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What is contentment?

What IS contentment??? ~Is it having everything you ever wished for to come true? ~Is it having the perfect husband, kids or house? ~Is it...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Truth in the TInsel~ Christmas/Advent Idea



I recently found this cute little book called Truth in the Tinsel. It's an e-book for the younger set of kiddos that shares a verse and a craft for each day of Advent to bring the focus back to the birth of the Savior instead of on MORE MORE MORE...gifts, treats, Santa. I purchased it and can not wait for the right time to start. I like that she offers either a list of supplies to make all the crafts so you can be sure to have them on hand, or a printable version of the craft for each day so even the busiest of families (or those with MANY small hands) can enjoy the book. Check it out over at http://truthinthetinsel.com/buy-the-book/ Enjoy!
Blessings, ~K~

Homeschooling Overview for 2012-2013 School Year

Hi friends! Just a little update now that school is in full swing this year. While we continue to home school, we remember it's a journey, not a destination so we revise our plans a bit each year depending on work circumstances, the boys' ability to work alone or in pairs, where we need to work harder, whether a particular curriculum is meeting our needs, etc. Plus, we pray like crazy over it and ask the Lord to fill the gaps, as there are sure to be some along the way.
So let's cover a few things that are the same as last year, then we will mention a few new things for this school year.
SAME~
*Same curriculum for all. D is using Blessed is the Man, an independent unit study approach that allows him much freedom in choosing his own assignments, but that keeps him focused on the Lord and his education. P is working through what will be his last year in MFW and is using the Creation to the Greeks set. DT is enjoying MFW as well and even though he's officially in second grade, we're re-doing last years 1st grade to reinforce some concepts that he's still struggling with in phonics.
*Same scheduling time blocks as last year. D and P work independently in the mornings while I work one on one with DT. Then in the afternoon, DT rests/plays quietly and I work with D and P.
*We have the same goals as well. We want our boys to have a firm foundation not only in the basics of education but to be well grounded in the Bible, character traits and loving their neighbors.
A few things that are NOT the SAME~
*We are not following the same pattern of working like crazy forever and a day, and then taking a super long break during the holidays. While we've enjoyed this routine and it was most definitely a must while I was working nights at Kohl's, I don't work at night anymore and the break was too long and allowed us to get too far off track in our studies and out of the good study habits we'd been working on so long. So this year, we are following a 6 weeks on/1 week off routine that allows us plenty of wiggle room when we need it, keeps us from getting burnt out on school before having a break, and doesn't let our good habits slip during the breaks.
*We've also returned to a 5 day school week, whether Dan is working 4 day weeks or not. The boys are old enough now to focus on school even when Dan is home :) And it gives us a little wiggle room for when we want to join our friends at the park for a picnic and some free time. DT's curriculum calls for one day of exploring nature, so he takes along his microscope and digs for bugs, leaves and such while he's playing.
*My parents will be joining us for the winter months. From early December until late April/early May, so we are really looking forward to that. My mom is already chomping at the bit to dig in and do school with the boys and has spent hours scouring books and Internet sites looking for fun learning activities. It will be such a treat for us to have them with us!
*D and P have added Apologia Science to their studies and are enjoying the experiments already. They are also working on their cooperative skills since I am asking them to work through everything together.
*DT has added tutoring to his repertoire of activities and enjoys his few hours with Aunt Jodi's office each week.
*We enjoyed our first ever home school Co-Op this fall and while P balked at the change in routine (he's such a homebody at times) I think P and DT enjoyed it. D opted out for the fall session. I have already signed up for the spring session and am looking forward to it very much.
*Last but decidedly NOT least in the new category is an actual HOME SCHOOL section in the monthly budget. Since we are nearly done buying curriculum forever (hurray for re-using curriculum) we can afford to spend a little bit each month on a new lapbook, a field trip, some new books, new manipulatives or a day of fun that's home school related instead of using a large chunk of the tax refund to buy new curriculum for all the boys. I'm pretty excited about this! This month's addition was D and P's Apologia curriculum. Next month's purchases will probably be some crafting supplies to make holiday gifts. :)
I think that sums up our school year pretty well. Things are rolling along smoothly most days and we are getting much done. Good stuff!
     Blessings, ~K~

Fun Fall Activity/Snack Idea (super easy)

DT and I just came up with this one together. Take a handful of candy corn and set it up like a bowling game. Then toss a Nerf dart at it to see how many you can knock down in one pass. When you get a strike, you can eat one! How is that easy peasy and super fun! You are working on fine and gross motor skills, plus counting backwards/subtraction. Check it out. He's having a ball!
Start with a handful of candy corn and a cheesy grinning kiddo


Then, line it up with a Nerf dart (or other small non-harmful object~ like a crumpled ball of paper or a ping pong ball

Knock them all down, eat one, recount and start over!

Happy Homeschooling Adventures!!
Blessings, ~K~

Look at that FACE! Wordless Wednesday

Silly slippery boy...and super clean, too!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Patch/First Field Trip of the 2012-2013 School Year



 
 

 
 
 
Next up was finding our picnic tables, a race to the top of the pumpkin colored tire pyramid and then on to the tricycles. The BIGS even love this even though it's geared for the younger set. By now the winds were picking up and poor Jodi was freezing.
 
   We played at the ducky races for quite some time before moving on to the giant slides. We frolicked and played the day away, stopping only for lunch and a quick classroom chat about nuts local to our area, peanuts, pinons, pistachios, and of course, pecans.
 
 
 
 
 The BIGS enjoyed the corn maze while the littles and I went back to the slides. We all gathered back up for a trip to the pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins.

  Woohoo! Once that was done, Jodi needed to scamper off to work, and I took ALL the boys home since we were all drenched and covered in mud. Just the way boys should be, right? All in all, we had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed our first field trip of the year. *sigh* Good stuff!

It's the Little Things

I've discovered as I make this journey through life that it's not the huge things that make or break your day, week, month or life. It's the little things. So in honor of the little things, list a few with me that made your day, week, month or life brighter or sweeter.
  • It's the hubby and middle boy playing cards together behind me, even if they are hollering at each other. They're also laughing their heads off and enjoying themselves immensely!
  • It's cool mornings and warm afternoons. My favorite kind of weather.
  • It's knowing that soon my parents will be here for a visit *squeal*
  • It's a box full of new school science curriculum AND the accompanying experiment kit!
  • It's a week long break after working hard on schooling for 6 weeks.
  • It's an evening with the TV off.
  • It's a hot shower after a wonderful workout session
  • It's seeing the fruit of your labors. Whether that be weight loss, homemade turkey broth, sons that are growing up to be fine young men, clean kitchen counters or your marriage flourishing after years of careful tending.
I like the idea of this style of post. If you like it too, add your little things! I'm making it a goal to focus on the positive this year...Join me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

White Sands Trip in July (better late than never, right?)

Here are a bunch of pics I took while having WAY too much fun at White Sands National Park with the Man Crew, The Benson Bunch, the Starnes Trio and a Hanna in a pear tree. Oh wait, I think I got off track there for a minute. Anywho, 2 full cars of people drove on up there and had a ball hanging out for a few hours and just loving the sand and sunshine. When you see all the red faces, keep in mind that it was well over 100* that day. We were drinking water like it was going out of style :)


Gracie rolls down the dunes
Jodi and Mr T take a slide ride

David loves to dig the biggest hole he can!

Anna pauses to inspect a bug

'Wheeeeee' yells Superman

LOVE the sandy back pics!

D and Z take a flying leap over G while P looks on and J tries to catch up

Run, Boy, Run!

Mr T used the sleds as tools to get up the dunes more quickly. Smart baby!
 
DT has a go. Goodness, we had fun

J gets buried alive
 
Here is the 'nice' picture
 
And here is what they normally look like :D

Monday, October 15, 2012

September is Already Gone *sigh*

Seriously? It's gone already? Did we do anything? Did we take any pictures? Anything at all? Phew, one of these days I shall actually catch up and be current with my blogging again, but apparently that day is NOT today :) And I'm ok with that. I'm happy that I'm getting closer. A few things worth mentioning happened in September. Here they are in no particular order
~Dan went to IL to pick up Pat and enjoyed 4 days in IL visiting friends and family. It was a great rest for him after the long summer hours were finally over for a season.

~Pat came home with Dan, tan and taller than ever! He had a ball with all the friends and family in IL indulging him and taking him all sorts of fun places.
~I enjoyed a complete 36 hours alone! First time I've spent more than a few hours actually ALONE in over 10 years. WOW, that's worth a whole other post, I think. :)
~I also spent 2 full days with just D and DT, lounging about and enjoying a much less hectic schedule for a few days. It was glorious!
~We started school! We've adopted a new schedule of 6 weeks on, 1 week off this year with no extended break from Thanksgiving until New Year's since I'm not working nights anymore (hurray) I will keep you posted on how that's going.
~We joined a homeschooling Co-Op where we get together with other homeschooling families and the parents take turns teaching things. Great way to make new friends, learn new things and get OUT of the house. We are enjoying it greatly. D opted not to join this semester. P is taking a cellular biology class, a class about the Presidents and how social media could have affected their campaigns, a leadership class and a class about electronics/magnets. DT is taking anatomy, math away from the workbooks, a history/geography class and a seasonal crafts class. I'm enjoying being a helper in a few classes and getting to know other homeschooling families in the area. Good stuff!
~We took our first field trip of the year to the pumpkin patch as is our tradition. GOOD TIMES~ that's a whole other post as well. Plenty of pics to come.
~D and P joined the youth group at our church and despite the resistance to our 'encouragement' have decided they like it and are enjoying going each week.
~I am still enjoying my weekly Wednesday night visits with Karen as my night 'out' each week, while Dan takes the BIGS to youth group and spends an evening with DT. A gal has to get out once in a while, right?

~Andy came to town in September for a long overdue visit and boy, did we have a good time! His special game night lasted until the wee hours of the morning, but it was SO GOOD to see him!
~Dan has joined the gym and is enjoying going several times a week. Which means this girl needs to get her rear in gear and lose some weight as well *winks*
~A new schedule for the new school year has helped this Mama to better organize her time and talents so that more is getting done each day while cutting down on the craziness. (well, a little of the craziness. We ARE raising a bunch of boys here, ya know *grins*)
~A new Bible Study curriculum has our morning Bible Study sessions going along well. The boys have learned (re-learned for the BIGS) the books of the OT, several memory verses and are tracing the lineage of Jesus through the Old Testament. I'm learning right alongside of them and am sometimes amazed/appalled at the things I've missed over the years. Better late than never, right?
I think those are all the major updates for this month. The blurbs that have lots of pics also deserve their own posts, so I'll just save the pics for the separate posts. That ok with everyone?
Thanks for reading my nonsense! ~K~
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