Friday, June 29, 2012

4th of July fun

This morning, I pulled out some white cardboard and told the kids to paint a 4th of July picture on it.  We cranked up Lee Greenwood on the ipad and got our craft on.

They turned out pretty cute, in my opinion :)

I even got in on the fun...and had I showered, I'd have let the kids take a picture of me holding my masterpiece. Instead, here it is:

Then, I had read about making "fireworks in a jar" so we pulled out some Mason jars and gave it a go. You just put drops of food coloring in oil and pour it in the jar. Easy peasy...

Ready to go. Poured it in and.....

Hmmm, not as impressive as the sample! Maybe we need more food coloring....

Or maybe MORE food coloring...

That just made it nasty. So we started from scratch one.more.time....

If you look really closely, you can sorta/kinda make out some fireworks, right? I don't think this will replace real fireworks, but it was fun to play. And hey, it left the jars nice and pretty.

God Bless the U.S.A.

Happy Friday!

I was fortunate to have my mom come and spend a week with us. She left yesterday morning to head back to AL but we enjoyed having her for as long as we did. I know my dad missed her and "needed" her home ;o) She was even a fairly good sport about my Summer of 7, especially considering she caught 1/2 of the food week. We did great last week, actually. Our only time we didn't stick with it was Saturday for lunch. I shot a wedding that morning and we got out of there at 1:30 and were starving. I felt like I had earned a Hideaway pizza....that made me totally sick since I had been eating so well all week. *sigh* On a positive note, I lost 5 pounds last week. On a negative note, I have gained almost all of it back this week. Snacking is what kills me. Last week, we snacked on fruit. This week, crackers. Back to fruit for us!

This week in the Summer of 7 is clothes week. We each picked 7 pieces of clothing and are only wearing that all week (undies are free b/c my kids, and possibly my hubby, would have left those out to let them have one more shirt). It has been a great week. No worries over what we are wearing - - - you pick one of two pairs of shorts that are clean and one of three shirts that are clean. Last night was the was all dirty. I considered us all going nude for the evening so I could wash it all, or wrapping up in a towel, but instead just made everyone sleep in barely anything and threw it all in overnight. Phew. We are back in clothes this morning! Thankfully it is 105* out so things dry super fast on the line!

Here is a picture from earlier this week. P was in a funky mood that day...I think because she knew Mimi was leaving the next day. If you scroll over it, you can see the second before and after this shot was taken. The girl has got skillz....picture taking skillz, that is. She can turn it ON for a picture ;o)

Have a great weekend.

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's Me Again...

...Hank the Cowdog!

T loves Hank the Cowdog books and reads or listens to them all the time. They are what really got him reading "real" books finally. So when I heard that Hank was coming to town, we were in! P enjoys Hank too but C thinks he is too big. My mom is in town so the two of us took T and P and had a great time tonight seeing Hank and friends.

I had found this t-shirt at OCHEC for him so he wore it tonight. He also made "Hank" a picture, but didn't get his autograph since "he isn't John R. Erickson!" Here are a few pics from tonight, thanks to Mimi having her camera :)

We were on the second row but no one sat in front of us. It did fill up behind us though.

Very fun night. If you are in T-town, the show runs through Sunday. Check it out :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer of 7...Week 1 Day 4

We are 1/2 way through our food week and going strong. You know what is funny? If there are only good things to eat, they will eat good things. What do ya know?!?! I have even heard several time this week as they are snacking on watermelon, grapes, and cherries (instead of granola bars, chips, and crackers) how much they love this food we "have" to eat. Captain C called his buddy this morning and got his mom's pancake recipe and made that for b'fast....and loved it. So far so good.

OK, I got busy earlier and forgot to post it. Since then, not as good. I decided to make the kids applesauce again (made some yesterday and it was great) since we are all needing a little sweet tooth fix. Apples, cinnamon, sugar, and water. Four ingredients. The boys peeled and cut the apples and I put it on to cook and sat down to lunch. Lunch of spinach, ham, and cheese. I am tired of the wonderful bread, so made a "salad"....but didn't have any dressing with 7 or less ingredients so it was a little blah. No biggie. I can do this. Then...

"What's that smell?"

"Does it look smokey in here to you?"


I washed out as much as I could....this is going to take some elbow grease, folks. Ugh.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

If she becomes famous...

I hope she remembers those of us that tolerated her practicing supported her from the beginning ♥

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day

To my kids' wonderful dad. Thank you for taking such good care of your kids and taking time to have fun with them too. We love you so much. I'm sorry you were sick for your big day yesterday and will get that pie made soon....when you can actually enjoy it ;)

And Happy Father's Day to my own wonderful dad. I wish we could have been together yesterday and hate that we don't get to see you much. We love you and know that "the sky's always the limit" when we need anything.  Thank you! Hope you had a great day and look forward to seeing you soon!

And also Happy Father's Day to my Heavenly Father, who is always there and always perfect. I can't imagine life without all three of these Fathers in it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Summer of 7 - Week 1

Back in January, I read, reviewed, raved about and gave away (would have been cooler if I could have thought of a "r" word to use there...raffled, released, guess I better stick with gave away) Jen Hatmaker's awesome book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. I swore it was life changing. I told everyone I know that they MUST read this book. Then I put the book on my nightstand and haven't touched it since. Real life changing, Les :( It wasn't because I didn't want to make these changes, I really did/do. I got busy, and lazy, and out of sight, out of mind.

Then I came across some bloggers that are doing The Summer of 7. They are taking each of Jen's 7 areas she write about and going to focus on one a week. In the book, Jen did them each for a month. A week sounds much more doable (for me) and I think I can even get the family on board.  I can do this! Another friend was asking me about the book and I coerced asked her to join me and she said yes! YAY. So starting today, we are embarking on our own Summer of 7 with our families. We have talked to the kids and I think everyone understands why we are doing this but I'm sure we will ALL learn a lot along the way.

Yesterday, another sweet friend helped us grind our wheat and make the best bread you have ever had, that just might have to sustain us for the next 7 days. I'm kidding. Sort of. We are starting with the Food chapter, just like Jen did. But there was no way I could get the fam in on eating only 7 foods. There just aren't 7 things we all agree on (that aren't Snickers, Snickers, and more Snickers) so we are changing it up a little and eating only things with 7 or fewer ingredients in them. (hence the reason we made bought bread has like a gazillion ingredients *sigh*)

The first "speed bump" came this morning when the kids were ready for church and I started making fried eggs. C said he would just wait and eat donuts at church, like we do every Sunday. Hmmm....I told him he could do that, but we were starting 7 and donuts don't fall into the <7 category, but it was his choice (mom guilt normally works and he makes the "right" choice - lol). I wasn't sure how that would go but he sucked it up and ate here and we all survived the morning of watching everyone eat donuts and praising the Lord that we had any food to eat at all.

Once we get past the initial shock to our systems when we aren't clogging them up with chemicals and artificial junk, I'm looking forward to seeing what God is going to teach us as we make more room for Him in our lives....starting in the kitchen.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

God's Design for Science

Last year at OCHEC, I was intrigued by a new science curriculum I found, and decided to give it a try. Since then, I have talked so much about it that I get emails often asking which "cool science" I was talking about and which books I'm using next year for Cycle 1. So here it favorite science curriculum (to date)...God's Design for Science.

In CC last year, we were studying anatomy so I chose the set that included a book on the human body. In that series, God's Design for Life, it also had a book on plants and another on animals. At the conference, I bought all three as a set and received the teacher's guides too (phew!). It also included a CD with all the printables you need for the curriculum. I liked that I just printed the ones I needed and also that I could print multiples when all three kids wanted to do something.The books are not consumable (another plus!) so being able to print out worksheets as needed was a great idea.

I am all about a curriculum that I can use for all three of my kids together and feel like all their needs are being met....and this is one of them! Right off we loved the pictures. Real photographs - not cheesy sketches. It was bright and just beautiful. Then we started reading and I fell deeper in love. On the copyright page it claims to have "easy-to-use lessons that will encourage children to see God's hand in everything around them." Yes! That is it in a nutshell. It is easy to use with minimal we actually DO it. And I do love that it shows how God's hand really is in everything around them.

Each lesson starts with a beginner section (for 1st-2nd graders). We always read that first and get an overview of the lesson. P will sometimes wander off after that and I still feel like she has heard a full lesson, on her level. Then it repeats all the info, going deeper (for 3rd-5th grade) and concludes with even more info for 6th-8th grade. We do it all. It may end up being just me and C at the end, but we go through it all. I feel like by the end of the lesson, we know what we were supposed to know!

Mixed in the lessons are activities and experiments. Here is a picture from one of them where we labeled T with all the new vocab words we had just learned. You know they loved that day in science class!

The entire set is $299 and although the curriculum junkie in me would love to have them all lining my shelves, I am just buying them as I need them (you're welcome, Big Daddy). Individually the books are about $25 each, which really isn't bad considering it is science for all three kids (I've definitely paid more for less - lol).

And for those that have asked....This year, for CC Cycle 1, I am going to use The World of Plants and The World of Animals, which I already have from the set I bought last year and Our Planet Earth to finish up Cycle 1 next spring.

What curriculum do you love? Have you tried any of the God's Design series? I'd love to hear your feedback and opinions as I'm always open to new ideas.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

So encouraged.

This week we are attending our annual Classical Conversations Parent Practicum and kids camps. One thing I love about CC is that they don't miss an opportunity to teach the kiddos. While parents are downstairs deepening our knowledge of the classical model of education and delving into Latin (and maybe doing a little bit of chatting!), our kids are being watched upstairs. Now, they could easily just entertain the kids and that really would be ok (we are all so happy to be in adult company that I don't think there would be any complaints if they stuck the kids in front of a movie and called it a day), but they don't. They have these awesome camps for the kids and spend three days teaching them, and making it fun so they like it. If you have been here a while, you might remember that I got to teach a fun camp on Logic last year and learned so much myself that week.

This year, P is in a geo/art camp. She has been rotating through art camps and geography camps and also getting two hours a day of karate or recreation games. She came home yesterday saying she LOVES karate now. Pretty cute. Today she drew Africa and all the countries and rivers in it. Yesterday, the world.

T and C are in Latin Camp. Now, I'll be honest here, I was more than slightly nervous about selling this to them. Who wants to spend three days of their summer learning Latin? *snooze* So, I was anxious when I was picking them up yesterday but shouldn't have been. T said, "I LOVE LATIN!" and C said, "WE WON AT DODGEBALL". Eh. I'll take that as a successful day. Today, they were both excited again and said they had a good day.  T said, "I love Latin. And I want to go to public school" Hmmm...not exactly what I was hoping for but ok. He is having so much fun that he wants to do this everyday. Not exactly "public school" he is wanting, just wanting MORE practicum. I heard from several moms that their kids were complaining that it is ONLY three days. T is begging me to go to the next one in Bartlesville in July too!

And now to the best part. C. He was all excited tonight and said, "I now know why you made us memorize all that stuff. Latin just made sense because of all that. She asked us stuff and I knew it!" For him to admit this about brought tears to my eyes. We have spent the last three years in CC filling their little heads with so.much.information. They didn't know what "ablative" was three years ago when they memorized a list of Latin noun endings, but today, when his teacher asked what ablative was, "object of the preposition just came out!" [excuse me while I jump up and down for a minute!]

He got it. The classical model DOES work. This is what we have been working for. The reason we have been listening to the same songs over and over and over and over until we are reciting the parts of the digestive system in our sleep.

And it can work for you too. Allow me to repeat a little here from previous posts on Classical, but the classical model is based on the three stages of the Trivium. {grammar, dialectic, rhetoric} This is the way we learn everything without even knowing it. Say I'm going to try a new recipe for dinner.  I need to know what the words mean: teaspoon, flour, 9x13 pan, etc. This is the grammar stage. Now, I am not a good cook, by any means. (No comment from the peanut gallery. We clearly are not starving around here.) But I was introduced to these terms years ago and can just look at them and know what they mean. Since I know what all these things are, I can move to the dialectic stage and use these items to make my delicious dinner. My kids, however, are still in the grammar stage on these things and I have to teach them which pan is the 9x13 and not the 8x11 or whatever. That is the rhetoric stage, teaching it to others. So, without even knowing you are using the classical model, YOU ARE! Don't be scared. Be proud.

I hear all the time that classical is too hard, or too boring, or just not for me. But it is a part of our every day life. It is the way we naturally learn things. Why not teach our kids the way our brains were meant to learn and make it easier on them? C's comment tonight was such an encouragement that we are doing the right thing. They may not know why we are doing the grunt work of Foundations, but one day you will see results. They may be small, like knowing what your Latin teacher is talking about. Or they may be bigger, like knowing where Uzbekistan is if God calls you to be a missionary there. Who knows. Keep pressing on!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tea time?

We are seriously out of food in this house. Well, not out of food, just out of already prepared food. So I had to think outside the box this morning for breakfast and pulled out my old, old Betty Crocker cookbook...

and made some coffee cake.

Everyone loved it...

and P even asked for more of that "tea pie" :)