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November 30, 2008

Discovering Houston

Can you believe we've been in Houston four months now??!
I just realized this baby is going to come much sooner than I think and I still have not taken a day to go and explore a little bit of the city of Houston with the boys.

So last week we visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science. And of course, we spent most of our time in the dinosaurs hall. I was glad to see how many dinosaurs they remembered from our dinosaur unit a few months ago.

Here's some shots of my happy boys...






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November 29, 2008

December Plans

With a new baby coming soon our December school plans are to enjoy the season of Advent!! ;-)

I have an advent calendar that I will share on a different post (once I put it together) and read many of our favorite Christmas stories. We'll bake cookies and make a gingerbread house, and sing a lot and probably do some spontaneous craft.

I need to get the nursery ready this month so I will probably involve the boys in doing that as well.

For Caleb we will continue working on his 3 R's (reading, writing, arithmetic) since he is doing so well and misses doing it on the weekends and holidays. ;-)

I'll be posting pictures along the way....as long as my legs can still handle sitting in front of the computer for long periods...then...maybe I'll have Brad blog for me...hehe.

Some of our favorite Christmas stories have units available in Homeschoolshare

Another favorites are..

  • The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats
  • The Friendly Beast by Tomie de Paola
  • The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
  • Usborne Lift-the-Flap Nativity

November 26, 2008

A wonderful last minute dessert idea...

I wanted to share this recipe here because it is so yummy and this will be one of my favorites to make every Thanksgiving. So if you are still trying to decide on a dessert to add to your celebration...you can prepare this one last minute and it will turn out great!

It's called "Pumpkin Cream Trifle" and here's the link to it.

I am not a big fan of pumpkin pie (sorry) so to me this is a great way of eating the "pumpkin" with a twist.

I made this recipe for our small group's potluck and many asked for the recipe afterwards. The only thing I added was "Smucker's" Caramel drizzled over the toppings layer....yummy!!

Thanksgiving Fun

This week the boys spent some extra time doing fun thanksgiving crafts. Here they are busy at work in our school room....



And here's the final projects....


"Turkey Feather Counting"




"Paper Indian Corn"




"I Spy Sticker Turkey"

Idea and printouts taken from The Crafty Crow






We also played these very simple but fun games...
  • Popcorn Up/Down: we played this like "simon says". I would shout "popcorn up" or "popcorn down" and while they bend down or jump up.
  • Turkey Dance: use tape to make turkey feet around the floors. Play music and have them dance around the feet pretending to be turkeys. When the music they must stand in one of the footprints.

November 25, 2008

Coloring Fun




Last week we worked on some fun coloring pages from Family Life ministries as we read our Thanksgiving stories. I have to say that Caleb and Noah are not into coloring much. But I surprised them with a 96 Colors Crayola Box!
Do you remember their motto?? "More colors...more fun". This must be true because now they just can't have enough pages to color!! They want to try ALL the colors. They can't believe there's so many colors! LOL!
I don't know what took me so long to "get it"...they must have been bored with their 24 crayons box. :-)

November 24, 2008

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!

Brad and I are celebrating today 9 years of blessed marriage!!

I am so thankful to the Lord for our marriage. We know this is only possible because of our Lord Jesus Christ and I pray that every day I can be a suitable helper to him.

I have been blessed beyond what I deserve with Brad. He is a loving, long-suffering, hard working, gracious, caring husband.

Brad and I met when I was 17 and was he 23!! That was more than 10 years ago. Wow...time flies! Back then, we would have never thought the plans the Lord had for our lives together. He has taken us through some valleys and rough times but one He has always been the one that remains the same and I am so thankful we have hold on tight to the Lord in good and in bad times. He is the God of our yesterday, today and tomorrow.

It's been such a joy to look back and see how God has grown us as believers through our marriage and parenting roles. And it moves me so much to think of our children and legacy that we can leave to them of being raised in a home with both a mom and a dad who love and fear God.

My prayer is that we will continue to be faithful to our covenant and to the Lord. He is the one building our house (Psalm 127:1).

I would have loved to put a slideshow here with some pictures, but sadly my time in the computer theses days is very limited....and I think I'll have a hard time finding a picture of us that doesn't have one of our kids in it...haha!

November 20, 2008

Thankful Thursdays

"Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving."

Psalm 50:14



Thank you Lord for your Word. How it convicts me, compels me and changes me.

Thank you for how I see my children hiding your Word in their little hearts and the promise that it will stay with them for the rest of their lives.


Thank you for the gift of christian fellowship. For the many brothers and sisters in Christ you have brought into our lives at different seasons to encourage us and stir us up to love and good deeds. Thank you for the new friends we are making in this new season of our lives.


Thank you for the privilege of homeschooling our children. For the time that it gives to disciple our kids and grow closer together as a family. For the joy of seeing Caleb and Noah learn and grow in wisdom and understanding.
Thank you for the gift of parenting. How it has humbled us and caused us to draw closer to you in prayer. Thank you that you can work all things together for good in our family's lives, in spite of our failures and mistakes.
Thank you that YOU are the loving, caring, righteous Father and I can call out to you for refuge, shelter, protection and instruction.


November 19, 2008

Angus Lost Fun

Last week we read Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack as an add-on to our month long focus on prayer and thanksgiving.

On Friday I decided to suprise the boys with a "cave" where they could play and pretend to be like Angus during the snowstorm. This idea is from the Before Five in a Row manual but I have never used it before. Since I thought about doing this the last minute, here's what I did...

I took a dark bed sheet and covered the bottom bunk-bed with it. Inside I added "stalagmites" made out of play-doh, printouts of a bat and a salamander, a stuffed dog and a stuffed bear. I gave each boy a flashlight and asked them to look inside the cave and see what they could find.

I wish I could have taken a video of their reaction. They couldn't stop giggling!! They thought it was so fun. Afterwards, Caleb thought it would be a good idea to play "bear hunt" (from another BFIAR story) and they spent the next 30 minutes taking turns being the bear and the "hunter".

In the meantime...I got some food ready for all us and washed dishes.

Not bad for a last minute planned activity, right?? To me this was just a great reminder that fun learning can happen sometimes with little preparation and without expensive curriculum.

Here's some pictures of our "cave". It was much darker than it looks here (because of the camera flash) and also by the time of the picture, Noah had managed to pull down more stalagmites but you'll get the idea. ;-)





November 18, 2008

Christmas Projects 2008-part 2

FIAR Christmas Ornaments Exchange 2008!!


My boys have been busy preparing these ornaments to exchange with other homeschooling families all over the US.




I'm very proud of their hard work. They did these all on their own (with mom supervising, of course). We purchased the supplies from Oriental Trading's website. Our ornaments will go out a week early because I can't wait any longer!!
Here's the little tree where we will display the ornaments we receive. We couldn't resist adding a few of our own ornaments here until the rest arrive. I'll make sure to post a picture when it's all full. ;-)

November 17, 2008

Christmas Projects-part 1

This year we are participating in two fun Christmas projects with the boys.

The first one is Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse. This is such a simple and great way for little ones to extend the love of Christ for those who are in other parts of the world and are in real need.

Here's some of the things we already did and will be doing in the coming week....

  • I let the boys help me choose what they would like to put in each of their boxes. We had a lot of fun shopping for the items...although I did have to remind them several times we were not at the store to shop for them. ;-)

  • We added these coloring pages/letter to our boxes to tell the child a little bit about who is sending them the gifts.

  • We watched a few clips from the Samaritan's Purse website so they could "see" some of the kids that have received the boxes in the past. I thought it was neat they noticed how their clothes looked different, their simple homes, etc.

  • Our church provided us with a prayer guide for OCC for each day of this week and we will be incorporating that to our devotions.

  • We looked at the book People by Peter Spier. I like this book because it shows people from all nations. We also tied this in with our reading of Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field last week, since one of the part of the prayer is "bless other children far and near, and keep them safe and free from fear".

  • Next Sunday we will bring our completed boxes to church!!

November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursdays

All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you! They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Psalm 145:11-13 (ESV)
  • Today, I am thankful that after a few weeks of sickness in our home, the Lord has granted us a week of complete health.
  • I am thankful for the beautiful fall weather. That my boys can still go outside and enjoy nature in their backyard for hours.
  • I am thankful for my husband Brad and how he takes care of all of us.I am thankful to see how he puts God's word first in everything that we do. And how he is teaching our little boys the wisdom that only comes from it. I am thankful for the Lord providing a job for him to sustain our family and provide for our needs. I am thankful for the joy of lifting him up in prayer. For all the help he gives me around the house and with the boys.
  • I am thankful for Caleb and how he is learning to read and write. I am thankful for his imagination, his tender heart towards God and his desire to learn new things every day. For his hugs and kisses.
  • I am thankful for Noah. For his cheerful spirit. For his kind words toward mama. For his desire to help mama around the house with all the chores. For his big smile and sparkling eyes that I get to enjoy every morning.
  • I am thankful for baby Sarah in my womb. How she is so active every day now. For this unexpected blessing. For the joy she will bring to our family.
  • I am thankful for the few boxes I have yet to unpack. For the privilege of taking care of our household, prepare meals for the family and see everyone enjoy the fruit of my daily labor.

November 12, 2008

Texas Unit

Last week of October (yes, I'm still catching up posting) we enjoyed a very fun book unit from Homeschoolshare. Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett. What a fun book to read now that we are officially Texans!

It was a neat way to introduce the boys to the cowboy culture, the rodeo and the symbols of Texas (flag, flower, animals, food, culture, etc.).


Some additional books we added to our Texas adventure:
L is for Lone Star: A Texas Alphabet by Carol Crane
The Cowboy ABC by Chris Demarest (author of My Blue Boat)


We also read some early readers about armadillos...fascinating little creatures! We practiced drawing cowboys (this turned out to be more challenging than I thought).
And we couldn't have pass this week without listening to some cowboy two-step music, right? Luckily there was no one home to videotape the pregnant mama attempting to dance with her growing belly. ;-)

Here's some pictures of the boys work...















On Friday the 31st, we were able to join the Fall Festival at our church and inspired by our fun week Caleb chose to dress up as a cowboy. Noah, on the other hand preferred to dress up as Bob the Builder. ;-)

November 06, 2008

Thankful Thursdays

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20 (ESV)
  • For the freedom to worship God at all times, in any place, during all circumstances. And for a mouth and lips who can declare and sing of His goodness all of my life.
  • For God's promises which are always Yes and Amen!!
  • For the cross of Jesus, the covering of His blood over my sin and new life in Him.
  • For the privilege to serve a GREAT and AWESOME God.
  • For evidence in my life that God is at work and that He is conforming my life to His.
  • For His Spirit in me, conviction me and causing me to change and be renewed.
  • For His unchanging, indescribable LOVE.
  • For His patience with this stubborn child.
  • For strength to persevere in this season of my life and gently lead me day by day with my young ones.
  • For granting me a safe and healthy surprise pregnancy. What a special gift!
  • For not remembering my sin and forgiving me once and for all.
  • For His promise of eternal life...what else is there to live for??
  • For the gift of prayer and the ability to approach His throne with boldness.
  • For the comfort in knowing His hand is upon all challenges in my life and His eye is keeping watch over all evil and good.
  • For being my bread of heaven and living water.
  • For His majesty, holiness and glory that I can perceive daily even as I contemplate the work of His hands in creation.

November 05, 2008

November School Plans

Prayer and Thanksgiving will be our focus for the month. I want to be more intentional about teaching the boys how and why we pray. And of course, this begins with my own life in Christ so my commitment is to spend more time in prayer and gratitude so that I can share with them from my own experience with the Lord.

From BFIAR we are going to read Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field and Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack (I always find interesting how Angus got tired of the same things and got in some trouble because of it but in the end he is thankful of those same old things...that would be our link for this month). I am not planning to do any extras other than using some of the discussion questions from the manual and enjoy reading them over and over again.

We also going to memorize Psalm 100 together and read selected stories and poems from Children's Book of Virtues by William Bennett

The rest of the month we will re-read Thanksgiving Day related stories. Some of our favorites are:

  • One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessy & Lynne Craval
  • The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene
  • Give Thanks to the Lord: Celebrating Psalm 92 by Karma Wilson
  • The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Elaina Raphael
  • 1 2 3 Thanksgiving by Lisa W. Nicola

Last year we did LOTS of fun activities for Thanksgiving Day, include a simple and fun lapbook from Hands of a Child.

CLICK HERE to see all the fun we had last year!

November 04, 2008

Notes on Election Day

I love election days!! Part of it must be that I grew up in a home where politics was a favorite hobby. :-)

So I've purposely kept my blog away from any posts regarding this year's election because sometimes I know I can get carried away!!

But one thing I am very convicted of is for our need to pray for the president. I was blessed to pray for our current president for the past 8 years and look forward to do the same for the new president...regardless of the outcome.

Even when I feel very strongly about who I am voting for, after today, my commitment is to pray for the leader of our nation. Both men professed to know Jesus as their Savior so more reason to pray for God to be revealed in their lives in a real way; for protection, for direction, for wisdom, for integrity, etc.

I hear so many brothers and sisters in Christ, being heavy burdened and in fear of what is to come or the future of our nation. I share in their sadness when I see how our nation has gone so far from the Lord. But I cannot join on how their safety is in the amount of money in their banks or stocks. Their biggest fear is their future in regards to finances ("the big economy issue").

And yet, shouldn't we be confident in our Lord no matter our present circumstances? What is the wisdom that comes from the Lord and not from the secular world around us?? Proverbs 30:8-9 "Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, 'Who is the LORD?' or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God".

What about other promises in scriptures where Jesus asked us not to be anxious...that our Father knows what we need...and Paul reminds that He will supply what we need?

Our hope is in the LORD alone and like Proverbs 21:1 says "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will". God knows the outcome of this election and He has promised to be with us always....I choose to take comfort on that! :-)