Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week 10, Sept. 30, 2012

In my life this week:  Last Sunday, we woke up to find that our pig (being raised for meat), delivered five little piggies.  They aren't for keeping!  So, the plan is to hang on to Momma-pig until the babies are weaned, then we'll keep one to raise next.  The boys are going to sell the other four to add to their savings accounts.  (I know how cute this picture appears to you, but the Momma was trapped in the wild, and she's extremely mean.  We are not attached.)

 People we're seeing:  We had a friend and his one-year old brother over on Monday, to include school time.  We did just the most important stuff, and the boys all played hard for the rest of the day. 

Places we're going:  Tuesday, we had a field trip to the Old Florida Historical Museum in St. Augustine, FL, the oldest city in America.

This is Thoughtful's Native Florida Timuquan Warrior Face.

And then, Spunk, as the Pioneer child in the Old Schoolhouse.

Saturday, we had Thoughtful's first baseball game!  He was so cute with the jitters in his new uniform.  I was terribly nervous for him, but he seemed cool as a cucumber.  He's learning the nuances of the game, but he's pretty good.  He was at-bat only once, and he had a great hit straight out over first base.  He made it to first, and the coach mistakenly told him to keep running to second base.  Thoughtful ended up out, but he had brought another kid in for a run.  Thoughtful listened well, doing exactly what he was supposed to.  His team won!

In our Homeschool this week:

In Science:  Last week, we studied caves and caverns.  Part of that study was about stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.  We set up this speleothem on Sunday night, and by Monday morning we had a stalactite. 

By afternoon, a full column appeared.  We've watched it all week long, and it appears a little thicker everyday.    The kids have been measuring the water level, and ooh-ing and aahh-ing all week.

This week, we studied volcanoes, and followed up the lesson with the oldie-but-goodie vinegar and baking soda eruption.

In Spanish:  We played a Pictionary-style game with the list of words that we've recently learned.  The boys against me.  It was fun, and I was surprised to see how much they've remembered.  We had lots of giggles playing this one and made memories.

In Nature Study:  We noticed some leaves falling around our neck of the woods.  The kids each chose a few, and drew them in their journals.  They each wrote an acrostic too!  Here is Spunk's journal.

Thoughtful is learning to/about:  skip counting by 9, verbs, writing a paragraph, and North Carolina.  He's also finished Level One in All About Spelling.  He read a Magic Tree House book about earthquakes.  This is nice since earthquakes are next up in our Science.

Spunk is learning to/about:  adding by 8, six new digraphs, rhyming words, opposites, and nickels.  He read a K12 phonics reader, and a few other books from the library.

My favorite moment this week:  Friday, some Mommas from our co-op came over for "planning." We discussed some plans, ate some super yummy food, had homemade pumpkin spice lattes  (recipe here), and one sweet friend treated us to pedicures!! I was so thankful for the Mom-time, and the love for my feet! 

I'm praying about:  a friend who has much strife in her marriage right now.

What's working for us:  sticking to our routine when possible.

What's not working for us:  too much running around, keeping us away from home.  I also need a better plan for Bible teaching for the kids.  I'd like something more than just our devotional time.

I'm desiring:  Story of The World.  I know that we don't need it, but I desperately want to give it a try.  I do wish that it was in the budget.  I really, really need to get over it!

Coming up next:  We are taking off this week from school.  I'm hoping to each day wisely to catch up, prepare and plan, clean out, and just refresh before starting the next six weeks.  I want to get all of those little things done, that I never seem to have time for.  We also have another field trip!

I'm grateful for:  date night with Hubs!  It's a rare occasion for us that someone keeps our kiddos, especially over night.  We didn't know what to do, and neither of us were hungry.  We went shopping, picked up breadsticks and chicken wings, and came home early to just hang out and be together.

How was your week?  You can link up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers  .

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I didn't know this

Here's another Pinterest find (my super friend found and shared with me)!
I had no idea that a standard wide-mouthed mason jar will fit a standard blender attachment.  But it does!  So now, my smoothies require no blender and cup to wash, just the one jar.  Yay!
Bonus!!  Since we all like different flavors in our family, our milkshake nights will be way easier!! 
Everyone can prepare his/her own, attach the screw-on blade, and blend.
Remove blade, and drink from the jar.  I've tried all sizes of my jars here at home, and they all fit!

Happy Blending!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I saw this thing on Pinterest.....

I believe the phrase of the decade is going to be "I saw this thing on Pinterest...." 
Wow, I wish I'd invented such a simple website!
Crafters, Mommas, Homeschoolers, Teachers, Gifters, Athletes, Bakers, Fashionistas, Brides, Mommas-To-Be, Party-Coordinators and so many more are flocking to the popular website for ideas.
I do know a few holdouts who refuse to join the site, but really, who hasn't heard of Pinterest?
My kids even ask if I can check Pinterest for ideas.
So, I saw this thing on Pinterest, and its turned out to be so practical, I wanted to share it.
Dry erase marker erasers.

Hot glue craft poms onto the ends of the markers, and


You always have an eraser!  

Yes, we have traditional erasers too, but how inconvenient is it to use the corner of the eraser to remove one letter of a paragraph?  ;)
Or, a greasy finger, as is usually the case in our school room?
The silliest little things bother me, I know you're laughing at me.  It's okay, I laugh too.
But we love this remedy, and I hope you do too!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Week 9, September 21,2012

What did we do this week?  Let's just say it was a much better week than last!  I'll just get started:

In my life this week:

Last weekend, I made a simple, but yummy cake.  Marble cake, chocolate filling, buttercream icing.  What's not to love?

The boys discovered wind resistance with a grocery bag, which led to tying many bags together.  That led to me bribing them with garbage bags, which kept them busy ALL DAY LONG!  These parachutes later became gi-normous water balloons to be thrown from the top of the play set.  Genious, right?

 I've officially started the Couch to 5K program to get my behind running again.  The first two runs were tough, but the third was surprisingly easy.  Here's a link to what I'm using to help me stay injury-free.  Bring on Week 2!

What I'm cooking:  Chicken mostly. 

I made a fabulous whole wheat pizza dough this week.  It goes like this: 

2 teaspoons honey, 1 1/2 cups warm water (107°-110°F), 1 packet of active dry yeast (or 1 Tbs), 1 Tbs olive oil, 2 tsp salt, 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, oregano or other Italian seasonings you like, 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
Pour hot water into large bowl, and mix honey in to melt and dissolve completely.  Sprinkle yeast over top of the water, and let sit about 10 minutes, until foamy (we call it happy).  Add olive oil and salt, gently mixing - you don't want to kill the yeast so no beating.  Begin adding flour, about a cup at a time, gently turning over until most of the flour is mixed in.  Sprinkle hard surface with flour and begin kneading flour into the dough.  Knead for about 10 minutes, add in seasonings and garlic powder by sprinkling a little at a time, constantly folding them into the dough.  Oil a bowl, coat dough ball with a light layer of oil, cover with a clean dish towel, and let rise in a warm dark place for about an hour, (I set ours on top of the dryer and let the dryer run for about 20 minutes, but let it sit for the whole hour).  Uncover, dough should've risen to about twice its original size.  Punch down, and knead for a minute, and its ready to use!  Spread out dough, on a cookie sheet, bake at 450°F for 8-10 minutes.  Remove, top with your favorite toppings, sauce and cheese, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is all gooey and melty - Yum!  Pizza is one my kiddos favorite things to make.  This dough refrigerates wells too.

I'm thankful for:  My parents who keep worrying about me.  I don't know what its like to have adult children, but I can't imagine that I'll ever stop worrying over Spunk and Thoughtful.  My parents keep sending me work to do, (family business), when they could do some of it themselves, graciously extending me a way to earn my keep.  I also linked up to a Thankful Thursday this week.

Places we're going, and people we're seeing:
We had lunch with my parents this week, which we haven't been able to do in a few weeks.  Afterwards, they took us next door to a used bookstore, which is going out of business and bought us a handful of readers.  The boys got in the car, and promptly began reading.  YES!!  Another little stepping stone for this family....I just might have readers on my hands afterall!

At home:
We're rearranging our school room.  It seems that we'd like a little more floor space to spread out from time to time, but our table sticking out is preventing that.  I didn't have enough room to just turn the table sideways, so a whole switching around was in order.

In our homeschool this week:
Math:  Pre-algebra.  Well, that's how I see it anyway.  He's solving for the unknown, in Math-U-See, Gamma level.  X5=30.  He picked it up so quickly, missing zero on his worksheets and test!

Spelling:  We have 2 lessons left in Level 1 with All About Spelling.  We don't use this program everyday, so it is taking a while.
Nature Journal:  Squirrels.  This child belongs outside!  He loves the dirt, loves discovering little parasitic creatures inside of a newly found acorn, and he squirrel hunts in our neck of the woods.  Yes, I know.  Please understand that 50 years ago, many, MANY people squirrel hunted for their food.  Anyway, lately, he's just been sitting watching them leap from tree to tree.  Watching them with fascination as they bury acorns away for the upcoming cold season.  So he drew a scene in his journal, then I asked him to label it.  We found a picture online, printed it, and pasted it in his journal.  I asked him to write what he knew about squirrels from watching them.  Then we found library books, and I asked him to write something new that he learned from the books.  I honestly expected a list of facts.  That would be enough productive writing from Thoughtful.  However, he surprised me with sentences, mostly written in his own words.  SENTENCES!  There was no complaining about writing.  There are a lot of mis-spelled words here, but really, I don't care.  He's writing, and he's enjoying it!  He's talking about what else he can add in, and what critters he might like to write about next.

Language Arts:  He wrote the sweetest friendly letter to Gramom and Pop.  I forgot to keep a copy of it, but I'll snatch it away when she gets it in the mail.  He also had a lesson in following directions and created an elaborate paper airplane.  Language Arts is just torture, I tell ya!  And he learned what a verb is.  Tough stuff.

Math:  Adding by 9's.  He's learning by seeing that every 9 wants to be a 10.  So the 9's keep stealing 1 unit from their friends.  9+4 is seen as 9 takes 1 from his friend, the 4.  Now we have 1 ten, and 3 units, or 13.  It just makes perfect sense.  He's calculating very quickly, rather than memorizing and regurgitating facts.

Did I mention that I love Math-U-See?  You can click this link to the curriculum website, to see what all the fuss is about.  I, in no way, am compensated for any kinds of reviews.  We just love it, that's all!

Phonics and Reading:  I haven't looked at my teacher manual in 2 weeks.  I'm just letting him read whatever he wants, and we're going over digraphs daily, adding in 1 to 2 new sounds a day.  Reading is his niche, so we're going at his pace.
Language:  Complete sentences.  He's learning to pick out complete sentences.  He's written a few, but for the most part, his hand tires quickly.  He always wants to push on though.  I'm so proud of his diligence.

Nature Journal:  Spunk loves frogs and toads.  He drew a bull frog in his journal one day, with a full pond scene.  Then, we found library books.  He found the life cycle of a frog (which we've observed in the past, and I'm sure we'll have to do it again soon), and drew it in his journal.  He also drew pictures of predators and prey of the bull frog.  And look at his facts, "Some frogs are big.  Some frogs are small."  Cute!

Money:  I bought a Counting Coins workbook from Kumon. 
Right now, he's counting pennies.

In Science:  We learned about caves, with emphasis on caverns.  The kids learned all about stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.  I got to teach the 3rd and 4th grade class at Co-op.  We reviewed what was covered at home, watched a very quick animated cave formation video.  And last, we made cave models. 

Materials:  a piece of clear, flat glass (I bought picture frames from the local dollar store and removed the backs), sugar cubes, spray bottle, food coloring, toothpicks, and modeling clay.

The kids each used 5-7 sugar cubes to build an area of limerock, pressed up against the glass so they can view the formation.  The cubes must touch each other, and the glass.  They each flattened a piece of modeling clay (a rolling pin helps), and covered their cubes with the clay.  Next, they poked holes in the clay to create fissures in the harder "rock."  Last, I added food coloring to the water bottle, and the kids sprayed the tops of their models, watching the rain water seep through the fissures, dissolving the sugar cubes, limerock,  and leaving a cavern.

Then they completed notebook pages showing the steps taken to create their models, and answered questions as to what happened and what each material represented.  I think it was a success.

At P.E., they learned about fencing.  They used foam swords, dipped in red paint, and fenced for 1 minute sessions.  Most of the kids loved it!  It was an active, educational exercise, and both of mine had a ball!  They asked to continue fencing when P.E. was over.

In art class, we didn't get to bring anything home.  Students began working with clay this week, learning about Haniwa, or Ancient Japanese, horse-shaped tomb markers, and building their own horses.  They'll continue this project during next week's class.  This is an image found online, that they're using as their inspiration.

I final thought, quote, or photo:

School at the park!

We met some friends at the park, encouraging all of the children along in their work, so they could play with their friends.  These are my favorite days!

This week, I'm linking up with Homeschool Mother's Journal and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.  Clink the links to see others' weeks.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday, 9/20/12



For Hubs, who reminds me that I shouldn't worry what other people think.  He is the perfect laid back ying to my uptight yang.  or something like that.  For his constant putting up with me and loving me when I'm being a brat.  For his fixing supper last night when I didn't want to.  For his hard work. I am thankful for him.

For Thoughtful, who gets a little crazy in public and reminds me to practice patience.  For his sweet heart that will melt anyone into a puddle of nothing, especially when he takes a toddler by the hands to help them up, or down, or just to walk with them.  Not many 8 year old boys are willing to do that, and my Thoughtful loves it.  I am thankful for him.

For Spunk, who keeps me on my toes with his witty banter.  For his enthusiasm to always learn more, even when I want him to stop.  For his dramatic ups and downs, and for his always silly comments and questions.

For our freedom to home school, especially days like today.  When Spunk has drawn the life cycle of a frog and Thoughtful has written a friendly letter.  Real life stuff to be learned in this house!

I'm thankful for the ability to drop what we're doing to have lunch with my parents.  And if we get no other school done than what I've already mentioned, then great.  Its okay.  But the boys are already planning to bring their frog and squirrel books for the car ride to town, for which I'm thankful.

For friends, who check on me and love me.  For those special friends who encourage me along the way of life.  For those special ladies who tell me things like, "you have more people who love you than complain to you."  Oh Thank you!!

For my Heavenly Father, My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whom without I would be nothing but an undeserving, narcissistic, ugly person.  Oh yea, I am!  But I'm thankful for His constant mercy and grace, to always take away a little bit of that ugly, and always replace it with a little more of one of His beautiful gifts.  For His always knowing what I need, and for his forever understanding of who I am.  And for preparing a place for me to meet Him!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Smoothies, yum!

I'm doing this diet thing, and well, I know the negative connotation associated with "diet" might immediately turn you off.  BUT WAIT, its good, I promise!

I am the first person to say, "I like food."  I actually LOVE food.  I love that events revolve around food.  I love good for me food, and bad for me food, equally.  But I don't love the added pounds.

I am also the first person to say, "I don't want to drink my meals."  I'm not into weight-loss shakes, or protein packed, meal-replacers.  I want to eat, ya'll!

Enter the smoothie. 

I have been making my own breakfast smoothies for 2 weeks.  The basic recipe goes like this:

1 cup of frozen fruit
1 cup of another frozen fruit
1 cup of fresh fruit (or frozen if you like it really thick and icy)
1/2 cup fat free, plain Greek yogurt - Oikos and Chobani are my favs.
1/2 cup fat free, plain, unsweetened Almond Milk
2 cups fresh spinach leaves

Blend well.  Yum!  Here are my favorite combinations:

1 sliced banana, frozen
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 cup of frozen strawberries
yogurt, almond milk, spinach, blend.

1 cubed peach, frozen
1 cup of fresh pineapple chucks, frozen
1 banana sliced, frozen
yogurt, almond milk, spinach, blend.  This one is tropical, for something different.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week 8, September 15, 2012

Oh my STARS!  Can I call it "Week 8" if we only formally schooled for 2 days?  This was the busiest week, EVER!  Here's what we're up to:

In my life this week:
I'm down another 3 pounds, total of 6 - woo hoo!  I'm looking to get back to running, and I'm feeling great.  (although tired with the busy season we're in)

I'm reading:  Running stuff and The 5 Love Languages with Hubs.

I'm cooking:  chicken, salad, smoothies...again.  This weekend, I'm hoping to make some whole wheat, low cal pizza dough to put up in the freezer, I'll let you know!  Also, I'm really craving some orange chicken, so I'm going to try to lighten that up.

I'm praying for:  strained marriages for some of my loved ones, a friend's mom with cancer, and Hubs, who's currently trying to quit a nasty tobacco habit of his.

I'm thankful for:
Work!  What can I say?  Our family real estate business has lots of it right now!  We've seen the lows and the highs, and I've learned to appreciate the highs.  I'm so thankful for the extra income, even when its difficult for us to do it all.

In our homeschool this week:
We actually schooled, workboxes and all, on Monday and Tuesday.  Here's a little of what we accomplished.  The other days, not so much.

Thoughtful is working on Georgia, in his state study. 

Spunk is working on "Solving for the unknown" in Math.  He totally gets this, when reading word problems, and when asked the questions.  He doesn't get it when he sees the math problems written on the page.  He sees 6+?=8, and proceeds to add 6 and 8 together.
Other than actual schooling, we did this other stuff:
Caught and released a neurotic squirrel.
Check out what came out of art class this week!!  Cave paintings replicated with charcoal sketches.  We're going to frame these for their outdoorsey-themed bedroom.
We visited Daddy's job site.  Watching the trucks and tractors come and go, dump, swing, etc., was so cool for the boys to see.  I always find it a plus when children get to see what their parents do at work.  This is going to be a new medical center in our county.
We also finished reading Charlotte's Web, which we all absolutely loved!!  So we had to watch the movie of course.  It was a hit all around, and the boys are sad its over.  Hopefully, our next read aloud will be just as fun!
At co-op this week:  Spunk's class found different locations where the continents may have fit together, with the theory of Pangea.  Honestly, I remember learning this in school as a kid too.  But I never thought to check it with the Bible.  It turns out that Genesis does, in fact, leave room for the thought that Pangea possibly existed.  We don't know, but its possible, and this is how we taught the kiddos.
Then, they did this awesome hands-on activity to see how it may have worked.  See those green Lego plates?  Those would be tectonic plates.  See how they're all together?  That's Pangea.  The children in our K-2 class then added features to the continents.  Animal fossils, human remains, gemstones, fruit trees, other plants, volcanoes, and so much more. 
Then they pretended there was a flood, a Great Flood, as in Noah's days.  The continents drifted apart.  The waters receded, and the explorers set sail.  Little men in Lego boats traveled the world and discovered some of the same fossils along the coastlines of different continents.  AMAZING!  Kudos to the wonderful Momma that planned this activity!
And then, hurdles!
This was the lower level, everyone did it without too much difficulty.  Very cute!
The higher level, however, was challenging, but fun too!  Here's Spunk trying the 2-footed approach.  It was a crash.
Thursday, the kids both went to friends homes while Momma attended a continuing education seminar for credit hours. 
Friday, we attended a pinning ceremony for my brother, the newly recognized
United States Navy Chief!
We are blessed to have him stationed here, where his family is.  Here, he is, being pinned by his wife, daughter, and our parents.
And then "covered" by his commanding officer, someone of importance to him.
Ah, there he is, Chief!
And our very proud Daddy!
This was a sweet, tearful, emotional ceremony, which I'm so thankful to have witnessed.  Our chests swelled with pride for not only my brother, for the other Chief Selects, for the entire Navy, and other branches of military service, and for our Country.  Hearing the national anthem sung, the invocation asking God to protect these men and women and thanking Him for allowing us to serve Him (a shocking and humbling moment all at once), the ringing bell, and the Sideboys' whistle as the chiefs were presented, oh man, it was all so awesome!
And truly, I think my boys learned this week. 
A quote to share this week: 
By day the Lord directs His Love,
at night His song is with me -
 - a prayer to the God of my life.
 Psalm 43:8

I'm linking up to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and The Homeschool Mothers Journal where you can read how other homeschooling families' weeks went.

2 weeks into "The Challenge"

OK, so, I invented my own 30 day challenge, without a weight loss goal in mind, but only rules to follow, as outlined here,  I was in a desperate state of "I'm a big fatty."

This week's fails: 

I had a cookie.  I know what you're thinking, "a cookie, big deal, Donna."  But see, that's why I created these rules.  I need black and white.  I later found that the cookie was a whopping 57 calories!!!  I could've created a much more substantial snack had I chosen a piece of fruit or veggie. 

I also had a slice of pizza.  I was hungry, it was there, smelling all gooey and doughy.  My mouth watered, and I caved.

And then there's last weekend.  I went crazy.  I weighed myself, lost weight during the week, then lost my mind, eating cake, pizza, bread sticks, etc.  blah.  I vowed to not do it again.

This week's successes:

I'M DOWN ANOTHER 3 POUNDS (6 TOTAL)!!!!!!!!   Wooooo-hooooooooooo!  This makes me realize that I CAN have a treat with my family, and not go overboard.  And I can still lose.

I'm inspired to get back to running.  Yes!  I'm ready to go, I do need some new shoes and a watch, but I'm going to start this weekend using what I have.

Our week was crazy busy and I didn't hit the drive thru, not even once.  We did stop for Chick Fil A once (dining inside), and I had a salad with water.  No lemonade, no chicken sandwich, no waffle fries.  I should be shot for this one.

I made several good food choices this week when I didn't have to, particularly noteworthy I sat in a seminar one day for work.  We never look forward to the seminar, but the spread they serve for lunch is always the highlight of the day.  Cheesy, marinara pasta, pizza, tiramisu, turtle cheesecake, basically lots of calories!!  I chose wisely, with salad, grilled veggies, and chicken breast.  Go me!

I also found time to walk while my boys were participating in sports and group activities.

The bottom line...........down 3 pounds & more successes than failures.  I'm a happy girl!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Week 7, September 7, 2012

OK, we could've used a nice break right about now.  I'm going to have to re-think our out-and-about schedule before baseball practices and games start up for Thoughtful.

In my life this week:  I'm trying to get healthy.  Yep, it stinks.  I want to feel better, but I want to lose about 20 pounds.  As it turns out, I can't eat whatever I want and be trim and healthy.  This is a shocking admission, just so you know.  I've written about this here.

I'm super excited to start digital scrapbooking!  The irony here is that I have this new great club membership and hardly any pictures taken this week.  I'm learning how to crop using Heritage Makers, and I know its going to be so much fun!  I hope to download some pages once I get moving along.

I've had so much work to do this week!  It is a blessing for sure, but Momma is busy!

In our Homeschool this week: 

Math:  worked on his X5's all week.  He says he knows them, but I still see him skip counting to get answers.  I don't think I'm gonna let him move forward yet.
Language:  He learned what an adjective is.  Somehow, this helped him pick out nouns.  He also practiced writing a few sentences in paragraph form WITHOUT TEARS YA'LL!  We're also practicing contractions with a homemade memory game.
Spelling: We're still on level 1 with All About Spelling, but we've made it through step 18.
Reading:  He's been reading like crazy!  I don't know what exactly happened, but I keep catching him his free time, in the car, before bed.  A little extra praise seems to have made his confidence soar!
Mapping:  He created a map of his own town, named after himself, with its own legend. 
States:  He finished up Florida and is starting Georgia.  He's been through the entire SE region now!  Now, we can begin playing some of those state- and-capitals games I've had stashed away.

Math:  bar graphs, solving for the unknown, basic addition, and word problems.  I'm giving him Tangrams to work with for spatial practice.
Language:  beginning sentences with capital letters and ending with periods.
Phonics & Reading:  He asked for a spelling list, and did great.  We worked on 6 digraphs this week.  I'm going to double up his phonics lessons to catch up to his reading.  Or throw out the teacher's manual altogether, and just teach the sounds as they come up in his books.  He's reading far passed what his phonics skills are.  He can read the words in context, but doesn't know what the individual sounds "say."  The bottom line is that I don't want to squelch his desire to keep reading, so all of his books are at his disposal.

Science:  Spunk did a wonderful lapbook in his class at Co-op this week, and Thoughtful played a Jeopardy-like game with his group.  We're in a review week, so these ideas were great!  They seemed to both have a fun day.  Now, we're moving on to Tectonic plates and the Theory of Pangea.

History:  We started an archeology study.  FINALLY!  I've been trying to get to this one for two weeks now.  This weekend we'll get to the first hands-on stuff........our favorite!

Bible:  Just pushing through our devotionals.  I'd like to start some kind of units to study.  Your suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated!

We read a book about Labor Day, and learned about how 11 year old kids used to work in coal mines for pennies a week.  We also learned a few other facts about Labor Day that we could've lived without, (I'm NOT going political here).

Places we're going and people we're seeing:

Last weekend we enjoyed having a friend over for just a short playdate.  This is what my little engineers put together.  Waterhose + playset slide + 2 boogie boards + a sloping yard = FUN!!

We rejoined park day, and we had our first formal art class.  The latter part is super exciting!  The kids are getting true lessons in artistic drawing and painting with a class of other homeschoolers.  This week, they viewed and  replicated cave paintings.  The teacher taught them how to properly hold their "sketching tools" (markers), which was nothing like holding a pencil to write.  Think claw.

Thoughtful had his first piano lesson since taking a summertime break.  He jumped right back in, and didn't have to move backwards in his book.  His teacher and I were pleasantly surprised.  He's just happy to have something new to practice.

I got to make a cute garden-inspired cake for a sweet girl's third birthday party.  What girl doesn't like a double chocolate cake with strawberry/choc. filling??

What's working for us:
An accountability system using stones and jars, which I stole from a friend.  I've heard of the same using tickets or beans, etc.  I'd like to post separately on this soon.

What's not working for us:
Spanish - I keep forgetting about it.  I need a more formal plan I think.  I would love a class for this, but I don't think that we could squeeze another thing in if we tried!!

What I'm reading:
Hubs and I just started a study with The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman.  I was wrong about my own love language.  Hubs and I obviously relate differently; however, we both answered correctly about each others'.  That's gotta be good right?  We haven't made it 15 years for nothing, people!

I'm cooking:
Lots of smoothies and salads for myself.  I'm trying to stick with leaner dinners, skipping the starch portion, and loading up on veggies.  Yep, the diet.  I did make pudding pops with some sugar free/fat free Jello-O mix.  I don't think this qualifies as "cooking" though.

What I'm praying about:
Peace and patience.....for myself, for my children, for my husband.  All to often, I pray about so many other people that I know who need it, cancer-victims, friends in financial distress, broken marriages, etc., but this week, I'm focusing on us.  That's right, my household.  The Lord has been pushing me this way, and truthfully, it felt a little selfish in the beginning.  But now, I realize that my family needs prayer just as much as the next.

A quote to share:
This one is from Spunk, "Momma, Who was the first Native American?" 

Have fun coming up with the appropriate answer!

This week, I'm linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers' Weekly Wrapup and I Homeschool Network's The Homeschool Mother's Journal.  Click the links to read about others' weeks!  Enjoy!