Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That our family reunion trip was so much fun! We had a great time relaxing, playing cards, swimming, eating, water skiing, tubing, and hanging out together. Pictures to come.

What I'm reading: I didn't have much reading time on our trip, so this week I am still going through the book I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

What we're learning: We do have a couple of things to look at school-wise this week....I want the younger two to play around with an online spelling program I am reviewing, and I am going over some math facts with a new math curriculum for Nutsy.

What I'm watching: The Olympics, of course. We watched it some in Oregon, and last night my Sweetie and I watched the swimming and gymnastics, but fell asleep before it was done.

What's cooking: This week I am planning a menu of S'mores, Camp Tacos, Cup of Noodles, and our famous Camp Donuts. Yup, our church camping trip is finally here.

What I'm buying: Food. Since we were gone for a few days, we have no milk, eggs, or stuff for lunch in the house; plus I have our camping menu to shop for.

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful for my extended family; not only did they open their home to everyone for a few days, but I am so blessed to have all of them as fellow believers.

What I'm creating: Clean laundry. We have another adventure this next week: Our church camping trip. I am also going to try to sit down and edit the hundreds of photos I took during our reunion.

What I'm praying: My grandpa is hanging in there...he is more frail and getting weaker, but he still thanks the Lord with almost every word. It was such a blessing to see him one last time.

What I'm planning: I need to get down our camping box from the garage and make sure the flashlights still work, we have extra batteries, and all the camping gear hasn't disintegrated in the last year.

What we did this last weekend: Well, Saturday was our river day; we headed out to the Willamette river and tubed, skied, and floated. Sunday we had our goodbye breakfast and drove home. We beat our record home by 4 minutes....

What I'm looking forward to: Our church camping trip is this week so I am really looking forward to spending time with everyone.

Two pictures to share:

~Everyone at the reunion

~Grandpa with all 9 of his great-grandchildren.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Zane Education

I don't know if you know this or not, but I was homeschooled. From 5th grade all the way through high school, home was where I did most of my learning. And let me tell you, things have changed so much since then for homeschoolers, not just with the kinds of curriculum available, but even the ways that we learn has changed. The internet has made so many different types of education become readily available for home educators. One of these is Zane Education.


What It Is:

Zane Education is an online service of online educational videos for all ages. What makes Zane unique from other online video courses is that every video in their extensive library is subtitled, or closed captioned. So not only are your children seeing a video and hearing the narrator's voice, they are reading the script as well. And the list is impressive; with over 260 topics and 1500 videos to choose from. You can choose to narrow down the videos by subject or grade.

Here are the subject headings on the website:

Library Skills
Religious Studies
Social Studies

The videos are then organized by topic. For example in Literature some subtopics under European Literature are Science Fiction and Fantasy, The Ancient World and the Renaissance, and The Enlightenment and the Twentieth Century. When a video is selected, other Video Learning Tools can be utilized. These include a dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaurus, and World Fact book. These are interactive and pertain to the information that is being given in the video. There is a Video Word Glossary; when your child watches a video, the hard-to-understand words are highlighted. The meaning of these words can be looked up in this glossary. For every video there is a downloadable lesson guide. This guide has review questions, key glossary terms, and activities to do. These include an essay assignment, mapping activity, ideas to debate and discuss, and an activity to do. When your child has completed a subtopic, there is an interactive online quiz to take.

What You Get:

There are 4 different type of membership available to purchase:

Topic Taster: All videos in a topic (1 month - $5)
Bronze: All videos in a subject (1 month - $8.99; 12 months - $98.99)
Silver: All videos in a specific age/grade (1 month - $12.99; 12 months - $142.89)
Gold: All videos (1 month - $17.99; 12 months -197.89)

 See the Membership Information page for a breakdown of what is exactly offered at each level.

If you order an annual subscription of any of these levels before August 31st, you will receive a 35% discount. When you order, make sure you enter the promotional code: ZE794HSM.

The math videos on this website are not subtitled and do not have quizzes; they are actually videos from Khan Academy.There is a range of User Guides that are free to download.


How We Used This:

I told each of my kids that I wanted them to choose a subtopic to watch, and then take the quiz. My youngest chose to watch the animal videos from Elementary Science. There were six of them (Animals, Birds, Fishes, From Sea to Land, Insects, and Mammals) that she watched over a period of a couple of weeks. They each lasted 8-14 minutes in length. I sat with her to watch them; we found them to be fun to watch, but sadly with a heavy emphasis on evolution. Dasher chose to watch the ones on Western US Geography. These were informative and she felt she learned a lot about the history of California. Bookworm chose to watch the videos under the topic of Orchestra Instruments. There was beautiful, orchestral music played as each family of the orchestra instruments was described, along with a brief history of each instrument and how it is played. Mr. Lego chose to watch the section on the Causes of World War I. He really enjoyed learning this way and felt that he better understood this important time in history.

What We Thought:

Well, I really wanted to like this. But sitting with my youngest and listening to the video tell us that man once crawled up from slime and we were once hairy like the apes was just too much. This actually became quite detrimental for her and her little mind. Since I was watching the videos with her, I would stop it and explain that this part wasn't true. She then began to question almost all the true facts she heard, not believing if it was right or not. I also watched parts of the video on western geography with Dasher and was a little dismayed to hear an emphasis on environmentalism and pollution. But to be fair, both of the sets of videos the older children watched were fine, and I felt they really learned from them in ways that would have been harder if they were reading from a text book.

If you order the Gold level membership, you will also receive a downloadable copy of  the 424-page Christian Home Learning Guide. This publication, written by Marshall Foster and Ron Ball presents the Christian view of the secular subjects in the videos. To me though, I would rather have it the other way around....a Christian science video, with an extra document for those to peruse that are not creationists.

Some students thrive on video lessons. I really liked it that my son was not only hearing the story of World War I, but he was reading the words as well. He also really enjoyed the interactive testing. He got excited looking at some of the other video topics and asked to incorporate them into our schooling next year. The interactive guides also added an element for families to study these topics together. So if you can pick through the evolutionary myths and find the sweet morsels of truth, then this might be a good fit for you. And with the flexibility that the membership options offer, you do have the ability to just purchase certain topics to study.

Other members of The Crew received a membership and wrote about their experience, check it out by clicking below.


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a 12 month subscription to this website, at no cost to me, for my honest and humble review. All opinions are mine.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

No-Nonsense Algebra

How is it that I am old enough to have a child that is ready for algebra? My, how time flies. And my math skills are not that great, so when this product came up for review with The Crew, I jumped right on board.


What It Is:

This algebra text book from Math Essentials is truly no-nonsense. The book is in a very easy-to-read and simple format with clear and concise examples and instruction.

It is divided into 10 chapters:

Chapter 1: Necessary Tools for Algebra
Chapter 2: Solving Equations
Chapter 3: Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations
Chapter 4: Solving and Graphing Inequalities
Chapter 5: Systems if Linear Equations and Inequalities
Chapter 6: Polynomials
Chapter 7: Rational Expressions (Algebraic Fractions)
Chapter 8: Radicall Expressions and Geometry
Chapter 9: Quadratic Equations
Chapter 10: Algebra Word Problems

Within each chapter are lessons; they range from 22 lessons in the first chapter to only 4 in the fourth, with a total of 96 lessons in the textbook. Each lesson begins with an introduction. This explains the new math concept. Then there are examples with all the solving steps shown; most lesson have 4 examples. The main part of the lesson are the exercises; these 14-20 questions are all based on the new math topic. The final part of each lesson is 2-4 review problems from previous lessons. At the end of each chapter is a chapter review and at the end of the book is a final review. There is a glossary at the end of the book, and then pages of important formulas, symbols, a multiplication table, square and square roots, and fraction/decimal equivalents.

What You Get:

The 275-page book is non-consumable and has a soft cover. It is listed on their website for $27.95. But what makes this algebra program such a wonderful deal, is that your book comes with free access to online video lessons.( The code to access the website comes in your book, and the really great thing is that the code never expires.) Every single lesson has its own video of Rick W. Fisher teaching the concept. These videos are very simple and not distracting; the student hears the instructor's voice and then sees a white screen and watches as he teaches the math concepts and shows examples. Each of these videos range from approximately 4 to 10 minutes in length. At the end of the book is the answer key.


How We Used This:

I decided to have my daughter do the first few lessons. She really enjoyed the simple approach and felt that the videos helped her to see how the problem should be solved. Right from the start, Mr. Fisher makes it clear that he wants the students to write down on paper everything that he writes on his whiteboard. Even in the textbook he gives the simple yet very effective tip of writing all the examples out completely, even if you feel you already know the concept. My daughter does grasp math pretty well, and during one of the lessons felt that there were too many examples to do, but practice makes perfect and I had her do them all. At the end of the section of lessons she did, she felt she had learned much more about algebra; the really cool thing is that she only spent about 20 minutes a day doing the program.

I was also given a book from their Mastering Essential Math Series. I chose Problem Solving; other titles in the series are Decimals and Percentages, Fractions, Geometry, and Whole numbers and Integers.  This 78-page booklet is only $11.95, and has sections on graph problems, whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages. On each page there are review exercises, helpful hints, and math problems. This book is meant to be done in 20 minutes a day and would be a perfect curriculum to do during those summer months when you still need a little math on the brain.


What I Thought:

Honestly, I started out thinking this was just another math program. But the videos caught my attention. I do have one of my students that is a visual learner and this just might be the key to success in math for that child. It's is so interesting evaluating how children learn; my daughter who did the few lessons felt that the video was not as helpful to her as reading the text, but my son got very excited when I told him he could do the video algebra for math next year. I loved the simple approach and felt that the pace of the book was appropriate. I especially appreciated the helpful hints throughout the book. Some were tips on how to help correct mistakes, reminders to write out each example and watch the video, and to also use the resources in the back of the book. This math curriculum actually got me excited about doing math (which is pretty hard to do)!

So please, check out what other members of The Crew are saying about this math company....others reviewed elementary math, middle grade math, and pre-algebra concepts.


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, for my honest and humble review. All opinions are mine.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am tired. I was woken up with this low rumbling sound at about 4am...turns out we were having a summer thunder and lightening storm. It pretty much went on until sunrise.

What I'm reading: I am reading a book that I received as part of a review...I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L Geisler and Frank Turek. So far I am liking it.

What I'm listening to: Nutsy just put some classical music on that is blasting in the living room right now. Very dramatic stuff.

What we're learning: We are now officially on our summer break; this doesn't mean we won't crack any books open, but for the next month or so we are taking a break from our formal schooling.

What I'm watching: Last night my Sweetie and I watched a couple of episodes from the Andy Griffith show. The evening was complete with a glass of wine and chocolate covered espresso beans.

What's cooking: This week we'll be eating Broccoli Chicken Casserole and another day I'm making Gyu-don. So yummy.

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful for my husband. He is my best friend, and I am so happy he is mine!

What I'm praying: I am praying for my 96 year-old grandpa. He is not doing well, and is probably coming to the end of his long journey here on earth. So I am praying for a peaceful end for him, and strength and grace for those that are caring for him.

What I'm planning: Later this week I am planning to sell the rest of our rabbits. Another 4-H family is expanding their rabbitry and we struck a deal. We are going to go with a smaller breed of rabbit and get them closer to the new year. And by doing this we are saving our 4-H money.....making it possible to maybe get another goat for fair next year...

What we did this last weekend: Saturday was our day to work around the house. We got lots of work done outside, I cleaned out the fridge, and we deep cleaned the dishwasher. Sunday was church and then we enjoyed fellowshipping afterwards, then home to a grilled chicken salad and a swim in the pool. Then we went to a nearby park where my Sweetie and I played some tennis, then back for a quick dip in the pool. Such a fun afternoon with our family!

What I'm looking forward to: Some dear friends are coming to swim later today, then our family reunion is this week. It will be fun to see everyone, go to the river, play games, stay up late, and eat good food.

Two pictures to share:

~Last week the girls decided to make a couple of cork boards with the many wine corks I have saved and been given.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hear Builder Auditory Memory

Recently I was given a product from Super Duper Publications called Hear Builder Auditory Memory. This company gives parents a wide range of products for those students who struggle with learning.


What It Is:
This product is a software program, that comes as a CD for your computer. Through fun exercises, your child will learn how to listen for details and improve their short term memory. They will join Recall Agents Kim and Joey to save Memory Town from the evil Dr. Forgetsit. There are five different listening activities to do:

Memory for Numbers
Memory for Words
Memory for Details 
Auditory Closure
Memory for WH Information

Memory for Numbers is exactly what is sounds like; your child will hear a series of numbers, which they will remember, then enter into a keypad. Level 1 begins with 3 numbers being listed and moves all the way up the levels to remembering seven digits for 10 seconds. Memory for Words is remembering a series of words. After you child hears 3 words, they will then click on the words in the correct order. In the early levels there is a picture of the object with the word for those children that are still not reading. This sections works up to 5 words to remember at a time.

Your child will view a picture scene with characters in the Memory for Details. They will listen to details about a character, then select the one who fits the description. Level one starts with one detail and works up to 5 details at a time.   


Auditory Closure is a section where your child will complete a sentence based on context. For example they will hear "Three little kittens lost their __________." and then be given 4 choices to fill in the blank. Again, if your child hovers over the choice, they will hear it read again. This is especially helpful for the younger ones who are not yet reading proficiently.


In the Memory for WH Information (or who-what-why-where-how) your child listens to a couple of sentences with information. Then a reading comprehension question comes up on the screen and they need to remember the details.

For each lesson there are 10 tries; if they get the first six right then they skip the remaining 4 questions and move on. Between all lessons is a simple game; these range from shooting space garbage, finding Dr. Forgetsit behind different doors, or chasing him through a maze in a car.

There is also a section called Agent Status, where your child can see how far they have come in each of the levels. You can also print out badges as they complete the sections. Another feature, in the upper levels, is to choose background noise to hear while your child listens to the information.

What You Get:

For $69.95, you will receive the Hear Builder CD. Through the end of August though, Super Duper is offering a 30% savings if you use the code BLGAM30.


How We Used This:

My younger two had a really fun time playing these games. In fact, I used it as a reward when they finished doing their daily math practice. At first, we had a hard time getting Hear Builder to remember us when we would come back the next day. We ended up using it on our other computer, which stores cookies, and then it remembered all the work we had done. The CD runs from your hard drive and stores the information for each child there as well, so you need to make sure they use the same computer every time. My one daughter was excited to get up to level three in some sections, and loved the in-between games.

What We Thought:

I really liked this product. I do have one child that has a very hard time remembering more than one detail (prayer requests, chores to do, lists of activities), and I saw how this product really helped her remember more. I especially liked the helpful strategies that were given for each section. For example, in the numbers section it suggests having the child sing the numbers, group them together, or picturing them in their head. This advice really helped my daughter...I got a kick out of watching her stand up and jump while singing the number sequence. You can view progress reports that show when each of your children worked on the program, which games and levels they played, and their score. You can also choose which level your student starts with. For fun, I made myself a profile and started working in the expert section. There was background 'talking' noise going on, multiple questions about sentences, and harder questions to answer. This means that this one CD can really be used with a wide age-range; anyone, pre-K to 8th grade can benefit from this fun program.

Super Duper sent a couple of other products to other members of The Crew: Jeepers Peepers Glasses Game and Hear Builder Following Directions. And just so you know, each of these products has a 30% off code too!


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, for my honest and humble review. All opinions are mine.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

State Fair 2012

 State Fair is behind us. It is actually still up and running....ours goes for 18 days and I am thanking the Lord that we only have to be there for the first 5 days. Any more than that and you would of had to seriously drug me.

We do have tons of fun, but I am getting older and walking miles in 105 degree heat with late nights and early mornings do take their toll.

We always begin with showmanship.


...and Mr. Lego.

Dasher knows her limits and always bows out of state matter how nice the judge, doing individual showmanship is always a bit intimidating.

Tradition is that we bring in pizzas the first night, then slide down the hill on the empty boxes.

We watched our friends doing sheep showmanship, then that night it was the highlight of our fair time, the Fab Four concert.

All my crazy friends, waiting for it to start...

Hey, we look pretty good for our second day at fair!

Beatles....I mean, Fab Four.....

These boys loved meeting them....yeah, they kind of look like them....if you are a bit nearsighted.

The next couple of days were not too strenuous....just walking around, checking out the exhibits, and seeing the sights.

Nusty and a friend playing with a giant Etch-a-Sketch that actually worked....

Playing old-time video games....

Lots of exhibits to see...

When it would get too hot we would head inside to the Fur and Feathers where our rabbits were and get them out for people to pet.

And some of the us went on rides with the Read-to-Ride program.

Two of my daughters graciously gave me two of their tickets; I went on the Fireball and Evolution. The latter one was are swung totally upside down at all different angles....I loved it.

And then my favorite exhibit of all is The Farm.

All our kiddos, plus friends.

I was seriously coveting their incredible garden....

...Sunflowers make me smile.

There was a spot where we could try to catch crawdads...

...and visit with baby turtles.

Here is Bookworm, practicing her lassoing. A skill that anyone should know, because you never know when you'll need to lasso something.

So that was our fair...silly, interesting, hot, yummy, and FUN!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Who Is My Neighbor?

I was very excited to receive from Apologia, the third volume of the What We Believe series. Through this series, Apologia is striving to give your child the foundation of Christian beliefs using stories, notebooking, and above all, the scriptures.


What It Is:

Volume three of this series focuses on a Biblical worldview of servanthood. The complete title of the book is Who Is My Neighbor? And Why Does He Need Me? Very good questions to be discussing with our children indeed. Through the pages in these lessons your child will learn how we were made to be with others in life, who our neighbors are (and not just the ones who live next door!) and how we, as followers of Christ, are to treat them. The format is very organized, with a convenient schedule template in the introduction of the book.


Each lesson in the Textbook begins with an introduction and lists the learning objectives. Next is a short story; these are continual stories about characters and the people that come into their lives. The story in the first four lessons is about a family immigrating to America from China in the early 1950's, and the last four lessons are about a family torn apart during the Civil War. There are Think About It questions to aid in discussion of the story, sidebar notes, historical facts, and vocabulary words and definitions for better understanding. The main lesson is next; this is a nine to twelve page section that talks about the topic of that lesson. A memory verse is listed; I appreciated that two were listed, a longer one and a shorter one. The last section of the lesson is called Encounters With Jesus. This section is a storybook-like format and is a drama told from the perspective of someone who had contact with Jesus. There are questions at the end of the story to examine with your children. Throughout the book are appropriate photos, paintings, and historical pictures.

The Student Notebooking Journal is a 230 page consumable notebook. There are all sorts of different activity pages inside. There are question pages that have space for the student to write answers beneath, vocabulary definition pages, blank pages for notes, crossword and word search pages, review questions, and a mini book to make for each lesson. These mini books are in the back of the book, and give instructions showing how to cut out, glue, and fill in. At the end of each lesson is a Find Out More page, with a suggested list of extra activities to do, plus other books and songs that are appropriate. For each lesson there are between 20-24 pages to fill in. Some of these are two page spreads; the hardback text is fine as a stand alone curriculum, with the notebooking pages useful for supplemental work. Like the textbook, there are colorful photos and drawing on numerous pages. At the beginning of the notebook is a more detailed lesson plan for the teacher; this gives the page numbers for both the text and notebook along with the suggested schedule.

The Coloring Book has 64 different pages to color. There are 8 pages for each lesson for your younger children to color. These illustrations range from photos about the story, the main lesson, and the Encounters With Jesus story. Some of these pages depict a boy mowing the lawn or a girl helping her younger sister. There are pictures of Jesus to color on a few of the pages.

What You Get:

I received all three items in the volume: the textbook, Student Notebooking Journal, and coloring book.The hardback textbook is $39.00, the spiral notebook is $24.00, and the coloring book is $8.00. Here is the place to order from the website.


How We Used This:

Each day I sit down with all my kids and do what I call Together Time. This is where we read the Bible together, practice our memory work, and up until this year, did our history curriculum. And so we included the Who Is My Neighbor? book in this part of our school. The recommended schedule in the book suggests 2 days per week of Bible study, and spends three weeks on each lesson. I tweaked it a little and we spent three days a week going through the assignments, and got through a lesson in a little over 2 weeks. I chose to do it at that pace because this was for a review; I did have my children doing the notebooking pages as well and realized that when we start this in the fall I will need to stick to the suggested schedule to have enough time to complete the notebooking. So my schedule looked like this:

Day 1 &2: 
         Text: Read Story (Immigrating Family)
          Notebook: Story Questions
                            Memory verse Copywork
                            Words To Know (Vocabulary)
          Coloring Book: 2 pages

Day 3&4:
        Text: Main Lesson

        Notebook: Mini-Book
                          Page - Thoughts on Being Lonely
                          Word Search page

        Coloring Book: 2 pages

Day 5&6:
        Text: Encounters With Jesus

        Notebook: Memory Verse Copywork
                          Do You Remember? (lesson questions)
                          Crossword Puzzle

        Coloring Book: 3 pages

Day 7:

       Any extra notebooking pages not done and memory work

This curriculum was very easy to teach even with a wide range of children; while we read the text, my younger two would draw from the coloring book. (I will be purchasing another coloring book for next school year; they took turns coloring during our review month.) The discussion questions were well thought out and provoking, and I was pleased with the conversations they began. I went through the Student Notebook and chose a few pages for my older three to do. They liked the memory work copywork pages, and my older daughter enjoyed filling one of the pages with a description about how she felt one time when she was all alone. Most pages do not have lines to write on; this is so younger ones can draw pictures instead. For my one daughter who has trouble with straight writing, I pasted a lined page on the blank one.

What We Thought:
My thoughts on the first chapter: the beginning story was well written; the author did an excellent job of making you feel as if you were really watching the family escape from communist China. I of course, appreciated the historical notes on Mao and immigration. The main lesson was focused on how God created us to be with others, and that we really need to be with people. We talked about how hard it is to be lonely, and how we can serve others by being with them. We also saw how God showed Adam how lonely he was when he had him name the animals, and that the perfect companion for him was Eve.

I was uncertain about the Encounters With Jesus story; I am leery of fictitious stories during Jesus' time. The one in this lesson was about the wedding feast at Cana, and was from the perspective of the bride. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was very tastefully done; the focus of the story was about Jesus' influence on others and their reaction. I found the notebooking pages to be very useful; my reluctant writer did well with the creative writing suggestions.

I am very excited to use this during our Bible time in school; we were at a crossroads with curriculum and this will be a welcome addition to our school schedule next year. Members of The Crew reviewed the second title in this series last year, and I was very happy to review the third. And other Crew members did review this great product; check out what they have to say here. 


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, for my honest and humble review. All opinions are mine.

Birthday Quiz - Nutsy

My baby is seven today.

I seriously cannot believe it. Time has flown so quickly, and I when I think that my baby is seven, (and that I have an almost 15 and a half year-old who can start driving next month) I feel a bit old.

But enough about me....this is Nutsy's day.

So here are some questions for you, little one.

What is your favorite food?
Steak, Tex-Mex Pasta, California Rolls & Pizza.
(This girl pretty much eats everything I put in front of her.)

What do you not like eating?
Fish and shrimp.
(It took us like 5 minutes to think up these two 'dislikes'.)

How about your favorite color?
Green. It is the same color as my eyes and I love it.
(Her eyes were blue until she was 18 months old, and then they were pure green. Now, depending on what she is wearing, they go from light green to hazel.)

What is your favorite subject in school?
Math. I like doing the numbers.

What are you looking forward to this year?
My birthday. I can't wait to go to Oregon and the camping trip. 
(Me too, sweetie.)

What do you enjoy doing most?
Cuddle with Momma. Playing with the dollhouse and Legos.
(Okay, my heart completely melted when she said that the number one thing she enjoyed doing the most was cuddling with Momma. She is my cuddly one.)

Where is your favorite place to be?
Outside in the backyard. I like to play tag and a ball game with daddy.
(Even though our yard is small, they spend a ton of time out there, playing together.)

What is one of your favorite memories from this last year?
Going to the beach, or going out to a restaurant.
(All the kids love the beach, and this just shows how momentous it is when we do go out to eat.)

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? (When you're 12)
Working hard and helping my mom if she is sick. I would be in 4-H too. I will work hard in school and play games with everyone in our family.

In 20 years? (You'll be 27)
I want to have a farm and buy animals. I want to get married and have kids. I would make dinner for my kids in our house in the country. 
(At this point she was seriously giggling, thinking of herself at 27. Ah, the youth....)

What do you like best about having 2 older sisters and an older brother?
I am small and can fit through things that they can't so I go get things that they can't get. They help when I'm hurt. Whenever I want to see something, they carry me so I can see it.
(I just typed what she said so that first sentence might not make sense, but you get the gist of it. And the older ones do help her lots.) 

Happy Birthday my precious Nutsy!


Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That our part in the State Fair is over. This is the end of our 4-H year...we won't pick things up again until September. The kids did good in the breed show....2nd, 2nd, and 3rd.....but we didn't place in showmanship. We had a really fun time though; watching our friends show sheep, walking through exhibits, seeing the Farm, using our Read-To Ride tickets, baking in the heat. (No that wasn't fun, but it was a part of it.)

What I'm reading: No time for reading last week. This week is much quieter though. And I just got my August issue of Cooking Light, so I'll be looking at that later today.

What I'm listening to: Birds outside, someone humming upstairs.

What we're learning: We are doing school this week....all 4 children have presentations that are due in our co-op this Wednesday. I am also reviewing a cool online spelling program, and a math curriculum for the younger two.

What I'm watching: Today, I am seeing my baby turn 7. Seriously, where did the time go?!?

What's cooking: I don't have a menu for this next month up yet....I am thinking to make things that don't heat up the house. Grilling, crock-pot meals.....

What I'm thankful for: I am so, so thankful for my friends. They are real; challenging me, encouraging me, and loving me for who I am.

What I'm creating: Well, today I am going to create some blog posts. We have a birthday today so I want to post about that, and then I have a great product that I am reviewing that needs to get posted too. Counting my Monday Musing, that is three posts in one day - a record for me, I think. We'll see if I can get all of them out.....

What I'm planning: I have got my big shopping the next couple of days and so I need to make out my menu list today.

What we did this last weekend: We were at the fair on Saturday...we especially had a fun time in the Toytopia exhibit. They had a gigantic etch-a-sketch, and old video games from the 80's. Sunday we went to church and then to our July picnic. We had fun playing volleyball, eating hamburgers, and  celebrating the 10th anniversary of our church. Then last night we headed back to the fair to pick up our rabbits.

What I'm looking forward to: A birthday girl's special day today, a birthday lunch with a dear friends tomorrow. Co-op is Wednesday, then swimming with friends later in the week.

Pictures to share:

 ~These are pictures from our hike last week. It was lovely to get wet in the river before the hike back up...