Friday, January 31, 2014

My Week In Images

 This rain.....

because we so desperately need it; even though it was a short storm I am still thankful.

These Sunday afternoons...

because fellowshipping with friends is lovely.

This delicious mocha....

because it was the perfect mid morning treat.

This smile.....

because it reminds me that there is joy in small things. 

This incredible place....

because it was the perfect spot for My Sweetie and I to celebrate 18 years of marriage.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I'm Learning Too

As part of our daily homeschooling we all gather together for what I call Together School.

I started this when I began homeschooling; it was a deliberate time each day when I would teach all my kids at the same time.

Over the years I have taught geography, history, science, memory work, art history, Latin, and music. It varies year to year, depending on what I feel we need to focus on; the only two subjects that I always include are Bible and Literature. It can be tricky, with the age range of my kids (8-16), but I usually follow the rule to teach to the level of the oldest.

Well, this last year I had really narrowed down what we were doing during this time. With both history and science covered in our weekly co-op, there wasn't much else that we were doing. Then a couple of days ago, one of my older kids came to me with a vocabulary question from her Word Roots book. And I had no idea what the answer was. I could always look it up in the answer key (which I did), but it was a really great root that I should have known. (It was the root andro, which means man.)

So I decided to incorporate vocabulary into our Together School.

I am using these books as resources:

*The ASVAB book is a course on learning how to take the ASVAB test, which is what Mr. Lego is thinking to do next year to get into the Air Force Reserves. I am really liking it since it is giving us tools for general knowledge.)

So today I went over three roots, three prefixes, and two suffixes and wrote them on our whiteboard.

I had the older two write it in their notebooks.

Then we discussed words that contained the parts.

This was a bit over the younger two heads, but you never know what they are sponging up as they listen.

(Smiley girls for the camera...Please don't think that we are always smiles like this during Together School. We have our attitude moments just like everyone else.)

The other things we are doing in Together School?

We are loving this Reformed theology study by James W. Beeke...

And here are the literature books I am reading. (Not at the same time. We are one chapter away from finishing Birds, Beasts, And Other Relatives by Gerald Durrell.)

We also do our scripture memory work and any art history review from our co-op.

A wonderful resource has been written about Together School which Kendra Fletcher calls Circle Time. I also wrote a review about Circle Time here.

I have learned so much over the 15+ years that I have been homeschooling...I found the Persian Wars so fascinating, I have loved learning the capitals of the European countries, and have (Surprisingly!) enjoyed figuring out Algebra problems with my son.

Homeschooling doesn't just mean that my kids learn but I learn too, right along with them. Another of the many, many blessings of homeschooling.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am so thankful for the 18 years that the Lord has given my husband and I in marriage. Last week were were able to get away to the coast for a couple of days by ourselves and we really enjoyed time with just the two of us.

What I'm listening to: My Spotify playlist is running as I sit here on the computer and Steven Curtis Chapman's song Glorious Unfolding is playing right now.

What we're learning: This week chemistry has become a bit more interesting...the DVD series we are doing, Chemistry 101, is going through each of the elements and describing them in detail. Fascinating stuff. I am also going to try to get back into my reading aloud time each day. The last couple of months I have gotten out of the habit...

What I'm watching: While we were away My Sweetie and I saw two movies: Catching Fire and Captain Phillips. Both of them were excellent; Catching Fire was exactly like the book and had great sequences. And Captain Phillips was an incredible story; very emotional and intense.

What's cooking: This week I am making Peanut Chicken, Stuffed Poblano Peppers, and a chicken and rice casserole. We also ran out of bread today so I need to do some baking....

What I'm praying: I am praying for rain. We are in serious need of rain here in California, and I am praying that God would bless our land with moisture.

What I'm planning:  It is time to start thinking about my garden for next year...I plan to start my seeds indoors pretty soon.

What we did this last weekend: Sunday we went to church and then had our church's annual meeting. Then over to a park for a picnic, good conversation, and flag football. (Not the mamas....we sat and played Phase 10.)

What I'm looking forward to: We have a fairly quiet week this week...we will be over to take care of the goats and work with them a couple of times.

A picture to share:

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, 
always with the same person." 
~ Mignon McLaughlin

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That it has happened....MY SON IS A LICENSED DRIVER. Yes, he passed his behind the wheel test, and can now drive all on his own. I am very proud of him, and how well he did.

What I'm reading: Not anything new right now...Bookworm picked up a book at the library that she wants me to read - A Higher Calling by Adam Makos - a story of two fighter pilots from different sides in World War II.

What I'm listening to: Laundry going....

What we're learning: This week the older ones are learning about the elements in chemistry. In history we are all learning about the Babylonians. This section of history is fascinating.

What's cooking: This week we are having hamburgers, I am making Clam Chowder, and Black Bean Ham Soup.

What I'm thankful for: The fervent prayers of those saints before me. This last Sunday's sermon was a convicting one about prayer. And it was mentioned that there were those in the past who faithfully prayed, that I would know His saving grace. Shouldn't I then be in prayer for others?

What I'm creating: Picnic food. Because this week, I'm planning one.

What I'm planning: I need to do some schedule planning for school....I tend to plan about a month at a time, down to what each child does in every subject each day. I don't have a schedule for next week so I need to get the kids books out and figure it out.

What we did this last weekend: We did some things around the house on Saturday.... the gang cleaned out the garage and I disinfected the kitchen counters. Sunday we went to church and Sunday school, then over to a friends with another family for a lovely time of fellowship.

What I'm looking forward to: A celebration this week....

A picture to share:

~ My babies, seven years ago....

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Week In Images

This school room.....

because sometimes life can be messy.

This nice treat....

because it made our errand day a little more manageable.

This erector set that a friend gave us....

because Mr. Lego had a great time making some sort of contraption with it.

This fruit......

because seeing it on my kitchen counter makes me thankful.

This new goat shelter......

because I am hoping it will be the last pen adjustment we need to make.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Review: Children's Sermon Notebook

During our church services, we have our children sitting with us the whole time. We believe, that as members of the visible church, they should be hearing the gospel and the preaching from the Word each week. And for the most part, our pastor is sensitive to those younger ears, and remembers to define the larger words and make things easier to understand.

But it has still, at times, been a struggle for the younger ones to stay focused and not wander with their thoughts.

This is where the Children's Sermon Notebook from The Purple Carrot can be so helpful.

What It Is:

Meant for those that can write up until about 7th grade, this handmade book is the perfect tool for your child to use during worship services.

Every page is double sided, and opens to the title "Worship & Sermon Notes". There is a space with numbered lines to list the hymn numbers or song titles that are sung. There is a space to write the  Bible passage, as well as the sermon title. 

On the bottom of the first page is something that my younger one especially enjoys doing....listening for specific words in the sermon. 

And the creator, Mary Lee Sonke, has done a great job of not only listing common words, but giving spaces for either your child or a parent to add other words to listen for.

The opposite page has a small space to draw a picture from the sermon. There are also numbered lines 1 through 5; this is the place where your children can write the main points of the sermon.

How We Used This:

When I showed this product to my younger girls, they were ecstatic. I let them browse the many different patterns that Mary Lee offers and they got to pick their favorite. She is also able to take requests and can custom-make a book just for your child.

Each Sunday they eagerly got their notebooks out of our Church Bag. One of them would write the hymn numbers from the bulletin right away, while the other one would wait and write them as they were announced.

Nutsy usually sits next to me so as we read the text of the sermon, I chose a few more words for her to listen for. She is too young to pick out the main points of the sermon, and so she used the lines on the other page to copy the scripture text. And she always drew a picture in the space provided; our pastor is going through Matthew right now so there was always a good picture to draw.

Each week I let Dasher decide if she is going to count words; sometimes she would get so involved in trying to find the main sermon points that she would forget to count how many times she heard "God", or "grace". She usually sits next to Bookworm and would copy what sermon notes she wrote in the sermon lines. 

What We Thought:

My kids loved using this. They like having their very own church notebook, and feel grown-up when they take notes. Dasher even referred to it one time during the week; we were talking about one of the sermons from a few weeks before and she ran to get her notebook so she could see what notes she had taken. 

The books were very well made; they have been tossed in the Church Bag and landed on the floor a couple of times and look no worse for wear. And Mary Lee thoughtfully attached a ribbon bookmark to each book; this makes it very easy for the girls to find their place each week.

I did notice that last week one of the girls was not as keen on using the notebook. But think about it...listening to sermons is something that takes work. Even as adults, we can sometimes struggle with paying attention when we are being extorted. But this is not optional and is something that is so incredibly important.

And with this notebook, I feel I am giving my children the tools to learn how to listen, take notes, and most importantly, hear how much they need our merciful Savior.

Each of these beautiful, handmade books is $15. That is an entire years' worth of sermon notes for your young charges.

So go check out The Purple Carrot's Facebook page and Etsy shop. She has other products for sale....Catechism books, backpacks, and more.

*I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.*

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That we are really enjoying the goats this year. They are all really good weights so in some ways, a bit of the pressure is off. All three older kids have goats this year, and today Dasher was very happy to get her goat haltered.

What I'm reading: I picked up a new book from the library, Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. She spent a year in a women's prison, 10 years after delivering a suitcase of drug money for a friend. Her look at life behind bars was fascinating....this is not a read-aloud and should be previewed before giving to older kids.

What we're learning: This week the older ones are continuing to learn about Ancient Greece...Mr. Lego is writing a paper on Greek warfare, and Bookworm is writing hers on a comparison of Sparta and Athens. We are really enjoying Bible Doctrine for Teens and Young Adults by James Beeke; I don't know if I have found a more complete series on the Reformed Faith.

What I'm watching: My poor confused plants outside. My herbs are just weathering the winter, but the strawberries actually have small green ones on the vine. With no rain here, they are thinking it is Spring....

What's cooking: This week I am making Crock Pot Black Bean Soup, Mozzarella-Pesto Paninis, and Baked Potato Soup. I am also thinking to roast one of the turkeys I still have in the freezer from Thanksgiving....I was going to make some batches of turkey broth and save lots of the meat for casseroles and soups.

What I'm buying: This is my major shopping week and we seem to be out of lots of things....shampoo, olive oil, and pencils are things on the list.

What I'm thankful for: I am so eternally thankful for the amazing compassion that Christ has for us. He gave his life, in our place, for us. Each Sunday I am so very thankful to be reminded of His amazing grace.

What I'm praying: I am praying for those who work, that God would sustain their jobs, give them wisdom, and gracious spirits as they labor.

What I'm planning: I have a goat meeting tomorrow night....I am planning to go over goat anatomy and focus on meat parts for the market goat people. I am also planning to write some goat blog updates very soon...

What we did this last weekend: We had an issue with the first goat shelter we put up, so last Saturday we were out at the Farm, changing and re-vamping the whole thing. Then Sunday we were at church and then I taught the 5-6 year old Sunday school class. Then over to my friends with some new friends at our church for fellowship and games.

What I'm looking forward to: I am looking forward to co-op, and a pretty quiet weekend ahead.

A picture to share:

The new goat, shelter.

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Week In Images

Goat training.....

because I love the hard work and discipline that my kids put into it.

My living room floor....

because it makes me happy that my youngest two still love to make towns with the Lincoln Logs, blocks, and train sets.

This sunrise....

because it made waking up on the first Monday of the New Year more bearable.

These fun bracelets.....

because even though I am finding the little bands everywhere, I am loving it that my girls enjoy making them.

This crazy bird....

because every time we are in the kitchen he tries to get our attention and flies over our heads. Here he is getting ready to play with my counting blocks

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christmas Break

We had a lovely two weeks off. It was nice to not think about school, housework, 4H, and the daily stuff. And it was fun to play games with the kids, have a movie night (Introducing them to Christmas Story) take walks, and sleep in.

Here is a recap of our break.....

Our annual Christmas Eve appetizer night....the experiment this year? Egg Rolls. And they were delish.

Christmas Lights....

Then on to Obachan's house. (My Japanese MIL)

She made an amazing spread.

 The cousins playing games....

All the grandkids, minus the one away at college.

The next day we headed to San Francisco, with Obachan and two of the cousins.

In Japantown, Bookworm, picking out her rice bowl for the year.

The bento box aisle is my favorite.

At the Peace Pagoda

These were some mochi treats. We thought that the topping was a sweet one, but it was a savory, sticky, soy sauce one.

This dish is amazing. Green tea ice cream, sweet beans, fruit, mochi, and those gelatin, so good.

Next stop was China Beach.

Crazy children.

We stopped at Pillar Point for some chowder....

...and some calamari.

Then down to the beach for a walk.

The sunset was beautiful.

We left that side of the family and drove a teeny ways to the grandparents house, for a delicious dinner.

The next day we all learned how to play Mexican Train and loved it.

And we had a great time visiting with them.

Finally, on New Years' Eve, we headed to our friends. It was a full house: 9 adults (one dad was home sick) and 24 kids.

Playing games, late into the night....

Celebrating with cider.....

Lunch the next day......

Chiopino for the fish-loving people.....

And lots of volleyball.

All the kids....

And the adults.

This break was fun for our family and a much needed rest for My Sweetie and I.

Now onto 2014!