Tuesday, June 29, 2010

18 years of marriage

Forgot to post this sweet picture of my sweet husband and I. We put the kids to bed (well, the boys at least)...brought Grammy in to sit...scooted off into the sunset for a night of just the 2 of us. We have always tried to get at least a few dates out a year and our anniversary is one of them.

18 years...how time has flown. I am blessed beyond words. I am so glad you asked, I'd do it again in a heart beat.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

polk-a-dotted yumminess

The girls are working on earning a baking badge with their Keepers of the Home book/group. I have told them they need to actually earn these by completing the tasks. This has motivated them to make cakes, breads, cobbler and pie. These cupcakes turned out great.

I am using these trays that I bought for the kids tot school for more than just schooling. I put a tray out for each of the kids and this helped them with having a contained space to work in.

Tyce loved this project. Anything hands on seems to work well for him. He added LOTS of polk-a-dots...sugary goodness. Just use white chocolate chips turned upside down. So cute.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

bye bye plain white walls...

I couldn't stand the paint any longer. With the addition of the boys, the walls are REALLY showing some wear and tear. The paint was that junky cheap builder's paint that is more like a primer for REAL paint. So...why not add another project onto this list. So far we have painted the family room (pictured above with the new paint), entry, dining room and guest bathroom. We just went with a soft brown (with a hint of green). It really helps the trim to pop and stand out.

And I just want to point out, I finally took down the Christmas wreath. How sad that it had been up for almost 6 months???

Here is the before of the dining room. I started taping all the trim and finally gave up. It is easier to go with out it and just be cautious cutting in.
A BIG thanks to Chuck for ALL of his hard work around here (he is such a GOOD MAN). I need to post some other pictures of all we have done. Like I said, painting is just ONE of the many projects we have had going on.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Girls Group

I have had this idea for awhile now to do a little girls group/club/bible study for my girls and their friends. There never is a good time to add more to our schedule, but I felt that God was really tugging on my heart to help my girls have purposeful friendships.

I sent out the following letter to a few other mom's of tween age girls and tada...the group was quickly formed.

Hello ladies,

I am sending this email to you all to le
t you know I am planning on forming a group this summer for our pre-teen girls (ages 8-12 apx). I have had this idea on my heart for sometime and feel the Lord's prompting to do so now.

I believe that a true friend for girls this age is so important. As our girls move from little girls who have enjoyed tea parties to tweenagers who are sure to notice boys soon, the value of a godly friend is critical. I think it is important to be proactive and intentional as we encourage our daughters to form, nurture and sustain good friendships.

My idea is to host a small group of
girls and study God's Word together, share practical ideas and nurture these friendships. We will meet every other week through out the summer for about an hour and a half each time. I will be making my own study with a little bit of help from the Secret Keeper Girl Friendship pack and an American Girl book on friendship. Most of what I will use will come straight from God's Word with good discussions on being a friend.

Making verse cards and sharing their definition of a friend.

We had a great time at our first meeting (everyone invited decided to take part in it). At our first group, we talked about "what is a friend". I am working on our next lesson (in my spare time). Next week I will be teaching about choosing good friends and including others. Then our next topics will be gossiping and jealousy and finally working things out.

I just loved our time together. These are precious girls, still tender for God's Word and doing what's right. I am thanking God for blessing us with such friends. This just goes along with my passion for being purposeful in how we spend our time and raise our children.

fresh from the garden

YUM !!!! So far all we are getting is lettuce in our garden. But that's OK with me. It means fresh salad greens every night. And all the kids like the idea of eating something we have grown ourselves.
I am slowly branching out from the ONE DISH meal (aka casserole). I am able to get a little more time in the kitchen preparing for the family. One of my favorite casseroles is homemade mac and cheese. I hide a little butternut squash in there and always add broccoli if I have it on hand. Working my hardest to serve healthy foods to my family. I even have started making my own salad dressing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

home school tour of homes

This past weekend, I participated in a home school tour. Imagine a progressive dinner, but instead of eating a little bit of the meal at each home, you are checking out their school room. The director of our homeschool group thought of this idea and took the time to organize it. And I can only imagine all the behind the scenes energy it took to pull this off.

We had 2 groups of HS moms that traveled around to 6 different homes. At each home we learned a little bit about how they school their kids and how they set up their schooling space. It was a great variety of schooling styles and spaces. From schooling in the bonus room, to using the dining room or even the living room. I wasn't able to make it to the first 2 homes on the tour (I was waiting for the tour groups to arrive at my home).

One thing that I have learned from home education...each year it looks a little different...each year we need to adapt to our current circumstances.

So, for now, our school space looks a little like this. (I have posted pics before)
This is where the big kids sit to do their seat work. Just got these tables this year. LOVE them. I have a taller table and a shorter table for the little ones.

This is where I set out the trays for the little ones. I try to include a variety of activities. Fine motor, letters, counting, sorting, and something crafty.

I just moved this shelf into the school room to hold the tot supplies. Our bonus room has no closets, so ALL of our supplies are out all the time. This forces me to keep our things tidy and organized.

We only had 20 min. at each home. So I quickly sent the group out the door and onto the next home. The next stop was at Kim's home. She schools in the dining room. Here she laid out a some of her favorite curriculum.
Kim uses the workbox system. She lacks the space to have the bins, so she uses one hanging file box with different colors for each child.

Kim also shared one of her favorite tools that she uses as a mom is the Wise Words For Mom chart. I LOVE that chart and think it is worth checking out. You can order here.

Next stop was Tonya's home. She is the one who inspired me with making tools for the boys to play with. Her organization bins have me all but drooling...seriously...an organizers dream.
Notice that book cart in the corner? How cool is that???

Tonya also uses the workbox system. She has boxes for each of her older kids for their daily assignments. The other side also has 12 boxes.
This is her tot space. She puts out 9 trays each day for her younger boys. Love that little learning area. So cute.
Since Tonya schools in her living area/dining area (minus the table) she keeps her supplies in her laundry room (her handy hubby moved the washer and dryer up to the MBR). He closets are well labeled and full of great supplies.

Even her closets were inspiring. This is in her laundry room/pantry/school storage.

Tonya has great storage closets. This is under her stairs. It was like a teacher supply store in there. She gets lots of goodies as gifts from grandparents.The closet kept going if you peak inside. Tried not to covet her stuff. Just keeping it real here.

Last stop was at Terry's home. She is the one who pulled this whole thing off (great job Terry).
Terry schools her girls in their dining room. I loved how she said, even though it is the first thing when you see when you walk into their home...she said school is their life so why hide it? Great perspective.

Terry also uses the workbox system. Each girl has their own system and it looks so cute with cute colored bins.Terry has one of the BEST collection of books. I would rather find books off her shelf instead of the library. You can tell they love to read in their home. She uses Sonlight as their core curriculum. Notice their timeline around the top of the room. I think we all have thought about doing that...she is using homeschooling in the woods for the timeline figures.

This whole idea was such a good one...to get a peak into all these school rooms. Each home is different. Each family schools in their own way. I hope each participant came away encouraged and not overwhelmed. I am bummed that I missed the first 2 homes on the tour. I know Shelley and Jennifer had great things to show and share too. Maybe next time I can grab some pics.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Science Fair

About a month ago, the girls participated in a small science expo with some home school families. We participated in the history fair in the fall and had such a great time that we signed up to take part in this event too.

We planned ahead just a little more this time and were able to make a good display with lots of examples of all that we have learned. We decided to focus on BIRDS and BOTANY. We have studied both of those using the Apologia books and have enjoyed them so much. We are not done with our botany book and are still working on that, but it didn't stop us from showing what we have covered so far.
This is one of my favorite parts of home education. Watching our kids share what they have studied and learned. It was just so special to watch these girls let Tyce "play" at their science table.

I encouraged the girls to stand by their display to talk about their display with the kids and parents who came to visit their table.Here Tissy is explaining what we grew inside of our light huts. We brought LOTS of plants and flowers that the kids planted a few weeks back.

This was one of my favorite displays. This sweet girl made all of this on her own. Totally self directed. She has a passion for ROCKS. I know her mama was proud.

At this table our kids learned all about crayfish. They even brought some live ones. Notice ALL the BOYS hanging out there. What a fun thing to learn about.

This was a great display all about astronomy. I always enjoy looking through all the books this family brings.

This was a good display that was a variety of science. It was good to see you didn't have to only share one part of science. I loved the plants that they dug up and brought. It fit right in with our botany.

This was a great display from a family who uses NOEO for their science. We have also used that curriculum and have been really impressed with it. And it was great to discuss all they learned about germs.
This display was really sweet. This family shared all they learned about dandelions. They had great books and pictures and even some original art. All from a pre-K kid...impressive.

These girls had a terrific hands on experiment at their table. ALL the kids were interested in checking it out. The mama to these girls also organizes our home school group, she does a fantastic job of organizing and working so hard at having a group for our families to be part of.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

more tot fun (AKA how I keep the little ones busy)

Here is Tate enjoying a big box of animals. We LOVE these Schleich animals. I thought they would make a fun tot tray.

This Rush Hour Jr. game is one of our favorites. Even though Tyce can't play the game, he is able to follow the card and set up the cars to match.
Tyce is learning to use scissors. It seems to be struggle for him so we are trying some creative things to cut. Here he is cutting up a string of beads.

More fine motor and letter learning. Putting gem stickers on letters.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

putting in a simple garden

My Mother's Day gift this year was the work and effort it took to put in a garden. I have been wanting one and since we are home a lot right now, it seemed like it would be fun to do. Trying to find just the right place in the yard, digging all the grass out, putting down some good soil...it took a good part of the day.

We didn't go nuts on getting it too big. It was an effort for me not to think too big. =)

It was really fun to work with the kids and grandparents. Tyce is a hard worker. He can out work any one of us.Tate on the other hand...wanders away and finds some mischief to get into.

We planted lettuce, onions, spinach, radishes and carrots. So far the lettuce seems to be doing the best.