Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Hello bloggy world.  It's been a long time.

Yes, I have been busy.  Aren't we all?

Yes, fall for homeschoolers is a time when we prioritize the "schooling" part of our day, and that has taken precedence.

Yes, I have experienced many emotional ups and downs adjusting to having our oldest away at college, and all the changes that brings.

All of the above.

And in addition, our shepherding of daughter H going to public school turned out to be extremely difficult.  The stress, expectations, and perceptions she brought to that experience just completely overwhelmed her.  When she is overwhelmed her go-to behavior is to lash out in anger at anyone and anything around her.  Which was usually me.  When your heart is shredded, and your other children are hurting, and you are chronically tired and financially stretched, and every week brings a new previously-un-imagined hardship.....what do you say?

How do you couch "difficult" in encouraging language which does not portray anyone in a bad light and does not turn into a pity party?

I didn't know.  And so I remained silent.

I still don't know.  But I will share what I DO know......God is still in control. :)  He is sovereign.  Nothing that has happened this fall has surprised Him.  He is strong enough to handle every single one of my stressors, and personal enough to care about each of them.  He has been WITH US.  Every day.  Every hour.  Every moment.  Giving strength and wisdom and insight and comfort and peace.  He loves my children even more than I do, and each of them are in His hands.  He is so, so good.

As our family prepares for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, I have so much to be thankful for!

Daughter H came home from public school two weeks ago and said she was done.  She hated it, hated who she was becoming, and didn't want to go back.  We enrolled her in a charter high school and so far it has been a GREAT fit!  Academically focused, small, lots of structure, services and people in place to help her who are communicating well with us.  Here she is on her second "first" day of school:

Daughter G is home for the rest of the week.  Yay!!  Here is one of her projects for 2-D design class at college.

THIS boy got baptized last week. :)  :)  :)   He loves Jesus so much!  His heart for God makes mine smile.

These boys got braces.  We are using a dental school to save money, and so far we have been very happy with our experience.  The boys are not excited about having them on for the next two years, but very thankful that their teeth problems are being fixed.  Thank you, God.

I'm in the middle of a bedroom purge/room makeover (it will be months before it's completely done, so don't be expecting "after" pics any time soon!). As part of this process I went through my jewelry drawer and got rid of all the stuff I never wear.  I made this jewelry hanger for $6 and I love having most of my jewelry visible and accessible!  Some lucky people shopping at the thrift store are going to hit paydirt with all the jewelry I gave away.

This boy just finished driver's ed!  (this was as he was about to go for his first drive with the instructor.  He was not happy with me for wanting to take a picture, but trust me, he was very excited for the drive!)

We still have a house!  A nice warm one for these winter months, and we have plenty to eat.  We can worship God freely and openly.  We are safe, and do not live in fear of being bombed at any moment.  I feel almost guilty with our safe, plentiful existence.

But I am thankful that God is the same God whether we have plenty or not.  Whether we are always safe, or not.  Whether we are happy or not.  Whether there is strife in our home or not.  All the time, HE IS GOOD.

And THAT is all I really need to know.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

IEW - Medieval History Based Writing Lessons

This year, because we are studying the Middle Ages for history, I decided to purchase the Medieval History Based lessons from IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) for sons C and A to use for writing.  I love when content areas such as history or science can be merged into writing practice.  I don't normally buy a new writing curriculum each year, as I am so familiar with IEW's methodology that I can make our own writing assignments based on any subject that we wish to write about. However, I wanted to be a bit more systematic this year, especially for Little Man, who has learned so much IEW from listening to me teach his older siblings that I forget he himself has had very little formal IEW instruction!

I LOVE this book!  So happy we went this direction.  It dovetails so nicely with our history studies, and builds writing practice step by step.  It has a track for older students that requires more work, so it is easy to use with both boys at their respective levels.

We did a lot of good writing this past week.  Here Little Man is making his key word outline based on a paragraph on the Byzantine Empire:

And here is son C doing the same thing.  He had two paragraphs to outline, rather than one.  The following day they wrote their own paragraphs based on the outlines they had made.  We talked about quality adjectives, and found places in their paragraphs to "dress up" with these great adjectives.  The day after that they typed up and printed their own paragraphs.

Little Man is gluing his paragraphs into a bound book of blank pages, and adding pictures on the facing pages, so that by the end of the year he will have his very own hand-made history book!

Our College Girl Visits US!

Yes, more about our college girl!

Her new glasses were ready, so she came home to get them.  And to see us, of course!

Before her appointment, glasses-less, at one brother's soccer game holding a tiny little soccer fan:

The new glasses were picked up!

Afterward, at another brother's soccer game....apparently we were being really funny that day. :)  I am in love with her new glasses!

(the soccer brother, experiencing an exciting victory!)

We are still adjusting to not seeing this girl every day, so it is always a joy to get to be with her!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Visiting our College Girl

During her first week of college, daughter G jumped right in to dorm life and began making solid, deep friendships with many of the girls on her floor.  Just as we hoped she would!  She also began to realize what having a 10' by 15' room be her bedroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen actually meant, and made a list of things she wished she had brought with her on move in day.  After six days of separation, we made a quick afternoon trip to visit her, show her dorm room to her brothers (who hadn't seen it yet) and take her the things on her list.  I have to say, it was wonderful for this mama to check in on her girl and made my heart feel so happy to see her settling in so well!

The brothers loved that she has Netflix in her room. :)

 Sibling love!

 We helped her hang these boards ~ the last bit of "decorating" she had left to do.

Then her brothers took the camera and shot all these pics of her in modeling poses. ;)

I love how goofy siblings can be together!

We took her out to dinner off campus - first time she'd been off campus all week - and got a few more school supplies that she needed.  It was a WONDERFUL afternoon. Made us all happy.  Probably me the most. :)

My heart is at peace.

First Day of School ~ 2015

If you have read my blog for more than a year, you know that our first day of school tradition is to go out for breakfast and then make cookie dough maps of the part of the world we will be studying in history.  It's a tradition!  So out to breakfast we went (forgot to take picture).  When we got home we began working on our cookie dough maps of the Byzantine Empire.  We are studying Year 2 of Tapestry of Grace this year, which begins with the fall of the Roman Empire and goes to the 1800's ~ quite a span of time to study in one year!  For detailed directions on how to make cookie dough maps, please go here.

After much prayer and deliberation we allowed daughter H to attend public high school this year (she longed for it), so at home school this year I am now in boy world!  We have a junior, a sophomore, an eighth grader, and a fifth grader.

Figuring out how to make a cookie map of the large, spread-around-the-Mediterranean-Sea Byzantine Empire presented a bit of a challenge.

But the cookie dough maps are always a huge hit.  This year the boys spent a good two hours on them.

They did create "mountains" (loaded with chocolate chips) where none are in real life, but I gave them some latitude on that. ;)

Baking does cause the dough to spread out some, so the distinct lines, borders, and geologic features are harder to see after baking.  So all the boys wanted a "before" picture and an "after" picture.  Here is son C's map:  (The Byzantine Empire is everything inside the red border)

Son L's:

Son G's:

And last but not least, Little Man's:

After that we did a bit of math, and called it a good day.

So thankful for the privilege and responsibility of teaching my children at home!


Wiping my kitchen counter with a dish cloth that I MADE MYSELF!!!!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Hobby!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you.....four rows of crocheted dish rag! The first project of my new hobby.  It is easy, wonderfully relaxing, and provides instant gratification.  If I get good enough/fast enough, this may be what you are all getting for Christmas!