Friday, April 30, 2010

Changing Curriculum!

Last year, while searching homeschooling curriculum (for *this* year), I came across Christian Light Publications. It sounded great and I liked different reviews I had read about it...but I decided to go with Abeka for Madelyn and My Father's World for Xavier instead. we finish up this year's schooling....I have thought about if we will continue with those sources or change.

Well...I decided it was time for change. I ordered Christian Light Education resources for 1st grade (Xavier) and 3rd grade (Madelyn). Usually, I don't order our curriculum til later in the summer....but today, I just decided to go for it and purchased it! :)

I still think Abeka and MFW are good places to find curriculum for your homeschooling needs....but I have read how Christian Light Education has such a strong focus on God in every subject...and that sounds perfect to me!

Here are some different reviews of CLE....

CLE Math
Reading and Language Arts
the whole CLE curriculum

So...I jumped in with both feet and ordered what we will need! :) I am already feeling excited to start! I can't believe I have our curriculum for the next school year, ordered already! :)

Have any of you tried Christian Light Education? I would love to hear your thoughts on it!
Hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

And...if you haven't yet....check out we make our homeschool portfolio! :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Putting Together a Homeschool Portfolio

It's that time of year again...I am starting to get Madelyn's homeschooling portfolio together. Xavier is only the school doesn't need a portfolio for him until he is 8 years old. (I made him one anyway...but we aren't turning it into the school).

If this is your first year homeschooling and your state requires you to turn in a portfolio at the end of the year, as mine does, then you may want to know *how* to put one together! Now, this is only our 2nd year of I am not, what I would consider, an expert...but I thought I would just share with you what we do. :)

If you aren't homeschooling...or are an old pro at may just enjoy reading this post....or find it totally boring. :)

The first two pages in our homeschooling portfolio binder are our educational plans and objectives. These are copies of the ones we handed into the school at the beginning of the year as well as our affidavit. Then...through the year, I go through and check off what we have accomplished.

Next I have a log of what Madelyn has been reading through this year...her Abeka readers and chapter books. (She has been reading the Boxcar Children Series and really likes it!) She has read Highlights magazines and many other books as well...but I didn't go crazy trying to record them all!

Following the reading log....I made lists of all the Abeka books and such that we used for our schooling this year. I also listed the books that we used in addition to the curriculum!

Then I just went through...picking out pages of samples of each subject Madelyn has worked on through the year.....
Sample spelling tests, language, vocabulary and penmanship.

Now, for science, history, and was mostly just a lot of reading in the curriculum books. Not really sure of how to show *proof* or *samples* of what she learned from that. I will probably just include a couple papers of answers that Madelyn did from questions in the books. I'm not overly concerned about it though. :)

I will include some different art things she has done over the past year....paintings and such. :)
I will also put her planner in there! It is filled with 180 days of schooling....all subjects' daily work. There is also notes on days when we, for example, went to the courthouse when I got sworn is as my township's tax collector. My aunt works at the courthouse, so after I was sworn in...she took Madelyn around to different areas of the courthouse and explained their function and introduced her to who works there! Educational games were played some days and written projects done...etc. :)

So that's that. :) After I get it all put together and finalized...I will give it to my brother-in-law, who is a certified teacher. He will look it all over and make sure Madelyn completed enough to move onto the third grade next year. He writes up a paper and signs it and then the portfolio goes to our school district's superintendent (who is a really great guy...he was actually my 8th grade World Cultures teacher!). Then he has to officially say that everything is "A-OK" and give Madelyn permission to *graduate* to third grade!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? I welcome each one! :) I hope my sharing this is helpful to *someone* who needs it! :) Hope you are having a great week! :) If you have pics of your homeschool portfolio...please share the link! I would love to see!!! :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Children See....Children Do

This I was cozy in my chair, soaking up the Word in 1 Timothy, Jaxson came down. He saw me sitting and reading my Bible and immediately ran into the schoolroom and retrieved his Bible! He ran in to the living room and climbed on a chair. (My heart soared at this moment!) He opened up his book and asked me what story *I* was studying (he wanted to find the same one in his Bible so he could study it too!). With a smile on my face, I told him that the section I was studying wasn't in his picture Bible but that he could study any place he wanted to!

We all know how much our children watch us and quite often, mimic our behavior. Fortunately, this includes the *good* things as well as mistakes we make. I was so thrilled that I had my camera near by so I could remember this moment with a picture. I pray all of my children grow in the faith as they grow physically. :)

As adult believers...we all need to make sure we are talking the talk *and* walking the walk. For little eyes are watching us! Even those whose children are grown or don't have still have children around you...whether they be grandchildren, nieces, nephews or children at church...they are using us to see how believers should act. Our words and instructions are important....but by seeing us *living* what we reinforces our words and beliefs! :)

In no way am I perfect. I struggle like you! But daily...I strive to be the mother and woman God made me to be. I believe as parents, we need to be cautious as to what we let our children real life and on TV....this includes what *they* watch and what *we* watch. We need to be careful that we are living in a way that God would be pleased with, so that we raise our children to be of Godly character! I seek to encourage you and I appreciate any encouragement back!

May we raise Godly children, encourage those around us who are raising children, and live in a way that any child who sees us would see Christ in us!

And...I stepped into the schoolroom this morning and looked out the front window...and there in front of me was a beautiful Blue Jay! I ran to get my camera in the living room, praying it would stay at the feeder till I got the chance to take a picture! Sure enough, he stayed and I was able to snap a couple pictures before he flew off!

Madelyn informed me that Blue Jays are pretty aggressive. Not knowing much about them, I decided to look them up. I loved learning that they are typically monogamous birds who bond for life. Both the male and female make the nest and rear the children! Although, the mama bird broods (sits on and hatches) the eggs! While she does this...the papa bird will feed the mama! (Isn't that sweet?) The Blue Jay will also sound an alarm call when danger is near...warning other birds! It's also protective over its nest and will be aggressive if a human gets too close. They are intelligent birds and usually pretty territorial! :)

So now....if you were not familiar with Blue Jays before, you are now!!! :) They really are absolutely beautiful birds, aren't they?

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Best Thing To Do When It Rains

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As we left for church yesterday morning, the day was nice and dry. We enjoyed a nice lunch at Chris's parents house and then came home mid-afternoon to rest. We all had some quiet time (aka: nap time). As the day progressed, the sky became dark as the clouds rolled in. Soon we heard some thunder and the rain started!

It was a nice spring storm for us in PA....although I know many down south can't say the same. My heart and prayers go out to them as they rebuild their homes and their lives after the tornado!

Since when it rains, all you can do is *let* it rain...I lit some candles around the house. Chris had to run over to his brother's house for a the kids settled in and watched the movie Ratatouille. I sat and watched it for a few minutes but then decided to get some things done around the house instead.

Saturday, I took the kids to a Kids Fun Fest at a local church where different churches had tables set up. There were crafts, face painting (by my mom and sister), puppet shows (by a woman from our church), rescue dog demonstrations, and gymnastics demonstrations! The kids had a nice time and even got to each take home a couple Christian books each, donated from area churches and people! :)

It's raining again today...but that is OK with me. It encourages us all to get some things done inside (the kids have bedrooms to clean). I will do some housework and hopefully work on my knitting as well! :) I hope you are enjoying whatever weather you are having! Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Essentials for Life

"Essentials for Life"
Your Back-To-Basics Guide to What Matters Most

by: Marcia Ford

Essentials for Life is a book that focuses on the basics of our lives through our faith. In a world full of busyness, clutter and chaos many of us lose our focus. When that happens our perspective, peace, and motivation seem to blur and fall by the way-side. Essentials for Life helps us to simplify while turning our focus back on the One who is in charge.

With 50 short chapters, focusing on such things as "Clarify What Faith Is", "Pursue a Life of Holiness" and "Maintain Your Integrity", everyone can find places that are in need of change. Every other page has a pertaining scripture verse as well as a quote or interesting fact. At the end of each chapter you'll find a section of What's Essential and What's Not. It highlights the areas of importance covered in the chapter.

I am a lover of simplicity. I like things to be neat and orderly. I find a peace in that. I know life is sometimes *messy* and imperfect however there is a joy about going back to the basics of things. That is exactly what this book does. I gleaned something from each chapter. I am a busy mother and don't always have the time to sit and read for long periods of time. I liked that these chapters were short and to the point. I could sit and read a chapter then ponder it while attending to other activities around my home.

Whether you are a new Christian or have been a believer for years, this book will have something for you! This book holds a lot of wisdom and encouragement between it's covers and I am glad I got the chance to discover it!

I have started doing book reviews for Thomas Nelson Publishers through BookSneeze. They provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Building a Greenhouse!

If you read THIS post at the beginning of this will know that we started planting in our raised bed. The veggies are growing and coming along nicely! *I love seeing the beautiful growth, don't you?* Also, in that post, I showed a pic or two of the greenhouse we started making.

Xavier helped Daddy to tie knots to hold the wire together.....(I love his mud boots...hehe...)

We pulled the plastic up and on and secured it on both sides...then, (although this part isn't pictured) we used twine and tied around the plastic semi circle on both sides.

It isn't finished yet....we still have to secure the plastic around the doorways and also put *doors* on as well. But, as you can see by the boys' excitement, it's so neat to be inside! I think the boys wish it was a playhouse! ;)

It will be such a great place to get plants started and we will even be able to use it as the weather gets colder. The greenhouse will put the amazing sun, that God provided us with, to good use!

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
~Genesis 1:11-12

Are you planting a garden? What all are you planting?

Looks like a gorgeous day here! Time to get some laundry going and out on the line. There is some laundry to fold and put away, dishes to do and a home to clean! Did any of you take advantage of that Mrs Meyers 2 day free shipping that I mentioned HERE? I did and I know Katie did too! :) If so...I would love to hear what you got!

I purchased 1 kitchen basics set in Lavender, 1 kitchen basics set in Geranium, and 1 window spray in Geranium. I got the kitchen basic sets because you got more for your money with each set. :) So I will be stocked up on counter spray, dish soap and hand soap!!! :) Cleaning with earth friendly, sweet smelling cleaners makes cleaning more enjoyable for that weird?

Well, off I go! Housework and schooling to do! I also need to get knitting on my sister's afghan! I have been neglecting it a bit since the nice weather has set in! :) Thanks for stopping by to visit! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Seating for Two

We are a family of 5...with a dining room table, where most our meals are eaten, with only 4 chairs. We would bring another chair over for Jaxson at each meal. I have been wanting to get a bench for quite some time now and I *found* one! mom had seen it and mentioned it to me! I went to the store and paced and debated with myself about it (I was going to call Chris..but my cell phone died). Finally, after seeing it was old but very sturdy and good quality...I thought it would be great for at our table!

So now the boys have a bench to sit on at meals! I took the extra chair, then, and did some rearranging in the dining room, and placed it in a corner.

I had to move some things into the living room and out of the dining room, when I rearranged. I placed my tree in the corner. Although, in this pic, it looks a bit as though the tree is leaning a bit. I will need to check that! ;)

Also...before I go...I want to share with you a great deal! I subscribe to Mrs. Meyer's cleaning Newsletter and they let me know of a great deal going on today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday) only. They are having *free* shipping on their products in recognition of Earth Day! So...if you like their cleaning is a great time to stock up....OR if you had read my post HERE and thought it may be something you want to is the time!! :)

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
~1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

It looks like we are going to enjoy another beautiful day here in Western PA! I hope you enjoy your day as well!! 'Til next time.... :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

*Fitty* the Sheep

Say *hello* to Fitty! She's our sheep. She's a sweetie...although super skittish. She's warming up to us though...slowly but surely. I must admit though, when Ruthie (my dog, pictured in one of the pics below) comes out and barks at her...the poor girl runs in circles! Ruthie has been getting used to Fitty as she isn't barking as much, fortunately! :)

You may be thinking "Fitty? Who names a sheep Fitty?"...Well, Fitty's old owner did! She had paid $50 for her and you know how an auctioneer says "Fitty, fitty..." when auctioneering? Well....*Fitty* cost "fitty dollars"....hehehe! ;)

We were outside yesterday doing some things...feeding the animals, hanging out laundry, the kids were playing...and so we let our little lamb,Stu, out to be with us. Immediately, she was trying to climb on me (maybe I look like a set of stairs?) and was following me wherever I went. On my way back from feeding the chickens....I walked away and Stu was distracted. I turned around, camera in hand, knowing once she noticed I was gone, that she would start running after me.....and although you can't tell from the picture, below, she was running at me quite fast! Maybe she thinks she is my shadow and we can't be seperated? ;)

Here she is eating a bit of grain....I love how she kneels on her front knees! ;)

The grass and flowers around the house and new porch are starting to grow! I have great plans of making a beautiful walkway out from the porch...with beautiful flowers and such, lining it! If only everyone could see my home from the viewpoint of my mind... ;)

Well, I just had a moment to be able to stop in and post. I have clothes out on the line, and more to take out and hang up! I also need to get lunch started soon! :) I hope you are enjoying your weekdays. After a bit of snow last week/weekend....we are now having some gorgeous weather. Still a bit chilly, but overall, beautiful! I hope your weather is the same! :) Thank you for visiting!

Monday, April 19, 2010

I have boys..... you?

Seriously...they crack me up! Running around with Madelyn's headbands on their heads like Rambo (although they don't know who Rambo is!)...playing cars in dirt piles, trying stunts on bikes and scooters, singing at the top of their lungs while swinging on the swingset, swinging from tree branches, and even climbing in a rhodadendron bush and pretending it's their car.....

...does any of this sound familiar? ;)

Like the old saying goes....
*Mothers work from son up til son down!*

I will be the first to admit that mothering is not an easy job, there are times of tears (for me) while I question if I am a good mother or not. I am constantly seeking God's guidance through prayer and studying His Word.

I absolutely treasure the times that my boys (and Madelyn, as well) come running over saying, "Mama, I love you!" and plant a kiss on my cheek. They actually do this often...and I see it as a gift...from my Savior to me, a re-energizing and assurance that I may never be the *perfect* mother I desire to be....but that God knows my efforts to be the mother *He* wants me to be! :)

Here are some quotes that I have found encouraging as well as great reminders of what is really important as a parent!

Kids spell love T-I-M-E.
~John Crudele

Give me the life of the boy whose mother is nurse, seamstress, washerwoman, cook, teacher, angel, and saint, all in one, and whose father is guide, exemplar, and friend. No servants to come between. These are the boys who are born to the best fortune.
~Andrew Carnegie

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
~Diane Loomans,
from "If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again"

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once.
~Polish Proverb

There comes a time when a woman needs to stop thinking about her looks and focus her energies on raising her children. This time comes at the moment of conception. A child needs a role model, not a supermodel.
~Astrid Alauda,
on the "hot mom" trend

If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Abigail Van Buren

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
~Charles R. Swindoll,
The Strong Family

If you are a mother of will definitely want to check out THIS post! Erin, from Home with The Boys, has started the Mothers Of Boys Society! :) She is a Christian mama of boys. In her post....she explains that "it’s all about raising our sons to be godly men, men of character, men who seek the Lord with all their heart." It's a great place for us moms to relate. Like Erin, I grew up with only a sister. When I had my sons, I had no idea what to expect! It is a fantastic journey....and a fun one to share with other mamas!

I have a full and busy day ahead. I look forward to it! I hope you have a wonderful day as well! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Grandparents are.....

...a delightful blend of laughter, caring deeds, wonderful stories and love.
~Author Unknown

Yesterday was my dad's birthday! I like that I can think of the country's *tax day* instead as my dad's birthday! It creates a perk to the day for us! We all went to celebrate during lunch break at my dad's garage! I took sloppy joes and Devon took cheesy potatoes and cake! (She also made a peanut butter pie for my dad....oh how I drooled over that! ;)

After eating, dad opened his gifts. The kids made him a recordable card that we all listened to and laughed over many times! Below is a pic of the old inspection sign that I got for my dad to hang in his garage waiting room (where we had the birthday party). Although you can't tell from this picture...he *did* like it! ;)

Then...the kids came out from a back room in a surprise attack with silly string! It was so funny! Jaxson couldn't get his to work...and by the time he figured it out and pushed the was pointing to the left and ended up spraying all over Madelyn! It was so so funny! My aunt got it on video! It will be a great memory!

We came home from the the birthday party and the kids immediately ran outside to play! I did some housework (oh, how I enjoy using my Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products!) and did a little rearranging of things.

Schooling was done, I worked on receipting taxes a bit, clothes were hung out on the line, and animals were cared for. It was a full and busy day...but completely enjoyable! :) The weather was gorgeous!

When Chris got home from work, he had to quickly shower and then was going to a men's fellowship supper with my dad and his dad. So the kids and I enjoyed a supper of beef roast (cooked till it fell apart in the crock pot...yum!), mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. Before bed, after baths...we sat down and each enjoyed a scoop of icecream (mint chocolate chip...the kids' favorite) while Madelyn (who volunteered) read from her Bible to us...she chose to read about the birth of Christ! :)

Crawling into bed last night, with a good book felt wonderful. Although I didn't read much before my eyes got heavy and I had to return my bookmark and turn off the light. Full and happy days. I couldn't be more blessed!

I hope you are enjoying your week as well! We are expecting a thunderstorm in our area, today, sometime this afternoon. It will be a good time to snuggle up with the kids (who will all be scared) and read some books! Thank you for visiting!

AND....My Sister is having her 300th Post Giveaway!!!
Cute handmade items!!!
You have till Saturday, April 17th!
Go check it out HERE!!! :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Surprising Update about Stu!!!!

Oh my goodness....I have some super surprising news about sweet baby, Stu. All this time, we were told that Stu was a *he* we never checked. turns out...*he* is a *she*!!! Ahahahahaha! I was shocked when Chris told me! Oh well....Stu-ette is still a part of this crazy family!!!!! ;) And....we also have a new sheep...I will be sure to get pics soon! Her name is "fitty" (because the lady who owner her previously paid fifty dollars for her and you know how an auctioneer says "fitty, fitty" when auctioneering? Well...that's how the lady gave her her name!!! hehehe). daughter is now an official sew-er! :) She made a tissue pack holder at my sister's house! You can read all about it HERE! She did a great job with it!!! :)

Well, after my terrible headache I had I am doing *much* better and got a lot accomplished! :) I hope you had a great day as well! Tomorrow (Thursday) is my dad's we will be celebrating lunch with him! I hope you all have a wonderful end of your week!!! :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Are You My Mother?

Sweet baby Stu follows me everywhere! I let him out of the pen when I am outside....while the kids are playing or I am hanging laundry out on the line. He follows me *everywhere* I go! That is him with me above!

If I stand still...he will eat a little grass and then as soon as he sees me start to walk away...this is what he does....

Aunt Nen (my sister) came over yesterday to visit and played frisbee with the kids. I played for a bit too but then I sat down on the swing to take some pictures....

And look who kept trying to sit with me...hehe.....

He makes me laugh! Often, he will nose-bump my legs. It's not *ramming* with his head...just bumping me with his nose. I have *no idea* why he does that though!

You should see me hanging clothes on the line....ha! He is always under foot! Such a silly lil guy! He also tries to jump into the clothes basket! ;) I wish Stu would stay a little lamb forever. He is such a doll! :)

I hope you enjoy your Tuesday! :) Thanks so much for stopping by!