Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jonathan - how is he doing?

Jonathan is going to be 4 years old in less than two months. How did that happen? He is growing up way too fast! In the picture above, you may notice that he is well protected with all of his weapons! (a knife on one side of his belt, a handgun on the other side, and his rifle stuck down the back of his pants) It's pretty common to find Jonathan walking around the house just like this!
Jonathan is doing well with his preschool lessons. He loves every minute of the time we spend doing his school. His only complaint is that it doesn't last long enough. He surprises me with his interest and his ability to listen intently. Because he's always been so rough and tumble, I suppose I didn't expect him to be studious as well. He is mostly sweet with his sister, but sometimes gets a little too rough. He is learning self control. (aren't we all?)
He has strange sleep patterns at night - which is why - (I am convinced) that he still naps each day. We thought we had gotten him out of his habit of coming downstairs and sleeping on the couch, and then he started it up again. We worked on him again with it, and just found out the other day, that he's *probably* still doing it sometimes. Aaron told us that when he got up the other night to go to the bathroom and get a drink of water, that Jonathan wasn't in his bed. So, we are thinking that he's still coming downstairs sometimes ... and then going back up to bed before everyone else gets up. I am going to have to start taping a baby monitor to him just to keep track of him.
I love this boy so much. He has the deepest, darkest most puppy doggish eyes and his smile warms me from head to toe. I can't get enough of his hugs.
On a side note ... he started Awana Cubbies and thinks it's AWESOME! But he still wants to wear his Puggles shirt everyday.

Monday, August 30, 2010

We are officially ...

under contract for this house:

We are so excited! We have been looking at houses since June, and have experienced some roadblocks along the way ... but are thankful that it led us to this house! We didn't intend or expect to buy a new construction home, but are very excited to be the first ones to live in this house.

This is the dining room with a back door that leads to a large partially covered deck.

This is the Living Room.

I am very excited to say that we are going to have a gas line run to the kitchen so that we can have a gas range. Now that I've had a gas range for the past year and a half - I can't imagine having anything else!

This is a view of the kitchen from the stairs.

This is the master bedroom - which has a door that also leads to the back deck!

The house also has 4 large rooms upstairs. Rosalie will have her own room. The boys will share the large bonus room. Rich will use one of the rooms for an office, and the extra room will be used as our school room.

When we moved here 7 1/2 years ago, we thought that we were just passing through and that we would soon move on to another area. I guess we were wrong. Perhaps buying a house means that we are putting down roots.

I am so thankful to have a husband who works so hard to provide for us. He and I never dreamed that we would be a position to buy a house so soon after he completed his PhD. I am thankful that he is a saver and not a spender. I am thankful that he always has the best interest of our family as his #1 priority.

All glory to God for His abundant blessings!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rosalie the superhero

In all fairness, we don't have many girly toys around this house. You might be able to imagine why that is. It is very common to find Rosalie running through the house holding a light saber, a rifle, or trying to dress up like batman.
This particular day she wanted to be Bibleman. So, she brought me all the gear, so that I could help her put it on.
I personally think that she is at a great advantage. It's no secret that (I think) toys *meant for boys* are just more fun!
So ... what is your opinion?
Which is better? *meant for girls* toys or *meant for boys* toys?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Big day today!

I still don't have any pictures to share but I do have a few words to share. First - we start our Awana year tonight - and we are super excited about it. This is a big year for the boys! This is a promotion year for everyone! Jonathan is moving up to Cubbies, Aaron moves up to Sparks, and Martin is moving up to Truth & Training! They are all very excited - but they are all quite nervous too. They are nervous because none of them know fully what to expect. The unknown is causing them a little anxiety.
Second - we have run into a little roadblock in our home buying journey, and we are hoping that it will work itself out.
School is going well for us. I am so encouraged at just how well it is going. It always takes me 3-4 weeks to figure out how to run our school day in a way that uses our time the most efficiently. We are in week 3 right now and have figured out several things already that will make our days run smoothly. I always work out a very detailed schedule before we start, but almost always that schedule gets thrown out the window by week 3. Sure enough that schedule has already been thrown out.
Our daily chore system is working out better than I had dreamed, and our family quiet/Bible times have also been a blessing to me! The children have really embraced both well and having the family quiet time really helps to calm everyone down and focus our day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Random and not so random thoughts

We just came off of a busy and fun weekend. (and I didn't take a single picture ... what was I thinking?) It was a whirlwind of events. I have so many thoughts racing through my mind, so I thought I'd put some of them here.
1. My mom came on Thursday. Oh, how I love it when my mom comes to visit. I asked her to come for two reasons. First, I wanted her to see the house that we have been *trying* to buy. Second, I wanted her to stay with the children, so that Rich and I could go to dinner with our good friends, the Huffman's. (kill 2 birds with 1 stone!)
2. Rich and I went out to dinner with the Danny and Cindy Huffman. It was a wonderful night of good food and even better fellowship! We are so thankful for them and their influence in our lives. AND we were able to do it while my mom was with my children. EVEN BETTER! I didn't have to worry the whole evening!
3. On Friday morning, we took my mom to see the house we made an offer on (in early July - it's a short sale situation, so we have been patiently waiting). We had a great time looking at it again and were able to show it to the children as well.
4. Friday evening we got an unfortunate call from Patti, our realtor, basically telling us that things were not looking good. (too many details to include)
5. We took the children to the Family Fun Fair Awana Kickoff event at our church. WHAT A FUN NIGHT!!! It was fantastic! The children had an amazing time. (why didn't I take pictures?)
6. Saturday - I started looking at listings again, just in case our other house falls through. Rich and I went out looking at a few of them - nothing exciting to report, though.
7. I kept looking online.
8. I found a couple of new and intriguing properties.
9. We decided to go look at them - and they just happened to be having an open house at the time, so we were able to go inside!! We fell in love with one of them.
10. We called Patti and told her about it.
11. We decided to terminate our contract on the other house - we were in a situation where we could terminate at any point before the bank gave approval. We have already been waiting almost 2 months. The drama was about to kill us!
12. We have pretty much decided to make an offer on the house we loved.
13. I usually do all my blogging on the weekend and schedule them to appear each weekday morning at 6 AM. I didn't do a single blog entry this weekend.
14. I feel way too distracted to do school this week . . . but I press on.
15. I absolutely love that whenever I check my blog early in the morning ... if there happens to be a comment ... it's always from Pam. It makes me smile!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rosalie at play

I love my hat!

This is what I do instead of playing with the water table!

I love having my picture taken!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rosalie's Water Table

I'd love to take a picture of Rosalie at her water table ... but in order to do that she'd actually have to play with it.
I exaggerate ... she plays with it a little. But these two boys LOVE it. They play with it alot!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Healthy Alternatives - Sloppy Joes

I have a vague memory of sloppy joes. It seems like I may have had it once or twice as a child - but my memory, vague though it is, was not at all favorable.
However, I stumble upon an online conversation about sloppy joes, and started thinking that I could totally make that into a yummy whole foods meal. I had a feeling that sloppy joes could be a very kid friendly meal. So, I took on the challenge ... and this is what I came up with. I have only made it once, however, so tweaking will come. On this particular night, I made homemade spelt/hard white buns, *organic corn, and **grass-fed beef with onions and the "special sauce".
The sauce:
1 Cup of ***organic ketchup (we happen to think Heinz is the best there is)
1 1/2 heaping teaspoons of prepared mustard
1 Tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of powdered garlic
1 heaping Tablespoon of BBQ sauce (the kind with NO HFCS)
I threw in a little bit of filtered water to thin out the sauce a bit.
I sauteed 2 lbs of grass fed beef with minced onion (1/2 of a small onion chopped finely)
I mixed up the sauce seperately and added it to the sauce when the meat was done browning.
What an incredibly easy whole foods meal!
Also, I chose to make sloppy joes on a day that was already a planned breadmaking day. So, it didn't require anything more of me than usual. Because freshly baked buns are so incredibly awesome . . . I would only make this meal on a day that I am already making bread. I always make two loaves at a time. So, I divide the dough in half, and knead it into a loaf. The other half I use to make about 14-16 buns.
This would freeze well - for those of you that do freezer meals - you can make this ahead and freeze it!
The children loved it! SCORE!!
*organic corn - has not been genetically modified
**grass-fed beef - cows that have not been given antibiotics, hormones, and eat a diet of grass and hay as opposed to corn and soy.
***organic ketchup uses evap. cane juice instead of HFCS

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The first week of school- how did it go?

For the most part ... our first week of school went very well! I had a few curve balls thrown my way this week that I wasn't expecting ... but it would just be too easy without them!

Those of you who homeschool all know that it takes a few weeks to figure out a groove. It takes time to figure out a schedule that will work so that everyone gets the instruction needed. Since I have 3 curriculum and 3 boys to school, this year is a lot different than previous years for me.

The biggest curve ball thrown this week (at me), was that Rosalie cut out her morning nap. I will mention the positives first. 1. I no longer have to anticipate it. It's no longer looming. 2. She takes a pretty lengthy afternoon nap .... ahhh the peace and quiet
3. She's on the same schedule as Jonathan, which makes outings easier.
Let's move on to the negative. (notice it's singular)
1. She is not exactly cooperative at this point.
She wants to be in the middle of all that we do. She's loud, fussy, whiny, and difficult.
Okay. That felt really good to get that out.
I had to train Aaron and Jonathan to play quietly during school. It's now Rosalie's turn for the training process. A process is exactly what it is. There will be days when there will be marked improvement, and there will be days when I will wonder if she's really my child. (deliberately putting aside the fact that she resembles anyone in this family)
Nevertheless, the process is entirely worth it and will eventually bear fruit. In the meantime, you can feel free to pray for me as I go through this process. I can assure you that the process does require much prayer!
Martin is really enjoying his 3rd grade curriculum (I am too!), and is especially loving cursive writing. Aaron is enjoying the 1st grade and his favorite is spelling. This is the first year for Spelling - and he thinks it's fantastic. In fact, on Thursday he was again talking about how much he loved it, (as he was taking his spelling test) and was pleasantly surprised when I told him he was going to get a brand new list of words for next week! OH JOY!
Jonathan enjoys preschool as well and is loving all the fun activities. His comments are the same everyday when we are done. "but I want to do more school!"
So, we press on with week #2 for the boys and the training room for the girl.

Monday, August 16, 2010

1st Week Wrap Up Tradition

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches!!!!

We celebrate our first completed school week with this yummy treat!


Rosalie had a couple bites too ... can you tell she liked it?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

12 New Things

12 New Things
I am linking up with Like A Warm Cup of Coffee to participate in the 12 New Things Challenge
August 15 - September 15
1. Learn how to manage our finances(pay bills, manage accounts)
September 15 - October 15
2. Perfect (or at least come close) the art of making meatballs
October 15 - November 15
3. Learn how to make bar soap
November 15 - December 15
December 15 - January 15
5. Potty Train Rosalie
January 15 - February 15
6. Learn how to Sprout Grain
February 15 - March 15
7. Learn how to make Yogurt
March 15 - April 15
8. Learn how to make the salve that Marsha makes
April 15 - May 15
May 15 - June 15
10. Teach someone to make Healthy Homemade Bread
June 15 - July 15
11. Learn how to shoot firearms
July 15 - August 15
12. Make a dress for Rosalie
Interested in joining the challenge?? Make your list of 12 New Things and join me in this challenge!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Organization - The School Area

I homeschool using the Charlotte Mason Philosophy of education. This requires lots and lots and lots of books! Here is an example of the books required for Martin. (3rd grade)

How do I keep all of those books that we use organized?
Pictured above is my main bookshelf. The top shelf has all of Aaron's (1st grade) and Jonathan's books. The ones that I am currently using for Aaron are laying flat with a couple of them upright. All of Jonathan's books (which there aren't very many for him) are located upright on the far left of the to shelf. The other upright books are all books that we will use during the course of the year, but we haven't gotten to them yet.
The bottom shelf contains all of Martin's books for the year. (3rd grade) The ones that are laying flat on the far right, as well as a few right next to those that are upright are the books we are currently using. All of the upright books to the left of that are books we are not using right now but we will eventually get to those.
I have one small book shelf, an overflow bookshelf for sources and items that I *may* use, and a 5 drawer sterilite cabinet that I use for supplies. i.e. crayons, pencils, index cards, construction paper, folders, notebooks, scissors, glue, and misc.
This is a view of the entire school area.

Bigger Hearts For His Glory - Martin

Martin started 3rd Grade this year!!!
I think I might be more excited than him. I have grown to love Heart of Dakota so much and each year gets more and more involved and more rich with wonderful literature. You can tell just by this picture how many more books are included with this guide than in the guide that Aaron will be doing this year.
Martin will be doing the following this year:
(we'll be using the Heart of Dakota, Bigger Hearts for His Glory teacher guide)
Singapore 3A and 3B Math
Rod and Staff English 3
Cheerful Cursive
Hymns for a Kid's Heart Vol. 1 (not pictured)
8 Read Alouds - from 8 different genre's of literature
Drawn into the Heart of Reading - Level 2/3
(this reading curriculum covers all of the genre's of literature - he will be reading 1-2 books from each genre and working on various types of comprehension activities along with diagramming and outlining)
He has 4 History books - (which are living books in the Charlotte Mason tradition)
6 Science books (also in the CM tradtion)
Science Notebooking
History Notebooking, Activities, and Timeline
Composer Study
I have spoken of the reasons that we homeschool here, and I stand by those reasons ... but one thing I didn't really speak about in our philosophy of homeschooling is that I LOVE teaching my children! I can't imagine handing over that privilege to anyone else. I love the wonder in their eyes as they grasp a concept. I wouldn't trade those moments for anything in the world. I am enjoying the children so much while also being able to develop deep and abiding relationships with them that are priceless.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Little Hearts for His Glory - Aaron

Aaron started 1st Grade this week!! The picture above are all the books and sources we will be using this year. The Teacher Guide that we are mainly using is Little Hearts For His Glory(the red teacher guide middle bottom of picture) - We will use this guide for his History, Science, Art, Geography, Bible, Music, Handwriting,Thinking Skills, and Read alouds.
We will be using Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory (the blue teacher guide middle bottom of picture) for Grammar, Spelling, and Math. Aaron will do the rest of Beyond Little Hearts next year in the 2nd grade along with 2nd grade Math and a supplemental Language curriculum.
He is very excited about the 1st grade and I am too!
We will also be doing a composer study for Classical Music this year. I plan to do that with all 3 of the boys. Since Music History happens to be one of my most favorite subjects EVER, I am especially excited to introduce this to the children!!
Also somewhat new this year is German. I've taught the boys a few words in German over the years, but I've not been consistent at all. This year, however, they will study German each day. We have the Rosetta Stone German and Martin and Aaron both spend about 20-30 minutes each afternoon working on it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Little Hands to Heaven - Jonathan

Little Hands to Heaven is the pre-school curriculum that I am using with Jonathan this year. Little Hands is a complete preschool program that includes letter recognition and formation, letter sounds with corresponding motions, beginning math skills, Bible activities, devotional topics, art projects, dramatic play, active exploration, fingerplays, and music. This is actually the first time I've ever done an official pre-school program. With Aaron and Martin we just learned through play and didn't officially do school until kindergarten. The reason that I am doing this with Jonathan has nothing to do with the educational aspect of it. Jonathan needs one on one time with me, plain and simple. I need to spend intentional time with him each day that is a planned and scheduled part of our day. He so desperately wants to "do" school like his brothers, and he is super excited about starting school!
The book that is in the middle of the picture is the Teacher Guide. The two books and CD's that surround it are resources that I will use that are scheduled in the Teacher Guide.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chore Bags and Family Quiet Time

Looking through his pictures of chores

Aaron in action as he does one of his chores

Jonathan figuring out what he has left to do

Aaron helps Jonathan once his chores are done

Quiet time baskets

We started our school year yesterday!! Martin started 3rd grade, Aaron started 1st grade, and Jonathan started pre-school. I'll give more details about what I am doing with each each of them later this week.
I am super excited to be back to school. I love, love, LOVE routine. I thrive on routine and my children do as well.
So, along with starting school this week, we have instituted two new things into our morning routine. I started chore bags and family quiet time.
You can go to this blog to read about Chore packs. I copied the idea from her blog.
It is a great system - and it helps the children learn to be responsible without me chasing them around all morning telling them what to do. Win-Win!!!
Our Family Quiet Time starts with Rich reading us a passage from the Bible - then we all sit down with our own Bible Basket and read our Bible's together. We do this for about 15 minutes before we start our school day. The two little ones who are not reading yet have Bible board books, Bible coloring books, and Bible picture books in their baskets.

Monday, August 9, 2010

More fun in Virginia

My niece, Lauren, coming up for air ... a rare occasion!

My niece, GraceAnn - she is a little fish!

Ummmm ... he called that putting his head underwater ...

such a strange, funny little man - boogy boarding in the baby pool ...

Rosalie LOVED floating around the pool in the baby float!

An unexpected splash in the face!


And I know it!!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Yorktown Beach - Rosalie

she marveled at water

she giggled as the water splashed around her

This girl LOVED it!

she played in the sand

she observed the world around her

she felt the sand between her toes

she laughed as the water came toward her

Rosalie loved her "first" time at the beach. She loved everything about it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yorktown Beach - Jonathan

Jonathan is very afraid of the water. I've worked hard at trying to get him to relax and enjoy the water, but he is genuinely afraid. He played a little in the sand, but wouldn't go near the water. Jonathan really tries to make the best of any situation. He really isn't much of a complainer. So, he played in the sand with all the sand toys we brought and got really, really hot. It was a very hot day!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Yorktown Beach - Martin

Martin was just the opposite of Aaron. He didn't like the beach at all! He really didn't want anything to do with getting in the water. So, my Martin, decided to stand on the blanket and complain the entire time we were there. Let's be real, right? He said things like, "This was not a good idea!" and "I want to go back to Aunt Juliann's Pool!" and "All I want to do is go walk on that pier over there!"
So, I said things to him like, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it at all!" and "I'm going to take you on the pier - can you please stop saying it?"
Oh well! At least some of the children were happy about our little field trip! LOL