Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Peek Back at 2014

New Year's Eve.  Another year ending and a new one just beginning.  Is it just me or does time go by faster when you have children? Unless of course one of them is having a melt down in a public place, then it goes the slowest ever!

No one has a perfect life.  There is good and bad, sickness, hurt, loss, and heartache.  But, I do try to focus on the positive and remember Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  In my peek back  I am focusing on a few of my favorite moments from the year, and also my favorite homeschool reviews, recipe, and book reviews of 2014.

In February of 2014, we had on opportunity to take a vacation to Florida to visit my mom and dad and go to Disney World.  During this vacation, Art and I were also able to take a 3 day get away as an early anniversary present to ourselves.

In April we added new members to the family.

April was also the 4 H banquet.  Nick and Alex both won district journal awards and Chelsea won a state journal award and a county scholarship.

In May, Chelsea graduated!  What an accomplishment!  We traveled to Searcy Arkansas for the homeschool graduation.  My parents were able to fly in and attend as well.

Nick was confirmed in May and joined the church.

In July we had an opportunity to spend some time at the lake.

The children caught a record amount of catfish in September at the fishing tournament at Grandview.

Fall was full of activities including county fair, soccer, gymnastics, shop class, Grandview and Art Co-op and 4 H as well.  Plus we had baby rabbits!

We had a great Christmas and finished the room upstairs!

A few if my favorite things:

Favorite recipe of the year was the 1 hour bread recipe.  This has saved me so much time!

Favorite fiction book that I reviewed:  Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck.

Favorite TOS Review from 2014: Moving Beyond the Page.

Favorite Field Trip: Mid America Science Museum.  We have passes to the museum and had an opportunity to go twice in 2014 once with 4 H and once with some good friends before they shut down for renovations.  Can't wait until they open again!

Favorite new (to us) curriculum: My Father's World Kindergarten

Favorite Grandview Co-op: Fossils 

Favorite Non Fiction review book: Purposeful Design

Favorite Movies: Frozen (of course) Big Hero 6, and Dolphin Tale 2

I can't wait to see what 2015 brings!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter Break Week 2

We did nothing remotely educational or crafty this week.  We didn't even do any experiments, but we did spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen, and that counts, right?  Plus we are on break :)

After last week being so incredibly busy, I was looking forward to a calmer week this week.  Monday morning started out with another trip to the doctor though.  Emelia never got completely over the sinus infection she had the week of Thanksgiving and over the weekend she started complaining about her ear hurting.  Our doctor was out of town...again..and I had a bit of a time trying to find someone to see her.  There is a new medical clinic not far away though that has a nurse practitioner that we could get an appointment to see and I was very thankful.  She prescribed some Zyrtec and an antibiotic for her ear infection.  She wasn't running a fever but it was hurting her quite a bit, especially at night.  Luckily Tylenol and some ear drops did help until the medicine could get into her system.  She does NOT like the medicine and I have to bribe her with chocolate and some Sprite.  I don't blame her.  It smells AWFUL!

The pharmacy was really busy and we had to wait awhile for the medicine.  I do not like to drag children around town especially when they don't feel well, but since we had to wait for medicine anyway and we were in town, we did wander into the furniture store.  Since the room upstairs is just about completed my wonderful husband said we could buy some new furniture to put in there for my birthday.  I want that room to be kind of like a quiet sitting room/library.  I found just what I wanted.  I got a loveseat and 2 recliners and hopefully will be able to buy some bookshelves soon.  The items were in stock in the warehouse so Art was able to pick them up the next day.  I have already spent some time reading in front of the fire.  It is my new favorite place in the house!

Tuesday we stayed at home all day (except for the boys picking up the furniture.)

Wednesday was Christmas Eve.  I spent a lot of time in the kitchen!  We made candy cane cookies that looked good and the children really liked, but they were so messy!  I also made 2 kinds of fudge.  We did a finger food supper of fried shrimp that Alex helped me make, pizza, and chicken wings.  I had some bananas that were over ripe that I made into banana bread for the next morning and had Chelsea pick up some cinnamon rolls so I wouldn't have to make them from scratch.  We had to leave for church at 5:30.  It was a wonderful service that ended with singing Silent Night by candlelight in the courtyard.  When we got home it was time for snack and bed for the children.  I had two little elves named Nick and Chelsea to help me wrap gifts while Art put together Christian's new bike.  They were a great help!

Christmas morning the children were up at 5!  I told them I would not wake Emmie before 6:30 (she usually sleeps until 8) so they went down and watched a movie and Chelsea baked the cinnamon rolls.  They had a great Christmas morning!  Each of our children get 3 gifts for Christmas plus their stockings.  My favorite part of their gifts though is the gifts they give each other.  The children (except for Chelsea who has a job and bought gifts this year) all give each other gifts that they already have.  They look through their stuff and choose things they think the other children would like.  Or they make something for them.  It is very sweet and they put a lot of thought into what to give.
Emmie loved the blue bear that Christian gave her!

Friday we needed groceries.  Nick, Chelsea, Emelia, Lillian and I braved Walmart.  It was busy but not as bad as I expected, thankfully.

Saturday Art, Nick, Alex, Christian, and Anthony put up the trampoline. I never thought I would buy a trampoline for the children, but they are older now and I did give them several rules.  So far it is a big hit.

I hope you had a great week!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review: Hope Crossing by Cindy Woodsmall

About This Book

 "Hope Crossing…where Ada’s House stands as a haven for weary souls looking for kindness, faith, and second chances.

 The Hope of Refuge -Two very different women are pulled by their strongest desires. Deborah Mast joined the Amish church and longs to marry her fiancĂ©, but he is changing. Cara Moore is forced to look into a life that was meant to be hers. Will Ada’s House help them realize their hearts’ desires or will it force them to accept what life has done to each of them?

 The Bridge of Peace -Living out her passion for teaching, Lena Kauffman’s work is suddenly interrupted by a series of pranks and accidents targeted toward her and her students. When tragedy strikes her dear friend Grey Graber’s family on school property, the school board begins to blame her for the trouble. As grief and confusion take their toll on Grey and Lena’s friendship, they are both forced to face a new reality that may offer the peace and love they each long for.

 The Harvest of Grace-Fleeing a terrible mistake, Sylvia Fisher dedicates herself to saving the failing Blank farm. When prodigal son Aaron returns, he is surprised by this unusual farmhand who opposes all his plans. Will Aaron and Sylvia’s unflinching efforts toward opposite futures mask the bigger picture—a path to forgiveness, grace, and the promise of love?"

I am very glad that Cindy Woodsmall almost always writes more than one book in a series, because one book is never enough!  Once you get started reading one of her books, you always want to know more.  I like it even better when they take those books and put them in a volume altogether.  It is more cost effective and you can read them all at once instead of having to wait until the next one comes out.  When Hope Crossing arrived at my house, I opened the box, looked at my children and said, "Now that's a book!"  Each one of the books in the series focuses on a different set of characters, but the underlying story surrounding Cara Moore is threaded throughout all three books.  Cara had a difficult childhood, loosing her mother at a young age and her drunken father abandoning her in a bus station.  She grew up in foster care, lost her husband to a brain tumor, and had to find a way to care for her daughter on her own with a crazy stalker following her.  She has strange vague recollections of a place that is is not sure of when a message in her mother's journal leads her to a place that she must learn many truths about her family and herself.  The path she chooses is not an easy one and not without it struggles but along the way she learns a lot about life, love, friendship, and forgiveness.  She is not the only one who is struggling.  Every other character has some kind of trial going on in their lives but as the book states , "The ability to grow closer while navigating those heartaches had caused their love to become stronger.  Love was so odd.  It could fight the fiercest battle and cradle the most delicate creatures.  It never failed to beckon or give hope to the hopeless."

Hope Crossing is a wonderful book that will bless everyone who reads it.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book 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.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Winter Break Week One

The books may be on the shelves, but we still have been busy with some fun and educational activities!

My mom and dad arrived last Saturday to stay for a week.  Sunday was the Christmas Cantata at church.  Chelsea is in the choir and they did a beautiful job!

Monday we made our traditional gingerbread house.  Christian said this was the best one we have ever done.

We also made salt dough ornaments that we colored on with crayons.  They turned out so cool!

Monday was also the first Homeschool Archery Club meeting.  I am really excited about this club and I know they boys are going to enjoy it.  We are meeting out at Grandview and because they have bows and arrows, we do not have to purchase anything to be in the club.  Children ages 5 and up can be in the club and ages 4th grade and up will get to compete (probably not this year) at regional and possibly state competitions.  The first meeting was a bit long as general information had to be given out and each child had to get fitted for a bow.  We had 29 children show up with their parents which is a really good turnout for small town homeschoolers.  Also they are offering two practice days per week and a few of the families were not coming until Thursday.  It was a bit chilly that day, but the boys had fun shooting the bows.

Tuesday was gymnastics.  Lily was excited to have Nana and Papa come and watch!  We also had to go to Walmart to buy some supplies for our Christmas with nana and papa we were doing on Thursday.

Wednesday we went to Texarkana and saw Penguins of Madagascar.  The children really liked it.  It was about what I expected it to the Penguins to be.  If you are choosing between Hero 6 and Penguins, I would choose Hero 6.  But since we had seen that already, Penguins was a good choice. The big kids (and grownups too) wanted to see The Hobbit, but the little girls would not have lasted. We will have to wait and buy that one on DVD.

Thursday was our Christmas with Nana and Papa.  We made lots of cookies including:peanut butter blossoms, cut outs, and peanut butter chocolate chip.  We also made fudge and a yummy Christmas bark with pretzels, Oreos, mint M&M's, and white chocolate chips.  We had ham, potatoes, corn, and rolls for Christmas dinner.  Then we did presents to and from Nana and Papa.

Friday they had to go home :(  We hung around the house and did pizza and a movie.

Saturday the grocery fairy (aka Chelsea) did my grocery shopping. There are some great benefits to having a teenage driver ;)

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!