March 31, 2010

Nature Through Little Eyes

Caleb is loving photography these days. We have a surprise camera for his birthday coming up in a few weeks. Last Saturday at the Arboretrum, I let him carry my camera and I was so impressed by many of his shots. It's so neat to see what he chose to focus on and why.
Here are some of my favorite ones. He named the pictures: Light Reflection, Turtles in a log, Walking, Tree Bark and New Leaves.

I love Spring pt 2

Last Saturday I took the kids for a nature walk at Houston's Arboretrum's Nature Center. The center is located in Memorial Park right in the middle of the city. It's a beautiful forest preserve area. We will make this a regular destination for nature studies. We spotted many beautiful butterflies and lots of turtles and even a snake! They also have an outdoor challenge type play area for kids to enjoy.

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More pics from the nature walk...

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March 30, 2010

I love Spring pt. 1

We had a wonderful spring break this year. Brad was able to take some time off work and we also had friends who visited from Chicago. We enjoyed time at Kemah and around Houston. We also went to the Houston Rodeo for the first time. The kids had a blast with the carnival games and all the animals.

So blessed to be able to get out and enjoy the nice weather...while it last!

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Peace Step #4: Peace and Meekness

The Lord has convicted me so much lately about the close relationship that peace and meekness share.

Here are some definitions of meekness I love:

Meekness is the silent submission of the soul to the providence of God concerning us. -Matthew Henry

Meekness is calm confidence, settled assurance, and rest of the soul. It is the tranquil stillness of a heart that is at rest in Christ. It is the place of peace. It springs from a heart of humility, radiating the fragrance of Christ. -Nancy Leigh Demoss

Meekness is power under control. -John MacArthur

It's amazing how many times this word is mentioned in scripture. It's one of the beautitudes in Matthew 5, it's a fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5, it's mentioned in the list of "put on" Paul gives us in Colossians 3:12.

I've been pondering on this a lot lately, and asking God to examine my heart and show me in which areas of my heart I need to cultivate the heart of meekness. The fruit of meekness, among other things brings peace because the soul has surrendered it's will to God's.

And so, for instance, ...when someone hurts you or offends you, the heart of meekness doesn't seek revenge or offers unwholesome speech in return, but it is at rest.

So in my peace journey for this week, I'm asking the Lord to grow me in meekness. That I will face circumstances with peaceful trust. That I will be at rest in the storms of life. That I will be secured in the faithfulness of God and the truth found in His Word. That I will not fuel the fire when opposition or trouble come my way, but I will offer a gentle answer. That my emotion will be ruled by His Spirit and not cause me to sin. That I will be quick to forgive and restore.

Kingsland Justice

Check out our church's blog about helping the poor and oppressed in the world.

Kingsland Justice

March 23, 2010

Remembering the First Passover

Here's a simple, frugal and fun activity to do in preparation for Easter.

We tried this last year and it was so easy and fun for all that I wanted to share it here. I first saw this idea at FIAR mom Julie's site.

Remembering the First Passover

10 days before Good Friday (that's this coming Wednesday!) begin the following activities to represent each of the 10 plagues the Lord sent to the Egyptians in the Exodus account. We remember the first passover and celebrate Jesus our passover lamb!

After each activity, I read to the boys that portion of the account that begins in Exodus 7.

Note: What makes these activities work is the element of surprise. I tried to do these when they least expect it. Some are done in the morning, some later in the day. They just never know when the "plague" will show up but look forward to it every day.

I've included both what Julie suggested in her site to do, as well as what I'm planning to do this year. You just have to choose one or create something new.

Day 1- Niles water turns to blood

Put red coloring drops into glasses of water.
Server cranberry juice for breakfast.

Day 2- Frogs

Use cut out/clip art of frogs and paste in different places (doorknobs, cereal boxes, chairs, doors, shower curtain, inside shoes, inside drawers, etc. )

Last year I found a few sets of tiny plastic frogs at the dollar store and scattered them around the floor)

Day 3- Lice

Use hole puncher to make small white dots with white paper. Sprinkle or tape over kids while sleeping. Put some on their stuff animals too or baby dolls. (this was a bit messy to clean afterwards but it was fun to watch their reaction).

Day 4- Flies

Make tiny balls with black construction paper (the kind that you wrinkle with your fingers. Put in a bowl and dump flies on kids while they are not looking. Sprinkle from a higher surface (like they are flying down toward them). Could from second floors stairs or balcony.

You can make the dots with hole puncher as well but be ready to sweep or vacuum afterwards. : )

Day 5- Livestock's disease

This one made them laugh a lot last year. Take all the kids stuffed animals and lay them upside down around the house (like dead).

Day 6- Boils

Tape red circle stickers or small construction paper or hole punchers or draw with red marker or red lip liner (or anything washable) in their pajama's or arms and legs while sleeping.

Day 7- Hailstorm

Put ice cubes or crushed ice around the outside or your home(porch, patio, sandbox, driveway, etc). We did last time just in the windowsill of their bedroom and the grass area that they could see from there.

Day 8- Locusts

Use clip art of if you can find the plastic grasshoppers at the dollar store and just like you did with the frogs paste them in different places around the house.

Day 9- Darkness

This was was the hardest for me to do. I had Brad assist on turning of all the lights while I was reading the portion of the story when the plague takes place. We turned on the light afterwards to finish reading, of course. : )

Other idea is to have the kids try to do some things with no lights like changing clothes or walking to the bathroom or eating a snack.

Day 10- Death of Firstborn

Put red ribbon on the sides and top of doorpost. Wouldn't it be great if one of your neighbors sees the ribbon and asks what that is all about? You or your kids can share what they've learned about the ten plagues and how Jesus is our passover lamb and how His blood shed for us is our covering.

We do this last activity on Good Friday and talk about Jesus' sacrifice for us in preparation for Easter Sunday.

We will sing "Nothing For The Blood" and "Jesus Paid It All" and I will also recite for them portions of Isaiah 53 that I've been memorizing this month.

March 02, 2010

Blast of Color

We recently purchased this hands-on introduction to lab skills/chemistry kit through If you click on the link you'll see the full description of the kit.

I have to say it was worth the money considering that we will get to use it all again and again. The kit comes with everything you need to get the experiments done. It primarily works with three different types of polymers. In the instructions there was a limited number of activities mentioned but the boys and I came up with other fun ways to use the polymers, sort them, grow them with different amount of water, watch them shrink and more. It proved to be so much fun for all (except Sarah who was not allowed to come near it...poor will get school also very soon).

I've added a clip of my favorite pics from that week. We are still planning to make "snow in a bucket" and "rainbow snow". These were both Noah's ideas but I have not made time for it yet.

March 01, 2010

More Five in a Row updates

It's been a while since I've updated on our school days. So far this year has been challenging with our schedule, between sickness, doctor visits, swimming club and busy schedule.

But we are still loving Five in a Row. The past two months I've limit the number of activities we do per day in our units to just one or two. With all the sickness going on around the house I just needed a break from all the planning and literally I'm opening the book the night before we start a new title and go from there on a daily basis.

To my still works!! Jane Claire Lambert did such a fantastic job in writing out the lessons and giving ideas that my boys are learning just as much by following the guide and not adding more things to it. What can I say? The FIAR manual, the books, the library, the Internet, a little time every day for 3Rs is more than enough right now.

One more reason to love FIAR! You really don't need many extra things to make this curriculum work. I do love to add things and be creative but I'm also comforted to know that when someone is sick or mom is having a busy day we don't have to go without school or I don't have to loose sleep trying to plan last minute. It can work both ways, with very little or with much. Thank you Lamberts! You have made our homeschooling journey so much easier and so fulfilling at the same time.

Another thing I'm learning is that I can't always do school, watch Sarah and take pictures. And so I don't really have many pictures from the past two months, aside from some cool chemistry fun experiments we did (blogging next about this). But I can assure you, we are loving all the Five In A Row titles and learning so much.

For archives purposes, I'll be blogging about each title individually even if there are very short posts. So tune in the rest of the week to read our impressions on Very Last Time, Owl Moon, Stopping By Woods on Snowy Evening, Ferdinand, A New Coat for Anna, Wee Gillis and Follow The Drinking Gourd.

Good news for me is that with not many pictures to load/choose from, I should finally catch up with my blog updates. Also, doing a simpler "row"of these titles (but certainly NOT light row!...we still had some great lessons every week) it's already getting me excited about covering them again in the future.

Bad news is I will probably regret not having more pictures. ;-)