Saturday, December 8, 2007

First Snow

We got our first snow of the season on Wednesday...I was actually unaware that snow was in the forecast. Our electricity was out on Tuesday, so we spent most of the day at my mom's house...thankfully we were able to go back home Tuesday night. When we woke up on Wednesday, the kids were excited to see a thin layer snow on the ground. It continued to snow all day, amounting to about 3-4 inches. I do not have any pics of us outside 'cause I couldn't figure out a safe way to carry both Caleb and our camera and take pics, but I did catch a quick shot of the kids all bundled up and ready to go...

Christmas PJs

Cute kids in their Christmas PJs
Ryan and Abby are wearing last year's PJs and Caleb is wearing Abby's hand-me-down PJs from 2 years ago ~ time goes by so quickly, it's hard to believe that Abby was that little 2 short years ago...

Oh yeah, in case you were wondering, Abby quickly grew tired of my "Christmas PJ photo session", about 2 minutes after the first photo her mood changed...

Favorite Hangout

Guess where Caleb likes to hang out? I'm not sure what the fascination with our cupboard is, but one of his favorite things to do right now is empty our cupboard (this is the one where I keep all of our plastic storage things - safe for the kiddos) and climb in. He usually sits in the middle of the cabinet and dangles his legs, with a big satisfied grin on his face!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pictures from our week

Ryan's new favorite is camo
Abby's new hairdo

Created especially for her by her loving big bro

Caleb's newest riding's really supposed to hold a tub full of megablocks, but this is much more fun!

Cookie Baking Day

Here are some pics from this year's cookie baking day. I think this is our 8th year! The first year I had no babies, the 2nd year I was pregnant with Ryan, and every year since I've had at least one on one hip! This year both Ryan and Abby were old enough to really get into the decorating bit. Abby is quite serious about her decorating responsibility - check out all the sprinkles she put on this cookie!

I think Ryan's favorite decoration this year was the holiday-colored M&Ms.

The kids were especially excited about the fact that Cousin Morgan was able to join the fun again this year.

And, of course, we cannot leave out a picture of Caleb, who spent most of his time running from the kitchen to the living room and back again! Stopping only to pose for the obligatory picture...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Learning Notes - 11/12-11/16

L/A ~ letter "Q" - and we are now finished with the entire alphabet!, Ryan read a mini-book entitled "A Cub" ; we reviewed all the letter cards and he gave me a word that began with each letter (all sounds that the letter made since we used the vertical phonics approach); we also reviewed all of the sight words that he has learned so far

Math ~ MUS Primer Lesson #10 - watched the DVD lesson together, completed practice page 10A & 10B; practiced writing number 6, 5, 8 & 7

Read Alouds ~ My First Counting Book, The Bunny Book, The Bunnies' Counting Book (all Little Golden Books), Fall Leaves by Mary Packard, The Snail House by Allan Ahlberg, Autumn Days by Ann Schweninger, Edward in Deep Water & Ruby's Beauty Shop by Rosemary Wells, Fresh Fall Leaves by Betsy Franco, The Pilgrims First Thanksgiving Day by Ann McGovern and The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Greene

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Literature Review

I love books. Actually I think that love is not a strong enough word for how I feel about books. I began collecting children's books about 8 years ago when I was planning on becoming an elementary school teacher. Then, God changed our plans and instead I became a mommy and now a homeschooling mommy - I love having a valid excuse for collecting books.

Of course, collecting books can be quite an expensive habit, so I have had to become a bit creative. One of my favorite hangout used to be one of the used bookstores in our area. However, lately I've been using PaperbackSwap to expand my children's book collection. The kids and I also use our local library A LOT! And you can't beat our online ordering system...I search our library's catalog on-line, put my books on hold, and pick up the books at my convenience! This is a life-saver, especially when toting three children (one on my hip!).

There are so many times when I come across a good book - and I want to remember it so we can check it out again, or find others by the same author, but I don't want to spend the money to add it to my collection - so I think I will start blogging about my library finds so I will be able to refer back to the book/author when I need to...

The first book I want to review is one that we actually own. I bought it for my youngest's first birthday. I recently discovered Priddy books, we have a few of the cloth books (so cute) and I wanted a board book...At Borders I came across B is for Bear which is a board book and a touch and feel book - Each page features one letter of the alphabet and a picture to go along with the letter. Most of the pages have some sort of touch & feel component (which all my kids have enjoyed) - either a fuzzy duck or a sparkly rain drop. Caleb's favorite is the mirror for the letter "Y" ("Y is for you, go on, take a look"). Those pages that don't have a touch & feel piece are usually brightly colored and still very attractive to youngsters. I also enjoy the written words, they do rhyme and they are fun to read.

I have enjoyed all of the Roger Priddy books that we have encountered so far. This one, however, is one of my favorite Priddy books.

Fall Fun

Fall is definitely my most favorite season. I love that we live in an area where we get to experience the change of seasons; I especially love the crisp fall weather that has FINALLY arrived! This year Halloween fell on an AWANA night - and instead of trick-or-treating we attended our church's Fall Festival - we had a blast! Our family consisted of one hulk (without the scary mask), one cow, one Eeyore, and one black-eyed pea:

Daddy was quite creative with the carved pumpkins this year. We have a kitty pumpkin for Miss Abby and a cool guy with spiky hair pumpkin for Ryan. BTW, I'm not sure what's up with Ryan - this is the face we get when it's time to pose for pics - he usually is a happy guy - guess he has a hard time smiling for pics though.

And here's what Caleb likes to do with pumpkins and gourds...

We also got to visit one of the local farms to let Ryan try his hand at the corn/apple shooter (he was a bit too small to shoot the larger pumpkin cannon).

Look Who's Walking!

Caleb has been taking a couple steps here and there for about 1-2 weeks, but I don't think he realized what he was doing...on Monday he took a few steps at a time and by Tuesday he was walking across the room!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fall Y'all Giveaway - Vision Forum Wishlist

Ok, here's my VisionForum wishlist so I can enter In a Shoe's Giveaway

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God 16.00
Moody Science Video Collection (19 DVDs) 160.00
Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends 12.00
What to Expect from a 12-year old 10.00
The Master's Plan for Fathers 35.00
Teach Them to Your Children 17.00

I could add more but then I would exceed the $250 many good reads in that catalog!

learning notes 10/29 - 11/2

L/A ~ letters "y" and "v"; sight words "do" and "so"; making words: good, gas, gate, got, dog, grab, grass, gone, wall, well, will, wig, west, wade, wore, wide, yes, yak, yoke, baby, have, save, gave, cry, happy, fly, muddy, vase, vest, love, my, by, sky, live, dove. I have had to get a little more creative with the making words activity so Ryan doesn't get bored: we've used magnetic letters, our WP letter cards, I've made the words and had him read them, he's made the words that I dictate to him and I've had him write them on his handwriting page.
Math ~ MUS Primer Lesson 10 (Hundreds Place)
Read-Alouds ~ Box Turtle at Long Pond, Fishing at Long Pond, Beaver at Long Pond - all by William George; Duck, Duck, Goose by Tad Hills; In the Small Small Pond by Denise Fleming; Month by Month a Year Goes Round by Carol Diggory Shields

Friday, October 26, 2007

More Vacation Pics

I always try to get at least one pic of everyone looking out at the water, it's such a peaceful scene (and it doesn't matter if the kids are making goofy faces 'cause you can't see them anyway!)
Possible Christmas card photo?
They grow so fast!

learning notes - 10/24 through 10/26

It may look like we've taken a break from learning, but even though we weren't "doing" school, Ryan has still been practicing reading - he's been reading real books to all who will sit still long enough to listen!

This week, however, we did get back into "doing" school:

L/A ~ letters "G" and "W", sight words "were" and "to", making words list: mice, dice, rice, nice, cot, cop, can, lot, pal, look, pool, loot, lake, late, let, good, gas, gate, got, west, wade, dog, grab, grass, gone, wall, well, will, wig

Math ~ MUS Primer 9F - review page; Singapore EarlyBirdK 2A p. 61 - working on tens and ones place

Read-Alouds ~ Beaver Pond, Moose Pond by Jim Arnosky, Old Beaver by Udo Weigelt, Get Busy Beaver by Carolyn Crimi, Beaver at Long Pond by William George, Box Turtle at Long Pond by William George

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy First Birthday Caleb!

First picture of momma and baby boy

And here we are, one year later, almost to the minute

learning from Frugal Hacks

I've always considered myself to be pretty good with money, that is, pretty good at making it last. However, since I've become a mom I haven't been able to spend as much time doing the work to "save money" like shop different stores for the good deals, clip coupons, etc. However, a few months ago I was starting to feel a bit frustrated over our grocery bills - it seemed that I had done all that I could to reduce this bill (very little convenience foods, stock up on sale items, make a list, menu plan, etc) and it still kept going up! Then I read Biblical Womanhood's blog about her $35/week budget for her family of four - how can that be possible??? She inspired me - instead of just accepting that our grocery budget would continue to rise and I could do nothing about it - I began taking little steps to bring it back down (not quite as low as $35/week but also not the $90-$100/week it seemed I was spending before). First I went to a cash system for groceries (recommended by Dave Ramsey), then I clipped a few coupons for some items I usually buy - so far just making these 2 little changes has worked wonders for me! I plan to continue to work on this area of our budget since its really the only one that I can change for now!


Wow, I hadn't realized it had been almost a month since I had posted...I do have a good reason though - we were on vacation last week and of course it took me about a week to prepare for us to go on vacation and almost a week to recover from our vacation :)

We had an absolutely gorgeous week at the beach last week! The weather was perfect for just hanging out on the beach, playing the water, digging in the sand, chasing sand crabs - and because it was mid-October we had no crowds to deal with and saved TONS of money on the beachfront house! Gotta love that! Here are some of my favorites pics of our vacation (from the over 400 that were taken!

Friday, October 5, 2007

learning notes - October 1 - October 5

L/A ~ letters "c" and "l", sight words "she" and "are", made lots of words using letter cards, - I say a word to Ryan and he uses his letter cards to spell the word - and boy is he good at it! This week he made over 37 words (dot, cone, late, came, mud, cane...). We also came up with a list of words that rhyme with "pig" to go along with our farm theme - and he wrote the words on his handwriting sheet. Ryan is really getting into reading now - everytime we read a book together he points out words and phrases that he knows and this week he actually read the book Ten Apples Up On Top by Theo LeSieg (Dr. Suess) out loud to Scott and I - he only needed help on a few words!

Math ~ MUS Primer Lesson 9, Singapore Early Bird K - 2A p. 59-60 - I am going slowly through math - he seems to be getting the whole "tens and ones place" thing - but I don't want to rush it, I'd rather he really know it before we move on.

Read Alouds: Library Lil (2 times), Berenstain Bears and Baby Makes Five, Beren Bears and the Bad Dream, excerpt from Heidi from Treasury of Classic Stories

Saturday, September 29, 2007

just thought I'd share...

some pictures from our week...

Friday, September 28, 2007

learning notes - 9/24 to 9/28

L/A: letters "D" and "U", sight words "of" and "was", making words activity - I ask Ryan to make a words using his letter cards - this week he made 38 words! It's absolutely amazing to watch him learn!

Math: MUS Primer lesson 9 (decimals/tens and ones place), practice page 9B, Singapore Early Bird 2A pg 56-58...this was all new info for Ryan so I wasn't sure how he would do since all of the math we have done so far has been review - but he picked up this new info quickly!

Misc: came up with a list of words that rhyme with "goat", both Ryan & Abby did a cut/paste activity "farm animal parade" and we added each of their "parades" to our farm mural

Read-Alouds: The Quiltmaker's Journey by J. Brumbeau, Beren Bears and Baby Makes Five, Beren Bears and the Bad Dream, G is for Goat by P. Polacco, Oh Look! by P. Polacco, The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown, Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat

Friday, September 21, 2007

learning notes - 9/17 to 9/21

L/A ~ letters "j" and "h", sight words "you" and "and", made our "taking off in reading" words with letter cards - Ryan is really "taking off in reading"! "rhyme time" game in Wow! I'm Reading; Math ~ MUS primer lesson 9 and practice page 9A - this is new info for Ryan so we are working slower - learning about decimals (tens place and ones place); Read Alouds ~ "The Little Match Girl" (such a sad story)

We also visited our local fair this week, the kids had fun looking at the farm animals. We saw cows, goats, chickens, roosters, bunnies and turkeys. We also got to see a mama pig and her one-day old piglets and two baby calves in the fair's birthing center.

Our last stop was to the poultry barn - it was pretty noisy - lots of roosters crowing and chickens sqwauking (sp?)... I never knew there were so many different kinds of roosters...This was the pose that I got after Abby said, "Mom, take our picture in front of the chickens"...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Apple Pickin'

We visited a local orchard and picked apples today. The weather was gorgeous!

Our girl was in quite a playful mood.

She was hamming it up for all of the pictures.

The boy was much more serious about his apple picking.

Friday, September 14, 2007

She loves her dolls

This doll's original name was "Naked Baby"...aptly named because she was always naked - Abby loved taking doll clothes off but could never seem to put them back on. It seems she has finally mastered the ability to dress her dolls on her own - but her name remains - Naked Baby.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

learning notes - Monday 9/10 - Friday 9/14

Maybe I'll switch to once a week updates on what we're learning...

L/A - This week we worked on the letters "o" and "n", practiced handwriting both upper & lowercase of both letters, reviewed their sounds by verbally doing workbook pages in Get Ready for the Code and Jump Right into Reading, made lots of words with our letter cards - some I made for Ryan and I had him read them, other times I would ask him to make a word...and his favorite - he made some words for me! Math - MUS Primer lessons 6 (circles), 7 (number recog), and 8 (triangles) - pretty much review for Ryan. Other - We did a cool activity from Science Play called "Inside Dirt" (p.82); made farm animal riddle book. Read Alouds - Horses by Gail Gibbons, Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit, Beren Bears Forget their Manners, Beren Bears and the Sitter (Abby is on a Beren Bear kick right now), Henry and Mudge and the Snowman, Calling Dr. Amelia Bedelia, Walter the Baker by Eric Carle, September 2007 High-5 magazine, Picnic Farm by C. Morton & S. Barringer, One Whole Day: Wild Ponies by Jim Arnosky (very sweet book), finished Ch. 3 in Mrs. Pigglewiggle's Farm, The Brementown Musicians, What is Love in Happy Days Treasury and Poems: "The Cow", "Humpty Dumpty", "Hey Diddle Diddle".

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pure sweetness!

Can a baby get any cuter? I guess there have been at least two other babies that could rival the cuteness of this one...

learning notes - Friday 9/7

Another day of mostly read-alouds: finished The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by R. Dahl - very cute book; The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County; part of ch 3 from Mrs. Pigglewiggle's Farm; and Seven Little Postmen. We also practiced drawing horses based on directions from Sing, Play, Create. After drawing a couple horses, Ryan drew a farm scene with all of the animals we've learned to draw so far: a rooster, a hen and a horse...and he also went ahead in the book and drew a cow! He is definitely eager to learn!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

learning notes Wednesday 9/5 and Thursday 9/6

Wednesday: sounds for letter "p" - we pretty much speed through most of the phonics pages because Ryan already knows most of his letters and their sounds...we did spend some time using letter cards for letters we've already reviewed to make the following words: bake, rake, fake, take, make, fat, mat, rib, me, rat, bat, fib, kite, bite, bike, am, mike, pit, pet, pat, sit, at, sat, sam, bam, pam

Thursday: Last night was not very restful for me so we took a break from "school" but we did do lots of read-alouds: BINGO by Rosemary Wells, Stone Soup by Ann McGovern, Berenstain Bears Week at Grandma's & Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room, Daddy Kisses by A. Gutman, Biscuit Meets the Neighbors by A. Capucilli, Wibbly Pig is Happy by Misk Inkpen, Good Habits for God's Kids: Good For You by Laura Derico; Seven Special Days by H. Gambill (JOI selection) and Tanglefoot by Richard Scarry (JOI selection).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

learning notes - Tuesday 9/4

letter "p" - Get Set for the Code pages 1-14 (verbal review); Italics handwriting; played "What Am I?" game from WOW! I'm Reading (WP RTL) - I read some clues and the kids drew pictures of what they thought the answer to the riddle was...Ryan loves riddles so he really enjoyed this game, Abby doesn't quite get the concept yet - she just drew whatever she felt like drawing, for example, one of the first clues was "I keep you warm" and Abby drew a cat?? ; MUS Lesson 6, page 6A; Read Alouds: God Gives Us Seasons by Dot Cachiaras, The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race.

Friday, August 31, 2007

learning notes - Friday 8/31

Letter "I" - reviewed sounds (JRIR) and practiced handwriting (Italics), our WP LA curriculum had a few worksheet pages that Ryan really enjoyed - we usually don't do the worksheets I prefer to review them verbally but these looked fun:); made more words using letter cards (kite, bite, bike, am, rib, me, I, a, ram, fib, mike); Bible Stories to Read - both kids listened to story about Jonah & did the activity that went with their coloring page - the coloring book that goes along with this book usually has just a coloring page for each story, but for Jonah we had a really cute activity to do and the kids both enjoyed it! Read alouds: part of The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by R. Dahl.

learning notes - Thursday 8/30

Letter "R": reviewed sound in JRIR workbook, practiced h/w; used letter cards (b,a,r,f,t,m,k,e) to make words (bake, rake, fake, take, make, fat, mat, bat, rat, bet, met) - Ryan got so excited when he realized that he could read these words!; MUS page 5D; "Let's Draw" from Sing! Play! Create! - we drew a simple hen - these drawing lessons are pretty cool!; read-alouds: Milk From Cow to Carton by Aliki, Miss Hunnicutt's Hat by J. Brumbeau, Daisy Comes Home by Jan Brett, Here a Chick, Where a Chick? by Suse MacDonald, What Am I? by N.N. Charles.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Silly Boy

I can't believe I was actually able to catch this silly moment on film!

learning notes - Wednesday 8/29

Ryan - letter "r" - reviewed sound using ETC workbook, practiced writing lowercase "r", wrote phone number from memory, worked on coloring train cut-out from Richard Scarry's Best Rainy Day Book Ever!, colored & cut-out puppets to use to sing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm", read-alouds: Mrs. Pigglewiggle's Farm - finished ch 2, Miss Hunnicutt's Hat by Jeff Brumbeau (kids loved it!), The King's Chorus by Linda Hayward, "God Made the Dinosaurs" & "How God Gives Us Popcorn" from the Happy Days Treasury.

learning notes - Tuesday 8/28

Ryan - morning walk, calendar, handwriting practice (letter t, phone number, date), played adjective-noun game (we came up with 10 adjective + noun phrases using letter "t": tough turkey, toothless tiger, etc.), practiced making a phone call - called Daddy at work, read-aloud - Mrs. Pigglewiggle's Farm - more of chapter 2, went to the library; drew a rooster following directions in Sing, Play, Create

learning notes - Monday 8/28

Ryan - letter T/t - reviewed sounds using ETC workbook & JRIR, practiced handwriting using Italics H/W; wrote our address & phone number; learned how to make a phone call, rules for using 911; MUS Primer Lesson #5 - page 5A; visited orchard - played at playground & bought some yummy peaches; read alouds: Berens Bears Week at Gmas, The New Baby Calf by E. Newlin Chase, The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons, Mrs. Pigglewiggle's Farm - part of Ch. 2; The Talking Bread by Richard Scarry

Monday, August 27, 2007

Worship Songs

I just posted two of my favorite worship songs...I love that I all I have to do to hear them now is check out my blog!

You Are God Alone

My Savior My God By Aaron Shust

Friday, August 24, 2007

Learning Notes - Week of 8/19

We began doing school "lightly" on 8/13...Ryan is quickly working through the WP LA program, he pretty much knows all of his letters and their sounds - I am just having him do one page of handwriting practice for each letter (capital and lowercase) per day, we are doing most of the other phonics stuff (ETC & Jump Right into Reading) verbally. MUS primer is also mostly review for him so far.

Language Arts:

  • Letters E & K - did ETC pages & Jump Right Into Reading (JRIR) verbally, Italics H/W for both capital & lowercase of each letter
  • Lang Arts for Little Ones 2 (Queen) - lesson 4
  • practiced writing our phone number from memory, learning correct way to answer phone


  • MUS Lesson 4 (rectangles), page 4A & 4D (review)
  • Hop. Skip & Touch Nose game from Games for Learning


  • Circle Time ~ calendar, Who Am I Riddles from Dr. DooRiddle book, madlibs, read-aloud poems, "Go In and Out the Barn Door" song from Sing, Play, Create book (kids loved this one), Bible Story Coloring Book (from Rod & Staff)
  • Nature Walk ~ took a color walk
  • Read-Alouds ~ Mrs. Pigglewiggle's Farm (Ch 1), "Milly-Molly-Mandy Gives a Party" from Treasury of Classic Stories (TCS), "Jesus Loves Me All the Time", "Jesus Loves Me", and other songs from Happy Days Treasury (HDT)

Starting our homeschool journey

This will be our first official year of homeschooling; I can't believe my little boy is already old enough to be going to kindergarten. Our plan is to homeschool for the duration (through highschool), unless, of course, God changes our plans. For Ryan's K year I am using Winterpromise's Accel K LA program, MUS Primer and Singapore Early Bird 2A & 2B, and History for Little Pilgrims & A Child's History of the World (history read-alouds). I am also adding in science & other fun stuff from WinterPromise's Ready to Learn program and read-alouds from WP's Journeys of Imagination Program. I chose the Ready to Learn & Journey's programs with the hopes of being able to include Abby (age 3) in some of our painlessly as possible. I also have a variety of preschool workbooks that have been given to us and Rod & Staff's preschool workbook set that should keep her busy with her own "schoolwork".

And he's up

Caleb has recently gained a new skill - pulling himself up! And he's been practicing his new skill a lot: at the stairs, on his leapfrog music toy, at the fridge...It's so funny to look over and see him just standing, then his legs start to split and he starts to go down, of course he starts hollering 'cause he hasn't quite figured out how to get down from this position...

I am Blessed

I am blessed with a caring husband who supports our family so I can stay home with our children. I am blessed with three healthy children. I am blessed to be able to homeschool our children. I am blessed with so many things, and I must admit that it doesn't take much for me to forget about my many when potty training is not working, or new teeth emerge and create a cranky baby, or the house is cluttered with a million toys, or everyone is loaded in the car and it won't start...and the list goes on. But the fact remains, I am blessed - and I need to remember that!