Saturday, December 18, 2010

True Confessions

I know that it is needless to say that I just can't keep up with blogging during this holiday season. But...I HAVE to post this! I enjoy sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly, and this one is pretty darn ugly. Unfortunately, it's about my heart during this glorious season! Here it goes!

Yesterday, we celebrated our last day of school by not doing any school and going to a friends house to have a Christmas party...we read Christmas stories, watched a Christmas movie, did a craft, ate pizza, decorated cookies...a fantastic time! I had a few errands to run after our party and before the kids' spanish lesson at three, and here is where it hits the fan.

Our first lovely errand was dropping off all the gifts we had purchased and wrapped for our Adopt-a-Family through Salvation Army. I truly love doing this and we are so blessed that I feel a responsibility to help those that may be struggling. However...I will not be shopping at Wal-Mart again...but that story is for another post all about my ugly heart as well...

Anyways...after dropping off our gifts, we the Post Office. Oh yes, the post office at this time of year with 4 young children, 3 of which just have a hard time with self-control...why have I not learned????? The line is only about 20 people long, they actually have a pile of toys that the kids can play with--nice! I have my bag of gifts to fit into a box and a few envelopes...we pass the flat rate display panel and pick out a box that my packages will fit into and start putting my packages in the box...the kids are sprawled out on the floor around me playing with the toys, we are slowly inching our way through the line as I move along filling out the addresses on the 3 packages I have to mail.

**sigh** "Do you mind if I go in front of you?" says the elderly woman behind me, which I know by reading her body language the last few minutes has NOT been happy to be behind me.

I pause for quite awhile, since I am not quick on my feet at all and am just absolutely bewildered that someone would ask me this... "No, I'd really like to keep my place in line..." I weakly respond.

There you go. I cannot believe I told this little old lady no! Now, there were a few more comments from this little old lady that I won't share, since I am tempted to justify my behavior! I tried to redeem my failure to hand out grace and be a light for Jesus by asking her if she'd like to go ahead of me once I got to the front of the line, but she not-so-graciously declined.

Oh dear. A major fail on my part. It led to a good discussion with the kids that night, especially Zeke who could understand my struggle to show this lady grace. I told him that this is the way parents and trained and disciplined by God. He got to see me repent that night when I was praying for him at bedtime and ask God for another chance to extend someone grace who doesn't deserve it, just as our Lord gives us favor when we don't deserve it.

I am so far from Jesus! I feel as if my heart has shrunk this season and is just a few sizes...too small...


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Month-old school review :)

Yes, I think these pictures are about a month overdue on my blog, but hey, life happens...and we've had A LOT of life happening here! One thing I LOVE about these pictures is that Abby was self-motivated to draw them and they show that she was inspired by what we are learning. I chose to deviate from the read-alouds scheduled in our Creation to the Greeks curriculum, and I have been really pleased with our choices so far (these choices were mentioned in the book list in the back of the curriculum, but I would have had no time for them without cutting out the scheduled read-alouds). Our first read aloud was All of a Kind Family, and then we dived into The Golden Goblet, and now we have started one of the scheduled, Star of Light. Abby drew these pictures toward the end of the The Golden Goblet. The kids absolutely LOVED this book, and even though it was heavier reading for Eli and often took me more than a half an hour to read one chapter, they would beg for more each day! This book gave such a vivid picture of the Ancient Egypt culture...and seemed to fall right in line with the cultural things we were learning on any given week. For example, we learned all about Egyptian villas one week, made a model of one, and then got a great description of one while reading The Golden Goblet! Same with the quarries, marketplaces, artisans, tombs...I just loved it and we were all sad when we finished the book. Abby and Eli have empty booklets on their desks with the title "Ranofer's New Life" because we were mourning the end of this book and I asked them each what they thought Ranofer's life would look like now...and that we wished there was a book about Ranofer's new life. I should probably encourage this creative spark and desire in them...but a homeschooling mom has only so much time in one day/week/month :) Anyway, this was just cool, so I had to share it!
Here are some other pics from the past month:
Abby and Eli after making an apple pie during our reading of "How to Make and Apple Pie and See the World" ( I am trying to read some Five in a Row books with Abby and Eli this year)

The boys playing with their throwing sticks, just like the boys in Ancient Egypt:

Congrats to Zeke for completing his test for white belt senior...

And here is Micah mining in a box...actually, he was coloring inside the box and found it to be dark, so requested his head lamp. This child keeps me way too busy!

Since all this, we have just been plugging away. I have stripped some of the projects out of our weeks because I am yet again feeling very overwhelmed with life, so am trying to get the basics done, plus return/regroup from travel, decorate for Christmas, do my Christmas shopping, make dinners, recover from a nasty cough/cold that is entering its third week...etc...sigh...

More later on our awesome Thanksgiving trip to Niagara Falls and New Hampshire! And, wasn't cutting down a Christmas tree supposed to be a fun family adventure, full of happiness and memory making? Well, that is NOT how it turned out for us this year, which left me really discouraged about the kids' hearts...but it did lead to a good heart to heart discussion with Zeke and is keeping me very humble...

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Funny Micah Sayings

One day, Micah was fussing about eating his oranges, which he usually likes. Here is one excuse he came up with: "I only eat them on Saturdays!!!" We all just started laughing!

After church, we usually go out to eat with a group of friends. One of my friends was suggesting that Micah get up off the floor and eat his lunch at the table, to which Micah responded, " My mom is talking to her friends, so I can do this." Doesn't that say a lot about my parenting? :)

Tonight, he did not like what was being served for dinner: "but it will give me cavities!!!" I had said this to him earlier when I found him sucking on yet another Halls lozenger.

It is lots of fun being Micah's mom :)

School Review

In our Creation to the Greeks curriculum, we are having a really great time this year reading through Genesis, although I do have to edit out quite a bit of material :) They know that when I have them shut their Bibles so they can't read along with me that it is something inappropriate for children to read! Today, we were discussing Jacob's twelve sons and filling out a sheet for their history notebooks on all the sons...Zeke noticed that along with the two wives of Jacob, two servants were also listed as moms! We did not focus our attention there, however! We have been learning a lot about Egyptian art over the last week, and this year, will turn our attention to Egyptian homes and home life. Aren't these pictures amazing, by Eli and Abby?! I have been tempted on many occasions to cut out the art portion of the curriculum, but I am glad that I have kept at it. However, we have been failing miserably with Vivaldi!!!

And this is Zeke's tomb painting.
In other subjects, Zeke is stellar at fractions! We've been focusing on mixed numbers for the last few lessons. He is, however, less than stellar at his English this year. The writing is actually going ok, but the grammar lessons are more of a challenge for him than they ever have been! I'm not exactly sure what is going on...we have decided to give him an extra English sheet as homework every night. He was not happy about this at first, but now that he sees that it is really not that much work, he has a good attitude about it. He also gets some math problems every night.

Abby is doing just fine in everything. She has been less than excited when we have a coloring sheet for our history notebooks, which I find very odd. She will sit and color many other things all day long...but balks at these sheets, for some reason. I could probably be pushing her a little more in math, she only does 2 sheets a day from the Beta Math U See book. I could add some drill work for her and that would probably be good.

Eli is flying through math; I still haven't found one thing to be challenging for him...sigh...a good problem to have, I know. He sits and reads SO MUCH when I am busy instructing the other kids. I'm trying to be better at fitting in our Five In A Row lessons. This week, my goal is to make an apple pie with him! He has been getting a little too much negative attention lately and needs some positive!

Micah is still loving any school work I have for him. He hates his naps, which he reminds me very loudly and says that the other kids "get to do so much more fun school and I get to do nothing". I don't agree :) I wish I would remember to pull out the play-doh more often for him, though. We did play with FLOAM one day, and he insisted that this hanging lantern was actually a birthday hat.

Awesome Field Trip!

We took a field trip to U of M's Museum of Archaeology last week, which my grandma has been asking me to do for about a year now! It was so perfect! It is not too huge and overwhelming, but they had a great collection of things from ancient Egypt and the Mesopotamia was fun to see and read about things and actually know what some of the things mean!!!! I plan on going back when we are studying ancient Greece at the end of the year, and then next year for ancient Rome. They had a great little gift shop where I picked up a kit to make your own papyrus! And they have "Civilizations in a Box" that you can rent from the museum for $20 for 2 weeks. I got to see an example of comes with lots of books, artifacts, videos...I might get one for Greece or Rome ( I do NOT need anything more for Egypt!).

Eli recognized the cartouche in this display and the kids were remembering what some of the hieroglyphs stood for...

Birthday Girl

On November first, Abby turned seven! She is a joy-filled little girl with a great grin and giggle! She is a wriggle-worm, creative, brilliant, compassionate, amazing little girl! Hope you had a great birthday, Bee-Gee! We celebrated with a dinner at Red Robin, then home for cake and presents and a friend tea party on Saturday! Too much fun! (yes, I'm exhausted, but loved getting everything ready for her party...if I had to choose a career, I would become a birthday party organizer--do those exist?)

Welcome to the family, Kit!


Airheads were a big hit for the trick-or-treaters!

Here is what Micah thought of pumpkin carving ;) More specifically, seeing all the guts come out of the pumpkins. I guess I could have been more compassionate and offered a hug instead of snapping a picture...but this child just cracks me up! I mean, look at him posing as Buzz!!! What a hoot!

Pumpkin carving was so much fun this year (not for Micah...) because the kids actually did it themselves! Micah did draw his own face for his pumpkin at least...the square eyes and big jagged mouth were his own ideas! I just love their creations!

And here we are on our annual stop at great-grandma's to trick or treat with her!

The Soccer Players

Eli had a great season this fall on his soccer team! We discovered that he is a pretty physical player, already using his arms and shielding. He got to score lots of goals this year, which is always fun!

Micah had a great time being an orange Tiger and Steve did a great job as the coach of their team, focusing on just having fun out on the field!

Zeke's team finished their outdoor season and immediately moved to their indoor season. They were amazing in their opening game last Saturday! This is his second year on this team, and we feel that it is a really good group of kids...but we are always praying for guidance on what the best thing for Zeke is. This experience is offering him many chances to deal with some difficult "life" situations, gaining life skills and maturity along the way. His mom likes the easy way out, but dad hangs right in there with him through it all!

I can't do it!!!!


I just can't do it this year. What can't I do, you ask? Everything!!!! Laundry, dishes, laundry, school, training, meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, read alouds, did I mention laundry?!?!?

I am more overwhelmed this year than ever before, I think! Two out of three soccer teams have ended, perhaps that will help a bit...Two birthdays and four parties have come and gone...a broken down car has been replaced...but I really don't see things slowing down for the next...oh...15 years?!

Really, I wouldn't have it any other way. I have the life I always dreamed about, I am so incredibly blessed! I just get tired sometimes! And overwhelmed. I start desiring my own time and selfish agendas. I'm sure most of you have been there too...

I hope that sometime before Christmas I have time to sit down and actually write down a weekly grocery list, and make it to the grocery store for that week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekly Highlights & Review

This week, we got to experience two special events! Thursday morning we went to the play Jack and the Beanstalk put on by Wild Swan Theater. I took my camera, but forgot to put my memory card back after downloading pictures, so no pics :( Then Friday, we went with a few other families from our co-op to the Providence Metropark in Ohio and rode on the Miami-Erie Canal and saw the Ludwig mill. It was a great little trip on a beautiful fall day!

I used the rest of the afternoon Friday to run some much needed errands: getting a long overdue oil change, and getting the boys' hair cut. It was Eli's first time in a barber chair! He loved it!



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Catch-Up on School Reviews!

If I am remembering correctly, we did manage to get two days of school in last week before we all got sick. This week we are catching up, although we have a half-day tomorrow and no school on Friday due to a field trip, so maybe next week will be our catch-up week :)

I had a random twenty minutes yesterday afternoon, so grabbed Eli and Abby to finish up the Nile River model we attempted. I can't find the site where I got the directions for this, but in my recent searches, found another cool model of the Nile River where you actually "flood" the river and have grass seed growing on either side. Too bad I didn't find it when I was looking for models to make! That would have been neat, but it is too late now! At least we got to carve out the irrigation ditches in this model.

We did get to build our sugar cube pyramids last week and Zeke was dismayed at how imperfect the cubes were and frustrated that they would not fit together like they should! He is way too much like me!!! We also made some mummies, which was a fun and quick project! And that last picture is Abby thinking out of the box, as usual. She made dice out of the sugar cubes :)

We have been plugging along at fractions (Zeke), tally marks (Eli), and "money math" (Abby). We just finished an English chapter on nouns and after discussing a very rough English day with Steve, we have decided that Zeke could use some "homework" in the English department. There are some things that he is just not catching on and not remembering like I think he should by now...possessives, proper nouns to name a few. And getting him to write a "more creative" sentence is just painful. Today was a difficult day for homeschooling...I was ready to send them all away to school! But then, I wouldn't get shots like this:

"Mom, it's too sunny at my desk. I can't see anything." "Here, use your sunglasses :)"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Weekly Review in Two Words:



Yes, we had a horrible rendition of the stomach flu last week. We went down like dominoes, including me! We are catching up this week from our sick days last week. I do have quite a few pics to post from the school we did do last week; I will try to post on another night.

My Nine Year Old!

Happy Birthday to Zeke! God made you so amazing! Your maturity this past year has astounded me. You handle things better than I do sometimes! You are so polite, a talented athlete, a hard worker, a kind and caring big brother...Mommy and daddy love you and are so proud of you!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Messy Monday Morning

Here is my house this messy Monday morning. If you happen to visit me every other Tuesday, you would get a completely inaccurate view of my house because mommy's helper comes those days and the house is completely, surface level clean for a whole 10 minutes :)

Most of the time, it is a complete disaster :) Here is what I encountered the first half hour I was downstairs this morning !

A complete bowl of spilled Rice Krispies, which, I am proud to say, I barely batted an eyelash at and completely ignored while I finished dressing and washing my face, drinking my tea, and walking past it a few times until I decided to get the camera out.

My kitchen counter : (

My kitchen sink

My basement

Creation to the Greeks wk 4.5

Well, I stand to be corrected! I have been finding PLENTY of projects to do for Ancient Egypt. Not a surprise, I know. I have gotten some books from the library (based off of the book list in the back of the TM) that have some nice ideas for projects as well as the curriculum's Ancient Egypt book (I can usually find the same projects with simpler directions and steps in other sources). This past week, we worked on a model of the Nile River, which is finally dry and just waiting for some paint :) And we attempted to make a reed boat using directions from a library book. We also made a model of a succah, since I was not up for constructing an actual structure in our backyard (although we are having such beautiful Indian summer weather here, I kind of wish we had so we could be eating lunches outside under a succah structure!!!). The kids have REALLY enjoyed learning the books of the Old Testament and Micah is often wandering around the house singing the song '...Numbers, Dueteronomy..." We used the song off of Wee Sing Bible Songs.

We are plugging along in our core subjects too. Here is Micah working on his letter "E" this week. Eli completed book 3 of the SSRW Raceway book this week. Zeke conquered two-digit multiplication rather quickly, although he still needs lots of drill work. He just needs to be quicker at his basic facts. Abby was introduced to regrouping in math and caught on quickly.

We continue to enjoy our experience at co-op. The most stressful part is trying to reach all 3 of my younger children in time to transition from first to second hour classes. But, thanks to the help of another mom, I think I can manage it easier now without finding Abby crying in the bathroom!

This week are studying mummies and pyramids, discussing the meaning of Sukkoth (we are a little off-schedule with the weeks in the curriculum...), beginning fractions (Zeke), cursive writing (Abby), getting our teeth cleaned, and celebrating birthdays this weekend!

Hope you all have a good week!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Baking Frenzy

Friday night, Steve and Zeke were gone so I had myself a little baking frenzy! I'm glad Steve wasn't home to see the mess I made in the kitchen :) I have to share this recipe with you, because it is the BEST, moistest pumpkin bread you'll ever have! I LOVE it and LOVE to make many batches of it during the fall season! Just don't buy a large can of pumpkin and quadruple the recipe like I did...what a mess! :) Only use a small can of pumpkin and I think you'd have to one and a half times the recipe (or I think I just double it and put in only 1 1/2 cups pumpkin). Enjoy if you have the time!

Pumpkin Bread

1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup water

Mix the above ingredients in your mixer. Then add:

1 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sald
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp (I actually only use 1/2 tsp) ground cloves

Optional: throw in some mini-chocolate chip morsels!

350 degree oven~Bake in loaf pans or muffin cups. Loaves need about an hour, muffins about 40 minutes...