Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A poem by Miss E, age 9 - Must Read!

A few days ago Miss E mentioned something about  a poem she'd written in the back of her Reading Workbook. I don't know why, but I thought she'd just copied a poem from her reader or somewhere else into the back cover.

Last night I remembered and flipped to the back to read it after checking her schoolwork and found the poem copied below - after talking w/Miss E I found out it was her own work - I am thankful for the gifts God has bestowed upon our children!

by Miss E

When Jesus came into this world;
And hungered, Satan said,
"Why do you not use your power;
To turn all these stones into bread?"

But Jesus came into this world
To save us from our sin,
He showed us many miracles;
That hope should not grow thin!

copyright 2010, Miss E

What a blessing Miss E is to our family!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Make a Pie Already, Mama!

Well, I intended to make an apple pie for the first day of Fall, but didn't.

Today, however, I found myself wanting to make that apple pie, so I did. I whipped it up complete w/homemade crust (and store bought innards - hey, I'm a busy lady!).

(disclaimer - that is NOT the pie *I* made - I was too lazy to take a pic of my pie and this one looks better anyway)

I pulled it out of the oven, put it on the cooling rack and went about getting dinner into the oven. Along about this time, I hear the stampede of little feet coming down the stairs and Mr. E appears in the kitchen exclaiming:

"What is THAT?!"

I calmly reply...or begin to when he exclaims... " A pie! Where'd that come from?"

Again, calm as a cucumber, I tell him that I made the pie.

Mr. E looks at me with disbelief and utters one...little....word:  "You?"  then charges out of the kitchen to see what is going on with his sister in the den where she is plugged into the Wii.

I stood there for a few moments and thought to myself.....I need to make more pies!

:)  What has your child been astounded that you've done lately? What kind of pies are you in the mood to make now that it's starting to really feel like Fall?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

2010-2011 School Year, Week 2 - COMPLETE! and TOG Year 3, Week 2 Napoleonic era tea party and foot soldier hike

Whew! This was a busy week, but then, aren't they all?

We are now up to speed with all children and all subjects - and we're staying afloat - yay!

Miss Baby and Mr. A play while I work with Mr. E, Miss E and Miss A.

When Mr. E's work is done, I work with Mr. A a bit and Mr. E plays with Miss Baby. A wonderful system that is helping so much in getting everything done in the mornings except History and Science which are done after lunch. Yay for a system that is working great!

Today being Friday - we had a SUPER DUPER busy day. Each week in our History program, there are arts and activities projects that can be done to help the children remember what we've discussed that week and to really reinforce all that they've been learning in a fun and creative way. This week, I decided to let each of the older 3 choose their projects and if they were all different, so be it, if they were all the same, that was fine too.

They each decided on a different project. Whew! Today was B-U-S-Y!

We are studying the 19th century this year and have been discussing Napoleon some more this week. For Mr. E's activity, he elected to take a hike dressed like a Napoleonic foot soldier. The notes suggested he bring some extra clothes since he'd be gone for a few months.  :)

Well, he did just that - here he is, about to head out....I fully realize he looks more like he's about to go camping, but we did the best w/what we had on hand....he's armed and dangerous, isn't he?

The older girls decided to join in on the fun of dressing up. I did not require them to since they were each going to be doing their own activities, but was glad to see their zeal for fun in learning!

They're off:

We "hiked" around our neighborhood one full circle. The whole time I acted as their commanding officer urging them to keep up their light step and move quickly and quietly.

Napoleon spent a lot of time analyzing the way wars had been fought for years and made some changes for his armies. He put some officers up front so they could see what was going on and make changes and decisions swiftly as needed instead of having long delays waiting for scouts to convey messages to the back of the forces from the very front. Napoleon also offered a prize to the one who could find a better way to preserve food - hence the invention of canned food (Miss A added 3 cans of food to her pack). Napoleon did away with supply wagons because they were so cumbersome and slowed down the pace so much - creating the light foot solder - able to march longer distances and also required to do so at a faster pace so they could cover more ground per day.

Along the way....

Stopping to camp for the night....

The point of the exercise was to get a tiny taste of what it was like to carry all your necessities on your back as you traveled along in Napoleon's army. The conclusion - it was hard!  :)

Truth be told, they all would've been shot - Mr. A was out ahead and being so loud that he would've been picked off first and then the rest of us would've been ambushed. Ah well, it was fun!

2nd project of the day - Miss E chose to do a collage of the flora and fauna of France. She did :) It turned out well and is now in her notebook. (no pics on this one)

3rd project of the day - Miss A chose to have a Napoleonic era tea party. So...we did a little research on tea parties of the time and found some interesting information.

The table is set:

According to legend, one of Queen Victoria's (1819-1901) ladies-in-waiting, Anna Maria Stanhope (1783-1857), known as the Duchess of Bedford, is credited as the creator of afternoon teatime. Because the noon meal had become skimpier, the Duchess suffered from "a sinking feeling" at about four o'clock in the afternoon.

At first the Duchess had servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few bread items. Adopting the European tea service format, she invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o'clock in her rooms. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea. So, after lunch and Miss Baby's nap, we headed to the store to pick up the essentials because, well, the castle maid was too busy to go herself before now.

We adapted British accents, well, one of us did, ahem, and commenced our tea. Five guests came to tea and I was suspicious from the start of their lack of British accents, but we carried on in high fashion anyway.

(note Miss E's raised pinky - this was done to help balance the cup)

The ladies discussed Napoleon's war efforts as the young men talked of sailing from America. My suspicions were raised again.

Someone smuggled in some fancy fruit flavored teas....I suspect this young gentlemen....his accomplice in the background pretended to be a lady-in-waiting, but I have my doubts...   (If you'll kindly take a moment to come back to present times - note the stickers on the front of Mr. A's shirt - he proudly wears them after reading 3 books to me earlier in the day - he is coming right along w/his reading - such a smart boy - he anxiously awaits his turn to do some sort of schoolwork with me every day and I am so pleased with his eagerness to learn and blessed we have that time together)  (In the background, Miss Baby really enjoyed this special treat - she has been having a great time working on puzzles and learning her letters/numbers and SOOO much more during our days together!) Ok, back to 19th century England...ahem....

After tea, Lady E and Lady A took a few "tea dainties" to our dear friend, Lady ADG who was unable to join us for tea due to illness in her family. The young ladies returned just in time to escape a downpour!

I'll leave you with this last suspicions were correct, to some degree, it was decided by all present at the tea party that this young man was a time traveler from America circa 2010, specifically TX and he seems to have a message to TX fans....hmmm.....  ;) I believe as he bid us all farewell, he uttered a strange departing message....something akin to "Gig 'em?" I honestly do not know - such a strange day this was for all of us. Hope you enjoyed reading about it :)  Now, where is that maid.....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Constitution Day is today, September 17

On September 17th, 1787, the Constitutional Congress held its final meeting with only one thing on the agenda - to sign the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

 A few goodies to check out:

Also, another that I haven't had a chance to look at yet, but looks promising from a quick glance:


Oval Proverbs 22:6 sticker, Train up a child - CafePress

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mr. E - Cub Scout Extraordinaire :)

Today Mr. E's Cub Scout Pack held their Popcorn Sales Kickoff and Raingutter Regatta. I'll post about the Regatta soon (need to go through all the pics I took!), but wanted to send y'all a message from Mr. E right away because he is super excited about his popcorn sales!

At the meeting, he set his personal goal at $700 - he wants to sell at least that amount to help out his pack and to help fund camping among other activities for the boys this year.

This year ONLINE ordering is available - I believe this is pretty new to Scouts and I think it's wonderful! You can order from the comfort of your computer chair, and the popcorn, chocolate covered pretzels, etc. are delivered straight to your mailbox/doorstep!   (yes, they have more than just popcorn!!)

Just click here:

If you don't care for popcorn, don't like chocolate covered pretzels, cheese popcorn, are diabetic, are on a diet (there is a low fat option!), etc. please consider making a donation that will send popcorn to the military men and women serving our country - what an awesome way to show your support!

Mr. E went out tonight and started selling right away - I am so proud of his initiative! He and his Daddy had a nice walk, and he's on his way toward his goal....consider helping him if you'd like to! He will most certainly appreciate it!

Here he is again...he came to see me first ;)  Isn't he the sweetest?


Friday, September 10, 2010

2010-2011 School Year, Week 1 - COMPLETE!

Whew! Going into this first week, I was a bit apprehensive about how things would go....I do have an 18 mos. old and a 4 year old to entertain, ya know.

Well, I must say I am THRILLED with how well the week has gone. Yay!  Miss Baby did so well and everyone got their work done - I couldn't be happier!

Of course...we had a light week, so next week will be a bit more challenging, but I'm thinking positively!

One thing that really helped was enlisting the help of one of the older children to play with Miss Baby when I was working w/one child - introducing them to their new books and so forth.

Next week, the three older will work on a lot of things independently, but a lot will also require my instruction and assistance. That is when I expect things to potentially get a little tough, but we'll find out then, right? I also have some things for Mr. A to begin working on at a leisurely pace - we'll work on those when the older ones are working independently and Miss Baby is playing in the same room w/us. Thankfully, our new house has a bedroom we can use as a school room and a big, open game room right beside it so I can be completely accessible during independent work if anyone needs me. Yay for the new house!

One frustration this week has been the fact that I cannot find one box that has 2 of the children's new math books in it. I am at the point where I'm going to have to order them and when the others turn up, if they ever do, they can be used by the younger children when they get to those levels. I suppose if we only lost ONE box during our move, that is prettttty good!

We spent a lot of time in HIStory this week, as well as geography as it related to our studies, and literature selections as well.

Each of the 3 older children created their own notebook covers for the period of history we will study this year - the 19th century.

Here is one example from Miss E:

Miss E has "graduated" to the Upper Grammar level of our History program this year and therefore has a few extra requirements and projects, more difficult readings, and so forth.

For this year, and into the next, she will be working on a cumulative project - creating a President Card Bank. We have chosen to do it in a modified fashion, not on "cards" exactly, but simply putting 2 presidents per page in her notebook (if we decide later we need or want them in card format, we can simply cut the pages in half - she is aware of this and will be keeping one president on the top half of the card and the second on the bottom half). Here's Miss E w/her first 2 Presidents completed:

For Arts and Activities for our Lower Grammar crew, they were to review coin values and learn who is on the face of the quarter and the dollar. They did not hesitate at all when I quizzed them on coin names and values. That took all of about 2 mn. to complete.  Fun facts: If you look VERY closely on the back of a "standard" penny, you can see a tiny Abraham Lincoln on the image of the Lincoln Memorial?  :)  Do you know who is on the quarter and the dollar? Mr. E and Miss A sure do!

All in all, a great first week - nice and easy - stress-free and calm - the way we like to get things going around here, and I even kept up w/the laundry and dishes all week - amazing! I already have some decorations on my teacher wall from my fabulous students....we're off to a GREAT start!!!  Praise God!

And, here's my Expedit bookcase from IKEA - it's not completely organized yet, but this is where it stands at present!

Off we go to prepare for Week 2!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Arboretum Visit

We took advantage of one of the last days of our Summer break and visited the Arboretum the week before starting our school year - here are a few highlights:

This bridge is special - one of our wedding photos was taken up you see Mr. E shooting an imaginary bow and arrow under the bridge into the water in order to get one of the big fish swimming there...

Miss Baby enjoyed the leisurely stroll....

Miss Baby: "you want me to smile? ok, here ya go!" 

Mr. A - always thinking of something!

Mr. E - always has a smile for the camera, as long as Mama is taking the pictures, that is ;)

Miss A - ready to go exploring!

Miss E - getting so big and looking so much older these days...she really enjoyed seeing all the flowers and trees that day.

Here, we happened upon a painter - I didn't take a picture of her work naturally, but let me tell you, it was purty good! As you see, to her right, Miss A sat down to capture the scene in her notebook :)

By the water wall.....Mr. A looks a little grumpy here...hmmm.

Ah, the fountain - our first picture after the wedding was taken by this how time flies!  I think this was before Mr. E found out that it is not a fountain you can get into!  :)

Miss A taking notes and drawing the flowers - our own Naturalist :)

This canopy of crepe myrtles is so beautiful....I feel a Wizard of Oz sort of whimsy all of a sudden here....if I didn't think Miss Baby would run off, I might've gotten her out of the stroller for this shot....maybe in a year or so....

That's it - not many pics of the flora this time. I enjoyed the opportunity to take some pictures of the children instead on this trip.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Where have we been?

Right here, of course.

What have we been up to?

Enjoying Summer and the freedoms it presents to us in the way of our time.

What's on the horizon?

A new school year full of promise, learning, love, fun, and a whole slew of other things!

We are officially on "Summer Break" until after Labor Day - the temps are down from the blazing heat we've been experiencing for a LONG while now...the mornings are full of outdoor time, coffee for me on the patio surrounded by my beautiful children playing, exploring, learning, soaking up some vitamin D, living the life we are blessed to live.

Recently, my lovely neighbor took me to IKEA in her husband's pickup so I could get a bookcase for the school room - I am soooo excited to have it assembled and anchored to the wall, ready to go. I began loading it with our books yesterday...I'm not done yet....but it's a blessing already - I will show you pics in another post to come later in the week. The school room is coming together - I've put off doing a lot in there, and there is still a lot to do, but it's coming together. Yay for the school room - a place for the school things that we can close the door to when we're done, if we want, or we can linger in there longer and read more, learn more, create more, and it doesn't block our front door like it did in the old house!

The children are all doing well - growing like crazy. Such blessings to CKB and I - I thank God for each of them!

I hope to keep up w/our school's journey this Fall more consistently here on the blog than I did last year - not for anyone else's benefit really, but for my own. It is a nice reminder to look back and see what is being accomplished each see where our journey is heading and how we're getting there, and at the end of the school year to look back and reflect on what went well, and what we need to work on for the coming year.

Well, that's about it for now - we've been busy, everyone is in their own way I'm sure - piano lessons, looking into possibilities for sports, scouts and other activities while planning for the new school year, family vacations, and so on....there's always something to do!