Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Closing Out a Busy Month

The only way to close out a crazy-busy month is with a super crazy-busy weekend, right?

Thursday was another trip to Pensacola. Trips to town are always exhausting. Since school's been out, I've been working on the cleaning out the school room. Needing some more organizational storage, I bought another bookshelf. After this was a trip to that fantastic little homeschool consignment store I've mentioned a few times. I found out they have a website, although it isn't too user-friendly, imo.

Friday was spent in the school room mostly.

Saturday morning Jeremy took the kiddies out to his mom and dad's to help get fishing rods ready for a fishing trip on Monday. While he was out, he made Josiah's day by buying him a belt from a local shoe shop. He is SO proud of it and wears it all the time. No really...ALL the time. See?

Saturday afternoon the children were invited to a birthday party. This was a real treat for my kiddies. It was a water party. There was a water slide and a few pools of various sizes. My kids have never been to a pool party...ever. We generally do no swim in public. The "why" behind it is simple. I don't expect everyone to believe just like our family. By this I mean that although Lydia and I swim in a dress, I don't expect everyone to. I don't want my kids to see more at a pool than what they'd see at Walmart. To put it bluntly, I don't want the kids thinking that it's okay to run around outdoors in underclothes just because they're getting wet. Nakedness is nakedness, no matter where you are or who you're with. At this party though, the kids were all dressed to some extent (as in shirts and at least shorts). They had SO much fun!!

Sunday we planned on having dinner at church. This meant that I woke up early enough to make au gratin potatoes, a boiler or peas with snaps and okra, and a peach cobbler and was at the church by 9:15. The morning service was immediately followed by dinner, which was immediately followed by an afternoon service. Once I got home and settled, it was off to Walmart to prepare for Monday.

Monday was a really fun day for everyone. First was a nutritious breakfast of doughnuts and chocolate milk. With the energy that followed, this may not have been a great idea. :-)

Can't eat it without wearing it!

I couldn't get a smiley picture out of this one...had to settle for a silly one.

We got out to Jeremy's mom and dad's house by 6:30. There is a nice catfish pond owned by some Mennonite people (about the nicest people you'll ever meet). They sell a variety of produce and, although we have an expansive garden, we don't raise butterbeans. I put in my order for one bushel of speckled butterbeans, shelled.We started fishing around 7:15. Ethan (the angler of the family) has bragging rights to catching the first fish, but I couldn't nab a picture of it.

I did get a photo of John reeling one up to the shore.

Here is Nana helping Josiah fish. He was so funny because at first he was terrified of the catfish. They'd flip and flop around and he'd run off screaming. He did get used to it, but it was really funny for a while there.

The funny-person-of-the-day award probably goes to Lydia. First you have to imagine a very prissy 4-year-old girl. All fishing stuff is yucky. She'd not stand, but sit on the bank. Every time a fish would jump on her hook she'd sheik with excitement, "I GOT ONE!!!!! PAW-PAW I GOT A BIIIIIIIG ONE!!!!!!" Everyone on the lake, and every other lake, knew when Lydia got a fish. Jeremy said he just knew that she was going to get so excited that she was going to throw her hands up, drop her pole. Which would mean that the fish would be lost, dragging the whole rod, reel and all out to the bottom of the lake. Fortunately, she didn't. She would reel in the fish and reel and reel and reel. Then she'd announce, "whew, I'm tired. Someone get this fish for me." When she gave up her rod, she'd say, "I'm so tired. I need a drink!" and she'd climb up into one of the chairs. The picture above is her first fish she caught that day. Paw-paw tried to get her to touch it (in the back, mind you, since catfish have venomous spines at their dorsal and pectoral fins) but she told him it was yucky and that it needed to go in the ice chest.

In the afternoon we invited my parents and Jeremy's parents over for a fish fry. Oh, it was sooo good too. We had the catfish caught earlier in the day along with some fried grouper, oysters, cole slaw, hushpuppies, baked beans, French fries and a chocolate cheesecake that Jeremy's mom brought. My dad makes the very best hushpuppies known to the human race, if you'll allow me to brag.

May has been a good month, although its been beyond busy. I really hope that June slows a bit. :-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Trivia Question and the Month of May

Kimberly was the closest to right on the trivia question, I think. Josiah has taken my camera and snuck off with it. The camera (which is on manual focus, explaining the blurriness) is facing him and is parallel to the ground. The top skin is his arm/elbow and the bottom skin is his leg/knee. The red is the red Onesie he was wearing that day.


Catching up on things, we had evaluations last Thursday which went very excellently! Our evaluator was very, very pleased with the kids' progress. She especially bragged about their reading skills. She made positive remarks about their handwriting, the number of field trips we did, and hands-on activities. I think I've also decided about the kids' curriculum for next year. I think I'm going to stick with A Beka for the most part, but I'm going to take a different approach to it. I mentioned to Rita (the evaluator) that a homeschooling veteran friend of mine suggested continuing to use A Beka Book and teach it more self directed. Rita didn't see any problem with doing it that way. I'm certainly done with A Beka's readers and have already picked up 4 of Rod and Staff's readers. I think that I'm going to have to use 4th grade readers with John (who's going into 3rd) to keep him challenged though. Both Ethan and John will be able to use the 3rd grade readers.

I'm satisfied with their progress in arithmetic in A Beka.

I want to use either Cantering the Country or Galloping the Globe next year. These curricula look like a lot of work, but a lot of fun!

A continuing beef that I have with A Beka's penmanship is that they slightly change the way they teach penmanship every year. I looked at A Beka's penmanship text for 3rd grade, and yes, it's different than what it was taught in kindergarten ... which is different from 1st grade ... which was different than 2nd grade. So I think that's just completely senseless. With both boys (who both write pretty neatly ... for boys) I'm going to get them a composition book for writing: the type that is bound like a hardcover book with thick covers. The stuff that A Beka has them write is often nonsensical anyway. I can pick out a Scripture for them to copy, or a portion of the Bill of Rights or the Constitution, or good quotes or whatever.

Here's an example of A Beka's penmanship from lesson #145:
Emily and Andy are going to Camp Piney Woods for two weeks. They can hardly wait to get there. They and their friends Bethany and Caleb plan to have a great time together. They hope to ride horses and swim in the lake every day.

There's nothing particularly wrong with it, yet there's nothing right about it either. Sounds like "busy-work" to me. I'd rather use something useful. :-)

I bought (or maybe intend to buy haha) A Beka's science reader for 3rd grade and their reader Health, Safety and Manners for 3rd grade. They're pretty good, just not "beefy" enough in my opinion. They're also very student directed. I'm also wanting to use Apologia Science. The kids want to do the astronomy unit, but I want to do the zoology unit. So, we'll probably do astronomy. :-)

I want to use this little vocabulary unit I picked up last year: Wordly Wise (NOT Worldly haha). I think people learn vocabulary best when they hear it used in conversation and when they encounter new words in reading. However, I bought this last year and I wouldn't want it to go to waste.

I'm not sure about history or Bible yet, but I'm leaning toward Landmark for these.


If you're like me, you have these big projects that need to be done during the school year, but you don't have time and therefore, you push the projects into the summer. That pretty much sums me up. We live in a 3 bedroom house, but enclosed the garage for a fourth (large) bedroom. The boys have the large bedroom, we have the master, Lydia has the smallest, and the school room is the last room. It is also an office, baby nap room and catch-all. At the top of my priority list was to clean out and organize the school room. What a job, but it's now on the way to done. I have one bookshelf that needs some organizing. Unfortunately, I can't tackle it without Jeremy; the bookshelf is loaded with his books, Bibles, Sundays School lessons, sermons, random bits of information, keepsakes, binders of songs he sings at church and other song books, and even an AC adapter for his MacBook. I dare not touch it.

Something I did do, however, was to get another $20, 3-shelf bookshelf from Big Lots and put it in the living room. On this bookshelf I'm going to put some of our nicer looking books. The piano, which was in the living room, is now in the school room.


Other May stuff include Ethan's kindergarten graduation. I've always taught Ethan a year ahead of where the government school would have him. He's going into second grade academically. I wanted him to be the same age as for his graduation as John was when he graduated. He was cute as a little button in his cap and gown.

Ethan's kindergarten graduation "portrait."

In our homeschool fellowship, the children always put on an end-of-the-year program with lots of singing and Scripture recitation.

This is the youngest age group. The older ones, some of which are playing piano for the little ones, joined in later. This year's program was a sailing theme. Songs included With Christ in the Vessel, Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, Secret Place by Ron Hamilton (LOVE Ron Hamilton's amazing music) and Jesus, Saviour, Pilot Me. They played Saviour, Like a Shepherd, Lead Us on handbells.

We also had a family who is close to ours who had a homeschool graduate this year. I loved going to his commencement. It was at church and included congregational singing, special singing, a short sermon by the graduate's grandfather, a few words from his dad praising his character and sharing stories of the joys he brought to their home, and his future plans. There was a picture slide presentation of him growing up and a reception following.

Mother/Daughter banquet was also thrown into the midst of all this too. This year's banquet was one of my favorite because we went out to a restaurant! Yay! No cooking, no cleanup!

As mentioned before, we had a doctor appointment and all is going well. I found out what a breastfeeding supporter my OBGYN is. She nursed her daughter until she was 2 through another pregnancy. Good for her.

I guess that's a short lengthy synopsis of May.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trivia Question of the Day

Let's see who can figure out what this is. I'll give only one hint: I have exactly 23 images on my camera very similar to this one.

This could get interesting... :-)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

And Another Book Giveaway

How about this one? Kimberly at Simply Blessed is giving away a copy of Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Sounds great to me!

Oh, and like I said on the last post, DON'T enter because I want to win. hahaha Just teasing. You can enter twice on this one. :-)

Book Giveaway

Sarah at heartsdesire is giving away Jim Bob and Michelle Duggars' new book A Love that Multiplies. The book is set for release on June 7th. Whatever you do, DON'T head over there and enter; I want my chances of winning to be better. :-) No really, I am very much teasing. You can get a maximum of 4 entries on this giveaway, so give it a click and see if you win!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Boys:5, Girls:2

Just popping in to let everyone know that, although it has been three weeks since my last post, I have not fallen off the edge of the earth, nor been abducted by aliens, nor have I quit blogging. I have been BUSY!!

I plan on making a "real" post once we get past Thursday. We have evaluations on Thursday. Here in Florida that means turning in your lesson plan, list of curricula used by teacher and student, list of books read by student, and submitting a portfolio of sample work. In some things I am very motivated, but my middle name is procrastination with I have to get all this and-of-the-year riff-raff together. It's just annoying. It makes me want to tell the state to get off my case because I'm doing it right.

So, you see the title of my post: Boys:5, Girls:2. Last week I had an ultrasound, and I was utterly shocked that we are having a BOY this time. Everything thus far has been just like Lydia's pregnancy and has also been so opposite from when I carried the boys. More than a few times I've been asked, "Are you disappointed that you're having a boy?" This is so baffling to me. What on earth is there to be disappointed about? We weren't "trying" for girl, we weren't "trying" for a boy, and we weren't even "trying" for a baby. We were blessed with a baby. God knows what we need. From the ultrasound, everything looked great: heart, heart chambers, heart outflow, stomach, kidneys, brain, bones, growth, etc. How could anyone be disappointed over that?!

The past two days we have enjoyed temperatures of about 72º. It's a breath of fresh air since we've had drought and temps of 95º lately. The windows are open and it feels so nice. It'll probably be the last time the windows will be opened until mid or late October. I'm really enjoying it.

There is so much I could share, but it'll have to wait until I have more time. :-)