Monday, December 10, 2012

The Year I Finally Sent Christmas Cards

I am not a Christmas card sender by nature.  I confess.  They stress me out and fill my poor soul with guilt.   With every card that comes in the mailbox along with it comes the guilt of not sending them.  Then as I sit at the computer and try to find a picture that is worthy, then figure out who to send them to, then try to find all of the addresses all with the looming cloud of having to pay expedited shipping or missing the big sale!!!!



Every single year my sweet husband begins asking if we are sending out cards as soon as the first one arrives in the mail.

"Why are we the only people who don't send Christmas cards?" he asks.

Every year the guilt builds.

Every year I procrastinate and say that I am going to, but deep down hope that he forgets.

He never does.


This year I found a deal too good to pass up!!!  And there is still time for you, if you are anything like me and have not been able to get it together and get those darn things done.

Enter  They are a division of Hallmark, have AWESOME designs (which is always another source of stress for me...I make 47 cards on every card site I can find), and will mail them for you for don't even have to pay for stamps!!! 

No, I am not getting paid by, they have no idea who I am, but I just had to share this deal with you.  

I need you to hear me when I say that I just made 25 Christmas cards, with photos, they are being mailed for me, and with the discount code they have right now my total cost was like $14 and something!!!!!  WOW!!!!!  

I just finished mine this morning and they are guaranteed to be delivered to my friends and family by December 22nd.  I ordered one extra for myself to be sent here....just to make sure they actually arrive, but I have full confidence in a company that even saves your addresses in an address book for you to come back to next year!!!  

I very well could send them every year if continues to be this easy!!!

The offer ends tomorrow, so make some Christmas cards!!!!

Leave me a comment if you decide to use them, so we can chat about how easy it was!!!!!

Happy Christmas Card Making,


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Curriculum and Routine 2012-2013

As I said before, this year has brought about a refreshing sigh of relief into our school.  

Taking this deep breath has allowed me to focus on the things that really, friends, our church, The Little Mermaid...hey, how did she get in here????  Oh yeah, she is in absolute control of our lives until next weekend!!  Karsyn is in a local production (Central Community Theater if you're from around here) of The Little Mermaid which means that we spend a whole lot of time singing Under the Sea and Kiss the Girl.  She loves theater and drama, and has begged for years to "be on a stage", so this fall we signed her up.  She loves it I tell you....LOVES IT!!!!  But what I love is that I have come to a place in my homeschooling walk where I can be okay with practices until 10:00 at night, knowing that if we sleep in the next morning all will still get done....or it won't, and either way it is okay!!!!  This has been a crazy phase of our lives.  SO WHAT!!!  I don't want to wash out all the excitement with the all too familiar, "I hope you know that we are still getting up at 7:00 in the morning, and you will still get all of your chores done Missy.   I hope this play is worth it."  {I'm most likely paraphrasing} No, I want this to be a time of excitement for Karysn who has dreamed of this for many years!!!  Will she still get her chores done? Yes.  Will she get up at 7:00?  No.  Will school start at a quarter til 11:00?  Maybe.  And that is okay.  THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS WE HOMESCHOOL!!!!!!!  Why is that so hard for me to remember sometimes.  I laugh at myself because I always see people's blogs say that they blog to have an account of their days and some memories to look back on.  I blog so that I can read my own blog posts and beam myself back down to earth.  I am just flaky like that.  I will write all about relaxing our homeschool and then wake up in a complete tailspin that we are relaxing around here!!!  Then, I just quietly click on over to read and remind myself why I wanted to be more relaxed!!!  Medication??  Maybe!!!

I truly think that is just a characteristic of being a momma.  Even if its never said, we all just want what is best for our children, and we sometimes try too hard to get there...or go in the complete wrong direction....or have to wave the white flag in surrender that maybe that wasn't the best plan.  And guess what???  Our moms did the same thing.  They just didn't have social outlets to let the world know.  

So, ANYWAY!!!  Our curriculum this year is very basic.  We are only trying a few new things and have settled in nicely to a routine!!!  We have also changed our schedule up a little bit, which I will share with you too.  Hope you've got some coffee!!!!  


This year our schedule looks alot like last year's, except we have implemented a very distant, off the beaten path version of the workbox system.  We use these hanging wall pockets.  I put all the books they will need for each task in the pockets, and they go from pocket to pocket as needed.  When the pockets are empty our day is done!!!!!  They are working very well and are a great space saver since they hang on the wall!!!!

Something very different this year, that has been so great, is eliminating time slots.  I have always (being a teacher) assigned blocks of time to everything we do.  This year, we are just doing things in order. Eliminating times has really taken alot of pressure off if we want to extend our studies with a movie, have a trouble spot in math, or just need to go outside!!!  FREEDOM!!!

So it looks a little like this on a good day....

1st{most of the time around 8:00}
We start our days after breakfast and chores with our reading for the day from Jesus Calling.  I am reading this devotional as well, so it is really neat because the girls' reading doesn't go as deep as mine which gives us something to discuss.  I love it!!  After that, the girls have their assigned Bible reading for our History.  This year we are studying Ancients from Creation, so we are learning the Biblical account alongside the historical timeline.  We are just finishing up with Genesis and learning all about the Egyptians.  It is really neat to see how our world has come to be from the beginning.  We use the Bible, of course, as well as The Catherine Vos Children's Story Bible, and the Victor Journey Through the Bible.  It really makes things clear to read the scripture on day one, then follow up each day after with a paraphrased version that elaborates.  It is really working nicely.   Also, Karen at Simply Living for Him is doing the Bible as her main text this year, and has tons of good resources that I have also incorporated!!!We also review and learn new memory work during this time.  The girls have memorized the continents and oceans, days of creation, and 5 longest rivers in the world so far.  

2nd{most of the time around 8:30/8:45}
After Bible and Memory, we dive into History.  Because its the Ancients, it just naturally flows.  We are using Story of The World Volume 1 as our spine, along with lots of library books, movies, and anything else I can get my hands on.   We also use the Biblioplan program for our History/Science Co-Op that we do once a week.  I have mixed reviews on this program.  If it were up to me we wouldn't use it, simply because it just doesn't work for our family.  The way that it is written is very magazine like with alot of "snippets" of information which just confuses us around here.  It works for our Co-Op though, and our teacher does a really good job making things clear.  Without her, though, I feel like it would be a mess. She is a one of a kind!!!  I generally read a Chapter from Story of the World aloud while the girls color, play with blocks, crochet (now that its getting cooler out...its just what they do), or try to kill each other!!  LOL!!!  Then we have questions to answer about what was read that they will have to answer in Co-Op so we do those and follow up with the Biblioplan sometimes.  Sometimes I skip it altogether honestly, because it is just a program that doesn't come naturally, so its a chore.  They do have maps with the Biblioplan that I like.  They are basically the Story of the World maps just with additional information, so since my girls are bit old (according the Story of the World recommendations) for Volume 1 this kind of beefs it up a bit...especially for my 6th grader.

After History the girls go outside to see the chickens or ride the golf cart or play with the dogs or here lately pogo stick.  I stay in most of the time, fold some clothes, start supper, or do something around the house.  When the arguing starts I call them in!!!

3rd{ usually around 10:00}

After Bible and Memory, we break up for Math.  Kamryn does hers completely on her own because she says I confuse her (imagine that) and I work with Karsyn.  This year we are using Saxon.  Right Start was a great start for us, but now that the girls are getting the hang of things I wanted to switch to something that looked a little more like Math.  They each need lots of review so Saxon has proven to be WONDERFUL!!!  I have to say though that Right Start did a great job for Karsyn though, who now understands things much better than she did a year ago.  A hands on math program was just the trick for her.  She now loves Saxon.  She does 5/4 and Kamryn does 7/6.  Its great and it's proven.  The only downfall is that it does take an hour.  There is just no way around it.  But the kids both say they feel like they know something when they are done!!!

4th{usually around 11:00}
We continue with "Pocket Work" as I like to call it until lunch.  The girls each have piano and language arts to do now.   Most days Kamryn will practice piano first while I work with Karsyn using All About Spelling for her spelling and Abeka Language for her grammar.  I must say that she is outgrowing All About Spelling, which is a testament to the program.  When we first began using it she had a really tough time.  Now she knows most of the rules before they teach it.  GREAT PROGRAM!!  I will be sad when we complete Level 3, which is where we are now, because I think we will move on from it to a more commonly misspelled word program like Spelling Power.  Again, All About Spelling has been great!!!  

As far as grammar goes, it is really an mistruth to say that we use Abeka.  Being an English teacher, I am only using the Abeka Scope and Sequence.  We use Language A, which is the 4th grade grammar program.  This year is a foundational one.  By the end of the year using this program, Karsyn will have learned every part of speech, capitalization rule, and basically all of the basic grammar functions.  I use the worksheets occasionally, but find that if I have her write a summary of what we learned in history or a paragraph about something, she will show me what she needs work on.  Using Dianne Craft's methods, which you can read more about here, I don't say anything to her about what is wrong, but instead create a lesson for whatever it is to do the next day.  Then I have her look at the paragraph and tell me what is wrong.  We usually will spend the rest of the week working on whatever that may be.  She has a hard time crossing over from worksheet to writing, and this has helped her tremendously!!! 

For Kamryn, a natural speller, we focus more on vocabulary from what she is reading.  I try to pick out some words that she will define and use in her writing for the week.  She is also a grammar whiz, so we have stopped formal grammar for now.  In 8th grade I think we will do a review using something like Analytical Grammar.  I'm not really sure yet, but for now we're holding off.  She was into some advanced stuff that even this English teacher didn't think was useful.  She mostly reads or writes during this time and works with her vocabulary words.  Both girls have assigned books for history and they read a chapter each to me.  

Lunch{usually around 12:00/12:30}

5th{usually around 12:30/12:45}
I have found that if I try to break here for anything {nature study, quiet time, etc.} we will never regroup.  We get right back to it after lunch and the race is on to clear the pockets.  Usually we only have science left, so its not too hard to do.  For Science this year we are doing Exploration Education's Physical Science.  It is a computerized program that uses projects that the students make to learn the different concepts of physical science.  It is a great concept, but seems to be very advanced and moves quickly.  My 6th grader rocks and rolls.  Its kind of tough for the 4th grader, but we chug along.  I supplement it ALOT with Bill Nye and the Magic School Bus and any kind of youtube anything I can find.  We also use reading comprehensions from Ed Helper to hammer in the details.  Physical science is a tough subject and this program does make it fun. I also like that its a no fluff program.  It summarizes nicely and speaks to the kids in a way that is much easier to understand than your typical text.  We like it!!!  So far we have built a race car that has helped us to learn about force and work and now simple machines.  Its fun!!!

By the time we finish science its usually somehow 2:00.  I don't require quiet time regularly after we finish school because I feel like they just want to play!!!  I have started putting in a little rest period before lunch where they will read or write or have some kind of assignment in their rooms that they must do and then stay in their rooms until lunch.  For us that works much better.  Its amazing what they will come up with when they are by themselves!!!

So that is our day, most of the time, and while it is very basic I do feel that we are getting some good stuff done.  We don't do art or music appreciation nearly as much as I would like, but we do manage to fit it in here and there!!!

On Mondays we have our History and Science Co-Op after lunch.  On Wednesdays the girls participate in a local choir, and on Thursdays they have their piano lessons.  Oh, and every single day till midnight Karsyn has theater.  Not really, LOL, its just the week before the big show!!  Things are getting serious!!!  Lots of fun!!!!!

I am feeling good about this year!!!!  Sorry that I have no pictures!!!!  I have got a post coming with lots....and a series on starting a one room school house style Co-Op!!!!!!  Stay Tuned!!!!!



Thursday, September 20, 2012

2012-2013....Welcome Year 3

This is our 3rd year homeschooling, which seems surreal to me because it seems like just yesterday we made the decision to take our kids out of the only school I have ever known.  But, after 3 years I have to say that I have learned so much, and we have definitely found a groove.  I have been told that if you can make it to Year 3 as a homeschooler you can make it to college.  I can tell you that if our first 9 weeks is any indication of the remainder of our year,  there is hope for everyone in years 1 and 2...just hang in there!!
This year things are just clicking....and it is a beautiful thing!!!  We spent years 1 and 2 feeling like we weren't doing enough, worrying that the girls weren't being socialized (why does that monster always feel the need to be in the mix), and questioning our course of study.  Enter Year 3.....

Our girls have a very close knit group of friends at church that they have known since birth.  It is easy to overlook this amazing connection between these girls and somehow feel that they need more.  I spent most of year 2 trying to find a group of homeschoolers in our area that would give my girls some friends outside of our church.  All attempts were epic failures!!! Do you hear me???  EPIC!!!!

In year 3, I took a long hard look with they eyes of my heart and learned that this bond is so much more than your average friendships that the girls would have in school.  At 9, 10, 11, and 16 years old, these girls will text to encourage each other, ask for prayer from one another, and have a depth to their connection that is only by the grace of the Lord.

What more could you need in friends???

Why does the world tell us that one group of friends that is like family is not enough????

Why do I so quickly listen to the enemy when I know in my heart what is true and what is good???

I guess because friendships were hard for me as a girl and I remember getting the BFF necklace at school and having it stripped away before lunch without ever knowing why.  I had all my eggs in one basket in every friendship I ever had and most of the time it left me alone and empty and feeling betrayed.  I feared that for my own girls!!!

What if they get into a fight with these girls??

What if their family leaves our church???

What if their friends don't want to be friends with them anymore and they take back the hypothetical BFF necklace???

That was what swirled through my mind in Years 1 and 2!!!

But here is the kicker....

These are the mommas of those girls (and boys that aren't in the pictures) whose friendships are complete opposite of what the world tells us of friends.  One of the moms is missing because she had to stay home with her then newborn and couldn't join us!!!  Our bond is Christ!!  One of these girls lives an hour from me, one 45 minutes, one is the mom of 2 teenage highschoolers, and one is the mom of 4 boys, no girls to speak of.  We all have issues and quirky ways, but the Lord keeps our bond strong and keeps us grounded in Him.  When Christ is your bond, it is a bond that cannot be broken.

So, in Year 3, I have learned that friendships of this world cannot be compared to friendships of the Kingdom!!!  

And in year 3 I have somehow become okay with our curriculum choices and have finally been able to choose what is best for us....not best for the review sites, not best for the super smart family in the for us!!!  We are doing some programs that we have carried over from last year and some that are brand new to us, but are tried and true methods that people have used forever.  Most importantly what we are using, is what works for us!!!!  I will have a curriculum post coming soon!!

And in year 3, the 4 mommas I was just telling you about and I joined forces to tackle the 2 subjects that have been giving us the most grief.  HISTORY AND SCIENCE!!!!!  While those subjects are certainly the most fun of the school day and the ones that everyone looks forward to, they are also the subjects with endless possibilities that are impossible to choose from and those that most frequently get put on the back burner when we over sleep (I may or may not have experienced this).   So this year myself and the veteran momma of our group will be teaching Science and History, one room school house style to all of our children...there are 13 in all (although one will serve as babysitter of the 18 month old who will be napping so she won't be joining us) ranging in ages 2nd grade to 9th grade.  This huge age range is so fun and before you jump to the conclusion that there is no way this big of an age group will work, Mrs. Beadle did it on Little House on the Prairie, why can't we???  

We are having a great time meeting together on Monday afternoons to learn the ancients and some physical science!!!!  You can't tell me its not rewarding to hear a 2nd grader tell you what force is!!!!  And the 9th graders love the Magic School Bus as much as the rest of the crew!!!  I will give you some more details on our History and Science afternoons in an upcoming post!!!!  I also hope to encourage you to get together with your closest friends and tackle a subject or two!!   Its lots of fun!!

So those are the biggest changes to our school year this year....they are all such great changes!!!  We are so blessed in this journey, and I can just see the Lord honoring our efforts daily!!!!  I will be back soon with our curriculum choices, so come back to visit again!!!!



Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Weeee Tiny Bit of Catching Up To Do Around Here

Whew, this place is dusty!!!

I have been gone for far too long, but have to say that it has not been all that bad.  I have been seeing what everyone else is up to and continuously blog stalking, but I just haven't had a chance to tell yall anything.  Our girls are getting older and our days are just FULL!!  But I have missed pouring my heart out to anyone who will listen, so I am going to try to devote more time to this ole blog!!!!

I am certain that there is not one single human being still coming around these parts, but should you be happening in from time to time, I am hoping to get our school year curriculum updated and our schedule on here.  Lots of changes to our school days for the better and we are very much enjoying 2012-2013!!!

Also, we have created a Co-Op this year with 5 of our closest families that we have been friends with since.....well a very long time!!!  I would love to tell you all about that as well as my thoughts on Co-Op life, since I have been living it for all of 2 weeks!!

My girls are up to their eyeballs in extracurriculars this year too.  That is something very different for us, so I will let you know how theater, children's choir, and 4H pan out for this very much homebody momma!!!!

Stay tuned if anyone is still there!!!  I am trying to make a comeback here!!!



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Its 100 Degrees in January

WHY??????  In South Louisiana we don't get a very long winter, but this year my goodness gracious!!!  It was really only cold for 4 nights and that was like a cold snap back in November!!!  I don't ever remember a winter this hot and humid!!!!

In an effort to try to convince myself that it is in fact winter, here are some pics of what has been going on around here in the last few months....

Elfalfa came to visit and was up to mischief as usual...

We had a Pioneer Woman cinnamon roll making day with my mom...YUMMY!!!

We ate so much of this delicious chocolate gingerbread, filled with chocolate ganache cake that I could have popped!!!  My sister in law made it {recipe came from somewhere in a Southern Living magazine} and it took her 9 HOURS to make, but it was sooooo worth it!!

Lots of fun time with cousins...

Lots of remembering what the season is really about....

More cousin time in New Orleans {where they live} complete with uptown shopping and lunch at Slice {an amazing pizza place}.  We ended our day with a gelato from Sucre!!!  YUMMY!!!!!  These kids love each other so much and have so much fun together!!!  Im talking play all day fun!!!  
Im pretty crazy about my sister in law as well!!!!!

And a day downtown with Maw Maw {my momma}!!  We just strolled around the lakes and visited our state capitol!!  From the top we could even see daddy's work!!  That would be the big oil refinery in the above picture in case anyone is wondering why in the dickens I would include that pic!!  He was working that day, so we went to the top of the state capitol and called him and he drove to where we could see him and we waved at each other!!!!  Lots of corny fun!!!!! 

I want to remember these days forever!!!

Now we are back in school and yearning for summer!!!!  
The 100 degree weather is really making me want to hit the beach!!!  

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