Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happy Holidays

This past weekend we celebrated Christmas with my side of the family as we do every year, with dinner and gifts, watching the Seahawks game and fellowshipping together. This year we added a bit of a twist and it felt so good. Instead of buying each other gifts that we don't really need, we all brought gifts to donate to toys for tots. Instead of opening gifts we spent the time playing Apples to Apples and Nintendo Wii. It was great fun, probably the best gathering that we have ever had together.

One Beautiful Lady - A Tribute

Yesterday, December 10th, 2007 would have been my mother in law's 78th birthday. Unfortunately, lung cancer cut her life short. In March of 1987 at the age of 57 she passed on two weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Bertha Mae Rische was born to Melvin and Elfrieda Rische, on December 10th, 1929 in Mound City, SD. She grew up, the third of nine children, she and her siblings were very close. Bertha graduated from Glenham High School in 1949. After graduating from high school she worked as a nurses aid at the Mobridge Hospital and then later as a sales clerk and clerical help at Montana Dakota Utilities in Mobridge, SD. She married Henry Liebelt in June of 1954 and they later moved their family, first to California back to South Dakota and then to Washington State, where they settled. All together they had four children, of which my husband was the third. She was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. A very talented homemaker, Bertha could sew and crochet beautifully. She was a wonderful mother-in-law, who was incredibly patient with her not so skilled daughter in law. She was one of those people who make you feel at home instantly. I miss her very much.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Life around Here

It has been quite awhile since I have written anything here, it may be that the few readers I had have given up on me. It seems that time just flies by and I am not sure where it all went. Lets see, we have done pretty well with keeping up with school. I am very pleased with how the boys writing is coming along. We have been using video courses from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. I am not confident in my writing abilities and was not sure how to help the boys develop their skills, this course has lifted a heavy burden from my shoulders. We are plugging away at all of our subjects and learning much. All of my boys are reluctant learners and reluctant writers and reluctant readers. This can be trying at times, especially because they are more than able - but just don't have the desire. It has helped that we use the Ambleside Online booklists for literature suggestions - the boys, though reluctant, enjoy the books.

Along, with plugging away at school our oldest son is working his first job at a local fast food restaurant. This has brought more changes into our family life. The job has been a good experience for him as he is learning time management skills and responsibility.

With the coming of fall, came Thanksgiving. We were supposed to go out to my sister's house, but our son ended up having to work and so we had a quiet Thanksgiving dinner at home and played games as a family. My mom joined us for Thanksgiving and spent the night with us. The day after Thanksgiving, our daughter, oldest son and I went shopping a little after 5 am. We went to two stores and purchased some clothing, a couple of games and a few items for Christmas and treated ourselves to our first Peppermint Mocha of the season at Starbucks. It was the first year in several that we weren't able to join my sister for our shopping expedition and she was missed. After our shopping trip, we took the boys and my mom to see The Bee Movie. Although it was cute, I would say wait until it comes out on DVD. Fall is speeding by and now we are almost at Christmas.

We are now in the midst of the Holiday whirlwind and I feel like I am being swept along with it. We are making some changes in how we celebrate the holidays this year and I am feeling good about them. We are trying to scale back on some of the activities and the gifts. My side of the family is having our Christmas Dinner on the 9th and this year we are bringing gifts to donate to Toys for Tots instead of giving gifts to each other and I am excited about that. Well thats some of what we have been up to over the past couple of months.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Life and Times of a Grandfather

This past weekend, I took a two hour drive to pick my mother up from her sister's house. This sister, my aunt, had in her possession documents from my grandfather's military duty. I have very few memories of this grandfather as there were some relationship issues that kept him and my mother apart and thus us kids didn't really get to know him. It is so sad how Satan can step in and destroy families, but that is another subject for another time. I have a strong interest in family history and why people make the choices that they make and so my current project is to get to know as much about this man as I can. Unfortunately, he died several years ago and so I cannot talk with him in person and so I have to dig through old papers and talk with those who did know him. His name was Everett Bowen and he was born in Audrain County, Missouri in 1911. I know that he graduated from highschool and married my grandmother Zelli Romans Trower in August of 1941. He worked as a sheet metal worker for North American Aviation Company for 6 months in 1942 and served his country in the 3119th Signal Service Battalian of the army between 1943 and 1946, when he was honorably discharged. Soon after he was discharged from the Army, He moved his family to Washington State. The family consisted of my grandfather, grandmother and my mother, who was born in 1943, while he was away during the war. Another daughter came along some time during 1946 and then another daughter in 1948. The family remained in the Seattle area and all three daughters were married in the Seattle area. When I was about 4 or 5, my grandparents divorced and due to the difficulties between my mother and grandfather, we rarely saw him. He retired to the Puyallup area and also died there in 1988. As you can see, all I currently have is a bare skeleton of his life events. I hope to flesh it out in the weeks to come and be able to have a more complete idea of his life and times. I enjoy the pursuit of family history, it is like trying to solve real life mysteries.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Update on Autoshop - homeschool style

I have posted here before about how my husband is doing autoshop with our teen boys by restoring a 1965 Mustang and I thought it was time for an update. It is a long term project that is taking many hours of labor but will prove worth it in the end. Occasionally, I am able to help some too. A year ago in October my husband purchased a 1965 mustang that was not running. The body was in pretty good condition and it came with two engines and a transmission. The project started with a gutting of the interior and removal of both engines, one from the engine compartment and one from the trunk. One of the engines has blown cylindar walls and is therefore not able to be used. They will use the engine from the engine compartment to which they need to add a new carborator and headers. After gutting the interior, they started to strip off multiple layers of paint. There are a couple of areas that need metal cut out, due to rust, and then new pieces welded in, nothing too major. Stripping the paint has been tedious, but is close to being finished. When they strip an area of paint, they apply rust convertor. They have spray painted the interior and sealed the seams. My husband has picked a paint color and we have a friend that paints cars for a living, who will help them paint it when they are ready for that. There is still a long way to go, but now things get exciting as they get to start putting things back together.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Our Summer's End Last Hurrah!

Over the weekend, our family was able to get away to Ocean Shores on the Washington coast. The weather was wonderful, sunny and in the 70s and we had the most relaxing time. There were walks on the beach, sand castle building, strange creature finding and go cart riding. It was especially wonderful because all of our family members were able to go. In this season of our lives, with older children working outside of the home, it can be very difficult to coordinate schedules.

This is a picture of the creature that our daughter found when digging the moat around her sand castle. We didn't know what it was, but have since discovered that it is a Pacific Mole Crab, and that it is considerably larger than the average Mole Crab.

Our trip gave us just the boost we needed to start on our busy fall season.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Planning for the School Year

I am a little late in my planning for the school year, I usually start before the previous year has ended and here we are getting ready to start up again in a week and I haven't even finished my planning. Part of planning for the school year is evaluating where we've already been and what of that worked and what didn't. This year I will be schooling the three boys, who will be in 11th, 8th, and 6th grades. The oldest boy may be at the community college the following year doing the dual enrollment program or running start as it is known in our state and so I am looking at what I want to accomplish with him this year before he moves on and out of our homeschool. He is also thinking that he might want to go to college and work towards a degree in Graphic Design - so I want to keep that in mind as I plan out our year. I recently finished reading A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Van DeMille and got some food for thought from it. I am considering scaling back our subjects for a time and focusing on Reading good literature and writing - we will, of course, still do math. I have felt a little scattered as of late with our schooling, struggling with boys who are not strongly motivated in their education and one thing I learned from reading TJED is that I "can't" educate my children, they must do that themselves, I can learn how to become a better teacher/mentor - but they need to take some ownership of their education. That said, here is our tentative program for the fall:

11th Grade:
Exploring America: History, Literature and Faith by Ray Notgrass
(we started this last year and found it to be interesting and challenging. It will take us through the Holidays and then we will figure out where to go from there.)

We started Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Intensive level C last year and will continue on with it this year. Writing is our weakest area, and this program has helped us tremendously. I won't say that it is a miracle and the boys love to write now, but it is helping them to develop the skills that make it a bit easier.

He is working out of a book called Practical Math. He also started this last year after he finished up his algebra and will be done with it early this fall. We are going to give Teaching Textbooks Geometry a try next. I prayed about this a considerable amount and looked at many curriculums and reviews of curriculums. I have taken algebra but not geometry and decided that we needed some help. It is a pricey step for us and so I am hoping this will be the answer we need, we shall see.

We will be adding in some other subjects too, such as Art Appreciation - which went by the wayside last year and he will finish up his Barry Stebbing Art Course videos and continue to work on the Mustang with his dad and brother. He also has a part time job now and we will have to work around that schedule too.

8th Grade and 6th Grade:

Last year I had both boys together for history and we used This Country of Ours and some other books I had to start our journey into American History. I used Ambleside Online year 4 for ideas of what books to use for literature readings. It worked OK for us, but the boys don't want to read and they are not fast readers so it is a constant battle. It seems as if we get through very few books in a year. I am pretty sure we will continue on our course of history study and probably pick one or two books each outside of that for them to read.

Last year my middle son started into Exploring Creation Through General Science from Apologia and he struggled with it. He dreaded science each day. I am not sure I want to continue on with that. I worked through one of the Glad Scientist books with my youngest son and that went OK. We then did a unit on Reptiles because he wanted to study them. I am really undecided what to do this year with either of them.

My middle son is working through Saxon Algebra 1/2 and doing fine with it. We are going slowly and I think that helps. My youngest son did Saxon 65 last year and will move into Saxon 87 this year because that is the next text that I have, we will take it slowly and I am sure he will be fine.

Both boys will also use the Institute for Excellence in Writing materials, except level B instead of C like their older brother.

This looks so scanty to me, but I am feeling called to cut back and work on some basic things such as habit/attitude training and doing well with the little before we move much more into our schedule. It is amazing to me as I continue on this journey of homeschooling at how each child is SO different and their needs, likes and dislikes are so different. Trying to plan what they NEED is important to me and proves to be a challenge. I am confident, though, that with God's help we will persevere.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Guess Where We Went

Does it look like New Mexico or Arizona? Well, it is desert, but it is the actually in Canada and is the only desert in Canada. We celebrated our 27th Anniversary this month and took a trip to eastern Washington and then drove up into Canada to a city called Osoyoos, BC. The buildings in the picture are actually part of a resort built by the Okanagon indians from the area. The city is built in the middle of the desert, but there is a huge lake, Lake Osoyoos that has several resorts with beach front property. It is the place for those who love water recreation of many kinds. The area is also known for grapes and wineries. While we were in Osoyoos, we visited the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Center. You start the tour with a visit into a small museum that has information about the original natives from the area and their history, from there you go outside where there are displays that give more information about the people and the animals from the area. There are trails through the desert, we took a short one that leads to replicas of the summer and winter homes that the original natives lived in. The whole center was very interesting and well worth the trip.

Where has the Time Gone?

I must admit that I contemplated deleting this blog - due to lack of inspiration and interest on my part. I am not sure why I decided to continue on, but alas, for now I am. The summer seems to have flown by and yet, when I look back, I have a hard time figuring out where it went. Hmm. We did have a couple of short trips, one to the Sun Lakes area of Eastern Washington in June, it was wonderfully warm and sunny, which was greatly appreciated after our cool spring. The second trip was a camping trip with dear friends in the Olympic National Park Heart O' the Hills Campground. Lush, old growth forest envelopes this campground and God's handiwork is truly evident. Other events have filled our summer too. Our oldest son, almost 17, has started his first job at a nearby Jack in the Box restaurant and also received his drivers license. These events have brought many changes to our daily routine. We are entering yet another season of our family's life - another child growing and moving a bit closer to independence. It is exciting and yet bittersweet, my babies are growing up. Time marches on.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Blooming Around the Yard

Poppies, Asters, Lavender and Delphiniums & Columbine are blooming in our yard. We also have climbing roses that are starting to bloom, but my pictures didn't turn out. The pail with flowers in it is one of my favorite outside things, it was from my husband's grandmother's farm in South Dakota.

UPDATED: I tried several times, but could not get my post to look proper. The previews look fine, but when I publish - the words are not in the proper place. Hmmmm. . .

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Enthusiastic Homeschool Carnival

Melissa from The Lilting House has done a beautiful job of compiling this weeks homeschool carnival, her theme is Enthusiasm and yes there are many wonderful posts. Make time to check them out and be ready to learn and be encouraged.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Impromptu Nature study

It has been much fun to watch the birds come to our yard since I put up our new bird feeders and bird bath. Prior to this we rarely observed anything other than crows, robins and starlings in our yard, with the occasional visit from some passing juncos. Since installing the feeders, we have regular visits from the cassian finches with their beautiful singing, redwinged blackbirds, sparrows, evening grossbeak and today we had a little goldfinch at our window feeder for a long visit. Even more exciting to me is the way the boys have taken an interest in the birds and will come tell me when they spot a new one. These are the same boys who have no real interest in observing nature, when it is planned. Installing these feeders for my own enjoyment has had an added benefit that I hadn't planned on and I am truly pleased.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Garage Sale

More items have been posted at our garage sale blog - check it out and tell your friends too. I have been cleaning out my bookcases and will be posting more later.


Ben wanted to study reptiles for the remainder of the school year and so I thought it would be good for us to visit the Reptile Zoo in Monroe, WA. We visited a couple of Saturdays ago and Dad took some pictures for us to remember our trip by. The baby tortises were everyone's favorites, they are the babies to the large tortises also pictured.


As I said in my previous post, spring has sprung and along with that comes spring fever. It has shown in all of us - but probably in me the most. I am really ready for a summer break and we are planning to be done with most things by the end of May. The boys will have testing the first week in June (required by our state), and we will still be finishing up a few of our books over the summer. We keep the summer pretty light, usually just reading and math drills and this year the boys will continue to work with dad on the mustang. It has been a good school year this year and we have accomplished much. I tried to stay focused and on a good schedule, along with challenging the boys a bit more. We tried some new things such as Institute for Excellence in Writing and Notgrass American History - both of which I am really pleased with. I have been looking ahead to next year and thinking about things that I want to add and looking back on this year and checking to see what worked and what didn't. One subject that we did pretty well with and that challenged boy #1 was biology. We used Apologia's Exploring Creation with Biology text and did the labs too. We did the labs with a friend and learned a lot. It is not an easy course, but very thorough. We also learned that boy#1 will not pursue more formal science. Working with another family, who is reporting hours to an umbrella program helped keep us on track and working through our text. Due to scheduling issues we won't be working with them next year and I will miss that accountability and fellowship.

Spring is Sprung!

Today was a lovely day, sunny & warm! There are signs of the season all around. We don't have much blooming yet, but some on the verge. The bleeding heart looks full and beautiful, the purple iris' are about ready to bloom, I can't wait until their rootbeer fragrance fills the air. We have a few poppies about ready to burst out in bloom and roses too. I love the Hens and chicks in my strawberry pot. The boys each made little birdhouses several years ago and this year we finally have some birds making a home in two of them. We live in one of those developments that was cleared for building and so there were no trees except those that the new homeowners planted. The local highschool is behind our property and they do have several cedar trees. We have been here for 8 years and so now some of the trees are getting bigger and finally the birds have a place to retreat to. Our new tennants are house sparrows, and even though they are very common birds, it is still very exciting to us. We don't see many different birds in our yard, crows, starlings, robins, an occasional house wren at our feeder and sometimes we are blessed with a visit by the Oregon Junkos. I am hoping that as the trees and other plantings grow to maturity that we will see more varieties of birds. We do have a suet feeder out in the back flower bed, but the squirrels usually eat most of it. We have a seed feeder by our kitchen window and that is the one that the house wrens come to. All in all it was a wonderful day and I hope the first of many to come.

Where does the time go?

Finally, I am making time to post. Where has the time gone? Well, lets see . . . I have been learning how to use my new Homeschool Tracker software. It started out being a big time vacuum and is now turning out to be a blessing. I am one of those people who can not keep on top of anything for very long and this tool is helping me to make sure things get done in our flow of school. It will also help me keep track of chore assignments as well as school assignments, although I haven't utilized it for the chores yet. Over the weekend I worked on decluttering and cleaning the master bedroom. This bedroom contains our two largest bookshelves and so I started going through the books and culling out those that I am certain won't get read and finding those that I had forgotten about and that we can use during the rest of this school year and some that I will plan into next school year. I entered the books I am keeping into access and pulled the ones that I am not keeping, which causes another project needing to be done. Now I must decide what will happen to them, get them ready to list for sale or give them away etc. I didn't even get through 1/4 of the bookshelves but I will press on. I guess that explains where some of my time went.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Garage Sale Items Added

Check out our garage sale, new items added and some updated.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

I haven't posted a menu for awhile and thus have been flying by the seat of my pants. Menu plan Monday helps me to be more organized during the week and so I am back. Be sure to visit Organizing Junkie to see what is cooking in other households.
Monday – Salmon, Rice & peas

Tuesday – Chicken breasts in Cream of Mush. Soup, left over gooey potatoes,
Green beans

Wednesday – Salisbury Steak, steamed carrots, garlic toast

Thursday – Tuna Melts & stir fry Veggies

Friday – Stovetop Casserole, elbo noodles, ground beef & spaghetti sauce

Saturday – Creamy Crockpot Chicken served over rice, steamed California blend veggies

Sunday – Sandwiches after church and then out to dinner after evening service?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Tootles Garage

New items have been added, curriculum and other miscellaneous things. Check it out, there just might be something you can't live without.

Auto Shop continued

Here are a couple more pictures of the progress being made. I am learning that things get or look worse before they start to get better.


This year boy #1 and a friend are study Biology using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Biology text. We get together just about every Friday and perform many of the labs in the text. Here they are performing their first dissection. The subject is a worm - they were a bit squeemish at first, but found it very interesting. We have since dissected a crayfish and have yet to dissect both a perch and a frog.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

This Week at Our House

This week we are taking a spring break of sorts. A break from regular school work, but not from work all together. On Monday we got to go visit some dear friends that we don't get to see all that often. We visited, the children played and played, we ate together and the boys and I arrived home very late that evening. It was a wonderful time!

Yesterday I started on some deep cleaning that doesn't get done on a regular basis around here. I took the easiest room to do first, our dining room. I say it is the easiest because it has the least amount of clutter/furniture in it. I vacuumed cobwebs, dusted, cleaned windows and vacumed the layers of dust and cobwebs off of the curtains. I am still not quiet done in there - I still need to do some touch up painting and wash the lace sheers - I am hoping that all of the bathrooms will get walls washed and completely scrubbed down this week and we are also hoping to go visit the Reptile Zoo and see all the snakes and other creepy crawlies that they have there. It should be a full week.

Train Trip

Hubby and I arrived home from our train trip on Sunday evening. We had a wonderful and relaxing time. Our trip took us to Portland, Oregon. We arrived on Saturday afternoon, checked into our hotel, walked to a local restaurant for a nice seafood dinner, went to Lloyds Center Mall and walked around and then saw a movie. We ended the day having desert in our room. The next day we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the hotel restaurant and then just putzed around in the park across the street and at the mall before our train was set to leave. We arrived home in the evening. It was a short but nice trip. It was great traveling by train because we could both visit without having to worry about traffic and paying attention to the road - definately worth doing again sometime when we have more time to see the sights.

Friday, March 30, 2007

What's Up or as my boys say wassup?

This blog has been neglected once again. I have been trying to focus on organizing and staying on top of our school work and along with that decided to give some organizing software a try. I looked at several and reviews of those several. I really liked the looks of the Organizer for CM homeschoolers at Simply Charlotte Mason but couldn't justify the monthly fee. I decided to give Homeschool Tracker a try because the reviews I had read were fairly positive. It is a lot of work initially to input resources and divide up assignments, but I think it will help me in the long run. There is always a learning curve on new things and I am sure that I can modify this to work for how we homeschool. Sometimes certain items go by the wayside and I think this will help me to stay on top of things better. The jury is still out on how much help it will actually be.

Hubby and I will be away for the weekend. As a Christmas gift to me, he purchased an Amtrak voucher. I have never been on a train trip and have wanted to for a long time, so this was a perfect gift. We won't be travelling very far, just about 4 hours from home and will stay in a hotel, go out for a nice dinner and maybe a movie, then come home the next day. I am very excited to have a weekend alone with my man!

We are taking next week off of school for "spring break". I am hoping to get some deep cleaning done in our home and also have a few days of fun. We will be visiting with some friends that we rarely see and maybe take in a trip to the Reptile Zoo too. I think it will be a week that will help refresh us and our home.

New Blog

Hello - I would like to introduce our family's new Garage Sale Blog. We are going to be adding books and other items that we are finished with and that others may be interested in. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Homeschool Carnival #61 Fresh off the Press!

Extra, Extra, read all about it! The Homeschool Cafe has overcome printing problems and now has been able to release this great edition of the Homeschool Carnival. Be sure to read all about it!!!!

This is the Pacific Northwest???

Here it is the last day of February and we are getting snow again! I can't believe it. This is our third snow since Thanksgiving and we are usually lucky to get one. It is beautiful outside, quiet and peaceful. I guess we will be home for the night, the one bummer when snow happens - no bible class for us tonight.

Artwork from Boy #3

After watching Bridge to Terabithia, Boy #3 checked out some drawing books from the library and produced these pieces of artwork. His big brothers are always drawing, but he didn't feel like he could do well and so he didn't draw much. The movie inspired him. Also, the neighbor boy and Boy #3 have been making up their own imaginary places, sort of like the kids in the movie did. It was well worth our time to see this movie.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

If you need menu ideas, Organizing Junkie is the place to go for Menu Plan Monday. There are over 75 participants this week!
Here is our family's dinner menu for this week:
Monday: Salmon, Rice and Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday: Salisbury Steak, Potatoes, Stir fry Veggies

Wednesday: Parmesan Chicken, spaghetti Salad

Thursday: Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles, Green Beans

Friday: Soft Tacos with the works

Saturday: Sandwiches or wraps with carrots and apples

Sunday: Creamy Chicken in the Crockpot served over rice

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Zoom! and Bridge to Terabithia

I know, I know, it must seem like all we do is watch movies - truly we don't, but over the weekend we did get to watch two that we really enjoyed.

The first is Zoom! starring Tim Allen. It was a great movie for those families who get into super heros. It is funny and also has its serious moments. Tim Allen plays a super hero who has lost his powers and whose team was killed by his own brother who turned evil after being zapped with radiation by a crazed general in the army. The story picks up with Tim Allen being brought back to the base, against his will, to train new recruits to form a new super hero team. It is a story of forming relationships and learning to care about others. The review on IMDB wasn't very positive but we really enjoyed this one. This movie is rated PG.

Our big boys were away for the weekend and so we treated boy#3 out to a movie and we chose Bridge to Terabithia. This was a moving story of special friendship and imagination. We enjoyed the movie very much. One warning: there is a very sad spot toward the end of the movie and parents of sensitive children may not want to take them to this one. We all got teary eyed, husband included. This movie is rated PG.

Updated to Add: Reviews of Terabithia by some young people can be found at Pink Flamingo (Hope of Shadybrook Acres) and at Christian Life in the 21st Century. Check them out and get their own unique view.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Changing Face of Homeschooling

Last week, our friends at Beth Spera in Domino posted about A New Breed of Homeschooler
and it got me thinking about our family's experiences.

We have been homeschooling since our oldest was born in 1985. She has since graduated from our homeschool and is now attending College, working toward her Landscape Design Certificate. Over our years of homeschooling we have participated in many different activities and homeschooled in different ways. We started out doing mainly unit studies and have since moved toward a more literature based learning in most subjects. During our homeschool adventure we have seen the face of homeschooling in our area change tremendously. When our oldest was young, we had a group of friends that we got together with every week and we did many learning things together, everything from sewing to a unit on trees. We participated in 4H together with these other families and the children formed friendships and had fun learning together. For the most part these times were very valuable to our family, sometimes they were frustrating, which is a common result of working with other people. Currently our family has very few outside activities for school, we do work with another family once a week. I work with my boy#1 and her Boy #1 and we are working through Apologia's Biology Book. She takes my boy#3 along with her three youngest children and is doing a geography study with them. During the fall my boy#2 was at football practice during this time and now works on his own school work. Although this arrangement is working for now, it is not exactly the way I would envision a group time.

The truth of the matter is, if I wanted to have a group learning time again, it would be almost impossible or I would have to travel about an hour to get together with some friends who still homeschool on their own. There is a local group of homeschoolers that co-op together, but they offer very few activities for older children. Most of the people that we know that still homeschool are using school based programs, online or otherwise. Very few people that we know homeschool all the way through high school on their own. It is not that these programs are inherently bad - but they have definitely changed the face of homeschooling.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Our family doesn't tend to go to the movies very often. It sometimes proves to be cost prohibitive, but over the past couple of months we have been able to go to a couple of movies and rent another that I consider very good.

We went to see Night in the Museum which was a delightful movie for the whole family. It was funny and also pretty clean. There was a reference to us evolving from monkeys and a couple of parts that might scare sensitive children, but on the whole I feel like I could recommend it to most families. This movie is rated PG.

We also went to see We Are Marshall. This was a football movie based on a true incident that happened to a college in West Virginia. In this story the whole football team, with the exception of a couple of players, and most of the coaching staff were killed in an airplane crash. It is the story of how this college and community overcame the loss of so many lives and rebuilt their football tradition. It is an inspiring story and I highly recommend it. This movie is rated PG.

During this time we also rented Invincible. Yet another football story. This movie is based on the true story of Vince Papale, who overcame great odds to become a professional football player for the Philadelphia Eagles. The only thing that I can think of that might offend some people is that Vince was a bartender and some scenes take place in the bar. This movie is rated PG and we enjoyed it. It is one of the many football movies out there and another that shows a triumph over tremendous challanges.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Homeschool Carnival #60 is UP

This weeks carnival looks to be full of interesting articles. Homeschool Hacks has done a wonderful job. Be sure to surf on over and check it out.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Auto shop - Homeschool Style

Previously, I posted about our biggest homeschool project ever. It is a 1965 Ford Mustang - and when I say "project", I mean it. Here are the latest photos of this wonderful journey.

Top Photo: Boy #1 and Dad looking the engine over; Middle Photo: Boy #2 with the transmission; Bottom Photo: Project car

So far they have gutted the interior, removed the cracked windshield, cleaned up under the car, removed, cleaned, painted and reinstalled the rear end, replaced the brakes, pulled the engine and transmission. The boys work out in the garage with their dad twice a week for an hour or two each session. They are learning a tremendous amount and are getting to know their dad better. This time spent in the garage is the highlight of their school week.

Crazy Boys

These guys are always thinking up something to keep busy!

Creative Builder

Boy #2 is a very creative builder these days. These are some of his recent lego creations.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

20 Things for This Year

My friend over at Redding Mountain told me about something she had read on a blog about writing down 20 things you want to do or improve each day. I don't know about writing 20 things each day, but I did think of 20 things that I would like to work on this year. Some are things that I have worked on in the past and are not really resolutions per se but nevertheless, things I would like to see some improvement in during this year. I am listing them here with the thought that it might provide me with more motiviation. They are not necessarily in the order of importance.

1. Celebrate the JOY of my salvation daily.
2. Consistent quiet times with God
3. Drinking 8 glasses of water each day.
4. Correct the boys schoolwork daily
5. School planning time each week.
6. Pray (This should be #1)
7. Make a menu
8. Keep to my menu
9. Journal my eating
10. Eat healthier
11. Exercise of some sort daily
12. Enter expenses daily
13. Make a price book
14. Limit my computer time.
15. Make time to read each day
16. Make time to scrapbook each week.
17. Write up some goals for this year.
18. Send a card to someone.
19. Blog at least once a week.
20. Call my extended family

A lot of these a habits that need to be formed, and I like what Equuschick had to say about that here. Some of these are daily, some are one time things and some are weekly. All will help me be a healthier person, wife or mother. Yes, even scrapbooking, which is a restful and creative outlet for me.

Thankful Thursday

Some things I am thankful for today:

1. An understanding & patient Husband.
2. That son #1 was able to and did his schoolwork while I was sick.
3. The health of my 93 year old grandmother.
4. That my children are friends with each other.
5. My husband has a good job.
6. We have a warm and comfortable home.

Movie Review: Facing the Giants

Our family finally got to see the movie Facing the Giants. We had heard good things about it, but it did not play in our local theater so we waited for it to come out on DVD. Because of middle boy's love of football, most football movies are on our wish to view list. This movie follows one football season of a Christian highschool football team. It had some good lessons in trusting God and the peace that it can bring, also in focusing on what our purpose here on earth is. The movie was of good quality and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The one negative that I saw in Facing the Giants was that it could give the appearance that if we trust God, everything will go the way we want. All of the problems in the story ended up working out the way the people hoped and that isn't a true reflection of being a Christian. I wouldn't say that it was the BEST movie we have ever seen but it was good and I would recommend it to other families.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Funnies for Pirates fans

These riddles were on the Rice Krispis box and I thought they were cute. Some of my family thought they were corny - but then, most riddles are.

How much did it cost Jack Sparrow to get his ears pierced?
A buck an ear ----

What is a pirate who skips school called?
Captain Hooky

Friday, January 26, 2007

Contentment, Joy & Abundance

According to Webster's New World Dictionary, Abundance is defined as
1)A great supply; more than sufficient quantity
2) Great plenty; wealth

Sallie at Gracious Home has posted about choosing to live in abundance this year. She has determined to:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Do without

This year I have chosen to focus on being joyful in my life and I think this fits along nicely with Sallie's thoughts on abundant living. The first step to being joyful is recognizing the blessings in your life and then being thankful for them. Along with this idea is learning to be content. I sometimes struggle with my lack of contentment and I see contentment as key to being joyful. Here are some scriptures I found that speak to contentment and joy.

2 Corinth 12:9-10
And he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Philippians 4:11-12
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

Psalm 5:11
But let all who take refuge in you be glad, let them ever sing for joy;

Psalm 16:11
. . . In Your presence is fullness of joy;. . .

And then finally . . . one of my favorite scriptures and prayers

Psalm 51:10-13
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
and sinners will be converted to You.

There are many areas in my life that I can better celebrate the abundance that God has blessed me with. The first thing I need to do is spend more time in the Word and in Prayer to keep me focused and then work on being a better steward of the abundance in my life. I hope to share more thoughts on this topic in later posts.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Homeschool Carnival #55

The Parents Meeting Edition Carnival is up at Dewey's Treehouse. Grab a cup of coffee and join in for a real education.

Friday, January 12, 2007

New Years Thoughts

Amanda at Wittingshire posted this quote on her blog and I thought that it was food for thought.

“Giving yourself your word ought to be no less sacred than giving your word to others.” --Andre Gide

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Homeschooling and the Real World

It is interesting to me that people think that children who are homeschooled are being sheltered from the real world, as if spending 6 or more hours daily, five days a week for 180 days or so a year is representative of the the real world. It also surprises me that parents so willingly give up their parental authority to the system. This week, we had our second snow during the school year and tomorrow we have a memorial service for a friend's wife to attend. If my children attended public school, they would have missed being able to play out in the snow, which we usually get very little of in our part of the world, as the schools were still in session. They would not be able to attend the memorial service tomorrow without missing class. Now playing in the snow may not be a necessity, although I feel that it is a treat that they deserved for working so hard the two days beforehand and I like for them to enjoy it because we see so little of it around here. The memorial service, on the other hand, is a very real part of life and it also will teach them to care for and comfort others. In both cases it was, us, the parents of these precious children who were able to make the decision as to when it is appropriate to miss "class" or not, instead of some school district bureaucracy and they will be much more exposed to the real world with their family and church family during the memorial service than if they were to be spending that time sitting in a classroom with 25 other children of the same age. Two more reasons that homeschooling fits our family.

Winter Wonderland

Thankful Thursday

Things I am thankful for this Thursday . . .

1. The beautiful way the snow looks on the trees.

2. That my chest cold seems to be drawing to an end.

3. I didn't have to commute on the icy roads last night with the rest of the commuters of Puget Sound.

4. That I was able to sell some textbooks we are done with in order to save up for other curriculum I would like to purchase.

5. My dad is cancer free.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Wild Winter Weather

It seems that our history of mild weather is somewhere in the distant past. Before Winter even started we had the wettest ever November with major flooding; a good snow right after Thanksgiving; and one of the worst windstorms in history just before Christmas, with a million people losing power. We were one of the fortunate households not to lose power during that storm but my 93 year old grandmother and our dear friends at Beth Spera in Domino were not so fortunate. Last night we had yet another windstorm, the second since the big pre Christmas day storm and this time we were not so fortunate. Our power went out about 12:30 a.m. and we wouldn't have known it except that the battery backup on our smoke detector system was dead, thus we awoke to alarms blaring, we ran around trying to find flashlights and a step ladder so that husband could change the battery, luckily we had extra batteries in the garage. Our power was out until about 11 am, not near as long as others suffered in our area before Christmas and for this I am truly thankful. Now we are preparing for the next storm, more rain and wind headed our way and then snow is predicted for Tuesday. I do not remember any previous winter like this.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Reflecting on a Year Gone By

With the old year gone, I have been reflecting on the past and thinking about the future. This is something that I tend to do every year around this time. When I look back on last year, I remember a year full of ups and downs. We started off the year looking for a new church family - a very hard thing after spending 13 almost 14 years at the same congregation. Our two oldest sons put on our Lord in baptism - a very joyous time for our whole family, we participated in an outreach campaign with church family in Texas and that was a very uplifting and energizing time, not to mention the fact that we got to spend a week with some very dear friends that live on the other side of the country. We found a church family to worship with and this brings mixed emotions as we are now commuting 40 minutes each way to worship and now are trying to figure out how we should serve with this new family. Boy 3 turned 10, Plant Lover turned 21 and we (minus plant lover) enjoyed a trip to Yellowstone Bible Camp for a week long family camp via a side trip to Glacier National park. The summer ended with boy 2 playing football for a local middle school and boy 1 taking drivers ed. We have had an up and down beginning to our school year, trying some new curriculum with success and trying to overcome other weaknesses. Boy 1 turned 16, boy 2 turned 13 and we had a whirlwind of a December with family gatherings and a quiet Christmas day and unfortunately with all the holiday busyness - somehow our family devotions went by the wayside, ironic huh? Some of us were sick the week between Christmas and New Years and so we had a very quiet New Years eve at home. It has been a year of trying to figure out how best to parent 3 rambuncious boys and encourage them to continue on the road to spiritual growth and there have been many distractions along the way such as youth group, family members facing cancer treatment and my 93 year old grandmother falling off her porch. With the busyness of the past year it was easy for me to lose focus on Jesus and worry or be discontented with my current situation - the times that made the best memories this past year, were those that were totally focused on Christ. This year I really want the joy of my salvation to shine through my life, to learn to bloom where HE has planted me and to see the opportunities for service that He has put before me. May you all have a Happy New Year serving our Dear Lord!