Tuesday, March 3, 2015

In Like a Lion . . .

Come over to the SDA Homeschool Blog to see the fun calendar activity we're enjoying this month!

Monday, March 2, 2015

First Day of March . . . in Pictures . . .

March came in like a lion for sure . . . snow all day long!

Our timeline keeps growing . . .

Moccasin's current favorite spot, a box of paper by the piano . . . 

It amused me to no end that Lexie's new spelling quote today was about March (the book spans multiple years and couldn't have been set up to have it be planned)

 Lunch preparations

Snowy days mean collecting snow for snow ice cream.

MiLady seems to think Rodney's Grace Outlet Sweatshirt is laying on the bed just for her benefit

Cold Sundays are perfect for watching Nascar.

Lexie decided a cold snowy day was a good time to reorganize the spice cabinet.

Time to work on supper . . . 

 Showing off her fun Jamberry nails!

I'm linking up to First Day

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Wrapping Up the Last Week of February

If February is over, that means spring has to be here soon right? Sure no sign of it around here yet, sigh . . . though a friend said she DID see some little spring flower shoots peaking out a few places where the snow actually melted all the way to the ground.

This week Little Bit started a new curriculum, she hasn't been very into school, and while I'm happy to wait until she's ready, I also want to make sure that it's not just become a "habit" to let school happen around her, because it always has. . .

When I was looking on Schoolhouse Teachers (aff) for some options for the big girls for next year, I found a cute, Charlotte Mason Preschool for Jan-June.

Before we left for my parents' house I asked Little B it about it and she liked the idea, so, once we were back home, we started on the January theme (Snow and Ice . . . .seems appropriate, given how snowy it still is, sigh . . . )

She is LOVING it! The first day we happily went on a nature walk to use all our senses to learn about winter. As a fun added treat, there were deer tracks ALL OVER our back yard! I'd noticed, when I got up to make coffee that morning, that there were 2 trees laying under the big bush in our back yard, but apparently when I wasn't watching they also wandered all over. While we'll be much less thrilled with deer in our yard this summer (but we're hoping that the farmers' fields that surround our land provide plenty of better options for the deer in the summertime.

Little Bit continues to baffle me with her love of writing. So after our nature walk she came in and painstakingly asked me to spell things while she wrote about all 5 senses on our walk.

We're also learning a poem, and she's copying it, a couple lines per day, as copywork, and Lexie's been reading her books about winter/snow each morning.

Even BETTER, on Monday, for school, we made playdough! She was soo excited. Somewhere I have blue glitter, and my plan was to make peppermint scented, uncolored, playdough and add blue glitter to make it somewhat ice & snow-like, but before I found the blue glitter she found pink glitter, so we had pink glitter in our peppermint playdough.  She's LOVING it!

Meanwhile the big girls are continuing with all our normal school stuff, doing more and more of it independently, which is timing out nicely to allow me the time to do school stuff with Little Bit now.

Another day, as I walked by the bathroom window, I saw a deer RIGHT outside the window. I think it was because that one area had actual grass showing. I called the girls to come see and pretty soon a second deer came out from behind the garage and started heading over our way too. Soo cool (since it's not garden season)!

On Wednesday, we spent a fun afternoon sledding with friends. After a solid month or more of snow and freezing and slight thawing and then freezing again, our friend's hill was PERFECT for sledding. The kids went on FOREVER . . . and burned off tons of energy having to hike all the way back up the hill with their sleds.  Little Bit had a run-in with a blackberry bush, but otherwise, it was great fun! Followed by more fun playing inside.  My friend, Amy is a consultant for Jamberry Nails, so while we were there, she let the girls each pick a sample one and do an accent nail. They LOVE them (I have to admit, they're pretty cool! Especially come summer when I can show off pretty toes . . . I'm not fully convinced that they'd stay on my fingernails for long, I tend to pick at nail polish whenever I attempt to put it on my nails). We finished it off with all the kids putting on a play (that Lexie & Ashlyn wrote awhile back, adapted, on the fly, for more kids) not only for us moms, but for our whole Bible study group.

During music lessons on Thursday, Little Bit's school continued with snow-themed pattern blocks. We haven't had those out in awhile, she still enjoys them! And branched out even more during church this week, creating her own designs without a pattern.

We ended our week, with the girls having coughs that kept us from getting to go visit Grandmom on Friday, and kept Lexie home from church on Sabbath. But, considering all the nasty sicknesses I've heard about this winter, we seem to have gotten off easy.

Now if spring would just hurry up and come!!! But after a whole day of snow today, it still seems a ways off, sigh . . .

Monday, February 23, 2015

Wrapping Up the Week of February 15

Whew! What a BUSY week! AND COLD!

Monday was one of the few no-snow-in-the-forecast days, so the girls and I planned to leave after lunch on Monday to head to my parents' house for the rest of the week.

I got up Monday morning, checked the weather, and saw that what had been Tuesday's snow was now supposed to hit mom & dad's house starting around 5pm. So I told the girls that we were still leaving after lunch but needed to keep moving and make sure we were ready to leave RIGHT after lunch to for sure beat the snow (I was hoping to fit school stuff in that morning, so that was going to make for a busy, but doable, morning). Then my dad messaged me and said that the weather report he'd seen said the snow might be starting around 2pm. EEK! It's a good 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive, and the back roads to my parents' house include some hills that my car can't get up when it's too slippery. So . . . new plan . . . forget about school, and not sure what we're doing for lunch, let's just get packed and head out.

We did it! Got to my parents' house well before 2pm, and of course, the snow didn't start until around 5pm after all. But it's all good.

Lexie was asking my mom about Mom's wedding dress, and Mom pulled it out for her to see, and try on. It fits!! Isn't at all too tight, and is still too long, but still, pretty close to fitting. And Lexie LOVED it! Ashlyn prefers a more "ball gown" look.

That led to discussions of weddings in general. My dress was "preserved" (sealed up) by the cleaners after the wedding, but since it's stored at my parents' house, we pulled it down and the girls looked at the bodice that you CAN see in the box. Since I know it's still several sizes too big for them, at this point, we didn't unseal the box.

Mom also pulled out some formals from when I was a teenager, and the girls had great fun playing dress-up in them. And again, they fit them, sigh!

The girls had great fun playing dress-up though. They brought the dresses home (not the wedding dress, obviously) so they can write, and perform a play.

After much deliberation, we finally decided that Tuesday was the best day to go to Gettysburg (going to the Gettysburg museum before Little Bit turns 6 (next month) and has to have her own ticket was our main reason for going down to Mom and Dad's this week).  On the downside, there was still snow on the back roads when we left Tuesday morning, but not enough to be a problem since Dad has 4 wheel drive. We decided the fact that there wasn't any actual snow predicted to fall that day AND that the temperatures would be warmer (up to 30, whereas later in the week the highs were around 15 degrees), made it our best bet.

We called to confirm they were open, and were told that the museum and cyclorama were open but many of the roads through the battlefield were still closed. Since our plan was to just do the indoor stuff that day (we'll go back in the spring/summer and do a driving tour of the battlefield as well as visiting Eisenhower Farm) that was perfect.

We got there just as the movie was starting, so headed right in, watched the movie, went to the cyclorama (which was wonderfully NOT crowded this time of year!) and then headed into the museum.

The Junior Ranger book included a pretty in depth "tour" of the museum with one question about each of the main exhibits, so Lexie and Ashlyn spent a good part of the day working on that. Little Bit got bored (I'm hoping to at least sort of have her do the Driving Tour part of the Junior Ranger, which will be sufficient for her to earn a Junior Ranger for her age range, but this Junior Ranger book, despite saying it starts at age 6, doesn't have any "new reader" options. Everything expects lots of reading, comprehending, and writing out of answers, so we shall see . . . ) pretty quickly and amused herself by taking my mom's phone and taking thousands of pictures around the museum LOL.

Wednesday we headed into town to do some shopping at the outlets and such. The weather report said snow would start early afternoon, so we kept an eye on things, stopped to see my Grandma after lunch. She was so happy to see the girls :) And then headed home. It started snowing a couple miles from mom and dad's house and soon after we got home, it was snowing pretty hard, so we timed things perfectly!

Thursday was BITTERLY cold! We decided that was a day to stay inside at all costs! I think Dad was the only one who even went outside all day long. The girls had more fun with dress-up, and worked with Dad on the dollhouse project. They chose wall paper and flooring for some of the rooms and helped him get started on cutting it and such.

Thursday afternoon my brother's girlfriend's son came by after school and played with Little Bit until supper time. Lexie was a good big sister and helped them build with lincoln logs and legos, and generally kept their play moving amiably together.

Friday morning we packed up and headed home (in still bitterly cold weather). All the driving to and from Mama and Papa's house gave us a great opportunity to finish listening to Men of Iron. So between that, Gettysburg, and the Henty novel we're listening to for bedtime, it was a rather history-oriented week school-wise :)

Since Daddy was home when we got home, the girls settled in for a relaxing afternoon at home while I headed back out for library books and groceries, and to pick up a couple things we needed for the new curriculum Little Bit is starting this week.

Sabbath brought MORE snow, but it waited until (almost) after church. We got home and watched the snow fall all afternoon. I do love watching snow fall, as long as I don't have to go anywhere :)

While we were at church, I finally remembered to pick up our sweatshirts (for Jeans Sabbath). Little Bit decided to try Daddy's on. It's just a little big on her LOL.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wrapping Up the Week of February 8

I just have to say . . . IT IS COLD OUT!!!! I don't mind winter, but I do NOT like it THIS COLD!!!

Anyway . . . On Sunday, we went to Little Bit's friend, K's sixth birthday party. It was at the YMCA, so a great chance to get some exercise when it's too cold to enjoy being outside.  Lexie and Ashlyn spent their times helping to watch a friend's 3 year old (much to their delight).

And as a final fun part of the day, the "goodie bags" after the party included gift cards for YoGoCrazy (frozen yogurt place. Sooo much better than a goody bag full of cheap toys!

Other than the party, we didn't have much "extra" going on this week (NICE!) so I had some extra time to spend FINALLY getting the girls' room finished up. When Ashlyn set up her "nook", she'd piled the stuff that had accumulated under the sewing table in the middle of the room. A few times I'd asked all 3 girls to work on going through/putting away that stuff, and they had . . . but there was still a pretty big pile there AND a major factor in rearranging Lexie and Little Bit's part of the room was moving the bed, which meant not only cleaning the main floor space, but also under the bed, and the mountain of stuffed animals that lived behind the bed. But after a day or so, the end was in sight. . . we all worked together on it, and got their room rearranged!!!

I didn't think to take "before" pictures, but here's the finished product:

 Standing in the doorway, looking into the room. The white bookcases were the foot (now the head) of the bed. Since it's winter and frigid, we keep the insulated curtains closed pretty much all the time. Last year my dad painted, and put shelving in the closet so we could use the space more efficiently. The striped curtain that you can barely see in the bottom right corner is the beginning of Ashlyn's nook. And, as you can see in the mirror, there's a bookcase/toy shelf next to the door.
And the left side of the room. Dresser is to the left of the door. The little door on the side wall goes into the storage/attic space. Lexie is thrilled to have a place to leave her music stand set up.

Wednesday, on our way to Bible study, we just HAD to use those YoGoCrazy gift cards, so despite the frigid temperatures, we enjoyed some frozen yogurt (and lots of yummy fruit!!).  
Thursday is normally music lessons but conveniently, it worked better for both our schedule AND their teacher's schedule to do music lessons on Wednesday this week. Plus when we arranged it, the weather report was calling for snow on Thursday. Ended up not getting much snow, but was nice to hibernate anyway :)

And we ended up doing some extra hibernating on Sabbath. The weather report was . . . ambiguous on when/how much/if we'd get snow, so since we didn't have any commitments at church this week, we snuggled in and watched Veggie Tales videos with the kids, then watched the church service on the live stream :) 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Book Review: From Tablet to Table by Leonard Sweet

In From Tablet to Table, Leonard Sweet presents the idea that Christianity is not about a "tablet" (or book), and more about relationships. Throughout the Bible we see people gathering to share food and ideas together. In today's busy culture, gathering together around the table is become rare, in families and in communities, and with that shift, relationships are suffering.

I have to admit, I wasn't expecting to get as much out of this book, as I did. I found myself nodding along with parts, being convicted by parts, and wanting to dig deeper into questions that the book raised. This book reminded me of the importance of building and maintaining relationships with my children. The book is an interesting blend of encouraging us to literally spend time at the table. . . gathering together to share a meal as a way to build relationships in a natural, comfortable, informal way, while also using the table symbolically to speak about relationships, and fellowship as a whole. In some cases, I found those shifts confusing, but overall, this short book has a lot to say.

Links in this post are affiliate links. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wrapping Up the First Week of February

You already got a glimpse (or several) of our first week in the First Day post.

On Tuesday, my parents came up between snow storms to help with a few quick projects around here. In addition to the planned projects, Dad brought some lights he'd gotten at Costco. They look like the long, skinny florescent "shop lights" that are common in garages and basements, but they're actually LED, so they use less electricity, and turn on instantly instead of having to warm up. AND can just be plugged into a regular electrical outlet. Dad put a couple in our basement (and we plan to put some in the garage next summer). But then we had the brainstorm to put one in the girls' bedroom. When we moved in, the upstairs bedrooms each had just a small sconce type light, right by the door. It's ok on sunny days, but they're pretty dark if there isn't good sun coming in the windows. Last fall Dad put overhead lights in the school room and it's LOVELY. We'd like to do the same thing in the girls' room, but that's more complicated. Our long-term plans include putting an addition on the house that will include a new bedroom for the girls, and will turn their current room into a hallway, and storage space. So . . . we need to think through the new addition enough to know exactly which part of their room will be the hallway so that the overhead lights will work as hallway lights later, and that hasn't happened yet.

The girls are very NOT impressed with the aesthetics of having a "shop light" in their room, but it gives them awesome light and, because it didn't require running any wiring, we don't have to worry about where the hallway will go. So for now, at least their room isn't a cave, YAY!!

As part of the launch team for Motivate Your Child, I needed to post a "selfie" on facebook. Little Bit saw me trying to take a decent selfie, and photobombed it, which made it a MUCH cuter selfie :)

Then she decided we needed to also take a picture with her needle felted gnome that her sisters made for her a while back, so we got another cute picture :)

Wednesday evening, we went to Bible study group. It works out well, the kids all had a blast playing in the basement with their friends :)

Ashlyn was looking over my shoulder and saw the selfies with Little Bit, and was feeling left out, so we had to do a selfie together too.

Otherwise, a pretty quiet week. School, cooking . . .

I'm not sure what got Little Bit on a "gymnastics" kick, but she decided that our "guest bed" made a perfect gymnastics mat. So there have been countless somersaults performed this week. I figure it's a good way to get wiggles out while it's still bitterly cold outside, so for the time being the school room floor is taken up by the mattress being folded out flat.

I'll leave you with a picture of Joy (Little Bit's cat) looking out the front windows at all the snow . . .