Monday, June 29, 2009

Headaches: A Year Later

Back in April of 2008, I began this journey to rid myself of headaches. The results are in.

1. I lost about 18 pounds. Now I seem to fluctuate a pound or two but overall have kept it off.

2. The endless cycle of headaches is now permanently changed. Sometimes I can't keep one from coming, but if it does I take Naproxin at night, go to bed, and I'm FINE the next morning. No more days and days of headache!

3. I find I crave healthier foods. I still love tortilla chips and eat those once in a while, but I find if I eat too many processed (even slightly processed) foods I feel kind of blah. The Vitamix has come in so handy lately! I'm so thankful it's summer and so many yummy fruits are available.

(I tried to make a green smoothie and it came out an ugly brown. Any tips?)

4. If I mostly stay away from the foods that bother me, I find an occasional tasting of a forbidden food has no effect. This, sadly, does not apply to chocolate. Chocolate still gets me, every time.

All in all, I'm so thankful for how great I feel. I can go on a trip and not be terrified that I don't have excedrin with me (both regular and PM, mind you). If I do get a headache I know it won't cripple me for days.

I probably need a new wardrobe because my pants are too loose. If only my bank account could match this bonus!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Here's the Plan

When planning for school, I find it easy to make a chart of four years, look at the requirements for high school graduation, and fill in the blanks. I leave room for electives because I know those will be geared toward their future interests.

Once I made Tyler's four year plan, it was a simple process to do the same for both Kelly and Glenna. While their friends may be stressing over which classes they should take in high school, my girls have no worries! Mom's got a plan.

I had to laugh when I found a schedule I had made several years ago for Glenna, year by year, ending with her graduation in 2014. The last entry was this:

Sleep. The entire year.

At this point, I'm not so sure the end of my homeschool journey should be one long nap . . . I'm thinking it should be one long celebration!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Homeschool Curriculum Roundup

Most homeschool bloggers are talking about curriculum because this time of year we are tossing out the old and bringing in the new.

After 11 years, this will be my FIRST year without KONOS. Why?

1. Glenna has been using KONOS her entire life. She has literally done everything (some more than once).

2. Kelly will mostly dual enroll. No KONOS needed there.

3. Glenna remembers every stinkin' thing she reads and has since she was 4. After all the wonderful, foundational KONOS projects and discovery learning, she's ready to take that and move on to a more literature-based curriculum.

The other reason is that we want to get in as many high school credits as we can, since she'll need 4 years of a foreign language in order to pursue her desire to be a librarian. We wanted to get at least one credit in Spanish while in 8th grade. Her science, math, and Spanish will all be for high school credits and take most of her time.

I will be forever thankful to KONOS and the fabulous learning experiences we've had for 11 years! My children were pointed to a godly character trait every day and have learned so much about Him and themselves because of it. This also means we say goodbye to the wonderful co-ops and activities. Treasured memories indeed!

By the way, Jessica Hulcy was released from the hospital on June 23rd! She still has a lot of recovery to do, but she's home! Wade directly credits God and the prayers of many for her recovery. Check here for the whole story. Read the journal to see her healing process!

We will also be saying goodbye to Math-U-See, another amazing curriculum. Because of MUS, I have understood math for the first time! It figuratively saved my life. However, I have found that I'm unable to use it to teach Algebra. I've never learned Algebra, have a horrible time understanding it, and know I must go to outside sources for help in this area. (Hey, one academic subject out of many isn't so bad, huh?) I highly recommend it for all levels through Pre-Algebra, as well as for Geometry. Fabulous. Plus, if you "get" Algebra, go ahead and use it for that as well!

So, what are we using next year?

For the first time, I will be taking advantage of Florida Virtual School. I'm excited that the girls will be doing their classes at home, but they'll have the help of video lessons and teachers who will guide them over the rough spots. The teacher also calls once per week to check their progress, and they may call the teacher at any time if they are stuck on a problem.

As I mentioned, Glenna will be using a literature-based curriculum this year for social studies. This is how Glenna learns best! Rather than a boring textbook, she'll be reading literature and biographies with Beautiful Feet Books as her guide. She'll have writing assignments and activities through BF and will keep a journal. I'm SO excited about this, and so is Glenna! We have already received her first year and the books are . . . well . . . beautiful. :-)

Other sources include science again with Mrs. S, and this year she'll take English with Mrs. R! The whole reason I started teaching is because Mrs. R never knew from year to year whether she would continue teaching. I wanted to make sure Glenna had the same excellent instruction that Tyler and Kelly had, so I learned the IEW method myself. Now Glenna's old enough, and Mrs. R is still teaching!

So, here's the plan for next year:

Bible - Discovering Christ-Like Habits by Deeper Roots
Algebra I - Florida Virtual School (FLVS)
English - Mrs R! (Glenna has waited so long for this!)
Science - Apologia Physical Science with Mrs. S
Social Studies - Early American and World History by Beautiful Feet Books
Spanish I - Florida Virtual School

Kelly will spend most of her time dual enrolled. She only needs US Government and another elective to graduate, so she can soak up as many of the "free" college classes as she can to earn both high school and college credit.

ACT test every chance she gets!
Full-time hunting for scholarships and grants!
Driver's Ed - Florida Virtual School
Freshman Comp I - (Local community college)
Student Success - (Local community college)
US Government - (Local community college)
Algebra I - FLVS (shh . . . she doesn't know this yet)

And there you have it. The one of the beauties of home schooling is the ability to tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of the student. This eclectic approach has always worked well for us. I'm so excited about starting our 12th year!

BA remarked that while her homeschool duties have increased with the addition of her youngest into the mix this year (5th grade, 7th grade, and 9th grade), my duties have decreased remarkably.

Oh? You noticed!


Friday, June 26, 2009

Three in One!

As much as I'd love for this post to be about the Trinity, it isn't.

You guys are just going to have to take that one by faith, like the rest of us.

The Three-in-One that I'm so excited about is from Aveeno. I have discovered the wonders of tinted moisturizer!

It's a moisturizer.

It's tinted.

It has SPF 15.


I actually find myself putting some makeup on in the morning because, HEY, it's already in the moisturizer. From there it's a short hop to some blush and mascara. Lookin' good.

The SPF 15 is a must, but HEY, it's already in the moisturizer!

Now instead of three separate products, Himself is so thankful that I'm only buying one.

Makes room in the budget for ice cream.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I guess you could say I'm an accidental horticulturalist. This can be defined as, "I mean well, but everything eventually dies. Once in a while, something comes back and gives life, though."

Last year I had planted a butterfly garden in a bucket. It did fairly well and I even put a caterpillar on it when I found one. Sadly, the sun came out early and cooked him.

The sun and frost eventually killed the entire butterfly garden as well!

I didn't replant, because I noticed the milkweed kept coming back along with an occasional Mexican sunflower. This year, we finally had some success in raising butterflies!

Here's the first one we found:

Glenna found this one, not far from the milkweed. The next day, it was empty! Success!

Sadly, the first one chose a bad spot. This is as far as it got before it cooked in the sun. A close look shows fully developed wings, but nothing ever emerged.

As for my butterfly bucket, it still has milkweed and one lone Mexican Sunflower. Perhaps it will live through the summer?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lunch is Served

Glenna said she wanted to make me a special salad one day.

Who am I to refuse?

(There was another olive and cucumber combo, but I ated it.)

The girl knows what her mama likes!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Glenna Shots Again

Black and white . . . in color . . . enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

From the Front Porch Looking In

As a fundraiser for the Mexico team, a business owner offered them $1,000 if they would pass out 10,000 fliers for his business.



They used one day to pass them out as a team, then the ones left over were dispersed among team members to do on their own.

At the end of May, Kelly and I set out to pass out the 196 fliers she had brought home.





The task seemed so daunting and so overwhelming that we both put it off as long as we could. Finally, we grabbed hats, sunscreen, water bottles, and fliers and set out in our neighborhood (and the neighborhood next to us) to finish the task.

At first it seemed as if our hands could barely hold all the small, plastic-coated fliers. After an hour, I glanced over at Kelly across the street and said, "My stack seems much smaller!"

"Mine does, too!"

Encouraged, we continued on. Soon we were down to just 20 fliers each, then 15/14, then 9/6. With the last flier held above my head in triumph, we placed it on the last door.

"Text Mr. H right now and tell him we're DONE!"

It was our moment of triumph.

During this process, I became convicted of the appearance of our front door. How does it look to people who stop by to visit? What about to people who are dropping off fliers, as we were?

What does my front porch say about my family?

I can tell you that after this experience, your front porch says volumes.

Here's ours:

There's a story about a young housewife who was preparing for her mother-in-law to visit. She spent literal days scrubbing the house from top to bottom. She prepared the guest room and added special touches. She planned a menu, went grocery shopping, and had everything prepared. She put candles about the house and even bought and laundered new guest towels. Finally, the doorbell rang.

There was her mother-in-law frowning at the door, shaking out the dirty welcome mat.

Some of these houses definitely showed pride of ownership.

Everything is neat and clean. Some thought has been put into landscape and ornamentation.

Even with the dry spell we've had (hence some bare spots on the lawns) there is at least trimming and all trashed cleaned up.

I made Himself drive around with me so I could take pictures. We felt very "stalker-ish" in the task, but it was sort of fun!

Some of the houses looked great. Then, some of them started to become questionable.

This one could use a trim, but still not bad.

This is a horrible picture because we didn't dare slow down to snap the photograph. It's the home of "Hip-Hop Harry" (as Himself refers to him), of S.W.A.T. Team fame.

Note the weight equipment and punching bag in the carport.

The next two are also on my street.

I know this one is hard to see, but it belongs to Crazy Linda. If Himself would have had the courage to roll down his window, we would have gotten a better shot, but definitely not a place to pause, either.

(This picture was deleted because it contained a license plate, and I didn't have time to figure out how to blur them out.)

Where's the front door?

This entire front area is covered with mold. I inhaled it when I walked up to the door, and the roof was about six inches thick with pine needles.

Color choices, people! Color choices! It's enough to make a painter wince!

(This picture also had a license plate. The house is BRIGHT ORANGE with PEACH TRIM. Can you see it?)

This TV has been there for about a week. Thieves don't even want it . . . not without a digital converter.

Please don't park on the lawn.

(Photo deleted. It was a van parked on the lawn.)

Even if it's a Mercedes! Don't park on the lawn.

Next came the obligatory couch on the sidewalk. This one was so full of mold I about gagged as I walked up to the house. Trash was everywhere, and YES, the house was occupied.

A cute patio ruined by an ugly couch.

This one was empty and the renovation was in progress. I think it will be cute when it's done!

What does your front porch say about you?

I hope mine says things like, "Welcome!"

"We're not neat-freaks, but we care."

"We wash regularly!"

Hopefully, it doesn't say what I saw on some porches:




"I quit."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Know What?

You really are amazing.

Happy Father's Day**, my love!

*** There are two posts today!

Has It Been a Year Already?

I had a long, creative story written for today, but I have deleted it all.

I know that my son is a private person. He doesn't mind if people know SOME things, but he doesn't want them to know EVERYTHING.

Some things need to be treasured and pondered in our hearts.

This particular thing is treasured and pondered with much gladness.

A year goes by so quickly, doesn't it? :-)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Graduation Parties

May is the month of graduations, which means it's the month of graduation parties.

At graduation parties, a sure guest will be family members of the graduate.

That's why I was so looking forward to Jake's graduation party. I felt certain I would run into a certain cutie pie nephew of his.

Micah did not disappoint!

We tied a balloon to his foot and watched him crawl around, one foot slightly sticking out. It was the cutest thing!

Oh, Micah's Mom and Dad were there, too!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Russia Night

Russia: the Land of Endurance.

It was 27 weeks of Endurance for three families this year! Still, I can't think of a better way to understand the world than to understand Russia. This great land weaves into the histories of many countries, including ours!

The cumulative end of our study was our Russia Night. Russian foods, displays, and presentations by the children were enjoyed by all.

Question: How many people can fit into the W's kitchen?

Answer: Not many!

We had borscht, stroganoff, rye bread, mint tea, and Charlotte Russe for dessert.

Jack, the well-mannered one, was allowed to attend.

The presentations were given in chronological order beginning with Sophia, the despised sister of Ivan III and half-sister of Peter the Great. Here, she demonstrates how she would hide behind the dual throne and tell her brothers what to say. Technically, she was ruling the country.

Next was Peter the Great himself! He traveled all over Europe wearing a sign about his neck reading, "I am a pupil and need to be taught."

Peter returned to Russia determined to modernize the land. He lined up the men and cut off their robes at the knees. He made sure the long, shaggy beards disappeared and every man was clean-shaven.

German born Sophia came next. Upon finding out how despised the name of Sophia was, she immediately changed her name to Catherine.

Catherine the Great certainly earned her title. She traveled the Russian countryside extensively and fell in love with the Russian people. They, in turn, loved her as well and willingly helped her overthrow her weakling husband to gain the throne.

She followed in the footsteps of Peter the Great and continued to modernize Russia.

Expecting another Czar, all were surprised to see Florence Nightingale!

What does Florence have to do with Russia? It was her work during the Crimean War that earned her the title, "The Lady with the Lamp" and changed nursing forever! Countless lives were saved by her simple sanitary practices.

Lastly, we took a peek into a meeting of the U.N.

Points to anyone [who wasn't at Russia Night] who can name the Russian delegate who angrily closed the meeting by banging his shoe upon the table!

After they were speaking, the children answered questions about their persons, then all answered general questions about Russia. I know the moms were pleased to see how much they remembered, even from the first month of study!

It's almost sad that I have done Russia for the last time.



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