We have been faithfully (ok, most of the time!) plugging away at memorizing our TRUTH 66 Bible drill verses this semester.

The kids are doing amazingly well, and we are working on our second set of verses which are do tomorrow at our 2nd pit stop with our homeschool group.

I did get a bit behind and realized we had not memorized last weeks verse very well and actually had a new verse this week. I usually try to have the week of a pit stop just review.

They have worked hard this week and know their verses. However, we are still struggling with matching the verses to the reference. We came up with a few ways to work on it.

I used a large piece of construction paper with the references written on it and drew pictures to help with visual memory. The idea is to associate pictures to the words or in this case references so that they can picture the reference and see the pictures that will help them see which verse it goes with.

Here are a few of them . . .

Psalm 54:2: God cloud and an ear for "hear:"
"God hear my prayer . . . "

Proverbs 8:33: An ear for "Listen" and a Bible for "instruction:"
"Listen to instruction and be wise . . . "

Micah 6:8: See all  the "men for mankind?" :) 
"Mankind, He has told you . . . "

Matthew 5:44: "But I" written on top; "TELL" written within the 44 all in a heart for "love"
"But I tell you, love . . . "

Here are the Key Passages:

Psalm 51: praying hands inside 2 4's 
"A Prayer for forgiveness"
Matthew 3:13-17: waves with Jesus and the Holy Spirit as a dove
"The Baptism of Jesus"
Matthew 6:5-15: praying hands
"The Model Prayer"

Next, I just made up game cards  we can play to help the kids match the "buzz words" from the verse with the reference. Hopefully these will help!

C started basketball this week and is rather obsessed. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and let him practice his dribbling and passing while practicing the books of the Bible. It was a big hit with all of the kids!

Here is a video of them practicing Genesis to Obadiah.

Having a set plan for memorizing Scripture this year has been great, knowing it is all planned out. We are also very much enjoying doing it alongside other homeschoolers. I am simply amazed at how much the two year old has learned right along with them. Love getting the Word deep in all of their hearts!

Update on TRUTH 66

by on 10:35 PM
We have been faithfully (ok, most of the time!) plugging away at memorizing our TRUTH 66 Bible drill verses this semester. The kids are d...
I hope and pray everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a great week spending time as a family, resting, cooking, baking, and a lot of playing! We did very little school, only doing math and reading on Monday and Tuesday. We needed the break!

We cooked and baked a ton! The girls were much more willing helpers. C was much more interested in the Wii.

I am not sure what made me so adventurous in the kitchen this holiday season, turkey cupcakes last week and this week we made turkey chocolate dipped Oreo lollipops. I think after these I am ready to go back to store bought treats! ;)

R helped C ride a 2 wheeler for the first time!

Did a good bit of Black Friday shopping that may have involved preteens and cheerleading stunts at Toys R us to get hidden items on the top shelf!

Bought and decorated a new Christmas tree. We finally upgraded from our seminary apartment tree we have had forever! 

It was so great to be a regular family without school for a few days. I enjoyed my kids, and am so grateful for the blessing they are!

Now we are ready to gear up for Christmas with our Christmas bucket list! Love being intentional about spending time enjoying these precious treasures!

Thanksgiving Week 2012

by on 3:17 PM
I hope and pray everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a great week spending time as a family, resting, cooking, baking, and a lot of...
For Thanksgiving day the kids and I made chocolate dipped Oreo Lollipop turkeys.

(pictures shown are a double batch)

  • 1 bag of Double Stuff Oreos
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips (we used Andes mint chocolate chips)
  • 1 bag of candy corn
  • white chocolate chips
  • licorice cut into small pieces (for the wattle)
  • lollipop sticks

Step 1: Open the Oreos, dip the sticks in melted chocolate, place the stick in the cream of one side of the Oreo, close up the Oreo, and chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Step 2: dip the Oreo lollipops in the melted chocolate (I used Andes mint chocolate chips), set out 4 candy corns point side down on wax paper and lay the dipped lollipop on the candy corn (I did lose a few oreos in the chocolate, I just used a spoon to scoop it out. The kids enjoyed eating the bowl of casualties!) 

Step 3: dip a candy corn in the melted chocolate and set it on the dipped Oreo. 

Step 4: While holding the candy corn beak in place, place the cut licorice wattle next to the candy corn using it to help the candy corn stay upright. 

Step 5: dip the bottom of the white chocolate chip in the melted chocolate and place the eyes. (I actually did this step later and used chocolate frosting to stick the eyes, but only because I couldn't find my white chocolate chips while I had melted chocolate!) 

Step 6: chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them! 

I saw several ideas for Christmas bucket lists on Pinterest, and combined a few along with some ideas of my own. I am so excited about being super intentional about keeping our focus on family and Christ this Christmas season, and embracing a month that all too often is gone before you can blink! 

Here are a few of my compiled ideas. I chose 24 and plan to print them on card stock, wrap them, and have the kids open one a day for the first 24 days of Christmas. Using an advent calendar would work as well. You can either number them to best work with your schedule, or just be a random pick. You can download a PDF of the bucket list printable here.

Christmas Bucket List:

Pop popcorn and watch a Christmas movie

Hot chocolate before bed and read a Christmas book

Go look at Christmas lights

Act out the Christmas story with nativity pieces

Perform a Christmas play

Have a Christmas song dance party

Make chocolate dipped pretzels and decorate them

Make Christmas cards for the nursing home

Make Christmas cards for family and friends

Deliver/mail Christmas cards

Bake cookies and bring to a neighbor

Apple cider and read a Christmas book

Make christmas ornaments (we will be making these.)

Christmas story book

Give a secret gift or note to someone

Read the Legend of the Candy cane

Make Christmas tree cones

Peppermint Chocolate dipped Oreos for gifts

Christmas magnet nativity scene craft

Popcorn and Christmas movie

JOY photo art

Christmas fingerprint art

Sing silent night and make "silent night" photos. (History of Silent Night)

M&M Christmas story: make some to share with neighbors

Christmas Bucket List

by on 10:17 PM
I saw several ideas for Christmas bucket lists on Pinterest, and combined a few along with some ideas of my own. I am so excited about bei...
Operation Christmas child was our October and November 52.4Him  family ministry projects.

In October, our church had a packing party. Over the course of the year people donated items for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Then we had a day where families came and packed the boxes. We had such a wonderful time serving! The kids loved picking things for their boxes, and writing personal notes and cards to go inside. We prayed over each box, and for the child that would receive it.

For November, the kids made their own shoeboxes in preparation for the annual shoebox chapel our homeschool group attends at a local Christian school. This year, our church, school, and homeschoolers collected over 1,400 boxes!

The kids love getting to pick items at the store for their child and it is such a great learning experience of sacrifice and gratitude. I always make sure to prepare the kids ahead of time before we go into the store, so they know what we are doing, why we are doing it, and that this shopping trip is not about them. Not asking for a single thing because you know today is not about you is a great lesson!

Ready to pack!

I always wonder if the boxes will close! 

And they always do!
Ready to go!

My kids always experience such joy in making the boxes and picking items specifically for their child.

The chapel service is always special as well. My favorite thing about Christmas is the many opportunities we get to serve and focus on our Savior!

Operation Christmas Child

by on 9:24 AM
Operation Christmas child was our October and November 52.4Him  family ministry projects. In October, our church had a packing party. Over...
Ever get to the end of the week and wonder what happened? I feel as though last week was a blur, and then it was over. I have feelings of chaos and tiredness tied to it so we must have done something.

My calendar says we had Lego class, gymnastics, piano, Operation Christmas Child shoebox chapel, made turkey cupcakes, had a homeschool Thanksgiving party, went to music class, and my niece flew in to visit.

Lego Class!

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Chapel

Turkey Cupcakes! (see my post with instructions here)

Homeschool Thanksgiving party at the park!

Music Class!

Scholaric says E did a weeks worth of math, language arts, Biblioplan. No science again. :(

It says C did Right Start math, handwriting, several lessons of All About Reading, and Biblioplan.

We started the read aloud Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest, and Tales of Robin Hood

But...it all seems like a blur. Perhaps because on top of a regular week we had Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to buy items and pack, extra activities, holiday preparations, a Thanksgiving party, and turkey cupcakes to bake.

My calendar and planner assure me this week did happen. We did all those things, but perhaps I am too sleep deprived from it all to have more than a passing memory! :) Glad there are a few pictures to assure me it did happen!

Week 15: What Happened?

by on 9:19 AM
Ever get to the end of the week and wonder what happened? I feel as though last week was a blur, and then it was over. I have feelings of ch...
I am one of those people that see fun turkey cupcakes on Pinterest and think how fun! but never actually make them. I am an ideas person, not the see to completion person! However, I am trying to be the mom I want to be ;) and these looked so fun, I sucked it up embraced the day and made them for our homeschool Thanksgiving Party. Trust me, if it is easy enough for me to do it, anyone can! Also, you can see mine are far from perfect (remember I have no artistic ability whatsoever) but even not perfect they looked fun!

We made some adjustments to the original blog. Here is what we did:

  • We made yellow cake cupcakes according to the package.

  • After they cooled, I frosted them with chocolate frosting.

  • I put chocolate frosting in a Ziplock bag, cut a hole in the corner and made the head and base for tail.

  • Candy Corn for the nose and feathers, white chocolate chips with a dot of chocolate frosting for the eyes.

  • Voila! Fun Turkey cupcakes!

Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes

by on 9:18 AM
I am one of those people that see fun turkey cupcakes on Pinterest  and think how fun!  but never actually make them. I am an ideas person, ...
I can't be the only one that struggles with the blurred lines of mom verses homeschool mom. How much of my time do I spend planning, researching, preparing, teaching, and doing projects. I have even come to view regular childhood activities like the park, children's museum, cooking, baking, and read alouds as part of the "curriculum." The amount of pressure mom's already put on themselves is absurd, then you add on their child's education, socialization, college options, and future career options to the list -- daunting is an understatement.

I wake up with the goal of getting the children moving to start school in a timely manner. We move through the day checking off the planner, going to the activities on the calendar, check, check, check...

I often fail to get laundry done during the week or leave a load long enough in the washer it has to be rerun the next day, and most of the cleaning happens on the weekends. My toddler gets way too little attention, and my mind is never still. By the time I have researched and planned curriculum for one year it is time to start planning for the next! I strive to teach and correct, but I still want them to know I am their biggest fan.

Sometimes homeschooling can seem all consuming. Sometimes, I just need to focus on being a mom. This week we had regular schoolwork, Operation Christmas Child packing, Lego class, music class, gymnastics, piano lessons, play dates, meetings, and a few doctors visits thrown in. However, in the midst of the scheduled chaos, I tried to find time to just be a mom. Time to play with friends, cuddle, read books not on the schedule, play at the park, cook together, paint finger and toe nails, make some new Pinterest recipes, dance and sing at music class and enjoy it instead of thinking ahead to all I have to do when I get home.

Yes, we still homeschooled. I still taught. We did math, language arts, history, and more science than we have done in awhile. We finished a math chapter I have been avoiding like the plague because of all the mess it would entail. It got done, and I enjoyed so much of it.

Yes, we finished science at 8 pm last night because of a doctors appointment, a trip to Chik Fil A, Spanish immersion class, and dinner with grandma. And I am OK with that. We might not have gotten in all four scheduled days of spelling, but we did progress, and we took a week to remember we are a family who homeschools, not a "homeschool family."  I am a mom who homeschools, not a "homeschool mom." Yes, I teach math, cursive, and how to read; and yes, I correct and assign, but I also love, cuddle, encourage, play, and even cook and clean. Sometimes I just need a break from my role as home teacher, and remember that my students only have one mom and she shouldn't disappear just because there is school work to be done.

Finishing Week 14 at the park!

Mom vs. Homeschool Mom

by on 9:02 PM
I can't be the only one that struggles with the blurred lines of mom verses homeschool mom. How much of my time do I spend planning, res...
November is Thanksgiving all month long in our home. Each year we make a Thanksgiving Tree in the kitchen and during Bible time each morning we add a leaf with something we are thankful for. It is a great opportunity to develop grateful hearts. The kids look forward to it, and I do too! 

In the past we have used paper to create our tree, and then cut out leaves to put on it. (Sorry I can't find a photo of the finished product, but use your imagination to see leaves on there!) ;) I use a leaf template and print it on fall colored card stock, cut it out, and each day each child writes something they are thankful for on a leaf and we tape it (or use sticky tack) to our tree.

last year's tree:

This year I decided to be lazy different and bought a wire tree from Hobby Lobby. (40% off coupon made it about the same price as the paper!)  We are looking forward to filling our tree and our hearts with Thankfulness, praising God for His many good gifts!

This years tree:

We also memorize a passage of Thanksgiving from the Bible. Two years ago we memorized Psalm 100, and we review it each November.

Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
Come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is He who made us and we are His;
We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
Give thanks to him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.

This year we are memorizing Psalm 34:1. Since we are memorizing a great number of verses for TRUTH 66 this year, we are keeping our Thanksgiving verse short, in addition to reviewing Psalm 100. 

Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth

I love November, and the reminder it brings to keep His praise on our lips! 
Happy month of Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgiving Tree

by on 9:24 AM
November is Thanksgiving all month long in our home. Each year we make a Thanksgiving Tree in the kitchen and during Bible time each mornin...
If you are familiar with the Five Love Languages (of Children), you know every person (and child) has a special language they give and receive love. While this is true, I have yet to see a child not greatly impacted by words no matter their primary "love language."

As I put J down for a nap today, I snuggled close to her and whispered in her ear a little ritual we do often. "I love your smile. I love your giggle. I love your love of life. I love your expressions. I love how you capture attention. I love your ability to entertain any time any where. I love your wit. I love your one liners. I love how you make me laugh. I love how you love. I love your passion. I love how you play a crowd. I love to watch you dance. I love your chocolate eyes. I love you. From the top of your hair to the tip of your toes." With each encouraging word her body relaxed, her breathing evened out, her smile grew big, and she snuggled closer to me. She responded physically and emotionally. All of my kids do the same thing. When you begin to tell them all that you love about them, their heart and eyes latch on and their heart and body respond to words of life pouring into them.

Critical or threatening words also elicit a physical and emotional response. I love my children, but one of my gravest flaws as a mom is my lack of self control in the area of words. No I don't name call, or curse, but I do yell and criticize. It is a generational sin I fight every day. What can I say, I am Italian. ;) Yelling was such a part of my home growing up, a part of my culture. Then I married a boy from Mississippi. We often joke that our wedding was My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Sweet Home Alabama! He is gentle and soft spoken. Refined. To make him angry it is usually a slow boil, rarely boiling over. I, on the other hand, am a volcano. He is helping me to make this volcano dormant . . . this is no easy task!

Just as they respond wholly to words of encouragement, all of my children respond physically to yelling. They get tense, move farther away physically, eyes downcast, fear in their eyes. Yes they know I would never hurt them physically, yet their affect shows their emotional pain. C is the most dramatic physically. He cowers. If I begin to yell he hides or runs or will get into a ball or cover his ears. I rarely yell at C. As soon as I begin and he acts like I have physically beat him, I immediately check my voice and usually whisper a much better response. His response is extreme, but it shows exactly what all children feel when they hear yelling and criticism. While I am saddened that I ever yell at C, I appreciate his extreme response because it is a grave reminder of how damaging that habit can be.

In the same way, C responds the most physically when receiving words of affirmation. Each word of encouragement calms him, fills his soul, encourages his heart, and breathes life into his precious being. Seeing this response is a physical reminder to fill their hearts with words of encouragement. Research shows that children need 13 affirmations per 1 negative comment, correction, or criticism. 13 to 1!!! Oh, how backwards things are here all too often. I am deepening my commitment to speak words that encourage and affirm, telling these precious three children in my life what I really think about them. That they are fantastic, amazing, talented, intelligent, loved, cherished, and mine!

I want to speak life, not judgment. Encouragement not criticism. This is an area of my life that I struggle with daily, but I will not give in. I will fight my flesh everyday to speak life.

There are some weeks that when you finally sit down and reflect you think, goodness! I need a break! This was one of those weeks!

Sunday: We went out to visit my mom who is RV camping on the beach. Beautiful weather and a great family day!

Monday: We are on week 4 of our 8 week Lego engineering class. A highlight of their week!

Tuesday and Wednesday: Tuesday morning we had family pictures and then we headed back out to the beach to spend some time with Grandma. Camping in an RV is my kind of camping! A few days of fall weather was very welcomed and we took advantage of the weather by schooling and playing outside.

P.E. homeschool style! (with their cousins!)

We completed all of our school week, but didn't feel like we dug very deep especially in history and science. E is hung up on Step 12 of All About Spelling and I am learning patience there. C continues to be progressing in reading and we started All About Reading Level 1 this week. He is loving it. Handwriting continues to be a struggle for him, but he is making slow and steady progress. 

One area we slacked in this week was math for E. we are having to go back and finish a chapter I skipped because it was so "involved." It is a chapter on measurements and involves scales, buckets of water, quart and liter jugs, as well as the metric system. I admit, I myself am currently unable to compare lbs to kilograms and hauling buckets of water in to weigh seems...messy. So, we skipped math a lot this week. Sigh. Next week we will have fix that. I am NOT looking forward to it. We did do some, weighing books and other household items. I was amazed at how much this little gymnast could carry! I have never doubted that she is strong, but even I was shocked! She thought it was great fun until I made her hold the pose while I took a picture! :)

Thursday: school day with an extra. My nephew schooled with us and one more second grader added to the chaos = More chaos! :) 

Friday: J had music class. E and C had breakfast out with daddy. Then we all headed to an art class without local homeschool group. We made pumpkins and scarecrows out of polymer clay. Very fun!


Spent the afternoon at the park for a playdate and before you know it, it's time to take E to the gym for Friday practice. This week was super busy!

I love making memories and the kids having wonderful experiences, but I think we need a break! I think next week we will try to scale back and find that routine we once had and loved!

Busyness: Week 13

by on 6:38 PM
There are some weeks that when you finally sit down and reflect you think, goodness! I need a break! This was one of those weeks! Sunday: ...
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