Monday, April 23, 2012

Spiritual Growth

Today, Emily said "Mommy, you know how sometimes you're doing something and all of the sudden you just stop?"  She continued and said that when she was watching TV, it was like God stopped her because it was wasting her time.  She then stopped watching TV.   - Wow!  I told her that was the Holy Spirit working within her.  I'm very excited to see her recent spiritual growth and pray that God continues to work in her in mighty ways.  She is the typical strong-willed, first-born and I pray that God continues to give me strength to foster that in a positive way that pleases and gloifies Him.

Homeschool Convention

I wasn't sure I would be able to attend the homeschool convention because of my kidney stones issues.  But thankfully, my doctor took out my stent on Thursday and I was off to the convention with a friend Thursday night.

There are so many vendors selling curriculum - both new and used - that it can be overwhelming.  Since I'm sticking with My Father's World, I wasn't nearly as overwhelmed walking into that vendor hall as I was when we first started homeschooling.  David and Marie Hazel developed the My Father's World curriculum package and I had the privilege of meeting David Hazel at the convention.  He has several (probably many) videos on You Tube from speaking engagements that have helped to encourage me through our homeschooling journey.

I also got to speak one-on-one with several volunteers and vendors who gave me some fresh ideas in language arts, particularly with reading.  I sought these people out at the convention.  Sought not stalked!  I'm mostly drawn to the Charlotte Mason method of education, which MFW incorporates.  It makes sense to me and works well with our family.  But it has been hard for me to to accept this (even after all these years) because of the way I was programmed in my own education.  I won't attempt to explain CM methods - there's plenty of information on the internet that explains it far better than I could. 

My draw toward CM led me to the Simply Charlotte Mason booth at the convention.  One man tending that booth spent a considerable amount of time explaining the Spelling Wisdom program to me - how to use it, how it works, why it works.

He was so patient with me and answered all my questions.  Talking with him helped bring peace and ease of mind in our educational choices.

Another highlight of the convention was attending a workshop given by Jim Weiss.  What a fantastically talented story teller!  He LOVES what he does and it shows.  In this workshop, Jim Weiss presented ideas on how to effectively read books aloud and tell stories, using various voices, tones and pitches.  There really is an art to story telling, and Jim Weiss does it well.  One of the books we'll be using next year is Story of the World, Vol. 3.  Jim Weiss has an audio of this book and I'm thinking that I will probably get it.  I have his audio reading of The Three Musketeers and love it.

Other than going to some workshops, I spent plenty of time in the vendor's hall, shopping.  The convention went on from Thursday through Saturday and I went all four days!  Even though I had already purchased our curriculum for next year, I still found some other things buy.  Brace yourself!...

Among the list: Spelling Wisdom (Simply Charlotte Mason), a Pathway Reader book and workbooks, many readers, a reading comprehension story book, a bird feeder kit, Aesop's Fables Coloring Book, Bible study on the book of James (needed a copy for Katie), a set of president cards, a highlighter, a castle building kit (not pictured), and some stuff for the American Girl dolls (couldn't forget them!).  I also ordered a set of American Hero Classic videos which will arrive in a few weeks.

These are the bargain books I found for $1 each!

These are "You Choose" books - I loved books like this when I was a youngster!  I hope my kids will love them, too!  They are written in second person, placing you right in the story and you get to decide which way to go.  They are so much fun!  And lucky for the kids, this series is educational!  Ha!!!

This is the stuff I found for the American Girls.  Do you see those little Bibles?  They are real Bibles!  Of course, the best magnifying glass on earth would be required to read them!  The cards are AG trading cards.  And every girl needs new panties - even the American Girls!

I'm glad I got to go to the convention.  It was a great weekend.  :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where Have I Been?

Blogging hasn't even crossed my mind until today.  I've been dealing with kidney stones again and had to have lithotripsy to break one up.  Lithotripsy is an outpatient shockwave therapy used to break up stones.  The stone was stuck in my ureter and blocking the flow.  It was 7mm, which sounds small but in kidney stone world, it's actually a bit large.  Too large to fit through the ureter. 

I had the lithotripsy last Tuesday and have come a long way since then.  I still have a stent, which is very uncomfortable and painful at times.  Each day gets a little better, but this whole ordeal has had me laid up for too long!  When I tried to sit and relax on the patio this past Sunday, I found myself up and pulling weeds.  I knew I would pay for that later, and I did.  The rest of the evening was shot. 

In the midst of all this, we celebrated Katie's birthday and I actually made her a cake!  All I know is that my strength had to have come from God!

I found the Flynn poster printable on-line and the lilacs were cut off my bush.  The boat on the cake with Rapunzel and Flynn is a toy from purchased at the store.

I found this iron skillet in my cabinet and knew it would be perfect for Katie's party since Rapunzel used a frying pan as a weapon!  We put peanut M&M's in it that I found on clearance after Easter.  They colors were perfect.  The purple flags with yellow sunbursts were also a printable I found on-line.

Katie loved her gifts.  She got two new American Girl dolls (one from each set of grandparents) and some accessories.  She also got some clothes and a few other things from the family.   I did the best I could to make her day special and as you can see from the pictures, she had a great birthday!  I can't believe she is 9.

Simple Tuesday

Outside my window...I see squirrels climbing up our tree and into the gutter.

I am thinking...that I need to start printing some digital pictures.

I am thankful husband who is outside now rigging up a fix for the intruding squirrels!

From the a sink full of dirty dishes and nothing cooking on the stove.

I am comfy capris with a t-shirt.  It's the best I can do right now!

I am creating...nothing!! I've been laid up and have all kinds of ideas in my head, but no ability to execute them. :(

I am fill another box of donations as soon as I feel better.

I am always, school books.  I have no time or energy for anything else.  But I'm ok with that right now. :)

I am hoping...that Katie stops complaining every-single-time she reads.  The whining is unbearable.

I am hearing...the kids outside "helping" Daddy.

Around the house...are American Girl dolls and accessories everywhere!  Hubs says it looks like the American Girl store threw up all over our house!

One of my favorite things...a genuine friend.

Here are two pictures I am sharing...all the "girls" on Easter Sunday - our kids and the dogs!

The lab used to live with us.  She got kicked out and went to live with my in-laws when she was a puppy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: The Old Silk Road

Several years ago, my husband's aunt went on a business trip to China and brought us some goodies: a couple of silk sling bags and a wooden fan. I'm so glad to have these things to share with the girls, especially while learning about the history of China and how important silk trade was.

I'm finding it a little difficult to read some of the history of China because of the pronunciation of names.  But I think we're getting the gist of it, which is what's important for now.  Learning about the Great Wall of China and the process of silk production were certainly highlights this week.

Katie decided to start taking notes while I read, which made my heart dance!  Her notes include drawings, so they are fun to look at and interpret!

We started the Apologia Astronomy book this week and the girls created covers for their astronomy notebooks.  Together, we came up with a mnemonic phrase to remember the order of the planets from the sun: My Very Early Morning Jeans Stay Under Plants. 

We had a bit of a light week because I'm having a lot of pain from a kidney stone.  It's a 7mm stone, which is kind of big for a kidney stone.  I hope I'm able to pass it without intervention.   It's extremely painful.

This last part of my post is kind of random but I had forgotten to post these pictures last month, so bare with me!  These are Katie's St. Patrick's Day decorations...

She made these completely on her own, as a surprise gift to us.  She used a paper cup, construction paper and her imagination!  And don't you just love the position of the leprechaun's legs?

This last picture is of cinnamon chips we made last month to substitute for lefse, which is a food the Vikings enjoyed.  Our version was easier and made with ingredients we had handy (flour tortillas, cooking spray, and cinnamon/sugar).  Plus, I've made them before and wanted to keep it simple.

We opted out of taking a Spring Break because we are going to Florida soon enough and didn't want too much time off.  Did anyone else take a break this spring?

Linked up to Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stonehenge and Silk Production

We're learning about the origins of Chinese civilization and began our studies on astronomy.  I found a couple of informative videos on You Tube that were quite interesting.

The process of silk production caught our attention.  To be honest, I seriously did not know that silk came from the cacoons of silkworms.  Silkworms.  The name says it all, yet I still didn't make the connection!  Oh well, at least I know now. :)  And I also now know that the Chinese were the first to discover this process.

This is a nice video about the production of silk.  I'm sure there are many other videos but this is one that we watched and found interesting.

We just started reading Exploring Creation with Astronomy.  One of the subjects in the first chapter is about calendars and how the ancients used the lights in the sky to tell the time of day, month, and season.  The book shows a picture of Stonehenge.  Although no one is certain, it's possible that Stonehenge served as a seasonal calendar.  But how can a picture possible show the enormity of those stones?  And although travelling to England would make for a fascinating and memorable field trip, that's just not doable!  So, again, I searched You Tube for a video, and found many.  But there is one that is a three part series and is quite interesting.  We watched the first two.

It's amazing to know that these stones were erected about 4500 years ago and that each stone weighs between 50,000 and 80,000 pounds and are harder than granite!  Given their size and weight, and the fact that there isn't any natural source for stones anywhere near Stonehenge, you have to wonder how people were able to move them to that location without machinery, and why.

I love learning about God's wonderful world!