Saturday, October 13, 2007

The newest member of our family...

Meet Lucy, the newest member of our family.
Rachel put the veil that goes with her wedding dress on Lucy's head.

Lucy relaxing on the couch.

She's a really great dog. We adopted her on Monday from the local animal shelter. We've only ran into a few problems with her so far...she loves to dig under our shed (I think there are rabbits and cats living under there) and actually got stuck on Friday morning. She also doesn't seem to like to eat her dog food. Besides that she is a sweet, calm girl.


Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

We got home a week ago from our vacation to Myrtle Beach. We went with my in-laws and we had a wonderful time. Here are a few pictures (I didn't get very many...I guess I was too busy relaxing!).





Monday, September 24, 2007

There's a new princess in town....

Rachel dubbed herself the princess as soon as she could talk. She loves all things beautiful, and all eyes on her. When Jada came along, Rachel made it pretty clear that she thought one princess was all this house needed. As time has gone by, though, she's taken her little sister under her wing...and began teaching the importance of being a princess.

Jada is soooo different than Rachel. She's quieter and sweet, and is always going for a laugh. I've never met a girl quite as silly as Jada...we call her our goof ball. But, I'm beginning to see the princess in her as well. Here she is in her new pink fluffy chair. Let me tell you...she loves this chair. She'll come up missing, and I'll search the house for her. I'll find her in her pink fluffy chair. Just relaxing and grinning ear to ear.

I guess deep down inside, we all have a little bit of princess in us. Although I am not much of a girly girl, I still love pretty things...and I love being considered beautiful myself. So, I guess there is room for more than one princess at this house, after all. And...if I am the mother of two princesses, I guess that makes me the queen!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Beginner Homeschooling Advice

When I first began looking into homeschooling (when my oldest was just a little guy) I kept seeing one piece of advice over and over again. Don't start too early. Just give them time to be kids. I, of course, thought that's great advice...for other people, but he's ready to start now. What I really meant was that I had invested so much time and energy into researching, I was ready to start.

Now, I have a barely seven year old 2nd grader who is struggling. He's smart...reading on grade level...understands his math concepts...but he just wasn't ready. He really struggles with writing. He still writes a large portion of his letters and numbers backwards. Doing his math turns into a 1 to 2 hour ordeal...every single day.

Thankfully, I've realized my mistake. We're taking some time off from his math curriculum and concentrating on math facts and drills that he never fully learned. Letting him go at his own pace, instead of feeling like he has to finish the second grade book by the end of the year...whether he's ready to or not.

Hopefully, the other kids will benefit from the lessons I'm learning with Caleb...my guinea pig. I already am pushing Josiah much less in his Kindergarten year. We are using Sonlight's LA with him...but I'm not making him write all the dictations and copywork. He's just not ready. He is working on learning to write his letters, and is doing a great job with it! There is no need to push his writing skills at this point!

So, if you are just beginning on your homeschooling journey, please heed the advice! There is no reason to push them to do things before they are ready. Only you will know when they are truly ready...but make sure you look at things honestly, not through your own excitement. The only thing you gain by starting too early is frustration for all involved!

Posted: 4:25 PM, Sep. 23, 2007
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After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart

Julia DeSmit is abandoned by her mother, orphaned by her Dad, and feels forgotten by God. This story takes Julia on a journey of self discovery. It follows her through friendships and relationships through her last years of high school and first year of college. Every time her heart is broken, your heart breaks right along with her. Her young life is filled with so much pain...and as she tries to reinvent herself you slip with her further and further.

I am a Christian, but rarely enjoy Christian Fiction. Usually it is full of fake people with unrealistic endings that are always happy. This book is so different than the norm. It is a beautiful book, full of less than perfect people...and grace and forgiveness. It is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Rating: 4/5
First line: "Waiting is a complicated longing."
Last line: "It's a different kind of longing."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Show and Tell Friday

I made my first trip to the ocean as a 22 year old mother of one. I immediately fell in love. The ocean is a feast for all the senses; the feel of sand squishing between your toes, the smell of the sea, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the taste of the salty sea air, and of course the beautiful view that has no end. Since then, I've made three more trips to ocean, collecting seashells each time. When we redid our half bath, I decided it was a perfect place to display my shells...and be like having a little bit of the beach right here at home.
Here is my collection of seashells displayed in a bowl (a leftover decoration from my wedding), with several more on the shelf. The starfish is my husbands from when he was a child.
Some more shells (they are hard to sea) and a fish my sister brought me back from Jamaica.


My daily reminder of God's amazing handiwork. And I can't wait to visit the seaside again. (And, thankfully, I don't have to wait long....next week we're spending 5 days at Myrtle Beach with my IL's).

Visit Friday's Show and Tell for yourself!


Theodora's Wedding by Penny Culliford

Theodora's Wedding is the sequel to Theodora's diary. Continuing in the diary format, Theodora is now planning her wedding, trying to find a house, getting to know her new minister and continuing on her spiritual journey. Full of wit and humor, Theodora's Wedding is sure to amuse you. A fun, easy Christian novel.

Rating: 4/5
First line: "Well, I've done it."
Last line: "Come on, love, the car's here. Better go..."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Birthday Season strikes again!

This is Birthday Season at our house! Aaron celebrated his 29th birthday on the last day of August. We spent his birthday at his sister's new house in Illinois.

Jada's birthday was September 9th. She is now two!! I no longer have a baby...she is growing so fast. She is working hard on potty training right now (she has more misses than hits!) . She is our funny girl...she is always trying to make others laugh...and laughing herself. She is so silly! She's a very happy girl, and is definitely a delight to be around! She's also talking up a storm now. Happy Birthday baby girl!

My birthday is the following day on the 10th. This year I hit the big 3-0. My secret sister at church gave me a wonderful surprise for my birthday....a gift certificate to Debrand Chocolates. MMMM. I was able to buy 10 pieces of chocolate, and enjoyed each and every piece. Delicious. (I have one piece left....I'm saving it for a day when I really need some chocolate!).

We have a whole month off until Rachel's birthday....So 4 of the 6 birthdays at our house are within a little over a month!


Wordless Wednesday: Eight Ball Leaf

We Remember by Jeanne Marie Laskas

We Remember: Women born at the Turn of the Century Tell the Stories of their Lives in Words and Pictures by Jeanne Marie Laskas is a beautiful book. 24 women born around the turn of the century share the memories of their life. Their lives were all very different...from each other and from us today.

It was a fascinating book. The women are very diverse and are all full of wisdom. It is so important to look at the past, in order to know where you're going. Although life was very different for these women, so much was also the same. Love and romance tends to be a common theme through most all of these women's life. Anyone who chooses to read this book will walk away inspired.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Of double decker PB&J's...


We all have bad days. As mothers we sometimes have days where nothing goes right. The kids are grumpy, we're grumpy, then even our belongings get grumpy. Today is one of those days. I've been physically exhausted since bible school in July. We had bible school, refinished our hardwood floors (which involved moving all of our belongings out of the house, then back in.....and the actual refinishing of the hardwood), vacation, starting school.....all within a month. When I get tired, I have trouble with heart palpitations, which have been bothering me the last week.

Rachel pulled a huge dresser over last night....I saw it happening and was able to stop it before it squished her or Jada. So what does she do this morning....she climbs in the drawers again just like last night. Thankfully Aaron caught her this time before she tipped it over again. Then, Jada was eating breakfast and fell off the chair onto the floor. She was fine, but I could tell it was going to be a bad day. Then the lid fell off her sippy cup, and milk dumped all over the floor. As I was cleaning that up I heard a crash from the kitchen. Josiah had pulled a crockpot full of beans off the counter....and they were everywhere!

You're probably wondering what this has to do with double decker Peanut Butter and Jellies. Well, by lunch time my brain was fried! I was making peanut butter and jellies for lunch. I made one sandwich, then without paying attention started jellying the next. Then I realized I was jellying the top of the sandwich I had already made! So, what's a mom to do? I slapped another piece of bread with peanut butter on it on top....a double decker PB&J!!

The boys thought it was really cool, and that I was a great momma! I decided not to tell them the whole truth. Because someday they'll be parents and they'll totally understand!

Church Picnic

Yesterday was our annual church picnic. We had a fun time of food and fellowship. The kids played lots of games, including a three-legged race with the adults! Here is a picture of Josiah racing with an older gentleman from our church. Jo is in green.

Lot's of fun!!

Caleb was busy catching spiders. You heard me right....spiders. He caught one that had an egg sack still attached to it. He begged and begged to take it home so he could watch the eggs hatch. Now, a good homeschooling mom would have said, "sure, of course." I guess I'm not a good homeschooling mom! The thought of hundreds of baby spiders hatching out anywhere near my house makes me want to scream!!! I. Hate. Spiders. I promptly told him to dump it out and leave it in the church yard!!


An interesting leaf...

Rachel found this leaf outside in the yard on Saturday.
A perfect figure 8 enclosed in a circle. Pretty cool!

Riding a bike!!

While we were on vacation, Josiah finally decided to remove his training wheels. His younger cousin had been teasing him all week about the training wheels, so that pushed him to act! Within minutes he was riding like he'd been doing it for years! Good Job, Josiah!


Vacation Pictures

We've been back from vacation for a little over a week. I've been having trouble with my photo editing program...this is the third time I've tried to post pictures...hopefully the third time's the charm!

We spent a week camping with my family (my parents, grandma, brother and his family, sister and her family) in Michigan near Lake Michigan. It was a relaxing week...a lot of time spent hanging around the campground. It was blueberry days at the campground, there were blueberry bushes interspersed throughout the campsites.

We snacked on delicious blueberries all week, and picked a bucket to take home with us. The kids made a little extra money picking....$2 for a bucket. Caleb picked one bucket!

We went to Deer Forest in Coloma, MI one day. The kids were able to feed deer and other farm animals from their hands. There were also many rides for them to ride.

a close up of one of the deer

The girls feeding the deer.

My Grandma riding on the helicopter ride with Jada! Go Grandma!!

The boys in jail (thats a cardboard cutout of John Wayne next to them).

The kids inside of Peter Pumpkin-eater's shell.

Almost all the cousins on the slide (baby Titus was missing).

We also visit the beach and dunes on Lake Michigan.
Jada and Cousin Titus.

The kids pose on a rock. (Aaron is peaking behind...he's the spotter!).

And finally...a family picture on the beach.


We had fun, but it's nice to be home! Our tiny house feels so big after living in a pop-up camper for a week!

Challenge challenged...

Well, I've learned a little bit about my reading habits over the last several months. I like to read what I like to read, when I like to read it. Challenges do not seem to be working for me. I feel pressure to read books that I don't feel like reading. If I don't feel like reading them....I just don't read! The Challenges have sucked all the joy out of reading. I've decided to read what I want....if I get to the challenge books, great, if not, then it'll be O.K. Just remind me of this if I'm ever tempted to join a challenge again!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Canning Tomatoes

Today we canned tomato juice and froze peaches. My Grandma, Mom, Sister and I got together at my sister's house to work. Canning is a messy affair....just ask Grandma!! Her nice white sweatshirt is now splattered with tomato juice (yes, it was thanks to me! Sorry Grandma!).

The kids each took a turn cranking.
Caleb.
Rachel.
Josiah
My niece Gabriela.

And here is my Mom slicing up peaches:


I didn't get any pictures of my sister (she's the photographer!).
We got 42 quarts of tomato juice and 18 quarts of peaches. It was a messy, hard day...but we had fun!
Next week we're hopefully doing corn, salsa and diced tomatoes.

Posted: 2:22 PM, Aug. 21, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Caleb's first Writing Assignment


Caleb Peer
2nd Grade
8-30-2007

My little cuddly friend

My frog is very, very cuddly. He’s as green as grass and trees. His eyes are green and black. He has black polk-a-dots and he has green fur. He’s cuddly like sitting on the couch with my Mom. He likes lollipops. He’s as soft as a fuzzy caterpillar. I feel like he loves me, but he isn’t alive.

And here are some pictures of Caleb and his froggy friend:


Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling

Warning .... spoilers ahead.




I jumped on the Harry Potter wagon late...February of this year. Once I started, though, I was hooked. I loved the world Rowling created and her characters became beloved friends. I, like so many others, was really looking forward to the last book in the series....and I was not disappointed. This book is much more action packed than the others, yet still deals with the depth of emotions that Harry is facing. This includes his facing of death itself. As Dumbledore says, "Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, and, above all, those who live without love."

Harry makes mistakes (don't we all), but he learns to trust others, stand for truth, and courageously put his friends ahead of himself. He selflessly lays his life down to save the world as he knows it. What a role model, not just for kids, but for adults, as well.

And Snape, poor Snape. I love the quote from the last chapter, "...you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew." We finally get to learn the truth about Snape, and he wasn't at all what he seemed.

This book was an excellent ending to a great series. I feel a little sad that my travels with Harry have come to an end. But, I will probably revisit him in the future.

First line, "The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane."

Last line, "All was well."

(5/5)

Night by Elie Wiesel

This book is a look at one man’s survival of a Nazi concentration camp. It’s a very small book with a very big story. This is a heart wrenching tale that should be read by everyone. The depravity of man is real, as shown by the atrocities of the Nazi’s. It is something we must never forget.

First line, “They called him MOshe the Beadle, as though he had never had a surname in his life.”

Last line, “The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.”

(5/5)

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

Lady Susan is a flirtatious, beautiful widow who knows how to get what she wants. The book is set up as a series of letters and tells the story of Lady Susan’s search for a husband for herself and her sixteen year old daughter. She’s deceitful and vindictive, the kind of woman you want to avoid yourself, and definitely keep the men you love away from. I may have my sons read this when they are older, to get a good picture the kind of woman they need to avoid! All her plans fall around her. A very pleasurable read.

First line, “My dear Brother I can no longer refuse myself the pleasure of profiting by your kind invitation, when we last parted, of spending some weeks with you at Churchill, and therefore, if quite convenient to you and Mrs. Vernon to receive me at present, I shall hope within a few days to be introduced to a sister whom I have so long desired to be acquainted with.”

Last line, “For myself, I confess that I can pity only Miss Manwaring, who, coming to Town and putting herself to an expense in cloathes, which impoverished her for two years, on purpose to secure him, was defrauded of her due by a woman ten years older than herself.

(4/5)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas was a look at the author’s (a city girl) move to the country. Her style is very conversational, although a little scattered. She’ll be telling a story, then something else will pop in her head and she’ll run with that for a while. Although this was annoying at times, I enjoyed reading this book, it was fun and easy. Her life on the farm is filled with ups and downs, but she finds herself through it all.

First line, “It’s hard to say how a dream forms, especially one like mine, which at first seemed so utterly random.”

Last line, “It was the truth.”

(4/5)

Monday, July 16, 2007

First Day of School!

We decided to start school while the kids were excited. So, following an exhausting week of VBS, we had our first week of school. This year we are using Winterpromise Animal Worlds, along with GTG, Sonlight's LA and Horizon Math. The first day went really well. We started the day by going out to breakfast at McDonald's. Then we came back and hit the books!
Caleb doing some of his independent reading. We decided the book he's reading here is still a little too hard for him to read on his own, so I'll be reading it as a read-aloud. The other books, though, he did really well with.

Josiah and Rachel work on their Alphabet craft. We arranged the letter crafts to match Sonlight's LAK order. This week they learned the letter F. The both did a great job writing the capital "F". Here, they are making Fluffy F's. Jada glued cotton balls to a piece of paper (she likes to feel like she's part of things!).

We only got one week in, and won't be doing any more school until the end of August. But, it was nice getting the first week under our belts. I think the kids are going to really enjoy the hands-on aspect of Winterpromise.


Monday, July 9, 2007

VBS

We hosted a community VBS that involved 3 other churches along with our own. I was the director this year. We used Group's Avalanche Ranch, and had a great time (at least the kids did). We had around 70 kids, raised over 1300 dollars for an orphanage in Africa and had several decisions for Christ.

Here's some pictures of each of the kids:

Caleb painting his bird house.

Rachel sitting in the grass. She did really well the first 3 nights. Night 4 and 5, though, she would not go with her group. After questioning her, she said she was scared of a teenage boy who was helping in her group. "He does bad funny things," she said. Of course, my mommy radar went up! Upon further questioning she said he took her nose off! He must have been doing the whole nose-thumb trick....and Rachel thought he was really taking her nose off!!

Jada enjoying snack time!

Josiah playing games. Jo also made a profession of faith this week, which we are very excited about!

It was a good week....but a long week!

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