September 30, 2008

Bears Unit

Next in our BFIAR journey we read and learned with all the 'bear books'. We started with Blueberries for Sal back in July. I was hoping for us to visit a berry farm before moving to Houston but our schedule was very tight during this month. :-(

So here are some pictures from last year's visit to the berry farm in Woodstock, Illinois with Lolo Ben and Lola Emmy. It's amazing to look back and see how much the boys have changed and grown in one year!

September 26, 2008

Have we got a show for you!

Yesterday I took the boys to the Veggie Tales Live! show and we had a blast!! I tried very hard to take a picture of the boys looking at the camera but there was no use of trying....

...their eyes were GLUED to this....

I wanted to post more pictures but most of them were very dark. Afterwards we got to spin the Chik-fil-a wheel for free meals and give hugs to the cow. We also played at the church's new indoor playground.
By 7pm the boys were very happy and very tired and ready for bed!
I couldn't ask for a better afternoon. ;-)
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September 22, 2008

Pregnancy...23 weeks.

This is how I am looking these days. I'm around 23 weeks into the pregnancy and thankfully feeling very well (I have some minor back pain when doing house chores but I'll take that any day instead of morning sickness).
I've managed to gain only 15 pounds so far!! ( some of you know why this gets me now I think I had gain double that number in previous pregnancies).
I feel very blessed to hear my little boys talk about the plans they have with their baby sister...Caleb wants to read her books and make her laugh...and Noah wants to give her lots of kisses and teach her songs.
I am blessed to have a patient-loving husband who constantly chooses to bring peace and laughter to our home in the midst of my 'outbursts of emotions' (don't you like how that sounds?). I'm sure this is not his favorite part of me being pregnant but these days I am very emotional and sensitive about little things. But this too shall pass, right? Looking forward to my progesterone levels to return to normal. LOL!

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Music for my soul

What's on my player right now??

These are my most played albums at the moment. If you have not heard must check them out.

Saviour King (Hillsong Music. Uplifting worship always)

The Invitation (Meredith Andrews. We were blessed to have Meredith as a worship leader in our church in Illinois. This is her new released album and her single "You're not alone" is always playing on Houston KSBJ )

Albertine (Brooke Fraser. Super talented singer/songwriter from New Zealand on her 2nd album and first release in North America. She also writes and sings with the Hillsong United Band.)

Hello Love (Chris Tomlin. LOVE the new album! Our boys are hooked to "Sing, Sing, Sing".)

September 18, 2008

Jenny's Surprise Summer

Our next summer adventure was "Jenny's Surprise Summer". A Little Golden Book by Eugenie (remember I'm still catching up blogging about our summer unit studies).
A fun project with we this week was colored sand art. So simple and so fun!!Here's the boys putting glue on the construction paper and adding the sand.

Here's Caleb's finished work.
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Jenny's Surprise -part 2

Here's Noah's finished work.

Another fun activity for this unit was playing Haydn's Surprise Symphony for the boys. I LOVED their reaction when the music unexpectedly gets very loud. I used it to talk about what is a surprise. ;-)

We also practiced drawing the cats in the story. Once again, we used the lesson on Usborne's "I Can Draw Animals" book. Here's Caleb's drawing of 'Smokey'.

And here's Noah's drawing of 'Pumpkin'...not bad for 3 year old, right?
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September 16, 2008

Hurricane Ike

We are so thankful to the Lord for his protection over us during Ike. Our area was not affected by the strongest winds, mostly tropical storm force with about 1-2 hours were the the wind gusts reached hurricane force.

Still the winds were strong enough to be quite scary. We kept looking at the windows thinking that the trees in our yard were going to break any moment by the way they were bending. Also the wind/rain hitting against our windows made them vibrate. It was definitely an unforgettable experience.

The boys slept very well considering all the noise going on outside (praise the Lord). Brad and I spent the night in and out of sleep peeking at the window and listening to the radio for updates.

By Saturday morning around 10:30 am the winds began to calm down but still the rain kept on pouring for most of the day.

Afterwards we walked outside to see if there was any damage and we did have some damage to our roof. Shingles that fell off made way for water to go into our attic. Brad and I were able to put some towels and buckets to prevent the water for going down into the main floor.

The rest of the day we were mostly outside (because we had no electricity or air conditioning). The boys enjoyed splashing in puddles, while Brad and I talked to the neighbors. We had an opportunity to talk more to them and even meet some that we have not had a chance to meet yet. Many of them had severe roof damage. Some lost their fences as well.

But by God's grace, the damage was minimum in comparison to other areas here in Houston. By Saturday evening we got the power back (we did loose it again on Sunday for most of the day) as well as water and gas.

On Sunday morning we woke up around 6am to more rain so Brad and I had to run to the attic to look for leaks once again and put new buckets. Later that day we found a Home Depot that was open and were able to buy something to cover the roof temporarily.

I have to say that we were all very calmed before and after the storm. We knew the God we serve is faithful and that he promised to be with us even through the waters and how his hand is upon all the earth and the winds and waves obey him. I was reminded of this passage in Isaiah... "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?" (Isaiah 40:12) Of course, it's our great and awesome God!

The best part of this experience for us was how much fun we had with the boys. With no tv or computers to distract us, we spend the entire weekend playing board games, hide and seek and reading books.

Once we got power back on we did turned on the news to watch the devastation. I'm so glad our boys got to see some of it and realize how the Lord had kept us safe.

On Sunday night, because we had a worship time together as a family. We sang songs and Brad read to us Romans 8:28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose". We shared and remembered times in our lives when things have been good and times when things have gone bad and how even in those bad times God work it out for our good. We spent some time in praise and thanksgiving for his protection over us. It was great to hear the boys thank God that our house was not flooded or destroyed and that daddy was able to fix the roof, getting the power back, etc.

We felt so loved and cared for by so many family and friends who left messages, text, emails and for all the prayers. Thank you so much!!

Things are starting to get back to normal here and we are resuming school time today.

September 15, 2008

My Blue Boat Lapbook

We continued our summer units with "My Blue Boat" by Chris Demarest.
Our topics included mammals in the water (whales, dolphins), boats, ocean life and how do things float.
We used this simple lapbook from Homeschoolshare. I also added some clip art from the Usborne Children's Encyclopedia. This is an interned-linked encyclopedia with tons of images to download.

For the back of the lapbook Caleb painted this sailboat using watercolors.

The inside cover with middle flap. On the left are pictures of different types of boats (sail, motor, row). The front middle flap has animals on the ocean and pictures of dolphins and whale (we talked a lot about these animals).

Here's the inside of the "what is blue?" booklet.

Here's the inside of "animals in the ocean".

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My Blue Boat Lapbook-part 2

Don't know why I'm having trouble with Picasa but here's the rest of the lapbook. The inside middle flap with our 'W' add-ons (whale, handwriting and 'w is for').
Caleb's drawing of a dolphin. He followed the 'dolphin' lesson on "I Can Draw Animals" (Usborne title). We glued this to the back of the middle flap.
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September 14, 2008

Yellow Ball

Our first summer unit from BFIAR was "Yellow Ball", by Molly Bang. The manual gives a great idea of doing some art with oil pastels and here's a picture of Caleb's art. Don't know why the picture is sideways but that blue/green part at the bottom is the ocean. :-)

During this time we were part of the library's summer reading program getting ready to receive our half way price. It just couldn't come at a better time...the price was a new BALL!! When it was time to choose the color for the ball, I suggested of course....YELLOW....right? Well who would want a different color after we spent a whole week reading about a yellow ball?? :-) Here's a picture of Noah with their new GREEN and RED balls. Mom, of course just let them enjoy their gift and did not insist on the yellow one. How could I? Look at that happy face!! ;-)

We also finished a simple lapbook from homeschoolshare. You can get the printouts here. For the cover we used clip arts cut and paste.

Here's the inside panel...

Inside the "what is yellow" mini book.

For the back of the lapbook we re-created the cover of the book using pieces of construction paper. The boys insisted the ball should be floating on the water and not bouncing up on the sky. ;-)

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September 12, 2008

I am an Artist

What a great book for little kids! (Don't I always say that??)
I Am An Artist by Pat Lowery Collins was our next Spring BFIAR unit. For this title we had a lot of fun with seashells. But not any kind of seashells bought at the store...these were very special ones that we picked along the beaches of the Atlantic ocean in our visit to Puerto Rico!! The boys had not seen them since our trip so it was great to see their excitement.

First we carefully looked at them using a magnifying glass...see those lines?...see those shapes and colors?...

Then we each chose which ones where our favorites. Here are Caleb's pick.

Then I let the boys use water colors to paint some of them.

We also practiced making different lines in the sand (spiral, jagged, diagonal, straight, curve, circle, etc.)
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September 11, 2008

The Quiet Way Home

The Quiet Way Home by Bonny Becker is one of the BFIAR titles that is out of print but that is worth looking for. We got ours through a inter-library loan.

This story just like Play With Me, teaches the benefits of listening and being still and being attentive.

So for the entire week (and really weeks after that) we went on a search for quiet noises around the house, around the neighborhood (this one was hard to do because we were still living in a condo in the middle of Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago).

Here's the list we made on day one...
  • clock ticking
  • a page turning
  • feet or hands rubbed together
  • walking on grass
  • wind moving leaves on the sidewalk
  • squirrel scratching a branch
  • keyboard (typing)
  • wood floor creaking
  • a drop of water in the sink
  • keys in the front door
  • rain on the windows
  • mosquito
  • ceiling fan
  • plastic bag

A great read-along title is The Listening Walk by Paul Showers.

September 10, 2008

Play with Me

Last Spring and Summer we enjoyed 7 BFIAR (Before Five in a Row) titles!! But because of our moving plannings I was left with very little blogging time so I will attempt now to update on what we learned.
I will blog on what we enjoyed doing the most and of any add-ons activities. The author of BFIAR has put together a manual with wonderful activities and discussions questions. We always included activities from the manual. I won't always share here all the we've done from the manual, because's in the can always get one, right?

After The Carrot Seed,our next unit was "Play with Me" by Marie Hall Ets. The story follows a little girl's encounter with different animals who make their home by a pond and her attempt to play with them.

I love this story especially because it teaches little ones to be still and quiet...something that can be a challenge with my very active boys. ;-)

Here's some fun add-ons (lapbook component) the boys enjoyed putting together. You can get them here and here.

Inside each flap we wrote 'yes' or 'no'. We also made a list of other animals they would like to play with one day.

Each matchbox has a description of an animal from the story that I read aloud to them while they search for the picture with the answer to paste inside. Simple but fun.

We couldn't possibly read this story without taking a walk around the woods and visiting a pond, right? So we headed to the nature center near us to see which animals we could spot. We found turtles and frogs by the pond. We also saw lots of squirrels (not in the story), a few deer, a heron and lots of robins and cardinals. Unfortunately my camera's battery died so these are the only shots I got our fun afternoon...

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September 04, 2008

And the baby is.......

Expected arrival date: January 19, 2009
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9)

September 03, 2008

Answered prayers

Time and time again the Lord is so faithful in answering our prayers, even when we don't deserve his goodness. I am amazed, looking back at this year and how He has brought us to this new place, new state, new home, new job and church.

This week He answered our prayers once again as I have been seeking to connect with other moms and homeschoolers.

We joined a local homeschooling support group who offers enrichment classes, field trips, park days and more. Yesterday we met some families from the group, including a mom who lives in our same subdivision! Caleb and Noah will join an enrichment class of "hands-on" science twice a month. The home where we will meet is about 5 minutes away.

We are also joining a BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) class on Tuesday mornings. The boys can attend with me and have their own class as well.

If you know me well, you know that I crave being around people so for me this was a huge answered prayer!!

Tomorrow Thursday will be my ultrasound. The boys will be there with us and I just can't wait to see their reaction when they get to peek at who's inside mama's belly. ;-)