Thursday, August 26, 2010

Midday Ramblings

Karsyn aka The Morning Dragon {today} decided to grace us with her presence at 9:00am this morning...I had been trying to wake her up since 7:30 and got nothing but weeping and gnashing of teeth.  
I had to fix her waffles AFTER Kamryn had finished hers because Karsyn wasn't up when we ate breakfast.  After I gave them to her she kindly replied, "Mom, Im not really that into waffles."  Hmmmm....okay then!!
I fixed her toast and looked at the clock to see that we were officially one minute behind before we ever got started. Im seriously questioning what happened to the little girl that cried and begged every morning of school to just "BE WITH HER FAMILY." 
She will be drinking Benadryl tonight at approximately 7:00pm!!! {did I just say that out loud?}

The day ended up wonderfully {despite our little morning hiccup} and we had a super fun science experiment to wrap up our learning of how God made birds' wings.  Our hypotheses were even correct!!!

And its 2:00 and we are done!!!

Homerun today, now who knows what next week will bring!!  Have a great weekend!


In case that is not how you spell Whew...I am trying to give you a huge exhale here and let out a huge sigh of "okay I am starting to get the hang of this business and I done got me some confidence to do some chunking around here."

If you remember anything about my curriculum choices, yeah, just go ahead and forget everything I said here cause that is all changed.  Because I am the teacher and I can do that...okay!

Here is how our days have looked so far this week and how they will most probably look for a while.  I think this just may be what will work for us, so here is what has changed...

For starters, that 9:00am start time was great in theory, and I wish so badly it would've worked, but in reality it just didn't.  We need an extra hour in the mornings because as I told you here, my oldest is having a hard time doing so much work on her own and feeling a little bit left out {don't blame her a bit}.  Starting an hour earlier gives me more time with her.

So now we start at 8:00 and we are still beginning with Bible.  That is working out really well and I love love love Leading Little Ones to God.  Perfect day startin' devotional, in my humble opinion.

At around 8:30 we have finished Bible as well as worked on our memory verses for the week.  We are sticking with the Abeka ABC memory verse cards and I love 'em.  We learn 2 per week and are filing them using the Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System.  Love it!!

We do history from about 8:30-9:30 and its a good way to kick off our day, I think.  History has been a thorn in my side because at first I was going to do MFW and then backed out at the last minute for a more relaxed approach and tried out Galloping the Globe with some supplemental books.  Yeah, that really didn't work.  I think it would work, only I can't teach all day and then plan all night.  Plus, I have heard nothing but great things about MFW, and I have a curriculum addiction, so I went ahead and ordered it and it should be here in a few days.  Then our mornings should really flow much better...fingers crossed!

At 9:30 we begin our individual work, and Kam will still have to work independently {4th grade} but I did make some changes that will hopefully work better for her.  She will keep doing 2 Teaching Textbooks lessons each day followed by flashcard practice because she doesn't have her math facts solidly mastered.  Then she will play piano for 30 minutes while I am doing Math with Karsyn which takes almost a full hour.  Then we work on Spelling, Writing, and Language until lunch time.  I canned Kam's grammar program because it just wasn't enough.  It was a great review but just wasn't meaty enough.  I am going to do First Language Lessons 4 with her because it is working out beautifully with Karsyn.  We love it!!  It follows Abeka Language almost to a tee, but is more oral as well as fun!!  This should cure my "Karsyn gets to do more fun stuff with you" business real quick.  I will be posting our state of being verb cheer soon {just so you know}.

We eat lunch at around 11:00/11:30ish and the girls run and play outside until I get it ready, then we all have a nice quiet time after lunch for about an hour.  It started out an hour the first few days and I kept getting this....

which was okay with me until bedtime rolled around.  Then I moved it to 30 minutes which just wasn't enough so now we are back at an hour.  I began this time for their required reading, but it really works better for us to do their required Bible reading here and then they can do whatever they choose in their room {as long as it doesn't have a screen and they are alone}.  They have been having tea parties, doing puzzles, and writing stories.  Cue the angels singing!!!  There has been lots of begging to play together and that answer is always "no".  I like how they miss each other for that small amount of time.  They now do their required reading during our individual time and it works very well.

We pick back up in the afternoons at around 12:30ish and we do is our first experiment...

{Apologia rocks, just so ya know}.  After science we finish up anything we didn't do that morning.  On Mondays and Wednesdays we do Science.  Thursday is our experiment/nature study day and Tuesdays we have piano so instead of doing Science where we can get carried away, we will be doing art or music.  Oh yeah, about that art...I didn't order the Artistic Pursuits because I was just overwhelmed.  I am going to wing this one and see what happens this year.

So that is how our day looks pretty much.  We are finished every day by 2:00, which is perfect for us!  I haven't tried the Spelling Power yet.  It looks really awesome but really tough to figure out and I just haven't had the energy.  Kam had 4 leftover lessons that she didn't finish last year in her Abeka speller and that is buying me some time.

Our first couple of weeks have definitely had its challenges.  First we attended this....

and watched my sister and her super cute fiance tie the knot at the JOP so that they could run off to Cabo San Lucas together and do it all over again!!!  It was so great to see and they are sooo in love!!  Precious!

Then, we had a tragedy on the farm when this little cutie...

got completely crazy and attacked one of our new baby chickens.  Devastating.  But she is still alive {the chicken that is}.  Not real sure what the Big Daddy did with the cat. {just kidding, she got mad when I spanked her and she ran off...she will be back, trust me}

Here is little Speckles right after it happened.  Now she is doing much better.  Dr. Kellye cleaned up her wounds and trimmed her feathers and she now resides in a cage in our laundry room while she makes a complete recovery!!  She is still having trouble walking so we are unsure if those little bitty legs are hurt or what?  She is doing great though.

Here she is just yesterday!  She still looks so tired, huh?  Poor baby!!  She will get better though and maybe she will love us forever!!  I love the country mentality that I am kinda new to, but loving all the same.  I went to the local feed store to see if they has something I could give her and the old, precious cowboy said just as matter of fact, "Maam, all you can give her is time."  I think he is right.

So I know that was a pretty looonnnnggg post, but I just had alot to tell you!!

I think I am finally getting the hang of homeschooling and have really grasped the concept and embraced the fact that you really gotta get up early and get on the ball if you want this deal to work!!  All of which I am willing to do!!

Thanks for sticking around, and if you made it to the end of this post you deserve a prize!!  I don't have one to give you, but Pioneer Woman is giving away a Nikon D90 so you may wanna head on over there real quick and in a hurry!!!  The drawing ends at noon today, so go go go!!!

Thirty Minute Meals...Stuffed Pasta Shells

I know that I totally stood everyone up last week, but yall, all I can say is that I am barely keeping my head above water getting adjusted to this homeschooling thing!  It is awesome and wonderful and a perfect fit for us, but it takes some tweaking and a whole lotta' changing and moving around to end up where you want to be...and we are almost there!!

I promise that this recipe will totally make up for my absence last week.  You are going to NEVER not have a bag of these shells in your freezer ever again.   I try to keep an extra bag at all times because you never know when you are going to need something so super easy and there is nothing easier...I promise you!!!  And its delicious.  So invite some folks over and enjoy dinner!!  Here is the recipe...

If its just me and Big Daddy and the girls, we use half a bag.  If we have company, we usually use the whole me there will be none left.  I buy these at Sam's for $10.00.

After you put the shells in your 13x9 (crammed in there good and tight) you will cover them with a jar of spaghetti sauce and lots of shredded cheese.  And you are going to bake them uncovered at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is good and melted.

Here is the finished product.  I had to make 2 dishes because I ran out of room in the big pan and I knew we needed more...

Add a caesar salad and some garlic bread and its a meal everybody will be talking about.

The best part is every time I cook it for company, they always ask me what I stuff the shells with because its soooo good.  Buwwwaaahaaahaaahaa {that is my evil laugh}.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Survived...and thrived, well sorta

Yesterday was our first day of school and it went really went considering we are all very new to this.  It was only 47 hours long and we never even made it to history and science.  I am nothing if not an overachiever!!!

I have done a bit of revamping on my "what seemed to be perfect" schedule because I am thinking that things are a bit repetitive and there is a whole lotta' language going on that may be unnecessary.

For instance, with my 2nd grader I did language, creative writing, handwriting, and spelling....WHOA stop the presses!!  That is a lot!  Had I known, I could've really skipped handwriting because she has to write her spelling words, that
is handwriting.  So goodbye handwriting until after Christmas when we will start cursive...she is nowhere near ready!!  Not only that, but we also do copywork in creative writing which is creative "WRITING" {hello} so double goodbye to handwriting.  

And, my 4th grader's 10 week {that I was turning into 2 week} language program is exactly what they call it...INTENSE!!!  For us anyway today!!!  She did not already know some of the advanced types of nouns, and that is a doozie to try to wrap your mind around or teach {hello} on the first day...we spent 45 minutes on her language and that was wayyyy too long!!!  Im languaged out gals!!!  LOL!!

Long story short, we had a great day besides a few planning problems on my part and the fact that we had to "check in" due to oversleeping...LOL!!

I'm so ready to give it another try today and we will have our first field trip on Thursday!!  Big Daddy is going to be our "substitute" and as long as everyone turns in their "permission slips" we will be headed to the hunting camp to see how much we know about directions {beginning of our Geography}!!!  So fun y'all!!

I guess the biggest hiccup we had on our first day {other than it was 47 hours long and we never got to the fun stuff} was that both of my girls fought over who had more time with Mom!!!  I will work harder tomorrow on our schedule so that we all feel relaxed and not as rushed as we did today!!!

Here are the first day of school pics of my star students...

Wootie is in the 2nd grade

Wami is in the 4th grade

Friday, August 13, 2010

Home Designing Goodness

If you know me at all you will know that I am a home design FREAKO.  We have built 4 houses and my husband and I have done all the design work in every one of them...sometimes that was a good thing, sometimes it wasn't!

But, let me just say that we have nothing on this blogger I found this morning!  They have renovated 6 houses while raising 3 kids, and she absolutely is an interior designing genius.  Go check out Autumn over at Design will be in awe I promise.  And as a woman after my own heart, she tells you where everything comes from and how she did it all....I LOVE HER!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thirty MInute Meals...Beef and Bean Burritos

photo via
I really really wish that I could tell you this recipe was my own and take credit for it, however, I absolutely cannot.  I wish I could take credit for the picture.  Can't do that either.  Both of them belong to The Pioneer Woman and I'm sure she isn't interested in me hijacking her recipes.  But yall, this stuff is sooooo good.  I don't know if you notice a pattern here for my quick and easy supper series, but the reality is that you can cook mexican in a flash.  If you are in a hurry, whip out the cheese and tortillas and some sort of meat and make it a meal.  This was a huge hit in my house tonight and everyone made a happy plate which is highly unusual seeing that Wootie eats enough to barely keep a bird alive.  She lapped this up, and your crew will too, I promise.  Im from South Louisiana, you can trust me.  When I say its good...its good!

I did change things up just a tad and gave them my Kellye twist by adding sour cream to the beef and bean mixture when I smeared that mound of goodness on my nice warm tortillas.  I also fixed these in my 9x13 instead of individually like Ree did.  Something about microwaving supper just kind of makes it not supper.  At least for me that is!!  Anyhoo....they were delish and I will definitely be making them sho!!!  Head on over to The Pioneer Woman and get all the details!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Homeshcool Planning...with my best gals

What does every homeschool mom need to kick off the school year???

Well a homeschool planning day of course!

We sent the kiddos (all 14 of them) elsewhere and had a lunch date at my house GIRLS ONLY!!  I'm not real sure how much "planning" got done, but I know that there was lots of laughing, eating, coffee drinking, and fellowship and, hey, I will take it!!!

These girls mean the world to me and I am so thankful for them to be on this journey with me.  Even though we have kids of all different ages, different likes and dislikes, different curriculum choices, and different methods altogether, I truly believe that we are going to see the fruits of the Lord in our lives this school year and I couldn't be more excited!!!

So, from left to right, except for me of course in my Target pink dress :)

Kara {my very young, like 24, friend who is wise beyond her years and is more mature than some 40 year olds I know.  She is so grounded and is homeschooling her 4 children under the age of 9 for her second year.  She never hangs up the phone without saying I love you and is never afraid to have a meltdown} I love you girlfriend.

Desirae {my very newest friend who just joined our church recently, but fits like the last piece of a puzzle, she has had her kids in a very upscale private school in our area and has always felt that something was missing.  She is bringing them home and will be homeschooling her 2 boys in Kindergarten and 3rd grade and I am so excited to see her rock the Abeka world}.

Mrs. LuAnn {the wealth of knowledge that as a new homeschooler you are just so thankful to have around.  She was a homeschooler before homeschoolers were 20 years, okay.  Not a one of her 4 daughters have ever graced the doors of a school and have all graduated to go on to different things in life except her youngest who is almost a high school grad.  Her oldest is married and expecting their first baby and her middle two are pursuing their interests, one in photography...she is actually who took the pics in my header...and the other in the culinary restaurant world.  All girls who I totally think the world of.   Mrs. LuAnn keeps the big picture in mind and always looks at things to make sure she is glorifying God.  She is actually the homeschooling friend I told you about here who taught me about required reading that so many of you have commented on.  I totally want to be Mrs. LuAnn when I grow up.}  Thank you Mrs. LuAnn for sharing so much with us and keeping our feet on the right path.

Kayce {I have introduced you to Kayce before, but in case you missed it please go check out her blog Pastorette's Progress.  You will not be disappointed.  She is the rock of the ladies at our church, our pastor's wife, and as most of us would definitely call our superhero.  I would be here all day telling you about Kayce, but let me just sum it up with she is homeschooling her 2 children in 7th and 9th grades.  Her 7th grade son has autism and she could possibly be the best mom I know.  She is inspiring and always has the right words.  You just have to know her.  She is that girl who can have 47 kids in her home, cooking supper, preparing for her lesson at church, and if you call her world just stops for whatever you need.  I am so thankful and proud to call her my friend.}

So this is my crew, minus two very important gals who are praying and seeking the Lord's will in their lives regarding work, schooling, raising children, you know the deal, and who also mean the world to me.  We missed them this weekend but know that the Lord has it already planned out and whatever their decision may be, they are making the right one.

I know that homeschooling is not a group effort, but it sure is nice to share your experiences, fears, likes, dislikes, and coffee with like minded gals that you think the world of!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

School Room Revealed

Its week two already and I am so excited to show you our school room that has become my favorite room in the house.

Last Christmas my husband took an unused bedroom upstairs and turned it into a Scrapbook/Craft room for me and the girls.  You can read about that here if you just have nothing else to do!!!

When we made the decision to homeschool that room is all that I could think about.  It is happy, cheerful, and the perfect size.  So, we turned this...

Into this...

And I am so ready to start it is going to be super hard for me to not just go ahead and make up my own curriculum until Mr. UPS comes a knockin' with the rest of my stuff.

I don't know how much time we will spend in here, but I did move the girls pink couch in here from their playroom just so that we can cuddle up for our reading and for Bible.   

I do love my super hip blue desk and my black and white damask chair just makes me giddy!!

Here are some more pics of my favorite things about our school room...

I have always wanted a "command center" but have never had need of one, but what is a classroom without one right??  Anyone there??  Help me out here!! 

This is our little command center of sorts.  It is where our calendar will hang, and below our calendar is this wall cubby system that Big Daddy had incorporated in the scrapbook/craft room which is now the scrapbook/craft/school room.  You still with me??  Good.  I will organize those cubbies to hold each subject that the girls do alone with me so it is sort of like the workboxes, sort of not, well probably more not, but I do love that I can say, "Please go get your language books" and they know right where that is...that will be right after I collect lunch money.  (chirp. chirp...Im sorry its my first year).

I am nothing if not the biggest fan on earth of Abeka's Bible curriculum for preschool and Kindergarten. I still remember it from when I was a youngster.  My girls never had it, so, by golly, we ordered those wall cards YES WE DID, and we will begin our CM Scripture Memory System with these verses and then move to some more.

Here are a few of my teacher manuals complete with stickies and paperclips and words in the margins...
I love this already!!!

So that is our little corner of the homeschool world!!  I can't wait to get started.  

Thanks so much for stopping by!!  If you missed week one last week, you can read that here.  And be sure to visit Heart of the Matter, The Hip Homeschool Hop, and Bring the Rain to see how everyone else is getting ready for the school year!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thirty Minute Meals...Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

As we get back to the school year, I know that for me I am going to be looking for quick suppers to prepare in the afternoons.  I figured that you might be thinking the same thing so I am totally swiping Rachel Ray's name and every Thursday I will post a meal that takes 30 minutes or less to prepare.  Sound yummy to your tummy?

Today's 30 minute meal is Creamy Chicken Enchiladas a.k.a the best enchiladas you have ever made

Here is how you make 'em:

In a large mixing bowl, beat 1 pkg. cream cheese, 2 tbs. water, 2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 2 tsp. onion powder until smooth.

Now, stir in 2 or 3 boiled boneless skinless chicken breasts that you have chopped up.

Place a heaping spoonful down the center of a flour tortilla, roll up and place seam side down in a greased 13x9 baking dish.

In a bowl, combine 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 16oz. container of sour cream, 1 can of diced green chillies, 1/2 cup of milk and pour over the enchiladas.

Bake, uncovered at 350 for about 20 minutes, then cover with cheddar cheese and bake another 5 or so until the cheese is melted.  It makes 10 enchiladas, and you can easily double the recipe for bigger dinners.  Yall, this meal is soooo easy and soooo good that the first chance I got to take a picture of the finished product this is what it looked like...

It is literally a race to get your plate over here fast enough.  YUMMY!!  I hope you enjoy!!  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I had a fight with a skillet...and the skillet won

Over the last few months I have found myself 100% addicted to potstickers/chinese dumplings...does anyone out there know what that is???


Am I all alone here...well if I am just keep reading.  No pre-requisate in potstickers required to continue. I was steaming away, in my electric skillet {don't even ask because I don't know why I was steaming in an electric skillet like I was on a camping trip either} I realized that all of the water had boiled out and that my yummy lunch was ready.

Soooo...I went to take the supa heavy glass lid off the skillet but it had somehow managed to suction itself closed and I couldn't get it off.  Well, almost couldn't get it off.  I got it off on the right side, but left side was stuck.  So instead of being a normal human being and just putting the lid back on {I highly recommend doing that if you ever find yourself in that sorta position} I just sat there and fought and fought and fought that lid...all the while the steam from inside the skillet was burning my arm up!!

Yep...that would be my arm 5 DAYS AFTER IT HAPPENED!!

I went straight to the doctor because I literally thought my arm was on fire and even after delivering 2 babies, one without and epidural until the last second, this was pain like I have never ever known.  The best way to explain the feeling would be to just imagine that someone cut your arm off at the elbow and you were just standing there.  Yeah, seriously yall it was BAAADD!!!

Long story short, I had a pretty nasty 2nd degree steam burn that measures about 6 inches in diameter and wraps around my arm.  I had to be all bandaged up and couldn't get it wet, touch raw meat, wash dishes, wash clothes, cook supper...all that jazz for 7 days.

Guess what....Today is my 7th day!!  And here is how it looks this morning...

Much better huh?  I'm getting there. 

And you're welcome for your pre-med lesson for today!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our Curriculum 2010-2011

This blog hop was the highlight of my summer last year...even though my kids were in private school {yeah I'm a psycho} so I have been waiting and waiting for this year to kick off!!

In case you are still in limbo over curriculum, check out all of the great blogs that are linked up over at Heart of the Matter.

I'm so excited to start our homeschooling adventure and cannot wait to dive into these books that we have chosen for our curriculum.  Im busy right now in planning mode as Mr. UPS continues to pay us daily visits...its like Christmas!!

Here is what is coming to my door step these days...

Kamryn {4th grade}
Karsyn {2nd grade}
  • Abeka Arithmetic 2 {She has had Abeka her entire life and does really well with it, so I think that we will stick with it until she is ready for Teaching Textbooks in the next couple of years}
  • First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 2 {LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS}
  • The Complete Writer, Writing with Ease Level 2 
  • Abeka Spelling and Poetry 2 {I really want to make sure that she has all of her phonics blends down.  She is also a weak speller so I am not sure that she is ready for Spelling Power.  One more year of Abeka for her.}
Bible {All Together}
History {All Together}
  • My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures {I really wanted to do Story of the World, but then I realized that My Father's World uses Story of the World as its main text after this series. I'm so excited because that was a very tough decision for me.}
  • Galloping the Globe {I think I will use this in addition to MFW because it just looks soooo fun}
Science {All Together}
Art {All Together}
Literature/Required Reading
  • A veteran homeschool mom in our church that I very much look up to and love to pieces shared her system of required reading with me and it made so much sense.  She always had a list of books that her girls had to read for the year.  It was required of them {even though there was no A.R. test or book about that} and every day they used time after lunch to read their Bibles and/or to read from their required reading list.  We will definitely incorporate this into our day.  We may read together, I may read aloud, we may separate and have some silent reading, we may listen to a book on CD, I don't know but there will be a whole lotta' reading going on over here!!  I'm working on my "Required Reading List" {sounds so official, I love it} now!

Is it August Already??

photo via
Summer is officially winding down isn't it?  With the school year beginning just weeks away, I can't help but look at our summer and wonder if we have done everything we wanted to.  I had so many big plans, but somehow the days have just slipped away from us week after week.  Now that there are only a few carefree weeks left to enjoy, its time to assess and decide what will get done and what just won't.

Here are a few of the things that made my list of Top 10 things I wanted to do with the girls this summer...
  • Family beach vacation.  check
  • Take girls roller skating.
  • Go as a family to play laser tag.
  • Join the local bowling league and go bowling often. check
  • Take girls to see Ramona and Beezus, Toy Story 3, & Despicable Me. check. check. check
  • Go to local splash park for the day.
  • Finish both girls bedrooms (curtains, duvet covers, etc.)
  • Decorate the girls playhouse outside (curtains, rugs, furniture)
  • Learn to crochet or knit together
  • go to New Orleans for the day
Not much got done on my list, but what we did get done was a blast, so I won't beat myself up about it.  Now, I just have to decide what we will fit into August and what is just going to have to wait.  Here are my thoughts on what is left to do...
  • We will absolutely 100% go roller skating.  My kids have only been a couple of times, but Kamryn really got the hang of it last time and I know they would enjoy it.  Plus that is an indoor activity and right now that is a huge plus!!
  • While Laser Tag is is alot of money for a little bit of time, plus everybody on the planet is there all summer long so its very crowded and congested...not my thing.  Maybe that will get put on hold until everyone else gets back to school.
  • The local splash park is a must and really I have no idea why we haven't been already.  That one is a must ASAP. {plus that is good picture material there}.
  • I really do want to finish the girls bedrooms as well.  There really isn't that much to do in either of them, but there is just that feeling of "not being done" and it drives me CRAZY!!  So that will definitely go to the top of the list.  Im always up for painting furniture and hanging curtains!
  • Hmmm, the playhouse is a tuffy!  Im not sure if that maybe something that can wait until fall when it cools off...I mean nobody is going out there in this heat for sure.  Also, I plan to decorate it with garage sale finds and make it real shabby chic, so that will probably be best done in the fall when the garage sales are plentiful.
  • Crocheting is something I reeeeaaaallllyyyy want them to learn to do.  I would love it if they wanted to make their American Girls a hat or a purse or a dress maybe.  I must call the library and see if they will have the classes in August...we missed the July session {booohhhoooohoooo}.
  • I hate to say it but New Orleans is definitely going to have to wait.  For one, the hottest state in the country right now is Louisiana and the hottest place in Louisiana is New Orleans, go figure. But, more importantly than that, we are doing Apologia Science, Flying Animals of the Fifth Day and I can smell a field trip to the New Orleans Insectarium and Zoo to see the flying things.  Oh boy!
How bout you?  What has made your summer wish list cut and what is it just time to clip?  I can't believe we will be starting school in less than one month!  

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