Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rowing: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

This week we rowed Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

I knew from the very beginning Ethan would love this book.  He is, of course, a five year old boy.  He loves all things dirty, digging and dinosaur-like! 
Here is an overview of how we rowed this awesome book.

Our first science lesson of the week was learning about the stages of matter.  He loved the illistration of looking at ice cubes (solid), melting them into water (liquid), then boiling them to create steam (gas).  He really understood this lesson and took it with him all week.  He would call out at random objects and then state if they were solid, liquid or gas.  I’m beginning to see how much this boy loves science!

You can’t really see it, but he is observing steam in this picture…

We followed the FIAR art lessons this week, which included drawing trees.  I had just purchased some oil pastels, so he was introduced to them during his “tree drawing” lesson on perspective.


His sensory activity this week has been using construction vehicles in his bean box (as we call it).  He can do this for hours.  He also still asked to play in the cloud dough we made last week.


Another first for this week was modeling clay.  He has played with play-doh since he was much younger, but the texture of modeling clay is different and requires a little more strength to mold and shape.  He played with modeling clay for almost two hours one afternoon after we finished lessons.

We made a Mike Mulligan cake and dug the cellar “nice and square”.  He absolutely loved this cake!


We are blessed to have a neighbor just down the road who is also homeschooling.  He and Ethan are a little over a year apart in age, but they love playing together, so we are going to try to get together one morning a week and let the boys play and read to each other.  The weather was nice, so we walked to his house on this day.

They have a blast learning from each other.  We are letting them take turns picking the theme of the activities and which book they would like to read.


In addition to the FIAR activities, we did a few more and one of Ethan’s favorites was making this digger.  He also LOVED watching the Mike Mulligan video on YouTube.  It is broken up into three parts, so be sure to find all three if you plan on watching it.  You can find the links on my Mike Mulligan pinterest board here.

*This, of course, is not a complete and total list of all Ethan competed and worked on, but it is what I managed to get photographed and on this blog.  In addition to these activities, he did the math word problems from Homeschool Share, the FIAR suggested lessons and Bible Study. 

We got the cool printable for the movable parts digger HERE (scroll down to #5).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Almost Three

I really don't look forward to the end of August.  Sometime this week in 2009 is when my sweet baby girl went to be with the Lord.  We don't know the exact moment, or even the exact day, all we know is at some point in the days leading up to August 31st of that year she slipped away.

Three is harder than I thought it would be.  I'm not sure if it's the culmination of everything this year has held so far or if it's effect of time passing.  How can my baby have been gone three whole years?  How is it the little girl who will always be a baby in my mind would be well into her toddler years if she had lived?  It's a little too much at times. 

I don't talk about our babies much with Ethan.  If we do, he is always the one who brings them up.  Earlier this week we were making a family tree for a lesson and he wanted to include Shyla and Jakin.  Then, in his sweet little five year old voice asked me if God had a mailbox.  When I asked him why, he said, "So I can send this to Heaven for Shyla and Jakin to see."  He has such a sweet little heart. 

Tonight, we were on the way home from the park and he asked if we could stop at the cemetery.  He said he wanted to "check on Shyla and Jakin's graves".  We pulled in and he walked up to their tiny little plots next to each other and he bent over and began to clean the grass off their foot stones.  He IS their big brother. He IS caring for them the best way he knows how.  I just wanted to start bawling at this point. How many five year olds want to check on their siblings graves?  He dusted off the rocks then went behind their stone and cleaned the foot stone of my uncle who unexpectedly passed away in February, then he checked on my Grandpa's foot stone.  He is a servant to the core.

As we were leaving the cemetery, he asked me if he made my day (because he caught me staring in awe at him...I was thanking God for blessing me so much with this little boy...)  I replied by just telling him he was one special kid and he thoughtfully replied, "Mommy, I think more kids are special too.  Not just me.  God made us all special."  Speechless. 

I feel like I'm rambling a little, but it's good to be back here.  Writing about these feelings.  I pour them out to the Lord, but letting the words flow from my fingers, to the keys, to the screen, is therapeutic. 

Pray for us this week.  Three years is kind of hard to think about...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fundraiser with Hannah James!

I can't believe I almost let this month get by without sharing about the amazing opportunity we have with Hannah James!  Check out her blog post here about us and go shop!  45% of her shop sales will be donated towards our adoption fund! 

Here are a few of my favorites from her beautiful shop!

Lovely Chrysanthemum Ring, 5 Colors - you choose

oh, deer

Beaded Earrings

Lovely Bobby Pin Set {spring blossom}

she is brave

she is treasured

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Creation Study

For our first week of school, we studied THE first week!  Here is a little peek into what some of our week was like!


To start each days lesson, we did a little craft inspired by what I found here.  These are Ethan’s days…

Creation Craft Collage

Ethan wanted to keep all the days together, so we interlocked paperclips together and hung all the “days” up on the refurbished wardrobe I just finished.  We weren’t finished when this photo was taken, but you can see the progress.

By the way, I LOVE this wardrobe.  My mother bought this for me when I was a little girl, but due to the way the door to my bedroom was positioned in the hallway, we never could fit it in my room.  My mother found alternate locations for it over the years, but I recently begged was given the wardrobe for the classroom.  I wish I had taken a before shot (I know, I know, bad blogger!).  But trust me, it was an old dark wood veneer and it had visually seen it’s better days.  The two long doors had mirrors in them, as did where the clock is hanging now.  I painted the whole thing, replaced one door with a chalkboard and covered the other with fabric.  I covered ever other drawer with modge po.dge and fabric.  The handles and hinges were spray painted and I purchased some new handles for the doors at hobby lo.bby.  It is the future home of all my scrapbooking gear and some school supplies.



On day two, we made cloud dough (another pinterest find).  He loves it and still plays with it.  And, just if you’re wondering, it vacuums out of carpet nicely :-/




To make cloud dough, we just mixed 4 cups flour with 1 cup baby oil.  It’s soft to the touch, but moldable and forms well.  Be warned, the baby oil adds a nice fragrance…as long as you like baby oil smell.  My husband does not like it at all, so he won’t be sharing in this sensory activity with the kiddo.  I love the baby smell, so I joined in the fun.



Wednesday turned out to be school in pajamas day and I don’t regret that one bit.  Even if it makes getting dressed on Friday a little harder at first…


I love that we were studying God’s creation and one day we had the opportunity to catch and observe a tiny baby swift that had made it’s way into our porch. 




Of course our week was filled with activities from all subjects, but it’s kind of hard to photo-document everything while teaching/supervising. 

On the last day of the week we shared a muffin tin snack to help us remember the days of creation.


Our muffin tin snack was inspired be this blog post and turned into our own little creation.  I found the chart above the muffin tin here.

For day one, we used chocolate/vanilla pudding (darkness/light).
Day two (the sky) was formed with blue jell.o and whipping cream.
Day three (trees, plants, seeds) was represented by “dirt pudding”.
Day four (sun, moon, stars) was represented by mild cheddar cheese I cut into the shape of a crescent moon and a star.
Day five (fish and birds) was filled with Goldfish crackers.
Day six (animals and people) was filled with animal crackers.

Ethan loved this visual and talked about it for days!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten!



That’s right!  We started our first day of school last week and boy are we having fun!  I am absolutely way to emotional over having the ability to homeschool and be with this adorable face everyday!


firstday ethan


We eased into school since we hadn’t done a lot over the summer.  We started our first week studying, what else but THE first week.  We had a week full of creation studies and crafts and back to basics.  We reviewed things he learned last year and started a new memory verse. 




Something I have quickly learned is that his least favorite thing to do is handwriting.  He loves crafts, mazes, anything science related, he LOVES math and reading.  But when it comes to just practicing writing, he just really doesn’t like it.  But he does it.  And I am open to any suggestions on how to make it not so burdensome for him Winking smile




I can’t wait to let finish up a post our week studying creation! He had so much fun and he tells me at least two or three times a week how happy he is that I can homeschool him.  But, the biggest blessing is when he carries around a chapter book just because he wants me to read to him.  Or if he comes to me at 7:30 at night and asks if he can “do more school”.  Actually, I believe the best part is to have him randomly look up from his lunch and say, “I love you so much Mommy.  I’m so glad we get to spend the day together.”  Tears.  I mean wow. 


I was in college full-time until Ethan was one year old.  Then I worked full time for three years.  Getting that pink slip was perhaps the best thing that has ever happened to me as a parent.  It forced us to take a leap of faith we were scared to take on our own.  I still am one of the Directors of the local crisis pregnancy center and put in about 12 hours a week there now.  I also work as an adoption social worker, but that is completely on my own schedule.  I love being able to answer Ethan’s daily question of “What are we doing today, Mommy?”  with a, “We are spending the whole day together, Bub!” and then hear his squeals of delight and feel the extra tight hug around my neck. 


I have heard how parents can get emotional when their child starts Kindergarten.  I had always assumed I would be crying on that day.  Boy, I was right, but for  a whole different reason than I imagined 5 years ago…

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Women of Faith Columbus 2012

After uploading my pictures, I realized the majority of them were taken while we were eating or before…hmmm…


Last weekend, I made the drive to Columbus to attend Women of Faith with some really awesome ladies.  We volunteered at the event to get free tickets and I have to say that it was worth it.  We didn’t get the seats we originally thought we were, but it was still great and well worth it!

And of course, there was cheesecake involved.



Kelly and Nancy were taking pictures of their yummy cheesecake!  I’m sure our waiter thought we were nuts!




Even little Ava (Erin’s sweetie) wanted a bite.  She was still snug in her mommy’s tummy at the last Women of Faith.




She really liked our waiter as well!



I’m so thankful to be with these awesome ladies again!  Erin, Holly and Kelly are all beautiful women with big hearts and we all were brought together by loss. 




wof ccfwof cheesecake

wof groupwof kelly and i


Mark Lowry was absolutely hilarious and really just made me laugh.  I may be dating myself a little here, but I remember seeing him on a show called CCM (Contemporary Christian Music TV) on the family channel in the 90s.  It was full of Christian music videos and his were always SO funny!  But what I really loved about him is that he would make us laugh, then hit on a serious, profound point then before we knew it we were laughing again.  One of the things he said that really left an impression on me was, “People with an experience are never at the mercy of people with an argument.”  Amen, brother!


He also sang his song that he and Sandi Patty did together years and years ago and I was laughing until I cried because I remember that music video.  And the best part was that Sandi Patty was there and they had a camera on her during the event and we got to watch her reaction as he acted his and her parts to the song with the help of a mic stand and a blond wig.



We got to hear Mandisa sing and she was great.  She is so beautiful, inside and out!






Mike Lewis “The Jesus Painter”  tells a beautiful story on canvas and at the end, it is the face of Jesus.  It was very moving.






Amy Grant sang some oldies and some very emotional new songs.  It was great to see her!






It was a great weekend and I’m so glad I made the trip!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012