Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Moving day is here...

I can hardly believe that the day has come to pack up and move on. We moved into this house two and a half years ago - the weekend Grace was born! Those years have flown by, and we leave the house with four kids, not three. We also leave with a lot more STUFF! The amount of boxes we've gone through is astounding. I'm sorting and tossing as we pack. Hopefully unpacking will be easier - that's the fun part, get everything set up and making things feel homey!
We are building a new house, and will hopefully be in the end of August! Ryan will be doing a tremendous amount of the work himself. He does a wonderful job, and really enjoys it, but he's doing more in this house than he has before. He'll be tackling the painting, trim, tile, wood flooring, building the front porch and deck, putting stone on the front pillars, and possibly a few other things. Please pray for energy for him, and for enough time to get everything done!
We are so thankful for the generosity of our family and friends, who are letting us invade their homes for various amounts of time. Please pray for the Wehrmans, Havens, Gordillos, Moes, and our parents as we visit them - that we would have wonderful times of fellowship and that the kids would "play nice." : ) We are looking forward to bouncing from home to home. These are all local friends, and this would be one of the few times we would actually have a reason to stay with them (except of course for the occaisional game night/scrapbooking overnight!)
I will do my best to keep things updated, something I haven't done so well lately! I'll try to post some pictures of the new house soon. But - my next post will be on all the sewing I've been doing lately!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Watch out for flying potatoes!

I mentioned in a previous post that I bought Ryan the Backyard Ballistics book at convention. Well, take a look at what he and Sawyer have been up to lately! This is their first creation - The Potato Canon! I heard rumblings about a Cincinatti fire kite next...and no, I have no clue what that is!
They shot the potatoes into the cornfield behind our neighborhood - we had previous premission from the owner, who also happens to be our builder. I couldn't believe how far they shot! We attracted the attention of several neighbors, and the guys were joking about trying to shoot down the seagulls that fly over - they never did hit one though.
Sawyer showing the chunk of missing potato, that was loaded into the barrel at that moment.
Ryan is spraying in the propellent - otherwise known as Aquanet harispray!
We ditched the ear muffs/whatever they're called, after the first shot, since it was surprisingly quiet. We had expected quite a boom, but there really wasn't one. The boys had a lot of fun, and Ryan has talked about making some to sell at the HSB Craft show this winter.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Craving Chinese???

We were having friends over for a game night this past Friday, so I decided I'd make chinese for dinner, since I'd been craving it for a while. I was looking through the recipes I've used in the past, and decided to start completely over, and find some new ones. A few people asked for the recipes on Facebook, and I decided it would be easier to put them all here, and whoever wants them can come get them! So here is the menu and recipes I used(I would encourage you to read through the comments left by other people of each recipe on the all recipes website to see what changes other people made):

Egg rolls - These were soooo good! We loved them! Gracie kept asking for more "tootsie roll"! I used pork loin chopped fine instead of ground pork.

Crab Rangoons - Our were "crabless", and still tasted wonderful!

Sweet and Sour Chicken - The only changes I made were to season the chicken before putting it in the batter, and I stir fried the peppers and pineapple with a chopped onion before serving it. The kids all ate this like little piggies! It really did taste like what you get at a chinese restaurant, even the sauce!

MooShu Pork - This was the best Moo shu recipe I've found, hands down. It was wonderful! We ate it without the pancakes because I ran out of time to make them. They say you can use flour tortillas, but they really are too thick, and it just isn't the same.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Swap for kids!

Hadley, over at Life of a Dairy Queen, is doing a Super Summer Swap for kids! Check it out here. My kids love getting mail, so I think they are really going to love this! It will be a fun way to learn about other parts of the country, as they get packages from kids from other states!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What we'll be doing next year...

I thought I'd do a post about what we will be using next year for school. I put in an order for the last of it at convention, and am eagerly awaiting a package from Rainbow Resource this week! Since Sawyer and Campbell are so close in age, we'll be doing everything together. This makes it a lot easier for me, and the kids are best buddies, so they think it's fun to be working on the same things. We will be doing workboxes this year, which is new to us. Here's a link to the book which started this craze in homeschool circles not too long ago. The idea is to foster independent learning by helping kids move through their studies with minimal need for mom's help. There will be activities we do all together, but there will also be things they work on alone, which will free me up to work with the little ones as well. I'm really excited to see how this goes!
Bible- We are using Bible Study Guide For All Ages. This is a great program, because you can teach it to multiple ages, and it's interactive. The kids have activity pages they will work on during our story time that will help with their comprehension. BSGFAA does a complete survey of the Bible. It's a great way to help them see the big picture of the Bible. We will also be using their Non-reader timeline, and the CD which has songs helping them learn the books of the Bible, twelve tribes, apostles, etc. This will give them a good overview of the Bible, and then in the evenings we will continue going through Leading Little Ones to God, and The Children's Story Bible.
Math- We will be continuing with Math-U-See. The kids really like it, and I love that it's concept based, instead of the spiral approach used by so many other math programs. They get lots of practice on one principal before moving to the next thing. We will hopefully finish up Primer by January, and will start Alpha then. We will also be playing with our Evan Moor Take It To Your Seat learning centers. I got the K-1st set, and the kids have had lots of fun with them. These are math games that they do alone. I'll be able to use them in their workboxes to help reinforce math principles.
Phonics- We will be continuing with Spell to Write and Read. I can't begin to tell you how much I LOVE this program! It is so simple, and my kids are doing so well with it! It is a pure phonics program, and was developed to help children who struggled with dyslexia. Right now, we play with the phonogram cards, making words and so on. Once they are able to write well we will start the spelling dictation. (Proud mommy story: We've had a real reading breakthrough with Sawyer this week. He had been refusing to try reading out loud to me. Last night I told them after family devotions that they could stay up a little later if they were reading to me. They did each book together, alternating pages. We breezed through 5 BOB books! They did great! Then this morning Sawyer came up the stair carrying the books so he could read them to daddy!)
Handwriting- We have been using Cursive First. I had been getting a little frustrated because it felt like we were moving very slowly in this area. Campbell especially didn't seem to be getting it. Then another wiser mommy kindly reminded me she JUST TURNED FOUR! It's hard to not have the same expectations for her and Sawyer, since she acts so much older than she is. So, I ordered her a program called Ready Writer. It is a series of worksheets that helps with writing readiness. I think she'll really enjoy it. Sawyer will continue with the Cursive first. I will try to remember that they are only 4 and 5! We'll just be moving at our own pace.
LA, Science, Reading, History, Social Studies- I'm so happy to say we'll be doing ALL of this through Five In A Row! I love this curriculum! It is based on the Charlotte Mason style of gentle learning. We will "row" one book for a week, reading it each day for five days. Each day we will focus on a particular subject, and relate it to the book. We were very blessed to receive most of the books for Christmas and Birthdays, so we have quite a collection of them! Most of the books are classics. You can see a complete list of them here. We really liked this last year, and it will be nice to have Grace do it with us this year also.
We will also be doing some fun unit studies sprinkled in throughout the year. I purchased a Pirate unit from In the Hands of a Child at convention, and the kids each requested a few they'd like to try. We will get those from Homeschool Share.
Art- We started using Artistic Pursuits this summer with two other families. We are meeting at a park twice a month, and taking the older children through the lessons. So far I am extremely pleased with it! The kids are learning wonderful techniques as well as art history, and it is so simple to teach! We will be doing it all summer, then continuing throughout the school year.
We are excited about the new things we are adding this year, and I'm praying that we will be able to find a good routine, even with all the chaos of moving. I feel so blessed to be able to be at home with my little charges, and can't wait to watch them continue in their learning!

Monday, June 8, 2009

2009 ICHE Convention

WOW...What an amazing two days I had! I attended the Illinois Christian Home Educators Homeschool convention this past Thursday and Friday. My sweet (and brave!) husband watched the kids while I was gone - and that's a whole other post I need to write. Let's just say I came home to a spotless, dirty dishes and laundry-free house! He's the best!
I was a little nervous about going. I was excited about it, but afraid that once there, I would get bogged down with feelings of doubt about curriculum choices and guilt over what I WASN'T doing. There is so much out there to use that is GOOD - it's sometimes hard to weed through that and find what's BEST. And the best for our family will be totally different from other families. I spent time praying about it, and was amazed that instead of feeling overwhelmed and confused, the Lord confirmed the choices Ryan and I had made regarding curriculum. I now have a great sense of peace, even after attending informational sessions for other curriculum programs.

I attended a convention with my parents when I was in middle school. The only thing I remember is a long hallway filled with book tables!(In fact, I still have the book my parents let me select!) Well, my memories of that conference in no way prepared me for the enormous amount of information that was about to be stuffed into every bit of free space in my brain. By Thursday night I was feeling a little foggy, and I still had another day to sit through!

Thursday began with Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding a Child's Heart. He spoke on getting to the heart of your child's sinful behavior. It was a good reminder that the purpose of discipline is to reach the heart and point the child to God, not correct "annoying or undesired" behavior. I've loved his books, and really enjoyed the opportunity to hear him speak live. He spoke again on Friday afternoon - "Giving Children a Vision of God's Glory." This subject stressed the need to remove the idols from our children's lives, instead of polishing them for them. Also that kids view of God is directly linked to our view of Him. I'm working on a post on that talk that will be up eventually. Not a light subject, and very convicting. I am still processing it all!

We attended 4 workshops on Thursday, and four on Friday. I'm just going to list a little blurb about each of them:

Jeannie Fulbright - Jeannie is the author of Apologia's K-6 Science Books. I attended three of her sessions. The 7 E's of choosing Curricula, Notebooking:Creativity with purpose, and Charlotte Mason:Excellence without Sacrifice. They were all good, but I especially enjoyed the notebooking class. I had previously avoided the Apologia books, because they just screamed TEXTBOOK, and that's not what I want for my kiddos, so I had decided we would look at other science options. Well, after listening to and participating in the notebooking class, I went and bought the Apologia Astronomy book! I was very impressed that this was NOT a dry, boring textbook, but very definitely a living book with ideas for projects and experiments, as well as narration instead of tests. My kids are going to love it!

Vicki Bentley - Vicki is the mom of 17 kids! (okay, she didn't give birth to all of them, but she did homeschool all of them - some were foster kids) I loved her session on Getting Kids to Help at Home. She had some great ideas on what to do about kids who decide they don't want to do their chores, and fostering responsibility in children. The idea I found most enlightening was the concept of training them when they are little in HOW to do the chore. I don't know why it didn't occur to me before, but she has the child do the chore right along with her until they are experienced enough to handle it on their own. Her motto is "As a mom, you need to work yourself out of a job." So this summer, we are going to work on some chore training.

Dianne Craft - Can you say BRAIN OVERLOAD? Dianne is an amazing woman. She is a certified Natural Health Professional (think lab coat, not peasant skirt and bag of granola), as well as the learning specialist for HSLDA. I went to two of her sessions, and had planned on going to another two, but just couldn't handle any more of the info, so I'll be downloading those sessions to listen to later. Dianne spoke on Identifying and Correcting Blocked Learning Gates, which was excellent. I went with a couple friends, and we all sat there saying wow - that's MY kid she's talking about! I was overwhelmed by the amount of information she gave us, and will be implementing a lot of it with some of my kids soon. The second session was Teaching the Right Brained Child. This was a great session as well, and actually taught me a lot about my own (overly-dominant right) brain!

Steve Demme- This was another great session, simply because Steve is a very Godly man who is very committed to the family. He is the creator of Math-U-See, and pastor of a church on the east coast. His session was Why We Do What We Do, and How to Keep At It. We spent the hour discussing why we homeschool, and ways to keep from getting discouraged or distracted. It was a great reminder of why we chose this path in the first place.

I had promised the kids I'd bring them each a surprise, so the vendor hall was a lot of fun for me! I got some great deals, was able to order our curriculum for next year (I'll be posting on this seperately), and got some fun things for the kids. Sawyer got one of Ken Ham's Dinosaur books - this is huge since we don't have any creation based (or evolutionary, for that matter) dinosaur books. Campbell got James Herriott's Treasury for Children. I knew she'd love this, since the whole book is filled with stories of animals he took care of while working as a vet in the English countryside. Grace got some Doug and Melissa animal lacing cards. I wanted to find something she'd be able to do independently while we were busy with school in the fall. They should be perfect! All poor Cullen got was a big smoochy from mommy! And I can't forget the big kid! I found a book at Rainbow Resources called Backyard Ballistics. It has directions for making potato cannons, rockets, etc. If it explodes, it's probably in this book. He was really excited, and I found him and Sawyer on our bed yesterday going through it and writing out a list of the things they needed to go get this weekend to try making a few things!

Overall, it was a wonderful time of renewal for me. I came away feeling convicted about some things I need to work on as a mom, as well as energized for the next step in this journey.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Trying something new...

I know some of you out there are going to roll your eyes, but I had to try it! I decided, after chatting with a friend a while ago, to make my own laundry soap! I've wanted to do it for several months, but every time we'd get low, Ryan would bring home some more! (He's VERY helpful, and it was sweet of him to take this burden off of me.) But, the other day we were down to about 1/2 a bottle, so I picked up the "ingredients" I need to whip up a batch! After totalling up everything, it is costing us about $.03 per load! (Yes, I realize this is a strange thing to be excited about...) So, here are a few pictures of the process, as well as the recipe I used.
The recipe called for:
8 c. Borax
4 c. Washing Soda
4 c. Baking Soda
4 c. Fels Naptha Soap
I grated the soap, which took about 10 minutes. I was told that it goes really fast if you have a food processor. I'm just not sure I'd want to do it in one I used for food! It has a really nice citrus scent to it, but leaves no scent on your clothes. You can add 15-20 drops of essential oil to the recipe, which I hope to do soon.

This is the laundry soap all mixed up. (Yes, I know you're thinking "why is she posting about this?" I just can't help myself!)

So, here's my laundry soap, all mixed, and stored in a great little tub I picked up. It only takes 2 tablespoons per load, and it's gotten out some spots on my kids clothes that the previous detergent didn't, so overall, I'm really happy with it! (and if anyone is still reading this, well, you need to go find a hobby - maybe making your own laundry soap!)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We have a READER!

Just had to share this small success! We have been doing Spell to Write and Read since January, and both kids are doing well with it. They are making great progress through the BOB books, but haven't shown a lot of interest in reading other things unless I ask them to sound out a word.

Yesterday we were getting groceries. I was trying to pay and wrestle the baby back into the cart, so I sent the big three over to a bench across from the checkout, in front of a salon. I was watching them, and saw Campbell looking up at a sign in the salon window. She started sounding out the letters, and said "Sawyer! That sign says 'Nails'! " And she was RIGHT!!! It has been so much fun to watch them discover things, and to see how they grow in their comprehension and application of concepts! I'm so glad I'm the one who gets to see it happen!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Inspired and convicted

If you have a few minutes, I would highly recommend visiting Ann VosKamp's blog. Here's a link. I'm a subscriber to her blog, and always find her writings very thought provoking, but today's blew me away. God has given her incredible insight, and a gift for sharing it. This is something that needs to be shared with anyone who spends any time with children. Check it out, and leave a comment here on what you thought!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Homeschool Share is BLASTing off!!

The annual Homeschool Share BLAST is underway! Click here to get info on how to submit your original unit studies, file folder games, workbox activities, etc. They are giving away some fabulous prizes, and we all win, since it means even more terriffic units to use with our kiddos! Join in the fun!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Celebrating His Resurrection!

This year we made an Easter Garden. The kids loved helping me put it together. We spent time talking about the penalty for sin, and our depravity. We talked about the filthy condition of our hearts as we dug in the dirt, and that Jesus' act of love and sacrifice saved us from an eternity of condemnation and seperation from God. We read a little bit of the story each day, stopping to discuss WHY Jesus had to die,WHY He was betrayed by Judas, WHY the woman annointed Him with perfume, WHY the Jews sent Him to His death on a cross. The solemn conversation on Friday was a stark contrast to the shouts of joy and surprise which greated us on Easter morning. "Jesus isn't in the tomb anymore!" "Look, Mommy, the stone has been rolled away!"
A great reminder of the awe and excitement I so often lack throughout the rest of the year.

"The more I know your power, Lord
The more I’m mindful
How casually we speak and sing your name
How often we have come to you
With no fear or wonder
And called upon you only for what we stand to gain
God forbid, that I find you so familiar
That I think of you as less than who you are
God forbid, that I should speak of you at all
Without a humble reverence in my heart
God forbid
Lord, I often talk about your love and mercy
How it seems to me your goodness has no end
It frightens me to think that I could take you for granted
Though you’re closer than a brother
You’re more than just a friend
You are father,
God almighty
Lord of lords,
you're King of kings
Beyond my understanding
No less than everything"
-Point of Grace

Monday, April 6, 2009

A purposeful Easter week

Ryan and I have been trying to be very purposeful in the traditions we create with the kids. We haven't really had any Easter traditions, other than Church and Easter Baskets. (And since we go to church every Sunday, I'm not sure I can count that as a tradition!) We decided this year to do things a little differently. We will be creating an Easter garden today. You can see an example on Ann VosKamp's blog - I love her blog! I wanted to do something with them that would create a sense of building up to something - a sense of waiting, not in excitement, but contemplation and remembering. This seemed like the perfect thing. I'll post pictures later this week.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Decisions, decisions...(insert bouncing smiley here!)

I was SO excited to see that ICHE FINALLY posted the entire schedule for their Homeschool conference today! I will be attending with a group of moms from our church, and can't wait! (gleeful laughing!!!) The speaker list is incredible - Tedd Tripp, Erwin Lutzer, Jessica Hulcy, Chris Klicka...and those are just the main speakers. There are too many workshops from which to choose - I'm not sure how I'm going to narrow the selections down to 8!
Here is a video of Tedd Tripp speaking on "Created to Worship":

I am counting down the days, and so thankful I have a wonderful husband who is allowing me to go and watching four rambunctious kids by himself that weekend. Thanks honey! Hopefully I can talk him into coming with me next year. Hmmm...I wonder if they'd ever consider bringing in Kevin Van Dam to speak on the "Art and Science" of fishing? ; )

Giveaways at The Architect and the Artist!

Here's a link to Debbie's blog. She's a homeschooling mom to two boys. GREAT blog!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I can't believe he's ONE! He is such a happy little blessing! We are so glad God gave us this little "surprise!" even when we had thought we were done with having babies. I can't imagine life without his beautiful smiles!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Someone posted this over on Homeschool Share's forum, and I thought it was hilarious! We haven't run into any rude or questioning people (yet!), but we've only just started, so maybe it's coming!

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish Listby Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling, Issue #1, Fall 2007

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all dislike you, so please go away.

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, stop talking!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


She's FINALLY four! (going on 25). For Campbell's birthday, she and I went to a production of the ballet Coppelia. We both loved it! She was mesmerized - okay, she jabbered through the whole thing, but it was constant questions about what was going on, and "how are the ballerinas doing that" and "can I learn to dance like that?" It was fun to watch her enjoy this gift. I knew she'd love it, since she is definitely all girl. If something is sparkly, she just naturally gravitates to it - Thank you grandma for the glittery jeans, I'll probably never get her to take them off! She is our live-wire, our snuggly one, our questioner. I can't wait to see what the Lord has planned for her life!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Hopefully we are back in the swing of things, now that I've switched hosting sites! I will be trying to update as much as I can over the next few days. Be sure to sign in as a follower on the panel to your right!

We have really been enjoying school the last few weeks. We spent a great week on Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey, and learned about the city of Boston. Last week we focused mainly on our math and reading/handwriting. Sawyer and Campbell are both doing great with their reading. We are flying through the BOB Books! We also just started learning about place value in math. Here are a few pictures of Sawyer playing with the Decimal Street Lapbook game we're using to reinforce the concept (a link to the blog I found it on) I made one for each of them, since we'll have two more kids using them again in another couple years. (And it cuts down on the screaming and fighting if they each have their own!)

We had a few beautiful days last week-very warm for March! We spent a couple of afternoons at the park around the corner from our house. It was fun to watch the kids enjoy the outdoors, and see how much they've grown since the last time we were there. Last year we had to lift Gracie up the steps because they were too big for her. This year, she was all over the place!

Campbell was thrilled that she was able to swing across the rings all by herself now!

I keep forgetting just what a big kid our Sawyer is! He's growing so fast, and has now entered a phase where he doesn't want his picture taken. The few I got were after much coercion!

This week we're doing a unit from Homeschool Share on the book Thundercake by Patricia Polacco. She's one of our favorite authors. (okay, one of mine!) She is a local writer, and has a Meteor Festival every July at her home near Battle Creek. She opens her home and studio, and you can see how she creates her stories and illustrations. I'm hoping to take the kids. When I mentioned it to Sawyer, he said "oh, yeah, then we can see old kick cow!" (One of the characters from the story.) We'll have to see if it fits into the schedule this summer (hint, hint daddy!) I love her stories because they are always based on fact. They are usually stories about her family, or herself as a child.

The story is about a little girl who is spending time on her granmother's farm and is afraid of the summer thunderstorms we get in Michigan. Her "Babushka" helps her conquer her fear by distracting her with the promise of making a thundercake! We've been learning about Russia (where Grandmother is from), the weather, Michigan's State Bird/Flower, and patterns. We will be doing half the unit this week, and half of it next.