Friday, November 4, 2011


Well, not technically, but they were apparently listening to our archeology lesson at the beginning of the year...  When we chose our curriculum, I'd read wonderful reviews about how the children would create impromptu imaginary play extensions from their subject matter.  So I've been waiting for it to happen with us...

Recently, they met a little friend somewhere and played some kind of game about pharaohs.  Someone would be the Sphinx and "guard" the pyramid, and that game lasted for quite a while.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of that game, nor did I understand the object or rules of the game.  But they had a fantastic time.

This week, I caught them all outside, digging with tiny spoons, small butter knives, and paint brushes.  They started marking off sections they'd already "dug."  We got our our "Archaeologists Dig for Clues" book and tried to find other household items for them to use on their dig.  They were after dinosaur bones...imagine that.  Ethan would draw dinosaur outlines for them to discover.  This went on for hours one afternoon with nary an argument.  It was great!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Corn Maze 2011

Saturday, we let the kiddos dress up and made our annual journey to the corn maze.  So fun!  But we never actually made it to the maze part of the corn maze.  They had so many games.  We couldn't do everything.  It was definitely system overload for their poor little minds.  They wanted to go everywhichaway, and it was a blast watching them enjoy themselves.  I'm very thankful we didn't lose anyone! ;-) 

It's almost like a fall-themed fair with a corn maze.  So much to do.  So little time. 

Everyone posing.  Most of the eyes are open and everyone is making an acceptable face. 

Daniel playing in the spider's web.  We had to convince Grace that there wasn't an actual spider occupying this web.  She said it would be big if there was one.

Three of the boys bouncing away!

This was Hannah's idea.  She wanted to get buried in the corn!

Then, we went home and watched the GA v. FL game!  A wonderful Saturday, for sure!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I'm playing and learning about my new camera (Well, it's not 'new' new, but it's new to me.) and the new photo editor.  The effects are fun!  Love it!

Monday, October 24, 2011

GA Aquarium

So we started our homeschool year planning to study Flying Creatures first semester and Swimming Creatures second semester, but our bird population has dropped, dropped, dropped.  Their absence was messing up all the planned experiments.

So we're switching midstream to Swimming Creatures.  We went on a field trip to the GA Aquarium, and it was awesome.  We may have to go again before we're done with this study.  It was very crowded, and I wonder if it's always so crowded.  I'd like to get in there and go a little slower next time.  I'd like to get the kids to really look and observe all the amazing creatures that are in there.  It's a spectacular sight!

We went through each exhibit except one, and we watched the dolphin show.  Amazing!  We'd just completed an impromptu study on dolphins getting ready to go see Dolphin Tale which was a very good movie, by the way. 

The only problem we had was when the beluga whales kept going to the bathroom, and Daniel started giving everyone the play by play.  He's not quiet either...Everyone, and I do mean everyone, heard the play by play, and the kids laughed and laughed.  But the adults kept giving me looks that said, "Don't you teach your kids any manners?"  Bodily functions are just hilarious to kids, but the whales were everything...everything was big.  I have to admit that it was kinda funny.
We'd just finished reading Mr. Popper's Penguins, so seeing the penguins was very appropriate...even if they were African penguins rather than Arctic penguins.  They were very cute swimming and playing.  The only problem was the high school kids who were completely oblivious to everything going on around them.  They crowded the "crawl through penguin viewing area" that is meant for children.  I was getting irritated with them...

The kids enjoyed everything.  We had an amazing time!  The dolphin show made me want to become a trainer one day...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Daniel!

My sweet Daniel,

My, how seven years has flown by!  In a nutshell, you're a crazy little nut who keeps me laughing...and makes me want to pull my hair out and run screaming to the hills...but mostly, you keep me laughing.

I think you've grown a foot this year, and you're solid as a rock.  You've developed a fascination with acrobatics, hand stands, and flipping around like a crazy man.  You like to break dance to any song you can find with a funky beat, and I continuously wonder where on earth you learned how to contort your body into the strange formations you seem so fond of.  But again, you make me laugh and smile, and I hope I will always remember how you were able to do all the crazy things you do.

This year is your first official school year, and you're far more focused with your schoolwork.  As long as I have stuff for you to do, you're busy with it.  You still seem to have ants in your pants and can't quite sit still while you do your work, but you're doing it and doing your best while you're at it.  Such a breath of fresh air it is to see your good attitude regarding your studies.

Photo credit- Laura Roush Photography
And for the most special thing of all... you wanted to join the church this year.  After our annual meeting and communion service, you quietly told us that you thought you wanted to be in the church.  The fact that you wanted to whisper it in my ear told me this time was very different than all the times you've had questions in the past.  We asked you what made you want to join and had the preacher said something that had it on your mind.  You replied with the story of a preacher's dream...He was watching soldier beating Jesus, and he ran to try and stop the soldier from hurting Jesus.  But when he turned the soldier around, it was himself...You told me you felt like you were the soldier.  You told me you felt so bad for the way you treat people sometimes.  And for days, you'd come to me every time you did something you felt bad about.

You were antsy about being baptized but told me how much better you felt afterwards.  It was a very special day for you and for us as we had the privilege of seeing you baptized into the Old Baptist Church.

You are precious to us, and I'm thankful the Lord saw fit to bless us with you.

Love you, Daniel

Monday, October 17, 2011

Apple Pickin' 2011

We didn't actually pick any apples.  The weather was beautiful that day.  Sunny, windy, warm. But the place was crazy crowded. So we chose some apples off the table inside the apple and produce barn.  The air smelled like apples, though, so we pretended we had picked them off the actual trees.  Next year, we're going to try and go a little earlier in the season and plan to stay a bit longer.
(Left)Trying to get them all to pose and smile with the amount of commotion going on around them was difficult.  Daniel was trying to eat all the strawberry ice cream before he had to share. (Below) Grace perched in her favorite spot.

That week during our family unit study time, we read every book I could find in our library about apples.  The boys pretended not to be as interested as they really were.  They're always like that when I'm doing a preschool-type unit study.  We talked about who else but Johnny Appleseed.  I thought about apples, dreamed about apple pie.  I was disappointed in how crowded it was at the farm, but we did let the kids help pick out the apples, take pictures, and ride the slide.  Well, three out of the four rode the slide.  Daniel didn't really want to do it. Go figure.  He's usually my little dare-devil.  Ethan took Grace by the hand because the climb was a bit steep.  He's such a good big brother to his sisters.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake

Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake

1/2 c. light brown sugar (or honey crystals)
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. butter
1 c. sugar (or honey crystals)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mashed pumpkin
2 c. all-purpose flour (or soft wheat or oat flour)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract

Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts in a small bowl; set aside.  In a large bowl, blend together butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, and pumpkin; set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients except vanilla in another bowl.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat until smooth.  Add vanilla and mix well.  Pour half of batter into a greased tube pan. Sprinkle with 3/4 brown sugar mixture.  Add remaining batter; sprinkle remaining brown sugar mixture on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Let cool before turning out of pan.

This moist, delicious coffee cake with a cup of piping hot coffee on your front porch will make you wish it was fall all year long!  Seriously, this a perfect fall breakfast!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


We had gone to my folks for lunch and playtime Saturday, October 8th.  It was a wonderful lunch of chili, rice, cheese, sour cream, and chips!  The best part...I didn't have to cook!  It was awesome.

My little "poser!"

She was feeling great by Saturday!  She'd just had the tooth pulled on Thursday.

Love it when they all play like this... And for a moment, no one was fussy about anything.

Deep in thought

This is Daniel.  Perpetually in motion...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Trip to the Dentist

Grace did have the tooth pulled back on October 6th.  There was no way we could wait until the following 11th.  She'd been doing great, but Wednesday she started complaining again.  Thursday morning, she was in pain.  I was sure it was getting infected again, so they were able to work her in that afternoon.

Taking it out was an awful experience.  She wouldn't inhale any nitrous oxide, so she was completely aware of everything.  The spot was numbed, of course, but she knew what was going on.  She screamed and fought the whole time.  I was in a nearby room and could hear her being strapped onto the board.  I was about to cry as hard as she was.  I think if they had worked with her a little longer, she would have taken some of the gas.  That kind of irritated me.  She wanted me to drive home while I was holding her, so buckling her into her carseat was quite an ordeal.

We aren't used to any kind of commotion, and she's not used to being subjected to that kind of situation.  When she finally calmed down, I asked her if it hurt, and she said, "No.  It scared me."

I kept expecting her to feel bad and sore, and she may have been a little sore.  But she said it felt better after they took it out.  So she made the connection that they did help her.  Traumatic though it was.  

Here's to hoping she isn't completely, crazy-terrified of dentists for the rest of her days!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


photo credit:  Laura Roush Photography

I turned 29 for the first time today.  I love my husband and our children.  I love our life!  I am incredibly blessed with wonderful family, church family, and friends.  I couldn't ask for a happier life!

Happy Birthday to me! ;-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

The tooth has to go.

I took Grace to the pediatric dentist this past Wednesday, and she said the tooth must go.  It's broken, not cracked, and there's no way she can crown it.  She'll need a space maintainer once her back molar comes in completely, so I'll need to watch for it to grow in a little more.  I was hoping they could do it all at once, but the broken tooth needs to be taken out as soon as possible.  The dentist is hoping to use nitrous oxide to get her relaxed in order to numb the area, but they're fairly certain she'll have to be restrained during the actual extraction.  Anyway, Lord willing, we'll head to the dentist October 11th early in the morning.  I have a feeling that it will be an interesting day. Poor baby.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Curriculum Choices: 2011-2012

Ethan is in third grade, and Daniel is in first, technically.  I go by where they'd be if they were in public school.  Hannah tells everyone she's in kindergarten and that she does school and that she's doing "weally, weally, gweat!"  I tell her how modest and humble she is, too...  Grace does storytime and cooking and cleaning with Mommy.

So what are we doing this year?  I've had several people ask about what we do at home.  I keep portfolios with samples of their work in each subject as it progresses throughout the school year, as well as monthly attendence report copies, intent to homeschool form copies, field trip notes, pictures, certificates they've earned, lists of books they've read, etc.

We've chosen Sonlight for the most part this schoolyear.  So far, it has been a perfect fit except that the kids ask for me to continue reading the read-alouds, and so we get a little ahead of ourselves. Seriously. ;-)  I wish we'd started with Sonlight when Ethan was beginning.  I read somewhere that any homeschooling mom ought to give herself a three-year learning curve.  Three years to really see what method you enjoy as an educating mom. Three years to see what your children respond to and how they learn best. 

I wish I'd heard that advice a few years ago because maybe I would've relaxed more these past few years.  This is my fourth year homeschooling, my third official year that I've had to send in paperwork to the county.  But I feel like I've struck gold with Sonlight.  We read a lot, and the lessons are perfect and easily adaptable when we want to plug in a field trip or when we want to stop everything and do a unit study on dolphins or when we have a co-op class day.  It's been amazing!  Perfect for us.

We do all the Bible, history, and read alouds together.  All of them, for now.

With Ethan, third grade:
Sonlight, Core B Intro to World History Part 1 w/ level appropriate readers which he's going through more quickly than I expected. Yay!
Explode the Code 4,5,6
Wordly Wise B
Handwriting without Tears- Cursive
Sequential Spelling- we're going through this a little slower than suggested.
Teaching Textbooks 4 with Saxon drill sheets- Audio memory facts
Apologia- Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day
His Semester 1 project subject is dinosaurs.  He has to read a book about his subjects, do a book report, speech and presentation which must include a visual aid.
Drawing with children weekly lessons
Piano lessons
Karate class- advanced brown.  He'll test for black in the spring of 2012.

With Daniel, first grade:
Sonlight Core B Intro to World History Part 1 w/ level appropriate readers
Explode the Code 1,2,3
Wordly Wise A
Handwriting without Tears- Printing Power
Teaching Textbooks 3 with Saxon drill sheets-- Audio memory facts
Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day
His Semester 1 project is eagles.  He must read a book on his subject and complete a first grader's book report and do a presentation with a poster.
Drawing with children weekly lessons.
Piano lessons
Karate class- advanced red.  He'll test for his brown belt in December.

With Hannah...we'll call her K4:
Sonlight Core P3/4 (which is really just a lot of great stories, games, and recommended activities to encourage learning and better yet, a love for learning)
100 Easy Lessons for reading
Handwriting without tears- Get ready for School
Ready, Set, Go for the Code.
Singapore Earlybird kindergarten math
Drawing with children weekly lessons
She tries to do piano lessons with me.

With littlest learner:
Sonlight Core P3/4...see comments above
She sits in on Hannah's reading lesson time and imitates everything Hannah does.  I'm hoping something will stick.  She likes coloring, stickers, lots of playtime, and lots of time with me.She likes to be in on any of the science experiments or art projects the boys are doing, too.

So there you have it.  That's what we're doing at home.  I'm very pleased with what we've chosen for this school year.  So good.  We also participate in twice weekly karate class, in a weekly storytime for the girls, and in a monthly co-op class with the subject of fine arts this year.  The kids are preparing for a massive talent show in the spring.  They're doing a skit, some songs, and my boys want to put together a karate demo.  Hannah will probably want to do whatever the older girls are doing, and Grace...I don't know about her.  We shall see.  She'll probably crawl into someone's lap and hope they don't ask her to do anything!  I was very much like that...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The girl with the broken tooth

Poor Grace. 

She was not herself September 16-17.  She was in obvious pain and whinier than your average three-year-old.  I couldn't figure it out. I went through a number of scenarios in my head.  "My mouth mouth hurts..." was all she could say.  Tylenol didn't help.  Motrin didn't help.  Nothing seemed to help.  Finally, about 8:00 at night, I took her to the local pediatric urgent care.  All we could see was that one of her teeth looked funny.  It just didn't look right, so the doctor gave her a prescription for Lortab and an antibiotic for possible infection since it looked likely.  She also had a constant low grade fever despite all the Tylenol and Motrin. 

I was so thankful for the prescription, but narcotic pain medicine does funny things to a three-year-old.  She was hilarious but feeling no pain.  She started randomly talking about all the things she liked and all the people she liked and why she liked them and then proceeded to ask Deron when he got all that hair on his face.  (note that he's always had a gotee...ever since she's been on the planet, that is)  She giggled like she hadn't giggled all day. It was past midnight, but she was feeling good.

At the ER, a little girl had broken her leg and they were trying to set it or something.  The poor girl was screaming, and Grace's little lip was quivering as she listened to the girl in pain.  She kept screaming, not wanting any morphine.  And Grace didn't want to cry in front of the nurse.  She fought back silent tears and decided she didn't like that boy who poked around in her mouth...the doctor was a male.  She glared at him when we walked past and remarked how much better she like the girl with the dark hair...her nurse who didn't look in her mouth at all...  Poor doc got a bad rap with Grace...

After x-rays at the dentist Monday morning, we found out that her tooth has completely broken into two parts.  Not just cracked but broken.  Infection had set in, so we were to continue with antibiotics and schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist a.s.a.p..  She goes Wednesday the 28th.  The options are a crown depending on how far apart the pieces are or pulling them out. We'll see. 

She hasn't been on pain meds for several days.  The more the antibiotics get into her system working on the infection, the better she feels.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crazy kid...

This is class clown...all muscle...all boy...little boy.  Don't tell him I said he was little, either.  Some days, he makes me want to laugh and scream at the same time.  He's hilarious and kind hearted most of the time.  Except to Hannah.  He has no patience with her.  Sure, he loves her, but she can get on his nerves.  And he has to move...a lot...if I want him to focus during our school time.  We work in bursts.  You can sort of see him burst.  When he completes an assignment, he sort of bursts out of his chair to move a little before we move on to the next thing.  If I'm reading aloud to them, he must have copywork, coloring, blocks, something to keep his hands busy or else he gets the wiggles.  Major wiggles.  He listens better...comprehends better if his hands are busy.  He earned his advanced red belt at karate last week, and his instructor had him demonstrate a tornado kick to his classmates.  He was thrilled to be the center of attention.  What's funny is that kick is the only kick he spends time on at home because he thinks it's "awesome."  He drives me crazy and makes me happy.  He's a nut, my Daniel.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Little Mommy

"Hannah, how old are you?" asks Deron.

"I'm four years old."

"Can you please stay four and not turn five years old?"

{girly giggle}  "Daddy, I have to turn five.  And one day, I'll be a mommy..."
(I'm sure that helped...)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


That's my Ethan. Love this kid.  He is such an amazing boy. 

He's got a soft spot for little kids and animals.  He takes the little ones under his wing when possible and tries to play with them.  He also attempts to rescue lost critters from our backyard.  According to Ethan, they must be lost to be in there with our dogs.  His rescue operation has been limited to frogs and turtles and toads.  He tried to rescue a baby squirrel last spring, but that didn't go very well. He loves all things science and would rather be outside than doing his schoolwork. 

Sounds like a little boy to me.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Grace - My Sweetheart!

Monday, as the leaves began to fall, Grace began to scold the trees for making such a big mess... 

She's my helper-girl, but her idea of cleaning up means to get everything off the floor and put it on something.  Often, I'll walk into her room to find that she's "cleaned up," a.k.a. put everything that was on the floor onto her bed.Grace likes to sing. She'll sing about anything but mainly about all the things she likes.  Apple juice, milk, cheese crackers... oh, and chocolate.  She's a girl after my own heart, that one.  She likes to race up and down the hill in our front yard but has no concept of winning or losing because she declares herself the winner every. single. time.  She also cheats by starting the race before anyone else can get started, but her itty bitty legs travel so much slower.  I think Ethan's legs are as long as she is tall.  She really doesn't stand a chance.  Poor thing.  It doesn't hurt her feelings since she thinks she's still winning.{happy sigh}

And for my husband--who asked for me to post this: