Friday, November 29, 2013

The season is here!

Last year, we had a great Christmas.  It was busy and full of really fun activities and traditions.  There   were parties and Santa visits, decorating and shopping, baking and all around just celebrating.  But celebrating what?  All throughout the season, and this entire year since, I have felt so convicted about how little we celebrated Christ's birth, and what that birth means for us this past year.  I mean, I kept meaning to refocus our family, but then things would always get in the way and before I know it, we were digging into another present or singing another rousing rendition of "Santa clause is coming to town."  I don't think those things are wrong; but I did nothing to suggest that those things were only a by- product of the joy I have in the birth of a Savior, My King.  And that is so wrong.  And such an incomplete picture of the plan God has for us.  We were MADE to worship- how can we worship Him all year long if we can't recognize and rejoice in the birth of the son He sent to save us!

So anyway, I have been very intrigued by the Jesse Tree advent tradition ever since I heard about it a few years ago.  The Jesse tree is basically Jesus' family tree.  It gives the lineage from the Old Testament to the birth of Christ; and in essence gives the plan of salvation through it.  The advent tradition gives a story a day, starting with the creation and ending on Christmas Day with Jesus' birth.

A friend gave me the link to the Jesse advent using the Jesus Storybook Bible, which is my absolute favorite children's Bible anyway so of course, I immediately decided this was it.  This book has a way of pointing to Jesus in every story, from old to New Testament anyway, so I am so excited to see how 25 days of this will change my (our) focus this Christmas.

Another element of the Jesse tree tradition is hanging a different ornament on a tree to represent each Bible story.  I found a printable for ornaments that I plan on laminating and using in some way.  Did I mention I am excited?!!

If you would like to take a look at what I am doing- here is where I found it!

Friday, November 8, 2013

MFW Weeks 8 and 9

Our science these two weeks were about rain, thunder and lightening.  We did a few science experiments and journaled about it.
Adler is really coming around with his reading.  He is still mixing up some of the blends but is starting to figure it out on his own more and more every day.  He is always so proud to read books to us.  Hazel is also doing so well with her letter sounds and writing.  She can usually give the beginning letter and write them on her own to most words that I ask her.  We are using the explode the code series workbooks for her and just supplementing with lots of hands on activities to reinforce the ideas she is learning.  Her handwriting just today was impressively better.  She said she stayed up and practiced last night;).

We are starting to dip our toes into the bible history part of the curriculum a little.  We have been going over the basics of who wrote the bible, how many books there are and what part of the world this history from the bible took place.  We started on a bible lands map this week.  

The last two weeks in math, we continued to work on addition problems with Adler.  We introduced vertical equations.  To practice with this, we played restaurant and grocery store several times together.  Adler had to write up the items and add up the totals so that I could pay him (and vice versa when he was the customer).  Both the kids loved this activity.  They played it a lot without me as well.

It's been a good couple of weeks! 
Looking at the menu at our school "cafe"
Hazel as the hostess/waitress/chef
My ticket:)
Adler enjoyed writing and illustrating a book.
Working...I just love how she always makes this face when she is trying hard.
Early morning art class
Learning about maps this week
We are making a bible lands map too
Learning how water evaporates and makes clouds 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

what fall should be

We went to Curry Farm again this year for our pumpkin patch trip.  I want to tell you something.  I do believe that this little farm may be the happiest place on Earth.  I know Disneyworld usually takes that spot; but I think the world is wrong on this and let me tell you why.  At Curry Farms, the people are friendly.  And happy.  And there are hay bales with happy faces on them.  And little goats that stand on the roof of their little goat house and smile at you.  And there is a pillow you can bounce on, a corn maze the shape of Abraham Lincoln's head, and cute misshaped pumpkins of all shapes and sizes that are actually in a real live pumpkin patch.  And when you go, no one is rushing you or herding you from one station to the next.  You just go, and enjoy and relax.  It is EXACTLY what a pumpkin patch should be.  Here in the south, so many of our fall experiences are contrived and somewhat of a sad attempt of what it should be. But at Curry Farm, it actually FEELS like fall, even when the weather is warm.  It's quite lovely.  I wish I would have taken some more pictures, but I was too busy playing to do so....maybe I should come back without the kids;0.

camera dump

Clearing out the 'ole camera and had a few pictures from the summer when we went camping for Hazel's birthday. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oops- MFW weeks 5,6,7...

Whoopsies-been a busy few weeks!  We spent these weeks learning about fallish type things like trees and leaves, pumpkins and the seasons.  We went to a friend's house and did a special study on Columbus Day.  The kids loved learning with their friends.  And then of course, we have continued co-op this month.  I am assistant teacher for October so it's been fun to be a part of class with them this month.  A new thing we have started doing is memorizing a bible verse each week.  Adler also uses the verse for copy work.  I am so amazed and proud of both the kids at how quickly they are memorizing scripture and also how they are applying it.  They both are sure to point out when they use their "honeycomb words" (pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  proverbs 16:24).  This week we are using as a review week to reinforce some things we have been working on the past 7 weeks.  I can't believe we have been in school almost 8 weeks!  They are doing so well and we are all three really enjoying it.  Here is a glimpse of some of the things we have done!
Counting chips for his number of the day
They counted to 100 before they got bored trying to figure out how many cubes the schoolroom was long

More math

And more many different ways to separate the animal counters.  My favorite thing about math so far is how practical and hands on it has been!


And school with friends
This is pizza, just forgot to take a picture of them making it.   Hazel was learning the letter "p" so we stayed in pajamas, made pizza for lunch, pancakes for dinner and painted pumpkins:).

And finally, a little study on pumpkins!  We did pumpkin activities in co-op, learned about them at home and also went to a pumpkin patch! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

MFW weeks 3 and 4

Not a whole lot to say about these weeks- we were super busy and they flew by!

Both weeks we talked about flowers and seeds.  We dissected a flower to see the parts of it, watched how flowers drink colored water and turn the color of the water, and made our own dye out of flower petals.  We also examined beans and watched them over the week as they sprouted a paper towel.  

We also talked about seasons and made little books with pictures of each season.

Here are a few pictures we took over the last two weeks...

We learned how bees and butterflies pollenate by pretending to be them as they drank nectar (juice) and ate Cheetos (Cheetos dust acted as pollen).  They got pollen (Cheetos) everywhere!  
A little m&m sorting and graphing

Painting her trees for each season

Made a dozen muffins for "dozens day" (our number of the day was 12 that day)

Examining and sketching flowers

Making our own dye from flowers (but shhhh- I cheated and used flowers that were artificially dyed- I wanted to make sure it would work- ha)

Our seeds sprouted...the kids were amazed. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rock n roll New Orleans marathon 2013

*i wrote this after I finished my first marathon back in February but never published.  I found it the other day and thought now was as good as ever to do so....

Poor little blog.  You only get attention when I have something to say, and apparently that's not much.  I wanted to to write about my first marathon though, and as I use this little blog as a journal of sorts, well, it's only fitting.

Okay- here is the background- Idecided, sort of on a whim, late November or early December to run this race.  I had been going back and forth on doing a marathon because I was really enjoying working on speed for shorter distances and didn't want to mess that up by adding miles.  But I was already running 30-35 miles a week with my long run around 12-14 miles so I thought I would go ahead and do it.  Training through December was uneventful.  Everything was going great.  My last run of the year was 18.75 miles and it went down without any problems.  I noticed in January that my inside foot was bothering me so I lowered my miles but decided to go ahead and do a local 10k as it wasn't really bothering me that much.  After the race, I knew something was wrong and I was pretty certain it was a stress fracture.  I rested and didn't run for 3 weeks, hoping that would be enough time.  After that, I knew I only had 3 more weeks until the race so I started to do a little running, 2 or 3 miles every few days that first week.  I did a "long" run of 7-8 miles a few times and then 1.5 weeks before the race, I did 13.5 miles.  I had no pain at all during runs, but still would feel a little achy after the run.  But that was it.  I ran 8 miles the week before and 3 miles a few days before and just decided to go for it and hope for the best!

The day before the race my foot hurt all day.  My mind was totally playing tricks on me.  I was nervous about it, but felt like it was mental and I would be okay. The expo was super cool- lots and lots of cool running junk.  We missed all the key speakers because we got to town late (I am so bummed I missed frank shorter and Kara goucher).  We also didn't eat lunch until almost 3 and couldn't find anything that we felt we could eat for dinner.  We ended up eating convenience store
sandwiches- ugh.  I will make sure I plan that better next time.

We woke up on race day at 5am, had coffee, toast and banana, got dressed and headed out for the start.  We were freezing and huddled up for about 20 minutes before we went off to find some friends and wish everyone luck.  After that, we headed to corral 4 and waited for our countdown.  When the gun went off for us, we did that weird shuffle walk run that always happens but quickly found a little ground we could run on and started gaining speed.  Eric and were running the first half together at am easy pace and no headphones.  The first 12.75 miles we ran with the half marathoners.  The road was very crowded and it was a little annoying trying to keep a steady pace and run beside each other too but it was also a lot of fun to run with so many people.  And also, since the half was an out and back, we were able to see the elite runners blazing by- I hope Mo, Kara and shalane heard me screaming and cheering for them:).  Eric and I kept a pace of around 8:35-8:50 the  whole time.  It was a very comfortable pace that allowed us to talk and laugh and really take in the sights around us- the city of New Orleans, the runners and costumes, the crowds and funny signs, the bands.  It was pretty awesome and the time flew by!  Right before the halfway mark, the half runners split from us to go down the finisher chutes.  We took a right and that's where things got exciting!  Eric and I chatted a few more minutes, wished each other luck and put on our headphones.  The music gave me a burst of
energy so I picked up my pace to around 8:15ish.  And it felt awesome!  We ran along side lake pontchartrain and it was really beautiful.  There was also a lot more room to stretch out.  I think the first half we were running with around 12,000 and the second half, around 2,000.  I was expecting it to be no man's land though and it wasn't.  The crowds were awesome and the support staff and bands were incredible as well.  Miles 13-17 were great.  I felt amazing and strong enough to keep up that pace forever.  Around mile 17, I started to look for the turn around as it was an out and back.  I just kept thinking it should be coming up soon and it just never did- it made miles 17-19 pretty long.  I felt good, but I was ready to start heading back.  Mile 19 was the turnaround and it gave me an extra boost.  I don't want to label the way I felt as a runner's high, because I don't think I really believe that
exists, but I will say that miles 19-22 were the best miles I have ever experiences.  I was super happy and just in my own zone during these miles.  I felt like I could fly and it was awesome.  Mile 22, reality set back in and I started to feel like I was actually running a marathon:).  I remember trying to calculate how much I could slow down or even walk and still go under 4 hours.  But still, I was only feeling tired and a little achy in my hips.  I knew I had absolutely no physical reason why I needed to slow too much so I kept at it as best as I could.  I think my last 3 miles, I may have averaged around 8:30-8:40 range.  Finally, I could see the finish line!  Salt N Peppa's Push It came as the next song (ha!) so I decided just to go ahead and blaze it out.  I focused in on the finish line and blew through it- I didn't see any of my family cheering me on.  I was ready to cross over!  I ended in 3:44As soon as I finished, volunteers started handing me stuff and I just took it all- I was just sort of dazed out and feeling super weird from the sudden change of movement from running straight for so long and then stopping.  I ended up with my medal, a warming blanket, a bottle of Gatorade, a bottle of chocolate milk, a water bottle, a pack of cookies and a bag of pretzels.  I know they meant well and they were super, but I could barely put one foot in front of the other and was loaded down.  I found a grassy area, laid down and waited a few minutes before panicking because I had not seen anyone else I ran with or came with- so I schlepped around on dead legs looking for everyone for awhile before I was reunited.  The rest was just fun and relaxation.  We stayed in New Orleans 2 extra days just resting, eating and enjoying the city.  My first marathon experience was really amazing.  I was worried going into it because I knew because of my recent injury, that physically I wasn't prepared.  But I didn't let it get me down and really did much better than I was expecting.  It was enough of a thrill to immediately decide I wanted to do another one.  I can't wait to start training for it!

Friday, September 20, 2013


This will be me the next race I am doing.  I am struggling to keep a slow pace much less anything that doesn't qualify me as a race walker. But hopefully there will be doughnuts at the finish line.  
Seriously, in all the craziness this summer of packing and moving and unpacking and getting ready for homeschooling, I let this area of my life slide.  I managed to run several times a week all summer, but my miles were so low that I barely feel okay with saying I ran any at all.  I have started to work on that though because things are slowing down and I am ready to get reacquainted with long runs and GU and foam rollers and ice baths again. I haven't forgetten how much I love it.  In fact, next week I start training for marathon #2. I am doing the New Orleans Rock and Roll again because I am a creature of habit.  If I liked it once, I am sure to like it again:).  And it just fits in my timetable.  All my long runs will be in the winterish months.  And really, that's the leading factor in that decision.  I know running in the heat makes for a stronger runner.  But come on.  

Anyway, just a little post about running.   I love it. I miss it.  And now I am ready to get back out there WHOLE heartedly.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

MFW1 wk 2

Last week we continue to review kindy phonics rules and handwriting (we are both ready to start some new stuff!).  We talked about scrolls and made small scrolls and printed Genesis 1:1 on them. This year our history comes from the Bible as MFW believes in starting from the beginning:).  We talked about the Jewish calendar and how it is different from our calendar.

For science, we talked about soil.  We watched a show about composting and collected leaf litter to examine.  We also scooped soil into a jar and added water to watch the different layers of the soil separate.  We also made a layered snack showing the different soil levels (marshmallows for bedrock, Cheerios for subsoil and cocoa Krispies for the topsoil/humus).  And the kids had fun playing in a big dirt pile.

For math, we talked alot about patterns and made some of our own patterns.  We went on a walk and found lots of patterns in nature too.  Since Hazel was learning about the letter B, we made butterflies with some pretty patterns too.  

We also belong to a co-op that meets one morning a week.  They are learning about community helpers so we were all able to go to the fire station this week.  It was so fun- the kids both decided they want to be fire fighters now!

It was a pretty fun week.  I think we are finding our pace nicely.  I know that may change next week when we start adding new things.  But I am looking forward to it:). 

Friday, September 13, 2013

For love of the outside

A big part of educating the Charlotte Mason style is putting a strong emphasis on nature as part of educating and developing the child.  She suggests that students spend ample amount of time observing and being a part of nature.  A really great article here can tell you about the benefits of nature studies.  But the gist of it is that lays a foundation for science and makes it interesting; it cultivates curiosity and investigation and the ability to understand in abstract ways; and it basically gives children a view of how much God loves is and teaches them to worship Him over the small (but oh, so big) blessings in nature. That's just a few reasons but enough to get me so on board with it.  It's really an idea that we have always practiced in a way because since before the kids were walking, we have always spent a lot of time outdoors, collecting acorns, picnicking, watching the clouds.  So this is such a natural extension of that.  

 We have only had two weeks of official nature walks/journaling but what joy we have found in it already.  The kids each have their own nature pack which is a bag that has all the "gear" they may need on the walk: a journal and colored pencils, a ruler, tape, flashlight, some ziplock bags, binoculars, and magnifying glass.  We are still new so there may be some things we will want to add to their packs.  We have a guide we are following that had us doing certain things.  Last week we looked at earthworms, mushrooms and ants.  This week, we collected leaf litter and soil samples that we put in a jar of water to see the soil separate from into layers.  Hazel drew a picture of an ant she found in her leaf litter, along with some twigs and leaves.  Adler drew a soil mite we found hiding under a leaf.  My sister, Shannon, suggested I start my own nature journal as well, which I intend to do next week (I am sort of mad at her for coming up with all the good ideas.  She always does  that:/).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

MFW1- Week 1

First week of school!  We had a great week!  Adler says he wants to be a chef when he grows up because "I always wanted to slice a carrot" and hazel wants to be a spy.

This first week, we concentrated on just getting our homeschool groove.  The program calls for a few light weeks before we get down to the nitty gritty of first grade:).

I introduced the kids to the calendar notebooks we will be doing every morning first thing.  In it, they practice handwriting as they write the days of the week and month, math skills as they graph the weather and figure the days of school, and learn about time and money through various sheets.

This week, we learned about things on the ground.  We especially concentrated on ants and worms! 
We read lots of books on things on the ground and watched several shows on them.  Adler especially liked wild kratts "squirmy wormy" episode.  We prepared and ate a delicious worm pudding (pudding and cookies and gummy worms).  We also went outside and observed ants.  We put some bread soaked in honey next to an ant hill and watched as the ants discovered the bread.  It took them awhile (around 15 minutes!) but once they found it, they were all over the bread.  For a minute, we thought we killed them because they were all so still on the bread.  I guess they were just busy eating it.  We later learned the Forager ants get the food and fill their bellies up and then regurgitate in in the ant nest for the other ants to eat- gross!  We talked about how we are to work hard like ants and how God gives us each special jobs like He gives the ants.  We must all work together.  We then drew in our nature journals about what we saw as we explored outside.  
(I don't remember seeing anyone being eaten by ants though!)

Hazel was learning her own stuff in addition to tagging along with Adler in his learning.  She was learning the letter F.  In keeping with the close to the ground theme, the kids created flowers out of scraps of paper that I just really love. 

All in all it was a great first week.  I hope to keep this up on the blog. I thought it would be such a nice record to have one day:).