Tuesday, August 30, 2011


1. There are three reasons I don't usually keep Ritz crackers in the house. Buttery, Salty & Flaky. I'm powerless against their devious deliciousness. And coupled with avocado they are just deadly.

2. Why do I always manage to load the dryer and then forget to turn it on?

3. Hot Hubby left Sunday for his annual hunting trip. I'm praying that he gets a huge elk with a tiny rack. Selfish? Completly! And unashamedly.

4. The kids and I just took a whirl-wind trip to the Oregon Coast with my mom. We were gone for about 30 hours. It felt like a few days. In a good way. Except that I kept thinking Hot Hubby would be home soon. And he won't...

5. Tonight Abiah and I are going on a date with my parents. I'm hoping my lunch encounter with the Ritz crackers  was a great preparation for the Ethiopian Feast-ival we will have tonight. I'm delusional like that.

6. Ten points to the first person who can tell me in which cartoon movie a cat accidentally says feastival instead of festival when talking to a group of mice!

7. There's not a whole lot that I like better than a nice pedicure at a fancy schmancy salon. A free pedicure is even better! But stubbing your toe the day after you receive said free pedicure and chipping the beautiful taupe-y polish really puts a damper on things.

8. Jackson started rolling over from his back to his tummy at three months. But only when he would get mad.

9. It's possible that I would flip him back to his back just to watch him roll over again.

10. When he's older he won't get away with having a nasty attitude like that. I figure I'll let him take advantage of it while he can...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Curriculum Round-up 2011: Preschool and 3rd Grade Curriculum

I wish I could be as excited all year long about school as I am in the month before it starts. I love the planning and choosing curriculum. I also enjoy the teaching part, but find the mothering while teaching to be difficult. I'm sure you who homeschool can relate.

This year one of my main goals is to encourage our lifestyle to become a homeschooling environment. I'm really good at boxing our schooling into a 8-12 package with a pretty pink bow on top. The problem I found this last year is that homeschooling an elementary age student while mothering three under four messes with my pretty packing skills.

Last year I tried to do school with Abiah for an hour and a half and then let him finish the other parts that he didn't "need" me for on his own. Ideally it should have taken him about another hour and a half to two hours to complete his daily tasks. The girls seemed to be good at occupying themselves for that time but Abiah felt rushed and pushed out of the way. And it showed in his work.

I also just finished reading Five Love Languages of Children (not an affiliated link) and found out that Abiah is loved best through acts of service.Which means I've been doing things wrong. For awhile. Hopefully he'll be gracious when he's older and forgive me.

So, here's the book learnin' curriculum we'll be using this year:

2011-12 Curriculum for Preschool

My girls are still young for much schooling but they are interested in school so I try to work with them for about an hour a day. At this level they don't need much scheduled schooling. And they don't have the patience for it anyways! They also tend to enjoy their play time more when I keep them busy with a little schooling and a few "chores".

About Three Set

These lessons in these books are simple practice for motor skills and gradually introduce numbers, shapes, and colors. The activities are simple and, I've found, provide great opportunity for learning to follow simple instructions. I used these a little last year with my girls, photocopying pages as needed.

Circle Time

I use Circle Time as our Bible time together. We read from the kids' Bible, sing a few songs, recite our memory verse and pray together. The kids LOVE Circle Time. I also try to take a few minutes and have the kids practice being silent. Behind the "school work" aspects of what we do, the girls are learning to follow instructions and to sit still.

2011-12 Curriculum for 3rd Grade

Math-Horizons Math
I really like Horizons Math for the repetition and colorful pages. I use their books from k-3rd grade. After 3rd grade we will switch to Saxon Math.

Grammar- Daily Grams, Easy Grammar & Primary Language Lessons

Spelling- Spell to Write and Read
Hazel and Amelia will join Abiah during a portion of this class as an introduction to the phonograms.

Handwriting- StartWrite5.0
This program has been priceless in our schooling. We use it so much. I love that I can print out my own worksheets for all of my kids. We use these in conjunction with our Scripture memorization.

History, Reading, Science and Bible- My Father's World
We will be finishing the second half of the 2nd/3rd grade Adventures curriculum. Because our last school year involved pregnancy and a baby I decided to draw this portion of our schooling out into two years. We LOVE MFW curriculum and HIGHLY recommend it. The prepared lesson plans are simple and yet very informative. I look forward to learning alongside Abiah. I am going to try to include Hazel and Amelia in some of this but am not sure what that will look like right now.

Reading Comprehension- McCall-Crabbs Standard Test Lessons in Reading
I plan to  use these about once a week to supplement with reading comprehension. Abiah really enjoys reading but I want him to learn to pay attention to what he's reading.

Well, that about sums it up. I would love to hear about any supplemental schooling tools you guys use or have heard of. Leave a comment below!

I'm linking up with the Curriculum Round-up over at fiddledeedee.net!

~All links to Exodus Books are now affiliated links. I have used Exodus for many years (as a homeschooling mom and for previous tutoring) and have recommended them even before becoming an affiliate. Though I may receive some compensation, my opinions are always my own.~

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sweet Words: With Piggy Tails

The other day, while snacking on the front porch, Amelia asked me, "Mom. Why God make us?" She was so serious and straight faced. The question seemed so big for her two-year-old self.

Through my smile I answered with a question of my own, choosing this moment as one of affirmation rather than one of teaching. "Why did God make us, Mills? Is it because He delights in us and wants us to glorify Him?"

Her answer held more untaught wisdom than my 31 years of learning would have known to reply.

"Yes. He make us pretty good. Wis piggy cails and jumping!" And as a dear friend said, "THIS is why He calls us to be like little children!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Works For Me Wednesday: Of Krooked Kastles and Chubby Feet

We live in an old-ish house. I've always loved old houses. They have so much character. Our house has so much character it earned a nickname: The Krooked Kastle. Most people don't really notice how crooked it really is.

The most obvious place downstairs is the kitchen. But it's mostly obvious when something gets spilled. Or when a toddler tries to walk across the floor. They tend to walk into the wall. It's rather humorous.

Upstairs is a different story. The doors don't close properly. And all furniture with wheels tends to gravitate towards one end of the house. Which came in real handy for Hazel when she was still in a crib. She quickly learned how to through her body weight against her crib and skootch it across the floor to her sister's crib on the opposite wall. After a few mornings of finding them crib-to-crib I decided something needed to be done.

After assessing the situation I looked around the house to see what I could use to keep their beds in place. What I settled on was a discarded pair of ruby red shoes that my girls never got to wear because their feet were too chubby. I loved those shoes and always wanted to use them. I took this as my opportunity.

I've had people asked me, "Is her bed wearing shoes?!?" To which I relpy, "Why, yes it is! And they're on the right feet, too!"

The other benefit is that the bed is more level.

There's no place like a Krooked Kastle! And it works for me!

I'm linking up to We Are That Family and other WFMW posts.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

'Til My Sides Hurt: The Public Notice

About a year ago this appeared on Abiah's door:

(Ples Go!)

Closely followed by this one:

(Go away!)

This last weekend it was obvious something had changed. Maybe it's the fact that his sisters can now open his door. Maybe it's because they have been given permission to play in there more and more. Or maybe it's because he was an only child for the first four-and-a-half years of his life:

One thing I know for sure: we still need to work on spelling...

But since this sign was intended for his three and two year old sisters, who can't read yet, I think we have time...

Monday, August 15, 2011

You know you're a mom when...

...it takes three days of planning just to take a shower. Then your three year old won't sleep during nap time (aka scheduled shower time) causing you to "reschedule" your shower for a more convenient time.

...you spend your birthday money on clothes for your kids.

...quality alone time is a trip to the bathroom where no one knocks on the door wondering what you are doing and if they can please join you.

...a "quick trip to the store" takes a half hour longer than it should because shoes have to be replaced on feet before getting out of the car and the two potty breaks that are needed during the 15 minutes of being in the store.

...grocery shopping is an acceptable outing for date night.

Humor is what gets me through most of my week. Need to laugh today? Add your "You know your a mom when..." in the comment section below.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

You know you married a hunter when...

Your two and three year old daughters, dressed in princess attire, are planning a hunting trip "to kill the deers and elks. Because they're gonna attack you and eat you! So you have to shoot them."