Our Family

Our Family

Friday, May 31, 2013

Our Garden

I have never been very good at growing things.  We have tried many times in the past to plant seeds inside in small containers to get them started (kids get so excited when they get to see things grow!), and then move them outside, but they usually died before we got them out.  I never thought I would have time to try to attempt a real garden, though we certainly have more than enough room to put one in.  This year, now that the children are older and can help out, we decided we would try to do a small garden.  We went to a local greenhouse and bought tomato plants, squash, and eggplant.  We had just come from a program about butterfly gardens, so Anthony wanted a butterfly bush.  They didn't have any, but they had Lantanas which butterflies love, so got three of those, and Lily really wanted some marigolds, so we got a few of those too.  The container gardens that we had started at our April 4 H meeting had grown sunflowers and pinto beans, so we added those into the garden.  We still had plenty of space so we got corn, green pepper, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkin seeds.  The children worked really hard to plant the garden, and have done a pretty good job pulling weeds and watering it every day.  I am really hoping something grows out of it!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May Cloverbud 4 H Meeting

Last year, our 4 H club did a really fun meeting on Entomology.  We heard a talk, made some cute bug jars, and ate some yummy ladybug cookies.  During that meeting, the children said that they wanted to have a meeting that we got to catch bugs.  So, before it got too hot, I thought we should have a bug catching meeting.

We found bug nets at Target for $1 a piece.  I thought our city park would be a great place to have the meeting and catch bugs.  I had 11 children at the meeting.  We started out talking about insects and what makes an insect an insect, labeled insect parts and talked about identifying insects using a field guide.  Then we talked about different ways we could observe live insects going through metamorphosis.  After that Alex did a talk on the life cycle of a Painted Lady Butterfly and a Ladybug.  Then finally it was time to try and catch some insects!

Can you believe they hardly caught anything?  We only saw one butterfly the whole time we were out there.  We saw and caught a few ants, a beetle, and one moth.  I couldn't believe it!  I thought the park would be crawling with insects (literally!)  We did see a honey bee hive (but I told them to stay away from it), and of course many fire ant mounds, but not many other insects.  But, hopefully they will get to use their bug nets for the rest of the spring and summer and find some insects in their own back yards.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Homeschool Science Fair

Our homeschool group decided for the first time this year that we would have a Homeschool Science Fair.  We have never been to or participated in one before.  The boys LOVE science and science projects though, and they were really excited to be able to get a project especially for the science fair.  Christian wanted to do something with rocks, so he ordered a kit that you dig crystals out of a rock.  He had a lot of fun digging his crystals out and then got to put them in a little display box to take to the science fair.  Anthony painted his solar system kit to take.  Alex wanted to try to make something new, so he got a kit that teaches how to solder.  It came with a practice board, solder, and a soldering iron, plus a project that you make an alarm that makes noise and lights up.  His daddy taught him how to use the soldering iron and he was so excited when the alarm worked!  But, on our way out the door, he dropped it and broke one of the wires.  Daddy came to the rescue though and was able to fix it for him.  Alex couldn't fix it himself because we had dentist appointments right before the science fair and couldn't be late to those.  Nicholas wanted to make a robot and found a robot kit that works on both land and water to take to the science fair.

There were 5 other children who participated.  One child did made a solar oven out of a pizza box.  Another did a demonstration on the Statue of Liberty and why it turned green.  Other projects were on chickens, early inventions, and another was on different states of matter.

The children had a lot of fun and learned a lot!  I hope we do another science fair next year, and if we do, I am going to have my children make some backdrops for their projects.  Three of the children had really cool backdrops that added a lot to their projects.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dave Raymond's American History Review and Giveaway!!

American History

Over the last several weeks, I have had an opportunity to review another great product from The Compass Classroom, Dave Raymond's American History.

From the website, "History is best understood through the dual lenses of dramatic story and godly wisdom. Veteran history teacher Dave Raymond gives a comprehensive history of the United States by applying a Christian worldview to the characters, events, theology, literature, art, and religious beliefs of the nation. It is an engaging american history homeschool curriculum for students age 12 and up. Designed for upper middle school and lower high school (although upper high school would enjoy it, too)."

American History Part 1 Meso-America to the Constitution  covers one semester.  There are thirteen lessons in part one with each lesson being separated into 5 days with of work.  Each day begins with a short video lecture (around 10 minutes long.)  Then the student moves on to that days reading and other assignments.  Assignments include a year long portfolio, writing assignments, weekly exam questions, a Colonial Map project and a Costumed Speech project.  The 13 lessons include:

Lesson One: Orientation
Lesson Two: The Banner of the Sun: Meso-America
Lesson Three: Brave New World: Early Explorers
Lesson Four: The Colossus of the Empire: The Colonies
Lesson Five: Stability and Change: The Reformational Colonies
Lesson Six: A City Upon a Hill: The Puritans
Lesson Seven: A Foreign War at Home: Wars of Control
Lesson Eight: Grace, the Founder of Liberty: The Great Awakening
Lesson Nine: Fathers of Independence: Adams, Franklin, Witherspoon, and Henry
Lesson Ten: Liberty or Death: The Declaration of Independence
Lesson Eleven: Awesome Providence: The War of Independence I
Lesson Twelve: Awesome Providence: The War of Independence II
Lesson Thirteen: A More Perfect Union: The Constitution

You can view a sample lesson by clicking here.

You can download 2 full  lessons for free here.

You can purchase American History Part 1 as a physical product for $75 which includes:  4 DVDs, and a PDF Student Reader and Teacher's Guide located on the first DVD.  Or, you can purchase as a digital product for $75 which includes downloadable files for the lectures, and downloadable Student Reader and Teacher Guide.  For $125 you can purchase the Online Portal option which includes a moderator and a grader.

Note: Part 2 will be available summer 2013, Part 3 in late 2013, and Part 4 in early 2014.

This course is different from any other American History course I have seen.  It is NOT your typical read the text and answer the questions history course.  Lessons in this course are taught using exciting lectures, reading assignments and meaningful hands on project work.  I love that it is taught from a Christian Worldview.  Each lessons lectures are broken up into 5 digestible chunks, which is much better for students that age to absorb while at the same time preparing them for the same type of format in a college setting.  I love the visual artwork that is displayed during the lectures.  The assignments are taken from a variety of different readings that are included within the Student Reader.  The writing assignments challenge the student to think.  The weekly exam questions ensure that the student has mastered the topic.

I LOVE the idea of the student portfolio!  The portfolio is like a scrapbook.  Students will need a scrapbook, 3 ring binder, photo album, or fine sketchbook and quality paper.  For each lesson, the student is asked to create a page with three entries, or one original artwork for that week's topic.  Entries are to be both visual and textual and can include items such as mas, photos, artwork, quotes, lyrics, poems, advertisements etc..Students are to complete this with a great attention to craftsmanship and ownership of the material.  What an awesome record of what the student has learned! So much more than just remembering dates, a student portfolio will make history personal to the student and be something they can keep and treasure for years to come!

The Teacher Guide gives helpful tips for grading the portfolio, writings, Colonial Map, and Costume Project. All of the exam questions are in there as well.  Other than the grading aspect that the teacher must do, the rest of this course can be completed independently by the student since all of the information they need is presented in the lectures or included in the Student Reader.

One thing that I did want to mention especially if you are to purchase the downloads, is that they are large files.  Each lesson's lectures (which contains 6 separate videos) are compressed into zipped folders.  There are two choices for you to download.  The mobile file, which can be transferred to a tablet or phone, has to be downloaded to your computer first then sent to your tablet, or the HD file to play in high definition on your computer.  If you have a slow high speed connection (like me) it will take awhile to download these files.  The HD files were set to take 5 hours to download one lesson!  The mobile files took about one hour to download and played fine on my computer.  Just allow yourself time to download, or perhaps download when you are somewhere with free high speed internet.


To enter to win a free download version of Dave Raymond's American History Part One, use the rafflecopter below. a Rafflecopter giveaway *links contained in this post are my affiliate links. I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually have used and can recommend.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary download of this product for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Last Day of School Pictures

A couple of years ago, I read about a blogger who always took pictures of her children on the first and last days of school.  I have meant to do this ever since, but haven't.  I always remember to take them on the first day, but never the last.  Yesterday was the last day of our 2012/2013 school year.  As I mentioned before, we will do some school over the summer and of course we will have a lot of great products to review.  But, our regular school schedule will not start up again until August.  I actually remembered to take pictures!  I can't believe how much the children have grown during the school year!

Chelsea (15) 1st day of school 2012

Chelsea 16 last day of school 2013

Nicholas 10 first day of school 2012
Nicholas 11 last day of school 2013
Alexander 8 first day of school 2012
Alexander 9 last day of school 2013
Anthony 7 first day of school 2012
Anthony 7 3/4 last day of school 2013
Christian 5 1st day 2012
Christian 6 last day 2013
Lily 3 1st day 2012
Lily 4 last day 2013
Emelia 17 months 1st day 2012
Emelia 26 months last day 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Schoolhouse Library

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, has a brand new resource for homeschoolers,   The Schoolhouse Library ! The Schoolhouse Library contains more than 175 ebooks and audiobooks from many popular homeschool publishers and TOS.  In the Schoolhouse Library you will find items such as:

  • 2 Study Guides from YWAM
  • Draw Write Now Sampler E-Book by Barker Creek
  • Heroines of the Past-Victorian unit study from Amy Puetz
  • Map Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History from Knowledge Quest
  • 15 audio E-Books from My Audio School in history and literature
  • A Glimpse at Carnivorous Plants Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child
  • Video from Jessica Hulcy on  “Learning as a Family”
  • From Frazzled to Focused: 7 Planning Tools for Busy Moms from Mary Jo Tate

The Schoolhouse Library has resources on 25 different topics including:

  • Art and Crafts
  • Bible
  • Economics
  • Electives
  • Encouragement
  • Geography
  • Government
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Reading
  • Organization (with several planners)
  • Nature Study
  • Special Needs
  • And many more!

To gain permanent access to the Schoolhouse Library, there is only a one time purchase of $25.  This includes not only the 175+ titles that are currently included, but also future titles that are added.

Visit www.schoolhouselibrary.net to sign up!

Disclosure:  In exchange for posting an advertisement I am receiving a free subscription to the Schoolhouse Library.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Joyce Herzog

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Joyce Herzog has served homeschoolers for twenty five year through speaking engagements, books she has written, and consulting services.  She holds a permanent professional certificate to teach K-8 with an endorsement in learning disabilities, and her writings earned her a doctorate in 1995.  Dr. Herzog has published many educational materials and recently I had an opportunity to use and review Scaredy Cat Reading System Level One.  

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Joyce Herzog, while watching children struggle as they were trying to learn to read using methods that failed, was convinced that any child could learn to read if they were given a learning friendly environment and methods which built on their strengths and worked around or developed their weaknesses.  Along the way she began talking about vowels being "brave" or "scared" while teaching children to read instead of using the terms "long" and "short" that children didn't really seem to understand.  This was the start of The Scaredy Cat  Reading System.

The Scaredy Cat Reading System teaches reading and spelling using rules that make sense taught in a way that is easy to remember.  The student is taught to look at the whole word and apply principles in analyzing sounds before sounding out. A variety of  hands on activities help the students practice to mastery while stretching their vocabulary and improving reading and spelling.

There are 3 levels to the Scaredy Cat Reading System.  The level we reviewed, Level One, is for beginning learners (3 and up) who have not yet mastered names and sounds of the letters.   Level One has three different steps.  In step one, the student is learning to recognize the alphabet in order,that it is made up of individual letters, and to learn the alphabet song (which by the way is not the traditional alphabet song, but a much better one!)  In step two, the student will learn the names of each letter, and recognize both upper and lower case both in and out of order.  In step three, the student learns the primary sound each consonant makes.

Scaredy Cat Reading System Level One can be purchased for $75 and
comes with:

  • Level One Teacher's Manual
  • Level One CD contains The Story of the LetterMaster and the Level One songs
  • The Story of the Letter Master comic/coloring book
  • Level One Student Activity Book
  • ABC Reader (can specify secular or Christian)
  • Level One Fun Pack contains: flash cards, capital and lower case letter cards,  beginning sounds and ABC sorting cards, consonant and vowel posters, reversal prevention charts, magnetic alphabet, magnetic beginning sounds, ABC spinner, ABC Bingo, Letter Parts (pre writing activity), Letter Sounds Review Game

You can purchase an additional student activity books for $30.

Here is a sample of the Christian reader.

Here is a sample of the secular reader.

You can see a sample of the Teacher's Manual here.

A Student Activity Book sample can be seen here.

I have been using Scaredy Cat Reading System Level One with Lily, my 4 year old daughter.  She could recognize a few letters but not consistently, so I knew Level One was where we needed to start (if you are not sure where to start, you can have your child take a placement test.)  We have been working 3 days per week for 15-30 minutes per day.  I did have to read through the teaching materials before beginning as well as cut out some of the cards to use for the games.  The Scaredy Cat Reading System is not a scripted lesson plan.  It is very flexible depending on your time and your students interest level.  The author has many suggestions for what to do for "main course" days, "appetizer" or "salad" days, or dessert days.  We tried to do a variety of activities through out the week, starting with the ABC song each day, a hands on activity, and an activity out of the student work book.  We played the story of the LetterMaster when coloring or playing one of the games.

First of all, I love that all of the books are spiral bound and can lay flat on a table.  Being able to hold my place without having to hold onto the book is a big bonus for me!  I like the flexibility of the program and that it emphasizes each child being an individual and to make it fun for you children.  I love the inclusion of all of the "hands on" activities, for reading/spelling, and "pre-writing."  I LOVE the Christian version of the ABC song!  Fantastic!  I LOVE that the program teaches children to recognize not just a lowercase letter in this level, but also an upper case letter and even different fonts of letters so that the children know that "a, A, a, a" are all the same letter.  I LOVE that American Sign Language is included in the reader.  Lily asks every day when it is time to do her "school work."  She is really enjoying the activities and worksheets.  Lily loves using the alphabet spinner and finding the letter card to the letter she spins.  It is her favorite game and she wants to play it everyday!

Lily playing her favorite letter game while listening to the LetterMaster 

I think The Story of The LetterMaster is a good story, that tries to explain all the letters and their sounds and give a logical reason for all the inconsistencies we face when learning how to read and spell.   The story is long and I think a little complex for young children.  The comic book is 31 pages long and the recording of the story being read that comes on the CD is 23 minutes long.   Lily has a pretty good attention span for a 4 year old, but she is not at all interested in this story.  I have played it several times while she colors or plays or plays hands on games but she pays little attention to it.  She does recognize that the man in the book is called The LetterMaster and that all the letters have different sounds.

I wish that I had thought to laminate the cards from the Fun Pack.  They are printed on card stock, but I think laminating them would help them be sturdier.  I also think that the Make A Letter "pre-writing" activity would work better for little hands if the pieces were larger and cut out of foam.

The Crew reviewed a variety of products from Joyce Herzog.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: College Prep Genius

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I cannot believe that my daughter is going to be a senior next year!  Since she is the oldest and we have never gone through the process of preparing a child for college before, we need all the help we can get.  I was excited to have an opportunity to review the book, High School Prep Genius from College Prep Genius.

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Written for parents and high school students, or students approaching high school age (7th grade and up), High School Prep Genius will answer all the questions parents should and do ask about high school.  In this 437 page paperback book, you will learn  how to turn your child's high school experience into a recipe for success.  The book is designed to help all students chart a course of success and it can be used by students who are in all types of educational settings (public, private, homeschool) by simply ignoring or adjusting anything that doesn't apply to your situation.  It was written with college bound students in mind, but even if your child does not plan on going to college there is still helpful information contained in the book.

High School Prep Genius is divided into 4 main sections with several chapters in each section.


  • how to use this book
  • college and career notebook
  • student timeline: before high school begins
  • 9-12th grade timelines
II. Foundation For Personal Success

  • Chapter One: Personal Development
  • Chapter Two: Interests That Make You Interesting
  • Chapter Three: Own Your Beliefs
  • Chapter Four: Building A Healthy You
  • Chapter Five: Your Financial Independence
  • Chapter Six: Building A Strong Support System
III.  Foundation For Academic Success

  • Chapter Seven: Academic Development
  • Chapter Eight: Effective Studying
  • Chapter Nine: Tests and Papers
  • Chapter Ten: Getting Organized
  • Chapter Eleven: High School Mechanics
  • Chapter Twelve: Going Beyond the Basics
IV.  Foundation For Future Success

  • Chapter Thirteen: Future Development
  • Chapter Fourteen: Choosing a School
  • Chapter Fifteen: Standardized Test Prep
  • Chapter Sixteen: College Applications
  • Chapter Seventeen: Paying For School
  • Chapter Eighteen: College Essentials
Appendix A: How to Build a High School Transcript
Appendix B: Talent Searches
Appendix C: Great Books to Get You Started
Appendix D: Reduce Test Anxiety Through Relaxation Techniques
Appendix E: Admissions Terminology

Each chapter is written with the student in mind and has exercises and questions for them to complete.  At the end of every chapter there is a parent section and a parents homework section.  It is recommended that for optimal reading parents and students should read each chapter together, or that students read the book first and then pass it on to their parents to read.

You can purchase High School Prep Genius for $29.95.  Click here to order.

Special Offer:  Get $5 off by using coupon code TOSCREW.

I had intended to read through the entire book before handing it over to Chelsea to read.  But, the day it arrived after I had only had a chance to flip through it briefly, Chelsea discovered it and disappeared with the book!  She is a person who loves to read, and is facing the reality that she will be graduating next year and knows she needs to be as prepared for college as she can be, but really hasn't been very motivated to start getting ready.  Reading High School Prep Genius really lit a fire under her!  She has read through the whole book.  She made a college/career notebook, bought a planner, began researching and applying for scholarships, and has been more serious about looking at colleges.  She has decided on a major she would like to pursue in college.  She has been doubling checking my work that I have done on her transcripts.  High School Prep Genius has had a big effect on her!

After I stole the book back, I had an opportunity to read through all of the student and parent sections. I found High School Prep Genius to be very helpful and thorough.  It is written to all high school students so there were a few things that really didn't apply to us as homeschoolers, but as I mentioned above, you can just ignore those things.  There is a section on owning your beliefs, but the book does not assume any one belief system.  I really like that the book addresses the student and emphasizes the fact that students are responsible for their education, life choices, and future and that they need to take responsibility for it.  I like that it emphasizes that education is for learning not just memorizing facts and getting good grades on a test.  I think the book contains a lot of helpful tips for getting and keeping students organized.  It also has a lot of great information about the college entrance process and getting college paid for.

There is a section that may be especially useful for homeschool parents on how to build a transcript.  I loved this statement, " Don't allow people/companies to give you fear by trying to sabotage your homeschooling with statements like, " students need their classes accredited" in order for them to be legitimate."

I wish the book had been written more like a "work book" in a larger size and spiral bound.  This would make it easy to copy off some of the included checklists an charts that are in the book and also make it easier for students to write their answers to the questions in.

*Update:  After the Crew reviews posted and the vendor read our feedback, they have created a PDF file download of all of the Career/College Notebook pages.  Everyone who purchases the book will have access to this download.

To see what other Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.


Homeschooling: Families Learning Together

There are a lot of great reasons to homeschool.  The ability to cater to your child's learning style, the ability to give them a Christian education, and protection from negative peer influence are just a few.  I actually wrote a blog post several years ago where I jotted down 20 advantages to homeschooling off the top pf my head.  You can read that post here.  One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is families learning together.

In the modern public school system, children are separated by age, and siblings are not allowed to be in the same classroom.  Children are only allowed to learn according to what the system has deemed appropriate for that age level.  With siblings going in different directions every day all day long, and parents being separated from their children most of the day, they do not get much time together as a family.  Evenings are spent running to separate extra curricular activities, doing homework,  competing chores, and sleeping.  Even families that make it a top priority do not have enough hours left in the day for family time.

Homeschooling allows whole families to learn together.  This is a foreign concept for those who are used to the modern school system's idea of age segregated learning.  But, the homeschool is similar to the old one room school house where all levels of learning took place all at the same time.  We do as much as possible altogether.  Bible, history, science, art, read alouds, and P.E. are all subjects we do together.  Many homeschool curriculum providers recognize the need to teach multiple levels and create curricula designed to do so.  Even the subjects we complete independently (math, spelling, writing) we complete in the same room.   There is something really cool about whole families learning together!  I cannot tell you how much I have learned through teaching my children!

Our Families Learning Together experience extends to activities outside the house as well.  We deliberately seek out activities that are "family friendly" and that everyone can participate in or at least attend.  We play soccer as a family.  Even though some of the children are on separate teams and some can't yet play, it still is an activity that we all can attend and enjoy together.  We chose to participate in 4 H because both boys and girls can participate and the age range is 5-19.  Lily and Emmie can go to all of the meetings and contests (they think that they already are in 4 H) and parents are always welcome at all of the activities.  4 H is very family friendly.  The art classes we were able to take for a year and a half included all of the children, even the baby.  It was so nice that everyone could "do art" together. Once a month (or more) we visit a local state park and attend one of their programs.  This is something we all can do as well.

We try to always choose field trips that will appeal to the wide range of ages we have in our family.  We have passes to the Mid America Science Museum, we also love going to zoos and aquariums, an some of the historic state parks in our area.  

This doesn't mean that nobody ever goes off and does their own thing.  There are some activities through church and even 4 H activities for the older children that they go to on their own.  But, generally speaking we seek out family friendly activities and learning experiences.  This is very important to me.  My children are each other's best friends, and that's the way I think family should be (this does NOT in any way mean they get along all the time!  they are children and do not!!!)  One of the reasons I chose to begin homeschooling was because I wanted to be a part of my children's lives.  I enjoy teaching my children and learning along with them!  I love being able to see with my eyes the pride they feel when they accomplish something new!  I love being able to see the "I got it" moments when figuring out a math problem or spelling word.  I love being able to choose things to study that they will delight in (please note: this does not mean that all of my days run smoothly or that I have a perfect homeschool, far from it!  but the good always, always outweighs the bad!) We only have a short period of time to prepare them for eternity and I want to make the most of the time we have.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."  Deuteronomy 11: 18-19.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Our First Tent Camping Adventure

A couple of years ago, we had a little motor home and went on several camping trips.  We loved camping!  But, we out grew the motor home and had to sell it.  We really wanted to buy a new one, but financially it just wasn't possible without acquiring more debt which we were not going to do.  So Art and I decided that this year we would take the kids and do some tent camping.

We bought a tent.  Not just any tent.  For a family of our size, it had to be a pretty big tent.  So we found a 3 room, 12 person tent that has a flap that you can set an air conditioner up in!  We also bought a tarp, a cooler, air mattresses, and a variety of flashlights , board games,and outdoor toys to take on our camping trips.

We were supposed to go the first weekend in May, but due to unseasonably cold temperatures we postponed our camping trip a week.  Art took a whole day off on Friday which I was very glad so he could be home to help load up the van.  It took several hours, but we finally got it all loaded up and ready to go.  Setting up the tent was pretty easy, and it didn't take long to blow up the mattresses.  We left the bags in the van because once all the mattresses were in there, there wasn't much room for anything else.  About an hour after we got there, it started pouring down rain!  But we hung out under the rain fly and after the storm passed, the weather was beautiful the whole rest of the week-end.

Some friends went up there with us and camped down the way a little bit.  It was a lot of fun to have them with us!  The men got to go off and do some fishing together while the women and children hung out, and the kids had friends to play with.  A few things I forgot she remembered, and the one thing she forgot, I had.  It worked out great!

For food, we took sandwich stuff, burgers, hot dogs, and chicken.  To go with those I had potato salad, cole slaw, chips and dip, and veggies and dip.  We took donuts and muffins for breakfast.  We also ended up cooking some of the fish they caught.

Biggest difficulty tent camping was definitely the hike to the bathroom.  That is one thing I miss about not having a motor home.  It did get a little chilly at night too.  We had a small space heater but the tent is so big it didn't warm it up at all.  The people that camped across from us kept us up all night the first night.  Literally.  The even cheered and threw another party as the sun came up.  A tent doesn't drown out the noise of others at all.

Art's boat motor blew up on him.  He was close to the shore though and got  it tied down.  He started walking back to the site, but I was driving to go look for him because he had been gone for so long (he was just putting the boat in the water and bringing it to the site to tie it to a tree.)  We put it back on the trailer and took it back to the site.  He thinks he will be able to fix it, but for this trip, they fished off the bank.

We had a really good time though!  Our site was right on the water so the could fish for hours (and did.)  They heard about a really good cat fishing spot a short way down the road, so some of the children went with the men and fished there as well.  Art caught 3 big catfish while they were there, and the children caught a variety of other smaller fish.  Nicholas caught 24 fish in 2 days!  2 of the fish he got were 4 lb bass, and he caught a big alligator gar.  Well his pole caught it.  He had caught a fish that swallowed the hook and he put the pole on the bank and the fish back in the water because he couldn't get it off and we were loading up to go to the bathroom to shower and get ready for bed.  When we got back he forgot about it.  He got up the next morning and went out to fish and found the pole still sitting there.  He picked up his pole and there was an alligator gar on the end of it!  They are mean fish with sharp teeth and don't taste very good, so his daddy just cut the line and threw him back in the water.

We also rode bikes, played at the playground, and cooked over the camp fire.  A few of the younger children waded in the water when the big kids were off fishing, but it was pretty cold!  Next time we go it should be a little warmer.  There were some great climbing trees behind our site and Christian and Anthony spent a lot of time in those trees.  I did bring the laptop for the children to watch a movie at night before we went to sleep.  I also brought my iPad so I could read and used it to occupy the children Sunday morning when we were getting ready to go.

The kids had a great time!  Anthony was a little upset though, because Sunday was Mother's Day and we were camping.  He said he wanted to make me breakfast in bed and bring me a card, but he couldn't cause we were camping (everybody saw awwwwwwwww how sweet!)  Instead I got a Mother's Day muffin and coffee and a case for the iPad.  He can make me breakfast in bed another day.

In a couple of weeks we have a cabin reserved at Lake Catherine.  They have great affordable cabins and that will be our vacation for this year.  A couple of weeks after that, we have another tent camping trip planned.