Saturday, July 31, 2010

What I Am Using to Teach My Soon-to-Be Six Year Old

How is that for a title?  I refuse to put a grade level on my children and they have refused to fit into any one grade level anyway, so I just go by their ages.   Jackson is my sixth child and most of his "academics" has happened by the trickle-down effect.  We haven't spent a whole lot of time doing the typical kindergarten stuff. Please, don't ask him to identify his letters or ask him to count to 20.  You might embarrass him and we don't want to do that!   He knows lots about early American history, a good bit of science via Moody Science dvd's. knows how to cut down a tree, knows how to drive a nail straight, can identify lots of tools his daddy uses around the house, gets read to a lot, has been riding a two-wheeler for two years and has watched more BBC movies based on great English literature (Dickens and Austin) than any almost 6 year old should watch!

He is also "writing" notes and letters to people and copying from the Bible and other books.  Something tells me he is now a little bit more ready for a little more formal learning.  So what will we be doing?

-Bible-In addition to our morning and evening Bible times, I am reading through The Child's Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos with Jackson and having him narrate back to me.

-Math U See Primer--we have done Singapore's first book for kindergarten and we are on lesson 10 now in MUS

-Phonics-Go for the Code book C and Explode the Code books 1 and 1 1/2

-more reading and language skills-Learning Language Arts through Literature Blue Book

-speech therapy-Super Star Speech--Jackson has a few speech delays.  I had him tested and he was on the verge of needing therapy.  The therapist suggested I work with him at home ; ).  A few months later I found this curriculum written by a homeschool mom who just happens to be a speech therapist.  We have used this every day this week and he really is enjoying the games so far.

-even more reading-we are reading character stories from A Hive of Busy Bees and Another Hive of Busy Bees.  We have two sets of books that contain short stories and poems that I am reading to Jackson and Caedmon when he will sit still.  One set is an old series of books with wonderfully old stories and poems.   Collier's Junior Classics:  The Young Folks Shelf of Books is a set of ten books that I purchased from our library bookstore for 10 dollars a few  years ago.  I never really looked them through until this year and what a treasure trove!!  The first section of the first book has lots of nursery rhymes, the second section contains wonderful stories like Henny Penny, Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar and The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  No PC stories in here! There is much more poetry and more wonderful stories by Slobodkin, Petersham, Flack, Anderson, Lear, Margaret Wise Brown and many others.  Favorite authors from years gone by!  We are really enjoying this time together and I can see lots of material for copywork and memorization as he gets proficient in writing.

-geography -yes, we are doing geography!  Trickle down, remember.  We got bogged down in sicknesses last semester and dropped our study of Africa.  Well, my brother is now there in the Congo and we really need to know our African history and geography.  As the older children study Africa, Jackson will be creating an ABC book of Africa using Cindy Rushton's ABC Book forms. Kaelan made one when she was five and it is a treasure!!  We will also be doing KONOS activities relating to Africa two days a week.  Lots of crafts and cooking!!  And more reading together as well.

-history-We are continuing in our American history studies.  Currently we are finishing up the Revolutionary War by reading out loud, watching Drive Thru History and other movies  and doing coloring sheets related to the war.

-science-Jackson will do some physical science topics this year again trickling down from the older ones studies.  We will mainly focus on weather and simple machines using KONOS.

-art--as time permits we will be using Barry Stebbing's Baby Lamb's book

Did I leave anything out?  I looks like a tremendous amount, but his one-on-one time with me only lasts about 1 1/2-2 hours and we will divide that up into two segments.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cookware Winner!!

Congratulations to cartoon loving Stephanie!!  Stephanie will soon be enjoying her new ice cream or yogurt maker.  I hope she has some good recipes!!  Thanks to for the fun contest!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cookware Giveaway Reminder

Don't forget to register here for the $60 gift card from!!  Drawing will be held next Friday!

Friday, July 23, 2010


I thought I would share Jordan's blog with you.  Jordan is 17 and aspires to be a writer, photographer and homesteader some day.  I think he is already getting a good start.  He is writing a book and putting it on his blog.  Scroll down to get the first installment and then read UP from there.  : )

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Cookware Giveaway!

If you have been a reader of my blog for any length of time, you know that in this house we eat a lot.  That means we also cook a lot and we like to stay equipped with the tools needed to provide delicious meals for our family and guests.  I love to use my cast iron  dutch oven (click on the words "dutch oven" to see some great ones)  for slow cooking roasts and chicken in the oven.  I love how evenly the food cooks and I can serve it straight from the dish.   The folks over at have a  huge line of beautiful dutch ovens that I could really get excited about.  I really like the colorful ones like orange, red and blue.  Oh, my!! They also have all kinds of kitchen gadgets that you might find useful.  They even have some cute aprons.  I always make a mess of myself cooking in the kitchen, so I have my eye on a couple of these in order to protect my clothes and just to add a little old fashioned cuteness to my day.

How would you like to win a $60 dollar gift card to ?  To enter this giveaway leave me a comment telling me what product(s) you would choose if you win.  Leave another comment if you follow my blog or become a follower.  Tell your readers about this giveaway on your own blog and link back here.  Leave me another comment if you do that!  That gives you three chances to win big!

We'll announce the winner on July 30 so enter now.  I'm excited for the winner!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Jeff and I have finally solidified our plans for this upcoming school year.  I'm going back to some old favorites because they are easy to use and because they work!  I will be posting at a later time about what we will be doing, but for today my goals are to:

-get a bath ; )
-deep clean and mop the kitchen (we've had a busy few days and I have been gone for most of the day each day)
-organizing the school room (really just cleaning off my desk and the school table...otherwise it is organized)
-place my HUGE order for curriculum and books with Children's Books.  I have purchased from them for over 15 years and have  never been disappointed.  They have a great sale going on right now as well.  Check them out!!  For every $50 dollars you spend right now you will get a free book.   I'm getting several free books this time!
-begin putting together weekly folders for Jordan, Aaron, Kaelan, Jackson and myself--they will include weekly assignment sheets, Daily Grams, science activities, writing paper, any reproducibles, history and science worksheets, etc
-cook a great dinner...hmm...what will it be?
-read a book and play a game with Jackson
-do a few loads of laundry
-get the kids to clean the den after they made a huge mess with the train sets and villages while I was busy doing all the crossed out activities!

I know it won't all get done, but I will get most accomplished with the help of the children and get a good start on the school organization.  Lots of copies to do for this year, so I think I will have Kaelan and Aaron take turns making copies, putting them in order and hole punching them in order to put them in the notebooks.  I am so very ready to get my family on some type of regular routine.  Too much free time leads to the unveiling of character flaws which is another area that I need to set aside time to work on.  A mother's job is never done;  add in homeschooling and at times it can seem insurmountable.  But I know, with God all things are possible and He doesn't give us more than we can handle.

So what does your day look like?  Are you cleaning, organizing and preparing for the upcoming school year?  Or are  you up to your eyeballs in garden produce?  Or maybe you are in vacation mode?  What's up with you today?

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Brother

My brother got married just a few days ago.  Some of us didn't think he ever would!  ; )   My brother, Chance, works for the US government and every three years or so he is moved to a new embassy in a new country.  He has worked in Mexico City; Lima, Peru; Madrid, Spain; and will now be starting his married life in the Democratic Republic of in Africa.

While living in Spain he met this beautiful woman and asked her to be his wife.  Sofia is from Ecuador, but was living in Spain.   Last weekend they were married in Quito, Ecuador.  My mom and one of my sisters were able to be there for the wedding and they say is was quite beautiful.  My mom actually said is was like a fairy tale.

Unlike most newly-weds, Chance and Sofia did not embark on a honeymoon immediately.  Chance flew back to DC to await final paper work so that Sofia could move to the Congo with him.  Sofia flew back to Madrid.  It has been almost a year since my brother has been stateside, living out of a suitcase most of the time as he has visited family and friends across the country, gone to language school  (they speak French in the Congo) and completed more training for his new position.  I am sure he and Sofia are ready to settle down in what will be their new home for the next three years.   They will meet later this month and embark on a new life, together in a new country.  Praying that the Lord blesses them richly and reveals Himself to them as they live out their adventures.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Today we visited with this little man and the rest of his family.  We had some birthday gifts to deliver and took a lunch of bbq sandwiches, baked beans, chips, BLT dip and yummy blueberry cobbler.  Chase had a grand time opening his presents.  I got him several "first" games such as Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Memory and Don't Spill the Beans.  All were favorites of Lauren's growing up.  As Chase pulled out the first game, he exclaimed, "Cereal!!"  He thought it was a box of cereal.    These gifts were greatly overshadowed by Devin's gift of .....Buzz Lightyear.  Earlier in the week he received a Toy Story movie and a Toy Story sleeping bag.  He was really excited about Toy Story!  

Happy Birthday, Chase!!  We love you!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Chicken

Yesterday I baked a chicken and added lots of garlic, onions, potatoes and carrots to it and baked it in the oven.  I also made a HUGE pot of green beans.  Everyone had this for lunch except Jeff and Jordan.  There was a good bit of chicken with the roasted veggies and green beans  left over for dinner so I added a pan of fresh creamed corn, a dish of zucchini au gratin and plate full of sliced fresh tomatoes.  We all had dinner at home last night (I had a veggie plate) and there was STILL a good bit of chicken left over.

So after dinner last night I put the chicken in the crockpot and covered it with water along with some garlic and apple cider vinegar.  This cooked all night in the crockpot.  This morning I poured off the broth and deboned the chicken.  In a large stockpot I poured in about 1/4 cup of olive oil and sauteed three cloves of minced garlic, a diced onion, and two finely chopped carrots.  I then added four cups of rice and about 3 cups of fresh baby spinach.  I mixed this well and stirred until the spinach was cooked down.  I have made this with zucchini and yellow squash, but was fresh out.

I then added a little water to the reserved broth to make 7 cups of liquid and poured this over the rice mixture.  I added about 2 tsp of salt, some dried basil and turmeric for color.  I also put in about 1 cup of the chicken.   This makes a delicious one dish meal loaded with veggies and all the good fat that my allergic baby boy needs.  This also freezes well, so I can pull small bags of it to use at other times.  This is especially good for times when I have things like bbq sandwiches and baked beans on the menu and he cannot eat those.    There was still enough chicken for a small bowl of chicken sandwich spread that will be for lunch today. chicken = three meals + plus some leftovers for my little one.

And to make it an even more thrifty meal the chicken was reduced in price a good bit when I purchased it.  I am able to keep a good inventory of meats in the freezer because of Kroger's reduced meats.  Thrifty and delicious!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Movies, Anyone?

Last year we decided to join Netflix to get movies for our family viewing.  This has been almost addictive for us, but we have really enjoyed seeing some wonderful movies that we had never heard of before.  We have watched some of our old favorites like Follow Me, Boys and Johnny Tremain.  We have spent many evenings enjoying Jane Austen's books brought to life in many different versions.  We have found a new British favorite series called Cranford which is simply delightful!!  We LOVED the HBO series John Adams which stayed so true to McCullough's book of the same title.

One of the neat things about Netflix is that as you return movies (via prepaid envelope) you get an email asking you for a review.  The more movies you review the better Netflix understands what type of movies you enjoy and sends you listings of movies that you might enjoy based on your ratings.  Ingenious!!

A couple of our favorite movies that were recommended by Netflix were Gifted Hands:  The Ben Carson Story and The Greatest Game Ever Played.    Gifted Hands is the incredible story of a young black man raised by a single mother.  He has a difficult time growing up, but due to his mother's strength and integrity and God's blessings upon his life he becomes a pediatric neurologist who saves many lives.  He becomes world known in his field, but gives God all the glory.  I have seen the book that this movie is based on in the CBD catalog for many years.  This was truly an inspiring movie.

The Greatest Game Ever Played is about a  young amateur golfer who learned the game of golf by caddying at the golf course across from his home.  He comes from a poor immigrant family and is thrown into the "golf club" culture where he is slighted.  He overcomes tremendous odds to win a big golf tournament.  This was a wonderful story that really intrigued some of my children.  Like a good living book it enticed them to "do" something with what they had learned.  One day Aaron mowed our front lawn very short, got the post-hole digger out and made a one-hole golf course.  As there are no golfers in our home, he, Jackson and Kaelan gathered plastic baseball bats and balls and put them in a bucket.  A tomato stake with a red bandana on it became the flag.  Aaron was the golfer, Kaelan with a small clipboard and pencil was the score keeper and Jackson, carrying the bucket of bats and balls was the caddy.   They had several days of fun "playing" golf on our new golf course.

Books have always been a way to teach and inspire my children.  Now, with the selections that we can find at Netflix, movies are teaching and inspiring them as well.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Making Butter

While the biscuits were in the oven this morning  and the bacon was cooking on the stove, I decided to make butter.  Yes, butter!  I have been buying raw milk from a sweet friend and this morning poured off the cream from the top of the jug.  I had let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days and the cream had done its thing and separated from the milk.  I poured the cream into my Bosch Universal Mixer bowl and using the beaters, let the machine do the work.  In about 10-15 minutes we could hear a definite difference in the sound of the machine.  We looked inside the bowl and there was a lot of bright yellow butter swimming in buttermilk.  I strained the butter from the buttermilk (which is pictured in the jar above) and pressed the remaining milk from the butter with a spoon.  I then added half a teaspoon of salt and mixed well, formed a ball and viola!  We had fresh butter with our homemade biscuits and jelly this morning.  It was much easier than I expected and didn't take much time at all.  Now if we only had our own cow....

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Well-Stocked School Room

I am still very busy taking care of sick children, going to the doctors' offices and orthodontist office and even took one child to Memphis to the airport where she left me to fend for myself for a whole week!!  My house is a mess and due to results from allergy tests I am FORCED to clean things up and out around here or continue making my children sick.    Dust mites were Caedmon's number one allergen on his allergy test and unfortunately, there is a lot of dust around here right now.  Hopefully with Jeff's help tomorrow, we can remedy a good bit of that problem and then start work on the next problem.  Believe me, we have a BIG list of problem areas that need attention, but health right now is the number one concern.

I am still dreaming of planning for the upcoming school year and took a moment this afternoon to do a quick survey of school supplies.  I came up with this list for a well-stocked school room after doing my look around.  This is a far cry from the materials that I started with over 22 years ago and not everything is necessary.  I do like to find special pencils, pens, notebooks,  and other supplies on clearance and  put them up for little surprises.  Did I leave off anything that you find necessary?  I'm not talking curriculum or books, just supplies.  Are you prepared for your next session of school?

composition notebooks
notebook paper
copy paper
colored copy paper
white and colored cardstock
page protectors
tabbed dividers
index cards
sticky note pads
construction paper
drawing paper
hole punch
glue sticks
permanent markers
washable markers
colored pencils
paper clips
thumb tacks
poster board
pocket folders
dry erase boards
dry erase markers
copier/printer---Jeff bought us a pretty nice one a couple of years ago.  When we got home with it Jackson was very interested and asked about it repeatedly.  Jeff told him it was for his education.  Jackson used that phrase every time the printer was referred to for a while.  He was only two or three, so it was really cute!  ; )

Little Boy Faces







and so very special.
Two of my boys--my son Caedmon, 21 months and grandson Chase who will be three next week.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


We were all excited to take a trip to the Memphis Zoo last month.  

We had a little picnic in the parking lot before entering.  Next time we will bring the wagon and take our picnic inside.  They now have several nice shady picnicking areas in the zoo.
The Memphis Zoo has an Egyptian theme.  

Jackson was excited to see the animals.  I wish he could stay five forever!!

Caedmon was looking at the lions.  I was enjoying looking at him!!

Kaelan and Jeff in the bird house.

Caedmon has spotted a bird!

The hippos were trying to stay cool.
In the China exhibit there was a display about several explorers.  Kaelan poses with Marco Polo aka Jackson.

Caedmon eyeing the elephants.

Cooling off with ice cream cones.

Oh. Mom!!

Jackson and the grizzly bear got real close!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth of July with Family

This weekend my little family of 11 (counting Lauren and her two boys) traveled down to visit my mom.  My "little" brother was already there.  One sister and her two children and a girlfriend would come and go during our visit and another sister with her three children arrived from Ohio that evening.  We were feeding 21 people for most meals.  I had made lasagnas, spaghetti sauce and pesto with pasta for our Friday evening meal.  We added bread and salad.  Friday was my brother's birthday.  He requested a blueberry cobbler, so I quickly made him one from the fresh blueberries that mom had picked that morning.  We had also made a Texas sheet cake and buttermilk pound cake with strawberry sauce to share.

Saturday was my dad's birthday, so we met with him and the rest of his family at his church's fellowship hall for grilled burgers, smoked ribs and various sides.  One of my half-sisters made a birthday cake and I made chocolate ice cream.

Sunday's lunch was bbq, baked beans and cole slaw that I made at home.  That evening Jeff grilled some great ribeyes and chicken quarters that mom treated us with.  The ribeyes were delicious.  

We took two tents with for the big kids to sleep in, praying it wouldn't be too hot. Jordan and Aaron slept in one tent and Kaelan, Emily and Haley slept in another.  What troopers!!

Now we are home and exhausted, but with much to do.  Devin is leaving tomorrow to visit a friend in Omaha for a week.  Lots of laundry to get washed and put away so she can pack up.

Nephew Colby and Jackson playing chase

Jeff relaxing in the swing

I joined him for a brief moment.  (Can I just say that he and I both need to lay off the homemade ice cream for a while?  Just sayin'.

Uncle Chance teasing the boys.

Slip 'n slide country style!

Kaelan with cousins Emily-13 and Hayley--11

Chase and Caedmon


Caedmon and Elisha in the wagon with flags.  They made up a little parade.

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