Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homeschool - Week 3

Week 3: The Clown of God / Letter C

Well, this week was interesting. And rainbows mean a lot more than they used to to all of us here at the House. 

Let me start from the beginning... (spoiler alert if you haven read it)

We read this book for our Letter C week (c is for clown...) and we all loved it. It is about a little orphan boy who grows up to be a clown and brings joy to those around. He grows old and leaves the clown life behind. He finds himself in a monastery where it is Christmas night. When he sees the statue of Mary and Child, the Child looks so serious. He remembers that the Brothers from the monastery told him that when you make those around happy, you make God happy. So, he juggles for the he finished his last act and a miracle happens. As the Brothers come and see what is going on, they find the juggler has passed away but the Child is smiling and holding the Golden Ball from the act.

Working on our daily notebooks - learning the day of the week, date, weather, etc
Art - Rainbow Caterpillars in size order from biggest to smallest
Completed caterpillars - so cute!
Math: Rainbow Math - They had math problems to solve. The answers were on the different colors of the rainbow. Andrew's were a little harder (1-10) and Alex had some that were just a bit easier (1-5). They used cheerios to help them add up the numbers when needed.

Such an great book with some really fun activities.

And this book meant more to us as the week went on...a lot more.

On Thursday night, just before heading to bed, we went to bring Max inside... Max hadn't barked for us to let him in - he's been doing that lately as he can no longer see or hear. He barks, and we help him find his way. Well, I turn the back porch light on and he was lying on the patio as if he were asleep. Only I knew he wasn't asleep. I yelled for Jason and, as anyone would do, we tried to wake him. We said our goodbyes after a while and Jason took him on one last car ride to the 24-hour vet.

I miss that little furball.

We adopted him from Schnauzer Love Rescue in January of 2008. You never know what you will get with foster pets, or rally any pet for that matter, but we were truly blessed with him. Such a wonderful, sweet little dog. He was everything we wanted. We hope that he is much happier now and young and playing around once again.

Now, of course, Friday morning came around and we had to tell the boys...

Thankfully, a wonderful friend sent me this:

I was so thankful for this. After I read it with tears down my face, I ran to the boys, "I know where Max is!!" They were so excited to hear about this Rainbow Bridge. They had all kinds of questions, of course. But, now they have an answer for now that they are satisfied with. Yes, we did tell them in the beginning that Jesus is taking care of Max - watching over him, and Tango, too. But now we have have PLACE. It's not a place we can go to at the moment, but maybe we can catch a glimpse of it the next time a springtime storm comes around.

Max holding onto a baby blanket

Our sweet Max 
Adopted January 18, 2009 was with us, his forever family, until this past Thursday, August 21, 2014
We love and miss you, Max!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Homeschool - Week 2

Week 2: The Glorious Flight / Letter B

Art: Working on their collage for letter B - cutting out things that start with B
Science: B is for...bird! The boys went birdwatching - complete with explorer hats and vests!
Zoo day - went to see all the birds with some friends
Math: B is for buildings and bricks. The boys guessed how many legos tall an item was, then measured it. We also made towers and measured those (big, bigger, biggest - like the planes in our FIAR book)

Religion: We also learned about St. Benedict of Nursia  - the patron saint of students

The boys really liked this week! They said that their favorite part was "school legos" - imagine that! The rest of the day they were busy measuring anything around the house. So cute!

Friday, August 22, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Magic Tree Houses, Antelopes, Blue Bikes & Imaginations

1. The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne

Back in January, I shared our goals for the year (I should probably revisit those...). One of them was to read a book series aloud to the boys. And, wow! We are now on book #15 - Viking Ship at Sunrise (starting tomorrow night actually!). They are LOVING these books! So much, in fact, that after a day at the Space and Rocket Center again, the boys asked for Magic Tree House #8 - Midnight on the Moon from the gift shop. It's a book. I'm not going to say no to a book. So, they currently have #8 and #39-40 (Thank you Nancy and David!). But!! I took a bunch of books to 2nd and Charles a few weeks ago and added to their library for $1 out of pocket. Gotta love a good trade-in.

But what I love even more than that is hearing Andrew and Alex talk about the books every day. They talk about Jack and Annie, their latest adventure, and how they are going to go on an adventure to a "cool place" in the backyard. They talk about them in the car, too. They even talk to other kids in the library about the books when they see someone looking near that shelf. I just love it!

Magic Tree House #13-20 are all theirs!!
2. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

week in my life post

This book is awesome. A great read. Just don't read it where you need to be quiet - unless you can laugh super quiet or in your head. You will laugh out loud at every chapter. Especially if you are a parent!

3. The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle

Oh, if you are married...please get this book. HILARIOUS. I love this book. I got it from the library a few days ago and I'm just a few chapters from being done. There are stories in this book that make me laugh out loud that I interrupt my husband's gaming experience (can you see the headset on him??). So funny. I love it! There are little bits of wisdom and faith woven within the stories, too. Like, for instance, the difference between Young Love and Old Love. Hilarious. And, so very true. Just read it. Jason is reading it, too! He had to find out what all the noise was about. He found out. I heard him crackin' up!

4. Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider

Oh, this book. You know I love this book. I learned a lot from this woman. I have been a fan of hers since I became a mom and Google pointed me to her blog then called Simple Mom, now The Art of Simple. So great. Life-changing. And, yes, I will keep on saying that. Life-changing!

5. The Gunslinger by Stephen King


How are there more than one of these Dark Tower books? I'm sorry to all the die-hard Stephen Kings fans out there, but this was just terrible. But I read it. I read it for my husband. We are reading books together and talk about it. We have our own book club. We are the only members. I let him have the first pick and this is what he does to me. Maybe because I've been reading all these non-fiction, life-changers I just have no imagination anymore or something... It was just awful... Then toward the end it just made zero-sense. He tells me that the next one is better. I mean, really? How are there more?

6. The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

Now that I think about can't be my imagination. I loved The Reapers are the Angels and I'm not really one of those zombie-apocalypse fans. But I had heard about this book through a favorite podcast of mine, A Good Story is Hard to Find. The hosts talk about books and movies from a Catholic perspective. Pretty interesting stuff. And, as I said I'm not usually a sci-fi reader, but I loved Temple! I was really rooting for her. Go read it, you'll see.

7. Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen

Speaking of imaginations... Wow! The homeschool mom group I have been going to the past few months (only 2 meetings so far and I have learned so much from these ladies). This is the book that they are currently reading. I am playing catch-up right now. And, just wow. It's not a typical "parenting book" or anything. It is more like a giant laugh at modern society and the things that today's parents do that are just backwards really. Like these adult-organized tee-ball or soccer teams, for instance... First, I personally cannot stand to be near any of these "coaches" anyway. So, I don't see our kids joining any teams just yet. They haven't asked, so I'm not pushing any of it right now. But, really. How many of you reading this remember those hot summer days where you and the neighborhood kids would go play kickball or softball or make up a game because it was fun? And, now? Nope. Now it's all about my kid can kick hard, run faster, has more trophies, etc. I went to one of these tee-ball games a few years ago and wow. Really, Coach Dad? They are 4. Sit down and let them play.

Oh, and while we are on the topic of those hot summer days... This must have been the quietest summer ever. I know that there are a ton of kids on this street of our because the bus stops right in front of my house. There has to be at least 10 kids getting on/off every day. Where are they? I heard a few out every now and then, but it wasn't every day. I think we need a campaign to bring the summers back or something. It was very odd.


Need a good book to read?? Have you joined Goodreads? I have and I can't wait see what gets recommended after I add a few more books to my shelves.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Homeschool - Week 1 {The Journey Begins}

Well, we have complete 2 weeks of our homeschooling journey for the bigger boys. It's been interesting, fun, exciting, stressful. It has been pretty much the same mixture of feelings for all of us. Whether we had decided to continue to send them to preschool or do this homeschool deal, it's been the same. We are just working off of our schedule instead of someone else's. Which is nice in some ways. Of course, we have had a day or two in which I wondered if that shiny yellow school bus wouldn't mind taking these monkeys to the big kids school for...a field trip? Kidding. Kinda. (They will never ride the bus. I've already burst that bubble. I mean, come on. I rode the bus. I know what happens on a bus. And, these buses...the high school kids ride with the elementary kids. Um, no.)

So, before I share the start of this new school year, let's take a look back at the first day of school last year!

First day of PreK-3 - August  27, 2013

First day of PreK-4 - August 4, 2014
Look at that. Where did that big kids come from? The glasses are just awesome. We go in for a check-up in October to see what's next. He will be 5...FIVE YEARS OLD!!! next month. Gasp! He is such a bog boy... No longer wants anything to do with Thomas. He just wants real trains. Real tracks. He is loving his Legos and will sit at the kitchen table for HOURS building all sorts of things. And, this is killing me just a tad...he no longer can fit in anything that has a "T" at the end. Yep, we shop in the big boys department now. No more's all XS and 4/5/6 for this guy. And those feet! Those shoes from last year's picture...Alex can't even wear those anymore. Just amazing how much they grow in a year, right?

First day of Mom's Day Out/PreK-2 - September 3, 2013
First day of PreK-3 - August 4, 2014
Yes. I know. This guy doesn't just think he is awesome. He knows he is awesome. He is hilarious. We still have the "terrible threes" days (because everyone know that the terrible twos is just a load of you know what...two was NOTHING compared to three. Especially with this one. Oh. Dear.), but mostly he is still my sweet little snugly guy. He talks nonstop. Wants to know everything about everything (Which I'm sure is all thanks to Sid the Science Kid - which is fine by me. Sometimes.).

Time for school!!

Curriculum: We are using Five in a Row (Volumes 1-3) and Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven (the link goes to another favorite blog that reviews this curriculum and sold me on it. Love Carrots for Michaelmas)

WEEK 1: How to See the World and Make Apple Pie / Letter A

This book was great! So much fun! We "saw the world" via the ever-awesome iPad and made our apple pie.

On the "beaches" of Jamaica having a French baguette and a crisp not-so-Vermonty apple!

Learning about Italy
Making our homemade apple pie - the recipe was from the story, too!

And that apple pie, my friends... That was think that made me realize that I have to have patience to homeschool because OH. MY. GOSH. The flour...oh, the flour... Yes, I knew it could get all over the place. And, it did. So, we also added in a lesson about science. As in, mommy's brain is going to explode all over this kitchen JUST like the flour if y'all don't cool it with the rolling pin. Good thing I had a little bit of Italy left in my fridge for later in the form of my favorite wine... It was fun overall, really. The boys learned about some amazing places and I learned that I need patience. Which I don't have. Can you buy it at Target??

For Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven, we learned about alligators (Which included...wait for it...a trip to the zoo! You had no idea, right?), made some "A" crafts, and did a little something for St. Anthony!

"A" is for alligator! Chomp-chomp!
Made the letter A out of cheerios...which starts with C...better luck next week! Haha!
Are you wondering where St. Anthony fits into the other than the fact that he is our letter A saint of the week?? So, here is the crazy story...

I had originally wanted to do both Saints Andrew and Alexander, but realized that being a mom there is ALWAYS something lost in this house - a forgotten action figure, a set of keys (or two), jump drives, name it... Something is always lost. Well, perfect. Let's learn about Saint Anthony and the little "prayer" that goes along with him:

Tony, Tony look around
Something's lost and can't be found

Maybe there is more to it than those few words, but that is all I know so that is what I taught them. And, really, if does give a little patience and calms one down enough to actually think where the lost item would be.

Only, I promise there is much more than that. At least for me - and now Jason believes it, too! He had lost his key to the van and some other item I can't think of right now. Well, I was helping him look every where for these things and I had not a clue. So, for kicks, I said the little diddy and suddenly I thought to look under the computer armoire... Why? I have no idea... But, jump back! BOTH ITEMS WERE THERE. Jason is just is complete shock and we are both laughing. Cracks me up still. Catholic "voodoo" what can I say? Kidding. Thank you, Saint Anthony.

Another thing that we did - almost completely accidental - for Saint Anthony was recommended by one of my favorite authors, Lisa  Hendey of In her book, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, Saint Anthony was highlighted. For the activity she suggested baking a loaf of bread and bringing it to your favorite priest as a thank you for his service. Well, not only did we bake a load of banana-blueberry bread for him to take home, but we were able to have Father Jaya over for dinner! We have been working on a night that would work for him all year and we finally found a great weekend that worked out. And!! It just so happened to fall on this week! Crazy! Maybe this homeschooling thing is exactly what God's wants us to do right now. Interesting how things just work out like that, huh? The stories he shared with us are just absolutely amazing!! So, so glad that we were able to do this and get to know one of our favorite priests a little better.

Have you had a priest over for dinner? Or your pastor and their family over? I was nervous to begin with, but we had a great time! The stories he shared with us about India, his family back home, and his life as a priest are just absolutely amazing!! So, so glad that we were able to do this and get to know one of our favorite priests a little better.

Father Jaya and Andrew - winners of round 1 and 2 of Go Fish!

Don't worry! I didn't leave out the smallest one! Austin gets to play, play, play with everything he can get his hands on while we get our school work done. Luckily, I have a few tricks I pull out when I need him to be occupied. These magnet toys from Uncle Justin and Aunt Kate are his new favorite things to play with. He has figured out where I keep them, too (in the pantry behind him...). So he will actually go over there and bang on those doors for me to get them out. So funny. Love that little guy!


There you have it! The first week of our preschool homeschooling journey! Lots of changes going on here, but were are having fun and learning something new each day.


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