April 30, 2009


This morning I awoke to a dreadful migraine headache, dizziness, nausea, the whole bit. It took all of my energy to tell my Allie(11) that she would need to give Ashlyn(3) breakfast and to let Caleb(7) know that he needed to do his morning routine and play quietly. I went back to bed and slept for three more hours. When I got up again I was feeling a bit better, so I went to check on the state of affairs, expecting things to be in a bit of disarray. To my surprise and delight, the kitchen was neat and tidy and all of the breakfast dishes had been dutifully hand washed. But to top it off, the two older children had done all of their independent schoolwork for the day, graded it, and put it away. Don't you love how the Lord can take a bad morning and turn it into the greatest of encouragements. If you read here often, you know that I am focusing on habit training. Well, this morning happily showed me that a few rails have been successfully laid down. Glory be to God!

April 27, 2009

First things first....

I've been reading a great (life changing!) book from the Simply Charlotte Mason company called Laying Down the Rails. It's all about habit training - the whys - the whens -and the hows. And of course my thought process when I chose this book was how great it was going to be to get those kids whipped into shape - well the Lord had other plans! My eyes are daily being opened to all of the habits I need to form or reform in my own life. I have been inspired to get my housekeeping regimen back into practice (after a 3 1/2 year hiatus - that's when Ashlyn was born) and to re-evaluate my food choices. Healthy living is also a habit -one that has to be worked on in order to be maintained. Yes, I'm still gonna to work on those kids, but I'm going to work on me too.

If You're Curious the New Cleaning Schedule is Below:

April 23, 2009

Apple Trees in Bloom

Allie was practicing her photography skills on our apple trees this afternoon. The blossoms smell even better than they look.

Daisy came along to keep her company.

April 22, 2009

Under the Clothesline

It is 80 degrees and sunny today with a gentle breeze - the perfect day to wash and hang out my quilt on the clothesline to dry. The kids love the cool shade a quilt on the line offers and often play underneath - today was no exception.

I Think I Can - I Think I Can

Caleb learned to ride his bike - YIPPEE! He was given this bike for his sixth birthday (almost two years ago now) and the fear of falling off has kept the bike sitting on the porch most of those two years. Well this week he decided he was going to learn to ride that bike and that was all it took. He spent the last two days practicing and practicing and alas he rides. The funny thing is, today he said, "Mom, I learned to ride my bike in only two days!" I smiled and cheered him on as I laughed to myself "give or take 695 days" :O)

April 20, 2009

Bee Happy!

Ashlyn (age 3) drew a very sweet little bee this evening.

Homeschooling Perks!

My Allie loves to bake and she is quite good at it. Today she turned three unsightly bananas into delicious banana bread***YUM*** Nothing like sharing fresh-out-the-oven bread with your kids without even lifting a finger.....now that is what I call a perk!

April 18, 2009

Sweet Ashlyn doing "stool"

"Stool" is Ashlyn's pronunciation of school and she wants to be a part of it so badly. Here she sits, in her jammies, at the old fashioned desk that sits in my bedroom. This is the desk that is used when someone wishes to work in quiet. Ashlyn said she was drawing a picture of a pig with spots and she "wrote" the pig's name at the bottom of the page.

April 17, 2009

A very useful narration handbook

My friend Christy suggested the greatest little resource to me today and I just have to share it with all of you. This little gem is at lulu.com and is titled "My Little Handbook of Written Narrations" by Angela Wilson. It is written to students in grades 4-8 and is a step-by-step guide to writing narrations. It is 36 pages in length and includes, in addition to the 5 steps, graphic organizers, samples of narrations, a grammar guide, proofreading marks and what they mean, and finally a lesson plan and grading rubric for the teacher (if you keep grades). It is well worth the $4.50 download price. My daughter was very happy to add this handbook to her language notebook!

April 14, 2009

What should one do on a beautiful, sunny, spring day?

After several soggy and or chilly days, the sun and warmth of spring prevailed. We must have spent 2 glorious hours outdoors. It was good for all (especially for Mom who had said,"Please don't run in the house." and "Can we be a little quieter?" at least a hundred times) So here are a couple of ideas of what one can do on a beautiful, sunny, spring day.

Run around a make LOTS of noise (Soldier Caleb)

Hug a chicken. The "girls" with our favored hen Sassy

And of course one cannot ignore puddles as nice as this....one must JUMP!

April 13, 2009

Just a lazy rainy day...

I has been rainy the last couple of days and chilly too - not great for going outside. After a wonderful (and very filling) Easter, we decided to take a day off. I gave my blog a little makeover and did something I never thought I would do; I threw away ALL of my homeschooling catalogs. Maybe this wouldn't seem to be a great accomplishment for many of you, but I have been one to hang on to every last glossy copy so I would be able to make sure I was up on the "latest thing", or at least I could quickly find a replacement when something I chose didn't work out. I finally decided to trust my instincts, SCM's guidelines, and Charlotte Mason's methods. It felt really GOOD!

April 11, 2009

Have a Happy Easter.....He is Risen!

On Good Friday we dyed easter eggs. Ashlyn who is 3 1/2 had a great time. I think she could have done it all day. It was strange to have to buy eggs at the store, and white ones no less. We have a beautiful flock of hens that give us brown, green, and blue eggs, but the kids didn't think that they would be as fun to color....talk about picky :O)....needless to say they won.

April 07, 2009

Another Outdoor Adventure

Lately the weather has been less than cooperative for outdoor nature study, so we've mostly been reading. Today, however was 54 degrees, sunny, with just the slightest breeze. Allie and Caleb headed for the back tree line of our property and here is what they found.

The owl pellet in its entirety.

The findings before they were cleaned.

Allie cleaning the owl pellet findings.

Still cleaning....they were dirty.

Owl pellet findings cleaned. We determined the owl had eaten a mouse.

Have a BLESSED WEEK and pass it on.

My 3 1/2 year old wants to learn to Read?

It's true.....Ashlyn has asked to learn to read and is displaying all of the signs my older two kiddos displayed (just a little sooner). She "reads" stories and makes up words to the pictures or if we've read the book a lot, she tells it from memory. She can write her name well, and writes several other letters legibly. I know she is young, but I think I found something that is very gentle - a go at your own pace - kind of program. It is called The Reading Lesson . The pictures are very cute, which Ashlyn loves, and you can try the first couple of lessons for free, which I love. They also have some other free goodies to help you along. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Easter Week

We are taking a break from some of our regular studies this week to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are using a wonderful free resource from Living Books Curriculum. It has copywork, picture studies, a poem, a hymn, and a great story from "Parables from Nature". Did I mention it was FREE! You can download your very own copy at CurrClick.

April 02, 2009

Our First REAL Nature Study

Last Sunday(03/29)we did our first "real" nature study. When we went to church that morning, everything was encased in ice. It was beautiful! By the time we came home, it was 50 degrees and the ice was replaced with puddles and mud. A KIDS DREAM! After lunch, everyone put on their boots and made their way to the waterway in our cow's pasture. Boy were we in for a treat. All the water had forced a female crayfish out of her hole and she had a mass of eggs under her tail. This was a sight we had never seen. Later when we came in the house, the kids each drew a picture and wrote a few things in their journals, as I read aloud about crayfish from "The Handbook of Nature Study". It was REALLY fun...I can't believe that we had never done this before. Here are the results of our efforts. Click picture to view full size.

Caleb's Nature Journal Entry ~ Allie's Drawing of the Crayfish (below)