Tuesday, December 8, 2009

School Days

Thought I'd give a school update! We are finishing up our 3-4 week study of South America, Brazil, and Rain Forests in My Father's World ECC this week. We made some paper mache masks last week and they are dry, waiting to be painted this week. We plan on having a little Brazilian mini-carnival next week sometime complete with the shirts and masks the kids made. Of course, I've found a few authentic recipes I've got to try out!

Abby is almost done with the first grade book in Sing, Spell, Read and Write. She is an amazingly smart little girl. She informs me that she can do her math "in her head" and doesn't need the blocks (Math-U-See Primer). And she is incredibly cute with her missing two front teeth!

Zeke has an amazing work ethic and gives his all in each subject. I am impressed at his math skills. I think Singapore really pushes him to use logic and mental math. It is getting to the point that I am challenged too! It takes me longer to check his work now, for sure! He is writing a persuasive essay this week in english. He really seems to grasp things quickly and apply what he is learning.

Eli has been really working on his reading, and it is ALL self-motivated. He can read all of the first BOB books and Animal Antics and Playful Pets level 1 books! He read the Macy's sign today at the mall. He said it phonetically "Makys" and I explained that that was a "c" that steals the "s" sound because of that y! It melted my hear to hear him trying to read all the signs he sees. He has no fear and will just give any word a go! I am going to go ahead and start the kindergarten curriculum in Sing, Spell, read and Write after Christmas for him. I'm bored with the stuff I'm doing with him and it isn't challenging him at all. He's ready to read those little stories!

Micah continues to, well, be two. :) He LOVES glueing and painting projects, so I've been trying to let him do a little more of that the last couple of days and it helps keep him out of so much trouble. Just leaves a big mess to clean up!

Here are some samples of our work from the last couple of weeks:

Zeke's Anaconda Report:

Our egg experiment to see how strong arches are (I may be missing something here, but I'm not sure how this fit in with anything we are learning in science right now...but it was listed as an experiment to do):

It held all of these books before breaking!

Eli and Abby drew an illustration of our read aloud, "Jerry Muskrat". I was so impressed by Eli's interpretation of the "merry little west winds": those little swirly lines in the sky!

An example of Zeke's science notebook sheet. He is never very fond of this assignment, but I love his little drawings! This is a Roseate Spoonbill. And I am having real problems with my camera. It will only focus on the left focus box in my viewer; I don't know how to change it! I've got to have Steve change some setting for me...that is why this picture is not the greatest!

I'm REALLY looking forward to the next two weeks to casually finish up some projects (mask making, a rain forest mural to name a few), make lots of homemade ornaments and christmas projects, bake Christmas cookies, visit the library (which we never do any more!). We are going to try to make it to Grand Rapids to take advantage of the Meijer Gardens Christmas trees from around the world display. That will fit in perfectly with our curriculum! Lots of fun and good learning going on here!

And this has just made my night! If you know me well, you know that I love snow!!!! It is a pretty wet snow, so I'm sure it won't be around long, but WE HAVE SNOW, HURRAY!


I have to admit it: I was a scrooge today! Why, you ask? Because of this:

I H.A.T.E. gingerbread houses. GGGRRRR. I just don't have the patience for them! Who can sit for a half an hour and HOLD the house together while the 4 kids crawl all over you, spill the little round candies all over the kitchen floor, eat most of the candy that is supposed to go ON the house, lick the frosting off the table...need I continue? Clearly, these are a grandma-only type of project. My grandma was so sweet and wanted to enjoy this activity with the kids. The darn thing collapsed before I even made it off her front porch. *sigh* I will NEVER be tempted to buy another one of these again. I've actually never purchased one...and now when my 4 year old pleads for one at the store this week, I will remind him that they turn mommy into "the, the, the , THE GRINCH!" (I hope some of you have seen Jim Carrey's Grinch!)

Now mom, don't worry. I know you are sending us one this week. I will save it for the babysitter this weekend : ) HA!

There. Now with that off my chest, here are some things I LOVE about the holidays:

Advent Calendars

Christmas tree hunting

Cozy, footy pajamas on 2 year olds!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giving Thanks

Well, we had a nice and busy Thanksgiving break in Wisconsin. We all worked hard to help pack up Steve's mom because....she's moving to MICHIGAN!!! Welcome back, Marilyn! Anyways, we had a very nice time with Uncle Jeff, Aunt Chris, and Marilyn. We are back home and hoping to have a good 3-week block of school before we take our Christmas break. As always, pictures are worth a thousand words in my book :) so, here you go! Oh, and we can't forget the cuteness above: did you know Eli has his own vineyard where he makes sparkling grape juice? :)

A last memory in Wisconsin:

Uncle Jeff having too much fun carving the turkey!

No packing allowed on Thanksgiving! Instead, we enjoyed a great meal with all the trimmings!

Aunt Chris' piano lessons

Fun with Michigan Rummy (or Tripoly?)

Zeke's game face

Shhh...don't tell Oreo, but we think Micah might have peed in his water dish! (not really...but Micah does have a habit of wondering around with his pants around his ankles after he visits the potty...poor guy can't pull up his own pants!)
We got a little rest in :)

And we were all very thankful that one of Abby's really loose teeth finally fell out!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


A few fun things have already happened this week that I wanted to share. First, I a started a Beth Moore bible study last night and am SO excited about it! It is called "It's tough being a woman" and it is an in-depth study of the book of Esther. I am so excited to be on a journey that will bring me closer and to a deeper understanding of my God!

On Monday, Zeke said he was finally getting used to school and thinks he really likes it. Yeah.

Zeke received his trophy for being an undefeated team this fall. He is loving his team.

During bible time this morning, we discussed Matthew 5:43-48.. This is the part where Jesus instructs us to pray for our enemies. We were all picking one person in our life that was a little difficult to love at times and we were going to pray for those people at the end of our bible time. Well.. :) Zeke chose me! (Actually, he asked if he could choose me and I humbly said yes :) ) I'm so glad he has no real enemies in his life right now. I just thought this was hilarious and great. I can see how I am difficult for him to love at times, I really can. Ha! :)


Abby has 2 VERY loose front teeth, so I'm sure we'll be singing "All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth"!!!! Abby has also been very excited to start her own spelling tests. She is very self-motivated in her school work and it is precious!


Eli is loving dressing like his daddy and confiscated this button down shirt from the dirty laundry yesterday, and this is his 3rd day in a row wearing it! He asked me to take this picture this morning:

He and I also had a theological discussion the other day about why he still does bad things even if he has Jesus in his heart. It was so precious to see his mind thinking about such things! Wow!


Micah is still not feeling 100% and seems really tired all the time. His cute thing this week was picking out my earrings for me. If he is toddling around when I am getting ready in the morning, he opens up my earring drawer, picks out a pair, and says "You want to wear these rings today, mommy?" How could I ever say no? (well, I do if they really don't match....)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gotta Scrap is my Highlight!

Well, I had a hi and low light of the week. The low light: I did get sick! This darn virus hit every one of us. Luckily, I only had a fever 2 days, and one of the days was Steve's day off, so I spent the entire day in bed. I did have 2 of the kids for most of the day while Steve took 2 of the boys to the LEGO exhibit at The Henry Ford Museum. I survived with Motrin and Movies!

My hi-light was that I my fever was gone by Friday and I got to go to my Scrapping weekend away!!!! YEAH!!!! My head was a bit stuffy the entire time, so I did not get as much completed as I usually do, but it was fun and refreshing. I think I needed some time away from at least one child in particular to re-group and get re-motivated to connect and work with this child. :)

I know that has nothing to do with school, so here we go. Amazingly, even though I was sick for 2 days, we stayed caught up and got everything done. I found the Canada days pretty light, so I did almost the whole week's geography and science on Mon-Wed. When I collapsed with a fever on Wed afternoon, most of our school for the week was done. Zeke completed one of his math books this week, so he got a nice treasure for his hard work and we get to move on to a new book this week. Abby was sick all week, so she did not do a lick of school. I got Eli back on track after his sick week last week.

I have to confess that I am not all that crazy about our bible times. I feel like the Hero Tales is simply an extra that I'm having trouble tying in...sometimes we can discuss a character trait while reading the read aloud, but beyond that...I'm just not sure how it ties in....I was not fond of reading about adultery and divorce to my children (reading through Matthew)...usually MFW does a good job in their notes giving you things to discuss about the verses they map out for you, but I'm not finding that to be the case this year. My 8 year old hangs in there with everything we do and we have some great discussions about things, but I think it is just too much for my 6 year old. I've got some things to think about and figure out....

Here are some pictures of a few fun things from the school week:

Eli enjoying his igloo project :)

Micah's igloo (he's not that impressed...)

Zeke enjoyed this project.

The boys had fun at the LEGO exhibit at The Henry Ford:

Daddy took the kids to fall clean-up day with our church:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sick Days and Homeschooling

We had a pretty light week of school this week. Zeke was recovering from the flu (fever/body ache version) last weekend, so we took Monday completely off. Then Eli came down with the fever, so he hung (literally) on the couch all week! Poor daddy has been under the weather since Thursday night, and Abby came down with the fever tonight. Micah had the seasonal flu shot back in September; I'm curious to see if he comes out of this without anything. I hope, hope, hope I do not get this bug! I am supposed to go on one of my scrapbooking retreat weekends next weekend and really don't want to get sick before or during it :(

We have really enjoyed some of our book basket books this week. I found a handful on food chains and decomposers to go along with our science for the week. Zeke is almost finished with his math book, and I'm excited to start his next book! Abby is doing great with Math U See and it makes me wonder if I should have stuck it out longer with Zeke and that curriculum...oh well, I think Zeke is doing great with Singapore, we just need more drilling. Speaking of drilling, we had dental appointments this week too...always fun to see daddy at work (and no one had any cavities)! Anyways, my favorite highlight of the week was watching the original Incredible Journey video. The story is set in Canada (the country we are studying this week), so we made a movie night out of it! The kids loved it. I am skipping all art projects these two weeks; I'm just not up for it. The igloo projects in the Trip Around the World interested me a little more, so we may do one of those coming week instead. Oh, and I am pretty uncomfortable with the picture and description Living World gives for "animal life" this coming week, so I found some books at JoAnn's this weekend that I am more comfortable with. Did anyone else using ECC hesitate on this lesson too, or is it just me? Hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And now, a six year old!

On Abby's birthday, we had quite a busy day. We skipped church to say good bye to grandma :( Then we had some GREAT face painting at daddy's work event! And then Abby took cupcakes to share with her friends at our small group that evening. Happy birthday to our Beautiful Girl! We love you!

Halloween Festivities

I don't think Micah participated much last year with the pumpkin carving, but he tried it this year...and didn't like it much! I think he was actually crying at one point! The girls seemed to be the tough ones not minding the pumpkin slime this year! Although Zeke enjoyed carving out his own face. It's nice to be 8!

Later in the day, we had a small celebration for Abby's birthday.

And then we got suited up for some trick-or-treating! Let me introduce you to:

The prince

The Flamingo Dancer

The Michigan Football player and last but not least, The Dinosaur!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Weekly Highlights, ECC, Week 6

Our highlights this week included our trip to the Matthaei botanical gardens and our Mexican fiesta! It was a bit of a crazy week, which has ended even crazier!!!! Poor Zeke has had a very high fever for 2 days. I hope this doesn't go through all of us...although the Zeke quarantine did not go well....I found all the kids up in our bedroom with Zeke playing with Polly pockets and Barbies while he was resting! Micah also found Zeke's half finished cupcake on the table after dinner and proceeded to eat it. Darn!

Anyway, our trip to the botanical garden was amazing. We took advantage of all the "extra" things they had laid out for all the school tours that were going on in the morning. They had cocoa beans, coffee beans, and peppercorns laid out be the respective trees, an aloe plant broken open to observe, a can of pickled cactus to check out, and more that I'm not even remembering, I'm sure. The arid room was great and I had the kids each pick out a plant to illustrate. We will have to revisit this place during our rain forest study! Here are a few pics of our excursion...and it was great having a grandma along to help!

(these are the same plants that we bought Zeke from the greenhouse the other week! We found Abby's plant too!)

We ended our light school week (this was actually our third week of Mexico...and it looks like our entry into Canada will be delayed a few more days due to sickness) with our Mexican Fiesta. We really enjoyed trying some authentic Mexican recipes, and had a good friend over to share with us about growing up in Mexico and his authentic Mexican "surprise" recipe, which was a delicious stew. Our second attempt at a pinata was a success and it took the kids quite a few hits to break it! We had the kids' work over the last couple of weeks on display, and I was grateful to be able to share our educational journey with grandma, grandpa, and aunt Paula.

Welcome to Mexico, amigos!

A sampling of our work

Zeke explaining some things he learned about deserts.

These homemade churros were a hit, and our appetizer instead of dessert! Here's the recipe!

Delicious homemade guacamole!

The adults' turn to eat.

Breaking the pinata.

Have lots more to post on Halloween, Steve's office event, and my now 6-year old's birthday!