Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring Planting

Today, Brent left for a training and won't be home till Thursday, so I figured it was a good time to do a bunch of gardening projects to keep busy. After school in the a.m., we headed out to Home Depot and bought all our plants. After we got home we spent 3 1/2 hours planting everything. Here's what we got:

Red impatiens for the front gardens and well garden- 2 big flats- I want a full look! (The deer have eaten our flowers the past few years since our sensor light was broken. Brent finally fixed the light, so I'm praying and hoping they will survive the summer!)

Purple Heather- annual- on clearance, but nothing looked wrong! Two of those for the front garden.

White flowery low growing bushy type plant that I can't think of the name of right now! Two of those- and they're perrenial!

2 Blueberry Bushes- which I already had gotten a little while ago- planted on front/side garden

Purple clematis- I LOVE these, but have not been real successful with them. BUT, I'm determined not to let it die this year! LOL!

Then, the fun part! Veggies!

This year I gridded our square foot garden- somehow I missed this part of the method last year- duh! I used twine to grid off 12 inch squares. The kids loved hammering nails into the sides and wrapping the twine! (Yes, a staple gun WOULD have been much easier, but alas, Brent took the staple gun WITH him to training and I didn't want to wait! Besides, the kids had so much fun! I didn't have to hammer a single nail!)

2 Early Girl Tomato plants
2 Better Boy Tomato Plants
2 Bush Beans
4 broccoli, plus I sowed the seed so we'll have a continuing crop!
4 different kinds of lettuce seed
1 yellow pepper (this is new for me!)
1 Watermelon (you should've seen the HUMONGOUS one we got last year!)
2 Cantelope (actually, I didn't mean to get two. Somehow an extra one got put in the cart. Probably Jake since he inhales them!)
1 Honeydew- (also new)
2 strawberries (I think I want to do them in a container so they don't take over!)

I planted the vining plants next to the sturdy tomato cages. Last year this worked really well to have both tomato and cantelopes on a cage.
I still think I want to find a few other fun things- maybe sweet peas, sunflowers (kids loved them!), cauliflower (I don't know if I like this or not! LOL!), hmm... what else? This is the time of year when my eyes are bigger than my... desire to weed! The nice part is that the square foot gardening minimizes weeding!

So, all in all it was a fun day. We were tired but happy. And, the kids were soaked from playing with the hose while watering! LOL! I wish I had pictures of them planting but ONCE AGAIN!!!! the camera batteries were dead and my hands were too dirty to replace them!

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Ok, all this blogging fever is sweeping our family! Now, Caitlin and Grant have their own blogs set up. I decided to let them keep a blog as a way of having an "audience" for their writing. I am hoping that this will help them feel like their compositions are worthwhile to write. So often a child is just assigned a paragraph, while both teacher and student know full well that it will be edited, and promptly stuck in a binder never to be seen again. This way, our few- preselected family members will be able to comment and offer their encouragement and feedback. (If you haven't received an invitation- email me! I just haven't gotten around to it yet!)
The way I see it working is for the child to physically write the paragraph on paper, (still needs practice that way!). Then, edit it. After a week or so of writing assignments (this time period is still being worked out) the child can pick their favorite(s) and type (another worthy skill!) it into their blog. I'm leaving the fun List categories on the sidebar to their fancy- with my permissions given, of course! And, obviously, any self-motivated writing will be welcome! I hope this works! It really could be fun- if they receive enough feedback!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


He's Reading!!!!
Jake went from the slow, painful sounding out of CCC- AAAAAAA- TTTTTTT to a quick paced reading speed! I think it happened when I blinked! I think we went without reading for about 2 weeks back in March (oops, bad homeschool momma!) and when we started back up, he wasn't having to hesitantly sound out each simple word. Oh, he still is sounding out, but he isn't struggling like he used to. It is so fun to see how excited he is to be able to really, really read!
I love watching them learn! If I, as a mom, enjoy watching them "get it" so much, how much more pleasure does it bring our Lord when we "get it" and learn our lesson!

School Musings

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the MACHE curriculum sale. I was only able to go on Friday evening, but that's fine because in May I am going up to the big convention in Harrisburg PA.
Brent and the kids and I all piled into the car for a 2 1/2 hour drive out to Hagerstown. (And no one threw up! Praise the Lord!) BookSavers is an awesome used book store that has millions (no, I'm not exaggerating) of books! They have a beautifully organized upstairs but then you can go downstairs and dig through gigantic boxes filled with hundreds of miscellaneous books. Unfortunately, they were closing shortly after we got there so I wasn't able to go "digging"!
I did however, get a good supply of books for our history curriculum next year.

The MACHE sale was fun, but since we arrived late, I didn't even make through the last building.
I did pick up a few things that I had decided on for next year and plenty of books I just purchased on a whim!
Brent, believe it or not, has gotten addicted to the Lamplighter book booth. Each night before bed he reads a book to everyone that has biblical symbolism or allegory. Many of the old fashioned Lamplighter books fit the criteria, so he is always on the lookout for more.
We ended up with a bunch!
I'm still making lots of decisions for next year, but here are my thoughts as of now. We'll see how much it changes by fall! LOL!

A Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos
A Chapter from the New Testament
A Child's Book of Character Building
Memorize James Chapter 1

History- (trying something a little new this year! of course!)
1.Truthquest American History for Young Students Vol 1
This is basically a total Literature approach to History. It is a guide that has introductory commentaries for each topic. You read the commentary then just read literature books to enhance it. There are no specific books that you HAVE to buy, anything from the library will do, but it does come with a huge helpful list of recommended books.

2. History Scribe- After we read our literature for each topic, we will be creating notebook pages with original illustrations and compositions.

3. Hands and Hearts Kits- This is a pre- assembled kit of projects and activities for the kids to make that correspond to the particular Early American Era. I'm looking forward to this and so are the kids!

Apologia Elementary Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day- The kids requested this topic to study next and since we will have our aquarium membership I was happy to oblige! We did astronomy this past year from the same author and it was a terrific year!
Knowledge Quest Lapbook- This is a cd that we print off pre made lapbooking booklets to make our science a lot more fun. It is wonderful that it is already coordinated to the Swimming Creatures book and I don't have to go find the important information to include! I have good intentions for this, but if it gets to be too much, it will take a back seat to just reading the book!

I still am deciding on what to use, but as per Melanie's suggestion, I am going to try to find a dvd or video based program so we can all do it together.

Typing- I really like Typing Instructor, but the kids found the lessons too long to handle. We'll have to see if we can fit it into our day or not.

Now individual subjects:

Math- BJU 4 and Calculaddars
Grammar- Growing With Grammar 4 (But I'm still undecided. I'd really like to find a grammar and writing curriculum that I am happy with.)
Vocabulary- Wordly Wise
Spelling- Spell to Write and Read- an abbreviated version of it, though! And, studied dictation!
Reading- Mostly she'll just read the literature for our history curriculum, but I am still compiling a list of a few other kinds of fun literature to have her read. I may or may not have her do book summaries on her books! We'll see how much writing she's going to be doing in other subjects!
Writing- if I find a Grammar/Writing combo I like, we'll do that. But, as of now, I'm totally undecided as to whether I'm even going to DO a specific writing curriculum. I'm leaning toward grabbing a few Evan Moore books to play with through the year, but just focus on history compositions.

Math- BJU 3 and Calculaddars
Vocabulary- Wordly Wise
Spelling- Spell to Write and Read- again, the abbreviated version! And, studied dictation!
Reading- Finish up the Pathway Readers and then go to early chapter books from our History Curriculum
Grammar- Growing With Grammar 3-still deciding though
Writing- I think the GWG and history narrations will be enough! Probably too much!LOL!

Math- BJU 2 and Calculaddars
Spelling- Spell to Write and Read
Reading- Move through the Pathway Readers
Writing- Copywork and oral narrations for History

So, there we have it! I wonder how much I'll change by the time we start school! LOL

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Karate Tournament

Two years ago in May, Brent, Grant and Caitlin began taking Karate at Oak Grove Baptist Church. It is a Christian dojo and we really love how it is such a godly focus on all they do. Jake joined recently.
Well, yesterday, everyone competed in their first tournament. Quinn and I came out to watch (FOR 8 HOURS!- He did soooo good!). What a proud momma day! First they did Katas, then sparring, one step sparring and grappling.
This was a big deal especially for Cait. She really balked at the idea of standing up in front of everyone and performing. But, God is so good. Through many different circumstances, and talks with momma and daddy, she is learning to quell the fear of man rising in her heart! She did a complete 180! Not only was she agreeing to participate, but she was excited and even signed up for 4 events!
Grant, of course, had no reservations about being a part of it. He really worked hard practicing and working his moves at home with Daddy. He is very motivated to do his best.
Back in the fall, Jacob started Karate, but promptly quit after just a few lessons. We didn't push him since we thought it just wasn't his "thing". Yet, out of all of them, he "practices" at home the most. I think he was just a little immature in being able to find his place in line and follow instructions. Then just recently, when he found out about the tournament, he decided he wanted to start back up again. We were pretty sure it was just for the fact that he wanted to be a part of the tournament. But, that's ok. I'm just glad he was learning to push himself through a situation that he was previously fearful about. (He's my kid who started hysterically crying while on stage having to recite a Bible verse!) He didn't have a lot of classes to perfect his techniques, so we didn't expect a lot for the tournament.
As to awards, Caitlin won 2nd and 3rd place in 4 of the events. It was so funny to keep hearing her name get called over and over!
Grant did receive 1st place in one step sparring and 3rd in continuous sparring. Not to downplay his award, but there were only 2 participants in his level of one step- him and Jake! LOL!
Jake was so thrilled when his name was called to receive second place in one step!
The one step sparring was so comical. Jake would act like he was doing a technique on Grant but he would barely touch him. Grant- who should be an actor- would flip and roll and fall as if a 200lb man was tossing him! The crowd was roaring with laughter! Of course, that only egged him on and he hammed it up even more! Jake couldn't keep a smile off his face and neither could the judges!

It was an exhausting day but so rewarding. They all gave their best effort, which is what the sensais really drill into their heads.
Karate is not something that I would have ever imagined our family being involved in. We aren't a sports minded family at all! Yet, God has used this in such HUGE ways for all of us- even me. (I really have learned to trust HIM when Brent sparrs- especially after his broken arm from a year ago due to sparring!) The Lord has used it to teach diligence, excellence, respect, friendship building, having encouraging words, how to lose gracefully, how to battle against the fear of man, humility, wisdom, and submission to authority, and more! We have been able to have so many conversations about spiritual maturity due to it. It has provided real life examples that I don't think they would have had otherwise. (Otherwise, it would have always been hypothetical situations.)
Well, just a little more bragging on the kiddies. But, mostly, bragging on my Lord. He is so faithful to bring growth out of every little situation.