Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Am the Vine, Ye Are the Branches...

Jared finished memorizing his bible verses.  For the past few weeks he's been working on John 15:1-11 and he did it! I thought I'd brag on him for a little bit. I'm so proud of him!  He got a little nervous being on video but still did great.

Post memorization interview:

Mom: What do these verses of scripture mean to you?

Jared: If you live in Him, and live of Him, you're going to do a lot of good and a lot of good will happen to you.  If you live in Him, happily, then you're going to be happier than you've ever been.  People are going to look at you and say "Hey, something is different about that guy."

Mom: How can you look at nature (a tree or plant) and learn about this scripture

Jared: First, it (a branch) looks healthy and good.  After the storm, when it gets ripped off over time it withers and dies.  That's kind of like the storm is the devil, and when we get ripped off we're getting torn away from God.  Then, you're spiritually dead and wither.

Mom: Have you ever seen me prune my plants in my garden? What happens after that?

Jared:  Yes, more flowers grow throughout the summer.

Mom:  How do we abide in Him?

Jared:  By living in Him and Him living in you. It's not just going to church but praying everyday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Finished Project

I finally finished my first YoYo Quilt.  It was a little more tedious than I thought it would be but I'm happy with it!  I think I could actually get into quilting and may have an upcoming project for the winter.  I've never really been a quilt person, and definitely don't like the country look, but I think I might try a modern wall quilt.

That's all for today! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's New

Hello, blog world!  It's been a while. We have been plowing ahead in our homeschooling.  The kids are doing great. 

Along with our bible studies the kids have been memorizing bible verses each week and then presenting them to us at the end of the week.  So far they have had up to 2 verses in a week.  This week and next week they're doing much more and I'm so proud of them!  Jared will be memorizing John 15:1-11 and Jenna is working on 1 Corinthians 13 (the whole chapter).  I love to hear them reciting their verses---it makes my heart smile!

Here is a little glimpse of how Jared is doing (Jenna passed on the offer to let me record her). He has memorized John 15:1-4 so far.

We are so happy with Sonlight's literature.  We've really enjoyed each book that we've read so far and they're learning so much.

I've started a new project for the fall that I'm really excited about.  I'm making my first decorative yo-yo quilt (although it's technically not quilting at all).  I got the idea from my step mother-in-law when I saw hers the last time I visited.  I loved it so much that I knew I just HAD to try it.  Here are the fabrics I picked. I'm gong with a fall theme. 

I have them all cut into circles and I'm now making them into 2 inch yo-yo's.  Here are my first yo-yo's!

Once I'm finished making 42,000,000 of these (kidding) I will join them all together.  Can't wait to see how it turns out!

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day and An Embarrassing Discovery

I am happy to report we made it through our first day of school unscathed.  It's probably too early to tell for sure, but I'm really happy with all of our selections for our curriculum. 

We moved our schoolroom for this year.  I was torn about whether or not it would look junky to set up in our "formal family room".  But, the kids really wanted to be where there's sunlight and that seemed like the best option.  I have a whole set up on my wishlist from Ikea- but for now this will have to do:

I took this picture during Hurricane Irene, so it looks a little dark. Normally it's much brighter.  This morning we were greeted by the beautiful morning sun.

So, here's how our first day unfolded:

6:15-7:45-- Mommy alone time

7:45-- Child #1 awakens with a terrible sore throat

7:50-- Child #2 awakens, perky and needing to brush his teeth

8:00-- Child #2 gets dressed and eats breakfast while Child # 1 returns to bed

8:45-- Child #2 starts school

10:45-- Just as Child #2 finishes up school for the day we rush out the door to the doctor's office

11:00-- Child #1 begins school work in the car

11:30-- Meet with Dr.  Discover that Child #1 has tonsillitis and the doctor is shocked that the strep test is negative by the looks of her swollen and angry throat.  We end up bringing home an Rx for some antibiotics, but first, I discover something really embarrassing:

     Child #1 had her last well check-up in 2006, which was also the last time she had immunizations.

Sometimes I wonder about myself.

1:30-2:15-- Return home, Child #1 finishes up her schoolwork

Despite the interruption of having to go the the doctor's I think we had a great first day.  Both kids seemed eager to get to work.

Here's what we ended up selecting for our curriculum:

Grammar/Spelling: Easy Grammar, Sequential Spelling

History/Reading: Sonlight Core D+E/One Year Condensed American History

Bible: An Honorable Boy, A Virtuous Girl (Queen Publishing)

Math: Teaching Textbooks, Saxon

Science: God's Design for Heaven and Earth

Foreign Language: Power Glide Spanish

Art: How to Draw by Jon Gnagy

Music:  Meet the Great Composers

I'm really looking forward to having daddy teach them God's Design for Heaven and Earth- and they are too.  Tomorrow we get to try out art and start our bible studies.

Hope everyone is having a great start to the new school year!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Family of the Long Good-bye's

My family often refers to ourselves as the "family of long good-byes".  Whether it's Christmas or a drop by visit during the week at my Grandma's we can't seem to just say "good-bye" and walk out the door.  It goes against our nature.  Maybe it's because we don't really want to go.  Maybe it's because we're procrastinating. Or, maybe we're just plain weird.  Whatever the reason- it's just what we do.

My kids never believe me when I say, "Ok, kids.  It's time to go."  They give me a nod but I know they're thinking "Suuuuuure."  Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall- it doesn't matter. Coats can be on, keys can be in hand. We may move another couple of feet closer to the door.  Then a conversation about something else will start up.  I'll call the kids again and tell them it's really time to go.  They find another place to sit closer to the door.  Eventually we lose them again. Finally, cars begin warming up outside- for 10 more minutes.  It just never ends!  We'll finally inch our way out the door, shrug our shoulders and say- we're the "family of the long good-byes!" 

I went for a visit this week to my grandparents.  My grandad, 94, is getting ready to move into a nursing home.  My mom, her two brothers and my Grandma have been taking diligent care of him around the clock for the past several months. With dementia progressively worsening (he doesn't really recognize any of us now) and the need for constant care it was decided that this is what's best for him and the family. 

So, this was my chance to see him for the last time in his home that I have had 34 years of wonderful memories with him there:  sleepovers with root beer floats and pancakes and bacon in the mornings,  riding lawn mower lessons, golfing, bike rides, fishing trips, hours and hours of video taping of my "fashion shows" and me and my brothers "levitation acts", and much more. 

After lunch my Grandad got comfy in his bed and we gathered around his room to watch some family videos of the good old days:  my little brother's 2nd birthday, one of my fashion shows, Christmas '87, the family famous stroller crash video that we still debate on sending to Funniest Home Videos (**will explain later) all taken by my Grandad.  He was always the one behind the camera capturing every moment of our family get togethers.

In the midst of our laughter, hoops and hollers Grandad soon drifted off to sleep.  My Grandma glanced over at him sleeping peacefully, slowly looked at his frail body, then tuned back to me and said, "This is the "long good-bye", you know.  We're always the family of long good-byes." 

With moist eyes we squeezed hands, cherishing the moment as we reflected on the years of good memories.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Used Book Scavenging: Complete!

Just an update on my previous post Used Book Scavanging for 2011-2012 School Year.  I have completed my checklist of books to buy for the Sonlight Core D + E Condensed American History!  My grand total was $145.  I shopped at Homeschool Classifieds, (which offers free shipping!),, and Wonder Book & Video. 

Wonder Book was having (and still is through the end of July) a buy one, get one free sale on all children's, young adults & religious books.  We have at least 3 stores in our immediate area and I shopped at each one to try to get the most I could.  While I was there I found a nice homeschool section and I was able to add a few Abeka readers to our study on American History. 

Homeschool Classifieds is my other favorite place to shop for used curriculum. I was able to find a used Instructor's Guide for $25 when I was ready to pay full price ($63) for it.

Considering our county has the highest number of homeschooler's in the state of MD I didn't want to rely on the library to have the books I needed when I needed them.  Even though we are regular weekly to bi-weekly library visitors, I just didn't want to have to go through the stress of tracking down the books and worrying about what to do if I couldn't find them, having to return them in time, etc.  I already pay exorbitant late fees as it is *slapping forehead*! It's such a relief to have all my books ready to go, and plus, I can resell the entire set when I'm finished. 

Now I just need to get all my other subjects! Ha.

One more month til school!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good Read

Yesterday the kids and I went to the library and I picked up two of Ben Carson's books.  I couldn't decide which one to get and what the difference was between them.  I started reading Think Big and I'm about halfway finished. 

What a great book!  I highly recommend reading this inspiring story.  Not only is it inspiring because of Ben Carson and his standards for excellence in the midst of hardship but because of his mother's love and influence in his life- encouraging him to do his best in everything he did.  His mother, who was illeterate with a third grade education would constantly tell him he could be and would be the best in whatever he decided to do, after putting God first in his life.  What I like about her is she didn't drive him but she gently and consistently encouraged him by recognizing his achievements and telling him he could do even better, unleashing his potential.  He went from thinking he was the dumbest kid in his 5th grade class to then believing what his mother said was true and then excelling beyond his classmates in every area.

I really believe that because of his mother's prayers God placed the right mentors in Ben's life.  From elementary school all the way up to his career as a neurosurgeon at John's Hopkins there have been teachers who encouraged him to strive for excellence and that believed in him, propelling him forward.  I could go on and on.  Get the book, people!

I also grabbed his first book, Gifted Hands, and started reading it to the kids.  We are on the 3rd chapter and they are already hooked.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Good Smelling Fun

We've been inside trying to stay cool, doing a few experiments.  This time we made our own goop/slime.  I never knew how much fun the kids would get out of Elmers glue & Tide laundry detergent!  And, it smells good!

Check out all the fun we had:


It stretches

Jenna practicing her mind powers


It bounces

Love the face!

 I think you get the idea.  They had fun with this stuff.

**Side note: We first tried making this with RoseArt glue and Whisk detergent...didn't work.  Stick to the name brands for this one.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Two Things

I learned two things yesterday.

#1- I can scream like a rooster. 

Seriously.  Have your kid dash behind a car that's backing up in a parking lot and see if you can too.  It's amazing what can come out of you in a split second of panic. It sounded something like "OHJAREDJACARR!"

#2- Buying sidewalk chalk in the store really is the way to go.

We decided to do an art project: making our own sidewalk chalk.  Wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I realize it would have been cheaper and easier to just buy our own but we wanted to experience making it ourselves. We also learned about exothermic reactions when we noticed the mix was warm after pouring it.  Pretty cool.

The downside: people on the videos and tutorials I watched really made it look like a piece of cake.  Probably because they were all making ONE piece of chalk.  Was I over ambitious to think we could make TWELVE? Apparently so.

We stopped after making 6 sticks and 2 balls.  Here's how they came out.  Don't laugh.

If you'd like to try to make your own, here's how we did it.

You will need:
plaster of paris (I bought a 4 lb container)
wax paper
plastic cups
plastic spoons for mixing
food coloring
toilet paper rolls
cookie sheet or covered surface

First, line your toilet paper rolls with wax paper.  Roll it up, slip it in and cut off excess. Tape to secure it.

Next, cover one end of the tube with scrap of wax paper.  Tape down.  This will be the bottom of your tube.

Repeat with all of your tubes, turn upside down and place on your cookie sheet.

Mix plaster of paris, water and food coloring.  You will have to play with the amounts. I never did get exact measurements.  Use about 8-10 heaping teaspoons of plaster and a little less than equal amount of water.  You want the consistency not to be runny, but not as thick as peanut butter.  You will get a feel for it when you try to pour it in your tube.  Add food coloring and mix well.  Pour into tubes immediately after mixing- it will harden fast!

As I mentioned above, you will notice the mixture becomes warm as it's turning into a solid.

Let dry for 24 hours.  Cut a slit in your tube and peel off wax paper. 

Have fun!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Used Book Scavenging for 2011-2012 School Year

For Reading and History this coming school year I'd planned to use Sonlight's One Year Condensed American History.  The first time I laid eyes on their curriculum I think I drooled.  Dancing in my head were visions of the UPS man arriving at my door with overflowing boxes of fresh, beautiful, good smelling new books. Seeing as how we are on a budget, however,  that just wasn't a practical way for us to go.  The price tag on the Core D + E brand new is $443.77---and that's just for reading and history. 

Thanks to the idea of my friend at Much Ado About Nothing I decided that I will buy the Instructor's Guide,  print a list of Sonlight's books from Core D + E, and let the scavenging begin.  I love hunting for bargains. 

In between trips to Goodwill (where I did find a few good deals) I have been waiting for our used bookstore's Buy One Get One Free sale----and this month it finally happened! Yahoo!!! I am happy to say that I am about halfway through my list now and I have only spent about $20.00.  I am super exctied.

Today, I plan to go back and finish up my shopping.  Wish me luck!

Monday, July 4, 2011

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

Frogs and snails and puppy dogs' tails!  That's what little boys are made of :)

I was baking in the kitchen this morning when Jared runs inside.

He says: "Mom! A snail!"

I grabbed my camera and went out to get a glimpse of this snail.  Sure enough, he went back into his shell right when we got there.  We hovered over him and waited for him to come back out.

Did you know that little boys are also made of silly puddy and Garfield comics?  Yep, they are...

...And puzzle balls...

He disassembled this puzzle ball and spent a good part of the day trying to get it back together.  It was quite the challenge.  He had to set it down a couple of times and walk away.  Then came back for a few more tries.


This is what little boys are made of...and so much more!

Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Coo-coo for Coupons!

I am on a new mission to save money on groceries and household items.  I have heard about "Extreme Couponing" but never really paid much attention to it.  After a friend told me she had started couponing I decided to google it.  I found many videos on youtube of people who reduce their grocery bills by 80% and more.  There are lots of people willing to share their tips and ideas for free to help a sista out!  Many of these people share a good portion of their overflow goods with local food banks- which I think is really cool.

Recently, I had thought about getting a seasonal part-time job over the summer.  But that would mean leaving the kids home and trying to work around our already planned summer vacations, etc.  When I saw these videos and how much money these people are saving I thought to myself that this could be like a part-time job in and of itself! 

There are extreme couponers, who clear the shelves and go completely crazy stocking up on 50+ bottles of mustard, carts full of candy bars, and spending 30+ hours looking for coupons.  I do not intend to go to that extreme.  My goal is to save as much money as I can by using coupons, planning out my weekly meals and shopping trips by what's on sale and still eating healthy.  Time to get back to the Dave Ramsey plan!!

I have spent the past two days scouring the internet trying to learn as much as I can, trying to figure out how it's done!  It seemed so confusing to me at first.  But now I'm starting to formulate a game plan and I'm excited! 

Here are a few things I've learned:
First, I visited the  This woman is amazing.  She started out by trying to fill her local food bank back up for as little money as possible.  Once she realized how easy it was she began applying it to her own life and then sharing it with others, trying to help as many people as she can save money.  Anyways, for FREE she has listed store sales and coupons to be used with the sales by date.  These are coupons that come out in the Sunday newspaper inserts (Smart Source & Redplum) plus some that can be printed online- she gives you the link for those.  The goal is to use coupons on top of sales along with store rewards points AND sometimes stacking manufacturers coupons WITH store coupons for the same item, resulting in paying very little if not getting the item completely free.  Just visit her website and you can pull up the stores and drugstores (CVS, Walgreens, etc) in your area.

The second thing I learned, to save time, is not to cut out the coupons right away.  Just get an organizer and file the actual whole inserts from the newspaper by date.  Then each Sunday, when the sales start, visit her website, print the list of sales & coupons to be used- and just cut out the coupons you need for that shopping trip (she tells you what date the coupon came out in the inserts).  It shouldn't take any more than 30 min.

The Coupon Mom also has listed out each store's coupon policies (whether they double coupons, accept printed coupons, etc) already for you.  I found that the closest stores to me that double coupons up to .99 are Giant and Giant Eagle.  Giant Eagle also allows you to load coupons from their website directly to your customer reward card.  I can also get gas rewards for shopping there.  Double bonus!  Although they are generally more expensive than what I'm used to paying (I normally grocery shop at Walmart) the plan will be to only get what's on sale combined with coupons.

Did you know there is a new app for the Smartphone that allows you to download just the barcode for a specific item on sale, rather than carrying a coupon?  It can then be scanned directly from your phone at the register! Cool, huh?  Wish I had one! :)

CVS is another place to get good deals (as weird as that sounds, since they are overpriced).  Again, you have to use coupons on top of sales to get a good deal.  Once you start shopping there you will start to earn Extra Care Bucks that can be used towards your next purchase.  You can also use CVS's in-ad store coupons combined with manufacturers coupons.

Hopefully in the next 6 months to a year I'll have a nice little stockpile to post a picture of.  I am also looking forward to getting the kids get involved, learning hands-on practical math, along with learning how to save money.  They are already excited and asking me how much I saved after grocery trips :)

Happy Couponing!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Some New Pictures

So, what's a homeschool mom do when school's out and the kids are having FUN, FUN, FUN?  Yep, take more pictures around the yard (can't think of anything else to do with myself at the moment) while being eaten alive by no-see-ums and attacked by gnats. 

Yes, I said no-see-ums. Seen 'em? 

I am actually practicing shooting pictures manually with my new camera.  I still have A LOT to learn about aperture, exposure, shutter speed, etc.  Anyways, here are my new pictures.  I apologize in advance to my Facebook friends because you've seen these already.

This one's coming in for a landing

This one is SO not cool.  These freakazoids are destroying my roses.  Every year I deal with this.  They are about to get Sevin-ed Up.  Get it?

These kids (who shall remain faceless for the sake of privacy) approached me and asked me if I could tell what was different about them.  See if you can figure out.  You have an unfair advantage though!

Another bunny in our yard

A crow dropped this nest by Jenna as it flew by her.  I guess it was done with his meal.  :(

The kids decided to play a game of marbles outside. I found it quite artistic and had to get a picture.

Twice this week the mother of these mourning dove eggs flew out of my lilac bush as I walked by and scared me half to death.  I am sad to report that these eggs have been eaten.  **Might not be the best spot to make a nest 2 feet off the ground Mrs. Mourning Dove.**  Just Sayin'...

That, my dear readers, is all I have for today!  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Keepin Busy

Now that it's summer we've got lots of time on our hands.  We are still adjusting to all this free time. I'm trying to keep the kids busy to avoid boredom!

We went to the bookstore and started our summer workbooks Monday.  I got Jared Summer Fit: Exercises for the Brain and Body While Away From School and Jenna, Summer Bridge Activities.  They are both pretty good so far.  I like Jared's because it has physical activities as well (aerobic, strength and sport).  I think I may need to join in on some of those activities!  Jenna's has a suggested reading list in her workbook, which I really like.

We also signed up for the summer reading program with the public library.  The kids are both excited with the incentive of possibly winning a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, along with giftcards and other prizes.  Jenna is now in the teen reading program and can win more prizes for submitting book reviews.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Jenna started her "wagon sales" business yesterday of cold drinks & popsicles to the construction workers and after school kids (thanks to No Greater Joy for the idea).  She made a whopping $5.  It was a tough first day.  We were under a heat advisory and she got a late start. Today, she is getting ready bright and early for her 2nd day of sales. 

Jenna's Helper

As for myself, I have not fully adjusted to all this free time.  The kids are independent and just about outside 24/7.  I can't interest either of them in playing a game or spending time with me! Read: I'm bored!  So, I've been puttering around the yard and taking pictures.

Here are a few visitors I was able to snap some shots of:

Tune in later for more exciting bits of boring news!