Friday, August 31, 2007

Randomness

I thought I'd share a few random thoughts with you today since there has been so much going on around our place lately. Our next door neighbor went out of town for the weekend. She left yesterday after work but before leaving asked our oldest to clean out her pool filter leaf basket thingy. Since this needs to be done twice a day, she was nice enough to give us "pool privileges" for the weekend! Yay for us! We never have much of an opportunity to swim so it'll be nice to spend the whole weekend in this baby:

I walked over to the neighbor's house with Logan to clean out the pool filter leaf basket thingy and on my way back, I got quite a surprise. Remember when lightening struck the tree in our backyard? When that happened, a few huge branches in the top of the tree broke but fell over on top of other branches in the tree. They were just kind of resting in the top of the tree....looking dangerous....making me look up every time I went outside.....making me fear for anyone to be in our backyard. Well, no more worrying! On my way back from the neighbor's, the problem was eliminated. Thank goodness I have good ears and heard the cracking noises, which caused me to look up. This happened right in front of me:

My MIL and her sister walked over to our house yesterday evening to bring Caroline home. We were all sitting on the deck chatting it up. Logan was getting ready to feed the cats and as she walked by the deck, she yelled. About a foot in front of her, was another baby snake...this time alive.....and Logan was barefoot! ACK!!! What is it with my house and snakes! My MIL only made it worse by saying "usually when you see babies, there's a mama or nest around". Ok, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I'll sleep better knowing that! Double ACK!!!

We've watched a couple of good movies lately. The first was a few weeks ago and it was The Shooter with Mark Wahlberg. It's been a few weeks since we watched it so I'm trying to remember all the details I can. Basically, a retired US Army guy is framed for an assassination. He's on the run and all the while is trying to prove his innocence. Crooked politicians, world leaders, etc. I really liked the story line. There was some "shoot em' up" stuff in the movie and I don't remember about the language. All in all, good movie. The other one we watched recently was The Ultimate Gift.

Synopsis: When his wealthy grandfather dies, trust fund baby Jason Stevens anticipates a big inheritance. Instead, his grandfather has devised a crash course on life with twelve tasks – or “gifts” – designed to challenge Jason in improbable ways, sending him on a journey of self-discovery and forcing him to determine what is most important in life: money or happiness.

Loved this movie. I don't remember any language. Lots of really selfish people in the movie that only cared for money and really no regard for anything else. One lady in the film loves younger men but she is such an unimportant character that I chose to ignore the small part she had in the film. There are so many tender moments in the movie and I cried at least three times during this one. The hubster and Logan also cried.

Hubster had a dental mishap this week. He had a crown come off. He isn't really fond of the dentist but he had to go get this fixed. Thankfully, it was a simple fix and was relatively inexpensive.

We're gearing up for the big game tomorrow night. Yes, football season is officially in full swing. YAY! Our beloved Vols play California tomorrow night. They'll be lots of chips, salsa, chocolate dessert, men (my FIL, BIL, two nephews, and the hubs), and of course, UT orange gear! I think I'm making a new rule. If you come to our house on game day, you have to wear Vols colors. Otherwise, get in your car and go home! LOL! We are very excited since football is a big part of our late summer/fall activities. If our Vols aren't playing, we'll pull for just about any SEC team out there.....yes, even the Gators (but don't tell anyone!).

Have a great Friday!



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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 9

Thirteen Songs I've Listened to Today

  1. Patsy Cline (Crazy)
  2. Glad (In The First Light)
  3. Mountain Heart (Man in the Mirror)
  4. Wayne Taylor (Rodybelle)
  5. Norah Jones (Come Away With Me)
  6. Eddie Rabbitt (I Love A Rainy Night)
  7. Kenny & Amanda Smith (Pacific Time)
  8. Tony Rice (Fine As Fine Can Be)
  9. Etta James (At Last)
  10. Chris Tomlin (How Can I Keep From Singing)
  11. Mark Schultz (Until I See You Again)
  12. Pachelbel (Canon in D) (my ring tone...also my favorite piece of music)
  13. Mountain Heart (Soldier's Prayer)

For more TT's, go here.



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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm A Slacker, What Can I Say?

So I've been a bit of a blogging slacker lately. I can't help myself really. I'm just having so much fun living that I didn't want to take time out to sit behind my desk and type! This evening I decided that I should take a minute to write something before I become so totally boring that even my own family will stop reading! Caroline is off staying the night with Jeff's parents. Logan is upstairs doing her grammar lesson for the day (she is one diligent kid!). Jeff is at bagpipe practice. That leaves me...sitting here....trying to type something.... interesting. If only I had an environment conducive to writing.....

Just yesterday I pulled into the driveway and saw this little beauty.

I DO NOT like snakes. It doesn't matter to me whether or not they are "good" snakes, as my hubby always tries to spin it. I don't like em'. Don't want em' around me. Dead or alive, makes no difference. Thank goodness, this one was dead. It looks like one of my ferocious kitties bit it a few times! I love those kitties! All five of em'! I mean, just think if it were alive and had slithered in front of me when I got out of the car! I would have passed out on the spot....after I screamed bloody murder, of course. This thing could have done some real damage to my emotional state!

Never mind that I picked it up with this piece of paper and brought it inside. I'm sure there's something wrong with me for doing that! What's funny is that I'm still afraid of snakes, even if they are dead. I could not bring myself to touch this thing. I scooped it up with the paper or rolled it over with a branch. Ack! If someone had bumped into me and made the snake move, I would have been out cold!

I put it beside this Sharpie so you could see just how big this little babe was. It's a killer isn't it?!!!

Anyway, an environment conducive to writing....my favorite man kitty thinks he owns me and that I have no right to sit at my desk alone. He decides that he'll show me! And he did! As soon as he jumped up, I could no longer type for bashing him in the head with my elbows! So, I gave up and took a few pics of him. He's such a camera hog! I always did want a lap kitty!

Anyway, an environment conducive to writing.....my good ole' pal Jenny went and got her own domain and thinks she's the big time now. As I started writing this post, she emailed me to tell me to go look at the mummy picture she posted. I emailed back and said ok, I'll look at it in a minute because I'm in the middle of a post myself. Did she completely understand because she's the greatest friend in the world? Uh, no! She emailed me again to say that she can't believe I won't drop what I'm doing and go look at it. Can you believe the nerve of that girl?! LOL!!!! She won't even wait for me to catch my kids up in science so that we can get together and do experiments. She just keeps flexing her homeschooling muscles and barreling on without me...sniff, sniff. I forgive her though because she made me laugh by posting this pic.

You see, I'm being a slacker because I'm enjoying all of the above mentioned things (and countless others!). Can ya' blame me? We were also able to enjoy the fellowship today of a friend from church and five of her six children. I didn't snap photos but if I had, you would have seen a pic of our nice little lunch, seven of the cutest little children you've ever seen (including my two gals), many, many Hot Wheels cars, dolls, board games (Clue and Imaginiff where the picks of the day), and my friend and I having a three hour long chat about life, religion, homeschooling, and planning, just to mention a few things.

I'm sure I won't always be a blogging slacker but for now, it look as though that's how it is. Now, if you'll excuse me.....



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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Weekend Reflection # 27

Well, I missed WR last week and I thought about skipping it this week. Honestly, I'm feeling lazy as far as blogging is concerned. However, my mom, aunts, and cousins like to read so I can't disappoint them! I've spent the past few weeks doing lots of stuff but mainly reading through Managers of Their Homes that my good friend Jenny loaned me. I'm trying to be more scheduled because I find I work better that way. I'm pretty "scattered" but I do like to have a plan in place for most things (that doesn't mean I always carry the plan out). Reading through this book is good for me. It is filled with things I already know and I know these things are successful. These are also things I don't do consistently. My desire is to be more consistent, more organized, more thoughtful, and more joyful about my role as a wife and mother. I have a bad habit of letting things get disorganized and chaotic, which makes me become bitter and completely worn out....which leads to all sorts of problems. Now that I've shared that, let's get on with what my week looked like!

The first few days of the week were pretty normal. I've been using the above mentioned book to make schedules for myself and the girls. I have also been gathering ideas, plans, and supplies for some of the new material we'll be using this year. It's coming together nicely and I hope to have things in order by next week so that we can start fresh. Caroline continues her piano lessons although we are making a teacher change in the coming weeks. Her current teacher is a super nice lady but I've come to the conclusion that we have different ideas of where Caroline is and should be going. I'm happy to say that a young lady in our church has agreed to give her lessons starting in September and we are very excited about that. At this point, it's been all fun and games but this young lady will really push Caroline. Now, all we have to get cleared up is the use of a piano! We don't have one yet (we do have a keyboard) so we are hoping to ask another family in the church to allow us use of their piano. Lord willing, this will all work out and we'll be able to take lessons from this young lady and we'll also have an added day of fellowship with the sweet family who may let us use their piano. Logan continues with the guitar and hopefully she'll get more of a workout in the coming weeks. The hubster has been really busy the past few weeks and has had little time to teach new lessons.

Friday, my friend K and I went to see Becoming Jane. We were able to grab a bite to eat beforehand and make a quick trip through the mall. We both enjoyed the movie although I had prepared myself for the worst. There were many things about Jane Austen's life that were not part of the movie and I think the romance was a bit overdone. There were many moments of humor in the movie but I'll have to admit it wasn't the best acting I've ever seen. After the movie, K and I spent some time talking and then we both headed off to get back to our families. When I got home, my BIL and two nephews were here so we were able to visit for awhile.

On Saturday, Jeff and I got up early and headed to the office of a friend. He is a realtor and needed ALOT of computer work done. We didn't realize just how much until we got there. I set up two new computer systems while Jeff tried to configure a print server. I also put network cards in four computers. That was fun! All together, we were working on five computers. We were switching them over to wireless and we did that successfully. Jeff was not able to get the print server going so we'll be going back to fix that real soon. What we didn't anticipate was that our friend would bring in two more of the realtors that work for them so I could teach them how to scan things, send attachments, and set up email accounts for both of them. Whew! I could not do this kind of work for a living. I'd be fired within an hour! One lady realtor caught on pretty quickly and she was gone in no time. The other sweet lady took much longer....two hours actually. I'm sure I sprouted many gray hairs during this time! LOL! I am of the personal opinion that all people need to have basic computer skills. Enough said. We returned home at 9:30pm. We were both very tired and the girls had been at home doing things all day. We picked up some food and brought it home and then we all sat around and watched the Colts game and the race, since it was in our neck of the woods this weekend.

Today we are stuck in the house for at least half the day as all the race traffic clears out. We live about four miles from the track and are right in the path of all the traffic pulling out to go home. It's pretty impossible for us to get to church two weekends a year because of the spring race and the August race. Today we'll just be hanging out around the house, wishing we could be with our church family, but also looking forward to worship with them next week.

I don't think I've taken one picture all week. I'll try and do better next week! I hope your week has been a good one. To read more WR's, hop over to Judi's.



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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What's Up Doc?

The girls and I worked out in the garden this evening. We really enjoyed the time out there and it was nice that it had cooled off a bit. A month ago, we were covered up with cucumbers. Sadly, the heat has finally killed the vines and the cucumbers are no more. In fact, the heat has killed alot of what we planted. The okra is doing great and I'm starting to feel like we're being taken over by it now! We are still cutting fresh flowers for inside, although only our zinnias came up this year. The poppies and carnations never even broke open the dirt. None of the tomatoes we planted from seed came up but the three roma plants we planted are doing well. So well, in fact, that tomorrow will be salsa making day.

Romas: (Notice the two tiny onions to the left. None of our onions did well.)

Okra: (Guess what veggie we'll be having with our meatloaf tomorrow? LOL!)

The last picture is what I was really eager to share. It's too funny not to let you see! We planted carrots and this is the one and only carrot that came up. I went ahead and picked it tonight because the leaves were turning brown from all the heat. Let's just say that if Bugs Bunny lived here, this carrot wouldn't even serve as an appetizer for him! It's so tiny! I suppose I'll try and shred it into our salad this week.

If nothing else, this garden has been fun and a real learning experience. I think I need to call up my uncle and get some advice. He can grow anything and grow it well! Maybe he can help me figure out the secret to growing bigger carrots!

 



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Monday, August 20, 2007

Just Another Manic Monday

Picture this. I'm having a perfect Monday. I'm milling around the house picking up toys and things left out by my girls and two of their friends that slept over last night. I was thinking about how much fun all the girls seemed to be having. I listened to them laugh. I listened to Caroline and her younger friend playing. I listened in on a conversation Logan and her older friend were having (but not for to long...I wasn't eavesdropping!). I was recalling how much pizza and ice cream we all ate on Sunday night. I was remembering how excited Caroline and her friend were when I told them they could sleep on the couch. I smiled when I picked up a picture that Caroline had drawn for her friend. It was the two of them with bright clothing, big smiles, and super huge nostrils. I laughed out loud for a minute and went about my business. I decided I needed to balance the checkbook before the girls and I took off to run errands. That's when my day took a turn.

I pay most of my bills online so that it's easier for me to keep track of. I usually pay them all at one time and get it over with. I'm still afraid of auto billing so I don't have it taken out of our account each month. I prefer to push those buttons myself :-o) Anyway, I noticed that the cable bill I paid at the end of July still had not been deducted from my checking account. After further investigation, I found that the cable company's web site didn't process the payment. Ok, no problem. I'll just chat live with a customer service rep and get it taken care of. I failed to mention that my account was showing delinquent and a late fee had been assessed. So I'm chatting live with a customer service rep that keeps telling me they can't reverse a late fee and they show no record of my attempt to make the payment. What?!!! I was a little more than ticked because I was on their web site looking at the page where I had attempted to make a payment but it was not processed. How am I responsible for their inability to process the payment? We have been with this company for over seven years, have always paid our bill, and NEVER been late. I quickly realized that I was getting no where with this rep so I thanked her and got offline. I told the hubster about the problem and he decided he'd call customer service. He does and pretty much gets the same response as I did. He gets really ticked. He always manages to keep his composure but I can tell by his posture that he's about to reach through the phone and choke the life out of someone! To make a long story short, he was on the phone for a very long time and nothing was done. Actually, the customer service rep hung up on him. Can you believe that?!!! The rep even suggested that maybe it was our fault that the system couldn't process the payment. That maybe our credit card was bad. Let me just say that we are not those kind of people! Jeff expects me to handle all of our financial stuff. From the day I married him, I knew better than to pay a bill late or letting something become delinquent. He had perfect credit and if he didn't have the money for something, he didn't buy it. He hates to charge stuff. He expects us to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with and that does not include paying late fees that are easily avoided. Here's what really gets me. We only asked for the late fee to be removed...$4.95. That's not much, right? Apparently it's easier to get blood from a turnip than to get that charge reversed. This company is willing to lose a long time customer over a $4.95 late fee. I cannot understand that. They make alot of money from us each year but are willing to give that up over $5. In the end, I just went to the local office, complained, canceled the cable portion of our service (kept the internet service since hubby has to have it for work), and paid the stinkin' $4.95 late fee. You can write it down....I will NEVER let this happen again. After I saw how upset the hubs got from talking to the customer service rep, I felt terrible for making such an oversight. I wished I had noticed this two weeks ago because I could have corrected it before the due date passed. I should also mention that I made (or thought I made) the payment a week early!

All of this was just to say that the cable company really gave me a headache today and cut into my otherwise perfect Monday! It amazes me how little companies care about their customers. I miss the days from my childhood when I spent time with my grandma. From her house, we could walk down to Roller's store and pick up all kinds of little candies for barely nothing. It was such a small community (and still is) that everybody knows everybody and their business. We always encountered a pleasant face behind the counter at the store. That always comforted me and I miss that. People were so much more personable 20 years ago. Today, things are totally opposite. Not many of us can get out and walk to a little store down the road where you know the family who runs the business. We rarely ever call a customer service center and speak to someone from this country. You can't let your children play outside unsupervised for fear of what some nut may come along and try to do. Kids who work in the fast food industry can't even count change back to you. The standards and morals in this country have declined so much that it's hard to stomach. This goes so much deeper than just being treated poorly by a cable company rep. For tonight, I'm going to put it aside and concentrate on other things that need my attention. I'm going to get back to thinking about the wonderful weekend we had, the awesome fellowship we enjoyed at a church picnic on Sunday, the wonderful time the girls had with their friends staying overnight, the many errands I was able to take care of today, and the rockin' french onion burgers I made for supper! The last thing I'll say about the cable company and their terrible treatment is that MEAN PEOPLE STINK! There, it's out and I feel much better! As soon as the opportunity presents itself to leave this company and go another route, you can bet your last dollar we'll do so!



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Friday, August 17, 2007

Show & Tell Friday # 2

Thanks to Kelli for hosting Show & Tell Friday. It's a wonderful way to share our treasures with one another.

This week, my treasures are two little recipe holders that my mom picked up at a thrift store for me about a month ago. They are old-fashioned and cute and I just love them. The first one is shaped like a rolling pin and on the inside, all of the recipe cards are blank. I can't believe that someone discarded these without writing one recipe inside. My plan for one is to write down Caroline's favorite recipes in it and when she is married, she will have this to take along. She gets the rolling pin recipe holder because she loves to use my rolling pin when she plays with Play-Doh. The second recipe holder, shaped like measuring spoons, will be filled with Logan's favorite recipes for her to take along when she is married.

Both recipe holders:

Inside looks like this:

The recipe cards inside are a little on the small side but we can make it work. They are too cute not to use so I'll just have to be VERY NEAT when I write in them. Thanks Mom! The girls and I really appreciate this and they will enjoy them for years to come! It's nice to know that if they take care of these, they could be in the family for generations.

Don't forget to hop over to Kelli's to see more Show & Tell Fridays!



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Big Stone Gap & Pizza Dough

It's been a busy week and I've been doing some reading. I just finished a novel that was published in 2001 called Big Stone Gap.

Synopsis:

A wholesome Cinderella story with a winning blend of '70s nostalgia and Appalachian local color, Trigiani's debut introduces a likable heroine who's smart but obtuse, needy but rejecting, and generous with affection but afraid of love. Ave Maria Mulligan is the daughter of the late pharmacist of Bit Stone Gap, Va., and an immigrant Italian seamstress. She inherited the pharmacy when her father died, but it's only her mother's recent death that made Ave realize that, at 35, she's the town spinster. Not that she lacks for attention. Handsome Theodore Tipton, the high school band and choral director, is her best friend, and sexy bombshell Iva Lou Wade, who drives the book mobile that Ave eagerly awaits, is around to offer romantic advice. Plainspoken, direct and humorous, Ave has an amusing foible: having discovered a book on the Chinese art of face reading, she describes everyone in terms of the personality traits their facial features ostensibly demonstrate. In her self-deprecating assessment, Ave has "a mountain girl's body, strong legs, and a flat behind." So when Theodore proposes, and then takes it back, and mountain-man Jack MacChesney then also offers matrimony--out of pity, Ave assumes, so she rejects him--she's near despair. Moreover, a letter left by her mother informs Ave that her real father is a man who lives in Italy. Ave's emotional turmoil takes place against a colorfully detailed tour of Big Stone Gap's history and attractions, including its summer drama festival and its designation as the home of Appalachian bluegrass. Even the actual 1978 visit of senatorial candidate John Warner and his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, plays a part in the story. In the tradition of romantic heroines, Ave is unable to recognize true love until it's almost too late, and meanwhile, there are some fairy tale touches, such as the arrival of her entire newly discovered Italian family.

This was a quick read and I enjoyed it. I was intrigued by Ave Maria and her life. The book had funny characters and moments but also dealt with some serious issues in Ave Maria's opinion of herself. It was nice to see her transformation by the end of the book. One big reason I enjoyed this book is because I grew up two miles from Big Stone in a place called Appalachia, Virginia. All the places mentioned in this book were familiar to me and it was like going back there again (which I rarely ever do). I can't believe it took me so long to read it! I liked this well enough that I'll return it to the library and check out the next book in the series, Big Cherry Holler. Look for the review on that one coming soon.

In other news, the girls have been doing alot of reading lately. Logan is enjoying reading from William Bennett's Book of Virtues. We are currently using it for read aloud. There are some really cute stories in the book that teach wonderful morals. She's also finishing up a book called Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon. We've been studying WWI and this was her fiction assignment. Next, she's moving on to Dutch Color. She borrowed this book from a friend at church and is very excited about reading it. Caroline has been reading a lot of books from the 1000 Good Books List. She is participating in Barnes & Noble's Summer Reading Program. For every 8 books a child reads, they earn a free book. This ends soon and you can only earn two free books. She completed her first list and I took her to B&N to pick out her free book. She chose Sixth Grade Secrets by Louis Sachar. She chose it because it sounded funny. She seems to be enjoying it so far.

Logan sketched some leaves that she picked up on her nature walk last week. I think she did a wonderful job and I really didn't realize how much she liked to sketch things until we did this. We'll be adding more of this to our routine this year!

The girls also worked with pizza dough for the first time last week! We had "Make Your Own Pizza Night" last Friday and I let the girls shape their own dough. I've never done this before because dough is so finicky. Since we were each making our own pizza, I thought I'd get over myself and let them make a mess with it! They really enjoyed it!

Hopefully I'll get back into my blogging grove by next week. I'll have plenty to blog about as soon as we start our new school year. That'll be in a few weeks and I'm trying to finish getting all of my plans together. I guess I should tell the truth and say that I am trying to get myself organized! LOL!

Have a great day today!



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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Homeschool Open House

Homeschool Open House has been in full swing for a few weeks now and I'm just now getting around to posting about ours. I've really enjoyed reading all of the different things people do and how they conduct their homeschools. It's amazing how much you can learn from others, as well as finding lots of new resources along the way.

Our homeschool began about seven years ago with our oldest daughter, who is now 13.. She had attended kindergarten in public school and was two months into her first grade year when we decided to pull her out to homeschool. We had talked about homeschooling for awhile but hadn't taken any action until our daughter entered first grade. There were a few incidents which caused us to go ahead and pull her out and begin homeschooling. I guess I should mention that at this time, my husband was teaching fifth grade in a public school. I think alot of people thought it was strange that he was a teacher but we homeschooled our children. Anyway, like many first time homeschoolers I've talked to over the years, I was worried about following state SOL's and getting everything just right. Fast forward to now, my whole way of thinking has changed. I'm much more relaxed and that works out much better for us. Come along with me and I'll show you how we do things.

Welcome to our home. We have two daughters who are 13(getting ready for 8th grade) and almost 9 (getting ready for 3rd grade).

We homeschool year round but do take holidays and sick days as needed. We also have play dates and field trips quite often. We are late bloomers and don't start our new school year until the week after Labor day. That is due to the fact that we normally take our family vacation during the Labor Day holiday. We have a pretty flexible schedule for several reasons. We are night owls so we like to start later in the mornings. Sometimes we'll start around 9am and other times it could be much later :-o) I try to keep things as structured as possible but since my hubby works from home three days a week, things could change in an instant. I do try and make sure that we always cover math, language arts, and do some reading everyday. It's easier to catch up with history or science if you miss a day.

If I were asked to recommend some reading materials for parents who intend to homeschool, the first thing I would give them is "When You Rise Up" by R.C. Sproul, Jr. This is probably the most thought provoking books I've read in a long time. I read the book a few years ago and I've recently decided to read it again each year before the start of our new year. It's just that good folks! The second resource I really like is Ruth Beechick's "You Can Teach Your Child Successfully". There are also smaller booklets by Beechick that are very helpful including, An Easy Start in Arithmetic, A Strong Start in Language, and A Home Start in Reading.

This year, Logan used a computer based curriculum called Switched On Schoolhouse. She really loved it and I did too. It was really neat for her to be able to move at her own pace without having to wait for me to explain things. She could go from lesson to lesson without any problem and I, in turn, could work with her sister at the same time. I have decided to go back to books and workbooks this coming year because SOS had a few glitches that were really inconvenient for me. I will consider using it again in the future though. Caroline did a combination of things this year. She used Saxon math, History for Little Pilgrims, McGraw-Hill language arts workbooks, and BJU science. They were all leftovers from Logan's earlier years.

A few of the materials Logan (13yo) will be using in the coming year is Saxon Algebra 1/2, Introductory Logic, Exploring Creation with General Science, and Biblioplan. We're still working on language arts material but in all honesty, there are tons of resources online that I can use without having to purchase anything. I'm considering using the 9th grade Life Pacs that Jenny gave me. Caroline will be using Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Simply Grammar, Biblioplan, and SRA Spelling 3. We have not decided on a math curriculum because this is her problem area. We used Saxon this year and it just isn't working with her. We're trying to decide between Horizons, Singapore, and Math-U-See. We need something a little less textbook and alot more hands on. I also try and skim through E.D. Hirsch grade level books to cover some of the core curriculum he suggests they know by a certain grade. I have found those books to be very helpful.

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I mentioned our schedule was pretty flexible but I try to shoot for getting the kids ready to start around 9. I do that because I have great hope that one of these days, I'll actually get started at that time and be finished early in the day! Wishful thinking maybe but that's ok! Our normal morning routine goes something like this:

Two days per week, the hubster goes into the office to work. On those days, I get up around 7:30 and see him off to work by 8. I wake the kids up then and they do a few morning chores, eat breakfast, and get themselves ready for the day (shower if needed, dressed, etc.). About 9-ish, Logan goes off with her Saxon math to do her lesson for the day. I usually check email, read a few blogs, pay bills, do laundry, and eat breakfast while Caroline works on her spelling. We continue this type of schedule (with various subjects) until it's time for lunch (usually around 12). Logan is normally in charge of lunch so that I may have a little free time to finish up emails, etc. Many times I'm still in my pj's at lunch time and I'll run off, while the kids eat, to take a quick shower. I'm crazy like that! The other three days, hubster works from home and our schedule bends to his. For the most part, things run about the same except that we may delay some lessons if he needs us to run errands or anything. It's very nice to have him around so much during the day because there are times when I need him. There have been a few times when I just couldn't explain something to the kids in "their language".

I hope that things will be a little different this year. I am trying to work out a 4-day schedule with Fridays completely open for projects, art, music, field trips, and friends. I think it will give all of us something to look forward to at the end of the week. We're going to try out a neat looking study called A Chronological History of Music and Its Composers. We will also be using G.I. Williamson's Westminster Shorter Catechism for Study Classes for our morning Bible study.

As for workspace, we don't have a designated area where we do our studies. Most of the time, it's at the kitchen table or in our den downstairs. I had thrown up a craft table several months ago and it quickly became covered with our school materials. I guess it's safe to assume that it is now our "school table" for the time being. We also love to work outside on the deck as the weather allows. Lately it's been so hot that we haven't even thought about going out there! Normally the girls don't work in the same area (because they tend to distract each other) but this week, they both managed to be at "the table" at the same time.

I'm also trying to incorporate lapbooks as much as possible this year. Caroline and I just made our first one together and had lots of fun. Lapbooks, by definition, are learning aids that are meant to take the place of worksheets. They are made from file folders. You can use anything you want but if you want them to last, using cardstock inside, as well as laminating some things, is the way to go. I think the idea is that kids have more fun learning, and retain more, when they are able to be creative. I know that I retain more information when I am able to be creative with it! Lapbooking is a serious thing to some people. I've been doing alot of research lately and I've come across some "hard core" lapbookers! My plan is to make a few lapbooks throughout our school year and at the end of it, store those. Each new year, we'll make more new ones and at the end of that year, they'll be stored. I hope to save these and give them to the girls when they are older and start their own family. It'll be like having a collection of storybooks to give them. Caroline didn't show the front of the lapbook but she had some art work on the front. Inside, we included vocabulary words pertaining to sharks, shark facts, pictures of shark teeth, colored printable of about ten different kinds of sharks, a shark diagram (it's under the shark printables), and a poem about sharks. Because this was our first one, it was more of an experiment than a keeper. We'll be using sturdier materials inside next time and we'll also use colored file folders so they look a little more fancy.

Thank you for coming along as we shared our homeschool with you. A big thank you to Tiany for hosting Homeschool Open House!



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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Family Fridays # 2

 

Yesterday was a pretty neat day for me. I usually try and leave Fridays open so that we can do some fun things instead of going here and there or loading the kids down with school work. We school year round and I'm the world's worst at taking days off just to have fun. The way the heat has been in this part of TN lately, I was in no mood to do much of anything outside but was in the mood for some fun! So, when the opportunity arose to have Belle, the daughter of my good friend Jenny ,over for the day, we jumped on it!

Belle is about 6, I think, and my youngest is 8. The girls get along fabulously. You'd never know they were around really. Jenny and her family came by and dropped Belle off around noon and we jumped right into having some fun. We started with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Afterwards, I ran to Burger King and picked up some shakes for the girls. Logan joined the two younger girls for Monopoly and Bunco. Later, there was much playing with Barbie's along with sidewalk chalk, Play Doh, and various other toys. It was about six hours of nonstop fun. I loved watching all of the girls interact. Logan was quite the picture of maturity as she helped keep fun things going. I loved how Caroline's naturally dominant personality became gentle and giving with Belle. As for Belle, she's just a sweet, soft spoken little girl that you just want to scoop up and cuddle. It made my day and I know it blessed my children to have her here. It also made me slow down and enjoy life a little more today. It allowed me time to listen as the kids played, as they laughed, and as they told stories to one another. I think alot of times, I busy myself with unimportant things and I don't take time to appreciate the simple, beautiful things in life. Today, however, I did slow down and these are a few of the things I was able to enjoy:

A nice chat with a good friend: (Jenny (L) and me (R):

Two little girls playing with Play Doh (they even taste tested it!):

Using one of the new knives I won from Capturing Today during the Dog Days of Summer Giveaway (thanks Paulette!) Also using the butcher block cutting board I found at a thrift store recently for $2! I love that thing!:

Watching as the hubster piled the cheese on his pizza: (We copied the make-your-own-pizza Friday from someone in the bloggy world (can't remember who though):

It seems that the simple moments are the most special to me. I just have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy them!

Thanks to Liz over at Monkey Kisses for hosting Family Fridays! Never mind that I'm a whole day late in posting it!

 



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