Friday, August 29, 2008

Homeschool Thursday (Late)

This.......... is what happens wen Potty Training and Pre-School collide.

Shaving cream is a great textile play medium. It's squishy and smeary and you can color it and color mix it and..... well it's just plain fun.

Look at the smile on that face!! Oh it is a lot of fun. and it smells good too.

Clean up it a breeze, just get a wet rag and wipe down. If need be, you can through the kids in the bath tub, which just extends the fun. IFY..... While playing in the buff, Emma started to have and accident, but stopped and ran to the little potty nearby and "finished" there. YEA we are making progress!

The smooth texture makes a great thing to write in. Sarah practices her name and shapes. And given enough time, she will get creative too....

This is her person. It looks a little like the people Mekala used to draw. It will be interesting to watch and see how her perception on people change through her drawings.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

IT Works!

Just a short little note to share our new discovery last night.

A few MONTHS ago my mom gave mw a wireless mouse and keyboard to use with my laptop (Thank you MOM). When I got it home there were the cord split at one end adn there was a USB end and a stardard purple keyboard end. My laptop has only USB ports. I plugged in the USB and the mouse worked. I Assumed that you had to plug in the purple keyboard end in to get the keyboard to work so I didn't even try the keybaord. So I talked to my brother and he ordered me an adapter that will change the purple keyboard end to the USB end.

When the little adapter thingy came in the mail I hooked it upand pluged it in and tried the keyboard. It didn't work. It gave me some confusing error message that gave the the impresssion that I needed an different adapeter, the expensive that kind that I coldn't afford.

What the message should have said was "Unplug one of the cords, stupid, you are overloading my sensors!" Since it didn't, I put the keyboard aside and tried to be thankful that at least the mouse worked.

Yesterday, the girls started playing a typing game that their Gram sent them (Thank you Gram!) Hannah wanted to pratice on the dicarded keyboard. When she started playing with it, WORDS started appearing on the screen! I couldn't believe it! After all this time... all these blog posts that were typed hunched over my uncomfortable laptop.

NOW I can blog in comfort. WOO-HOO! I'd be blogging like crazy....... if I had more to say that is. Until Tomorrow!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Potty Training - Not for the faint of heart!

(NO pictures on this one. I didn't think you would want to witness first hand all our disasters)

I am not super mom (contrary to popular belief). I find it extremely challenging to teach two elementary students, teach a four year old, keep a four year old entertained when I'm not teaching her, keep a two year old out of every thing, and remember to take the two year old potty. I just can't seem to do it. But I persisted and we were successful tonight.

After watching a video clip on NBC's Today show, I decided to try the "Potty Whisperer" technique this evening. The Potty Whisperer takes children into her home, feeds them salty snacks and sugary drinks and claims to be able to potty train them in a day. She doesn't recommend a junk food diet for daily life, but she says that the salty snacks makes kids thirsty and help them have to poop, and the all the fluid gives the child more opportunities to try and go potty.

Tonight I gave Emma lots to drink and then let her run around in the buff for a while. (I tried panties during school this morning and we had several disasters). I was in the kitchen cooking and there were no other distractions, so we worked at going potty for a long time.

Our first time was a complete flop. While helping me clean up the juice she spilled on the floor, she peed on the stool, while standing at the sink. (I think it had something to do with the running water.) After we cleaned up the pee, and finished cleaning the juice, I went back to my repetitive request to "sit down and go potty" Which I think I asked every minute for at least half an hour.

During this time she pooped on the floor after having just been on the potty. She was appalled! "What was that and where did it come from?", was the look she gave me. So we commenced to clean up that mess too. Trying not to be crushed by the overwhelming task this was becoming, I pressed on.

It wasn't long before she started to go again. (after chugging down a Capri-sun that is) While she was standing up listening to my endless mantra "sit down and go potty" she started to pee, BUT this time she manged to sit down, mid stream and at least got 1/2 of it in the potty. YEA, that was reason to celebrate. Two M&M's for the big girl!!

So we cleaned everything up AGAIN and continued. This time I had her sit in front of me, so that I could read to her and show her the pictures. We read a whole book with no action. When the book was finished, I encouraged her to sit on the potty and look at the pictures. EUREKA. She went potty and looked up at with a surprised/delighted look on her face. (her first responce was to jump up and try to dump out the contents, she loves to help dump things) Again we celebrated with two more M&M's. Then I called it a night.

Did I mention that during this entire process she kept asking for a "dipe". Every time that she got off the potty, it was to go get a diaper. And when I would remind her that she was trying to go pee-pee in the potty so that she could have some candy, she would let out this exasperated grunt/sigh, toss the diaper down and head back to the potty. She tried several times to request an M&M with out having done her duty, but the answer was always no. (Although I was tempted, thinking that the sweet taste of chocolate might motivate her in to action.)

Lord give me patience and diligence as we try and jump the potty training hurdle. Grant me the wisdom to know the best way to go about this process and the concentration to do it! I need you help and strength to make it though this next season!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Homeschool Thursday- Updated

Here is Emma checking out the glorious array of colors. She couldn't wait to get her hands in that stuff! In case you were wondering, they kept the colors separate for, ohhhhh about .005 seconds! They actually messed it up on purpose!! Even the big girls enjoy playing with the rice.
I look at the bag today there are 100 1/4 cup servings in a 10lb bag. If I sweep up a 1/4 cup everyday one bag should last........ at least a month maybe even two. But after a while we would have to add more. Which means more beautiful colors!!! Hooray!


I ran across this fun activity quite by accident. We are using Spelling Power this year for our spelling, and one of the things that they recommend is writing your words in/on something textured, like rice. After Mekala practices her words we let Emma have some fun in the rice.

She has a lot of fun with it. And while I was searching the Internet looking for fun pre-school ideas I discovered that teachers color it and put it in their "discovery centers". Because I needed something to keep the babies busy while I school the big girls I was all over this idea.

Some of you may be well versed in coloring rice and the likes, but I had to look it up and no one had pictures, so I provided some. We had a lot of fun making colored rice, it also is a great way to teach primary colors and mixing colors.

There are two ways to color rice.
1. Liquid Water Color
2. Food Coloring & Alcohol

I will cover both ways (not that they are too different, but.....)
You will need rice (I bought a ten pound bag, but any amount will do), baggies and your coloring choice. I measured out 1 & 1/2 cups of rice and put it in the baggie. Note: if you are mixing you can get away with regular bags, but if your toddler is mixing I recommend freezer bags to cut down on tears and spills. Emma went through 3 regular baggies...... on one color.

Then you squirt in your liquid water color. Here, I am mixing green and blue for a pretty turquoise color. The more you use the richer your color will be, and the less white rice you will have. Mekala made yellow, Hannah - green, Sarah - Orange and Emma - Olive.

Zip the bag closed and start mixing. Yes I know it is almost too easy to go to all this trouble, but what can I say I love blogging, colors and pictures, so I couldn't resist. You can see here how there are white pieces left, it makes a pretty look.

Ta - Da. There you have it. These are all the colors we made from the Liquid water colors. Which you can order online from Discount School Supplies. Click here for Discount's web site There is tons of cool stuff you can do with it. And as we experiment we will share.

Here are the Food coloring bags. If you are in a hurry, or on a budget Food Coloring is great (I bought the NEON colors and boy do the colors POP). Put a tsp of Alcohol and your desired amount of food coloring in the bottom of a baggie, add 3/4 cup of rice and seal bag. I doubled the recipe so I would have the same amount of each color.

One of the downfalls of using the food coloring method is, you have to let it dry and it stinks. I put it on wax paper in a cookie sheet and let it sit out for a few hours. And in food coloring vs watercolor battle..... watercolor is washable, food coloring is not.

Our complete color wheel (sort of).

There is the finished product. all lined up and out of the baggies. WAAAY COOL. Fifteen colors, and ten pounds of rice waiting for a textile adventure with Sarah and Emma, and I'm sure Mekala and Hannah too ;)

Add a few utensils and we hopefully have hours of discovery fun waiting for the babies. Some of the bonuses of rice are that it is easy to sweep up, unlike sand, but is just as fun to pour and mix. Also if they get tired of it in a few days, we can pour it in to big bags and put something else in the "discovery center". (aka large cheep tub from Target)

I 'll let you know how it goes later, and how long they will keep the colors separated. And I'll also share some of the other cool things we do in our discovery center when we get tired of the rice.


We have unofficially adopted a golden retriever. The girls named him Oatmeal, after his first meal at our house. He is a sweet puppy.... young and playful. But a little terrifying if you ask Emma.

Mekala thought it would be fun to put pictures of him on my blog. If any one know of a good home.......

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Hannah - Finally

Ok. We have reached the limit of our birthday celebrations (for now). Hannah was able to open a few presents on her birthday. She got three sets of wooden "paper dolls". They are awesome, even Emma can play with them. Then we had a little chocolate cake that night, knowing that the "real" cake would be later.
And finally on Monday we were able to have her party! YEA! I didn't know how many to expect, so I made two cakes, chocolate with chocolate icing, and the other at Hannah's request........

Sleeping Beauty. Or at least as my interpretation of her. Strawberry cake with strawberry icing and sparkly gel swirls! She was gorgeous, for a cake that is.

While we were eating cake, everyone went around the table and shared all their favorite things about Hannah. They talked about her smile and her generosity, her sweet gentle spirit and her laid back personality. I was a wonderful time of blessing.

That night she got to open more presents I think her favorite was the painter's art set. It was a cool easel with a canvas and brushes and paints and all the works!! Way cool!

Later we played a few rounds of Alphabet Bingo with our friends. I think Hannah had a good time. She was truly blessed

Lord, Thank you for Hannah, and her sweet spirit. I hope she always knows how loved she is. May the words of encouragement that were spoken over her stink deep into her heart, and resonate within her forever!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Sarah

Celebrations started early for Sarah this week. We had to have cake before Daddy left on his camping trip. Kent Drove in from Waco (we are in Lubbock) and arrived at Mimi's house with a bouquet of flowers just for Sarah. ( See my post on Sarah's flower question for a good laugh )

Since Dad rolled in after everyone else was finished with dinner, we opened presents first so that Daddy had time to eat before cake.
Then we had "Fun fetti" cake with buttercream icing. Sarah picked out the cake pan that morning. It is a carriage for a princess. One friend thought that it looked like Mickey Mouse when looked at upside down. It was supposed to be a soft pastel pink and hot pink, but I had a little trouble getting the colors right.

All that was Tuesday night. Today (her actual birthday) we had a play date with two of our friends here in Lubbock. Let me clarify that.... two of MY friends and there were 12 kids total. We love hanging out with our friends. We went to Legacy Play village and had a blast. We were at the park for almost 4 hours.

Getting ready to go down the twisty slide.
Sarah and her sweet friend M. They got separated once while at the park, and M came and asked me to help her find Sarah. We found her running around the "castle" yelling out M's name. It was so sweet that they were looking for each other.

All we had to do was invite two of mommies friends and we had a birthday party!

Dinner was at our favorite Lubbock restaurant! WE love Furr's and my Papa takes us every time we come to visit. Sarah loves the Mac'n'cheese and the mashed potatoes.

My Papa has been treating his family to Furr's since my mom was a little girl, and now he gets to take his Great-grand babies! Live is GOOD, right?!? Special memories.
Then to top it all off she had special lion cookies that Mimi bought for just for Sarah's birthday. Too cool. Over all I think she had a great day!

Lord, thank you for my Sweet Sarah! She is such a joy. May she always have pizazz and energy to spare. Use her personality to draw people into your kingdom. May she never have a fear of man, and always find her love and acceptance in you!

Homeschool Thursday

Choosing curriculum is one of (if not THE) most daunting things about homeschooling. There are sooo many choices out there. It is hard to know where to begin. I won't tell you that I know what is best, but I will let you know what I have chosen.

For Reading/Phonics: We use Pathway readers. They are full of wonderful, Christian stories that teach good morals and behavior. They are written by the Amish for a one room school house, so they are naturally geared for teachers with students of different ages. They cover all the phonics rules. Each hard back book comes with a workbook and a teachers manual. Very affordable too. To get workbooks for additional children, it is less than $3.00 a book. You can't beat that.

Publish Post

For Grammar we use Shurley English. It can be tedious at times because it is very repetitive. But I think that helps them learn the material better. It comes with a CD with jingles that help them memorize the parts of speech and everything else they are learning better. If we stick with this program from the beginning we will be able to skip 5th and go straight to 6th.

Two subjects are a great start for now...... Next week we'll look at Math and Spelling.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Scrabooking & God's Provision (2 for 1 blog)

I am finding that with six people in our family I have
A. A lot more things to say and share and
B. I have a lot less free time.
I love to Scrapbook, but I haven't done much in almost a year, and the pictures I am currently "on" are now almost 4 years old. I haven't even printed anything to scrapbook since I got my digital camera, everything I am working on is film.

I say all that to say.... that my blog is quickly becoming my "scrapbook". I am one of those people who can't remember anything unless there is a picture of it somewhere. (isn't that right Jenn) So pictures and scrapbooks are vital for my memories. There is a company that can "slurp" your blog and make it into book. ( ) That is perfect for me, by blogging I "kill two birds with one stone"; I keep up with friends and family & I end up with a scrapbook of all our memories, plus I write them while the memories and emotion is fresh. (There is nothing more challenging for me than to try and recall why I took a certain picture and how it made me feel.)

Now for the "memory of the day"

God is soooooo good!! Most of you already know that. But there are times when I have a hard time remembering that fact. Last week Kent and I were down to our last $150, that was it, when it was gone, it was gone. But $100 of it we had set aside to use as a blessing. We are blessed and we always want to be a blessing.
We determined that we were not going to spend that $100 dollars on our family, that we would find someone that we could bless. Our friends were having a bake sale/lemonade stand to raise funds for a rescue center in Haiti. We took $50 and "gave to the cause".
It was a step of faith on our part. At times my mind thinks about all the groceries I could buy, the shoes the kids need, the gas our car drinks...... but we wanted to trust God and wait for HIS provision.
HE didn't fail us, and he never does. We were blessed with $1100 in the course of a week. Gifts, people who new things were tight and wanted to bless, to give with the same faith that God would provide if ever they were in need. Praise the Lord!!

Thank you Jesus for taking care of us. I hope that I will learn to trust you more and more. I don't want to look at what lies ahead of us with fear or doubt. I want to face life with confidence in both my heart and mind that you will meet our every need! Help me reach that place where you truly are my everything.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

You Might be a Red Neck IF.........

Your children think that a sterilite box and a water hose constitutes a water park! Isn't she adorable??

Can I get in??

The girls had a good time cooling off in the water today. Thought you would enjoy.

Homeschool Hursday

I read several blogs that have a weekly post like Wordless Wednesday, Frugal Friday, or Man-cat Monday. Seeing that there was not a day of the week that started with "H" I thought it would be kind of funny to have my homeschool title be misspelled. Dorky I know, but I like it.

So Thursdays will be all on homeschooling. Feel free to ask questions, and contribute your two cents. This first post will be my "history", and how I began to homeschool.

To really begin this story the right way, we have to go back 4 years. Mekala was 4 almost 5, but she didn't make the "cut off" for starting kindergarten that year. I thought that her late birthday gave us the perfect opportunity to give homeschooling a try. If it worked, great, if it didn't we still had time to find some other options. We ordered the Abeka K-4 curriculum because that was what I was taught with when I was in kindergarten (a private school), and off we went.

The birth of baby #3 (ms. Sarah Kate) in the middle of August meant that we got off to a late start, but we set up a school "room" and got started. We kept at it for several months. It was extremely hard. I was nursing Sarah, had to entertain Hannah (who wanted to do school) and teach/encourage Mekala, plus I had the worst case of post-pardom depression.

Mekala is not naturally motivated when it comes to school work, (I think she gets that from me) so getting her to just try tell me the names or sounds of letters was frustrating. We ended up having to bribe her with the promise of a Tea-Party if she could/would do school for so many days (I forgot how many) with out whining. There were so many days that I dangled that tea-party out there like a carrot on a stick, but it worked.

After several months and one tea-party I was finished. I don't even know when we actually stopped, but I probably thought it wasn't soon enough. There was no way I was going to try and school 3 or more children one day. I couldn't do it, I wouldn't it. (Not on the farm, not in my home, no sir, no sir, please leave me ALONE). I had fallen off the homeschooling wagon. All my other homeschooling moms were so disappointed in me. They tried to convince me that I could homeschool, but I wasn't about to listen.

My parents generously paid for Mekala to attend private school (the same one I went to) the following year. It was wonderful!!! Now my biggest problem was keeping Hannah, who wanted to go to school busy and happy. (Oh and I was pregnant with #4 by Christmas).

Mekala's Kindergarten year came and went, and was a great success. Our short time of schooling had really helped her have a great start. (I think she had some of the best cursive handwriting in the class). Even though Hannah and Mekala are almost two years apart in age, Hannah made the cut off date and I didn't think I could keep her at home, even if I wanted to, so she started kindergarten and Mekala started 1st grade. The Lord graciously gave my mother a raise, so they were still able to cover the cost the tuition.

The timing couldn't have been better if we had planned it ourselves. On August 1st Emma was born, and two weeks later (on Sarah's birthday) the big girls started school. OK OK I know that this is getting long, but we are almost to the end and there is a point, I promise! Life was great. There were mornings were it was hard getting everyone up and out the door on time, but we managed and we were only late a few times (I think).

Then February came.

Kent went to Uganda, Africa for three weeks in February '07. His purpose was to help do some mission work, we weren't really sure why he was going, but we knew it was from God, so he went. Simple right. Well after a week of getting every one up, dressed, fed, with lunches, homework, etc.... I was really ready to quit. I couldn't believe what a hassle going to school was. And in my frustration I began to look at all the other "cons" there were to school. By the end of the three weeks I had made a list of reasons why I wanted to homeschool. Yes me, Miss I would not, could not.

God had done some SERIOUS work in my heart while Kent was gone. And I was truly ready to pull them out of school right then and there. (It didn't help that I had gotten the letter that school registration was coming up and we would need several hundred dollars more, to get them in for 1st and 2nd grade).

When Kent came home I had a list of "pros" for homeschooling, and had started looking into curriculum. Some of my Pros included:

-Don't have to be any where by a certain time everyday.

-WAAAAAY cheeper

-No more uniforms (this was an issue for Hannah)

-No more spending the few hours I had with Mekala each night arguing over doing her school work. (since we were still having to motivate her, might as well do it during the day, so we could enjoy our evenings)

-We could finally be in the church Christmas plays!! No more having to be home for an early bedtime.

-We could travel whenever we wanted to.

-If any one is sick, no school, which also means no make up work!!

- You set your own schedule and pace, if you need more time..... you take it.


-Best of all..... I get to be with my kids all day, I get to know what they are learning both in and out of the classroom (no more rude playground rhymes)

There are so many other reasons and "pros" for home schooling, unfortunately if just took me a while to see them.

So if you are thinking about homeschooling, but aren't sure, or if you think the answer is no...... just wait, if it was GOD wants for you and your children, then it will happen!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hand made with Love.

My Hannah is a gift person. If you want her to "feel the love", get her a gift. However she loves to give gifts. I think she love to give them more than she does get them. She is always, let me repeat, ALWAYS going around the house looking for things to wrap up and give to people. (BTW the wrapping is an important part of the gift giving process. if it is not beautifully wrapped, then....... I don't know what would happen, it's just important.) When we are at the store, it is the same thing..... "Mommy, can we get So-and-so this." , "No, Honey, not today", "Please, I really want to get them something.", "No, we already got them something.", "Can we get them something else?" and on, on it goes until we leave the store.

I truly want to nurture this generous spirit, I don't ever want her to become greedy, or selfish. But there needs to be a balance. ................. I think. ................... or does there? I don't know. I wish we had all the money in the world so that she could give to her heart's desire, but we don't (at least not now), so for now we will try and find a balance.

One way includes hand made gifts, easy on the pocket book, yet thoughtful and loving.

This is what she made for Emma's birthday. She has been eye-balling this doll idea in a craft book for months. And I being the tired and overwhelmed mother that I usually am, have always told her "no", or "not now", or "maybe later". But this time I gave in. I drew the "pattern" and cut it out, but she did all the rest. It took her several days to get it finished, and she did most of the sewing & drawing & stuffing. She even picked out and put on the "belt". This was the first time I had ever helped make a doll. I think for our first time it turned out pretty good. And most importantly Emma likes her.
Hannah took this picture of Emma with her new doll.
And she took this artistic picture of the doll in the grass."Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."Luke 6:37-39

Lord, may Hannah always be a giver. Use this gift that she has to change lives. There are so many people in need of so many things, help her to know who and what to give herself to. And may the receivers of her gifts always see Jesus at the heart of her gift and her love.