him deeply-scarred.
God’s arms are around this unlikely couple as they discover the truth about long-held assumptions and the importance of forgiveness.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was a fun and interesting read.   It had a lot of interesting elements and struggles that the characters faced.  Learning to forgive and overcoming prejudice were huge themes in this book.  Discovering God's purpose for your life and not falling into what other people believe you should do is another. seeing other people's side of the story also played a big part of the plot in this book.

Even though there are some serious topics, this book is a lot of fun to read.  I really enjoyed getting to know all the different characters.  Lucy is a very funny character who cannot keep quiet when she is nervous and finds herself in many different crazy situations throughout the book.  There is also an element of suspense throughout the book and a mystery that has to be solved before it is too late.  Even though this is the third book in the Rocky Creek Romance Series, you do not need to read the other two to understand this one.  It is great as a stand alone book.

I received a complimentary ebook copy of A Vision of Lucy from Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Venting a Little About the "S" Word (Socialization)

Last week I read several comments on an article about homeschooling.  There were a number of positive comments, and a ton of negative.  The most common negative comment had to do with, you guessed it socialization.  You know comments like, "Homeschoolers are so sheltered, they are not like other kids (that's a negative?) or my favorite, "Homeschoolers will grow up to be shy and withdrawn and not be able to function in real society  They are missing out on the social skills they need."  Really?  Even in this day and age where the homeschooling movement is growing by leaps and bounds, colleges are seeking out homeschooled children, and there are a ton of extra curricular activities available, people still think that.  I'm thinking they must not know too many homeschoolers. 

One thing I am thankful for every day is that my children are missing out on the "socialization" that goes on in school.  What exactly are they missing out on?  Spending 45 hours a week picking up other children's bad habits and language?  Learning about things like drugs, sex, and violence?  Being bullied or made fun of because they are too fat, thin, or don't wear the right kind of tennis shoes?  A constant pressure to conform to be like their peers. Not seeing any negatives so far.

On the other hand, let's take a look at a homeschoolers "social" experience.  I'm going to use Chelsea, my 14 year old as an example.  There is not a single social situation that she is not comfortable in.  A few examples: she can play with small children and babies, spend time with teens at 4H and church, join a table full of elderly women at the Assisted Living Facility we visit, or sing in a church choir with not one single other person her age.  If there is something she has an interest in she does it regardless of who is or is not participating.  Why? Part of it is her personality.  Another reason is because through homeschooling she is exposed to and expected to participate in activities with all kinds of different people.  She is not stuck in a room with only people her own age for 45 hours a week.  She also has quite a bit of self confidence.  We love her at home no matter what kind of clothing she wears or who her friends are.

The truth is, all people are different.  Some children are going to out going, some are going to be shy whether they go to Public, Private, or a Homeschool.  But, suggesting that homeschoolers will be incapable of being a part of society is absolutely ridiculous!  Keeping them at home will better equip them to go out into the world when it is time.I do not want my children to be like everyone else.  I want them to grow up to be the people that God intended them to be. 

He who walks with the wise grows wise but a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.   Romans 12:2

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Soil Sammies 4 H Workshop

Yesterday, we had a 4H Workshop called Soil Sammies.  This was a free educational workshop for all 4 Hers 5 and up to learn about soil.  We had a lesson about what soil is and its different layers.  Then we made the Soil Sammies.  We decorated a Styrofoam cup with a face and added the soil and grass seed to it then watered it.  Hopefully in about a week or so it will grow some "hair."  The children can cut the hair into different styles and if they want to enter them in the County Fair this year.  Then we went over a worksheet on soil and things it needs.  After that the children got to make a snack demonstrating the different levels and components of soil.  In a plastic cup we layered marshmallows, cocoa puffs, cheerios, M &M's, and gummy worms to represent the 3 layers of soil, organic material, and a decomposer.  I must say that the children really enjoyed making and eating the snack!

I think Christian enjoyed playing with his worms the most!  The children had a lot of fun and got to learn something new.  I love hoe family friendly 4 H is and that when possible they even let my little ones participate even though they are not technically old enough to be in 4 H.  One thing that I think is sad though is the amount of people that sign up for these workshops and then don't call or show up.  There is  limited space for each workshop and once it is full no one else can sign up.  Yesterday, 8 people did not call or show up to this workshop.  There were others that wanted to participate that couldn't because it was "full."  if those that couldn't make it would have called and let somebody know, a few more children could have been able to participate. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Home Sweet Home!

Last Sunday after church, the children and I drove up for a quick visit to my parents.  We had 4 days in a row that didn't have anything scheduled so off we went.  The ride up was not fun.  My children are used to traveling and ride quite well.  Miss Emelia who is 4 months old now decided she did not want to be in her car seat.  She screamed (not cried) for about half of our 4 hour drive.  Thankfully she slept the second half of the drive.  We did have a nice visit with my parents though.  While we were there we went to see Cars 2 and all the children loved it!  Nick and Alex thought it was even better than the first one, Anthony wanted to go back the next day, and Christian thinks we should buy it.  I had read the Plugged In Review from Focus on the Family before we went, so I did know what to expect as far as the cartoon violence.  Nothing in the movie bothered my boys and many times there will be a scene that scares at least one of them.  The children also spent lots of time in the pool and went out for ice cream cones which made Anthony declare, "This is the best day ever!"  For our drive back, I decided to leave in the evening hoping Emelia would sleep most of the way.  So, we left about 6:15.  Emelia, Lily, Christian, and Anthony fell asleep for the first 2 hours.  We stopped at the Walmart that is our halfway point and changed the babies, fed Emelia, used the bathroom, and got a snack.  When we got back in the van, she cried for bout 20 minutes, fell back asleep and slept until we got home at 10:15.  Then she played for a little while, ate, ans went back to sleep so that worked out much better.

Unfortunately, when we came in the house last night it was 85 degrees inside.  The air conditioner was not working so we opened all the windows and turned all the ceiling fans on high so it would be cool enough to sleep.  I was worried that with it being a holiday weekend that we wouldn't be able to get anyone out here until next week and we would be spending a miserably hot weekend (temps in the triple digits this weekend.)  Thankfully, someone was able to come out and look at it this morning.  Some fire ants had gotten into the outside unit and short circuited a part.  The repairman replaced the part and put out some poison and we were good to go!  After going to a 4 H workshop and grocery shopping this morning it was wonderful to return to a nice cool house!

I love going places and visiting, but the saying is so true, "There's no place like home!"