Saturday, July 19, 2014

It's a New Year of Learning!

We are using My Father's World: Creation to the Greeks as our spine this year. This will be our first time officially studying ancient history for a full year, and I am so excited! We have a fifth grader, Caraline, a third grader, Ryan, and a first grader, Jonathan. (Jonathan is joining us in MFW: C to G. We are adding in his own phonics/reading/spelling and math program- one that I've used in the past with Caraline and Ryan. Since I already had those items, he's not doing MFW's 1st grade curriculum.)

 Leading up to our study, we took a family field trip - that means Daddy, too to the Carlos Museum in Atlanta. The Carlos is a great museum specializing in ancient artifacts from around the world. They even have Egyptian mummies! I wanted everyone to see what we will be studying first and as we study certain things as the weeks progress I can say, "Remember when we saw the .... at the Carlos?" and hopefully it will make history more alive and real for them.

We loved the museum so much we purchased a family membership (so we can visit a few times this year to see the permanent artifacts and the special Creation exhibits that will be on display) We also visited again just a week later with my sister and her little girl! (She lives in Florida and homeschools, too!)

This second time Jonathan got in on the audio tour action. He became really good at finding exhibits with an audio file number and punching it into his own little headset. He would stay in front of the exhibit and listen to the whole thing! The only exhibit he and Ryan didn't want to visit the second time around was the ancient Egyptian exhibit with the all the  mummies. They spooked the boys a bit the first time around, but they would NEVER admit it.
I admit this one is a little creepy.
The artistry is amazing!

While my sister, niece, and Caraline visited that portion of the museum the rest of us went to the book store. We found a great 3-D shapes/pop-up book on ancient Egypt and the same type on gladiators. We bought the shape book called The Gladiators, (it was on clearance) since I have a lot of ancient Egypt resources at home and zero on the Colosseum and gladiators. It is so cool because the pages are vibrant and shaped like the Colosseum. I'll have to post a picture of it later.

On to our first week:

We read all about the seven days of creation in Genesis and pulled in resources recommended by MFW, like Dinosaurs of Eden, which my kids LOVE and The Victor Journey through the Bible which is full of beautiful pictures and background information.  One thing we are adding in is The Mystery of History, Volume I. (I've linked to the first quarter of the book on Kindle and it's only $3.99!) We read the first lesson, and I just love how the author brings history and the Bible alive. I know this will be one of our favorite read alouds this year.

All three kids completed their first notebooking page from MFW and I absolutely had to laugh at the differences in a ten year old girl's depiction of creation - so loving and sweet. And then my eight year old boy's bloody battle scene. (We all believe in no bloodshed before the fall, but he told me he just had draw it that way - it was more fun, lol.)

I love the expression on Caraline's cheetah and how Adam and Eve are strategically placed!

For science we are using Dr. Jay Wile's Science in the Beginning as recommended in the newest MFW manual. I can't say enough good things about this curriculum. Our first two lessons have been great for all three ages! I love the meat of the lesson is only a page and a half long with a simple experiment to complement each. (It doesn't bore them since it's NOT long winded like some narration based science books can be.)

It is fabulous for hands on learners like my boys! Science in the Beginning takes the days of creation one by one for its lessons. So the premise is the same as Genesis for Kids,which is used in the older manuals. I do have Genesis for Kids,and we did read those pages, too but by far my favorite is Dr. Wile's.

Since we are learning about light and color, I am also reading aloud a Magic Schoolbus chapter book called Color Day Relay . So far it is really good! I bought the whole 20 book set used at our homeschool group's book sale earlier in the summer.

For foreign language and vocabulary building we are continuing our study of Latin using Prima Latina. (We use the DVD's!) This is a product we reviewed last year when we participated in The Old Schoolhouse's Review Crew. We are also using English from the Roots Up which is very good and used in MFW: C to G. I bought the flashcards, too. Even Jonathan can tell you what the Greek word biblos means in English and throw out a few derivatives! So we are learning Latin and Greek this year.

We are going to continue studying Spanish, too. We like Homeschool Spanish Academy and will probably start those Skype based lessons again in September.

This year we will learn more about and even pick a few Biblical feasts to celebrate in MFW: C to G. I've been wanting to learn more about this through a Christian perspective for a while now. I just love learning along side my little ones!

This week we learned about the Sabbath by my reading about it in Celebrating Biblical Feasts. And then we had a conversation about what I read.  We also read aloud from a recommended picture book, The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays. We like this book a lot. We didn't actually DO a Jewish Sabbath like the lesson plans suggested. I do hope to celebrate this feast with the little ones in the weeks to come.

I'll talk about some of our other subjects next week. For now, I'd like to share some moments captured in pictures from our first week back to school.

Our Week in Pictures:

A homeschool friend asked me to share a picture of our classroom on facebook. Here it is for you all, too.
Our classroom

Our outdoor classroom
The kids participated in an art camp one afternoon through our church. We carried a very sweet friend with us, too. She homeschools and lives right across the street!

We took a break one beautiful afternoon and picked peaches for the very first time.
We ended up with a full 1/2 bushel of yummy red globe peaches.

Two of the three had their very first eye exam. They rocked the dilation sunglasses. Ryan will have his next week.

The boys made megalodons one afternoon. They also made a super cool T-Rex out of poster board.

Isn't he awesome!

I appreciate you stoppingng by and reading our scrapbook of our week!

I am linking up with Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


Weekly Wrap-Up

(This post does have affiliate links to products we use and love. please see our disclosure.)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Day We Got a Second Chance to Live

Today is AFE (Amniotic Fluid Embolism) Awareness Day, and I'd like to help raise awareness by sharing my story.     

AFE is not a common occurrence. The survival rate is low. Many precious moms and babies loose their lives to AFE. Of the ones that do survive, many are often in comas and in ICU for weeks or even months. Then there are those like me who are off the ventilator and able to hold their baby in less than 24 hours.   

Not much is know about AFE, and there is a research project underway that I plan to participate in through the AFE Foundation. To learn more, please visit

Our Story: 

  March 20, is the first day of spring. A time when we are reminded of rebirth and new beginnings. This day, six years ago, was certainly a new beginning for our family, in a way we didn't expect. 

Jonathan's labor was a normal one. But something unexpected happened near the end. My uterus began a contraction and didn't stop. The placenta completely separated from the uterine wall (placental abruption). Jonathan, at that moment, was cut off from his oxygen supply from me. He was left with only what remained... I couldn't breath; I couldn't talk; I couldn't move. We believe at this time I also experienced an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE). All of these things on their own, let alone all together, are extreme emergencies. 

 We were rushed into the OR for an emergency C-section. I was put completely under since I opted to not get an epidural or any pain meds during labor. This was truly a blessing, for all that happened next I didn't need to be awake. 

Jonathan was delivered with an APGAR of 1 out of 10. He had only a heart beat of less than 30. He was completely grey and limp. He had to be resuscitated. His odds of surviving weren't good. I'll never forget the nurse saying afterwards that they were all praying out loud for Jonathan. And after several minutes he took his first breath. His blood gases revealed that he was only 1/100th of a point away from having brain damage. 

While in the OR, I began bleeding out. It's called DIC. In nursing school the abbreviation for Disseminated Intravascualar Coagulation stands for "Death is Coming." My blood pressure dropped and remained extremely low for hours. They were constantly palpating for pulses to make sure I was perfusing. My family was told I might not make it. There were no platelets in the hospital. I needed one more operation, that might save me - but it couldn't be done until platelets arrived. 

I received over 17 units of blood and blood products. My family and the or team prayed over me. The surgery stopped the bleeding and nine hours after giving birth, 8 of which were spent in the OR, I awoke on the ventilator. 

Marty told me all that had happened as soon as I woke up, but I couldn't ask questions b/c of the vent. I remember doing the sign for baby and was told I couldn't see him yet, but that they'd make a picture of him and bring that to me. I remained on the vent for nine more hours and was weaned off. Seventeen hours later, I got to hold my little one for the first time, but I had no strength.
The first time I held Jonathan
    I fought hard to nurse Jonathan. For the first three weeks there was NO milk. I didn't give  up. After three years, I had to make him stop! 

  It took a full year to regain my strength. My short term memory and concentration was terrible. And I still struggle to find the right words at times. I worried I wouldn't be able to homeschool my children. My OB told me the best thing I could do is homeschool. He said it would be not only good for the kids, but excellent for me, too. 
I prayed. My family prayed. Our friends prayed.

I am so grateful to be healed, to have a perfectly healthy son, and that we are both alive.

Our family changed. My husband no longer takes jobs where he travels constantly. Being together is what's important. He has sacrificed executive positions to be home. I know that's been hard on him, but he'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Taking a deep breath and being with family is not taken for granted. I hope to never take one day for granted - for every single breath is a gift. And I hope to always live my life in a way that honors the giver of life, Jesus. And that no matter what struggles or hardships we face - because there will be more, we always find our hope in Him.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Grandmother's Pound Cake Recipe with a Chocolate Pound Cake Variation

Because you've asked, here's my grandmother's yummy Pound Cake recipe. If you want a Chocolate Pound Cake, I will share how to do that, too.


1/2 pound butter (2 sticks)
1/2 c. butter Crisco shortening sticks (it's yellow!)
3 c. sugar
3 c. plain flour (sift!)
1/2 tsp. baking powder (sift together with the flour after the first cup)
6 large eggs
4 tbs. coco powder - if you want a chocolate pound cake. (add it to flour to sift)
1 c. whole milk
2  tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. butter flavoring - may pour vanilla and butter flavoring in with milk

What to do:

Spray your pan with "Baker's Joy" to keep from sticking. It has flour in it.

In your stand mixer,  cream butter and shortening. Add sugar and cream again. Begin adding in 3 tbs. of flour and the baking powder mixture and a little bit (1/8 of a cup maybe) of the milk with vanilla and butter flavoring while adding in one egg yolk at a time. (You will beat egg whites separately.) Make sure you start and end with the flour!

Then beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks with a hand mixer. (Be sure you don't get any yolk or have any butter on your whisks otherwise, the peaks will never form! Take it from me...)
Keep your main mixture mixing on the stand at a speed of 2.

Then, with a spatula fold the egg whites into your main mixture.

Bake at 325 for 1 hr and 20 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR!!

Place on a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before transferring to your cake plate. Don't put the lid on the cake plate until the cake has completely cooled, otherwise it will sweat.

Go ahead a cut a piece to share with your family. My grandma is a big believer in savoring the moment and not waiting - who knows what may happen between now ... and .... then. Enjoy it NOW!

*After cooking for 1 hr and 20 minutes if the top has cracks, that means there is NO raw streak. You can always test this by sticking a tooth pick as far down as it will go. If it comes out clean, it's done.


~ Hope and Grandma Peggy