Author Archives:

Curriculum 2015-2016

curriculum

 

 

Cameron 11th

History, Language Arts, Bible- Veritas Press Omnibus

Math- Math U See Geometry Online Co-op

Science- Apologia Chemistry Online Academy

Foreign Language- Rosetta Stone Mandarin

Art History- Meet the Masters

PE

 

 

Taylor 10th

History, Language Arts, Bible- My Father’s World. World History & Literature

Math- Math U See Geometry

Science- Apologia Chemistry

Foreign Language- Rosetta Stone Mandarin

Art History- Meet the Masters

PE

 

Emma- 5th grade

Science, Social Studies, History, Art, Cooking, Bible, Spelling/Vocab- Five in a Row

Cursive- Handwriting Without Tears, Cursive Success

Writing- Writing Strands

Grammar- Intermediate Language Lessons

Math – Math U See Gamma

Life Skills- Etiquette Factory

Nature Study- Five in A Row Nature Study

PE

 

Greyson- Pre K

Science, Social Studies, History, Art, Cooking, Bible- Five in a Row

Readiness & Writing- Handwriting Without Tears, Get Set for School

Nature Study- Five in A Row Nature Study

PE

 

I am excited about our curriculum for next year! I am sure minor things will be tweaked over the summer, but for now this is the plan! We have changed things up quite a bit for next year! The biggest change is that Greyson is officially a student now! He will begin his pre-k year this fall. Time flies. With my youngest starting his first year, I realize that my oldest has just two years left. I can’t think about that right now, hold me…

My oldest will be enrolled in almost all online courses this year, some with teachers! With college in the very near future, I feel this step will be very helpful for him. He will be managing most of his workload on his own with the help of his teachers and of course, I will be overseeing and providing help as needed. We are so excited to be able to find these options in two companies that we have used for years and love: Apologia and Math U See. In addition, we will be adding Veritas Press, which I have heard amazing things about!

Another change is that I am going to have Greyson and Emma both doing Five In A Row for the bulk of school. Amazingly enough, I met the creator’s of this curriculum at convention and realized that they are my neighbors! They were so gracious to have me in their home not once, but twice and I absolutely adore Jane Lambert. Her philosophy for education and love for the Lord and children is contagious. I am so excited to start learning from the curriculum that she created. In a nut shell, we will be reading stories and learning in a unit study format for each book. Activities and assignments will be age appropriate. These two are not close in age and this is likely the only year I will pull this off. But I am SO excited to take this leap. It will be such a great change for us this year! In the afternoon, Emma will have Math and Language Arts that she will work on and Greyson will have free time!

Finally, this summer I am going to take the kids to the store and let them pick out things for their own Quiet Time basket. Each morning we will be meeting at 8:30 to start our day and everyone will be having their own Bible Study time with the Lord individually, yet together. At the end we will talk a bit and pray and then get on with our day! I really want the kids to become very comfortable in their own relationships with the Lord and feel like this could be really special time for us.

I have yet to determine PE. We are all over the place now with running, biking, skateboarding, some wii time, and kickboxing dvd’s. But I don’t like it. LOL. Any suggestions for me? Feel free to throw my way! I just want something a bit more structured!

Please leave comments or email me with any questions! What new things have you found for next year???

 

 

 

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The Beginning

It was a cool California night in November 2005, ten short years ago. My husband comes home from his new position at a new church and tells me about auditions for the worship team: describing the people etc. etc. He told me about a gal that he wasn’t going to have continue on the worship team. Great, I tease, makin’ friends right off the bat. Because this gal and family were very plugged into our new church and I wasn’t sure how they’d react. Because I worry like that. Following what you believe God asks of you often doesn’t make sense and we go about our night.

Shortly after that, I get a call from this lady. She wants to take me to coffee. I’m all great, GREAT. Clearly, she wants to beat me up. She has too. I agreed to meet her and prepared my in defense of my husband speech and made sure my mouth guard was waiting in my purse. On the way to coffee, I called my best friend for back up. She was now living two hours away from me and I told her I was getting ready to get pummeled and I would call her when I was done, or released from the hospital.

I pulled up to meet my attacker who turned out to be the darling lady, who was wearing the darling beret, and carried a darling handbag, sitting in the corner. I thought it an odd choice to beat me up in, but I took a deep breath and entered the coffee shop…

and that began a beautiful friendship. No jabs. No cruel words. No mouth guard needed. She just wanted to meet me. Class act, that one.

Years of ministry work through thriving times in our church and times of not, we worked side by side and developed a deep relationship. It was clear God had so many other places he wanted to use this one and use her He does. Fast forward to fall of 2014 and we are hugging goodbye in my kitchen, as I am preparing for yet another move. I have been crying for about 4weeks straight by this point and Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam is my in head play list. All Cried Out, indeed. Then she says it. She whispers in my ear. Some one is going to take you to coffee. Go.

Words that seem simple but have such deep meaning to them. History. Authentic history.

She sends me care packages. It’s almost like I’m away at college. Books to feed my soul and a plaque that hangs in my closet “Put on your big girl panties” to remind me. She knows I need it. We’ve gone through some deep crap together along with our other girls from those years and good grief can I tell you how ridiculously blessed I am with my people back home. Still. They didn’t bail on me just because I’m 1800 miles away. We just adjusted.

God is so good.

Despite the fact that blog world can necessitate a certain sense of crypticness, I have left no secret in saying that I left California 16 months ago broken in pieces.

I have poured out portions of our story. I have doubted and questioned, but never ran. He has answered and encouraged through experiences that literally leave me speechless.

Because God binds up wounds. He heals. He takes circumstances where people mean to harm you and the devil is seeking to destroy you and He literally works them together for good. For. my. benefit. and I say Holla to that.

I am so grateful that He works in ways that continually surprise.

Don’t give up.

Don’t waiver.

Joy comes in the morning.

Just like He said it would.

But let us fix our eyes on God, the author and perfecter of our faith. Heb 12:2

 

have you heard this song? go get lost in it.

touch the sky

 

 

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That Really Cool Pencil Sharpener Giveaway

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Remember when I wrote the overly dramatic post about the pencil sharpener?

I was not even kidding and my love for her is still growing strong!

It’s time for the giveaway that I promised!

Enter below!

Best wishes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Hello, My Lovelies.

I have sat down to write too many times to count and the words won’t come.  So, I start messy and with a blog that won’t currently let me post pictures.

 

Let’s discuss the weather first. I’m telling you, I don’t know how I lived without seasons thus far. I find them to be amazing. From a girl who rearranges furniture and paints walls as often as I change my socks, I am totally on board with the let’s change things up every three months plan. The only thing I miss desperately is that 109 degree DRY heat of summer in Cali. That does not happen here. Although it hasn’t yet, maybe it will. One thing I am learning about Missouri, is anything weather related is possible. There is snow on the ground, birds are chirping, my fire is roaring, and our less than efficient temperature readings say it “feels like” 13 even though the temperature is 19. #lifecurrently

A couple of weekends ago, I was in Joplin, Mo and ate at a Chick Fil A that was leveled by the F5 tornado several years ago. The friends we were with drove us through the hardest hit areas. You still see remnants of the path. It’s unreal. I came home and geeked out watching documentaries about it and it is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I live 2 hours from where that happened. Spring is coming fast and those thunderstorms are coming back. I could live without the tornado possibility, but they are unbelievable fascinating. If only I could see one in real life from a place where I was 100% safe. Ya know? #talesofanearthquakegirl

 

 

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a road trip with one of my daughters. We had never done that before…so fun. We drove 8 hours down to Texas to stay with some of my people and attended the Great Homeschool Convention in Fort Worth. I went to SO many great workshops and was able to spend hours looking through curriculum. So many of the writer’s of the curriculum were at this convention. It was awesome to be able to speak to them in person and learn from them.

One curriculum I really wanted to check out was FIVE IN A ROW. I really wanted to spend some time reading through it to see if it would be a good fit to do with MY BABY WHO WILL BE STARTING PRE K NEXT YEAR. (ugh). I get to their booth only to find it EMPTY. After several attempts over the first two days, I finally track down the creator of the curriculum who was there solo, WITHOUT his books!

Long story, he says.

So, I jokingly replied, well then I won’t tell you I came all the way from Missouri to see your curriculum!

I came down from Missouri.

Wow! I am from Kansas City area.

Really? I am from Lees Summit.

Um, me too.

and we continue this weird little geography back and forth until it turns out he lives exactly 1.1 miles from me. So, I am going over next week for coffee and to look at the curriculum in their home! #bam

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?????? It might be fate. 

Other convention highlights?

My daughter met Math U See Steve. #hesreallytall

I found two new curriculum treasures. ONE THAT I WILL BE REVIEWING SOON…stay tuned. It’s adorableness can not be explained properly.

I was eating lunch alone and Math U See Steve came and sat with me and had lunch with me. (My daughter might think I am famous now)

If you don’t do conventions and you homeschool, make it a priority to get to one. I am reminded every year when I go how NOT alone we are in this journey. We are not weird, well we are, but ya know. Go to the workshops, touch the books, pet them, wheel around a plastic cart or carry a canvas tote if you need to. You won’t be sorry. Do what you need to do to stay inspired. It’s a necessary part of what we do.

This was the best one I have ever been too. SO glad we went.

…and getting to see some of my bestest people was icing on the cake. So was eating at In ‘N Out… Dear Lord, if you see fit, could you please build an In ‘n Out in Missouri. Amen.

 

 

I am not sure if I technically live in the Bible belt or not, but let me tell you many things here are a far cry from anything I would see in California. Gas stations with full racks of shirts praising Jesus, Chick Fil A plays Christian music. I mean….

This was the same thought that I was having as I was in the Target bathroom and all of a sudden a song blatantly praising Jesus came on. I didn’t even realize Target played music. WOW. Totally not in Cali anymore. I closed my eyes for a minute and thanked God from the bottom of my heart for this little known gem I live in, in the middle of America. Fourteen months into this cross country move thang and I still mostly feel like an alien, but hearing this music…somehow just feels like I belong. So great.

Then I realize it was coming from my purse. From my phone. My make up case had decided to turn on my music.

*flushes toilet*

I can’t even…

 

 

Y’all things have been difficult around here. I want to fill endless posts of stories of beauty and there is beauty, but the truth of it is telling it has simply been too much some days and that is ok for now. My pride struggles a bit as well because I am tired of saying things are hard, but they are what they are and I have to be ok with that too. #toeverythingthereisaseason

I honestly can say that I have never been through a season in life where I feel quite so certain that Satan is so after my family, my home, our hearts, and our minds. 2013 was a brutal year and at the end of that year God in His sovereign mercy chose to swoop in and protect my family in ways only He can. So, I mapped out in my head what the next steps were going to be. I need to knock that off.

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I would like to say that 2014 has driven me to my knees. You know a pretty picture of rays of sunlight streaming in and there I am kneeling by my bedside, eyes softly closed and lips forming words to a prayer pleading with God for wisdom and help.

But no. It has been one where there is no energy for kneeling, so you lay bloody on the floor face down. Eyes swollen from tears that are just about to do you in and lips that are still because your soul is doing all the talking, the screaming really. Silently, yet louder than any noise heaven has heard before.

“I always thought that desperation was to be avoided at any cost. Now I am learning that being desperate isn’t always a reflection of a disaster but an attitude to cultivate. Desperation for God is a good thing. If you became desperate for God, do you understand what that could mean for the rest of your life?” 

“The kingdom of heaven means being near to the presence of God. The kingdom, the presence of God, is a blessing that comes to the poor in spirit. Poverty of spirit comes to us after we have tried to do life on our own and realize we cannot be enough. We have looked inside our souls and seen that nothing good is there. We have owned up to our sin and fessed up to our motives. We have yelled and cursed and screamed. We’ve finally let the truth of our insides out; into the light comes the reality of poverty. We come to see our emptiness for what it truly is: the absence of God. “

~Angela Thomas

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

And so the ah ha moment produces a different course of action. One that is not furiously scribbling out plans and to do lists of how to turn this mutha out. You know all the Pinterest inspired ways to be a better wife, a better mom, more clever, more organized, and more holy. All intended to get my junk together. Nope. It’s one I call the #bestill plan. One that is completely enveloped in one thing and one thing alone. Crawling up into the arms of my Savior and staying there in the shadow of His wings.  A longing that is felt in a way unmatched, other than when it is produced from complete and total desperation.

There is so much praise in pain.

Faith adds its “Amen” to God’s “Yea,” and then takes its hands off, and leaves God to finish His work. ~Streams in the Dessert

There is so much glory in pain.

 “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

He’s doing just that and I have a front row seat.

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and with that…I swim.

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Green Jeans Photography. 2014. Missouri.

 Some 2014 highlights from sessions in Missouri.

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Green Jeans Photography. Fall 2014. California.

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It was an absolute blessing to be able to see 23 clients in a whirlwind week home to CA this past September.

A trip I am hoping to repeat yearly each fall.  I hope you enjoy a few of my favorites from each session and thank you to all my sweet clients and friends who came out.

I so enjoyed seeing each of you.

See you next year!

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Four Years Old.

 

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…and just like that he is four. Absolutely one of the brightest spots of my life.

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This fall has been crazy. Emma turning 10, Greyson turning 4, my oldest turning 16, our 20th anniversary next month, along with all the regular holidays at this time of year. Not to mention we are grieving and adventuring our way through our year of “firsts” here in Missouri. So, on a Sunday I was like, “aaaah I want to have a party for Greyson”. We were so happy that with six days notice we had a houseful of friends young and old to help celebrate our little man. We had a little breakfast party using some 90% superhero decorations that I ridiculously moved from California to Missouri, hoping I would use them one day.

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*that empty plate soon held a yummy stack of quiche :)

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On Greyson’s actual birthday, Grandma J was in town and Shawn was able to take the day off. We went to “high town”, which is Greyson’s name for downtown Kansas City. We played at the park, visited Union Station and his beloved trains, and ate Chipotle.

Just a couple weeks after his birthday, we snuck in this quick Pinterest inspired little photo shoot.

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It was 22 degrees and downright unacceptable weather for a photo session outdoors, lol. BUT we made it happen.

Happy Birthday Little Man.

Your mommy absolutely adores you.

Greyson’s Birth day

Greyson’s First Birthday Monster Party

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The Wordless Post

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100 Days of Real Food Cookbook – GIVEAWAY

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NUMBER ONE on the New York Times Best Seller List! Congratulations Lisa!

 

Unknowingly, to me in March of 2012, our lives were about to change for the better. I participated in a 10 day challenge to eat real food. I had NO CLUE what was about to happen. NONE.

 

Read as we began our challenge here including a sample of our menu.

Read our experience here, including the changes we saw in our health.

…and a month after we completed the challenge here, how I was feeling and what we were doing.

 

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The changes are real, long lasting, and profound.

Yet, this last year our family made a move from Ca to Missouri. It was an incredibly difficult time leaving the only home we had ever known and venturing over half way across the country. During these weeks and months, cooking meals from scratch and paying high attention to what went into our bodies took a back burner, AND BOY did we see the effects of that. It is amazing what happens when you start putting Taco Bell burritos and Chick Fil A sandwiches back into your body. No good can come of that, I assure you. It didn’t take long to get a hold of things again.  We are back on track.  Thank goodness.

If you hear nothing else, please hear this.

I urge you to try the 10 day challenge. Just try it and see if it makes a difference. Prior to this challenge, I fed my kids what I thought was “healthy” off the grocery store shelves. We had chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs, cereal, and soup that cost $.19 cents a package. I thought I was doing well, as a mom feeding my kids. Little did I know that 2 of my children, in particular, have a HUGE negative reaction to what I was feeding them. Want a true test? Take all the processing, chemicals, and absolute fake food away and then give your child a bag of “dark skittles” (skittles that have extra food dye in them, basically). I watched my child turn angry, withdrawn, and miserable within hours. It’s the worst feeling as a mom. Absolutely horrible. Yet, if you think about it, I basically fed my child a bag of chemicals that are also some of the same ingredients that they use to make gas, like the gas you put in your car. Why would I ever do this, I wonder? Well back then, I didn’t know any different. Knowledge changes you.

I just didn’t know that this was happening.

Now I do and I have to do something about it.

“The ugly comes when I haven’t grocery shopped and the house is EMPTY and the kids need lunch NOW because they have been at church all morning and are starving. Ordering Mountain Mikes Pizza just may mean a day of stomach pain and feeling like a huge blob with no energy. I am guessing when you maintain a steady stream of highly processed foods that involve sugar and other additives, you become used to it. When you are truly eating clean and you put some of those processed foods back in your body. Watch out. I am sure everyone responds differently, but it’s not a fun thing. Trust me.”

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It is a constant learning curve to navigate all the situations you encounter as a busy family living in a society that demands instant gratification and has deep emotional connections to food as an intregal part of our daily lives and celebrations. It is work to change these things. Work that is WELL worth it.

Lisa, writes a story about my son Cameron and what our family has been through in the beginning of her new book. Honestly, it is so exciting to be a teeny tiny small part of this amazing project. I had always been intrigued with healthy eating. Lisa’s blog breaks it down and makes it something you can understand. She has helped my family tremendously. Thank you just isn’t enough.

This book is phenomenal. It is a must have.

Look here to see more about what is inside!

Lisa has sent me TWO copies to give away!

Good luck! If you don’t win it, buy it, or put it on your Christmas list. Lisa’s recipes are a regular part of my cooking and have been for two years. They are delicious.

You won’t be sorry.

Best Wishes!

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Go Buy This Pencil Sharpener…No, Really.

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I tend to get overly excited about what one might consider a small issue in one’s life. For example, I titled a post once How Sam’s Club Changed My Life. When I like something I like it, all the way. So, let me tell you about the world’s most amazing pencil sharpener.

I have had children in school for the past 12 years and I have been homeschooling for 6 years. I now have four children and we go through pencils! Lots and lots of them. Over the years, I have had several utterly useless pencil sharpeners. I was about to resort to chiseling pencils this year with a knife, when I had a suggestion to try this one.

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First let’s discuss color. They have color options. Not only do they look amazing and sort of vintage like, but you can choose from Midnight Black, Firehouse Red, Groovy Green, Cool Blue, or Precious Pink. The groovy green was it for me. Love at first sight.

Next, let’s discuss it’s function. No batteries and no plugs! THIS was a HUGE selling point for me.

It’s whisper quiet.

The pencil actually get’s sharp.

I haven’t had one pencil break yet.

My 3 year old can work it.

It’s easy to dump the shavings.

It has the option to clamp to a table top.

It definitely feels “sturdy”. No flimsiness in sight!

They even have videos on their site of how to use it. Which is amazing because I learn best that way. It is SO easy.

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Honestly, there is not one thing I would change or say doesn’t work correctly.

It is amazing!!!

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…and my love of pencil sharpeners has been restored.

Hallelujah.

One more thing. It’s just $24.99. Can you believe that?

Please go buy one! Like right now.

 

CLASSROOM FRIENDLY SUPPLIES

 

Watch for a giveaway coming soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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