Thursday, August 30, 2007

Favorite Photo Friday

I have to put more than one in today's Favorites post - we had a little family outing the other night - you have to know that our poor youngest son has only begged ALL summer to go play tennis, but it just got cool enough for us to go play! :) So that was our outing - we hit the tennis courts - probably literally. I am just praying we don't see ourselves on candid camera next season!!

See why the girls dominated - we play CLOSE to the net!!

Oh yeah, and we can handle TWO rackets - sorry guys!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ready for Christmas??

Well, it's back to school AND time to start thinking about Christmas - yes, I said Christmas!! I know, I'm pushing it a bit, but I can't leave all my shopping until December, and I'm sure you all don't either! So when I found this site I was all ready to shop. I shop online all the time - when you live about an hour from any mall - you'd shop that way too!! Coupon Chief is my new favorite site to find a deal before the REAL DEAL! There are coupons on there for SO many of my shopping "haunts," like:

Children's Place Coupons
Gap Coupons
Starbucks Coupon Deals (Ok, this one isn't Christmas is just for MY stocking!!)
Oh yes, on another tangent - Gevalia Coupons - Sorry, just couldn't resist!!

Before I go shop, I will go to Coupon Chief FIRST and check for coupons. What a find!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A New Version of an Old Favorite

Here's Chloe's new song ~

Now you need to have a little background here - Joe is so kindly putting her hair up in pigtails and she is singing:

"It's Raining - It's Pouring
The Old Man is Doing my Hair!!!!"

(We're hoping she had no idea what she was singing!)


Friday, August 24, 2007

Favorite Photo Friday

Whew - let's just say that Friday is almost over and I still haven' even posted my photo - does that give you a clue how crazy things are over here?!?!? Wish I could say that all I have to do is Blog, but DREAM ON!!! Never fear though - I do have a photo! I love this one - it is not often that we break down and splurge and get EVERYONE a coffee drink but sometimes we do and this is all of my men enjoying their cold coffees!!! Is there anything better than a coffee drink?!?!? If you agree - chime in and tell me your favorites!!! (Just because I'm desperate to try something NEW!!!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Adoption Books

I saw this post over at Paper Tigers and thought of all of you that read the blog that have adopted, are in the process of adopting, etc., etc. So if you want to read more about authors that have written about mulitcultural adoption - go HERE.

Another great list of adoption in children's and young adult books.

Oh - and THIS!!!

ARTHUR and friends welcome a new character - a baby sister for Binky Barnes - this fall when the Emmy-Award winning series tackles adoption from a child's perspective. On Friday, September 7th (check local listings) the series starring Marc Brown's beloved animated aardvark captures a family's experience with adoption in a special 2-part episode.In 'Big Brother Binky', Arthur's friend
Binky's family adopts a baby girl from China and Binky learns not only the
importance of being a big brother but that families come in all different shapes
in sizes. Binky manages the joys, and sometimes difficulties, of understanding
his new sister with humor and imagination and becomes the proudest big brother
in Elwood City.Expanding upon the series' well-established commitment to
addressing topics that children of all backgrounds can relate to, this episode
undertakes a topic that affects millions of people every day in all parts of the
world. By exploring the adoption process from Binky's anticipation of the baby's
arrival, to the ups and downs of getting to know one another, and finally to the
joy of welcoming the baby into Binky's heart and home, ARTHUR opens the doors
for discussion around adoption among parents, children, and educators. According
to ARTHUR creator Marc Brown, "What the series does best is reflect the lives of
kids in an authentic and fun way that resonates with both viewers and their
parents. Because adoption is so important to so many families, we thought it was
a great opportunity for ARTHUR to explore this subject."Executive Producer
Pierre Valette adds, "We put a lot of work into this episode -- including
extensive research and interviews with many adoptive families. To tell this
story thoroughly and well, we decided to devote both 11 minute animated stories
in the episode to it --something that we rarely do. We hope that the millions of
families touched by adoption in this country, and around the world, will find
familiarity and accuracy in our portrayal of the experience of these

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Whisper - Don't Shout!!!

I will share this with you all just because I like you - AND I have to link it up to participate!!! :) But I'm whispering since I am actually hoping to win!!!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sad Math

Well - we have begun our school time again and today's lesson was in measurements of time. It should have been an easy lesson - instead, it was VERY PAINFUL!!! My twelve year old asked me, "Mom, how many years are in a decade?" I told him, as any good mom would, to go look it up!! He came back and said, "Wow, I am over a decade old but you, Mom are almost 4 decades!!" Yeah, just the encouragement I needed in my day! I said, "Wow, you are right, " trying to keep the smile on my face! Then he plunges forward, "Just think, you are very close to a century!" Now, I didn't need that, that's for sure!! And it hurt even worse when we got to the Millennium - ugh, I think it's time for spelling!!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's Free!!

After all those homeschooling posts - when I saw this - I had to share!! So go HERE to get your freebies!!! I'm thinking they are VERY helpful for our school year!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What's In a Name

Well - I was hoping to start school next week - getting all geared up - and I get this YUCK virus going around. Fever, cough, congestion - the whole respiratory mess. Yesterday, my oldest son, came to me and said he didn't feel well - which I could have told before he even said a word just by looking at him!! And this morning at 4 am - I hear, "Mommy?" But this was a very small DEEP, throaty voice!! Yes, now Chloe is the next one down at our house. So - I have nothing exciting to post except we all want to feel better. This is a yucky bug - I've had it since Sat. and still do not have much of a voice!

So- what do you do when you are sick? Well blog, of course, and I found this website in my wanderings. This is quite a hoot! Babynamer is a site where you can type in a name and they will tell you the normal stuff - origin, meaning, pronunciation, etc. But my favorite part??? They will tell you drawbacks to the name - YES -if you've never thought of a nickname to call someone go here, you'll have a ton to choose from. (I don't think I'll show my boys!!!! They may torture their sister!!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

They're for you, Mommy!!

I have always wanted my boys to bring me flowers from the yard - it was one of those dreams that just sounds fun. So my heart melted today when Chloe came in and said, "Look Mommy, one for you and one for me!!" Yes, I oohed and aahed over them - as the boys watched on to see what I would do - you see, they were my prized HOSTA flowers!!! Ok, I'll admit, I did take her out and show her which flowers she may and may not pick - but I still had to smile - I can not imagine my life without a daughter!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


So I'm out in blogger world today and found THIS - whew, that's a lot of info!!! Not sure what I'll do with it, but I like it and it will impress Joe!!! (He likes that sort of thing!!)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Favorite Photo Friday

Another Picture that Makes Me Smile!!

Back to Homeschooling Week

Thursday, August 9---If I had only known...What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!

What have I learned on my journey? That I may not know it all before I teach it, but hey, Mom is still learning too and sometimes this time around - I actually remember and understand it better than when I was learning it in school. Wow - history actually makes sense to me now!!

Homeschooling is definitely something I could not do as well without my husband - he helps out where I am weak, even after a long day at work he still helps me grade if I am behind, he reads to the boys every night before bed- usually history and Bible - both things we maybe didn't do in reading aloud during the day. He faithfully works with the boys to memorize Bible verses and he encourages me to "keep on", especially on the days when I'd rather let someone else teach them!!

Friday, August 10---Curriculum - What curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a "gem" that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?

Our curriculum is a hodge podge - but I like the variety. First of all - I always go to Sonlight's website to see what they suggest for reading for each grade - their curriculum is wonderful and I love their suggestions. We use Saxon for Math - nothing else to say on that - it's good and it's full of review - we need that!! For spelling this year, we are trying a new program, Sequential Spelling, an Avko publication. We use Drawn Into the Heart of Reading for our reading curriculum - I can not say enough good about this reading program. It is very thorough and covers lots of different genres, but the kids choose from a list what they will read for that unit - I like it that way, the kids can choose something that interests them. We do both Science and History/Geography with Switched On Schoolhouse, and that is another nice break from textbooks. We are also trying a new writing program this year from Stack the Deck Writing Programs. We will see how that works for us this year! Lastly, we use Easy Grammar for our grammar skills. Do the boys LOVE it? No, but it's good for them and it's what Mom LOVES to study!!! We supplement with Wordly Wise and Explode the Code workbooks. AND where do I buy almost all of it??? Rainbow Resource - they have excellent prices!!

**I decided to take part in a Pay It Forward book giveaway, so go HERE to find out what I am giving away this month!! All you have to do is leave a comment and then do a post on your blog to be entered in the drawing. It's a great product for teachers and homeschoolers!!

Drumroll - in my homeschool wanderings this week - I have found a giveaway AND a new curriculum/bookstore. For all of you that have emailed me about toddlers/preschool, etc., She has some great stuff in her store for that age!!! SO - Check out the giveaway AND the store!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Back to Homeschool Week

Randi, over at I Have to Say, is hosting Back To Homeschool Week - so I am taking part in this week's festivities -

Tuesday, August 7---How do you homeschool?Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be "mom" and "teacher" at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc...

Wow - let's see - since I taught school I kind of formulate my curriculum based on what each of my kids each need. So our curriculum is not from all one company - it is wide and varied!! I lean toward Charlotte Mason ideas (for those of you homeschoolers - you will probably know what that means!!) and using LOTS of literature!!! Hmmm, wonder where that comes from?!?! I also do a lot of letting the boys help each other - correct each others' spelling, give each other flashcard tests, pre-read writing assignments with each other before I ever read them, etc. I also have each of them do some reading/working with Chloe each day - she loves it and it gives me some time for more one-on-one for each of them. Since adding Chloe, I have had the fun challenge of keeping a little one busy during the school time. We have found some great curriculum to use with her - one of my favorites is Little Hands to Heaven by Carrie Austin. This one is set up day-by-day and tells you exactly what to do - learning letters, numbers, etc. Another great one is an all online curriculum called Brightly Beaming. This is another one that has worked well for us and it is set up by a theme each week - then adds letter, numbers, etc. I like their focus on nursery rhymes too - I think that's important and lots of curriculum forget that!

Wednesday, August 8---Getting out there...Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc., etc., etc...

All of our boys take piano lessons, and we have started guitar with our oldest as well. Our piano teacher is wonderful and involves the kids in duet contests and solo contests. We meet with a couple of other families each week and do some science units, writing projects, etc. This year we are going to be doing an Iowa Unit Study together - I am excited about that and think it will be fun to do together. Another wonderful thing that we have here is a larger group that meets twice a month - they "hire" teachers and do PE, Music, Art and Science together. I like that larger group setting, but yet it's only for a few hours on a weekday - my boys enjoy this as well. All of our boys play hockey too - if you've read our blog for any length of time, you are WELL AWARE of this fact!! They love hockey, but WOW - it does consume our winter months!! It is great exercise though and a wonderful way to learn team sports, etc. Our library also offers programming for homeschoolers - a science class taught by our county naturalist once a month, etc. We try to do all of those things that we can - our kids are very social and LOVE to be with their buddies!!!

(So there you go - I squeezed two days into one here!!)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Back to Homeschool Week

I Have to Say is hosting Back to Homeschool Week to share why we homeschool and other fun tidbits - I thought it would be fun to play along, so here we go!

Monday, August 6---What led to your decision to homeschool? Why do you do what you do? What brought you to homeschooling? What factors played a part in your decision?

I taught before we ever had children so when we did first get pregnant Joe said right away that he hoped I would consider homeschooling our children. When we lived in G.R., the school we would have have to send our children to was "inner city" so we were hesitant to send them there AND we knew we could not afford private school so again, we felt tugged to go the "homeschool" route. Before we ever really started school with the kids, we moved to where we are now - we had to laugh because the first thing people said to us here was, "Oh the schools are so good - you won't homeschool here!!" You know, though, "schools being bad" is not the real reason we choose to homeschool - we want to spend time with our kids, we want them to have time to "be kids", and God gave me boys right off the bat - and sadly enough, having been a teacher, I do not feel that schools do well with boisterous boys in the classrooms! So, we began our homeschooling journey that is still going to this day. My boys have never known a traditional classroom (take that as a good or bad thing!!) and they are now going into 4th, 5th and 6th grades. Not everyday is a "walk in the park" but I do love being with them, watching them mature, and knowing where their strengths and weaknesses lie and then working on those areas daily. I love it that they can get their work done, practice their instruments, AND play hockey without getting to bed at midnight! I love it that my kids are content just to be with each other and have a bond that I prayed for for years.

As I always tell people that ask me about homeschooling, "Is it for everyone?" No - I do not believe it is - I believe everyone can do it, but you have to be disciplined and committed to the whole process - AND some days that is hard!!! "Do I sometimes wish my kids were leaving at 8 am and going to school all day??" Yes - it sounds wonderful to have some peace and quiet. "Will I put the kids in school this year?" No - I feel God has called us to this and it is so rewarding to me to watch them make progress both educationally and spiritually.

Do I think homeschooling is THE ONLY way??? Nope, not at all - I taught in the schools and I feel strongly that there are lots of great schools out there. This is just working for us right now so we'll keep going until it doesn't "work" anymore OR they graduate!!!! (Whichever comes first!!)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Say Cheese!!!

I just found THIS online - you can be sure that when our next one comes home I am making some phone calls!!! How neat!!!
When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don't go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.
~Deuteronomy 24:19

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