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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Family Fun Night

Our homeschool group had Family Fun Night with a chili cookoff tonight. I wasn't feeling well today, so I almost talked myself out of going. However, I really wanted to spend some time with the other families in the group. I knew that once I got there it would be fun. I was right. We all had such a great time! Jeff had three home health patients to see this evening, so he didn't make it.
We had plenty of varieties of chili to choose from. I didn't know there were so many different ways to make it. Jeff or the kids don't like a lot of extra stuff in ours, so it is pretty plain....but just the way they like it! My chili didn't win, but that's okay...it was fun.

The kids had a good time running around playing with the other kids there. They had all sorts of games to play in the gym as well as free reign on the musical instruments in the church. Patrick said he enjoyed it because the adults were so busy visiting that the kids just got to do what that wanted..haha. The truth was, we knew what they were up to and that they were in a very safe environment for that type of play.

What were we so busy doing? Why, line dancing! Jeff's cousin was there with her precious sons, and they taught us all some line dances. I think there were more adults dancing than children. No one cared who could dance or not....we just had a good time trying to get the moves and laughing until we forgot what we were out there for.

I'm so glad that we went tonight, even though I really didn't feel like getting out. Madison told me on the way home that I must be feeling a lot better. I have to admit, I did forget there for a while that I'd been sick all day. Funny what a little laughter will do!

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Day At OurPlace

On Friday mornings, the kids get to write and draw in their journals. This is a challenge for me because I don't let myself correct grammar or spelling during this activity. I want it to be a time for them to just put their thoughts onto paper. I gave them a free day....I let them write about whatever they wanted to instead of giving them a topic. Patrick and Carter both wrote about particular video games. Madison blessed me with an entire page on why she loves to be homeschooled! What a blessing that was to read!Also on Fridays, the boys work on cursive handwriting while Madison learns/practices her touch typing skills. Now that she has finished the online program that she used to learn the skill, http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/ I am letting her do fun things like write emails. She LOVES it!!!The boys are doing great with their cursive writing. I started them last year, but haven't really begun to make them use it during school time. I told them that, starting next week, they will have to choose two subjects to start using cursive writing in. Carter is okay with it, but Patrick is upset. I keep trying to tell him that it will be easier for him, but he doesn't like change. Hmmm...I wonder where he gets that from?

Ginger tries really hard to stay on task with our lessons! Being that she gets to lie around and listen...nothing expected of her...I would think that this would be an easy thing. However, she just can't help herself when there are interesting things to see outside. Who can blame her, really!?!

The kids did well with finishing all of their bookwork and tests today. Some days just go smoothly like that...some days don't!To end the day with a little fun, we did some Science experiments to help understand the concept of physical and chemical changes. I mixed water and epson salt and had Carter draw on black paper with the solution. Then, we held it above heat to allow the water to dry. They were able to see how the epson salt was left behind. This demonstated that, while a solution looks like it has undergone an irriversable change, that energy can be applied to reverse it. Then, we used two balloons to demonstrate a physical and a chemical change. In one, we put water and baking soda. In the other, we put water and vinager. While both of them went through a physical change, getting bigger, the one with the vinager also went through a chemical change. The vinager and baking soda combined to form carbon dioxide, which caused it to blow up even more. It was a fun experiment. Jeff came home just as we were starting, so he got to participate in it with us. That doesn't happen often. It was fun to have his input...he made it funner by being here!

Friday, January 26, 2007

This Coat

This coat weighs heavily upon my back
But I love the coat
It is covered with stains and tears
yet, in a wonderful way...still beautiful...still needed

I hesitate to remove the coat
Even when the weather warms
and it screams to be removed
I cling to it

When I remove it....I long for it
Though it is heavy
My body floats above the burden
of carrying it...yet I long for it

Until once again
I relish in the comfort of it
clinging to it again
Unwilling to let it go

Sadness feels my heart to think of a day
When I will no longer wear this coat daily
Only for really cold days
As it will always be mine

I can already see...though distant as it may seem
A new coat....but not for me
I am , even now, fashioning it with my own hands
Agonizing over every stitch

And one day...when the time is right
This coat will be placed upon my daughter
And she, like me, will find comfort in the weight of it
And will learn to let it go...in her own way

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Time Telling Fun

I hadn't planned on playing any learning games today, but dropped everything right before lunch to play this great time telling game. It's called Tick Tac Time. Patrick was working on Time Telling in Math. I started calling different times out to all three of them and realized that they needed some extra work on it. The kids had a great time playing the game and really seemed to learn a lot from it. I just think in today's world that kids aren't put in the situation to have to tell time very often. We have digital clocks everywhere...in every room. We only have one face clock in our house, and they will go to a different one every time. I found this game to be a very fun way for them to learn both ways.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Silly Hair Night

We had "silly hair" night last night at Awanas. Madison and Carter were excited about it, but Patrick wasn't willing to be silly. I certainly wasn't going to force him to. Patrick has a silly side to him, but doesn't like to just put it out there for people to see. We had a great time doing Madison's hair...and mine too. Carter asked Madison to put ponytails all over his hair, but then remembered the crazy ball that his Aunt Vicki got him for Christmas. I'm so glad he thought about it because it was perfect for the night!

We also had awards night at Awanas. Madison got her Discovery 6 sticker and Patrick got his Discovery 5 and 6 stickers. Carter got a red jewel. They all worked so hard to get to the point they did last night. I'm so proud of them.

When the kids were in the public school, there was no way that they could concentrate on Awanas. All of their time at home was spent doing homework and school projects. As a matter of fact, we just stopped doing Awanas because there was no time for it. Now, we make it a part of our school day...it is just as important as all of their other studies. All three of them even found extra time on their own to work on their Awanas because they had set goals for themselves for the week. Oh, how things have changed!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Science Fun

We are studying measurements and density this week in Science. Today, I decided to have a little fun with it. We did three little experiments to demonstrate how liquids can have different densities.
First, I asked Madison, Patrick, and Carter which had the highest density….plain water or salt water. We answered the question by dropping a raw egg into each. They all agreed that the salt water would have a higher density, but didn’t think that an egg would float in either one. They were shocked to find that we could add enough salt to the water to cause the egg to, indeed, float.

Next, I asked them to tell me which would have the highest density between water and cooking oil. We placed an ice cube in each container to see if it would sink in either one of them. Of course, it floated on the water. I was hoping that it would sink in the oil, but it didn’t. However, we did find in our next experiment that the oil was lighter than the water.
For our third experiment, we poured different liquids into a container to see if they would form layers based on their densities. First, we poured Karo Syrup into the container. Next, we added cooking oil. We colored water with red dye and added it next. The kids were amazed to watch the water go through the oil and settle on top of the syrup. The last thing that we added was alcohol. It didn’t separate as clearly as the other liquids, but did settle on the top as the lightest of all of the liquids. Once the liquids were all settled, we experimented by dropping different objects in to see which liquids they would sink through. Some objects passed all the way through to the bottom, while others passed through the alcohol, oil and water to settle on top of the syrup. The only thing that we could find to float on top of the alcohol was a sunflower seed shell.

I love doing hands on projects for Science. It’s amazing what the kids remember when they have seen it and experimented with it. It also gives me an opportunity to make school fun for them. I know that these things will stand out in their minds far longer than the book work. I feel they are both necessary, but certainly not equally as fun!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Madison's Business

Madison is always looking for the next thing to do. While she is not very fond of sitting at the table with paperwork, she loves to learn through doing. She makes a lot of things to give away, but she also loves to sell them. When she learned to make pom poms for her skates, she took orders for them at the skating rink. When she learned to make slideshow videos on the computer, she asked me if she could sell some like I do.
Now, she has started making bracelets and keychains. She has stuck with this endeavor longer than she has any of the others. She really enjoys doing it and feels so great when people want to buy them. She got a great bead kit for Christmas from my brother, so that kept her going even more. I try to encourage her as much as I can. For her, it isn't as much about them money as it is finding something that people will buy and filling the orders. The little bit of money she gets for it is great, but she doesn't go on about it as much as the actual process of getting it. What a lesson in real life. I hope all of my kids will one day work in a field that they truly enjoy...for more than just the paycheck at the end of the week!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ice Skating!

We celebrated Madison's 11th birthday today by going ice skating for the first time. I had planned on throwing her a "rock and roll" birthday party, but she said that she preferred to invite a couple of friends to go ice skating in Mississippi. That sounded great to me. It would be a fun "first experience" for all of us and a lot easier to plan than a big birthday party.We had a blast!
We picked Madison's friends up around 9:30 this morning so we would have time to drive there and eat at McDonald's before we went skating. Of course, they all wanted to play for a little while at McDonald's before heading to the skating rink.

We got to the rink around 12:45 and stayed until 2:30. The kids did very well on the skates. Patrick had a little trouble because he just doesn't skate very often. Madison and Carter are always on their roller blades, so it was easy for them to get used to the ice skates. Yes, I did try it too! I'm not going to turn down a first experience. I did okay...only fell once! It was cold!!

The girls all had a great time. Madison friends both said that it was the funnest birthday party ever :)....woo hoo! That's always good to hear. Even if you know that they feel like that after most parties they go to, it's still fun to hear it!I'm glad Madison had a fun day. It felt so weird not throwing a big party for her. Parties are a lot of work and take a lot out of me, but I am always willing to do them. However, if this is what she wanted, I'm just glad that she had a great time! I know I did!

Friday, January 12, 2007

I Love Books!

It is hard for me to imagine life without books. I know that there are many people who go years without picking up a book to read....I just can't imagine.
I actually let myself run out of books to read! I don't let that happen very often, but with Christmas and all I just didn't make it to the library. Jeff commented on how lost I seemed one evening without my book. I love hanging out with the kids, playing my new keyboard, organizing my school stuff, and just doing things around the house. However, none of that takes me to the same place that a good book does.
I finally made it to the library with the kids yesterday after my hair appointment. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I left there with 4 books for me and a large stack for the kids. I have also not had anything new to read to them, so it felt great to have those as well!
So, that is my addiction....books. There are certainly worse things that I could be addicted too!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Getting Back To Work

It was hard to pick up the school books yesterday, but it went well. We didn't get up and get started as early as I thought we would, but we've gotten spoiled in the last few weeks. We'll have to get back into the routine of going to bed early and getting started in the morning! Once we got started, though, it really did feel good to be back on a schedule. The kids remember how it used to feel to go back to school after a long vacation before we started homeschooling. We are still new enough at this for them to appreciate where they are as compared to where they came from. They worked hard for me and finished their work early...it was a good day!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Madison!

I can't believe that we have an 11 year old! However, I can see Madison growing up right in front of my eyes. She has changed so much in the past year.
We had a good day yesterday. Since her birthday fell on Sunday, we let her choose where we would eat after church. To her horror, I told them it was her birthday, so they announced it and did the whole birthday song spill. She did, however, enjoy the free treat they gave her!
We came home afterwards for cake and gifts. She got to play with her new things for a few hours before we went back to church. I let them sleep on the floor last night and watch movies since it was her birthday and the last day of our break.
Madison has decided that, instead of a big party, she wants to choose a few friends to go with all of us ice skating somewhere. If this is what she wants, it is fine with me. It will certainly be easier to plan!
Happy B-day Madison!
We Love You!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Blessed Christmas

We have had the most wonderful two weeks. In the middle of it all, everyone except me ended up with Strep Throat and congestion. I sometimes think that God keeps mommies well to take care of everyone else. I am so glad that He did.Carter started running fever with his Strep Throat on Saturday...the day that we were to have Christmas with Jeff's family. Jeff, Madison, and Patrick went next door to Jeff's parents while I stayed here to take care of Carter. Jeff and his dad brought our gifts and some food for us. Carter was so sick that all he wanted was to lie on the bed while I read to him.I was so happy that he woke the next morning with no fever, however, Madison had started running fever and complaining of a sore throat. This was on the day that we were to spend Christmas with my family. Her fever broke and she seemed to be doing well, so we all went to my dad's. I can't believe how full his house is getting when we all gather there...it is wonderful. Everyone was there to eat together and exchange gifts. I was so happy that I got my Dad's name. Along with a lot of other things that I thought he would like, I got him some books on arrow heads...something he dearly loves. One of the highlights of Christmas for me was watching his face when he saw those books! I love making him happy. I LOVE Christmas Eve at my Dad's....it is one of the best days of the year!

We got home around 8:30 and was in the bed by 11:00 or so. The kids all wanted to sleep in Patrick's room together, which worked great for me. I had asked them to observe a new rule for me...to stay in that room until we came to get them in the morning. Madison has always gotten up in the middle of the night to see what was out from Santa and then gone back to bed. I just really wanted to simplify things by making a new rule that would help them to all stay put until morning....we told them that we would come get them at 6:30 in the morning. Well, as luck would have it, we had a terrible thunder storm that night, which resulted in all of the kids, and myself, being awake from around 1:30 until after 3:00. Finally, everyone got to sleep again. We were all up around 7:00 the next morning. WHAT FUN!! We had an awesome day playing with all of our new things :). Jeff surprised me with a new piano keyboard. He also got me satellite radio for my car and a couple of other things that I wanted. I got him a new XBOX game, a carwashing kit for his truck, a guitar book and alarm clock/CD player. So, we were playing with our things right along with the kids. Of course, I LOVE playing with the kids toys!! They each got a new hand held game system. Madison got her new scooter, which I love riding :)....we even rode it in the house. We got them lots of games, of course. It is awesome to me how they just go from one thing to another playing all day.

Madison did, however, suffer with her Strep Throat on Christmas Day. Two hours after we got up...after the gifts were all unwrapped....she fell asleep on the couch. She wasn't able to eat our traditional biscuits and gravy with us because her throat hurt and she just felt so bad. I ended up having to get more medicine called in for both her and Carter, but we didn't let any of this ruin our Christmas. I just took care of them and they just kept taking their medicine and playing :).They got up the next day and still had some things that they hadn't played with yet....some of it were the things they had gotten from my Dad's on Christmas Eve. Each night, we put the blow up mattress on the living room floor. I always keep all of their toys out in the living room, neatly in separate piles, until after New Year's Day, so they just get up each morning and start playing again. We had the cousins over Wed. through Sunday, as well as our neighbor a couple of days as well as a friend of Madison's one day, so we had a lot of activity in and out of here.
My sister, Vicki, called on New Year's Eve and invited us to come spend it with them. We had planned to go on Tuesday, but her kids were to go back to school on Wed. Jeff had plans to see a couple of patients on New Year's Day, and we really didn't have a big family gathering planned, so he was okay with us going to be with my sister. I hated leaving him on New Year's Eve, but it had been about 6 years since we had spent it with Vicki. So, we loaded the car with everything, stopped to buy some fireworks to take with us, and headed to my sister's. We had an awesome time with them! We ended up spending 4 nights! It is so great how our families can spend that much time together and get along for that long. She has 4 children, so there were 10 of us there most of the time. The kids all get along so well....it is like a second home to all of us. Vicki and her kids all love to play games just as we do, so we usually stay up too late every night. I am so tired by the time I get home, but it is worth it. It was hard to leave them, but good to settle back in at home once we got here.
We will have to get back to our normal lives on Monday. It has been a great Christmas break. We are so fortunate to be able to surround ourselves with family and friends as we have. We have so much to be thankful for all year, but it becomes so evident to me at Christmas. I thank God for His Son who has given us the hope that we can share all of eternity with Him and with the ones that we love. The happiness and joy that we feel at Christmas is only a tiny glimpse of what God has prepared for us....our eternity with Him. Not even the best Christmas would mean anything without that promise! I pray that we will remember that this year and put Him first in everything. May every goal we set for the new year glorify Him!!!