Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bumping Along

This past week both Austin and Abi started new curriculum in different subjects. This past semester, Austin did Bob Jones University Math. I love BJU! So, to show my love, I pretty much changed all of their curriculum to BJU!!

Here are the books I am using for Austin:
Grammar: I liked the book that Austin did last semester for Easy Grammar 3rd grade, that I purchased the 4th grade book for this semester! Easy Grammar by Philips; Spelling 4th grade: Super Teacher Worksheets; Reading: a mix of books that he chooses and Scholastic.com 3-5 language arts topics; Journal: mixture of topics he wants to write about and a story starter also from scholastic.com; Math: BJU 4th grade; Science: Anatomy and Physiology with Miss Becky using The Human Body book published by Answers in Genesis; Social Studies/History: BJU Heritage Studies 4th grade. We are not currently doing any curriculum in Art or Music, but I will add those into the mix next year when I order the full BJU curriculum. Of course, baseball is his PE. Although the baseball season will not start until March, he has continued to meet with the team for practice at least twice a week.

Here are the books I am using for Abi:
Grammar: Easy Grammar 2nd grade by Philips; Spelling 2nd grade: Super Teacher Worksheets; Reading: Horizons Phonics and Reading 2 book 1; Journal: a mixture of topics she wants to write about and writing games available through scholastic.com; Math: BJU 2nd grade; Science: BJU Science 1; Social Studies/History: BJU Heritage Studies 1. We are not currently doing a curriculum in Art or Music with Abi either, but will add those next year. Abi is taking gymnastics on Tuesdays for her PE.

So, our days are full of a lot of work!!! One of the great things about BJU Science 1 is that it throws in "mini" science projects. This past week, while learning about the senses, Abi got to taste different stuff and then had to record her observation of the item. Big brother joined in too, of course!!!
 I love Austin's face...he must have been on the vinegar!!!

 She's not making a 'yuck' face, that must be the cherry juice!

 Austin 'tested' the pickle juice several times!

 She's quite the Scientist!

Both Austin and Abi usually start the school day with complaining, but by the end they are content! One day they will realize that it's never as bad as it seems!

I recently took up running again. Now, I attempted to start back in September, but I just wasn't motivated. Mark and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary in June; which we will commemorate with a cruise in July. That has been my motivation. I do not want to wear a swimsuit in public in my current condition....so, I'm doing what I can to feel better about wearing one!!! My pal, Melinda, has agreed to be my accountability/running partner and we are both quite committed!! Mark snapped this pic of me as I was heading out for a run with MelT when it was about 30 degrees and drizzling!!!
I'm smiling...so, this is definitely before the run!!!
I am so in love with my husband. God REALLY knew what he was doing when he brought Mark and I together. Just proves that God is much better at these things than I am!!!  I know that many couples once they start having kids and life happens, forget to take time out for each other. When their kids are grown and gone, the couple are left as strangers. Mark and I NEVER want that to happen (hence the cruise without kids). While I love my kids, they will grow up and make their own lives. It will be just Mark and me in just a few short years. I do not want to live with a room mate, I want to live with the love of my life! Marriage is hard work, it's waking up each day and making the choice to love each other unconditionally. I recently started a new book titled 'Sexy Christians' by Ted and Diane Roberts. The book says, "ultimately, the way we relate to Christ mirrors the way we relate to our spouse." They discuss the importance of praying together as a couple. In fact, as counselors, they have never counselled a couple with marital problems that prayed together. They point out that we should "never, never become casual about something as sovereign and precious as your partnership, and never let your sex life become an expression of habit." They talk about how entering into marriage is just like becoming a follower of Christ, you have to die to yourself.  So far, I am really enjoying this book. It has reiterated some points on marriage that I have forgotten about. On that note, we had a date night recently. I love spending time with Mark, he is so much fun!!!

Me and my love, Mark

Monday, January 17, 2011

Girls Night Out

I cherish my night out with my buddies! I have some of the funniest, kindest, interesting friends on the planet!! This time around we planned a trip to Charming Charlies. CC is every OCD girl's dream because everything is organized in the store by color. They have jewelry, handbags, and clothing galore! We then made our way to Ghengis Grill, a Mongolian food grill, that is DELICIOUS!!! I managed to snap a few photos, but as usual didn't get a pic of everyone...I stink at that. We walked next door to La Madeline and had coffee and dessert.
 Me and Taunya
 Sarah and Brandy
 Me and Lizzie
Me and Dani
The other ladies that I failed to get pics of were: Cathy, Jessica, Kathryn and her friend, which I also failed to catch her name. Lots of laughs, lots of memories! I love hanging out with you ladies and look forward to next time!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

All American Tea Party

So, school this week left Abi hungry for more. That is great! She used her Littlest Pet Shop collection and Daddy's tape measure for math in Thursday's and Friday's lessons.
Measuring in inches and feet
Counting her pets to add and subtract

Austin went back to his Anatomy and Physiology class for the first time this semester. He LOVES science. He finds it so amazing. I suppose it is very helpful that his teacher, Ms. Becky, is an awesome teacher! He also has been reading about different types of writings through Scholastic.com.
working hard

There's nothing like a good school week to help you keep going the next week!!!

Last weekend we had to postpone Abi's for-no-reason-at-all-tea-party to this Saturday. A couple weeks ago when I went to pick the kids up from Sunday school, Abi was hand in hand with one of her friends, Sofie, requesting a play date that afternoon. We came up with the idea to have Sofie bring her American Girl doll over for a tea party. Alicia, Sofie's older sister, like the idea too. So, both came today with their dolls for an 'All American Tea Party'. I say all American because we did not serve tea. Instead, the girls had hot chocolate with colorful marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (Abi's menu of course!) The girls had such a good time. I want to remember how it filled my heart with gratefulness to sit in the living room and listen to all three of them giggle and laugh as they had their treats.
(left to right): Sofie, Abi, and Alicia
This little tea set belonged to my Grandmother. It is SO cute!!

Last, but not least, Mark. Last winter we looked every where for a scarf long enough for him! Not just one that was long enough, but UT colors, of course. We had no luck. This year while Christmas shopping, I found one that was 5 feet long and ON SALE!!! So, the kids and I gave it to him for Christmas. To say that he loves it is an understatement. He wears it ALL the time. We have 5 quilts in our living room, and I found Mark sitting on the couch wearing his scarf instead of snuggled in a quilt!!! I am really glad I decided to buy that scarf, who knew it would bring so much joy?!
I love this guy!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back in the Saddle and the Tactile Learner

We are back to school. We took an extra week off, one of the many things I love about Homeschooling! We still have the same amount of work to cover before the end of this next semester, so we came into this week with our game faces on!

One of my challenges in working with Abi, is finding work that she will actually learn from and enjoy doing at the same time. She will still have to do some task here and there that she won't enjoy very much, but I do not want her to grow to hate learning! Abi is very much a kinesthetic/tactile learner. I know this because she is always in motion, even her "sitting still" is wiggly! She is a do-er. She is a lover of bright colors, and wants all of her work to be brightly animated with cute doodles. She is dramatic, everything about her is loud and stands out!!! She learns best when she is "in" the activity. For example, one afternoon while at one of Austin's baseball practices, she and I walked across the parking lot to a neighboring park. The park had walking trails cut around a beautifully landscaped pond. Along the path, there were native trees with little plaques that told about the tree, how Native Americans or early settlers would use the tree, and how to identify the tree. At the first plaque when we stopped to read it, Abi began complaining...she "hates" reading! Nevertheless, I began reading the plaque aloud. Half way through I stopped and she kept reading. She was amazed at what she was reading about these trees, and began pointing out which tree the plaque was describing. What really caught her attention was that this particular tree's roots were used to make a very common drink, Root Beer. We HAD to stop and read each plaque after that. Then we HAD to make a second round around the path to be sure we didn't miss any plaques!!

So, while on Christmas break, I have been reading about ways to make teaching Abi more bearable for me, and more interesting for her! Here are some of the ideas I read about or how I was inspired to create a task:

Spelling in flour: Instead of writing her spelling words on a boring ol' worksheet, she practices spelling them in a pan of flour!!

 Instead of practicing phonics by pointing to words in a book, we made letter cards together. She says the sounds of each card at you place it down and then puts the word together. There are also more games to play with these, I will post about them after we try them out.

 For certain phonic blends, we put the letters together on the same card and then write on the back the different sounds they can make

 For math, there probably isn't a better way to teach it to Abi other than to use FOOD!!! Here we were talking about fractions and portioning.

To show place value, use drawings.

 I'm pretty sure they didn't get hot chocolate at regular school served from their Mommy with love and special goodies!!!

Isn't math Yummy!!!

All in all, back to school has been very nice. How is Austin doing you ask? Let's see...

Looks like he's doin' great!!! He has had no problem jumping back into his school work. With his netbook from Christmas, he's able to look up a lot of neat things that interest him. This week he has been learning about the Wright brothers and the first flight, and also read about Amelia Earhart and her role in flight. Scholastic.com is an awesome resource for these topics and many, many others!

We also had the West family from our small group over for dinner this past week. The kids got along great...Ally rode Abi's plastic doll horse and Abi pretended to be her dog!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Time to Sew

I have to admit it, I have not been on the creative ban wagon for a while! I go through my moments when I really want to sew all the time...or I have times, like recently, when I just do not even want to go into my sewing room! Well, it's possible that my mood is due to change soon.

Even though the creativeness was no where to be found, I still managed (through protest however...Sorry again, Jennifer!) to finish my friend's bedding for her due-anytime-now baby boy, Colt.

 I made the blanket and pillow case. Also added trim to an already-made baby bumped
 You can't tell by the pics, but these are lined in a thick ticking fabric. A brilliant idea that Jen came up with! They're thick like black out curtains, maybe thicker!
 I only saved one pic, but there are actually two runners like this- one for the dresser and one for the changing table.

Homeschooling takes up most of my times these days. Even if I get a window to sew, it is quickly closed with questions and request for help from Abi! I usually shut myself in my sewing room for a few minutes in the evening after Mark gets home.
 A throw pillow I made for Abi's bed
 The blanket I made for Natalie's little boy, Michael David. I like to make them large enough to fit a toddler bed so that it has a useful life!

It's probably one of my favorites that I've made because of the color scheme!

Next on my to-do list is making Abi and Rebecca matching dresses. If I ever manage to accomplish that task, I'll post more pics!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Not sure you can tell...

So, the picture of the high heels at the top of this blog are made out of chocolate. As a chocolate lover, I do declare that to be TOTALLY AWESOME!!! Bring on the diet, my chocolate loving taste buds are on lockdown for now =0)

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Place of Protection When You Have to Crawl

Quite often I question my abilities to lead other people. I am constantly wondering if I am doing the right thing as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, as a journey group leader, and as a small group leader. I am sure I mess up more times than I know. There are times when the reactions of the ones I lead leave me bewildered and discouraged. There are times when I do not get the result I expected. An example would be when we told Abi and Austin the truth about Santa this year. Other parents would and have said that we are crazy for telling them, we should have let them continue to believe for just a little longer. Another example would be starting new studies in small group. The group looks as though they are on fire and can't wait to start the new study. I spend time preparing for the study that I could have spent playing with my kids, goofing off with Mark, or even shopping...then no one shows up to group, they're too busy.

This past Sunday JT, our college pastor, preached a sermon titled "One Boat". It really renewed my commitment to the communities that I belong to. The questions that started the sermon were: "What is a Christian? What is a Church? and What is a Community?" By the end of the sermon, I got the notion that they are really one in the same. What I took away from the message is that I was created and crave a community of friends to go through life with. One of the highlights in the bulletin was this message: You were created for a community by a God who describes himself with PLURAL PRONOUNS. It is even written in His word: The Lord God said, "It is not good for man to be alone. -Genesis 2:18

The closing of the message is what really hit home for me. Others will be drawn to Christianity not necessarily by my words, or just my actions. Others will be drawn to Christianity when they see the community that I have with fellow believers. The outward appearance isn't what it's all about either. In my community, I can come and confess my struggles and "spiritually vomit" all my emotional junk that I have been carrying around. In the message JT said something to the effect of 'when you're carrying around your junk, then you're not functioning the way God intended you to, and the group suffers'. Now there is no question in my mind that I was made to be part of a community. That is how God has made me. If I get too busy and stop contributing to the group, then I am not living the way God has intended me to live. I am not allowing others to see God work in my life. I am 'too busy' to be a Christian. My favorite part of the sermon had to be when JT gave the definition of the word 'Idiot'. The word is derived from another word defined as "someone who CHOOSES to live outside of the community". I guess the moral of the story is that I do not want to be an idiot!!