Weekly Wrap-up: Snow Week

Sparkles and power tool!

Sparkles and power tool!

Last Friday the boys busied themselves with building a rather poor model of The Spirit of St. Louis. Despite the poor quality of the kit we did finally manage to get the little plane to fly. However, every landing turned out to be a cataclysmic crash and the poor plane had to be reassembled. Oldest remarked that he was glad the Wright brothers didn’t have as many terrible landings with their planes. After working on our science labs Sparkles begged to make a cake. She enjoyed getting to use a hand mixer for the first time. She called it a “girly power tool” and asked if she could have her own in pink. As she carefully followed the directions for making her cake I told her a few ways she could make it extra special by adding cinnamon, vanilla extract,  using milk instead of water, adding colored sprinkles or chocolate chips. While I took Littlest to the potty she added all of the extra special ingredients! Her cake was indeed quite flavorful!

potato chips!!!

potato chips!!!

We did not do anything for Valentine’s Day. My husband did bring me a lovely Azalea bush that I’ll plant in the spring (actually…he’ll be the one to plant it). He then made us lunch and his first batch of homemade potato chips. The chips were very tasty! It took him about a month to perfect fried chicken so I’m sure he will soon master the potato chip. His spaghetti, smoked ribs and fried chicken are so good I won’t eat or order anyone else’s. I doubt I’ll be purchasing chips much longer…which is really a good thing. In the mean time the kids and I will enjoy his many potato chip experiments.

Auntie Two and her husband stopped by to deliver Valentine’s to the kids. They were so thrilled with their cards and visit. The older three instructed me to put their valentine’s in their “baby boxes” or keepsake boxes. They happened to stop by during the potato chip experiment and enjoyed a few chips.

Wow!!!

Wow!!!

We awoke to snow on Monday morning. It snowed all morning and into the early afternoon…nearly nine inches!!! We got a couple more inches of snow later in the week and then bitterly cold temperatures. We are expecting freezing rain tomorrow. Yuck! This is not the sort of weather we are accustomed to in Kentucky especially this late in the season! The current weather is such an anomaly that the Harlan Police Department issued an APB for Queen Elsa! No, I’m not kidding.

The kids enjoyed sledding in the snow this week. They stayed motivated and got their school work done quickly each day so they could go sledding after lunch. All of our outside activities were cancelled for the week. We managed to get our school work and some extra projects done since we didn’t have to go anywhere. Littlest

Kindergarten is better than preschool!

Kindergarten is better than preschool!

worked in his Kindergarten workbooks all week since he didn’t have to go to preschool. It was a nice little preview of what teaching three grade levels of school is going to be like. A few challenges need to be worked out. I also plotted the rest of my lessons for this academic year and noticed we are going to finish up earlier than I had planned. I’m not too worried about it. We just need to decide if we want to add some interim coursework or just move on to the next level?

I’ve also spent a few hours this week considering our next year’s courses. We are all very happy with most of the current curriculum and will simply carry on with the next level. We will move on with Christian Light Education (math, language arts, reading and Bible), Beautiful Feet Books (history and includes great

boys with The Spirit of St. Louis

boys with The Spirit of St. Louis

literature and writing assignments as well as geography), The Story of the World (history, geography and writing) and Writing with Skill. I no longer need Writing With Ease as I’ve learned how to fold it into The Story of the World. We will continue with piano and guitar lessons because we love, love, love our teachers and my kids would wither without their music. Music is so important to my crew we have our practice sessions early in the morning. Even Littlest has to have his “compiano time”. I have no idea why he calls it “compiano”.

We are going to start Latin next school term and we will be using Visual Latin. The main reason (other than Mr. Dwane is hilarious!) is that I will not have to be the primary teacher. My Eastern Kentucky accent is awful when trying to teach a foreign language! My horrid little accent seems

our unhappy cat in the snow

our unhappy cat in the snow

to triple when I try to pronounce something foreign. I worked so hard in my younger years to get rid of my accent but it all comes back with foreign language. My husband was highly amused by my accent when we reviewed a Spanish curriculum a couple of years ago when I worked for Mosaic Reviews. My accent was so bad he took over the teaching for the review period! We might even add Mr. Dwane’s vocabulary curriculum since my crew loves studying Latin and Greek root words.

Oldest is begging for Cover Story. He really wants to start this writing curriculum once he finishes Writing with Skill volume One. I already have volume two of Writing with Skill so I am not sure. If I decide to get it for him we will not start it until I’m sure he is ready for such a big project. But maybe I should let his enthusiasm lead the way? I have flip-flopped over this all week.

Some favorite articles this week:

Beautiful Feet Books Blog: Rebecca is referring to another article about the 10 best things we are not doing for our homeschools’. Because of Beautiful Feet Books I read to my kids. My Oldest is crushed when I tell him he has to read a book by himself. I will not give up read aloud time for our entire homeschool years…not ever. I would like to add poetry tea time…think my boys would like it?

Hope By Design: I loved this tongue-in-cheek description of homeschooling methods! I started out classical but embrace more Charlotte Mason methodology every year. I believe my method is…Method? What Method?!

Simple Homeschool: Curriculum is life! I’m on my way to arriving. I wanted to jump up and say “Amen!” but was afraid my kids might think I had gone daft.

Creekside Learning: I have a “reluctant reader”. This article totally shifted my viewpoint! I no longer have a reluctant reader…I just need to honor who he is..where he is…right now.

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers: What can I say? When I grow up to be the best homeschool mom I can be I want to be just like Kris of Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Steam Powered Classroom: I have to quote her here because she says it best, “If we wish to promote innovation and new discoveries, as educators we must devote ourselves to cultivating quiet spaces and unhurried stretches of time for our learners. We must squelch our impatience and instead applaud childhood tendencies to dawdle.” This has been on my heart the past few months. I am the guardian of my crew’s time and I really believe they need time to play and explore and not have every moment of their time taken up by activities, tv, and video games.

One Man and His Mustang: I’m obsessed with the progress of his car!

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

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2014 in Review and Upcoming Posts

I thought this review from WordPress was kinda neat so I am sharing the link. My most read posts are about Beautiful Feet Books curriculum and Christian Light Education Curriculum. I am working on a review of Beautiful Feet’s Geography guide which we just finished up before break. I’ll also do a full review in the late Spring of their science guide. I have a review due of Homeschool Planet for the Mosaic Review Team next week. I really considered applying for another review team this year but decided against it. My Littlest is gently easing into Kindergarten this year and I just didn’t need anything else on my to-do list. I’ll just stick with the book and movie reviews from Propeller again for this year and reconsider doing team reviews next year.

I will continue the Weekly Wrap-up series on Thursdays. Also my new series on grudgingly adopting a healthier lifestyle will be on Tuesdays. I’m starting this series by reading through “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese…(Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us)” by Ellie Marrandette.  Every week I’ll share my attempts at exercise, healthy eating, and my battles against blubber and inflammation. At the beginning of each month I’ll weigh in and post the results…sorta my version of an accountability partner.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Weekly Wrap-up: Friendship and Sorrow

having fun in Daddy's car

having fun in Daddy’s car

Some weeks are tough and some are wonderful. This week was a mix of both. I enjoyed a few new experience with friends and witnessed my oldest son’s heart-break.

Friday night was an enjoyable night out with friends…mostly. The four of us– Mrs. Cuddle-me, Mama Quilts and Survivor Mom (formerly know as Makrothumia)–went out for dinner which was quite nice. Any meal made by someone else is always delightful! The rest of the evening was spent out at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s place by a bon-fire. She needed to burn a

Survivor Mom and her fire

Survivor Mom and her fire

stump and the rest of them thought making s’mores and sitting around a fire to be great fun. Survivor Mom taught the rest of us how to start a fire by collecting tree bark, and creating sparks with a knife. She even collected tree bark at the restaurant! She explained all about starting a fire and making sure it was “sustainable”. Now, you know why she earned the name change to Survivor Mom. She also told us all about her week at some survivor camp in Ohio where she had to wade through a swamp barefoot and start a fire with material she could scrounge up. Wow! We spent the rest of the evening talking and my friends taught me how to make my very first campfire style s’mores. I may have set a marshmallow or two on fire before I got the hang of it…

july 048 (640x480)On Saturday afternoon we went to the Mayfield cruise in.  This week there were several new cars to look at and a few tractors. One fellow even brought a bunch of riding lawn-mowers. That seemed kinda strange to me…Mrs. Cuddle-me and her fella’s came by to view the cars and then hung out with us for a while.

Late Saturday night and most of Sunday I was ill. Yuck!! I endured the dry-heaves that night and finally managed to keep some water down by Sunday morning. By that afternoon I felt well enough to go to a family baby shower (not really…my head really hurt). I would have preferred to stay home but sometimes you just have to drive on. Sparkles went with me (she loves bridal and baby showers) and she had a wonderful time. She loves social girly events…she is nothing like her mother. I did meet up with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages and enjoyed spending my time catching up with her.

big spider web

big spider web

Monday morning the kids were still sleeping at eight which is really unusual. Oldest ended up not feeling well so I called school off and gave everyone a rest day. I spent part of the day cleaning since the house was a bit messy. The rest of the day I played around with Homeschool Planet for a review I have coming up in a month or two. I’m glad to work with the old team again at Home and School Mosaic’s. I’ve missed everyone very much. I still read many of their blogs but it isn’t the same as when we were all working on projects together. I’m only a member of the back-up crew these days but it is great fun to be involved on a project again. While watering the garden we found a huge spider web and a tiny spider. The web was nearly six feet across and eight feet high! The spider was small…maybe only a half and inch big. We watched the spider take down its web…something I hadn’t seen before. Middle boy wrote about it in his “interesting facts” notebook.

third annual back to homeschool breakfast at Hutchen's

third annual back to homeschool breakfast at Hutchen’s

On Tuesday we went out for our annual back to school breakfast at Hutchen’s. This year my husband went with us. We put in a half day of school and then went to a friend’s house for fun and pool time. Sparkles got to play with friends she had not seen in a year or so. That evening we went to piano practice and were privileged to meet Mrs. Melody’s new grandbaby! Oh how I have missed cuddling newborns!!! Wednesday was the heart-crushing day for Oldest. His guitar teacher is moving away (all the way to California!) and it was his very last lesson with Bo. He was teary eyed when we said our “goodbyes” and then cried his

Oldest and his beloved guitar teach Bo

Oldest and his beloved guitar teach Bo

heart out once we loaded up in the van. Afterward we stopped by the Post Office to mail our official letter of notification to the school system and then went to Wendy’s for frosties. Thursday was another half day of school and then on to Mrs. Cuddle-me’s for swimming. That night we went to the drive-in to see a movie (How to Tame Your Dragon 2). We were all so tired we decided not to stay for the second movie. My husband took a vacation day on Friday to paint the boy’s room and we stayed in the school room out of his way trying to catch up on all the missed assignments for the week. We did the same today while he finished up the painting and are almost caught up on all the missed assignments. I took a picture of their room since it will never be that clean again…

I am looking forward to a nice quite week…

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Another Birthday and a Rant

When I wrote the wrap-up last week I was hoping for thunder-snow. Well it did not happen. We did not even get snow!!! The snow stayed to the north of us but we did get ice. It looked like snow outside but it was ice. The kids played in it anyway and Middle Boy even “ice-skated” in the drive-way. The sound of the ice falling was like listening to tiny bells and Littlest said “it is dropping sparkles out here”. I didn’t let him stay out long since he was still on the nebulizer.

A couple of weeks ago I asked for prayers for a friend. She and her family still need prayers. After finally getting to go home and spend some time with her newborn boy she had to go back into the hospital with an infection. She is now back home but is in a lot of pain. Please continue to pray for them.

Yesterday was my birthday…forty-one years. I didn’t realize it was my birthday until later in the morning. Facebook reminded me…sad but true. So I decided to declare the day a school holiday. All we did was math yesterday and clean up the school room. Math that I still need to grade. The kids tried to talk me into making

my own birthday cake. I spent the rest of the morning picking out our Christmas goodies recipes. I usually make treats at Christmas time for friends and teachers. The kids also want to make a birthday cake for Jesus this year. They decided to make a mocha cake with chocolate ganache filling and whipped cream icing. We made a list of all the ingredients we’d need for our Christmas treats list and headed to Wal-Mart.

The first comment I hear at the store is, “You sure have your hands full!” And a little later someone else said, “Are they all yours?” Usually I just smile and nod and move on…but these comments are getting old. Sometimes I want these people to know how they make me feel and sometimes I just want to punch them in the face…Being a mother is not a burden. Yes! I do know how it happened!!! Yes! They all have the same

father!!! Yes! I like spending all day and every day with my children! And yes my hands are full…of love and hugs and a joyful responsibility. I am not ruining my life by giving the best of myself to my husband and children. Serving them and nurturing them is the task God graced my life for. My life is wonderful and beautiful. Why is it so wrong to be who I am???

Rant over.

Later, I got to open the rest of my birthday presents. Last week they gave me a Tardis Christmas ornament early. It is a lovely glass ornament. I also got a shoulder holster for my gun and a Godiva hot chocolate package with a cup and saucer. It took me a while to figure out how to put on the holster and it will take some time getting used to wearing one…

We also made our pictures for the Christmas card this past week. Hopefully, the cards will arrive sometime today so I can get them out next week. I couldn’t come up with an idea for the cards this year so it is just the usual pajamas and Christmas tree pictures. I also turned in my last review for the team this week. I felt sad and will miss everyone at Mosaic Reviews.

Right now, as I type this,  Middle Boy is trying to teach Littlest to write with a pencil. Littlest has been playing with one of his toys this week that teaches writing skills. I think it is a called a Leadpad…but I am not sure. Anyway, the toy has an attached stylus and lights on a screen for tracing letters. Littlest spends hours a day working on that toy all by himself. He also plays with a set of refrigerator magnets that teaches spelling for three letter words. Littlest completely surprised us the other day when he told us how to spell air, sir, and see! One of my friends thinks I should start teaching him to read…but I really do not want to push him into “schooling” before he is ready.

Tonight I am looking forward to going out with my husband. Yeah!!

kris_weekly-wrap-up

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Sickness and Thunder Snow

feeling sick

feeling sick

All systems normal is not the motto for this week. Littlest began the downhill swing into sickness beginning on Sunday with a cough and stuffy nose. On Monday he had a low-grade fever and by Tuesday he was at 103 degrees and wanted in my lap all the time. I could not just take him to the doctor since our doctor’s office is in the middle of transitioning to a new location and new hospital affiliation (hopefully they are able to accept our health insurance). Providentially, they did consult with me on the phone and Littlest is starting to feel better with the meds. Thankfully my brother-in-law had a nebulizer we could borrow and he even brought it to our house since I was without a vehicle for the day…well, one that could fit all the kids and their car seats anyway.

front yard this morning

front yard this morning

We’re also bracing ourselves for a little winter storm that started rolling in yesterday. The sky is dropping ice as I type and the temperature is steadily falling. Areas to the west of us are also experiencing “thunder snow”. The snow isn’t supposed to arrive here for a few more hours. When it does get here I hope it will thunder for us too…not sure why I find that exciting but I do. The kids and I went out on Wednesday after guitar lessons to gas up the “Batvan”…that’s what the kids call the minivan. I should get a CD of Batman theme songs to listen to as we drive around town…wouldn’t that be fun. Anyway, the gas stations in town were crazy! One of them I could not get to and the

back yard starting to show ice

back yard starting to show ice

other was out of the gas the van uses at two pumps so I just left. The third station I visited was just a little out-of-town (and actually closer to home) and no waiting at the pumps! I was a bit surprised by all the frantic hecticness around town. I should have taken the hint then and went home. Instead we went to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. People were crazy in there and we ended up leaving without getting everything on the list. No big deal, really.

My last review for the Mosaic team is coming up soon…maybe today so long as the power holds. The team is changing and we would have to write for a web page instead of our individual blogs. I like writing on my blog because it can be informal and sharing in nature. Web pages are formal and have a professional and polished feel to them. I liked being part of the team and will miss everyone. I was considering leaving the team anyway but the new changes made the decision for me.

We will be wrapping school up early today. My crew wants to be upstairs and watch the ice and snow fall…so we will do just that. Maybe I can catch up on some reading or research. I am a bit bummed out today because I had planned a night out with my husband…we’ve not been out together in ages it seems…silly winter storm. Maybe next weekend…

Well shortly after posting this my friend posted this pic on my Facebook page. Batvans are cool!!!

batvan

 

kris_weekly-wrap-up

Weekly Wrap-up: Well…Monthly This Time

beautiful moment

beautiful moment

Time got away from me this month and I am very late getting the weekly wrap-ups posted. Turns out my husband likes to read them and misses hearing about our school week and my silly banter. I have been a bit quiet on the blog lately…maybe too quiet. I am just upset and troubled over a few things and couldn’t get the words out of my heart. Writing is a wrestling match for me but the process helps to calm my emotions in the long run. Sometimes I have a hard time controlling my feelings…those inner emotions that should be kept under lock and key…Most of those writings do not make it to the published page, but I do write them out and feel better and spent. A little wine can be helpful too.

Thanksgiving day

Thanksgiving day

I should have sat down at the keyboard before Thanksgiving. I was a bit pathetic and I am kinda cross at myself for losing control. OK…that sounds like I was horribly rude! I just had to get out of the house. While we were praying and thanking God for the food my skin just crawled, my heart went crazy, I had this panicky feeling come over me and I had to get out. So I did. The road was a nice place to hang out for a while. I then went inside and got Littlest and took him so my husband could get something to eat. Littlest and I went outside and I rocked him until he was sleepy. We went back in and I held him while he slept. After a while my husband suggested I get a bit to eat so I tried but couldn’t eat much. One of my brother-in-laws tried to talk to me about my departure but I told him to find something else to talk about. That went over well…I then returned to my husband to rescue him from being Littlest’s nap pad but he suggested I go see my friend at the end of the block.

playing in yard

playing in yard

So I did and had a wonderful time. I visited with her at her in-law’s. Most of the people were strangers to me but I puttered in the kitchen with the ladies and left feeling like I had spent a couple of hours with life long friends. I then returned to the family gathering. I was asked again about my “episode” and since I wasn’t exactly sure what to say I just said that the crowd made me feel anxious. Which was followed up with a statement about me staying home all the time and these things wouldn’t happen if my husband let me out more to socialize. I took that for what it was…criticism for being a homeschooler. That’s fine but the stab at my husband wasn’t nice…not at all and I felt angry and let down. I then found my husband, we rounded up the kids and left.

I’ll remember this as the awkward Thanksgiving but it is not my worst Thanksgiving.

horrible meal...for a review

horrible meal…for a review

The other struggle I’ve had the past few weeks is determining to stay with the review team. I like reviewing things but not being used for free advertisement. I’ve had to do a couple of things that made me uncomfortable and…well…I just need to pray over this concern. I’ve two more reviews due the early part of December and then I’ll need to make a decision.

Middle Boy working on his Squanto narration

Middle Boy working on his Squanto narration

We’ve been very busy this month at school. We finished up a two month study on the Pilgrims and Squanto from our favorite history curriculum…Beautiful Feet Books. We enjoyed the study and finished up the day before Thanksgiving. I had each of my scholars write-up a final paper and gave them several prompts from which to choose. Oldest wrote about Dr. Who taking him to the first Thanksgiving which I thought was fun and creative. Sparkles wrote a letter from the Mayflower and Middle Boy narrated the life of Squanto. I was very impressed with Middle Boy’s report since he wrote most of it without my help and his paper needed the least editing and input from me. I am working on another post about our Pilgrim studies and hopefully will get it up soon…

art project

art project

We also enjoyed Literature Club this month with one of the local homeschool groups. Oldest read A Christmas Carol and really enjoyed the book…he didn’t get it finished in time for the meeting but that happens sometimes. Littlest slept through his class…he is a tired boy these days. I’m constantly finding him asleep! We also enjoyed another art co-op with our friends this month and did a collage. The art class was at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s house again. My crew loves to go to her home and her boys are wonderful young men. My kids also like to chase her turkeys…and get chased by her turkeys. I’m going to have to get a picture of it sometime because it is absolutely hilarious!

International Fair

International Fair

Last week we went to the International Fair at Murray State. The kids enjoyed getting out for the day and we learned a few things from the international students at the university. The kids have papers with their names written in Chinese and we sampled a few goodies from the different countries. I liked the Chinese rice crackers and the kids liked the German gummy bears. I think they were most impressed that Angry Birds was created by the descendants of the Vikings! That is a funny statement but I am just glad they made the connection when they looked at the map!!

Last weekend I immersed myself in all things Dr. Who and totally loved the Day of the Doctor! I am looking forward to the next episode on Christmas Day and meeting the new Doctor!! I also learned that I am the only Whovian in my Sunday School class…so sad but true.

Thursday night I went Black Friday shopping with my friend and had a blast. I enjoyed hanging out with her and chatting with strangers in various lines. The only hard part was finding a place open to eat around midnight. Yesterday we put up the Christmas tree and had fun remembering all the places we got our ornaments for the tree.

Seems like there were a few other things that happened the past three weeks but I have misplaced my memories. For my praying friends out there please keep a friend of mine in your prayers. She went into the hospital to have a C-section on Wednesday. The baby boy is just fine but mama is still in critical care and her situation was life threatening at one point. Hold your family and friends tight.

Mosaic Reviews: See The Light

artists hard at work

artists hard at work

I am not much of an artist and am even worse at teaching art to my scholars. I struggle getting art lessons in each week but maybe it is because I haven’t found the right curriculum to use. So I was really excited to get the opportunity to review an art instruction DVD from See The Light. For this review I received the Art Projects: Sunflowers DVD (valued at $14.99). The four lessons (about 30 minutes each) on this DVD is centered around Vincent Van Gogh’s painting style using oil pastels taught by Pat Knepley. By the end of the lessons my budding little artists and friends all produced a lovely portrait of sunflowers in the style of Van Gogh.

art in progress

art in progress

Only one of my kiddos met the age requirements for this review so I borrowed four older homeschoolers to complete this review. You can see everyone’s finished projects in the gallery below.  We all met up at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s home over four days to work on the project together. Even though the lessons are about thirty minutes each we spent about an hour for each session. The company recommends the Art Projects set for ages ten and up and I would really recommend sticking to their suggestion. My youngest had a difficult time staying focused but he did enjoy creating his artwork and wants me to purchase the rest of the set. All seven participants enjoyed the art class and so did the moms. My favorite part was that I did not have to teach any art…all instruction was on the DVD. After Mrs. Knepley gave instructions we would just pause the DVD and let the crew work. I also liked the bits of Scripture sprinkled throughout the lessons and the passages she used could be related to the life of the artist or the art being created at that moment by the students. Mrs. Knepley also discussed a bit about Vincent Van Gogh but not enough to be thorough. She did say enough for my crew to be interested in him and ask several questions about the artist. We spent some time together on the computer looking at his art work. As a homeschool mom I am always impressed when a curriculum excites and inspires my children to want to learn more and seek further knowledge on the given subject. See The Light does just that.

IMG_5326The Art Projects curriculum meets and exceeds the National Visual Arts standards for students nine and older. This set also fulfills (60+ hours with suggested add-ins) the high school fine arts half credit. There is a link to a PDF document on the Art Projects page showing how to use the curriculum to meet the high school requirements (also check the requirements for your state and any institute of higher learning you are considering). One of the moms in my group was happy to learn about See The Light and since she is planning for high school next year she intends to use this curriculum for her boys. As a reviewer that makes me really happy. I am overjoyed when I’ve helped connect a family to a curriculum or product that fits their needs. We enjoyed meeting together as a group for these lessons and may consider using these as a group for an art co-op.

See The Light also has a Bible Stories art Curriculum and an Art Class art curriculum (which precedes Art Projects). They are also running a special on their Art Projects DVDs as a DVD-of-the-month deal. We are looking forward to using this curriculum in the future. I may start with the Bible Stories set

To see the rest of the teams reviews of See The Light just click on the legal notice below.

discstatement