Friday, January 30, 2015

My Week In Images

 This freshly baked bread.....

 because I got out of the habit of baking it for a couple of weeks and am glad to be back.

This hard work......

because someday it will all pay off.

This lovely cup of tea.......

because it is usually how I start my day.

These kiddos......

 because one minute you want to kill them for being so silly and disrespectful, and the next minute you want to hug them because they are so special to you.

This beautiful evening...

 because I spent it with my love.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That it has been a while since I have written a Monday Musings. Life is moving on and things are busy. I shot a wedding a couple of weeks ago and have been having fun editing the photos, and last week My Sweetie and I took off for a couple of days to celebrate 19 years of marriage.

What I'm reading:  I just started a new book titled The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber. I love foodie books....

What I'm listening to: Fernando Ortega is playing on Pandora right now....

What we're learning: This week the kids are learning about the Magna Carta in history. The older ones are reading about animals with backbones and I am lesson planning for our co-op this week. And the three girls are working on their 4H presentations, which are due by the middle of February.

What I'm watching: While we were away we saw Mockingjay. I really liked it and have enjoyed all of the movies as much as the books. Then over the weekend we went and saw American Sniper. An amazing story, that shows what our armed forces give up to protect us.

What's cooking: Over the weekend we tried to copy some delicious fish tacos we had tasted in Pacific Grove. They were delish. This week I am making a pot roast, pesto chicken, and my slow cooker meal is Indian Butter Chicken.

What I'm thankful for: I am thankful that God is merciful and protects us. Nutsy took a fall from a tree a couple weeks ago and thankfully escaped with only a bad concussion. Her headaches are easing and her bruises and neck are getting better. God is good.

What I'm creating: I am working slowly at editing the wedding photos. So much fun!

What I'm praying: I am praying for my teens. (There are three of them!) That they would continue to walk with the Lord and that they would look for those lessons of sanctification.

What I'm planning: We are getting geared up for our 4H stuff.....Mr. Lego is showing a lamb this year, and Bookworm is planning to show both lamb and market goat. Plus she and Dasher are planning to take a goat to state fair. And this is Nutsy's first year showing, so it is going to be a busy one.

What we did this last weekend: We spent time with the kids on Saturday and then My Sweetie and I went to the movies. Sunday we were at church, then to a park for the afternoon. Then home for yummy fish tacos.

What I'm looking forward to: We are totally back into school this week and I am looking forward to putting some real dents in our schedule. I am also looking forward to Saturday as we are going wine tasting with some friends.

A picture to share:

~Happy Anniversary, My Sweetie.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Best Earthly Companion

"I ask you to pass through life at my side - to be my
 second self, and best earthly companion." 

~ Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Happy Anniversary, my love, my best earthly companion.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Day In Our Co-op

Yesterday we had our weekly homeschool co-op.

This year, there are three families participating, with 15 kids total. The age range is pretty wide, from 8 to 18. So we do break into two classes for a couple of our subjects.

What We Teach Weekly:

High School Biology (The "olders" class, consisting of 7 kids)
Elementary Human Anatomy and Physiology (The "youngers" class, consisting of 8 kids)
Essay/Report Writing for High Schoolers (The 8 oldest kids)
Basic Writing and Grammar for Elementary (The 5 younger kids that are reading proficiently)
Medieval History (All students)

Other Things Taught Bi-Weekly or Monthly to All:

Art History

This day we started out with both science classes being taught simultaneously.

I worked with the older kids and we went over Ch 14 in our biology book; Animals Without Backbones.

I talked for about 25 minutes, asking questions and exploring the different pylas, while they took notes.

We also watched a couple of YouTube videos I had found.

This one was on Insecta.

Each week I have them do a reading assignment from the book and answer the review questions.

While I was teaching my friend Kerri was working with the "youngers" in anatomy and physiology.

They were learning about blood, so they made a red blood cell...

 and then cut out the insert in the back of their books to add to their body page.

She had also brought a blood sample for them to look at from one of her animals that needed to be tested and asked them chapter questions.

Next was writing.

I go back and forth each week; one week with the older kids and one week with the younger ones.

This week it was the older ones and we reviewed the format of a 5 paragraph report and I assigned them a report on three of the Crusades. I try to assign papers that have to do with what we are studying in either history or biology.

I have gone through level 3 of IEW with these guys, so I am using the program very loosely this year.

For the younger writing class, I just gave them a couple of grammar worksheets to do this week.

The next time we meet I will have them write for me one paragraph on what is inside their blood.

Next it was time for lunch.

Today it was lentil sausage soup with sourdough bread.

We trade houses for hosting co-op and each mom is responsible for figuring out the food on her day. We all bring components to share and keep it inexpensive. We have had baked potatoes, bean burritos, potato soup, homemade pizza, marinara sauce and pasta, and scalloped potatoes.

Next up was history. They all just finished reading a big chapter on the Crusades, so Kate, my other mom -friend, had selected a YouTube video of an overview for them to watch.

She talked for about 20 minutes, giving an overview of the Crusades, and the impact they had on history.

After that she asked them review questions, tossing little candies to those who could answer.

This week we did mapwork, which Kate coordinated with the journey of the 4 major Crusades.

She assigns by age, so here are our youngest two, labeling some countries and major seas in the area.

The older ones had more to label; all the countries in southern Europe and northern Africa, and surrounding seas.

And that was our co-op day!

Usually, after we are done the kids work on their play. But today our director (the 18 year old girl) was home with some baby lambs.

They all have parts and are also making costumes and props. They plan on performing the play at the end of the year.

Then we might have a little bit of time to hang out and play outside or make a treat.

And that is our co-op. I am so thankful for this group of ladies that keeps me accountable, teaches my kids, and makes our homeschooling journey so much easier!

{The whole group, after a history project they did in the fall}

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Week In Images

 These 4H presentation boards.....

because we have 6 weeks to go before presentation day and the girls are working hard.

These lovely fellowship meals at our church......

because being with Christ's body is so important.

These cupcakes.....

because I am so spoiled by my girls that like to bake.

These crazy kids......

because they helped to ring in the New Year.

This girl and her goat......

because she is so excited that she is finally old enough to have one.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Pin Trading at Disneyland

I had wanted to write this post weeks ago, but time just got away from me.

It is doing that a lot lately.

Anyways, I did lots of research before our trip to Disneyland. And one of the fun things I read about was Pin Trading.

Basically, a few cast members at Disney are pin traders and will trade pins with people who have the Disney pins. These pins range from ANYTHING Disney so the options are endless.

There are some rules....

You can only have 12 pins on your lanyard at a time
Never touch anyone else's pins until they hand it to you
Only one pin trade per person
Only trade with Cast Members (my rule)


Cast members with green lanyards will trade with only kids, and in my opinion, had the best pins.

The first thing we did before we left was order a group of 50 pins from Amazon. We ended up paying about 50 cents per pin. I didn't price individual pins before we left but this turned out to be a really good thing....we saw some of our pins in stores for $4-8 each.

We also got the kids fun lanyards to pin them to. The girls' lanyards came with a little purse at the end, which actually came in very handy. (More on that later.)

In the car on the way down I let the kids divvy them up.

The kids were a bit shy in the beginning, but the cast members were super friendly about it. When we were making our first trade the man we were trading with realized that we were new at this, so he explained that most people collect either sets (you can tell by looking at the back of the pin if it is in a set) or themes. (Themes are could do all princesses, or Star Wars, or frontier land ones, or Donald Duck pins.....)

We were on the lookout for pins for most of the time we were was a good balance because probably only one in fifteen Cast Members were pin traders.

And for some reason we saw lots more pin trading Cast Members in Disneyland. In California Adventure there were a few, but they did not have them on a lanyard but on their vests.

One problem we ran into....the back of our pins kept coming off. We did lose a couple and finally started using the little bags at the bottom of the lanyards to keep our pins in.

When someone got a really special one (Dasher was going for all birds) they put it in My Sweetie's fanny pack.

We also never had a cast member turn us down....when the kids would walk up to one with a lanyard, they would interrupt what they were doing to trade.

Here you can Bookworm and her pins....

 This Cast Member below had a a twist to his pin trading.

See the dark space on the right side of his lanyard? He had some pins that were pinned backwards. You could blindly trade for that one......he hinted to Nutsy that those were usually a great deal so she took the bait.....

....and got a very cool Storm Trooper pin! She later traded it with her brother (who was collecting Star Wars, of course) but we did see that same pin at a pin store kiosk for $12!

In most of the stores in Disneyland there was at least one trader too.

This was a SUPER fun activity....the kids loved interacting with the Cast Members and got some very cool pins. Dasher actually traded enough to get a complete set, and all the kids got some very nice pins from their trading.

We all agreed that if we ever get to go back, the kids would definitely do the pin trading again.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Week In Images

My Week....

This pretty song....

because I am hearing over and over, as Bookworm practices for the Certificate of Merit.

This meat.....

because it will be nice to have a freezer full of home-grown pork.

This little Nut and what I let her do.......

 because you are only young once.

These food bank helpers.......

because it makes us so thankful for what we have.

These treat boxes.....

because I love baking and giving it away.