Checking In - August

Checking in!  The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.  That and my computer's battery charger DIED.  I was without my computer 3 days.  I thought I was going to have a break down.  LOL  Seriously... how does anybody function without technology these days?  I felt so disconnected.

Anyhoo... here's the 411 on our happenings.  First of all, I had a fantastic trip with Chosen to Mississippi.  It was truly awesome!  I tell ya, if you do not have a relationship with Jesus, you are missing out!  There was some praising going on.  We spent a lot of time on the road and I enjoyed every  minute of it.  I know I may annoy you sometimes saying things over and over, but really - I'm so grateful for this group of ladies.  They are the best friends a gal could ask for.  They're fun to be with.  And, I'm just so blessed to sing with them.  It's fun "going on the road" with them.  =) I will never forget these times.

We're now finishing up our second week of homeschool for 2nd grade.  Audrey is doing really well.  We haven't had a lot of blow ups (yet).  She is catching on very quickly and getting work done (shew!). This child is so smart.  Really.  I know children are like sponges, but her level of comprehension sometimes amazes me.  What a joy it is to be able to share in her education and see all the "ah ha" moments.  Today before we started school, we had breakfast together and then walked a couple of miles on the Greenway.  I love spending one on one time with her and just talking to her.  She really is a great kid!

Maddie started Pre-K yesterday.  No, we do not homeschool Maddie - yet.  We do send her to a private Christian preschool 4 mornings a week because we feel that is the best thing for her right now (she goes from 9-1:00).  We will, more than likely, start her at home for kindergarten next year.  She is enjoying it - though is a little sad that none of her friends from last year are in her class.  :(  But, she said she did get to see some of them on the playground and that helps.  She feels like such a big girl because she's now in the "carpool" lane.  =)

My sweet girl on her first day of PreK!

Cheerleading is going very well.  It is the hardest thing I've ever done, but one of the most rewarding.  I love those little girls!  They are so darn cute.  And, what is being asked of them is huge.  The expectations are very high.  But, I have no doubt they'll come through.  I'm so honored to be part of such a high quality program.  It can be quite intimidating, but God would not have put me in this position if He didn't think we could do it!  On a sidenote, I'm incredibly thankful for the other moms He has put in place to help guide these girls.  They are amazing!  They are so knowledgeable and fantastic with the girls.  They're also becoming great friends of mine.  A gal can't have too many friends! 

The girls at the end of a very hard choreography week with our fantastic choreographer from Florida.  
I went to the doctor this week for a check up.  I accidentally let my prescription run out - which was not cool!  I'm almost back on track now.  (Note to self: Do NOT let that happen again!)  The doctor wants me to do another fasting blood work next month.  My sugar was too high and good cholesterol too low (which I knew).  Apparently my blood pressure was high yesterday, too.  She says I have to have a Sleep Study done.  I'm pretty sure the Apnea is back.  She looked in my throat and said that something (don't remember the term) was too big and the air wasn't getting through properly which is probably why I'm not sleeping well and snoring.  Blah!  Can I just whine and tell you how much I do NOT want to do a sleep study or have to wear a CPAP?!  :(  I know... lose the weight, stop complaining.  Anyway, I also had my foot checked out.  It has bothered me for months (actually since I trained for the 3-Day a couple of years ago).  Every time I walk for extended amounts of time or start working out, my foot bothers me for days.  She's afraid I have some torn tendons.  :(  It is possible there's an old stress fracture so she took an x-ray - but I haven't received results yet.  She gave me an inflammatory, told me to ice twice a day, and giving me physical therapy.  She wants to try this first because she's pretty sure if she sends me to the Orthopedist, they'll put me straight in a boot.  I do not have time for that!  LOL

All of the other activities start back next week.  I'll be teaching 2nd Grade choir again at church.  Both of my girls will be in choir, as well as a Awana.  We also start back our weekly Chosen rehearsals.  The following week we'll start our weekly Bible Studies back up.  It's a busy time of year!

So, that's our update.  I'll keep checking in!  Thanks for sticking around.  

First Day of 2nd Grade

Not Back to School Blog Hop

This week on the Not Back to School Blog Hop is Student Photos/First Day of School.  Thanks for joining our family on this exciting day!!  If you missed our previous posts in the hop, check out our classroom here and our curriculum here.

Today was our first official day of 2nd Grade.  She has been to two weeks of her Science & Art classes she takes at a local homeschool supplemental class.  This was our first day of class at home.  (Do I seriously have a second grader already?!)  Here she is... Audrey!

8/22/12 - First day at home.

8/13/12 - First day going to her supplemental classes -
Science & Art at NGHE.

If every day of school goes as smoothly as today did, I will be a very happy Mama!  We started out our day with breakfast with everyone.  (We LOVE having Daddy working from home.  What a blessing!)  She was too excited to wait until we started class to open the Little Passports package that came in the mail.  It sat on the steps for a week before she realized it had her name on it.  LOL  We opened at the breakfast table and went through all the cute contents.  Then we headed down to our new classroom to start on our Bible readings.  We cuddled on the couch and started Charlotte's Web. Afterwards it was time for the dreaded copywork.  (My child despises handwriting.)  We had to take a break early on to help a friend out with her doggies.  After lunch we were back to it!  She had to rewrite her copywork - and actually did so without too much complaint.  Then it was off to work on compound words, math, Latin, and art.  Here are a few highlights from our day:

Working on her Accelerated Math program

Enjoying some reading time in the the hammock.

Audrey & Mommy's water color interpretations of  Scream

Helping little sister with her artist smock while she paints.

Maddie had some of her own "homework".

WARNING: Busy Week Ahead

I'll be participating in an Usborne event this weekend.  If you're local, be sure to come out to First Redeemer Church THIS Saturday from 9-4:00 for the Big Creek Arts & Crafts Festival.  (More info here.)  Admission is free.  There are over 100 vendors (and door prizes).  Lots of silent auction items & raffles.  I love to share my love of books with others.  It's A LOT of work, but I sooo enjoy these festivals.  I get to see friends that I love and meet tons of new people.  So much fun!!  (Did I mention, A LOT of work?!  LOL)  I also have to put myself on a budget because I want to do a little too much shopping at others' booths.  Guess it's a great time to get started on Christmas!  I'll try to get some pictures of my booth to share this weekend.

Then Sunday after church & cheer practice, I'll be traveling with Chosen to Mississippi for a singing event.  We'll be driving through the wee hours of the morning since we can't leave until 7pm.  Yikes!  We'll sing Monday night and leave out again very early Tuesday morning.  It will be awesome though.  I LOVE traveling with these ladies!!  God has blessed me beyond measure with these friends and sharing the gift of music.

Wednesday we start our new home school year!!  The room has been ready for awhile.  All of the materials and curriculum are in.  Today I am working on lesson plans.  I'm ready to jump in and get this year started!!  Woot!  Woot!

So, that's it!  Those are the plans and I'm sticking to 'em!  Have a great weekend!  OH, if you do come to the festival, my booth is suppose to be located through the glass doors on the left when you enter the student center (not the gym doors).  HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

Not Back to School Blog Hop - Classroom Week

WELCOME to the Not Back to School Blog Hop - CLASSROOM WEEK!!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Thanks for stopping by!  This is my absolute favorite Blog Hop Week!!  I enjoy getting a glimpse into others' classrooms.  They're so inspirational to me.  Don't forget to leave a comment and I'll be sure to check out your rooms, too.

We're in our second year of homeschooling.  I loved our little classroom last year, but it was very small and had no window.  I think Audrey (my now 2nd grader) felt a bit claustrophobic. She didn't want to do school in there at all the second semester, so we usually ended up upstairs in the dining room.  (Here is a link to last year's classroom.)  Couple that with the girls spending way more time playing in their rooms these days instead of the basement.  So, I thought the best thing to do for now was move the classroom into the large room in the basement.  Everything we need is now in here.  Yay!!  And, I only made one purchase.  :)  I still have some decorations to add here and there, but this gives you an idea.

This is a view of the whole room.  On the left (out of view) is a large white shelf full of games and puzzles.  The small table & chairs are there for the girls to use when they take something off that shelf. Next to the shelf is our workbox.  Then a long desk that holds her computer and also where she does most of her work.  On the back wall you see our main organization system with all of our school books, curricula, & readers.  The large white table is mostly for art project and games.  There are also 2 small leather chairs next to the small shelves for reading.  On the right is a small sofa for resting/reading.  

Our new Ikea shelf (Expedit) that now houses all our new Usborne books and curriculum with our older, smaller shelves flanking it.  The pink & white boxes on top hold our flash cards, cd's, and dvd's.  We have a box for art supplies, laminator, readers, blocks, puzzles, and a few games.  

Our wall of info - calendars, white board, clock, maps, etc.

Other side with desk & computer; corkboard, etc.

And, when we need to mix it up a bit - we have the hammocks!  Audrey LOVES to sit in them to read.  My husband made them.  He also added some hooks into the walls that the girls can easily put up and take down the hammocks themselves.

Under Construction!

I apologize if you have been checking in the past week and the blog looks different every time.  I'm trying to find the perfect look.  I found one I really liked, but the side bars weren't in the right place.  The template I'm using now I really love, but as you can probably see, most of my widgets and info is at the bottom.  There are several issues with the template itself.  So.... I'm going to bed now because I'm super tired.  As soon as I get some more time, I'll come back and work on it some more.  In the meantime, you can still read my posts and I can still get your comments.  You just never know what this place is going to look like when you stop by.  :-)

*UPDATE* as of 8/10/12
I'm still trying to get this thing working.  I found this great template that I really like.... except I haven't figured out how to change the photos in the slide show to my own photos.  SOOOO... please disregard the photos at the top until I can get it figured out!!  THANKS!

*UPDATE* as of 8/11/12
I finally got the photos changed, but as you can see -- they're all tiled.  I've played with the pics, changed dimensions, etc.  It's driving me BONKERS!  I'm gonna keep playing around with it before giving up on this template because I really like it.  And, I'm learning a lot more about html coding.  =)

*FINAL UPDATE* 11:12pm
It is DONE!  Thanks to my wonderful hubby and a whole lot of learning codes and such.... I do believe the slide show is done.  Now, I do plan to change the pics up, but at least now I know how to do it!!  Yippee!!   Let me know what you think about the new blog!  I know there were a few of you that said you couldn't read the old one very well on your iPads, so hopefully this will help!!  Night, Night!

Season of Purge

It has been a productive week.. and it's only Tuesday!  Amazing how much time you get back when you give up Facebook.  :)  If you've been following along lately, I've been on a quest to get my house totally cleaned and organized.  My goal is to have everything thoroughly cleaned so I can just maintain.  With school starting... probably next week... and my added duties of coaching cheerleading, I am not going to have tons of time to devote to house cleaning.

Most of you know that I've struggled with my children's messes and toys lately.  I believe it was back earlier in the year that I purged all of the baby stuff and a full van load of toys were donated.  It is time to purge again.  I did things a little differently this time.  I had the girls search the entire house for every toy they could find.  We took every toy from the basement playroom, each girls' bedroom, and random toys throughout the house and brought them upstairs to our hallway floor.  We poured out every toy box and container.  It was quite a site!  (There were 2 trash bags of trash & broken toys in there, as well as an entire load of laundry scattered throughout!)  Have a look:

Look, there's a kid in there!  

The picture really doesn't do it justice.  It was really high!  Anyway, I took every container/toy box we had and lined them up.  They got to choose what toys stayed.  (At least until they stopped helping and then Mama made the choice.)  Once the bins were filled, we were done keeping toys!  Before putting any toys back in the rooms, I did a full cleaning of floors, closets, & furniture.  Additionally, the girls have to choose one toy a month to donate.  Hoping we can keep this in check this time!

2 days, 2 trash bags, and 4 donation boxes later....

Not Back to School Blog Hop - Curriculum Week

Not Back to School Blog Hop

WELCOME!  Thanks for stopping by the Not Back to School Blog Hop - Curriculum Week.  This is our second year homeschooling and blog hopping.  We've made a few additions and changes for second grade and are excited to share it with you.  Feel free to stick around a while and be sure to let me know you're here so I can visit your page!

Core Curriculum - We're sticking with SONLIGHT.  I adore it.  I'm not going to lie - it can be overwhelming.  There's a lot of information and a ton of reading.  Honestly, I felt really guilty that we didn't finish reading all of our books in the first grade.  But, I finally realize that it is OK.  We have the books and can read them at leisure later!

Science - We're absolutely sticking with APOLOGIA.  I can't say enough about this program!  I love it!   I totally love that they get a full, in depth study of one concentrated area.  We did Astronomy last year and will be doing Botany this year.  My daughter takes this at a local homeschool program once a week and we review it through the week.  I did not get the Journal with it this year since she takes this elsewhere and they give her assignments from it anyway.

Handwriting - We're going to give HANDWRITING WITHOUT TEARS another go.  I really like it.  If it doesn't work with her this year, I'll use it with Maddie when the time comes.  She seemed to catch on well when I was working with Audrey some last year.

Math - This one is a bit complicated and don't freak out when I tell you what we chose.  Let me start by saying that we started first grade last year with Math U See.  We got about 19 lessons in and Audrey was bored.  I switched to Singapore, but I was only using their review books.  She really enjoyed them.  I did some research on several curricula, but decided to stick with the actual SINGAPORE set.  We'll be doing 1B and 2A.  Upon recommendation I also bought a couple of books of LIFE OF FRED as a fun supplement.  They're awesome books!    THEN... my Statistician husband, went to the conference Saturday and met a lovely man named Miles Jones.  He has an Accelerated Math program that we both agreed would be fantastic for Audrey who really is great in math!  The packaging is not as "fancy" as most other curricula, but you can't judge a book by its cover!  Here is a link to Jones Geniuses.


Latin - This is a new one for us.  After recommendations and research, we both feel it is important to start Latin.  It will only help with other areas of learning.  We're starting out simple with SONG SCHOOL LATIN.  I'm excited about learning it with her!

Extra Curricular - Audrey enjoys learning about history and world cultures.  I thought it would be great fun to sign them both up for LITTLE PASSPORTS.   They get a package in the mail each month with info from a different country.  There are activities, a "goody", a sticker for their "passport", and a tag for their "suitcase".  Check out their site for more info!

We are also doing KEEPERS OF HOME through our homeschool group.  I'm looking forward to the monthly meetings and learning some new skills with her.  :)

And, there you have it!  That's the plan!  Keep in mind that we also participate in Awana, Children's Choir, and Competitive Cheerleading.  It's going to be a GREAT year!

Facebook Hiatus

Facebook.  Friend or Foe?  Let me tell you what I like about it.  What I love the most is being able to stay in daily contact with close family and friends that live far away.  That is the point of Facebook, right?  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting reconnected with friends from childhood, teachers, family friends, kids I've babysat, students I've taught, and even my own babysitter when I was a child.  It's exciting to get a friend request.  I love to watch friends' children grow up through the years.  Behind my screen I rejoice over babies that are born, mourn over losses, and celebrate victories with friends.  I laugh out loud at silly videos and pictures.  And, I must admit that I, if it isn't obvious from my Facebook page, thoroughly enjoy posting my own photos & stories of my family.

Now let me share with you what I don't like about Facebook.  I don't like the foulness that comes from many people.  I don't like the judgement I often feel from others when I share my opinion.  It hurts my heart when I hear such negativity.  I hate that I allow myself to be so consumed with it.  I have a difficult time staying silent sometimes.  And, I despise that I have allowed it to take so much of my time.

I've often thought about walking completely away, but then I remember why I love it so.  I realize there is a need for boundaries.  I've recently read so many hurtful posts and I've allowed it to affect me negatively.  Yesterday as I was laid up in bed sick, I spent a considerable amount of time on FB.  There were so many things I wanted to say, but had a hard time deciding what was most appropriate.  With the presidential elections coming up, I have incredibly strong opinions about things and I may have an even more difficult time restraining myself.  I don't want to ever hurt my witness by making the wrong choices or saying the wrong thing.  

As I went to bed last night, God clearly spoke that it was time to take a break.  My time needs to be used in a more effective way - one being making more time for Him.  He reaffirmed that need for me this morning when I opened up my devotional to today's date.  It read:  "Watch your words diligently.  Words have such great power to bless or to wound.  When you speak carelessly or negatively, you damage others as well as yourself.  This ability to verbalize is an awesome privilege, granted only to those created in My Image.  You need help in wielding this mighty power responsibly."  The scripture references were Proverbs 12:18, James 1:19, Ephesians 4:29  

For this reason, I will be taking an extended break from Facebook.  Not gonna lie - it will be difficult to stay away.  I love reading the daily status updates and posts from friends.  I hope to hear from you guys while I'm away!
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