Thursday, May 23, 2013

Weekly Highlights: Nature, Nature, Nature!

May 6- 10

 This week we have enjoyed our backyard. I find I am much more at peace when I am outside enjoying God's creation. The weather has been so very nice. It's not nearly as hot as it usually is in May in the deep south. It's been wonderful.
And, I love watching my husband play with our little ones and our  four legged little ones. Watching them have so much fun playing warms my heart and brings me much joy! I want to hold tight to these precious memories and these days. No matter how my body feels, I find such happiness being with the family God has richly blessed me with. I am so thankful.
 Jonathan loves to dig in the dirt for snails, slugs, rolly pollies, worms and rocks! As long as there is dirt with little creatures, he will play for hours!
Another favorite photo from this week.

 Our little blue birds are growing. Unfortunately, two of the five eggs have not hatched.We've never had this happen. It's sad, but it is a part of life in this fallen world. What will it be like when all is restored to perfect? Caraline and I talk about that a lot. I love her heart and the talks we have about Heaven.
 Ryan made a very big discovery! The bluebird parents are very good housekeepers. They discard the hatched shells away from the nest and Ryan found TWO of the three in our backyard!
Way to go, Ryan!! Great discovery!
 Here is another surprise. A titmouse family has taken up residence in a birdhouse that has been empty for at least two years. This is a family we will let be. In my experience, they don't tolerate human interference as well as bluebirds. This will be our only peek into their house. We do enjoy watching the mom and dad diligently work together to feed their sweet little family.
 And our strawberries are coming along nicely, especially considering I give them zero attention.

 And we spot this little family quite often on our drive towards town. It's so much fun seeing a goose family while reading Charlotte's Web!

The end of this week brought my precious mother and father-in-law to our house for a quick visit. I had an EGD scheduled at the hospital, and they came down to stay with our precious ones during the procedure. We enjoyed their two and a half day visit- and it's never, ever long enough.

As far as school, we are enjoying our review items and taking a break from everything else- since our official year is OVER!
  • Prima Latina the full kit and caboodle. I can tell you studying Latin would not be as easy if we didn't have the lessons on DVD. The kids are learning so much! I am looking forward to writing this review!
  • Birdcage Press' Baby World Animals card game is educational and fun! This has been a wonderful treat for all of us!
  • Logo Adventures is fun way to learn computer programing language. Caraline adores this program and I can see her reasoning skills are being challenged and developed in a fabulous way. This is another big hit!
  • And we are loving two quality products from Christianity Cove. Bible Science Experiments which are so easy to do and the way the authors tie in the experiment to a Bible truth is absolutely genius. We are also working through Daily Dilemmas-26 True-to-Life  Devotions for Kids. I can say that the answers to the problems presented aren't always black and white. Even I have learned a great deal from these devotions. Both are perfect for not only Sunday Schools but home schools and just families in general too.
 Next week we will begin Caraline's first standardized test--- and on the 11th Caraline will finally be able to enjoy Destination Unknown, a big reward for finishing her T&T (Awana) handbook! I will save that for the next Weekly Highlights.


Schoolhouse Library ~ Your Next Learning Adventure Awaits...

"Are you a new homeschooler and feeling overwhelmed? Not sure where to start or how to begin? How about a long-time homeschool parent who is looking for some new, fun reading resources to change things up?" ~Schoolhouse Library

Well, The Schoolhouse Library, the newest offering from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, is a collection of over 175 e-books, audio books and printables from a great variety of publishers in the homeschooling community and is here to help! This set is designed specifically to help us on our homeschooling journey. There are e-books with topics pertaining to preschoolers all the way to high school. And the best part is this collection is available for only $25- that's it! I'm always on the lookout for a great deal ~ this is a steal in my opinion and totally worth the cost.

Here are Five of our Absolute Favorites (it was so hard to choose!):
  • One of our favorites is Amy Puetz's Heroines of the Past - Victorian unit study. We have long been fan's of Amy Puetz's Heroines of the Past series! 
  • We also love the Map Trek ~ Atlas and Outline Maps of World History from Knowledge Quest. This is going to come in handy this year as we study Countries and Cultures from around the globe!
  • We love lapbooking, and there are two downloads from A Journey Through Learning. One is a Horse lapbook and the other is a copywork book on Reptiles! There is one lapbook with notebooking elements from Hands of a Child on Carnivorous Plants! All three look great! We are looking forward to digging in to these!
  • We also listen to a lot of audio books in the car. This package includes 15 audio books from Audio School in history and literature- some may be one hour samplers- I've got to dig deeper.
  • Something I just found that looks amazing is a 119 page e-book from Math Mammoth on Early Geometry for grades 1-3. This looks like a fun, hands on approach to geometry.
 Check out the plethora of topics covered ~ and this list isn't even exhaustive~ at SchoolhouseLibrary!


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Wednesday, May 15, 2013


We noticed recently that a couple of our reviews are featured on the Schoolhouse Review Crew's Pinterest board - they generally choose only ten or so reviews to feature on their review boards! Plus, another review is featured on one of our favorite vendor's Pinterest board! This is a super big honor! Since I use my blog as a scrapbook of our life, I wanted to take a moment to document this special moment!!


Plus, a friend pointed out our Apologia: Swimming Creatures review is featured on Apologia's Young Explorer's Pinterest board, too!! I can't find the picture that Apologia used from our blog for this review, but our review is nearly at the bottom- Caraline is leaning over into a touch pool at the Georgia Aquarium.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Highlights: A Prayer Answered and Our Babies are Here!

Weekly Highlights: April 29 - May 3

We have three tiny bluebird babies! Two have yet to hatch! It is so much fun watching bluebird parents work together to raise their little ones. It's equally exciting to watch the little ones grow so quickly. In just over two weeks, these little ones will be ready to fledge. (We stop looking in the nest around day 14. We don't want to spook them and cause them to leave the nest early.) ~ The little ones typically fledge between days 16-22.

 And this is Jonathan's prayer answered! We haven't seen toads or frogs in our yard for probably over a year. He has been faithfully praying for toads or frogs to re-inhabit our backyard. Not only did he find one this week, but he found TWO!! What a wonderful way for Jonathan to see first hand how prayers are answered. His little smile says it all!

This week marked the end of Awana for the kids. I am extremely proud to announce Caraline, Ryan and Jonathan finished their handbooks! This is not an easy, peasy feat. Each one worked diligently, because they wanted to, to finish their books!
Caraline receiving her T&T Handbook 1 Award!

Ryan was in charge of the American Flag Pledge the night he received his Sparks Handbook #2 Award! This picture was taken a few weeks ago. He finished super early!

Parents were invited to Jonathan's Cubbies class for the last performance of their club pledges and songs. And the culmination of all the Cubbies hard work ~ the awards ceremony!  This took place on the last night of club.

For a special treat third grade clubbers and up, who finish their handbooks, get to participate in Destination Unknown. It's a super secret five hour reward that includes lots of fun, team work and friendship building in small groups. Caraline was so happy to have been invited to Destination Unknown! She was a little apprehensive at first because no other third grade girl finished their handbook this year. She was worried about being the only girl in her grade level. So, I did call and talk to the Awana leader under the utmost secrecy about what would be happening during those five hours (and to volunteer as a chaperone). Being the mommy I am, I would've called to get the scoop anyway and volunteer to help out ---

What I heard was very exciting and I knew Caraline would have a BLAST! She would be in a group of all girls, albeit older girls (2 fifth graders and a female chaperone she knows well) -  she is so mature for her age, we thought this would work out perfectly anyway. Hearing that I knew what would be happening, that her daddy and I approved and that she would be in a group of all girls helped settle her fears. In the days to come her excitement and anticipation of destination unknown grew by leaps and bounds!

Our official school year is over, but we of course are still learning. The kids are living outside from sunup to sundown, playing and exploring and observing nature. We are finishing up Charlotte's Web, Ryan is almost finished with Reading Eggs, Caraline is working through MathRider's timed math drills, and both are continuing to work through their Saxon Math workbooks. Jonathan unofficially began Kindergarten this week, and I didn't take any pictures!

And of course of review items, Prima Latina, Christianity Cove, Logo Adventures and Birdcage Press. We are having a lot of fun with each of these! I can't wait to share our experiences with you in June!

Caraline and Ryan are continuing their music lessons each week. They are also finishing up their last couple of weeks of gymnastics for the year. We typically participate in gymnastics in the summer months, but this year we are taking a break. ~ Jonathan had been doing Kindergym for a couple of years and finally had enough about a month ago. We went ahead and pulled him out of lessons. He was so ready to move up to the bigger boy class, but there weren't any openings.

~ Without getting into to much detail, this was a tough week for me physically and mentally. I was still uncertain about which foods were OK  to eat and which were not and it was taking its toll on me. (I had a couple of anaphylatic reactions to food and could feel smaller reactions happening with many different but regular food choices from the past that I would try. I kept telling my doctors, please tell me it's panic attacks- please. And they wouldn't. They all thought it was true food allergies, but I was at my wits' end.)  I'd lost eight pounds in a little over a week and a half, and I was trying very hard to rely on God and prayer to get me through.

I started reading Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus by Kyle Idleman along with my Bible Study of James: Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore and both were/are really resonating with me. These two studies truly go hand in hand. Couple that with our Bible Study group from church and all the sweet friends that are offering encouragement and prayer, and knowing in my heart I have God on MY side ~ and knowing that through trials I will become stronger and trials always work out for the good for those that love Him. I am finding peace and comfort.


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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Weekly Highlights: Eggs, Reading and ... Growing

Weekly Highlights: April 22-26

Eggs! Our bluebirds haven't hatched...yet. They should be making their grand appearance any day now. The boys have been on the hunt for all kinds of eggs this week. Along with our bird eggs, here's a sample of a couple of insect egg treasures! 

 And here are our dwarf irises. I've noticed they don't bloom every year for some reason- or maybe we are out of town when they do bloom. They don't last long! So, I made sure to snap a picture of them!

Our strawberries are growing!! We have about ten or so plants (not a lot) and usually the critters eat them before we have a chance to harvest for ourselves! This year each little one has had at least one ripe strawberry from the garden! Success!!
Our homeschool group had our annual used book and curriculum sale this week. I didn't feel like gathering our books to be placed in the sale, but I did manage to go with my sweet little Caraline. We picked up quite a few 0.50 paperback treasures, and I did grab a Writing with Ease Level 4 workbook for $5.  I also ordered the hardback manual,  The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease since I've heard so many great things about it! I must say I love the simplicity. I think I will give it a try this coming year with each little one.
Caraline read Classic Starts: Little Women, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm,  Pony Pals: Detective Pony, and American Girl: Secrets on 26th Street (Mysteries Through Time)   all in just a couple of days. She read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm in just two sittings in one day! She's working on Eight Cousins on Aunt Hill - I think this one will take her a few days. She is loving this classic. I thought it would be a tough read for her, but she is not having any problems at all with it! By the way, it's FREE on Kindle! All of these books she picked out at the used book sale. I LOVE that she is a voracious reader!

We are still working on Charlotte's Web as a family read aloud- we should've finished it by now. I've just not been feeling the greatest these past few days- I have a lot of people praying, and I'm seeing God show himself to me- to me ~ I'm so thankful for His grace and mercy -  in such comforting ways. I am having to completely depend on Him. The comfort of KNOWING He is with me is amazing. Having Jesus show Himself to me ~ and likewise asking for my heart and mind to be open to Him is so important. I have also learned through my Bible study this week how important it is to not be "double-minded" when asking for wisdom and more of what that means through my study of the book of James with Beth Moore (James: Mercy Triumphs ). Also, this pastor's sermon series on Ephesians has been phenomenal. I am learning so much! Have you wondered "Why are we here?" or "Why did God create us?" I know you will enjoy listening to this sermon series to find out what he believes - it's something I'd never heard before.  I have so much growing to do--


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