Monday, September 8, 2014

7 Quick Takes a Few Days Late...Races, Mary's Birthday, Anniversary, 9-11, Blog Break

This post contains affiliate links.

I have posted 7 Quick Takes hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary many times before, but last Friday was not one of those times.  One reason I missed last Friday is because life for me is going faster than I can catch up sometimes!  I'm sure many of you can relate...

So here's 7 Quick Takes a few days late as I blog about last week and events coming up this week...

My oldest daughter ran in a 5K race last weekend with some of the members of her homeschool cross country team.  I also ran the race along with my other daughter, though we didn't register and get a bib.  It was a great race and the team did so well!  My younger daughter beat me and her sister.  Despite the heat, it was a great time and I'm so proud of my girls for their good run! 


Speaking of 5K races, my oldest daughter had another 5K race with her homeschool cross country team this past Saturday.  It was cloudy and stormed a little so the trails were wet and muddy.  There were schools from all over the state competing in the various races.  Our ream ran hard and had a great time!  

Today, Sept. 8, is the our Blessed Mother's birthday.  Our homeschool group plans to meet for Mass in the morning and then if the weather corporates (we have been getting a lot of rain lately) we will go to a local park and have our annual birthday party for our Blessed Mother complete with a doughnut rosary.  Here is my post from last year about our annual birthday celebration. If you want more great ideas to celebrate Mary's birthday, be sure to check out Monica's post HERE from Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families for more fun ideas! 

Tuesday, Sept. 9, my parents will celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary!  WOW!  I'm so very grateful for my parents and blessed to live close to them to share memories with them with my family.  Thank you Dad and Mom for sticking through the good times and the not so good times, through sickness and health.  Congratulations! I love you! 

This week is also another year since Sept. 11, 2001.  HERE is my blog post from last year with memories and photos of the trip my husband (then boyfriend) took to NY and went to the top of the Twin Towers.   Each year I try to read The Little Chapel That Stood to my children about that incredibly sad day.  It's not easy to read it and I can't imagine what so many are still dealing with from this sad time. 

Me with my two older brothers and younger sister at my sister's wedding in Oct. 2012
At the end of this week I'm so excited that my family will be getting together for the first time in 2 years!  The last time we all were together was at my younger sister's wedding in October 2012.  We are heading for a beach vacation soon with my parents, my two brothers and their families and my younger sister and her family!  Since two years ago we have added 2 babies to my parent's grandchildren count, one being our littlest one!  So for the first time my parents will be surrounded with all their children (me and my 3 siblings) and their 8 grandchildren!  It will be a fun time and what a great way to have my parents celebrate their wedding anniversary this week!

Photo credit: Google image
With a busy week this week and preparing for a family vacation, I'm not sure  the next time I'll be updating my little corner of blog land here.  This upcoming time with my family will be so precious for so many reasons so I want to savor the memories as much as possible.  But, I hope to update my blog with all the family fun when I can!  Have a blessed week!  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What Faith and Love: Passionate Perseverance

Courtney ElizabethThis is a picture of Mary Lenaburg and her daughter, Courtney. I have never met Mary from Passionate Perseverance or Courtney,  but I have only "met" Mary through the wonderful world of blogging.

The Lenaburg family is in need of prayers, miracles, and funding for their daughter Courtney, who suffers from a seizure disorder.

I have been touched by reading Mary's posts.  She shares her trials and triumphs with such honesty, love, faith, and with a wonderful sense of humor!   Her posts will make you laugh, cry, smile, and bless you in so many ways!

This post HERE of Mary's was especially touching called "Leaving Room for a Miracle", which explains more about Courtney's current health condition and needs.  This post brought tears to my eyes as Mary showed a video of Courtney blessing their family with another miracle. 

Bloggers at Catholic Bloggers Network  have set up a Lenaburg Go Fund Me page to help support the Lenaburg family.   Please visit Mary's blog at Passionate Perseverance and read her story and keep them in your prayers.  If you feel called to support them financially, any amount will be helpful and appreciated! 

If you are a blogger, please help spread the word about this great need for prayers and finances for the Lenaburg family!

Thank you and may God grant Mary, Courtney and their family many blessings and peace during this hard road they are traveling! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes: My Birthday, "Smiley Spaces", Disney Picaboo Album, Randomness

— 1 —
Sunday, August 24, I turned another year older wiser! :)  I had a lovely day with my Mom eating out for lunch at a quaint restaurant downtown where we live!    When I got home from my lunch date, my hubby and Cupcakes were busy cleaning, cooking and decorating for my birthday.  It was a delicious meal and the homemade chocolate cake with homemade cream cheese icing was so good! I realized forgot to take a picture of the cake until it was half gone! 
  — 2 —
I'm using Memoria Press 1st grade lesson plans for my 6 year old daughter for this year's curriculum and on one of her assignments this week she had to answer questions about  Little Bear.  I noticed that her spacing between words was a bit crowded so I told her to think about being able to draw a smiley face in between the words.  We want "smiley spaces".   If the spacing was good, the smiley face fit and was well, smiling.  But, if her words were too close together I drew in a frown face.  That seemed to do the trick because on her next page she had smiley faces all over the place :)  I used both stickers and drew in faces with a red pen. 

— 3 —
There are many reasons I haven't been blogging as regularly as I would like to, but one reason is that I've used the past several "kid-free" hours (late at night) to work on a Picaboo photo album from our trip to Disney that we took this past May.  A birthday gift that my husband gave me last Sunday was time for me to start the album while he watched our Cupcakes.  It was so nice to work on a project in the afternoon vs. late at night when I'm half asleep!   I'm grateful for all my Disney blog posts because I'm basically uploading the same pictures and journaling from my posts into a Picaboo album. I don't know if you have ever created one of these albums, but I love the finished products, although there is never enough hours in my day to get one done in a timely manner

— 4 —
I had a few bad days this week during our homeschool lessons with one "student" in particular. It was rough and it left me wondering, "What in the world am I doing trying to keep my sanity while homeschooling these little people of mine?"  But, we worked through the rough times and I'm happy to say that today was a good day, especially since my Cupcakes were excited to make these lava lamps from their Apologia Chemistry and Physics text.  This is the same text we used when we made the layers of food coloring in the plastic straw.  This experiment was a lot of fun and easy to do!  With vinegar, vegetable oil, food coloring and an Alka seltzer tablet, you can make bubbles in a bottles to look like a lava lamp.  

— 5 —
{photo credit: Google image}
Our family has a busy weekend this weekend starting with a homeschool soccer game against a local private school team on Friday afternoon. My son plays soccer while my oldest daughter runs cross country.  In our area was have a homeschool sports association (this is their 3rd year so its fairly new) where homeschool kids can play various sports like soccer, cross country, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and baseball.  The homeschool teams play various private schools in our area.  It is a great way to get our homeschool communties to network and get to know one another, as well as learn the importance of being on a team.  

— 6 —
{photo credit: Google image}
My oldest daughter is running cross country with a local homeschool team and she has her first race on Saturday morning.  It's a 5K race and she says she is nervous.  I'm a little anxious for her too.  We have been running together in the evenings and weekend to train.   I'm not sure if I will run with her or not because I really need new running shoes.  I think the current pair I'm wearing was the pair I bought soon after I ran my first half marathon back in March 2012.  Yikes!  My shoes have holes in them and the tread at the bottom is worn, but I haven't found the time to go shoe shopping for myself!  I hope that day comes soon!  I think my feet and body will thank me for new running shoes!

 — 7 —
This Sunday after Mass our homeschool group will volunteer to feed the homeless.  Whenever there is a 5th Sunday in the month, our group volunteers to make the food and serve those in need.  We have been doing this ministry for several years now and it's always a blessing for us and so many.  Then Sunday afternoon we are hosting a birthday celebration for our parish priest whose birthday is actually on Sunday.  We are looking forward to the fellowship with friends and local homeschool families to celebrate and support our local parish priest.  

For more Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary

I also linked this post to Lisa's "My Week in Review" Link-Up at Home to 4 Kiddos

Thursday, August 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes: 7 Reasons To Be Thankful This Week

I'm thankful for my daughter (she's the one in the middle) who loves gymnastics and that all my Cupcakes are healthy (and healthy enough to do this with their body! Oh my back!)
I'm thankful that when I just happened to be by myself one afternoon (which is a VERY rare occurrence), I decided to stop in at our local Goodwill store and I found this treasure sketched by Catholic artist, Cameron Smith.  (There is a plastic wrap over the print, hence the glare in photo.) No relation to me, but Cameron and his wife are dear friends of ours and they are the Godparents for our youngest.  Anyway, I was so very excited to find this print randomly in the store and I got it for an excellent price (though it's worth sooooo much more!)  You can check out Cameron's other masterpieces HERE, including his beautiful prints of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary that I own personally, as well.   
I'm thankful for our little sweet Cupcake #5 who is modeling her new cupcake PJ's she got from her Godparents, Cameron and Kristen Smith, for her 1st birthday.   If you think these photos look like she is on the inside and I'm on the outside, you are right, BUT it was the ONLY way I could get her to stand still long enough for me to snap a photo while she was looking at me. :)  Since she's walking now, every time I try to take her photo now the "normal" way (while I'm in the house with her), she keeps walking toward me or running away. :)
I'm thankful for my oldest daughter who is running cross country with our local homeschool sports league which means two things.  I have to drive her to practice for EARLY morning practices with her team and I am enjoying running with my daughter to get both of us in shape.  I'm enjoying the workouts and good conversations and company.  So this photo looks like we are in pain.  We kind of are as it was taken after a hot, sweaty run and the sun and sweat are in our eyes. :) 

Speaking of fun runs, these are some scenic photos of our favorite spot to run.  I am thankful for the beauty and peaceful place that is only walking/running/riding bikes distance from our home.

I am thankful for science experiments that actually WORK and end up being really fun!  I'm not one to LOVE doing experiments, but with Apologia Chemistry and Physics text we are using this year and the Creation Sensation experiment kit I bought to go with the text, science experiments are easier for me to actually implement.  So how did we get 4 different colors of water in the straw to form colored layers of yellow, green, red, and blue?   It was fascinating to do and it taught about density.  If you leave a comment on this post, I'll tell you the "secret". :) 

I'm thankful for these precious moments with my Cupcakes as my older daughter fixed her baby sister's hair in the most interesting way.  With lots of laughs and giggles, the next thing I heard was "Mom, take a picture!"  :)  

For more Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary

I also linked this post to Lisa's "My Week in Review" Link-Up at Home to 4 Kiddos

Friday, August 15, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Another (Home) School Year Begins with Traditions!

So we almost completed our first week of our new homeschool year trying to gradually implement our 2014-2015 curriculum.   1 week down, 35 more to go! But, who's counting?!!? :)  

For the past 4 years, we start the first day of the new school year making our "Tee-rific" summer t-shirts as in previous years.   We talk about some of the fun things we did over the summer and our Disney trip was mentioned, as well as our beach and pool visits, and our recent trip up north for my nephew's baptism.  Then the kids draw pictures or write about their summer fun and we hang them in our hallway on the "clothesline". We all enjoy looking at past summer t-shirt designs that are hanging behind the current year.  My older children enjoy this tradition as much as my younger ones.   
I got my t-shirt copies from the book,  The MAILBOX: Bulletin Boards For Busy Teachers book for Fall, Winter, Spring, Anytime.
I found a link to a free t-shirt printout that is similar to The Mailbox version that I used:  Click here for the printable t-shirt.
My kids also fill out this All About Me sheet that I  glue to the front of their folders that holds all their lesson plans.  My older kids enjoy doing this simple, but fun activity too and it's neat to see how their interests change or stay the same year to year as they fill out this sheet about themselves. 

Another tradition our family looks forward to each year is baking and decorating our annual cross cake to add to the many other cakes we have decorated through the years.  The heart and cross in the middle represents "Sacred Heart Academy Homeschool, the name of our family's school.  My youngest is not in the picture because it was so very late before we got the cake out of the oven and decorated it and the baby was in bed already.  The chocolate cake was made with the recipe from the Hershey's Cocoa can (and it is an easy and very delicious cake) and then we made our yummy homemade cream cheese icing and sprinkled it with just a few sprinkles. 

We also took first day photos using one of the free printables HERE.  I can't say I've done this tradition every year, but I do it when I remember it.  Our oldest is in 9th grade now so I also took one with her by herself to mark the beginning of her high school years. 

This isn't a tradition, but I wanted to share some of the chalk art my son drew this week with his friend that lives next door.  Its design is creative and I'm not really sure what it is, but I just love the colors, imagination AND it's what they created WITHOUT sitting in front of a computer screen!!!! 
It's very traditional and common in our homeschool classroom to have a table (and sometimes a floor) that looks like this with papers scattered everywhere.   :)

With all our new school year traditions, I have to say that another fun tradition is documenting when our little one started walking and she is so proud of herself!  I realized after I downloaded this photo that it looks like she is missing part of her right leg from the angle that I took the picture, but she does in fact have both legs and she is about to go one speed with them...FAST!

So after our first week of homeschooling for the 2014-2015 year, everything ran JUST as planned, all my kids LOVE all the curriculum they are using after many, many, many hours of praying, thinking and planning, and there were NO tears, complaining, disobedience and frustrations in the past 5 days....WAIT! That's the neighbor or the blog next door maybe, but not here.  Overall, it was a fast and fun first week of school, BUT everything did NOT go as planned and there was grumbling from the Cupcake corner and Mommy had her moments too!  But, each day is a new day to make things better right?  Have a great weekend and Happy Feast of the Assumption

For more Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary


Sunday, August 10, 2014

2014-2015 Homeschool Classroom and Curriculum

This post contains affiliate links.

We will start our 2014-2015 homeschool year tomorrow, August 11!  I'm embarking on another new adventure as our oldest will be in her first year of high school, then I will be teaching one in middle school, two elementary school aged, and then our youngest just turned a year old.  

Am I a little anxious/nervous/excited/scared/doubtful/hopeful about the year ahead with so many different age levels?  You bet!  But, I continue to trust and ask for guidance and patience (lots!) from our Lord for the fun and challenges ahead!  

Before I list our 2014-2015 curriculum, I thought I would share some pictures of our classroom space.  This is how our learning area looks after many, many, many hours of me trashing out papers and reorganizing books and curriculum over the summer.  I did not take "Before" pictures, but be assured our neat classroom rarely stays this neat during the summer and/or school year!  I think when learning starts happening during our school year and my 1 year old starts tearing up the place and things get hectic, I'll have to post the "keeping it real" photo to prove that things can get out of hand and to prove to myself that it once looked inviting and neat!

We are blessed with a room in our home that is the designated classroom and not much has changed through the years with the looks of the room, including many of the same art projects/decorations are still displayed from several years ago :) So for those readers who have followed my blog for some time now, these pictures may look familiar. :)
This is our classroom as you walk into the door.
Behind the door in the corner are the history/science/miscellaneous picture books
Along this wall is another bookshelf where we keep our library books and you can read HERE about the system I set up to never have to pay a library fine again! (Although, I have paid library fines since I set up the system since a system is only good if you actually use it!  But, when I have noted the due date of our library books on the library book shelf, books get back into the library on time with no fines.)  To the right of the brown bookshelf is our calendar.
This is where we try to keep most of our religious books
In the top left corner is the basket system I use for each of my cupcakes' textbooks and workbooks.
Each child has their own basket.  The baskets sit on top of a white shelf and cubbies that my husband designed and made for the space. 

As shown in the top right corner, I have their books separated by subjects using white foam board and then I listed each subject on each board.  So my cupcakes always know where to find their textbooks and workbooks and they also use the white foam boards to keep their baskets organized.
When I first started homeschooling in 2005, I tried using bookshelves, but things didn't stay organized then I moved into a basket system, but my cupcake's books were thrown into the baskets.  That's when I decided to organize the baskets with the subject foam boards to make books easier to find and this system was quick to set up and has been used efficiently for several years now.  

In the bottom left corner is a photo of the red basket where I keep all my teacher manuals for my cupcake's subjects. 

Then in the bottom right corner is the photo of how I organize my "Teacher Manual" red basket.  All my teacher manuals are divided by my cupcakes' names using the white foam boards and blue post it notes to label each child's manuals.  So this will help me find answer keys I need quickly and my cupcakes can also go quickly to the foam board divider with their name on it to find any manuals if I ask them to get them for me vs. looking all over for a teacher manual that may be hidden in a shelf somewhere.

We use our desks, table, and dry erase board daily in or out of school :) The tall bookshelf on the left side of photo is where I keep alot of my resource books/idea books/catalogs/books and curriculum  I've used in the past.

In this corner of our classroom is our art area with a closet full of craft supplies, games, and math manipulatives.  The art table is used daily in or out of school time and I won this table several years ago!

So what have I filled my cupcakes' baskets with behind their foam board subject dividers?  Our 2014-2015 curriculum looks like this:

Cupcake #1 (daughter, age 14, 9th grade

Couch Catechism and continuing Confirmation preparation program with other homeschoolers using various resources including Understanding The Scriptures: A Complete Course on Bible Study by Scott Hahn with My Catholic Faith Delivered, T3: The Teen Timeline (Catholic Teen Bible Study), and Decision Point 

Teaching Textbooks, continuing with Algebra I

American Literature:
Christ in the Americas for both Literature selections and American History

IEW Level C Online Course 

 Apologia  Exploring Creation with Biology with labs with a homeschool co-op group
First Form Latin with Memoria Press Online Academy  

Electives/Extra-Curricular Activities 
Piano lessons once a week
American Heritage Girls Troop 
Running Cross-Country with Homeschool Team 
Teens for Life member

Cupcake #2 (son, age 12, 7th grade)

Couch Catechism, and Christian Studies II from Memoria Press with his younger sister.  With his older sister, he will also continue T3: The Teen Timeline (Catholic Teen Bible Study. 

 Teaching Textbooks, Math 7  

Apologia Chemistry and Physics with younger sister.  I also bought the materials for the experiments from Creation Sensation.  The kits aren't cheap, but they save me so much time by not having to look for all the materials myself for each experiment.
Memoria Press with younger sister

Extra-Curricular Activities 
Piano Lessons once a week
Recreation Soccer Leagues and Homeschool Soccer League
Teens for Life member

Cupcake #3 (daughter, age 10, 5th grade)

Couch Catechism, and Christian Studies II from Memoria Press with her older brother.

Memoria Press with older brother

Apologia Chemistry and Physics with older brother.  I also bought the materials for the experiments from Creation Sensation.  The kits aren't cheap, but they save me so much time by not having to look for all the materials myself for each experiment.

Electives/Extra-Curricular Activities 
American Heritage Girls Troop
Recreation Soccer League 

Cupcake #4 (daughter, age 6, Grade 1)

Couch Catechism,  First Confession and Communion preparation using Faith and Life, Treasure Box Set Books 1-10 and Books 11-20 and making First Communion Scrapbook and Banner 

Memoria Press First Grade Lesson Plans

Extra-Curricular Activities 
American Heritage Girls Troop

Cupcake #5 (daughter, age 1)
Learning how to walk, how not to tear up books and pull them off shelves, and how to take long naps when her Mommy needs her to take long naps. :) 

Be sure to come back to my blog here sometime this week where I will do a post of some of our new homeschool year traditions that includes new school year photos,  a cross cake, T-riffic summer t-shirt printables and All About Me Sheets!  

To take a peek at other homeschool learning classrooms/spaces/centers/corners/tables/shelves be sure to visit the 6th Annual "Not" Back-to-School Blog Hop: School Room Week HERE.

Have a blessed school year! 


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