Monday, April 29, 2013

10 Reasons I Love My Husband

If I had the time, I could quite possibly come with 100 reasons why I love this man. But to keep this post readable, I'll stop at 10. First, some background information. Phillip and I met officially in 1999 while we both worked for the church that we were attending. I believe with every ounce of my heart that our perfect God ordered our steps and is completely responsible for our "meet-cute". I don't like that term but I learned it from watching the movie The Holiday with Jack Black and Jude Law and  Cameron Diaz.

At any rate, I remember the day that I walked in the break room while Phillip read his Bible and ate  his lunch. That was the beginning.

A short time after, we became very good friends. We talked about the Bible and God's plan for our lives a lot. We remained friends for two years until February 14th 2001 when he asked me to be his Valentine. Seriously he did. It was kind of weird, but I went with it.  After that, we dated for 2 years before getting married June 2003. So this year, I will have been married to my best friend for 10 years! Here's why I love him:

1. He is a faithful man. He has a faithful and loyal heart.

2. He's compassionate. He's a compassionate person. He is touched by others' emotional state good or bad. He's for the under dog every time. He considers everyone, never writing anyone off as unworthy. In fact, our youngest daughter is just like him.

3. He's handsome. My Phillip has dark features. Features I'd always found attractive. His eyes are brown, his hair is dark brown (weirdly enough, he has a few red strands interspersed throughout). He has perfectly shaped dark brown eyebrows that set the frame to his deep set eyes. As if that wasn't enough, one of his greatest physical attributes are his firm, chiseled, calf muscles. I can assure you that he's embarrassed now. I remember playing tennis with him and his sister while we were dating and seeing those calves for the very first time. My eyes bucked and I couldn't quite look away for a minute or two.

4. He's the yang to my yin. We are such opposites of each other. We once took a survey quiz that helps to determine your gift or talent...he was on the one end of the survey and I was on the complete opposite end. It works. :)

5. He's a reader. I love this about him. He's not some lazy, doesn't-wanna-grow dude wasting his time on the couch every night. He is an avid reader of books. Two of his favorite subjects to read about are biblical and financial. He also loves a good autobiography.

6. He's an awesome dad to our girls. He's so patient with our girls. He helps to home school them, he prays for them, he looks forward to bedtime stories every night. He kisses boo-boos, attempted to brush hair, celebrates the smallest accomplishments, still working on his disciplining skills but he tries. ;)

7.He works hard for us. He's held down his full-time job (which included travel), gone to school full-time and maintained a thriving business...all for us.

8. He's silly. He gets it from his dad. But he is extremely silly. I love that about him. If we didn't have laughter in our home, we'd probably shrivel up and die. He does the goofiest dances for the kids, he gives me my own private variety show of ridiculousness almost nightly (whether I'm looking or not) and tells horrible jokes.

We vibe and thrive off of each others silliness. If he starts some crazy thing, I almost inevitably, every single time, will jump in there and take it even further and before you know it, we are in full character acting out some crazy scheme that entered into one of our heads...and by then we've lost track of who started it.

9. He prays for his family everyday. I hear him, n the morning before I get up and at night after I've gone to bed. My heart slows a bit as I take this attribute of him in. I hear it everyday so there's a tendency to overlook it but now as I key these words to screen, I'm having to slow down and breathe in the fact that this man, this male creation of God, spends time alone everyday praying for "me". I'm only one being in this vast universe and every single day there is one of God's creations talking to Him about "m.e." What a privileged woman I am.

10. Its his birthday! This post was hard for me to do. It is so far beyond who Phillip and I are. We are gushy, but in the privacy of our own home. By putting this post out, I feel as if I'm pulling back the curtain and allowing you to peer in. I did not do this post to be a part of a link-up, I did this post because I wanted to honor an honorable man. I wanted him to know that I love every part of him. I wrote this post because I wanted to say, in a special way, Happy Birthday!

With that said, forgive my sappiness this week and thanks for reading.

Oh yeah, what good is a top ten list if you don't link up to Top Ten Tuesday! Linking up there and here. LOL!

Good Finds on Good Books @ Goodwill

 My mother is a skillful and avid shopper of all things second-hand. I don't mean to make that sound negative, it is quite the contrary. When I say she is skilled, she furnishes her home, builds her wardrobe and buys things for me...largely at yardsales, Goodwill, second-hand shoppes and anywhere else she can score a good deal on a nice item.

People walk into her home and ask, "whose your decorator?"

Having coffee @ mom's

Although I am the complete opposite of her, she has managed to drag me out of my house too early on a Saturday morning here or there to go from this knick-knack shop to that one. Please don't mention this, but, its kind of fun! :)

Well thanks to these excursions, I have found some pretty awesome deals on BOOKS for our homeschool!

this workbook was completely unused & the perfect grade level

My kids LOVE books and people love passing their books along to second-hand stores. There aren't too many people who would actually throw a book in the trash. There's sort of a guilty feeling that comes over you and you can't help but think that someone else could possibly use this book. And you are right!

I have found 'like new', completely UNUSED curriculum books in second-hand stores for pennies! These books have made wonderful supplements to our regular curriculum. I purchased a group of books this past week which included this 864 page Macmillan children's dictionary (like new), regularly priced at $16.95 along with 2 other books for $4.50. Are you kidding me?

I've gotten some really great classic stories for the kids' library and a lot of wonderfully entertaining ones as well.

from the 'if you give a mouse' series

Well, seeing that our kids like to have 2 storybook stories, 2 Bible stories and one made up story by Daddy or Mommy each night, we had to figure out an economical way to keep the books coming. :)

What about you? Have you found any good deals at Goodwill? Where have your scored your big deals on homeschool material? Leave a comment and feel free to leave a link so we can check it out!

Ecclesiastes 12:12 - of making many books [there is] no end  ;)
Linking up HERE!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Make Summer Learning Fun

Summer is swiftly approaching and we all know what that means. SCHOOL'S OUT!!! Really? Is school ever out when you home school? For us, its more like SCHOOL'S SLOWING DOWN!!! ::smile::

Still though, it will be harder to keep learning going during these gorgeous but hot months when kids just want to run free.

I was in an education store today looking for activities that will spark the girls' interest this summer while the lapping water of the swimming pool does the same.

A lot of the items in the store were kind of pricey to me. I mean, I love those stores, I could go in there and actually spend a couple of hours just looking and comparing games, books, workbooks, crafting supplies and more. However, there were items in there that I could find else where for literally 25% of the cost that I found it in there. Oh well, I still ended up purchasing a workbook for Chelsea to work in over the summer by Scholastics called Success With Sight Words. I just feel compelled to support those stores. I think it's because I'm a home schooler and it just feels so grass roots or something. I don't know.

Disclosure: page contains affiliate links

At any rate, keeping the kids engaged over the summer might prove to be quite the undertaking. In this fast-paced world where everything seems to be vying for our kids' attention though, we remain diligent in our purpose to train their little minds and to make sure that they  retain as much information as possible for the next school year.

A mom friend of mine who has her boys in public school told me about how last summer, she didn't go over sight words with her 6 yeaer old. As a result, his 1st grade teacher was ready to have the boy evaluated for a learning disability and placed in a remedial class. Needless to say my friend was stressed and very unappreciative of the idea. What did she do? She covered sight words with him and in a matter of a couple of weeks, he was on target for his grade level.

This is not a slam on public school, but I think it does show that just a little bit of continued review and learning over the summer break will go a long way to keep those brains exercised. And possibly keep them out of remedial classes if you public school.

The Summer Bridge Activities workbooks are one way to do it if your are prone to a traditional education style, like me. Madison loved hers from last year and I believe that it helped to keep her mind active and sharp to be ready for second grade for this school term.

As homeschooling moms, we are always teaching, everywhere we go, using every opportunity to reinforce a concept. That is one of the beauties of it, don't you think?

Even still, what will you be doing over the summer? Some Delight Directed home schooling (summer seems like the perfect time for that, so much to do)? Traditional? A little bit here, a little bit there? None at all...let them eat cake...I mean...let them play? Leave a comment and feel free to leave a link so we can find you to get some summer learning fun ideas!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring Time Science

I love Spring! There is just so much that we can do with school now. This week we introduced the scientific method. I let Madison determine the problem. She wanted to find out how many days it takes for different seeds to sprout. So here's our experiment using the scientific method.

Her Question/The Problem: How many days does it take for different seeds to sprout?

Her Hypothesis: The seeds will grow at different times.

Our Variables: seeds (cucumbers, peppers, cantaloupe, carrots), water, sun and soil

Testing the Hypothesis: Planted seeds in an egg carton

Collecting Data:

Conclusion to come:

I love this because it doesn't take a lot of time from the 3 Rs but she/they are learning about science inquiry and process skills through applying the scientific method. Springtime allows for so much more of these type of activities.

We studied parts of the plant and drew a diagram.

  Here is a silly school song by my husband, kids and me that fits springtime science learning just right: The Life Cycle of a Butterfly.

Thanks for reading!
Linking up here.

Are you doing any Springtime Science? Leave a comment and a link to your blog so we can check it. out!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Growing My Faith

At the end of last year, just before Thanksgiving, I felt a strong desire to begin reading the Bible all the way through. In my mind, there are "avid Bible readers (my husband, a few friends perhaps and of course preachers and teachers of the word)," notice, you didn't see my name or any pronoun referencing me in that list.

courtesy of Google Images
I mean, I love God, I am ever grateful for the sacrifice of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I just never thought that I'd be diligent enough to read the Bible through from beginning to end. So, I enlisted my husband to assist me since he's already done it, twice! When that didn't work, because of our schedules, I decided to let the idea go altogether. Well, the idea, didn't let me go. Instead, the desire grew stronger and stronger within me. Until late last year when I decided to just "start".

It was either just before Christmas or right after that I picked up my Bible and for the first time, began to read with the intent of just simply reading every night until I was done (whatever "done" meant).

To my surprise, Genesis was the most epic set of chapters I'd ever read anytime, ever  in all my life! That is no exaggeration and is not due to a lack of reading over my lifetime. It's just that the Bible is FASCINATING among life-changing and faith-feeding. Halfway  through the book, and almost purely on an entertainment level, it was over, I was sucked in, there was no looking back.

I feel that I was supposed to read the Bible through. I feel in no small part, that the desire didn't originate with me. I didn't even believe in myself enough to set such a lofty goal. I'd heard that reading through the Bible, on average, could take up to a year or more! Who'd do that? Certainly not me was my answer.

Well I'm so glad that God sees us differently than how we see ourselves because, today, I am still reading through, still being entertained, changed and fed (spiritually) and am currently reading in 2nd Chronicles. And yes, I've finished every book up to that point. I am in love all over again with an awesome God who had an awesome plan of love for ALL men everywhere!

 It feels as if I'm getting to know Him like I've never known Him before. For instance, we all know that the Jewish people (as we know them now) were chosen by God to be different from all other nations of people living during the time that He called Abraham away from everything he'd ever known. But did you know, that God, from the very beginning, never ever turned away the "stranger" (or non-Jew) from dwelling with and/or adopting the lifestyle that He'd called His chosen people to live?  And that they (the stranger) were recipients of the same blessings in most cases?? I didn't, I always had it in the back of my mind that Israel (the Jewish people) were God's chosen people and the rest of us were kind of a second thought, so to speak. But you know, because of my own reading, I've discovered, that God has ALWAYS loved and accepted all people. Check it out:

Exodus 12:48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 

Leviticus 19:33-34 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. [But] the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God.

One final thought, I've felt more aware of and in tuned with my life's purpose since I began this journey of reading the Bible for myself (and I've been born again for almost 20 years). If you feel lost or purposeless in this life (as a believer or non-believer)...just pick up a Bible and begin will be glad you did!

With Love,

Thank you for reading.
Linking up at Wifey Wednesday and here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Homeschooling Early Elementary-Aged Children

The Three R's

Thus far in our homeschooling journey, I have bought a complete curriculum from a well known source of homeschool education, joined a co-op, used an ecclectic approach to homeschooling, thought about dropping out of the co-op, switched math curricula mid-way through the year and the list kind of goes on and on of the trials and errors that I have personally experienced in our homeschool of the past year and a half.

courtesy of Google Images
While I am no expert at this point, I have learned something that has been EXTREMELY valuable to me and hopefully other "newbie" homeschooling moms out there will gain insight as I share it.

Our children are 7 and 4 years old (pre-k and 1st grade). They are what is considered early or lower elementary aged children. In this last year of schooling, as co-op began to seem as if it was stealing time from my teaching duties rather than helping it, my biggest question became "what is truly important for them at this stage?"

While my children (the oldest especially), LOVES a good science experiment or history project, the fact of the matter is, the only subjects that are important at this age and stage are Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, the good old fashioned three R's.

Now, I do cover science and history. In fact, we take both those classes at our co-op but I am not spending the majority of our time on those subjects. Number one, they will not remember all of the facts and information that I share on those subjects and number two, if they get reading down as soon as their little minds will allow them, history will be that much easier; and if they get simple arithmetic down, science will be that much more enjoyable. Lastly, because I want to make sure that they are indeed reading, writing and adding and subtracting properly, I don't want to clog up their little brains with a lot of other "stuff".

Reading is the building block to all subjects of education. It also gives the child a strong sense of independence and confidence. If they can go into their room and choose a book off the shelf, sit on their beds and not need any help cracking it open and enjoying a little story all by themselves, their confidence in their learning ability just soared as high as the heavens!

In the long run, it will also free the teacher (you) up to either focus in with another child or to take a 10 minute breather on those hard days.

I can't express enough how taking the pressure off of myself and the kids to cover 4-6 subjects a day to covering the foundation of the basic skills of education has revolutionized our homeschooling experience. And you know what, we cannot measure what "does not" happen as a result of our decisions as much as what "does" happen; with that thought in mind, I can honestly say by focusing on the three R's, our girls have been able to retain the information of these three major subject areas of education, most likely, far better than they would have if we were still aboard the bullet train of 4-6 subjects everyday.

Now history and science are treated more like an introductory course (if you will) than a "we have to get everything done by 2 o' clock or else" kind of thing. ::smile:: They are more "fun" than formal. Which is partly why we created Silly School Songs! We needed to add some fun, some music and some movement to our day!

So if you too, are homeschooling early elementary children and you find yourself a bit overwhelmed thinking you have to cover every subject with the same intensity and focus...YOU DON"T. Take the pressure off! Just make sure your children are sound and solid in the three R's at this stage: Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic...and you will be glad you did.

*To prove the point regarding science, after creating The Water Cycle song and singing and dancing to it a few times during our day, our girls picked up on and could explain the Water Cycle without any problems at all. At this point, we cannot pass a foggy mirror or a bottle of water that's been sitting for a while, without the kids telling us that the water vapors are condensing (they say condensating, but we will straighten that out later). :) But I believe the point is well made that there is no need to spend hours a week on subjects that are important, but not necessary for building basic skills.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Yesterday Was Just One of Those Days

Yes. It's a Black Bear!

Before I get into how awesome yesterday was, let me recap our week. First of all, it flew by and took forever! How does that happen? It was like we didn't have time for much schooling but when I consider how long it has been since last Friday, it feels like forever has gone by...weird.

At any rate, last Friday we went to Kidstuf Live Encore! So much fun! The big idea was Responsibility! We missed the first Kidstuf Live because we had visitors for the whole weekend so we went to the encore presentation. Thankfully the church offers an encore. The kids were really into it.  
I am so thankful for a church that pours so much love, time, money and attention into the kid's department. I grew up in church and can definitely appreciate a good foundational understanding of God's word from childhood but what our kids get in church these days puts what I got to shame almost. So yeah...pretty thankful for it.

Monday, we had co-op. It was a good day. We got out early and met up with some friends at the park so the kids loved that!

Monday night, I got a phone call from a friend who asked us to go to a nature trail south of where we live so we jumped at it. I mean, it's springtime, I CANNOT stay inside for too long. I just can't. So, Tuesday, we hit the road. This preserve was gorgeous. We saw an American Black Bear, Otters, a Bald Eagle (he was injured, that was hard for me to see), Bob Cats, a Buffalo and so much more. The kids were over the moon about it all. We're definitely going back before the season is over.

Wednesday, Nature's Pals discovered the wonderful world of rolley-pollies. They've known about them but this week, they dug up as many as they could and made habitats for them in little baskets. They added dirt, grass, a little water, and some rocks for them to hide under. We also had dentists appointments which went really well, seeing that neither girl has a cavity! Good news!

Thursday, we had our little friends over for school. We covered Math, English, and History. This was also day two of the rolley-polley habitat study. :smile:

Friday was rainy, I was helping a friend with some office work and the kids were now at their friends' home doing a day of school. We had a pretty great week. Here is why yesterday (Friday) was so awesome. I was prepping them for their school day at Mrs. Patty's house and the girls were shocking both Daddy and me with how much they've learned and retained, especially in Math. I mean Chelsea, who is only four is an absolute "pro" in adding and subtracting. Here's a pic of her work!

I'm floored at how good and confident she is with this. She's no longer using counting bears. She's starting with the biggest number them counting up from there using her fingers. I think I learned how to do that in 3rd or 4th grade!!! Now yes, I know that education has changed a whole lot since the 80s but still, 4 years old is pretty amazing for that type of Math. Also, I believe strongly that a child can grasp amazing concepts at just about any age with the right amount and right type of input. She's also doing awesome in reading. She successfully read the bedtime story 3 nights this week. Here's one of the stories that she read. She's doing great!

Madison did equally as great in her studies. She shocked daddy and me with the quickness of how she grasped Math concepts that we hadn't covered. We did some subtraction problems that included borrowing from the tens place and she just owned it! We also found the perimeter of certain shapes, talked about parallel lines and lines of symmetry and the girl is just good. She is an academic child. She thrives on challenging concepts. As some of you may know, I struggled with whether or not to continue with Saxon Math next year or go back to Abeka. I decided to ask Madison what did she want to do and she said, "Abeka, because I like to do a little bit harder math problems, like carrying the '1'." That cleared it up for Abeka is what we will do!

Thank you for bearing with me as I bragged a little on the kids. Yesterday was just one of those awesome days where your kids do just about everything right (Haley's Comet, I know)! We all have something we could brag about, right? In fact, do that! Brag a little in the comments this week. I'd love to hear about it. Just throw modesty to the wind and share what your kids did AWESOMELY AMAZING at this week. Let's have some fun!

Now, if you don't share, I'm going to think that my kids are the bestest, smartest kids in the whole UNIVERSE!!! You can't have me thinking that now can you. :) ::LOL::

Thank you for reading and have a good week. Check out my link ups page to see where I'm linking up this week.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Nature's Pals

Back to the land of the living...probably should have been the name of this post As many of you know, we came down with the flu virus last month. First Chelsea, then Madison and they were so clingy that of course, I got it too. It was awful, I couldn't even eat solid foods for four days and didn't have an appetite for about 3 or 4 days after the virus was gone! It was pretty bad but thank God we are all better and I will definitely somehow take better precautions next year, I can honestly say that we haven't had the flu in a number of years and my guard has been completely down where that is concerned.

Anyway on to happier times... We spent a lot of time out in nature this past week. Well with Spring finally here in all its glory, we have taken full advantage. First we visited a creek that runs through 2 cities where we live.

 Later in the week we went to a lake where we saw a migration, I guess you'd call it, of caterpillars. They seemed to be everywhere but all traveling in the same direction. It was a very cool and educational thing to see as we all talked about how they must be searching for a place to build their cocoons.

Last but not least we planted our garden!!! Yay!!! It was hot out there and the girls were "feeling" it. This is our first garden so to me it has very little rhyme and reason to it. So here's what we planted Tomatoes, Carrots, Cucumbers and onions. I have cantaloupe seeds that I want to plant as well. We're just diving in and hoping to do an even better job next year. My mom tells me that the cucumbers are going to be a pain. Oops, we didn't know.

We also planted marigolds as my father-in-law told us that they would be a deterrent for some bugs and insects. We planted on Wednesday of this week because the weather forecast said that it would rain on Thursday and boy did it. So our garden was well watered yesterday and hopefully our seeds are on their way.

We labeled popsicle sticks to help us remember what we planted where.

We also spread our compost over the garden after we planted. Generally you would place some compost in the soil where you are sowing the actual seed. Our compost however was not 100% ready. I'd say it was about 50% ready and an ant family took up residence in it so we had to spread it out in the sun and air to get them out and then we took what was ready and spread it out over top of the garden space. Hey, nobody said that it would be easy...I sure didn't ::smile::.

As always, thanks for reading and leave a comment and I will come and do the same on your blog so leave link as well. Have you been out in nature or do you still have snow on the ground in your part of world???


Also watch out for our next Silly School Song, Plant Life!! We're working on it tonight...should be a fun one!!! And if you haven't yet, help us get the word out by liking us on facebook. Thanks a million!
Check out my lovely link up pages to find out where I'm linking up this week!

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