Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jefferson's First Story!

Dinosaur Destruction
by Jefferson (age 6 1/2)

One morning I woke up and discovered I had turned into a dinosaur. I was too big to fit in the house so I made a hole in the roof. I was too heavy so I smashed the whole house! I went to look for something to eat for breakfast I found a yummy hamburger and I ate it. Then I went to look for somewhere to live and I found a place where other dinosaurs lived. I decided to live there too!
It's surprising that although they have such a great imagination at this age, it needs to be developed. It was actually quite hard for him to think this story through. But he had so much fun doing it that he wanted to write another one right away! I told him we would do more practice and that 2nd grade would be even more fun!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Jefferson (6.5yo)

Took Jefferson to get his beautiful hair cut and this is what he asked for - a cool mohawk! I think it's adorable (it's just hair - it can grow out) and he LOVES it!
(ps - would someone please tell him to stop growing? I just can't take how my 1st baby is getting so 'boy'!)

...the mouths of babes!

Okay so I missed TTT this week but I couldn't resist postin this!

Adam is about 2 1/2 years old but only just struggling to speak. We have a speach therapist coming to help up and have seen improvement! I was amazed last week when he put 3 words together at the dinner table!

Me: "We're having meat and corn! Do you want meat and corn? Meat and corn is soooo yummy! I wil give you some meat and corn!"
(overemphasizing and acting wildly excited .... about plain ol' meat and corn!)
Adam: "Meat ah core! Meat ah core!"
(smiling and exctied that he pleased Mommy by speaking!)

Fast forward to the next day. As most of you mommies know, corn doesn't digest even slightly in our babies. So I'm changing his muddy daiper and getting the chance to re-experience the corn - fun, fun! This is when Adam cracks me up.

Adam (looking down at his open, yucky daiper): "Meat ah core! Meat ah core!"

(I was ROFL folks!)
Visit Mary at Not Before 7 for more!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Midwife Wins Reversal in PA!

Some of you may have noticed a few links on my right sidebar which may raise your eyebrows - they relate to homebirth. We had our 4th baby at home last Oct and even though this does not relate directly to homeschooling, it runs very deep and close to my heart. In my opinion it relates to the state of our culture in regards to a women's right to choose ... her right to choose where she delivers her babies, that is. I know that only about 1 to 2 percent of women deliver their babies at home in this country, but to these women, midwives are very important. In my state in particular, the A.mish rely heavily upon these well-trained, amazing women.

I write this post not because I think that all women should give birth at home, but because I feel that all women should have the legal RIGHT to give birth where they choose to do so. This, rather than being cornered into delivering at a hospital because the majority of culture think they should or because midwives are bullied into becoming more rarely available than they are even now.

You may think I'm crazy or even irresponsible (and believe me, I know that many of you do) for choosing to have our 4th in the comfort of our home. That's ok - dh, and I, and God worked all that out. :-) My issue now is not convincing you of my position, but rather just to educate you that there are those of us who NEED midwives to be available and who WANT the choice of how our littlest blessings are introduced to the world!

So with that little bit, I'll leave you with some info on an amazing midwife - Diane Goslin. She did not attend to Lincoln's birth, but I met her when she came to the aid of a friend who, without Diane, wouldn't have had a choice for her labor and delivery. She is a humble and godly women and has years of experience in helping women to deliver their babies. She has practiced midwifery in PA for 25 years and has attended over 5,000 births without any charge for negligence or endangerment. The medical board charged her last year with "practicing medicine without a license" and ordered her to "cease and desist" from attending births. She is a sweet, dear lady and a very experienced birth attendant who loves the Lord and loves helping mothers. I am thankful that last week her court ruling has been reversed so that she can continue to help the families that need her! My friends' family (as well as many, many more families) are thrilled with this ruling and they posted more about it here.

Hurray Diane! God bless you for your perseverance!

(For those curious, here is the Midwives Model of Care and The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

It always amazes me how they can entangle themselves in the crib and keep right on sleeping (Lincoln - 6 months)!

Monday, May 19, 2008

...the mouths of babes!

The kids have had much to say around here but it's been a while since I wrote a bit of it down!

Jefferson (6.5): "Mommy, somtimes I hear you say 'multitasking.' What's that mean?"

('s just short for 'being a MOM!')

Me: "I love Daddy, don't you?"
Reagan (5): "Then why don't you not yell at him?"

(Hmmmm... very, very, very good question. I don't do that which I should and do the things I shouldn't, huh? All eyes are on Mommy at all times...)

Me or Daddy: "Adam! What does kitty say?"
Adam (2.5): "Voof,voof!" (with a sly little grin and giggle)
(He's not yet talking much at all and so we've been working on animals sounds. This has become his favorite joke and he's always so pleased to give us the wrong sound for the kitty!)

For more Tiny Talk Tuesday, visit Mary!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Holy Curriculum Fair, Batman!

This past weekend I headed to Harrisburg for the annual C.H.A.P. Homeschool Curriculum Convention. I went last year to find a math program and I knew that it was HUGE and overwhelming. So I also knew that I needed a plan of attack for this year so that I didn't end up spending too much $ on extraneous things.

I had a few more things to look for this year since I have a 4-yr plan for Jefferson (and the others too). Here was my plan:
  1. Find a creation based science curriculum (putting it together myself is taking too much time and I found that I didn't give God enough credit for His creation this year - this is a priority for science)
  2. Find a Spanish program (preferably an all-in-one package that I can use for multiple students - again, I need simplicity for the more minor subjects)
  3. Purchase K and 2nd grade math books from RightStart (already decided that I love this program and can save a little $ getting it at the convention)
  4. Listen to and learn from Dianne Craft (homeschooler, teacher and naturopath) talking on "Right Brained" learning styles and how the "biology of the gut" affects behavior.
I also was able to attend the convention for 1 1/2 of the 2 days, thus giving me time to focus on my goals and also listen to speakers. However, even though I had a plan I ended up almost as overwhelmed as I was last year. There is JUST.SO.MUCH.STUFF! SO many different choices, styles, products, and just plain cool teaching stuff!
I used Friday to head up and down each aisle familiarizing myslef with the booths which I wanted to return to on Saturday. On Friday, I also narrowed down my science options BUT broadened my phonics scope. Also found lots of great character reading books for the kids from Rod & Staff as well as good family movies. I shouldn't have, but ended up with the complete 'Anne of Green Gables' dvd set as well as a cartoon version of the Jim Elliot story. I also ended up purchasing TEN 'Christian Heros: Then & Now' books since they were cheap and are a great intro for the kids into missionarys' lives.

Oy! I never even slowed down! Friday night I came home realizing that I wasn't as sure about my science 4-yr plan or Reagan's phonics as I had thought and so I stayed up 'til 1am re-thinking it and planning my attack for Saturday.

Over all I spent too much money BUT I think that I met my goals. I am so excited about the programs I bought and just want to get next year all planned out RIGHT NOW! It's fun to think about how the kids will enjoy the different things that they learn and about how much I will learn from teaching it all!

So here's my breakdown of the LOOT:

*In The Hands of a Child (Lapbook providers) - Rocks unit (for next year), Traveling Seeds unit (for the end of this year); bought these to try out lapbooks
*My Calendar Book (Christian Light Publications) - fun booklet covers graphs/charts, calender facts, ordinal numbers, seasons, weather
*Wonders of Creation series - Geology, Astronomy, Weather -good material to add to lessons, great photos and info but all points to the Creator

*Exploring Creation with Astronomy (young Explorer Series) - spine for our 1st 18 weeks of astronomy, creation based, no workbook or tests, activities; great series!

*God's Creation Series - Our Father's World - an absolutely beautifully written book, full of scripture, large print and photos, simple activities and vocabulary, will probably use for Reagan's 1st grade

Math **
RightStart Workbook and teacher's manual - Level A (K)
RightStart Workbook and teacher's manual - Level C (2nd gr)

Spanish **
Rosetta Stone Homeschool V3 - Level 1,2,3 - this one I have been considering for awhile and finally dove in since I saved s&h, $50 for convention purchase, and more by buying all 3 levels at once; I am confident that we will use this for all the kids and have heard great things about this program; comes w/ 6month $back guarantee

Phonics flashcards by Child Diagnostics
Sight Word flashcards by Child Diagnostics
Brain Integration Therapy Manual by Child Diagnostics
Teaching You Right Brained Child by Dianne Craft
(all this stuff from Dianne Craft I will expound upon in another post about Reagan - I hadn't planned on these purchases but feel that they will make learning much easier for her next year)

This is not every little thing only the major purchases. Tapestry of Grace was not at this convention - I had wanted to look into that a little further before buying it. But I am more than excited about these purchases and can't wait to start getting everything planned! So far I have added a bookshelf and am getting our library organized. But there is ohhhhh so much more to do - goals, schedules, teacher's manual, yearly plan, and more.......
I really am chompin' to dig into it all though! I must be a teacher now, huh?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

My mom hand quilted this beautiful quilt for our first son. This is the first time I've thought to have it photographed! However, we all know what the most beautiful part of the pic is: fat, lumpy, happy, sweet Lincoln! I can't believe that it's been 6 months since he shocked us with his 10lb 14oz birth. He certainly hasn't gotten any smaller - they just grow tooooooo fast..... *sigh*
For more Wordless Wednesday check out 5 Minutes for Mom!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Memories of Mom Contest

My mom and I are so different that the only proof we have that I am her daughter is that she remembers giving birth to me! LOL! Don't get me wrong here though - I love my mother so much. Ten years into marriage, I still consider her my teacher and guide as I work through my days as a wife and mom.

To illustrate this point I'll share my favorite memory of my mom and interestingly enough - it's not from my childhood.

Growing up I was not much help to my mom in the kitchen. I preferred to be reading. Boy, could she cook! And bake too! She could make a mean pot roast that melted in your mouth. My mouth is literally watering just typing about it! And her sticky buns are worth fighting for - if they are there when I am, I wil wrestle anyone to the floor for the last one. So... when I got married, I wanted to be able to spread this joy to my new hubby. However, I always came up short since I hadn't helped her much in the kitchen and then spent 5 years getting engineering degrees at Drexel.

"How hard can cooking be?" I thought, "It's just following instructions!" (Go ahead and laugh all of you who understand the love and talent that go into cooking and baking - I was just clueless). I mean - I passed my chemistry and physics labs in school. Same difference, right? But every time I used her recipes, the results seemed not quite right and NEVER as good as hers. I was often on the phone asking her for help - I think she was amused (my dh was NOT - poor man).

One evening I was having our pastor and his wife for dinner and wanted to do an impressively yummy, yet simple Hot Fudge Pudding Cake dessert for them. I called dear Mom for the recipe. Her instructions were exactly this, "Put the dry ingredients in and then the wet and throw it in the oven. It's soooo easy!" So this is what I did.

When it was time to serve, the dessert seemed more like runny pudding than cake with pudding around it. One bite and I knew it wasn't right! Fortunately our pastor didn't notice but I could tell his wife had a clue. I was embarrased but at least it was edible.

When I called my mom to lament another culinary failure and complain that she hadn't passed me her great kitchen genetics, she offered to come and bake it together to see what went wrong. As a newlywed, I loved cooking and baking with her so I took her up on the offer. How else would I ever learn what I had thought (foolishly) would be a simple part of marriage?

So as we are standing together with ingredients ready, we start adding all the dry ingredients to the pan. Then I add all the wet ingredients. I pick it up to put it in the oven and my mom says, "Aren't you going to STIR that?"

I say, "What d'ya mean?"

Mom, with eyebrows raised and a half smile, says, "It needs to all be well stirred together before you bake it."

I say,"Stir it? It needs to be stirred? You didn't WRITE THAT IN THE INSTRUCTIONS! I didn't know it had to be stirred! You just said put it all in and throw it in the oven! You said it's that easy! That's what you said!"

Mom says, "I didn't think I had to tell you to STIR it! For heavens sakes, you always stir ingredients that you put together to bake something!"

At this point my mom is practically ROFL and I am so flustered and red-cheeked at my ignorant left-brain interpretation of Mom's recipe. When we finished laughing, I stirred the ingrediednts well and baked it. The results - perfect!

My dh loves to tell this story when friends come over! I will say that I've learned so much from my mom since then - the biggest lesson about cooking being that it's not just about following instructions. It really is a talent...a skill.. that takes time to develop and hone. I am so glad that she has been my mentor and helper - and so is my DH! BTW - I've also finally figured out the key to her fabulous pot roast - but it's not the stirring (*snortchucklesnort*)!

She still reminds me to stir from time to time!

Thanks Mom! It was hard to choose just one memory to post but this is one of my favorite memories of one of the many ways you've impacted my life! Happy Mother's Day! Hey, can I call you about my chili recipe for next week? ;-)

Check this out for the awesome (and yes - simple) recipe for my mom's Hot Fudge Pudding Cake!

Mother's Day Recipe

Here's my mom's tasty recipe for the infamous chocolate dessert that I'll never forget!

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

  • 1C flour
  • 3/4C granulated sugar
  • 2T cocoa
  • 1/4C cocoa
  • 1C brown sugar
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt

  • 1/2C milk
  • 2T oil
  • 1tsp vanilla

  • 1 3/4 hot tap water

  1. Mix flour, white sugar, 2T cocoa, baking powder, and salt in 9x9 pan.
  2. Mix milk, oil, and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  3. Add liquid to dry ingredients in the pan.
  4. STIR well.
  5. Sprinkle brown sugar and 1/4C cocoa over stirred ingredients in the pan.
  6. Sprinkle 1 3/4C hottest tap water over ingredients.
  7. Bake ast 350 for 40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes.
  8. Serve over vanilla icecream!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

More wonderful signs of spring! "Lucille's" 4 robin eggs have hatched!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Simple & Slow Fridays - Nature


I've been wanting to post for Becky's Simple & Slow Fridays for a while - but I just can't seem to slow down or simplify! :-D I think I'll just stay up tonight and think on this for a little while.

I've been especially looking forward to this spring since Jefferson (1st grade, 6yo) is learning so much in science this year and is soooo aware of God's creation around him recently. He has read the 1st half of Genesis on his own. From there we also looked into Noah's ark. Boy - did that get his mind going! He just loves to think about the huge number of animals that God made and could sit and flip through our Animal Encyclopedia for hours. But due to winter, we haven't really spent much time slowing down and enjoying nature until recently.

It really is amazing what can be discovered and observed about God's creation in just our own back yard. We have a tiny yard, but when the weather warmed up last week and we started looking closer, we have found it brimming with interesting things! Jefferson and Reagan have dug up numerous earthworms (which we studied this past fall) and grubs, roly-polys (sp? proper name?), slugs, and ants (also studied). He squeals with delight as his apple core is gobbled up and carried away by ants or as he stares as the slug long enough to see it's eyes poke out. He loves to tell his little sister the things he knows about these creatures.

His favorite discovery so far has been a mama robin keeping a nest full of eggs in a nearby tree. He says the 4 eggs look like plastic and he knows not to bother her in his observation in order to not scare her away. Our kitchen table and lesson area look out toward her tree and he and Reagan often observe her with a worm in her mouth on her way to the nest.

All three of the kids love to get down close to the earth and pluck different plants to bring to me. Usually dandy lions, but they are noticing the difference in tree leaves and pointing out the new buds that are abundant right now.

And he loved it last week when a white butterfly perched itself upon his finger long enough for him to explore with his eyes (which were gleaming with excitement).
That look is the one that I so enjoy watching as he learns. It's lovely for me to take time to be outside (which I have to slow down and force myself to do) not just to see these wonderful things also, but to experience the joy and amazement of a 6-year old's discovery of the world around him! I've always loved nature but sharing that enjoyment and seeing their discovery is what I love most about nature these days!

So my plan, as the breeze flows through the curtains on these spring days and as summer approaches, is to use the time when Adam and Lincoln are sleeping in the afternoons to leave the dishes and get outside more! Let the laundry wrinkle - the birds are calling us! The magnifying glass needs a grasshopper under it's gaze! The sun is good for my skin condition and my mood (I tend to get seasonally 'low' in the winter months) and the children have so much to learn and enjoy right now. I'm going to encourage Jefferson's love for spontaneous artwork by starting a nature notebook for him to display his discoveries. I can't wait to see how much they learn when we take the time to sit down and look!

Just thinking about nature as I write makes me thankful!! God's amazing creation can not be kept in a book or even encompased on the internet. Nature is just one of His gifts for us to enjoy!

UPDATE: All 4 robin eggs have hatched! What a fun thing to see!