Friday, December 31, 2010

Dear is what we will remember about you

Dear 2010,

You have been a very short and eventful year, with lots packed into your only 365 days.  Today you will leave us forever and we will welcome in your friend 2011.  We look so differently and act so differently and even think so differently than we did when you first arrived.  I hardly can recognize who I was when I spent my first day with you.

As we say goodbye to you, please know that we will remember so much about you.


The year I decided to say goodbye to my real estate career and come back home to take care of my family full time.

The year my baby girl lost both of her front teeth and turned 7 years old.

The year I broke out of my mold of curly hair and went straight!!  And I have never looked back!!!

The year I took my first weekend trip away from my family and ventured with my girlfriends to Dallas for the Sally Clarkson "Mom Heart Conference".  Such a blast!!!

The year we decided to get chickens.  And boy how they have grown.  And who knew we would love them so much...

Its the year that will forever be imprinted on my arm where my brutal burn scar will always remind me that I really should use a bamboo steamer when cooking Chinese dumplings.  {side friend Elizabeth got me one for Christmas so I am now good with that}.

It is the year that I turned 31 and my big daddy boy 32 and the year we have been married for 12 years!! Wow!  How time flies!!  This man still melts my heart and I am so lucky to be his wife!!

The year that my beautiful sister married the guy of her dreams in the wedding of her dreams in Cabo San Lucas!!  The wedding we will always remember because we couldn't go resulting in the first time my sister and I have ever "not spoken."  We have really overcome though and are closer now than ever before.  Praise be to God!!!!  I love her so much and am so happy for her.

Its the year that we started homeschooling and said goodbye to everything we knew and hello to a world that we barely knew existed!!!  It is a huge blessing to be able to learn alongside my girls and I don't take a single second for granted {not that I don't wonder what I was thinking from time to time..LOL}.

Its the year my beautiful Kami turned the big 2 digits!!!  She is now 10...half way to adulthood...I can hardly believe it!!!

And as I look back at where we were just a short 365 days ago, it is hard to even recognize us.  The Lord has grown us so much this year.  We are blessed beyond measure!!  2010, you were so good to us. I pray that we will grow and learn even more when 2011 arrives.

Friday, December 24, 2010

And His name shall be Jesus because He has come to save His people from their sins...

A Savior.

God as Man.

Born on this day in the city of David.

To save His people from their Sins.

Glory to God in the Highest!!!

May all the joy of the Christmas season fill your home and your heart today!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

When there were 12 days till Christmas, my little girls and me...

Make caramel apples with red and green sprinkles of course!!!

We had one of my dearest friends over and our 3 kids made caramel apples until our hands felt like they would break!  It was so much fun and the apples looked so festive!!

Here are the finished products... easy and gorgeous!!

When you have dipped and rolled all of your apples, you put them the freezer for about 10 minutes.  When they come out they are super easy to cut and they are just beautiful on the plate.

Of course I wouldn't tell you about all this holiday goodness without leaving you the recipe...Here it is, now go make you some apples!!


First you need to make your caramel, and let me just say that you should NEVER EVER buy the candies and melt them.  Who knew that this version took less time, tasted a million times better, and doesn't break any teeth?

Here is what you'll need...

1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of corn syrup (we used light but you can use either light or dark)
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 heavy cream
1/2 cup of condensed milk (drink the rest of the can...or is that just me??)
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

And here is how you do it...

Add all of the ingredients to a heavy sauce pan except for the vanilla extract and cook over medium high heat.  While the candy cooks, boil water in a second pot to create a double boiler.  Stir the caramel constantly until it reached 236 degrees.  This is probably the only tricky part.  Caramel is very finicky and will literally burn and turn black and ruin your pan at 237.  Watch it like a hawk and use a candy thermometer.  When its the right temperature, place the pot with the caramel in the pot of boiling water and turn the fire off.  The boiling water in the second pot will keep your caramel nice and soft for you to dip your apples in.  Now you will stir in the vanilla and go to town with your apples.

We poked skewers into our apples so that they would be nice and long for flexibility, and it worked wonderfully.  After we dipped them in the caramel, we let them sit for a few seconds before we coated them.  When you are ready to coat them, use paper plates and every single possible ingredient you have on hand.  We used M&Ms, mini chocolate chips, pecans, and red and green sprinkles.  Roll away and then remember to put them into the freezer for just a few minutes to make them easy to cut.  Then you just slice them around the core!!  DELICIOUS!!!  

So, what have yall been doing to make this holiday season enjoyable??

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Do you remember me???

In case you are trying to remember who I am and why you decided to stop by here anyway, let me just say that I am your blog friend {I really am} and while I have been away since OCTOBER 21st {I really couldn't believe that} I have really not been away. I have been faithfully stalking you daily and reading every post, but I have been unable to find the time to write about what has been going on in our lives.

I guess partially because your lives seem so much more eventful, productive, and interesting than anything over here has been.  Why does it always seem that way??

We have been doing great and I am pleased to report that all my shopping is done and my halls are decked!! I will wrap presents this afternoon and then just enjoy the season!!!

I hope that your home is warm and that the holiday spirit has completely taken over!! It is so wonderful to have the girls home with me all day and we very often look out the windows when the frost is on the ground and count our blessings. We have so many of them.

We have been experiencing lots of pondering over here and really having to rely on God for things that we don't understand lately, which is something I don't think we ever want to have to do. A dear friend of ours husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 rectal, colon, and liver cancer as well as bone cancer in his shoulder and arm last week and that has turned our world upside down. He has begun chemo and will be receiving the strongest treatment available until further notice.

He is 34.

She is 31.

They have a six year old baby boy.

He told the doctors he didn't want to know how long he had to live.

It's Christmas.

My heart is so heavy, and so I am doing lots of praying and thinking of how I can help. Please be in prayer for this family. His name is Jamie Navarre. I really have no words to tell you how much things become so irrelevant and how family becomes so much more important than ever before. I have never seen a more strong wife and husband team, and that in and of itself is so glorifying to the Lord who created this very universe. I beg you to pray for this man and for his doctors and for their entire family and support circle.

And I will leave you today with this wonderful song by Casting Crowns called "The Christmas Offering." Enjoy!! And hug your babies extra tight!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Moo Cows, Owl Puke, and Report Cards

You know its fall around here...the "Harvest Spice" candle is constantly burning,  I'm cooking like we live in Alaska at about 40 below (aka...lots of soups, gumbos, and stews with cornbread).

These guys are always trying to figure out just what in the world we are doing over here.

And its science project time.  I whipped up a little detour from our Apologia Exploring Flying Creatures of the Fifth day, and we have been studying birds of prey for the last 2 weeks.  They are extremely interesting critters, and there is plenty to learn about them.  My lesson plans are here if you are interested in going on a little detour yourself, in honor of Halloween {creepy birds} and all.

We enjoyed learning about hawks, eagles, and those nasty vultures, but NOTHING even came close to our study of owls that has lasted waaaaayyy longer than it should have.  I just can't help it.  I am officially obsessed with owls.  They are amazing.  Again I say...take the detour people!

As the creme de la creme we dissected owl puke today!  Technically and officially they are called owl "pellets" but in reality they are the dried up regurgitation of all bones, fur, and animal parts that the old wise one couldn't digest.  They can be dissected to see what owls eat and see how amazingly perfect God created them for His purposes on this earth.  Evolution???  Seriously???


The owl puke dissection took place this afternoon after a weird week of nothing really going as planned with Kami's birthday, a little birthday trip to the mall, and a weird little bug that has had us all feeling yuck.  But we were not letting this go by.  And I'm so glad we didn't just clip it {believe me it wouldn't have been hard for me to do with how this week has gone}. 

First you measure the pellet {aka dried puke ball} to give you an idea of what the owl may have eaten.

Then you break the pellet apart to see what you are working with and let the fun begin...

And waaa laaaa Mr. Owl had himself a vole and a few mice for supper last night!!

A+ for everyone!!!

Speaking of A+'s we are getting our 1st 9 weeks report cards tomorrow.  I know that this is a touchy subject, and I am not even sure how I feel about report cards, grades, tests, etc.  I love the hands on learning, the living books, and all of that, but at the same time I love a red pen!  I'm so torn!!  And with super cute report cards like these that come with the Well Planned Day planner {side that planner} how can you resist!  

And finally, my biggest accomplishment this first 9 weeks of homeschooling has definitely been the mastery of the workbox system, which I have completely butchered to the point of I don't even think it can really be called a workbox system anymore.  But, it works for us beautifully!!  Here is what we are doing...

I used Edie's idea at Life In Grace to make this daily schedule that I give the girls every morning.  I actually print them out for the week and tack them to their bulletin boards on Sunday evening, so that they are there and I don't have to worry with it throughout the week.  The only downfall to doing it this way is I do find myself changing things up as the week rolls along and I have to reprint.  I still like having it all up there though. 

Everything they are doing is in a corresponding folder in their "to do" tray, so they just take out the next folder and get to work.  I also stuff these for the week on Sunday and let them know what to do on their schedule.  If its something that we will do together, they will see that on the schedule and meet me on the couch.  If its something that they will do with me, they will get their folder out and wait for me.  It works so great and really makes things take so much less time.  Its amazing I tell ya!! 

I will have our 9 weeks wrap up here in the next few days.  I love our world geography tour and we have had a blast in science.  The 3 R's aren't so shabby either.  Its been a great first nine weeks!!!

Unit Study....OWLS {whooo, whoooo}

photo via

When I discovered that you could purchase owl puke and dissect it, I knew that there would be an owl unit in our future.  Then when I got online and found that owls could quite possibly be the most fun and adorable animal on planet earth, I got busy!

We had so much fun these last few weeks studying Birds of Prey, or the raptor family, of which owls are a part.  I just had to share our study with you because it was so fun and is a perfect unit to sneak in right before Halloween!

So here is what we did:

First, I checked out every book in every children's section in a 50 mile radius about birds of prey.  I touched on hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures during week one and then devoted week to exclusively to owls!  It went a little something like this....

Week One:
  • Introduced birds of prey using DK's Eye Witness Birds of Pray and my other library books and Homeschool Share's lapbook study that you can download for FREE!!   I am a huge fan of Homeschool Share as well as lapbooks.  For a study like this, lapbooks just really send it on home.
  • We also used Homeschool Share's suggested books for the beginning of our study as well.
  • We read The Tale of Pale Male by Jeanette Winter about a red-tailed hawk in New York City.  It is a true story, and we enjoyed it.  
You would be so surprised how much information their is out there about these guys.  It took us all week to go through these birds without mentioning owls.

Week Two
  • This week we started with our library books.  Some of our favorites were:
    • Owls by Michael George
    • Owls Whoo Are They?  by Kila Jarvis and Denver Holt
    • Animal Predators - Owls by Sandra Markle {great book, my favorite}
    • Great Horned Owls by Doug Wechsler
  • We watched the unbelievably amazingly wonderful movie OwlCam:  The Hidden World which is a documentary following 2 Barred Owls named Ward and June {how adorable is that} as they nest and raise their 3 owlets Emmett, Abigail, and Ernie.  This documentary is unreal and done so tastefully.  Nothing inappropriate, nothing gross, and nothing sad.  Perfect for kids and a must see!  This movie is available through Netflix {can I get a whoop whoop}.
  • Our read alouds were Owl Babies by Martin Waddell that my 4th grader asked to read again and again.  It is such a sweet and cute book that is very young but so worthy!  And, we read the Owl and the Woodpecker by Brian Wildsmith which is also cute.
  • We followed Lapbook Lessons' owl lapbook pretty closely and used Homeschool Share for what we couldn't find on Lapbook Lessons.  Both of these websites are great and chock full of resources!  
  • We ended our week by dissecting owl pellets {aka owl puke} that you can read about here.  It was something that I just know my kids will remember forever.  We bought these owl pellets from School Aids, but you can visit the company here .  I am pretty sure you can order them right off their website and I must say that being the owl puke expert that I am, I have heard that you have to be careful with these companies because you may either get a "synthetic" pellet that is not REAL...HELLO!!! Or, even worse, you may get a pellet with NOTHING IN IT!!!  That would be horribly anti-climatic wouldn't you say???  Our pellets were full of skulls and bones.  One had 12 small skulls in it and the other had 5 larger ones in it.  The skulls are what you want {TMI...yes I know, but bear with me} because without a skull its no fun...sorry that is just the truth.  Some owls eat caterpillars, insects, and snakes which would leave you empty handed, well I guess not really empty handed, you would still have a handful of owl puke {LOL}.  Anyway, this company has top quality owl puke!!  And they aren't paying me a red cent to say that, but if they would like to I would take it in a flash!
I really think you would love this study and your kids...I know would!!  We had a blast!  Feel free to email me or comment me with any questions and I will be happy to help you if I can!!

Happy Homeschooling!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beautiful, Genuine, Selfless...

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Kami who turned 10 yesterday!!

You are such breath of fresh air and an absolute joy!

I am so proud of you and I love being your mom, Happy Birthday Kami Wami!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thirty Minute Meals...Paula Deen Broccoli Casserole

Last night we had Big Daddy's parents over for dinner and at the last minute I felt like I didn't have enough food.  I whipped this up in matter of minutes and it stole the show.  The best thing about this recipe is that it is made with ingredients that everyone has lying around.  This is a show me!!!

image via
First you will steam 2-10oz. packages of frozen broccoli.  I have to tell you that I NEVER buy the chopped broccoli because I feel like you get a bunch of stems and now florets, so I buy the frozen florets and chop them myself once they are steamed...much better that way.  Just sayin'.

While the broccoli is steaming away, chop up a small onion and saute it in some butter until soft.

Mix your steamed broccoli, sauteed onion, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, about 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (I probably used more like 2), and house seasoning.  If your mixture is too thick add more mayo until its the consistency you want.  It shouldn't be "packy".   Pour the mixture into a small casserole dish  and top with 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers.  Pour about 1/3 stick of melted butter over the crackers and bake uncovered at 350 for about 20 minutes...just long enough to get those crackers brown and crispy!

You can thank me later!!!  Enjoy!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

September Wrap Up

WOW!  Is it really October 11th already??

How time flies.

I am so thankful to be spending my days with my girls.  Its just like the precious time of having the little ones crawling around your house with leaky sippy cups {remember those days}.

I miss those days.

The time we have together has been great and we are having a great year so far.

I know that I have been sorta MIA here lately, and really, I don't know how to change that.  I spend the bulk of my day lesson planning and researching because I am a total control freak and can't just follow a curriculum.  No, I have to re-write and "kellye-fy" everything I get my hands on.  Medication people.  Medication.

September began with a frazzled momma and a way too overwhelming and overachieving schedule.  Many of my curriculum choices just didn't work for us, but you live and you learn, right??  Right honey...yeah about all those books that we didn't really need and aren't you!!

By mid-September I finally got the hang of this homeschooling gig and learned 3 major lessons.  Everyone who is reading this that even thinks that they may ever....ever....want to homeschool...keep reading.  Im serious, you must know these three things..

Lesson #1 - you better get your act together and get you some lesson plans STAT and get on the workbox and lapbooking bandwagon.  Trust me on this one...just do it.  You're welcome.  And while you're at it, make sure you have all of your copies made and sorted and stapled, and in everybody's folders like PRONTO at least a week ahead of time.  That is unless you just love doing school and planning for school and worrying about school until supper time...which brings me to lesson #2....

Lesson #2 - go ahead and get you some meal planning sheets and plan you some meals.  And I mean plan...down to what salad dressing is going on the salad.  Trust me on this one.  NOBODY wants to be trying to figure out what is for supper at 5:00 while you are STILL IN THE SCHOOL ROOM!!!  Take it from someone who knows.  I really think in September we may have very well starved!!!

Lesson #3 - And last but certainly not least, make the most of every day.  Homeschooling has been such a blessing to me, but I realized somewhere in September that I was already just going through the motions.  Math. Language. Spelling. Handwriting.  Math. Language. Spelling. Handwriting.  That is no fun!!!  I had to kick it up a notch and start trying to implement some fun stuff around here.  That is when I started re-writing everything.  I put MFW on hold and began "My Kellye's World" which is alot like MFW except, well, its not...really.  We do a little bit of mapwork, we still play the geography game {thank you Kayce}, and we still read about missionaries, BUT we do so much more of what is my personality.  I have crossed over into lapbooking and have never looked back.  We are reading, lapbooking, reading, internet researching, reading, video watching, did I mention reading??   Even the librarian thinks I am off my rocker.  I have gone completely coo-coo!!  We are learning so much {posts coming soon} and having so much fun that I can hardly believe we are the same little school that got started a little less than 2 months ago.  I have learned so much from Ruth Anne and Jolanthe, I cannot even tell you.  Not that they even have a clue who I am, but ladies I LOVE YOU!!!  It has been alot of work, but now that I have finally figured out my system, I am more excited than ever about our year!!!

I can tell you that I don't have a lot of experience homeschooling, I am not a pro, nor a veteran.  But, I can trial and error with the best of 'em and I know that lesson plans, meal plans, workboxes, and lapbooks have forever changed my life!

I will begin sharing in detail soon, but I just wanted to stop in and say hello, and let you know about hte ah-ha moments Im having over here!!!  Good stuff yall, good stuff!!!

And not to rub it in or anything, but we saw this AWESOME chick in concert at a local church here in our little bitty town!!  Do you know who she is???

Here is a hint... "Everything rides on hope now.  Everything rides on faith somehow.  When the world has broken me down.  You're love sets me free."

Its ADDISON awesome and so so sweet, cuz how bout when you go see a group in concert at a small church, everybody gets to meet the band!!!

Yep...that is my gals taking a picture with Jenny, the lead singer of Addison Road who is just a sweet sweet momma, like the rest of us.  And that other girl in the pic would be my sweet friend Kara who just couldn't resist jumping in the pic...we are so paparazzi!!!  The kid in the background...who knows, she is just mad that her momma didn't bring the camera I guess...LOL!!!!

Details from our school days coming soon!!  I have so much to tell yall!!!!  Maybe this means Im back :)

And in case you want to add a little Addison Road to your school day...enjoy my favorite song of theirs.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thirty Minute Meals...King Ranch Chicken Casserole

This week has been going so great with school!!  Part of the ease has come with knowing what my menu is going to be each morning when I wake up.  Life changing...hello!!!

Here is a must have recipe that you will love to cook and love to eat...enjoy!!!

First, boil 4 chicken breasts and save the broth.  Next, dip flour tortillas in the broth and line a greased 13x9 with them.  Then add your boiled chicken breasts that you have chopped in bite size pieces.  Top the chicken with 2 cans of cream of chicken soup and 1 can of mushroom soup.  Top with lots of cheese and 1 can of drained rotel.  Make sure you put the cheese then the rotel...yummy!!!

Bake uncovered at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Once the cheese is melted and the rotel is cooked it is ready to eat..YUMMO!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lesson Ideas for all these holidays...

So, what are they trying to do??  Kill this new homeschooling mom by putting Labor Day, September 11th, and Grandparent's Day all in the same week???  And in the first month of school???  Seriously! 

Here is how we will be doing school during this week and what activities we have planned to celebrate and remember so many people this special week...

Labor Day
Well, for starters, we will be taking the day off to enjoy time with our family.  When we return to school on Tuesday morning we will talk about why we were able to have a day off of school on Monday and what exactly Labor Day means.  I have pulled some resources from here , and we'll just take a few minutes to explain how important our jobs are and how some workers aren't able to have the day off because we need them around the clock like policemen, firefighters, nurses, and doctors.  We will also talk just a little bit about how Labor Day began which can be found here and link it to Samantha:  An American Girl when Sam's friend Nellie had to work even though she was a child to help her family.  We've only seen that movie 147 times so that connection should be an easy one to make.  Finally, we will talk about what we want to be when we grow up and how that career would fit into the Labor Day holiday.

September 11th
Because September 11th falls on a Saturday this year, we will talk about the tragedy on Monday, September 13th.  Kayce, at Pastorette's Progress, reminded me yesterday that it may be a good idea to go ahead and get all of the library books for the day now because she clued me in that by the end of the week all of the public and private school teachers will have gotten them all.  Thank you Kayce my overachiever friend!!  I would so be the mom in the library on September 10th!!!  I have found some resources here and will be talking about where we were on that morning, how it felt, where my kids were {Kamryn was the only one born and she wasn't even quite 1}.  We will watch the attacks on youtube, talk about the passengers of Flight 93 and their bravery and discuss what President Bush did to try to fight back.  We may even listen to the Alan Jackson song...I do love that song!  I think it is so important for our kids to know this part of their history and we will spend some time discussing it on Monday morning.

Grandparent's Day {September 12, 2010}
I have been trying to figure out how to incorporate Grandparent's Day into our school year all summer.  The girls always had Grandparent's Day at their old school, so I want this day to be special for the grandparents, but how??  We have decided to invite each set of grandparents over separately on Friday {lunch and supper} where we will present them with the latest pictures of our family that we just had taken over the summer and invite them up to our school room to see where we learn everyday.  We will, of course, have a little show off time to prove that we do actually have school each day and that we are actually learning some good stuff over here!

I think it would be fun to include the grandparents into our day and show them around.  Hopefully it will work out nicely!!

I just wanted to share these ideas with you in case, like me, you would forget that there were so many special days in this upcoming week!!

Happy Homeschooling!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What we did this week...

This week seemed to go better once our changes had been made, but I am still battling time management and trying to get a handle on that.

Here is what we did this week:

In Bible the girls memorized Psalm 34:14 and Proverbs 20:11.  

In Math, Kamryn is whizzing along, still doing 2 lessons per day.  I am going to slow her down a bit this week because I am pretty sure the review is over and she may need to spend a little bit more time on her lessons as they are becoming more challenging.  She will be doing 1 lesson per day this week.  Karsyn is coming along.  I am learning more than she is....I think.  I am learning so much about her learning style which is very different from what I am used to.  She is very visual as well as kinesthetic (God bless her).  I am spending lots of time online looking for different ways to help her.  All suggestions welcome...please :)

Language is a very fun subject around here with First Language Lessons.  Kamryn began FLL 4 on Wednesday and thanked me uncontrollably for letting her switch over.  Karsyn is trucking right along and learned about nouns, pronouns, and state of being verbs this week.  She also memorized her first poem, something she had never been required to do in school.  And because I am a psycho, I ordered the Abeka Language workbooks, just for extra re-enforcement.  We do those during the day as needed.  

Our spelling lists began getting harder this week.  Abeka is tough on spelling, but the girls welcomed the challenge and did a great job.  

In reading Kamryn is still reading Henry and Ribsy to me.  It's cute and we are enjoying it.  Karsyn is reading the 2nd grade Abeka readers aloud to me right now in addition to her Junie B.'s because I just think she needs the practice.  We will begin our read aloud time this week after lunch.  We are starting The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.  We are HUGE Narnia fans, so we are very excited about this book.  The movie will hit theaters on December 10th so we want to be ready!!!  

Writing has been kind of squirly over here because while I am absolutely Susan Wise Bauer's biggest fan, Writing With Ease has become kind of monotonous and just not meaty enough for us.  We are moving on to Writing Strands next week.   Hopefully it will be a bit more our speed.  I am also clipping writing altogether for Karsyn because she just isn't ready.

Science has proven to remain our most favorite subject over here with lots of fun happening every time we open the book.  This week we had our scavenger hunt where we had to collect various things.  Since we live in the country, we were able to complete a good portion of the list.  Very exciting and lots of fun.  Apologia rocks, in case you didn't know :)

The girls scavenger hunting

Scavenger hunting is serious business

Butterfly with gray coloring...check!

Butterfly with orange coloring....check!


Mr. Bumblebee...check! Can you find him?

In a few weeks this entire field will be full of color with blooming wildflowers.

We have still yet to begin History, we are waiting on the books and really I don't know where I would have fit it in.  Beginning this week we are going to give 8:00am one more try.  I hate the very idea of it, but 9:00 will never work once we get our My Father's World stuff in...unless we plan to be doing school til dark.  Hope yall had a great week!!!

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