Friday, September 12, 2014

The Week We Went to the Swimming Pool

This week I overheard a conversation my youngest daughter had with my husband. She was sharing with him how busy she is. She has school, swimming, AWANA, violin lessons, and Girls in Action (a missions club). Heath and I have had a couple good laughs over a child's version of busy and we are so grateful for all these wonderful and fun activities she has been blessed to participate in.  

On Monday, the children started a 6-week session of swimming lessons at the YMCA. There are only two other children in their class, so they are getting a lot of attention, instruction, and practice. 

In between music lessons, school work, and chores, I found the girls doing a lot of fun things this week. They are still enjoying working with chalk pastels, Kaitlyn is knitting, and they had fun challenging each other in a cup stacking game. 

We have also been busy in the kitchen. Lauren made a pumpkin pie for her dad, but we forgot to put sugar in and we don't recommend doing that. Kaitlyn cooked Shepherd's Pie for dinner one night and it was delicious. The temperatures are dropping, which means enjoying mugs of hot chocolate while doing math lessons. Tyler said this week he feels sorry for all the children at school sitting at their desks and taking pop quizzes while he's at home drinking delicious hot chocolate. 

Menu planning and crock pot cooking are incredibly beneficial during the school year. I like to set my crock pot out the night before so when I wake up I SEE the crock pot and it reminds me to dump the ingredients in and get dinner started. Also, I pull out the recipes I need for the week so I'm not searching for them at 5 o'clock when I want to start dinner. 

We are studying about the Civil Rights Movement in history and after reading about Brown v. Board of Education, we found this PBS website about Ruby Bridges (one of the first little African American girls to integrate into an all white school) and also Homeschool Helper has some wonderful FREE notebook pages like this one for Dr. Martin Luther King.

Our co-op starts next week and we are looking forward to it. Tuesdays will be busy days, but filled with friends, fun, and learning.

How is your school year going? Are you enjoying any fun, enrichment activities? Do you have any tips to share to make getting dinner on the table easier on those busy days?

I am linking up again with Homegrown Learner's Collage Friday. Please click over and check out this fun community who gathers each Friday to share some cute collages and homeschool ideas and encouragement.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sick Kids, School Work, and Youth Group

This was a week full of sickness, school work, and youth group. My church was gracious enough to give me the opportunity to serve as the director of youth ministry at our church. This means I get to plan games, activities, and weekly Bible studies for teenagers. I had so much fun on our kick-off night, which was Wednesday and judging by the amount of laughter in the room, I think others did as well. My oldest child is in the youth group and his sister will join him next year. Heath (my husband) and I have been involved in youth ministry for most of our 15 years of marriage and it is weird - very weird to be the parent of a youth now. It's a good weird though. 

Heath had the day off on Monday and Kaitlyn was sick, so we were pretty slow and lazy. We played games, looked at old scrapbooks, and just lounged around. 

Wearing vampire teeth makes reading more fun even when you're not reading about vampires, but Ella Enchanted. Lauren listened to the audio version of this book, but decided she also wanted to read it. I guess she likes it. The children are still breezing through their Teaching Textbooks lessons and next week I have got to get them started on some more challenging activities through Khan Academy. We really like Teaching Textbooks, but my kids often complain about the first few weeks being so easy and boring. 

In history this week, the children studied President Eisenhower and each wrote a paper for me. I found this online resource helpful and the older children enjoyed reading information on their own and the short video was an added bonus too. If notebooking is your thing, you might enjoy this FREE Eisenhower notebook page. 

My daughter, Kaitlyn, was sick most of the week, but still managed to get all her assignments completed. Today, she was not running a fever and feeling so much better we ran up to the library and got her registered for a babysitting workshop, book club, and an art workshop. Our family LOVES our local library and are so very thankful for all the wonderful programs and resources.

Next week we start 6 weeks of swimming lessons at our local YMCA, and we are looking forward to adding that to our schedule.

I am linking up with Homegrown Learner's Collage Friday again this week. Be sure and check out this fun link-up for homeschool inspiration and support. This week Mary shares how to find encouragement when you have a bad week. Be sure and check out other bloggers who link up as well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

National Missionaries

2 out of 5 people have never heard of Jesus' love, which means 2.5 billion people do not have the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ. This is why Gospel for Asia is passionate about training and equipping national missionaries to go out, share the good news, and disciple new believers. National missionaries already know the language and customs of their own people. Also, more than three-fourths of Asian countries do not allow western missionaries to enter their country and openly share the gospel.

With so many people (2.5 billion) lost and headed to Hell, what can we do to make a difference? 

PRAY - As a family, choose a people group to learn about and pray for them.
Do you belong to a Sunday school class, small group, or homeschool co-op? If so, choose a people group together and begin praying for them. Better yet, pull your resources together and support a national missionary. 

GIVE - You can support a Gospel for Asia national missionary and help support their work in their home country. These missionaries have gone through three years of intensive training, and they know the language and customs of the people they are ministering to.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Our First Week Back to School

On Monday, we started back into our school groove. This year was the easiest transition we have ever experienced and I believe it is largely due to the fact these three kiddos are older, more mature, and have a few years of practicing good habits under their belts (thank you Charlotte Mason). 

I liked the way our 1st day of school pictures turned out last year, so I did the same thing this year. It is so fun (and a little sad) to look back and see how much they have grown and changed in a year's time. 

We are adding more geography to our daily work after reading "The Core" by Leigh Bortins and some wonderful blog posts over at Homegrown Learners. My children know their U.S. geography very well, so I thought starting out tracing the United States would be a great way to ease them into this new activity. 

Lauren had her first violin lesson this week and was very excited. She actually described herself as "nervous-cited." Tyler is continuing his drum lessons and even plays in our worship service a couple times each month. Kailtyn is progressing well in her piano lessons as well. 

I am truly a blessed woman. My husband is so much fun to parent with. This week we had a lot of great family time and he is once again teaching science this year. He is using Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space and he has been pleased and impressed with this curriculum as he has been preparing lessons the past few weeks.  It is so wonderful having this subject taken off my plate. He is also going to teach a public speaking class at our co-op this fall.

I am linking this post up with Homegrown Learner's Collage Friday. You should check it out. It is always a fun place to visit on the web for encouragement and ideas.

Summer Reading

I stumbled upon a summer reading challenge (thanks Facebook) through Exodus Books and printed off some book lists for my children to choose from. My husband and I challenged the children to read two books from this list and if they did, they would be rewarded.

Here are the books from the challenge, my children chose to read this summer:

Ender's Game by Orson Card
Hitler by Alabert Marrin

Little Women and  Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Little Pilgrim's Progress by Helen L. Taylor
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Ella Enchanted by Gail Levine (audio)

Elmer the Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
Ella Enchanted by Gail Levine (audio)

The children also read a few other books of their own choosing (not from the challenge list). Lauren enjoyed reading some of Judy Blume's books for the first time and it was fun watching her discover a new author she likes. She also felt a little ignored by her sister this summer and said, "It's hard to deal with her (Kaitlyn) when she's reading a book she really likes."

Kaitlyn had two experiences this summer when she said she was sad when the book ended and those books were "Little Women" and "A Wrinkle in Time."

When Tyler read  "Hitler" he was fascinated by what he learned and was constantly narrating to his dad and I what he had read.  He thought deeply about the sadness of this man's life and his cruelty and evil.

My girls also chose to participate in our local library's summer reading program and enjoyed reading and earning some small prizes.

How about you and your family? Did you enjoy any great books this summer? 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

We Have Now Entered the Teenage Zone

Tyler got TWO celebrations for his birthday this year, and I guess your 13th is a good one for that. On his actual birthday, our family traveled to meet my husband's family for a few days of lake fun. Tyler's grandpa rented a boat and they spent the morning fishing (which is his favorite outdoor activity). 

When we returned home, Tyler and a couple of his friends went and played laser tag and then came back to the house for pizza and a 2nd birthday cake. I think he would say his 13th birthday was very special and memorable. 

I'm still not recognizing this birthday. He can't possibly be a teenager. Perhaps that's why I'm posting about his 13th birthday 21 days after it happened.

I love this boy - I mean young man.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Women's Literacy Programs in Asia

Our entire family loves to read and I know for certain we have taken for granted the access we have to an education here in our country. This is often not the case for women in Asia, since more than 30% of them do not know how to read. This means they cannot read warning labels or basic contracts and this puts their families at risk.

Gospel for Asia is trying to help women in Asia through their women's literacy programs. They teach women how to read and write using Bible materials. When the women finish the program, they not only know how to read and write, but they have also learned about Christ.

Please consider giving today to help a woman in Asia learn how to read. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Basketball Camp

Last week my girls participated in a 5-day basketball camp and had a great time.

My phone doesn't take the best action shots, but this was such a fun-filled week for my girls, I had to share a little bit about it on the blog. The camp was reasonably priced and they received a t-shirt, water bottle, and basketball. I think our fee more than paid for all the free things plus all the instruction and fun they received. This camp was an Upwards basketball camp. Upwards is a wonderful, safe, and recreational way for children to learn or continue to learn basketball skills. 

Have your children enjoyed any sports camps this year? 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Bucket List

At the beginning of summer, I found this FREE printable and had the children take turns writing things down. Here's some proof that we didn't just make a list of things to do, but we are actually taking action and getting some fun accomplished this summer!

We enjoyed going on a picnic and fishing and visiting a local ice cream shop. We are now trying to decide on a nearby zoo to visit before our summer ends. Last summer back in PA, we were busy trying to sell our home, packing boxes, and saying "good-bye" to all our friends. There was  not much room for fun activities like this because there was so much work to be done. This summer has been full of fun trips and activities and it's not even over yet!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Millions Need Clean Water

Clean water is something I take for granted. I take a few steps to one of three sinks in my home, turn the faucet on and clean water comes out. Unfortunately, this is not true for millions in Asia. Women walk several miles from their homes to find the nearest water source, which is often stagnant ponds or dirty rivers. As a result, millions of people in Asia are plagued by waterborne illnesses.

I would like to tell you about my friend Annette. She was burdened by the plight of the millions in Asia living without clean water and she wanted to do something about it. For her 42nd birthday, she set a goal to raise $1,000 to help ONE village in Asia receive a Jesus Well. The Lord took Annette home before she could see her goal reached, but since her passing, people have given enough for 20 Jesus Wells in her memory.  I miss my encouraging friend and tears sting my eyes as I type this, but I KNOW she is with Jesus and she radiantly glorified Him in the way she loved and served. 

The Lord gives us ONE life to live for Him and His glory. When I think about the MILLIONS in Asia without clean water, it is so easy to think I cannot make a difference, but the example of my friend, Annette reminds me just how mighty my God is and how He can use ONE life if we are willing to surrender. 

Gospel for Asia is praying and believing in the Lord to provide the resources to build 5,000 Jesus Wells in 2014. Would you please consider giving? 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Visiting Missouri Family

My family is only about 8 hours away from our new home in IL and I have seen them twice since moving from PA to IL. Our drive time was cut in half after moving and we've enjoyed the more frequent visits. Tyler is holding my great nephew in this picture. We love him so much and miss him terribly. We are thankful his mama posts a lot of pics on Facebook for us to see between our visits.

Here's a picture I took of all the cousins. I love them all so much and am thankful my kids have great cousins they truly enjoy hanging out with.

After leaving southwest Missouri, the kids and I traveled to Columbia to visit more cousins. On Monday night, I enjoyed a night out with my sister-in-law while her husband watched all five of our kids. I completed my degree two years ago, but chose not to drive from PA to MO for the graduation ceremony, so we thought it would be fun to go take a picture by the columns. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lowden State Park

We enjoyed visiting a local state park this week and it was beautiful. We hiked to take a look at this local landmark dedicated to all Native Americans, but over time has become known as Blackhawk. 

After looking at the gigantic statue, we found these stairs (188 total) that led down to the Rock River, so we decided to go down the stairs to explore. We all survived the journey back up and my leg muscles today still recall these lovely steps. 

Some PA friends of ours were nearby for a family reunion and we met up and enjoyed the day together. They taught us a game called Bocce ball and we all decided this is a game we want to own. Our new home state has a lot of state parks and now we are excited and looking forward to visiting many more.