Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lighthouses & Obedience

early in the morning at the boys bible quiz competition

Hannah, a little tired after her nap

waiting for the popcorn to be done

We have switched gears into our THIRD character trait this year. Going through character traits has been so much fun. Last year, we focused on Cooperation for nine months.Yet, I am hopeful that by May we should have four traits under our belts!

I had the kids sit in a circle and we discussed what obedience was: obeying immediately, cheerfully, unconditionally and thoroughly. If all those criteria are not met, than it would not constitute obedience. Some fun ways we used to demonstrate this was playing " Mother May I?", " Simon Says" - however instead of Simon we used , Daddy, Mama, Grandma, Grandpa, Pastor, Police Officer, satan, stranger, etc. to demonstrate who our authority is and who it is not.

The kids also played a fun game called "Ringmaster" where Jayden stood in the middle of a circle and would point to me and ask me to neigh like a horse and I would have to keep neighing until he told me a new animal noise, and then he would point to Austen and ask him to bray like a zebra, for Riah to hiss like a snake. Pretty soon our home sounded like a noisy circus tent and the kids thought we were all quite humorous, especially me :)

We read in the Bible about Abraham and Isaac and how God tested Abraham's obedience when he asked him to sacrifice Isaac on Mt Moriah. Yes we love that mountain. The kids will reenact this story tomorrow- I ran out of time to create a staff and some "wood" for the kids.

I picked up every book known to man on lighthouses at the library, fiction and non fiction. I love LOVE the library!!!! We read " Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie" and talked about Abbie's obedience to her father and how important her obedience was to not only her family but to the lives of the crew on ships in the Atlantic. We also read some other lighthouse books together that were super cute. One was about a boy, a dog and a bear who became friends and then lit the candles atop of the lighthouse and saved a ship from crashing into the rocks.

Finally, we talked about how following wrong authority is like walking in darkness and following the right authority is like walking in the light. If we follow the wrong authority, we will stumble. Psalms 119:105 states, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." I had the boys look into my eyes, as Riah was sleeping downstairs and warned them that there would come at time that the wrong authority or impostor leader would seek to sway them to follow him/her. Yet, when that time comes, hold strong to your faith, your commitment to God and your obedience to God and to your parents and resist the devil.

Wrapping up the day, we talked on electricity, natural and man made lights, we did some science experiments where we made electric loops and had a light bulb turn on and a motor. Discussing the sources of our electricity I showed how important it was for the circuit to be made complete. We will finish this week with a few more light activities and with our focus on obedience. I can't wait!

Popcorn and Ice cream capped off the day and now the kids are sleeping soundly, well most of them. This is the 2nd night in a row Riah has NOT gotten out of bed. Trust me, this is a big deal 'roun these parts.

Like A Thief In the Night

This past Sunday Jayden lost his brand new Awanas book. We searched high and low and could not locate it anywhere. The only places he has it is in the car and in the house. I'm sure it is around here somewhere but we have not been able to locate it.

Jayden was praying all over our home for the book and crying and it was really sad. I knew he was really worked up about missing it and part of me was a tad irritated that my reminding him, many times, to always put it back in his Awanas bag had gone unwarranted.

Ben came home from work and I was telling everyone to go get in the van but Ben wanted to look one more time so the six of us all crowded into the boys room and searched for the book. Ben was on his stomach looking under the bed and I was standing by the dresser near the boys' playmobil when a black object flew down in my peripheral vision.

I jerk my head to the side and there, in all her missing for three weeks glory was Sally Bonnie! All I could say in a shocked voice was, " OHMIGOSH BEN ITS SALLY BONNIE! ITS SALLY BONNIE" ( side note: just writing her name makes me smile :)). I could not believe that there, in the middle of a completely messy room, was Sally Bonnie. Who the heck knows where she came from or where she has been for THREE WEEKS! Yet, there she was. I ushered Austen, Moriah and Hannah out of the room, closed the door and showdown began.

Ben refers to Sally Bonnie has being "hell-bent" on getting out of her terrarium. So, to capture her when she probably was just dandy roaming free throughout the home was an oxymoron. Jayden moved slowly and cautiously towards her and missed her as she darted under the bed. Ben, shined his flashlight on Sally Bonnie and says, " Amanda, she's moving out your way, don't let her get away!". I see Sally Bonnie emerge from the depths of blankets and Thomas the Train tracks and try to hide in the playmobil castle. " Jayden! You will not hurt her, just grab her, you can do it, you can do it!!!!". Jayden moves in, more quickly this time and swoops her up by the tail.

She begins to bite him with her small teeth, which does not hurt by the way, and we maneuver her lid of the terrarium up and put her back in. She is home!!! Frisky and Sally Bonnie are reunited!!! I cannot tell you how much it did to the boys faith and the power of prayer to see their prayer answered.

I told the kids, back when we lost her, that sometimes God answers our prayers with a yes, no or not right now. I didn't know if she was coming back and I didn't want to give them false hope. However, I know that God hears the voices of his children. He seeks to grow their faith with small things so that they will see that yes,  my God is good and yes my God is faithful and yes my God hears me when I pray.

Praise God Sally Bonnie is home. She and Frisky seem so happy together and I am so thankful that she is a constant, visual reminder to the kids that God loves them! Still have not found the awana book, but out of no where, Sally Bonnie descended into the bedroom and lifted our hearts.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Life Without Facebook

photo credit: facebook.com
So here I go. I feel like I'm almost embarking on a journey. Three and a half years ago, I had nothing to do with facebook. Now, it is the first page I open in the morning, afternoon and before bed. If I total those minutes, they are probably minuscule. However, the weight of the relationships behind them are huge.

I love my family and friends. I LOVE to see how their lives are going and what is new and exciting. I am thankful for the opportunities to be apart of crisis that, honestly, had I not been on facebook that would have excluded me from the circle of friends. I am not taking a break because I feel social media is evil nor beneficial. There are many beneficial and enticing things about having hundreds of people available for opinions, experiences, and "likes".

My goal is one year. I have no idea if I will even be able to achieve this goal. There is a draw to facebook. I think for many stay at home moms because it does not require phone conversations in the midst of your day but rather a quick scroll, a few comments, a few "likes" and you feel reconnected with friends and family.

When we moved out to Arizona, I opened up a myspace page for the simple reason that my family could see my posted pictures in one swoop and I would not have to remember who did not see what pictures, etc. Well, come 1.5 later and I joined facebook, forgot about myspace and moved forward.

I could never understand, in the beginning, why people would post about what they ate, or trivial matters, yet, overtime, I started doing the same. I realized that we crave social interactions and in our society of fast moving interactions, facebook is a perfect catchall.

Will I make it to a year? Honestly, I hope I make it a week. I'm not addicted but my "social" experiment is to see if social media, that has been with us for such a short amount of time, is so apart of us now is it even possible to get rid of it from our lives? Will we miss out on friends pregnancy news, engagements, job changes, death in families, or a new puppy simply because we are not apart of facebook?

Does that mean, ultimately, that we are not really, in reality, in that friend's intimate circle of friends whom he/she would call up or visit if something of that nature would really have happened? I don't know. That is what I hope to find out. I love you guys, and you who read this can join my journey if you would like. It may be a long one, it may be short but the more coming along with me, the easier it will be. So, here's to a year without facebook.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Let's Throw This Day In the Toliet

Yesterday was a day where I pretty  much wanted to scream for sanity sake and run. I honestly thought it was going to work out perfectly. I had a very successful workout in the morning, came home and thought- " Today seems like a great day to bake homemade bread!". Austen wanted banana bread and we needed regular bread. Everything started out well. We kneaded the homemade bread, followed the directions and 2 hours later the dough was a lump of coal sitting lifeless at the bottom of the bowl. The banana muffins emerged from the warm environment of the oven only to be rock hard, as well, and completely tasteless. I still have no idea what went wrong. I even used the terrible for you flour and they still did not turn out.

Then, Hannah ate Greek yogurt for breakfast and successfully smeared it all over herself, her hair and snotty nose. So, the next logical step was to give her a bath. Filled the bathtub full of warm, sudsy water and let her play. Ben went to take her out and she was squatting with a very worried look on her face. " Amanda, what is she doing!?!?!"- " Oh, probably pooing in the tub." I say nonchalantly. Because, of course, why WOULDN'T she be pooing in the tub.

Moriah was in very rare form. She threw fits and crying stories all day long. I have tried the logical approach with her as well, " Moriah, you remember the story of the boy who cried wolf?". Instead of turning into a teachable moment she just wants me to repeat the story over and over until I want to cry wolf, have her look and me run away.

My dishwasher, at times, smells like hell- and I mean sulfuric smell. I have no clue, again, what is wrong with it but I think I will be calling the landlord. I am not sure if its the city's water or what but a mixture of a crappy dishwasher ( probably the only complaint of our great house) and the crappy city water and our dishes would be better left to the hands and not the machine. However, this poises a problem because then the dishes from breakfast, snacks, bread and muffins that turned out terrible and lunch all become backed up into the sink until I throw a ton of baking soda and vinegar into the dishwasher for a dry cycle.

The house looked like someone ran around and just tossed things to and fro and school was just not going to happen in the "traditional" sense of the word. I asked all the kids to go up and bring down some games, laid Hannah down for a nap and we played. This went pretty well for about three games and then Moriah kept having melt downs. She has a really bad cold, like Hannah, so I think that has a lot to do with her meltdowns but I can only handle so much. I had everyone, and I mean EVERYONE take a quiet time- then, Riah and I , later that day, went outside for fresh air, she rode her bike and we played a game called "whack" ( the kids had made it up the previous day). The person on the bike has to avoid getting whacked from a pool noodle. Trust me, I took way too much pleasure in this game, " No Riah, you keep riding and I'll keep whacking." I"m terrible, I know...but you know what.....much of my tension started to fade away.

Today was a new day, a good day, a productive day...my oatmeal pancake batter spilled everywhere this morning but I refused to let that set precedent. We ended the day with a great movie, " Johnny Tremain" by Disney- I highly recommend this movie and pizza. So thankful yesterday is done and today my sanity returned in the morning..." His mercies are new every morning" and so are mine :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crossing the Icy Deleware

I have not updated the blog in what seems like awhile. We wrapped up our Courage unit study today and it feels so good to move on. The kids really enjoyed it and I feel, for their ages, that they will take so much away from what our founding fathers did for us! Some of my favorite activities that we accomplished were within the past week.

The kids and I crossed the icy Delaware River on "Christmas" night. We filled our bathtub with ice cubes and placed toy boats heading north and south along the river in search of the Germans and British. Riah also stripped down to her skivvy's and stood in the frigid waters. So, I touched on the sleet and freezing temperatures the soldiers had to endure. I do NOT think the kids will forget that lesson- sometimes, things worth fighting for come at a huge sacrifice. Finally, we talked about how Washington was courageous and asked God for wisdom in his decisions.

We baked hasty pudding over a "hot" fire. The kids actually enjoyed it- I thought it was terrible. It was a mixture of corn meal and water- "Yumm". We also reenacted some of the battles and watched our famous Liberty Kids.

Today, we did so much in our wrap up. The kids and I lit our lanterns and went into the bathroom where it was pitch black. By the light of candle, we discussed all the fun facts we learned about our country and its founding. We talked about famous men and their sacrifices for the freedom we now enjoy. Also, we named off five people we learned about these past 10 weeks who were courageous. I am so thankful for the retention that I see in their answers. Since I do not do tests right now, these review and evaluations are so important to me.

We then blew out our amazing lanterns and started our review of the 13 colonies. We sang it to the tune of Yankee Doodle. Also, we used an acronym to try and remember all the colonies as well. The kids reenacted, AGAIN, the Patriots and the British fighting. They LOVE doing this and Riah especially loves being the "Redcoats". Jay dressed her from head to toe in  red, boys clothing and she fought her brothers to " the finish".

To help understand better how large our country is and how small the 13 colonies were, the kids and I dyed rice and created a map of the colonies. The blue is water, the yellow is the colonies and some included areas around, ie: Maine, Florida and Georgia and the green is the neighboring land and the red is the rest of the present United States. This turned out pretty well and I think we were all quite pleased with the result. Yeah for creativity! 

Finally, we read some books on Patrick Henry, watched Liberty kids and then the kids played outside. Today was a huge day of school and it went so well and so smoothly. I got my shower in at 3:30pm and was pretty pleased with that :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Life is life and it will always be busy. That is something we cannot escape. I can take the occasional vacation to move away from the hecticness of life...but that is the exception not the rule. How can I create an environment free of regrets in my day to day life? Here are some examples:

I will never regret leaving an unswept floor to read to my three year old.
I will regret sweeping my floor and telling my three year old "later"
I will never regret cuddling with my children in the morning.
I will regret packing our days so jam full that morning cuddles are prohibited from happening.
I will never regret baking and teaching my children how to bake cookies, even if the mess is unavoidable
I will regret baking alone, to avoid a mess, and stare at a perfectly clean kitchen while my kids watch tv in the other room.
I will never regret pulling games out of the closet even if it means that there is no organization in there, EVER
I will regret opening up a perfectly organized game closet and know we never had the time to play them.
I will never regret sitting in the sun to eat our ice cream cones first
I will regret making my child sit at the table to finish every last pea for two hours because, " I said so"
I will never regret watching my children dump legos all over their hiding place and never quite being finished
I will regret constantly having them clean it up so that it feel "neat" to me while their creations break apart
I will never regret a fridge covered in drawings and paintings and reminders
I will regret a shiny fridge with all the drawings tucked away in their "special" folders

I will never regret the days that I spend reading, playing, holding, kissing, laughing, correcting, teaching and watching my children. I will never regret not quite having the house perfect so that I could spend more time with my children. I will regret if my choices reflect a lifestyle that is not for this season. Organization is important, trust me, I am organized. Yet, I am praying that God will continue to show me this year, what does organization, in this season, look like to me. My time with my children is too precious- I hate regrets, therefore, I will make choices now so that I can look back with beautiful memories- my mind will not remember a messy kitchen, cluttered closets, unmade beds or poopy diapers. My mind, will remember the clamor of children running through the halls, the crashing of legos being dumped everywhere, Winnie the Pooh bellowing over the cd player every morning, babbling from baby Hanns and memories, oh the memories. Breathe, mamas, life is to be experienced, not to be rushed. Just breathe.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Merry Christmas - Belate

Baking Bread, Creating Lanterns

I am typically a writer- and can be long winded at times...I can't help it..I have so much to say in a short amount of space. Today, however, I am going to try my own version of " Muffled Mondays". We created lanterns out of soup cans and designed patterns that will be finished tomorrow using a nail and hammer. Austen also helped me bake homemade bread , pretending to be Aaron from the Green Mountain Boys. He enjoyed kneading it fast so we could have it ready to bake " just in time!". Tomorrow we will finish up our lanterns and light them with our candles. I am sure they will be beautiful! Now, join me for Muffled Mondays.
Creating a design that will be chiseled out tomorrow

working on a design for her lantern for Old North Church

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Warriors Not Inconviences

Sitting in church today, I listened to a woman share how God has called her to India to work with the human trafficking. I began to think about how the innocence of our children is under attack in every aspect of society. Years ago, children were to be seen and not heard. Now, children are to be viewed as expenses, inconvenient, not the right timing, messy, dirty, noisy, making us take "breaks" from our careers and a nuisance.

I find it so interesting that child sex slave trafficking is effecting millions of children, children made led to feel unwanted, unloved, used and abused. Children are being forced into military violence of the most heinous of kinds. Babies are being aborted left and right. Children are taught that their voice is less of importance- we do not care what you have to say. They are being forced to grow up too soon via television, toys, movies, video games, clothing, etc. All of this reinforces that children are not important. We can say all we want, but the truth is if we don't protect and preserve that which is important, it truly is not important.

I want you to know, child, that my career is being put on hold while I take a break and raise you for a bit. When you are older, I am going to get back into the game so I don't mess my up chances for advancements. I'm missing out on a lot of money, raises and bonuses right now. Child, you were not exactly born at the right time. Financially, we weren't ready for you. I wish we would have waited.

It's because of you, that this is wrong and that is wrong. If you weren't here, things would be going so much smoother. In our western mindset, we will have children when it is to our selfish convenience. In other parts of the world, when the family is poor or a child is unwanted many times are "released"- thrown into a world of sex, darkness and destruction. How will they ever learn to love when they are have never been loved?

As I sat in church, listening to a woman expressing a passion of mine that I have not quite figured out how to make it work with my current lifestyle, aka: FULL time mama- I began to pray and ask God to use other women and men like this woman to fight the good fight and pull down the dark, demonic strongholds of satan.

See, satan gets this. Children are our future. If we stop having them, destroy their innocence, make them grow up into mini adults when they are too young, force them into sex slavery and pummel their souls- then his goal will be accomplished. How will they be active and productive members of society, able to function with a mature mindset full of empathy and compassion when their childhoods were stolen? What are we to do? The odds are stacked against us!

PRAY! Oh mighty warriors of God pray. Pray for the pulling down of strongholds, praying for the mighty hand of God to crush satan's head and his tactics. There are future doctors, missionaries, dentists, lawyers, mamas, daddies, farmers, social workers, midwives, pastors and artists screaming out in the depths of satans lair for a chance, a fighting chance to be a child- a child of God.

They need to be loved. Cherish your children. Your child is the future. Never allow the lies of the enemy to deter us from our calling. NEVER allow the lie of " this isn't good enough" or " I should be doing more" to move you away from your home base, your home. We are raising world changers- after we are dead and gone, should Jesus not come back yet- they will be carrying the torch to the dark places, tearing down strongholds and moving mountains in the name of Jesus! Hallelujah!

Pray, oh children of God. There is a future doctor who desires to heal women, to birth forth in joy children, who is caught in the diabolical cycle of sex trafficking now, you may not be able to reach her, but someone will- pray for that someone. They are listening to God.

I will raise my children to be warriors. They are called to a mighty and exalted calling, not because I have proclaimed it but out of the mouth of God it HAS BEEN SPOKEN! Walk forward in confidence- Children are a blessing and they are God's, not ours. Children are not inconvenient, they are precious in the sight of their Maker. Look at your child, and see the child that God sees- for when you look in his/her precious eyes who will weep at the unseen potential - potential that the world calls "inconvenient" " commodity" " worthless". Potential that makes the devil tremble, potential that moves the heart of the Commander of Heaven. Fight now- for the future of our children is on the front lines! Now is the time, do not wait!

Blessed are the poor in spirit:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn:
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek:
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful:
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3-10 - Jesus

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Redcoats Are Coming!

Paul Revere and all his glory mounted into our home today. The kids and I had such a fun time reading through all of our Revolutionary war books about Paul Revere and the midnight ride. We learned that he was a silversmith and how the colonists would melt down their silver coins to make teapots in order to prevent thieves from stealing their money. Jayden put on his three point hat and helped to reenact the Midnight Ride. We also pulled out our army figurines and set up a battle on the living room floor. Its so fun seeing the comprehension of the boys and even Riah with something so big.

We also read Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys. This is based on the true story of a young boy, Aaron, who was 9 years old and wanted to fight the British but needed to remain home to help cut wood for his grandfather's tavern. The wood he cut helped keep the fire going that, in turn, provided a place for the tired mountain men to dry off their guns and eat bread so they were ready to fight and win the next day.

It was a great opportunity to discuss how our small actions in obedience leads to the greater good when we are diligent. The kids than watched two more episodes of Liberty Kids. This is a great teaching tool. Sweet and simple and keeps the battle scenes at a very elementary level.

Austen has worked so hard on his maze books and dot to dot this week- he has completed 4 books this week!

the "Redcoats" coming into Boston Harbor

some of the fun books we are reading
The best part of today though, was while I was cleaning up Hannah who had decided to poo ALL over herself and her bedding the other three kids were outside riding in a circle. Jayden was dressed in all brown with a coon skin hat on and his shoes that he learned to tie very well and tight today. He was a militiamen. Austen was a Patriot as well and Moriah was a British soldier. They were reinforcing our lesson today, all on their own and having a blast! Jayden comes running in and asks, "Can we learn about all the wars Mama?" and " A bunch of battles makes up a war, doesn't it?". I love how they put things together so well! Having fun in school! I can't wait for next week, and my very planned week I might add!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sweet Prayers

Today the kids noticed that dear Sally Bonny ( Austen's anole he received for Christmas) was missing out of their tank. Honestly, we have no idea how she could have gotten out as Frisky ( Jayden's anole) is still in there. The kids are heart broken, and so are we. Here is how our prayers went tonight.

Moriah " Dear Jesus, please help us find Sally Bonny. Help her to be ok, that we will find her, that she will not be 'wost' any more, that we can buy a new one at the pet store, that she will be nice."
Austen: " Dear Jesus, I pray that we find Sally Bonny and that the new anole we get at the pet store will get along lovely with Frisky."

The kids' cheeks are tear stained and red. This breaks our hearts! I pray we find her, that she is somehow hidden so well in the dirt that she will just come out- it doesn't bother me that their might be a lizard in our home, just if she is out, how did she get out? God hears our prayers and He is so good that someone can be praying for the life of their child and another can be praying for a lizard to be found- and His heart is so tender to them both. What a beautiful Father!

Another interesting conversation that Ben and I had the enjoyment of listening in on was on the way to the zoo today,
Moriah- " My tummy does not hurt anymore. I went to bed, my brain told me to fall asleep fast and now I am awake and it doesn't hurt."
Austen- " Why did your tummy hurt?"
Moriah- " Because, Abby and I snuck into Owen's candy drawer and ate all his candy. We were sneaky and I am very sorry now for that. I will not do that again."

How Do You Plan?

Lately, I have been feeling like I have been flying by the seat of my pants with regards to our school day. There hasn't seemed to be enough hours in the day to plan for school as detailed as I would like. Yet, this is an imperative part due to the simple fact that starting next year- Moriah will be in full swing of kindergarten and Austen in 2nd and Jayden in 4th. I can't simply expect three children's education to come together without some planning.

I was pretty sick last week and this week  I have been suffering through some terrible headaches. I started drinking gallons of water and that seemed to have helped and I am going to make an appointment with an opthamologist- wearing my glasses for the first time in 7 years is actually helping. Go figure.

How do you plan? I am hoping that going to our home school mid year refresher will be encouraging to me because, honestly, I feel frustrated with myself. I sat down tonight and did a lot of planning and I just need to collect some supplies. I know that this will make our day run so much smoother. Gone are the days where I could just pull something together. It's just not EVER going to happen again. Organization is a strong point for me, so it is not really the problem of NOT knowing how to organize but rather, making the time for it.

My goal is to accomplish math, language arts and our unit studies each day with Spanish and art and hymns and geography alternating days. I feel so much better just writing down a schedule. Foolish, I am not- I know full well that life does not bend to my schedule, my schedule adjusts to life. Yet, having a schedule also allows for life to run more smoothly and efficiently. If I am teaching on Paul Revere and I want the kids to create a paper machie map of his midnight ride- it may come with may interruptions from potty breaks, an excitable one year old but if I have all the paint, brushes, newspaper and platform ready, we will still accomplish our task one way or another.

I pray that this year is a year of many proactive steps to reach my end goal- for the kids to love God with all their hearts and to be educated to the best of their ability. Organization needs to happen. Two years ago, I had converted crates into different file folders ( much like the workbox system). I need to reinstate that system because it worked so incredibly well for us! Pray that I will be steadfast in my planning. My kids are so worth it and so is my sanity! Happy Schooling!

Tea Party for Three

This has been quite an interesting week. Trying to fall back into the flow of school and life has led to some frustrating moments on my part ( more on that in a second blog) but, for the most part, we have succeeded in completing a great week in school.

The boys are exactly where I was praying they would be for math and language arts and we even started back into our unity study- the Revolutionary War! The kids and I started off yesterday's lesson with a reenactment of the Boston Tea party. I put war paint on the kids and they silently slipped through the dark waters of the Boston Harbor to get on board of the East India Tea Co. Ship where they happily threw tea and broke holes into the chests, aka boxes, of tea all over the harbor. They chanted, " ....Tell King George we'll pay no taxes!" After that we listened to Yankee Doodle on youtube in a couple different renditions and began to sing along.

This was the ONLY part of the day where Hannah was cooperative with our plans. She is so sweet as we do hand motions to a lot of songs and verses and she follows right along with us :) I laid her down for an early nap as I assumed she was not feeling the best. I was correct. Anyways, after singing Yankee Doodle, the kids and I brewed some tea and poured it into Riah's tea set. Moriah was dressed to impress. The minute I informed her that we would be hosting a tea party, she went upstairs and came back down with a beautiful dress on and high heels. None of the kids enjoyed the taste but at least they were able to discuss if they were a Loyalist vs a Patriot and what we should do about the tea tax.

I read some very good books on the Revolutionary War. One being, an alphabetical approach to learning about the war and the other on Paul Revere's ride. I have so many fun ideas planned for these next few weeks I can hardly contain myself. I only wish I had a working printer as I need to print off the original 13 colonies so the kids and I can color and cut them out and have fun putting them back together in a puzzle format. I will figure something else out! I am praying we get a printer by February so that the kids and I can start notebooking again, as well. Patience.

We will be making feather pens and homemade ink out of walnut shells next week! Yeah! I can't wait. I also netflixed "Liberty Kids". It has some good reinforcements of what we are learning at a very elementary level. The boys enjoy it and Riah keeps telling me when Patrick Henry is coming on to say , " Give me Liberty or give me Death!"

Overalll a great week. We wrapped up our time with Daddy but spending the mid morning at the zoo and lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. Of all our kids, Jayden was the one scared of the gorillas! Love that restaurant and so glad Ben could spend the day with us. We sure do love that man :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

In-N-Out and Sun

Ohmigoodness! 80 degree high today! Beautiful, sunny and warm in the mornings, starting off at a strict 65 degrees and then slowly warming up in the afternoon. Honestly, this is as good as it gets. I love, LOVE this weather and the kids have been riding their bikes and eating lunch outside all week! Happy New Year!

We worked on math and language arts all morning. One of the really nice things about where Jayden is at in language arts is that he can really do most of the work himself, which completely frees me up to focus 95% on Austen.  We are using Learning Language Arts Through Literature and enjoy the simplicity, yet thoroughness of this program. English is my speciality and I am quite a descent editor ( although I should spend more time editing my blog, who has time for that? :)). But when I need to, like really need to, I could edit up a storm. I prefer this program due to its focus on spelling, grammar, great literature, and method. I plan to use this program throughout their school years plus each grade is color coordinated :)

Austen finished his train track book through , Sing, Spell, Read and Write!!!!! Yeah Austen! He has been working VERY hard for the past 1.5 year. I've mentioned before, reading is not coming as naturally to him so we are moving slow, yet purposefully and I'm totally OK with that. What I enjoy about SSRW is how it incorporates hands on learning with songs and games. The stories are challenging yet fun so you don't really realize that you are working hard at the process.

My goal for Austen is to be able to read well by the end of this year. I just ordered his raceway book which is the 2nd part of this program. There are 36 steps that he will need to complete and that will easily take us until August or September. However, by the end he will be reading, writing and spelling quite well!!! Jayden has learned so much during his quiet time and before bed time by reading, I know that Austen will enjoy so much of the same once he is able to do this on his own as well.

During quiet time, we started reading a book " Bears on Hemlock Mountain" by Alice Dagliesh. This is the same author who wrote The Courage of Sarah Noble. We enjoyed the latter book so much that we wanted to check this one out, we are not disappointed! I highly recommend this book. We are half way through, it is an easy read and the kids love it! The whole premis is to answer the question, are there really bears on the mountain? We also read some great books on the Revolutionary War and will hopefully be starting our activities this week, sometime.

Funny side note, today, Jayden and I were working on TIMZIT, a multiplication game and he looks at my diamond ring and asks if it was real, " Yes it is Jay."
" Did Daddy buy that for you?"
" Yes, and someday when you find a special girl that you want to spend your life with, you will buy one for her."
" Is it expensive to buy a diamond ring?"
" Very!"
< Huffing and Grunting>, " Oh man, that means I will need to work at seven zoos and never be able to buy tacos"
We both just started laughing, he is so funny!

You will be working hard your whole life baby to provide for your baby- get used to it :) Raising real men over here, let me tell you!

The kids played with the neighbor boy, we ate In-N-Out for lunch- love that place and played outside. This has been a day in our homeschooling world. Love homeschooling!

Motivated By a Seven Year Old

I"m pretty excited about reading through the Bible this year- partly because I have some real accountability. My seven year old, Jayden. Jayden diligently wakes up every morning and reads his Bible, without fail. Many times, he will sit and just read his Bible because he says , " It has so many interesting things to learn in it."

Ben, Jayden and I are reading the Bible together some of time, but mainly separately. I am thinking of making a chart for the wall to see who is ahead. What boy does not appreciate a little competition? :) So, I'm up to Genesis 6 and looking forward to finishing strong!

Here is the link we are using to keep us on track: Read Through the Bible in a Year

Ps. Jayden just came downstairs to inform me that Adam lived over 900 years- love the learning going on in here. Praise God!