"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

John 10:10

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

The weather today brought sunshine and a glorious 55 degrees!  It feels good to air the children, van, and house out.  My heart and hands were itching to dig in the dirt.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Read Alouds

I love reading books out loud to the girls.  It is easily my favorite part of the day.  We eat lunch, clean up, put Julia to bed, turn on the fireplace, gather the quiet time activities, snuggle up on the couch, and then read.  The only problem?  Occasionally we have to cut read aloud time short because Mommy is having a difficult time staying awake.

This year I have started two sets of read alouds, one for the little girls (Cora and Anna) and one for the big girls (Lydia and Madeline).  The deal was that the big girls could stay up and listen to the little girls' or go read quietly by themselves.  Then the little girls were suppose to go up to nap time after their read aloud, but they have been staying up to listen to the big girl read aloud as well.

So far this school year, we have read...

Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the Prairie
On the Banks of Plum Creek
By the Shores of Silver Lake
and we're working on The Long Winter
The Little House books are the best read aloud books!  This is my second time going through them and I still love every moment.  
We'll keep reading until we finish up Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years.

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (We never completed all the Chronicles of Narnia books a couple years and Madeline insists that I read the last two aloud.)
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit (I never actually finished this one with the girls.  It just wasn't clicking with us.  I stopped, and Lydia finished it on her own.  She really enjoyed it.)
The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
We're currently reading The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.
I hope yet to read Little Britches by Ralph Moody.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Waffles with strawberries and whip cream.  Scooter's gift cards with love notes from Daddy and Mommy.  Valentine exchange with CC friends.  Treats galore.  Heart shaped pizza with fizzy juice and candles.  Love abounds!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 13, 2014

The Valentines are packed for tomorrow, table is set for our special breakfast, and cards for the girls are waiting to be assembled.

This man is my favorite Valentine.  

He makes breakfast for us just about every morning.  And I don't mean putting a box of cereal on the counter.  Then on Saturday he bakes us some orange rolls, chocolate rolls, or french breakfast muffins.  Not only that, but he lets the girls help him.  He serves us, leads us, and brings laughter and fun to our home.  We are walking down the same road, together.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 12, 2014

I am astounded by the possibility of gifted people working hard for a goal.  We've been watching a little of the Olympics.  Think of all the energy, time, money, and emotion those athletes put in for such a short time to display the cumulation of their work.

Yesterday we went on a field trip to the College of Engineering at UNL.  Amazing!  Dr. Farritor did a great job of showing the kids what is possible with engineering.  Honestly, I always thought engineering was boring.  But they are doing some really awesome work.  He is designing and building a robot that operates on people.  Only a small incision is needed for the robot to work inside you, cutting down on hospital stays and money.  NASA and the army fund most of their work.  Think of the possibilities!  The Farritors are good friends of ours, a wonderful family, and "normal people."  They use the gifts God has given them.  The messages he wanted the kids to learn yesterday were that engineers are creative, they use this creativity to help other people, and that their ideas never work the first time.  It takes years of trial and error to accomplish the final product.  

Monday, February 10, 2014


I'm going to write a series of posts on what we're doing for school now.  It seems that I'm constantly tweaking what works.  But each year I get more focused on what is effective, necessary and beneficial for our family.  I feel like we're in a groove now, so I want to document it.

Science is not my personal strong point, and was one of my most intimidating subjects coming in to homeschooling.  It was only after reminding myself that I don't need to teach high school level chemistry tomorrow that I was able to take a deep breath and figure what needs to be done now.  I believe that the main goal of elementary/middle school science is to instill a love for the natural world, lay a foundation of basic facts, and learn how to observe and question.  We do this through:

Classical Conversations.  Every week we memorize basic science facts, covering all science topics over three years.  So at the end of elementary they will have covered each topic at least twice.  For example, this semester CC is covering physics.  This week we are memorizing Newton's Second Law of Motion.  They are all memorizing the same fact, and thus we cover science all together.  

Apologia's Exploring Creation.  Let's Read and Find Out Science series.  We read from these books to supplement our science facts we're learning in CC.  I do not systematically work through the series, but pick and choose what we are learning about and read aloud that section.  I try to read aloud about the topic on Monday so we understand it and can let it marinate for the week.  So for Newton's Second Law of Motion,  I read the two pages in Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics that covers Newton's Second Law of Motion.  It breaks the fact down for us in to manageable chunks, while giving an overarching view of the topic in general.  The Let's Read and Find Out Science series is a picture book series for younger students, which I have available to the girls and read aloud if possible.  

Experiments.  Every week at CC they conduct an experiment or science project relating to the science facts we're memorizing.

Field Trips.  This is where the science comes alive.  I try to set up field trips each semester that correspond with what we're learning.  Tomorrow we visit the University's College of Engineering.  Next month we visit the Strategic Air and Space Museum.  

Getting outside.  I think that the elementary student's framework for sciences comes from nature.  They experiment and observe so much from exploring outside.  We play outside, walk through the woods, visit nature centers, watch birds, grow a garden, and enjoy creation.

Talking about it.  Once you learn about a topic, it pops up everywhere.  We integrate what we are learning from science in to our everyday life through discussion and aha moments.  I do not have all the answers, but steer them in the direction they need to research for themselves any questions that they do have.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

February 8, 2014

This has been a big week for Lydia.  She has impressed her mother many times over.  

Wednesday she got her expander and braces installed.  We need to fix her significant underbite before she gets much older.  The expander rests in the roof of her mouth and will widen her palette, literally expanding her mouth.  She has brackets on only her top middle four teeth, to pull out those teeth as her mouth widens.  We need to turn a "key" in the expander every night to push the expander out.  It sounds gruesome.  But, Lydia has been such a trooper!  She has barely complained of her mouth hurting, fully cooperates with the key turns, has been great about the additional brushing, and acted so tough during the installation at the orthodontist's office.  Not only do the braces make her look older, it seems she has decided to act older as well.

Friday she participated in the homeschool spelling bee.  She came in second place in her age group.  Up on the stage, she was confident and beautiful.  I'm so excited for her to realize that she can accomplish great things.  It has to be hard for her to come behind Madeline, who excels at school and music fairly easily.  But, Lydia can do it too!  I'm so proud of her.  (However, I will say that I'm a little concerned that Lydia's spelling bee success may hamper and not help her work ethic.  My philosophy with the spelling bee is that their training is self directed.  I do not drill the words with them.  They need to study on their own.  After suggesting numerous times that maybe Lydia should prepare for the spelling bee, she rarely looked over the words.  Pair that with her "just get it done even if it is sloppy or not really complete" school philosophy, and I'm a little concerned that this only confirms her belief in not having to work at things to succeed.  I don't think she is lazy.  She would just rather be doing other things.)  

Well done, Lydia!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 6, 2014

Maybe she has a future in marketing?  
Pregnant?  Check.
Tired?  Check.
Need to focus on other things?  Check.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February 5, 2014

Lydia got her braces and expander on today.  I'm so proud of how brave she was.  The assistant told us that she wished all of her eight year old patients were that good.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How fitting.

We are currently reading through "The Long Winter" in the Little House series.

Taken from the kitchen window.  The thought of stepping outside chilled me to the bone.

The poem we're memorizing right now is "Snowball" by Shel Silverstein.
I made myself a snowball.  
As perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first -- it wet the bed.

As her big sisters were getting ready to go outside, Julia brought my shoes to me with her hat and mitten on.  Its tough being the baby, especially when your mom won't even put clothes on you.

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3, 2014

Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow.  Secretly, I'm kind of looking forward to it.  We've had cold and I'm tired of winter.  But, we haven't had much snow.  A snow day sounds OK.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2, 2014

Well, the couch was calling my name.  I didn't get absolutely everything put in the freezer that I wanted.  I didn't get my bread based items made.  That could also be due to the fact that I had a few "helpers" who were eager to assist me in my cooking endeavors.  Looking at their proud, beautiful faces was worth the extra time and effort.  With the forecast looking cold and snowy this week I'm pretty sure it will get done.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February 1, 2014

To start the new month off on the right foot, I completed some major food planning, shopping, and prepping today.  I went to Sam's Club and Target to buy groceries for the month.  Yee haw!  I'm allowing money in the budget for weekly milk, produce, and eggs.  But other than that we should be set.  In addition, I put together a few freezer meals and hope to get more in the freezer tomorrow.

Here is what's on the menu for the month:
Italian roast beef sandwiches
smoked chicken
barbeque beef cups
chicken quesadillas
hamburger gravy over toast
grilled hamburgers
rice and beans
ravioli lasagna
Italian veggie soup
hamburger potato pea mix
sassy ham sandwiches
Trader Joe's chinese
beef stew
chicken noodle soup
poppy seed chicken
super bowl food:  chili cheese dip with chips, vegetable crescent pizza, apples with cream cheese/brown sugar dip

And in the freezer (banking on the hope that the Sunday post church couch doesn't call my name, and that Madeline will want to help):
loaded cauliflower and chicken casserole
slow cooker orange chicken
chicken mexican casserole
blueberry breakfast grilled cheese
beef enchiladas
elegant chicken
french toast casserole
cheddar broccoli soup
white chicken chili
chicken tetrazzini
pizza crusts
whole wheat apple muffins
chocolate oat bars
pasta bake