Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Schoolhouse Planner

I know I said I wasn't going to post this week, but I completely forgot that I had signed on to review a great resource from The Old Schoolhouse Store - The Schoolhouse Planner.

I am not a stranger to the planner ... I purchased both the 2009 and 2010 version and wasn't planning on purchasing the 2011 version. I figured that with the two that I had, I was set with whatever forms I could possibly need. However, this one is over the top bigger than the two I had before! Topping out at at mega 819 pages, the planner has about every form that you could possibly need.

Things that I love about this planner:

  • The two page monthly layouts - large squares with lots of room to write in (which, with four kids, I need large squares!) There is a lined and unlined version of this layout - I always go for lines myself - and a one-page monthly planner page if you don't need a two page spread.
  • Fifty-eight pages of recipes!
  • What they call "must-know lists" - things that a student should memorize and/or handy references for facts such as the books of the Bible, miracles / parables of Jesus, list of Newberry and Caldecott medal winners, a picture book list, U.S. Presidents, the periodic table of elements, a kitchen conversion cheat sheet and the list goes on.
And then there are the homeschool forms! So. many. options. : ) There are weekly planning forms in many different layouts (one of which I think will be my form for this coming year with two students). There are daily planning pages, assignment sheets, and long range planning forms (map out your year for each student with goals you want them to accomplish). Another set of forms that I have been using since the first planner I purchased in 2009 is my Twelve Year Planning forms - they are great for jotting down ideas for down the road, ie., books that I want my girls to read in high school that I might see mentioned in a homeschool catalog or a blog post. Speaking of high school, they have TONS of high school forms that are geared to help you plan your students course of study. While I don't need those for several years, they look like some great resources for down the road!

My two-cents about this planner now that I've told you about some of the great features that it contains:
  • it contains a WEALTH of information and forms - tons that you will see yourself using and many that you didn't even think of but will come in handy all the same.
  • It is pricey at $39.00. (I can't remember, but I don't think I paid that much for the two I purchased).
  • This would be a great resource for a first-time homeschooler who might need a jump-start on planning and organization.
  • It might be a tad bit overwhelming when you start going through it. There is certainly a lot of good stuff here, but there is also a lot of stuff that I won't use that I had to wade through. 
All that to say, if you are looking for a great planner for your homeschool year, I can recommend this one as one that is worth considering. 

Thank you to The Old Schoolhouse Store for allowing me to review and share my opinion on this planner. I received no compensation other than an electronic copy of the planner - all opinions are my own.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Busy Week

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This week is shaping up to be a busy one with some summer fun (playdates and friends having babies) and some summer not-so-fun (attending a funeral this week for a dear friend who's dad passed away).

Taking a little bloggy hiatus and will be back next week!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Show and Tell

I figured I'd do a little show and tell of things I have noted this week that hopefully I have time to go back and spend a little more time on.



I'm excited to participate in Ali's Week in the Life project again this year. This will be the third time (I think) that I've participated in this project. Truthfully, neither of the previous years have ever made it into an album. However, I do have those weeks documented on the blog and I love looking back and seeing a glimpse of the dailyness that is our life. This will be the week right before the start of school so who knows if it will include a lot of last minute summer fun or some last minute preparations so that we can start school the following week. Either way, I love this process of documenting and am looking forward to it.

Melissa Wiley is a author and book blogger that I stumbled on to ages ago. She has a huge span of kids and when she recommends a book, I put it on my list to check on at the library. She recently had a Q&A post on her blog and so I threw one out about books for N1 as we embark on a study of early civilizations / ancient Greek / ancient Romans / ancient Chinese civilitation a la Story of the World. She didn't just give me a suggestion or two - I got a whole post! Thrilled to pieces I am. Between her list and the book reviews that Amy at Hope is the Word did last year, I am not as scared of tackling this area of history with my 2nd grader as I once was.

Shimelle has been posting some great travel-related scrapbooking posts. It's making me want to take a trip just for the sake of a travel scrapbook. : ) We aren't traveling this summer, but I'm bookmarking this post, this one, and this one to refer back to when it's time.

So many posts about living an intentional, present life where I am right now ... do you think there is a message I'm supposed to be hearing? : )

This post from Ann Voskamp about scripture memory and this one about family time in the Word. Convicted, I am. Making plans.

And for something on an extremely humorous note:

This makes me really laugh. : )

Friday, June 24, 2011

Currently ::: Late June

Current Books: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, The Hidden Gallery (Book 2) and One Thousand Gifts (found my copy).

Current Playlist: Nothing. Nada. Zilch. There is always so much noise (good noise!) present in my life with little people and a husband who is a musician. When it is my choice, I choose silence and have whenever I have (rarely) been alone of late.

Current Color: summery orange

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Current Drink: decaf iced tea and lots of it

Current Food: lots of fresh veggies to go with my Weight Watcher eating. Salad, sauteed veggies and lots of fruit is the majority of what I've been eating and I will be very sad to see the end of summer and all this fresh goodness.
Lunch.
Current Favorite Favorite: lots of lists on a plain legal pad. It has been my constant companion of late as I plan household, upcoming school, etc.

And this picture of girl cousins.

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Current Wishlist: to order our school books. It's on the agenda for next month, Lord willing! I've got my list made out and am ready to go.

Current Needs: some time to process all the thinkerly things rolling in my brain. Thoughts about school, thoughts about keeping life simple, thoughts I need to get on paper. 
Current Triumph: A-hem. -21 lbs, thankyouverymuch.

Current Bane of my Existence: the continual need to bathe children that play outside every evening and want to keep on going until the sun goes down. And by saying, bane, I mean that this is a good problem to have, but I'm not really looking forward to having to wean them from such summertime high-jinks and schedules when school starts in about month.

Current Indulgence: Of late, not much in the way of foodie indulgences (see current triumph above). I do have a bowl of popcorn and apples every evening after the girls go to bed. That's about as crazy as it gets. 

Current Mood: indecisiveness? Is that mood? Thinking lots and lots about balance for us over the next school year as it is the season for signing up for activities and enrolling in programs. There is much more I could write about that in this space, but I'll just leave it with this for now...

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Current #1 Blessing: having several weeks in a row here that are free, or nearly so. We had plans to travel and see T's family at the end of June/beginning of July and those fell through. We've taken a rain check for later in the year, but that means that this week, when I would have been packing and getting us ready, was blissfully empty; next week, when we would have been on the road is also completely free because we weren't going to be in town. Working very hard to make sure those weeks stay that way.

Current Outfit: denim skirt and purple t-shirt. 

Current Excitement: Cars 2. I'm as excited about the girls about going to see it at the theater.

Current Link: I have a whole slew of them coming tomorrow for a fun listy-Saturday post. Stay tuned... : )

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday ::: Mr. Seahorse by Eric Carle

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This week, I thought I would share a wonderful book that we discovered right before Father's Day and have added to our home collection. Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle was one I had seen on at least one blog on the days leading up to Father's Day (of course, now I can't remember who to give credit to). When I heard what the gist of the story was, I quickly ordered it for the boy to give his Daddy for Father's Day.

Mister Seahorse is a book about some special undersea animals - the daddies! In several of the different fish species, the daddies are in charge of keeping an eye on the eggs or toting the freshly hatched babies around and protecting them. The seahorse, for example, is one such species - after the mama lays the eggs, the daddy carries the eggs in a special pouch until it is time for them to hatch.

The book, of course, has the amazing art of Eric Carle. It also features so very cool see-through pages (like a painted transparency) that illustrate how certain fish can hide and disguise themselves underwater. A neat interactive element to the book that I was surprised to find.

A sweet, sweet book that we are enjoying and are glad to add to our collection!

For more Read-Aloud Thursday, visit Amy at Hope is the Word.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This is probably how Calvin & Hobbes started...

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A comic that was given to me by N1's former Sunday school teacher so this is a few months old. So glad he gave this to me because it is hilarious.

Girl 1: My catopillar dident turn into a butterfly.

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Girl 2: That's a cheto. (cheeto)

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Girl 1: Oh.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

The weekend that was...

Just a few pictures from our weekend.

We celebrated N1's completion of two years as a Girl Scout Daisy with a cookout and bridging ceremony. She and her troop are now officially Brownies! She has enjoyed her girl scout troop and we have enjoyed the time getting to know the other girls and their mamas over the past two years.

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Fruit salsa. I forgot all about this recipe and made it for the aforementioned Girl Scout shindig. Yum, yum, yum.

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A gratuitously cute picture of the boy just because. He thinks he is big stuff because we pull up to stand on EVERYTHING. Oh, and he can now climb our stairs. Excellent. : )

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We had a nice and easy Father's Day yesterday celebrating Grandpa (my Dad) and T. I meant to take a picture of T with the kids for our Project Life album and everyone was scattered around the house and then I forgot. I blame it on the fact that our upstairs a/c was out over the weekend and some of us (the boy and myself specifically) didn't get much sleep. The others were more fortunate and slept like rocks - probably also due to busy days and late nights from last week's VBS. I'm looking forward to a very quiet week this week - with working a/c! - and hope to sneak in a nap or two if the girls will let me. We'll see. : )

Hope you all had a great weekend - happy Monday!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Project life ::: Weeks 23-24

Some quick shots of the last two weeks worth of pictures. Today is the first day that we've been home all day, just us. (No cousins or friends). It's been very nice and quiet for the most part and I was able to scrap some this afternoon while the girls watched a movie.

The overview shot:

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Left side: a couple pictures of our first trips to the neighborhood pool and one that my niece took of N2. The 4th journaling slot is cut from the side of a Happy Meal box. The Kung Fu Happy Meal was a big hit with little people that week. : )

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Right side: pics of the girls with library books and reading w/ cousin J. The top right photo is one of those flip-up ones, but the picture I took was really blurry - oops. Bottom picture is of N1 with her new smash journal - I've signed her up for a creative kids scrapbook class that starts next week. The journal is part of her supplies and I've had to hide it to keep her from messing with it. : ) Also a pic of E in our front carrier. It won't be long before he's too big for it.

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Week 24 overview:

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The left side: a pair of shoes that N2 hardly takes off, a couple pics and notes about dance camp, and the card that says "details" is a fold-out one with extra journaling all about sick boy this week. Last journal slot is a tag from the girls' dance leotards I bought with a picture glued to it.

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There is a 5 x 7 insert this week - the pages in there are a little long, but they would have been way too small for an 8 1/2 x 11 page protector. One side is a note that N1 received from her 1st grade teacher and the other side is some current B artwork.

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Right side: just random shots from the week - being waved off as we drove to dance camp, a pool pic, more dance camp, and lastly a subtle shot I took at a church staff meeting we attend once a month. : ) The princess shot of the girls is another fold-up page with pics of my niece's ball game underneath.

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Summer life is full right now! I have lots more summer stories that I want to tell on other scrapbook layouts; however, I'm so thankful that I have this system to get the main ones down while they are fresh. : )

For more information about Project Life, visit Becky Higgins' blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday ::: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Fun, fun, fun!!! That's what I have to say about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl! This was one of the books that I selected for N1's summer reading list and it didn't take much arm-twisting for it to become our current read-aloud. In record time, we devoured this book ... only ending our reading time for such inconveniences such as food and sleep. : )

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My copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from childhood. It has seen better days. : )

I'm sure almost everyone is familiar with the story. Charlie Bucket is a poor boy who lives with his parents in a very run-down house with his two sets of grandparents. They live in the same town as the world's most famous chocolate factory run by a mysterious man named Mr. Willy Wonka. No one goes in to the factory and no one goes out, and Mr. Wonka hasn't been seen by anyone for years. Then suddenly, an announcement comes from the factory announcing five golden tickets that have been randomly hidden inside Wonka bars. The lucky ones that find these golden tickets are invited to attend a private tour of the chocolate factory with Mr. Wonka! 

If you haven't read the book, I won't say much more other than Charlie does managed to get a hold of a golden ticket and many adventures are in store for him! The fast-paced dialogue and story made this a fantastic read-aloud - and also made us very hungry for chocolate! (Consider yourself warned!) : ) The imagination of Roald Dahl is something to marvel at. His creativity in describing the many features of this magical chocolate factory, the personality of the children in the story, and the zany-ness of Willy Wonka make this story a true delight to read. True God-given creativeness put to very good use, in my opinion, although I don't know where Mr. Dahl stood on such issues.

We highly recommend this book for a fun family read-aloud! 

For more great read-aloud suggestions, visit Hope is the Word!

Related links:
Our read-aloud review of another Dahl book: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

VBS Week

This week is VBS week for us. My girls LOVE this week - ours runs every evening so it makes for some crazy late nights and wacky dinner times. (Bonus: my early-bird girls usually sleep in this week which I love). : )

Lunch.

This summer I am planning dinners about a week out (instead of my normal monthly plan) and inwardly groaned at the challenges of this week:
  • having to have all 4 children out the door at 6:15 or so (when that's normally our dinner time)
  • have the 3 girls + baby fed by that time
  • having a plan for dinner for T - he doesn't get home from work in time to eat with us pre-VBS. Also, since he's helping to lead the Bible study for the older kids there, he doesn't eat until after VBS. By then I don't want to make a 2nd dinner.
  • making a dinner that isn't too heavy for the girls to eat before they are outside in 90+ degree weather at church and not too heavy for us to eat later in the evening.
  • Coming up with something healthy for me to eat with Weight Watchers that is still quick and easy.
Here's what I came up with this week:

Monday: taco salad for the grown ups, nachos and fruit for the kids (two of my girls will eat salad, one will not, but they will eat the taco meat on their chips and cheese for a bit a protein)
Tuesday: my one night that we'll do fast food. McDonald's has Happy Meals on sale for $1.99 on M/T/W this summer so I can feed the girls for $6. Can't beat that. : ) T & I will eat leftovers.
Wednesday: cheese quesadillas and fruit or raw veggies for the girls, I'll add grilled chicken and veggies to the adult versions.
Thursday: monte cristos + veggies/fruit
Friday: scrambled eggs and (are you sensing a theme?) fruit. We are eating a lot of fruit while it's in season right now. : ) Typically Friday is out family movie and pizza night, but I'm saving the pizza for a night that I we can collapse at home. I may pan fry some chicken apple sausage (below) that T LOVES on Friday and stir it into some pasta and veggies (and these sausages are great for Weight Watchers).

Dinner tonight.

What do you do for quick dinners on nights where you have to be out the door? When it's our regular school-year routine, every Wednesday night is quesadilla night which works beautifully. Five nights in a row is a little trickier, but I think I've managed it ... this year. : )

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Weekend Fun

A few more highlights from our weekend...

Sunday was a very special day in our family. We celebrated T's birthday - and if you have little kids you know that Daddy's birthday is a BIG DEAL. : ) We also dedicated the boy at church on Sunday morning, on T's birthday, so that made the day even more special.

The dedication at church. My Dad is the teaching elder at our church so it was extra special having him do E's dedication (he's done all the kids). As as side note, I always worry about getting extra emotional on stage during these kinds of events, however, do you see little Miss B up there? Not sure what she was doing, but I don't think she was real still. : ) My attention was divided between paying attention to the dedication and making sure that she didn't do a flying leap off the stage if she saw one of her friends from the front. It could have happened - I wouldn't put it past her. : )

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The boy being cute. About this time he decided the he wanted the microphone that Grandpa had and was most intent on reaching to grab it.

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T's birthday lunch was after church. My brother-in-law took over grilling duties for the day (and he rocks the grill). We had steak and chicken, corn, a huge salad, and tons of fresh berries all mixed together. Yum.

One of our standard gifts for T every year is a "gift certificate" for the girls to take him to the new Pixar movie that comes out right around his birthday. This year was no exception and we're going to take him to see Cars 2 in just a few weeks. We can't wait!

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Lots of little assistants to help blow out Daddy's candles - my Mom made the cake. It was a Texas cookie sheet cake - a family recipe my Mom has made for years - and is on my list of things to learn how to make.

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Our other super fun gift for T. We love the show Mythbusters - lots of science, explosions, and fun experiments. The girls picked out this t-shirt for him and N1 is already lobbying for her own Mythbusters t-shirt when her birthday rolls around in October.

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And just a couple fun random shots that my Dad took. The boy, who is feeling MUCH better. So thankful for that!

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Little Miss N2. She was looking seriously adorable on Sunday.

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Whew. A busy and wonderful weekend! This week is VBS so no rest for the weary here. : )

Monday, June 13, 2011

I love ball games

I love going to my niece and nephew's ball games. There is just something very fun about being at the ball park. Warm summer evening. Cheering for their teams, Little girls playing with cousins. Coming home very filthy.

It's all good.

My neice ... she would intimidate me with that stare.

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My nephew. He's a little bit cute.

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The uncle. The little girls think he pretty much rocks.

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The food stand at the ballpark. Shamed is the Mama who does not bring a few quarters so that they can get a popsicle. (Luckily between me, my sister and my Mom we were able to pool enough change so the kids could survive the game).

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Healthy snacks. Water cancels out Doritos, right?

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The boy. He makes the rounds with everyone. The uncle is instructing him in the ways of the force sport and getting a little guy time.

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Time to sit with Grandma for a bit.

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Oooh, Grandma has a drink for me! Actually, it's just a straw I chewed on for a while, but I thought I was pretty cool.

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The uncle and the boy again. A mid-air shot.

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No pictures of the game. : ) I was too busy cheering my niece and make sure the girls didn't fall of the bleachers by that point. Wish we could make it to more games each season - it's definitely a highlight of our spring/summer evenings.

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Inspired By ::: 10 Things

For Friday ... a listy. Ten things that have caught my eye online over the past few weeks taken straight from my boards at Pinterest. (Pinterest is like a visual bulletin board online to store and catalog things you find on various websites. Genius. Totally helping me keep on track of all those links or ideas I want to save but never keep up with).

1. This idea for a Favorite Things Party. I can see me putting this together for a girls' night out someday.


2. A chalkboard sign for the kitchen with the day's menu.


3. A postcard birthday tutorial for some serious great happy mail. My oldest would LOVE getting something like this in the days leading up to her birthday.


4. Fruit served in a waffle cone. How pretty for a summer picnic.


5. Taco pizza from Pioneer Woman. I will be making this soon.


6. Library cards and pockets in the front of our own books. 


7. Star Wars poster ... for the boy of course. :)


8. I need something like this in the bathroom for bathing suits.  So smart.


9. This little craft project just makes me happy with all the rainbow of colors.


10. An indoor A-frame tent for the little girls' room. They would love it.


Linking up with 10 Things on Shimelle's blog to round out this week. Happy Friday!