Saturday, December 27, 2014

Gingerbread Houses 2014

Merry Christmas!  Here are our gingerbread houses for this year!  This is a fun tradition we do every year, see our previous years here: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.  This was Matthew's first time participating.  He was eating cereal off his house as fast as I could put it on!  His house hit the floor and split into pieces.

Kevin's is on the left with "pokey trees".  Mine is on the right with the pretzel fence.

Here is Caleb's on the left and Rebekah's on the right.

And lastly, Joshua's.  Rebekah helped him at the end to actually put candy on his house.  Mostly, he ate the candy off as soon as he put it on.

If you'd like to make your own gingerbread houses, this is the recipe I use: Simply Recipes.  My advice is to bake the pieces longer than you should and leave them out all night so they are nice and hard!  Also, make sure your frosting is thick.  I'd love to see pictures of yours if you try it!  Merry Christmas, may God bless you!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quiet Book

I made this quiet book for my son's first birthday.  I'm so proud of myself!  I think it turned out really great, and he seems to like it too.  I got the idea from browsing on Pinterest.  Just search "quiet book" and you'll find hundreds of ideas from really simple to really complex.  I used a tutorial on still:living's blog to make the cover, but I ended up having to modify it a lot.  Her pages were "portrait" and mine were "landscape".  Then the rings I purchased were too big, so I ended up using ribbon instead.  I did get the idea of using button holes instead of eyelets from her tutorial!  I had to improvise because I didn't have the right tool for the eyelets I bought.  So, cost of this book was $5.00 in felt at Walmart, and $3.00 for flannel at JoAnn's.  (I won't count the rings and eyelets I didn't use.)  All the buttons, beads, zippers, and ribbons I already had in my stash.

FEEL was the first page I made.  After I made it, I decided that I needed to have an action word on every page, which ended up being my "theme".  I also had to keep in mind that this was going to a 1 year old, so I tried to keep the pages simple for him.  Take a look and tell me what you think.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Simple Birthday Cake

My sweet baby Matthew turned 1!  I'm always amazed at how much they grow the first year, it really is amazing!  Happy Birthday little buddy!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Norway - MFW ECC & 1st, Weeks 12 & 13

We traveled to Europe this week with our first stop being Norway (and other countries nearby). Above is an art project from Global Art, felt patterned clothes.  We read several books as well, Snow Treasure and Heidi were the favorites.  We have included some of the other European countries in our reading as well, which is why we listened to the audio book, Heidi.

A currency kit came with our curriculum, which includes play money from each country.  At first, I was having them buy their snacks with the money, but snack time is always a bit crazy with 4 of them begging for food, adding in the money exchange was too much for me to handle.  Instead, I'm having them glue the money on the bottom of their flag pages, and everyone is happier.

This flag sticker book came with our curriculum, and I also bought an extra one for Rebekah.  The kids love using them, I'm glad I got an extra one!

Then, I had a bright idea to use some of our stamps from Stamps Teach.  Since we had so many stamps from European countries, I had them find the stamps, and then put them on a European map.  The map was too small, so they had to draw lines, or make a key.  Unfortunately, this was more fun for me than them.  Caleb was bored and just wanted me to tell him what to do so he could be done.  I was a bit bummed they didn't like it.

I found a few things that didn't have dairy in them to try from Europe.

This is fruit soup.  The recipe was in our teachers manual.  All of us liked the juice, but I was the only one that liked the fruit too!  I used raisins, dried apricots, and dried pineapple.

This was a very hard few weeks with math, spelling and English for Caleb.  The week long break for Thanksgiving was not good for his attitude!  He ended up doing a lot of double lessons in math because he needed to "do it again with a good attitude".  He was working on difficult subtraction in his head, which was tricky, but he was really doing a good job when he decided to have a good attitude.  I noticed that if his lessons (in any subject) aren't perfectly easy, then he tends to have a fit...

As far as spelling, I decided that Spelling Power just does not work for him.  The daily tests stress him out.  He cries and gets upset EVERY time he gets a word wrong, even though that's the point, to see which words he needs to study.  He needs the traditional spelling.  He can study the list of words all week and then take a final test at the end.  I went ahead and ordered Spelling by Sound and Structure, which is the same one we used last year and liked.  He's excited about it and keeps asking me when it's going to get here.

Rebekah has been doing wonderfully with her reading and math.  I'm amazed at how quickly she's learning to read.  For her math, she's been learning addition and subtraction.  She's determined to catch up to Caleb!

Lastly, I had to share a picture of Matthew seeing the Christmas tree for the first time!  Precious!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When You Don't Feel Good Enough to Homeschool

I’m willing to bet that every one of us has felt like we weren’t good enough to homeschool our children.  Last week was a rough one for me, and many times I felt like I wasn’t doing a good job.  The crying and whining was driving me insane.  None of the fun things got done because it took forever to do the basic things.  But this weekend I found these verses, and God gave me a revelation.

Deu 6:5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Deu 6:6  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
Deu 6:7  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Verse 5 talks about our relationship with God.  We are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and might.  Wow, that’s a big deal.  How is your relationship with Jesus?  Do you love Him with all your might?  What would it look like if you did?  According to Strongs, the word “might” in this context means Vehemence.  Synonyms of this word would be passionately, speedily, diligently, especially, exceedingly, loudly, eager, enthusiastic, zealous, and fervent.  This is not a casual brotherly love!  I think all of us need to work on loving Him with all our might!  Are we excited to talk with Him?  Are we diligent to keep our prayer time?  Do we speedily obey Him?  Do we loudly praise Him?

Verse 6 talks about God’s words being in our hearts, which is reading our bibles and knowing his words.  If we love Him with all our might, we should be interested in what He wrote to us!  Later on in this chapter, it also talks about writing God’s words on your doorposts.  Do you have any of God’s words on your walls at home?  I have been thinking about this lately and I intend to put more scripture in our home.  I remember every summer I went to my Grandparents house for a week in the summer.  On the wall was a plaque with the Lord’s Prayer written on it.  I was drawn to this plaque, and before I left one summer, I memorized the whole thing of my own accord.  I remember laying in bed saying it over and over to myself, and I still have it memorized today.  Written words are powerful!

So, only after God has told us to love Him and put His word in our hearts does He tell us in verse 7 to teach our children!  Wow, I have been getting it all wrong.  I have always tried to pray in the morning before school, but so often that time gets interrupted or cut short because we need to get to school.  I have been teaching my children first, and then working in a little bit of Jesus when I could.  There are no excuses.  It’s time for a priority shift.

Once my priorities are in the right place, I can then teach my children.  What does the bible tell us to teach them?  God’s word of course!  That needs to be our number one priority in our homeschool.  They need to know God’s word!  Will it hurt them if they don’t get to calculus?  Will it hurt them if they don’t know all the state capitals?  Will it hurt them if they haven’t read Shakespeare?  No, but it will hurt them if they haven’t been taught God’s word, and lead to have their own relationship with Him. 

As far at teaching the academics, I stand on this verse of scripture:

Phillipians 4:13  I can do all things through Chirst which strengthenest me.
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