My dad and I were scheduled for a trip to Ecuador this month for some meetings about the children's home of which we are a part. At the last minute he decided he would not be able to travel and somehow managed to convince Ron to rearrange his schedule to go with me. As thrilled as I was to have Ron go with me it meant some scrambling since the kids would stay behind. It was a short yet packed trip. We enjoyed the little time we were able to spend with the kids in the home, but as planned, spent most of our time in meetings. The last night we were there, I was talking to Ron and really struggling to speak in English. I was glad I hadn't lost my Spanish as I had feared. ;) I have been traveling to Manta, Ecuador since 2003, and God has graciously allowed us to work with many of the same people. Last year while down there with our Christmas mission team, I spoke with a friend of ours that I had the privilege of praying with to receive Christ in 2004. She had yet to be baptized and while she expressed her desire to do so to me, she wanted to wait until her husband was ready. On this trip, she took me aside and told me she had a surprise for me. She told me she was ready to make that step of obedience and asked if I would baptize her while we were there. What an amazing experience! God is so faithful! In the midst of the crazy chaos of our trip we gathered with some friends and family and went down to the beach like in the time of Acts, and celebrated a life surrendered to Christ, declaring publicly what Christ had already done within her heart.  To see her baptized would have been enough, but to have the blessing for Ron and I together to have our first baptism with someone so dear to us, was a tremendous gift from God.

We were also blessed to get to spend some time with the precious children of the Montanita Verde Children's home, and some special friends. Very joyful this Christmas season to have had this gift, many thanks to those who help made this trip possible!
School supplies, arts and crafts


Cookie decorating is an annual tradition

During a time of year that is all too often full of greed and self-centeredness, as far from the true celebration it should be, I am so thankful to be able to celebrate each year with these children, giving them memories to take with them no matter where life takes them, and most importantly to share with them the love of Jesus Christ that transforms lives! Happy Birthday Jesus! 

Surprise Blessings in Ecuador

by on 9:09 PM
My dad and I were scheduled for a trip to Ecuador this month for some meetings about the children's home of which we are a part. At the ...
Declaring it officially Christmas break today! We have had a full, wonderful, sometimes trying ;) semester. I love how homeschooling allows me to be very aware of the character flaws in our family... my children and most especially in me. No way to ignore anything when it stares you in the face 24/7. I often find I am most certainly the one that has the most to work on! God is graciously chiseling away, refining my heart and mind to His. I plan to do a few blog posts summing up the end of this year. Here are a few highlights from our semester:

Story of the World Projects
Making Cuneiform tablets

Painting Papyrus

Starburst Egyptian Pyramids

African legends: Anansi the Spider

Science Experiments

Friends, Cousins, and Sleepovers!

Disney World

Thanksgiving Trip to Alabama


 Operation Christmas Child

 Horseback Riding for the first time on their own!


Field Trips
Dakin Dairy Farm

Fresh Milk:

Fresh Ice Cream

Spanish Coop

E's First Gymnastics Meet:





We have had a wonderful semester, are looking forward to an amazing finish to December celebrating the birth of Jesus, and a fresh start in January on our homeschooling journey! Homeschooling with littles is not easy, and there are many days that I wish we could have a do-over, but I feel so blessed to see our little treasures growing into the persons God has called them to be. We are so blessed! Our days are full, our house is loud and often chaotic, but I have learned that at the end of the long days-- when tired little ones are getting ready for bed and the remnants of the day result in dirty bath water, those are the days that were enjoyed the most. I am trying to seize those days: playing outside, the park, farms, camping, painting, playdough . . . the stuff moms hate ;) . . . those are the days I want to fill our lives with. I am looking forward to the many dirty bath water days to come.
Tomorrow we begin our third week of first grade! Thought is was a good time for an evaluation of where we are, what is going well, what not so well . . . 

Most things are going really well. It is hard not to smile when I get out Writing with Ease or First Language Lessons, remind E to answer in complete sentences and a huge smile appears on her face as she says, "I LOVE this!" She is so my child! ;) 

Bible Study Guide for all Ages. Amazing! one of our favorite parts of the day. There is great built in review, and I like how there is little to no prep, and just enough hands on to keep them involved but not overwhelmed. We try to do Bible before C goes to VPK 3 days a week so he doesn't miss out. I am excited for all we will learn this year! Ron calls it seminary for children :)

All About Spelling is going pretty well. I really love it, and E is doing really well with it. My only issue with it at this point is since it asks you to divide the phonogram cards into those "mastered" and those needing "review," I am having a hard time getting E not to call them "the ones she is good at" and the ones she is not good at."  :( She is so amazing and doing so well, it is hard to see her so hard on herself.  No matter how much I explain, it is to no avail. Thankfully I think we are down to two or three in her "not so good" pile. ;) 

Math Mammoth.  Math continues to be E's least favorite subject. The only thing that draws complaints and even some tears. I outsource it to Ron as often as possible, but that is not often enough! :) So far I think our switch to Math Mammoth from Saxon has been a good one. I do hope there is enough review built in for my non "mathy" child, but we shall see! 

Abeka Phonics. This is old hat since we started it last April. We are almost half-way through first grade and certainly in a groove with it. E especially likes any kind of game utilized, and she is pretty easy to please. A simple erase the word written in a tree on the board as you read it works! Our question at this point with the curriculum is whether or not to continue formal phonics instruction after this or to simply continue with All About Spelling and possibly Explode the Code for review. We will re-evaluate when we get closer to finishing.  

Elemental Science Biology. A science curriculum that actually gets done! It has been the perfect amount, light and not hard to get done. So far the experiments are easy to do and fun. So far so good!

Story of the World. We are enjoying it thus far. Shocking, but I am actually utilizing the library. Crazy, I know! We have read several supplemental books each week, done the maps and coloring pages, the review questions and narrations. So far it seem the perfect amount for first grade. 
Here are some of our history projects:

Week One: Introduction
Our family tree (Just my side, --my parents, siblings and their kids, which by itself was a challenge!) :)
Archaeological Dig (in the garage since it had just rained!) 

Ummm, what is this stuff??? (should have known better than to ask Ron to prep the dig!)

Week 2: Cave Paintings!

First Grade seems to be going well, add in field trips to Chuckie Cheese, the pool, Sun and Fun Lagoon, and we have been very busy! I do love that my children get an opportunity to learn like this. Although there are tough moments and tears may come (and at times I find myself looking for the yellow bus) I feel privileged and amazingly blessed to homeschool. 

2 Weeks Down!

by on 10:00 PM
Tomorrow we begin our third week of first grade! Thought is was a good time for an evaluation of where we are, what is going well, what not ...
For the last week or two every time I walk past our memory circles (where we write our current memory work) in the kitchen, I have been slightly bummed that they have been empty. I feel like we are wasting precious time to learn. Needless to say I was thrilled to fill in some of those circles tonight! :) The curricula is set, the school room is organized, candy is laid out :) and we are ready! Looking forward to tomorrow! May I be faithful to the task given me, and may God be glorified!

Here are some pics of our school room. I will post another when our new chairs get here later this week.

***Wanted to edit this post to add a pic of our new chairs!

Ready for School!

by on 11:28 PM
For the last week or two every time I walk past our memory circles (where we write our current memory work) in the kitchen, I have been slig...
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