Thursday, November 30, 2017

A little Blog Inspiration - Confessions of a Homeschooler

One of my all time favorite blogs to read and follow is :

It is through Erica's BLOG that I have found amazing teaching resources that I've been able to use over and over again with my kids.  I recently noticed that the preschool the princess attends uses Erica's preschool curriculum which is a pretty big deal.  She also offers great videos and sells amazing resources based on her knowledge she has gained through the years she has homeschooled each of her kids.  I feel like she makes my homeschool live a little easier. 

One of the extras that she does each month is posts a menu.  Within the menu are links to many of her meals so you can even find the recipes.  I've made many of her recipes and they are always good (simple and good - that is a great thing!). 

Well, in December her menu also includes crafts and activities to do with the kids too - a triple bonus! 

If you are looking for some meal and planing inspiration - just click HERE.  Trust me, I plan on using her monthly menu to plan our December meals to keep my life so much more simple!!

I'm still here . ..

I have blog post ideas to post about but it just seems I haven't had a chance to actually write them! 

Right now I'm focused on planning our December - what to make, what to do, and how to wisely spend our shopping money!  So usually at night, I'm doing a lot of planning and not a lot of writing!  The good news is that soon I'll have a bunch of recipes, crafts, and great ideas to write about!

So, for now, enjoy all of the Christmas lights - they are one of my most favorite parts of the season!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Our Week in Photos #22

And just like that Thanksgiving is over.  We've had a wonderful start to the Holiday season and I look forward to sharing all of our adventures with you over the coming weeks!

 After the event at the library with building bridges, the boys put together this huge bridge using straws and connections.  it was the entire length of the living room. 
 Saturday we had a quiet day at home.  We don't get days like this very often.  Josh was in his glory because the cat actually sat with and/or on him most of the day.  He's been dreaming of this moment for a long time!
 On Monday, the boys participated in a "Mystery Dinner" at the Library.  Nate was "Mikey the Millionaire" and Josh was "The Robot".  Yes, those are their costumes.  So, now you understand why I buy their Halloween costumes every year  ;-) HA!  They really had a great time and got into the whole idea of the mystery!
 Thanksgiving was a beautiful day.  My mom and Darryl's dad celebrated with us.  We watched Football, ate a great dinner, and enjoyed being together.  As is always true at the holidays, my dad's presence was missed but I'm thankful for the family that was able to be together.
 We ended our evening playing games :-)

On Friday, we enjoyed going to see a fabulous Christmas Movie.

This movie was just amazing.  It was so well done and the story was really as close to the real Christmas story as they could get.  I was very impressed.  You know it is good when my 7 year old leans over and says, "Mom, lets buy this movie!"

 And this is the next movie on our list :-)

After he movie we came home to do some yard work.  Yes, this is November 24th.  Nate is in a tank top and shorts and yes, we are really mowing the grass.  Crazy.  It was 60 degrees.  With the help of my mom, we cleaned up the garage, got all of the yard stuff put away and did a little yard work.  It was a great day! 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Craft - Accordian Thankful Book

I shared the other day one craft we did in our last week of Friday School and now, I want to share the other.

In my searching of Pinterest (My favorite resource for all things related to teaching co-ops!), I came across an adorable Thankfulness book on Teachers Pay Teachers and knew I had to do it. 

This little accordion book is perfect for any kid from preschool through upper elementary.  For my class of 6-7 year olds, I premade the books by folding the paper, cutting out the turkey head and feathers and stapling it all together.  I was concerned about running out of time.  Depending on age, the kids could complete the whole thing on there own.  The printable comes with a cute poem as well as "I am thankful for . .. ." pages that get filled out and glued on each page.  This would make a great writing assignment for older grades or, as my class did, they can draw pictures on his card showing what they are thankful for as well.

You can find the full printable HERE.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Our Week in Photos #21

We had another great week with some new experiences and everyday fun!

 On Saturday, the 11th, Josh had the opportunity to participate in a choir for 3rd-6th graders through the Michigan Music Educators Association.  It was a great chance for him to work under and be taught by a choir director and learn songs to sing with other students.  As homeschoolers, sometimes it's experiences like this that help create something new for students to use as learning tools.  He seemed to really enjoy it and we were super, duper proud of him!
 Another first - the boys got invited to their very first real friend birthday party.  They even got to dress up. We pulled out their costumes they wore in the Christmas program last year and transformed them into Knights.  We even had nerf swords!
 Josh playing one of the games.  This particular friend is actually a good friend of Nate's but I was thankful that they invited Josh too. :-)
 Nate found this helmet at his friends house and added it to his costume.
 Nate and his friend, the birthday boy, sitting in the "Kings Throne".  They boys really did have a lot of fun.  I am thankful for great experiences!

 Nate is really into games right now.  At least one night a week he will start pulling out games for us to play after dinner.
 Speaking of heartwarming moments - this is a first.  Both boys picked out books at the library but Nate, well, he picked out some "chapter" books.  Nice thick books.  After AWANA, I found Nate in the playroom . .. READING!  On his own.  Who cares that they are Pokemon books written in comic style - he has a bookmark and everything.  I've been waiting for my kids to start wanting to read!
 On Thursday, we attended the Library homeschooling hour and the boys learned about bridges and then got to try creating their own out of Popsicle sticks.

 Josh's bridge. 
Nate's bridge. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Weekly Menu - Thanksgiving

Amazingly, I stuck to our menu last week.  I made some new recipes that were actually pretty good.  I'll be sharing those in the coming days!  As we look forward to the coming week, we have Thanksgiving to look forward too!  I keep telling myself to keep it simple!!! Here's the plan for the coming week :-)

Friday - My original plan for tonight was leftovers.  But, considering the fact that the large bowl of leftover soup slipped out of my hands when I was putting it away on Tuesday night and splattered all over the kitchen, well, I don't have much for leftovers!  I know we have some things and I'll just try to supplement with favorites like Mac and Cheese :-)

Saturday - Amish Baked Chicken, Buttered Noodles, and Carrots

Sunday - At the writing of this I have decided if we are going to our church Thanksgiving dinner.  If we do, I'll take a salad and either rolls or a dessert if not, Pulled pork BBQ at home with fries.

Monday - The Kids have an activity at the Library which includes pizza so I think Darryl and I will have leftovers from the weekend.

Tuesday - Sweet and Sour Meatballs over Baked Brown Rice and Green Beans

Wednesday - It's the night before Thanksgiving and all through the house, not a person is cooking  . .not even ME HA!  I always try to make something simple because there is so much prep/cooking going on that I don't want anything extra. This year, we will have TACOS!!  I can actually prep everything for the tacos early in the week, making it even easier on Wednesday!

Thursday - It's Thanksgiving!  Here's the basic plan.  Turkey (of course), Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Cooked Carrots (I have a few recipes I'm dividing between), Mac and Cheese (Nate's favorite Thanksgiving food!), Cranberries, and probably some good rolls and flavored butter.  As far as dessert - I know for sure I'll make my favorite Pumpkin Pie and then I have about 20 different desserts picked out and I need to narrow it down HA!  Now, to keep it real, until I actually go shopping, this menu could change (that's for my mom's sake - this is not set in stone!!)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Craft - Scripture Turkey

Last Friday was the last day of Friday school.  To be honest, I was out of ideas (or desire) to come up with a great Bible themed lesson for my "Bibles for Little Learners" class.  So, I decided to focus on the one thing that made sense - Thanksgiving! 

To keep with the Bible theme, I searched for a simple Bible lesson to read and the story of  The Ten Lepers came up over and over.  I can't find the exact story I read but this one from Church House Collection is pretty close.
I also wanted to focus on a verse.  Just a true reminder of being thankful for what God gives us.  I came across this great idea over at mpmschoolsupplies.
This little turkey was super simple.  I was able to download the turkey and the feathers from Kikicreates.  I made my example using 8 1/2 x 11 card stock but quickly discovered that my turkey was bigger than the paper.  I thankfully (get it HA!) had some 12x12 white scrapbooking paper that I could use for my class.  I would actually recommend printing the Turkey/feathers smaller so that he will fit on regular paper.  Please note, I wrote the words and verse on the items before printing.  Once glued on the paper, the students had to add legs and eyes.  (I use googly eyes whenever I can because they are FUN!!)

This craft is a fun, simple idea for Sunday School or even as a center in a classroom on a day of Thanksgiving fun!

Monday, November 13, 2017

What I'm Reading

I've been enjoying a variety of books lately.  So, here's what I've been reading.

 "When We Were Worthy" showed up as a suggested read on my facebook page.  It's the story of the loss of several girls in a car accident caused by another student and how it impacts the town.  The style of writing is such that you are kept wondering what will really happen and how each persons story will play out throughout the whole book.  It was one of those books that I didn't want to put down not so much because it's a perfectly written story but rather I just wanted to find out what happened to the characters.  Overall, it was a very good read.
 I've always enjoyed the writings of Davis Bunn and this book didn't disappoint.  I will admit that it took me about 1/4 of the book to really get into it and enjoy it.  I didn't love the characters at first and had to get past that and into the meat of the story before I really wanted to finish it.  Ironiaclly, when it ended, I was disappointed that it was done and wanted more of the story.  I think that's a sign of a good book!
 "The Wild Truth" was our most recent book club book.  Honestly, I did not like this book at all.  The only reason I read it was for book club otherwise, I would have never finished.  It was not well written and the story itself was just not well told.  Yes, it is a sad story because of the abuse that takes place but just not presented well as a book.
 Jan Karon and the town of Mitford - one of my all time favorite series.  This is her latest book and it is such a treat because I thought she was done writing!  I'm about 1/4 way through this book and it is as endearing as the rest of the series.

 The two books above are the next two book club books.  I haven't even purchased them as of yet but I need to soon so I'm ready for Decembers get together!
 Lynn Austin's latest, "Where We Belong" is a book I'm also reading (Yes, I read multiple books at one time)  Lynn's writings are full of facts and information so they are not quick reads but she writes so well that you are pulled into her stories and learn to love the characters like family.
This book also showed up on my Facebook page and wow, what a story.  It's based on the true story of an adoption agency run in Tennessee and how children were basically stolen from their families and then sold into adoption to the wealthy.  It was a page turner as you learn the stories of the Characters and how they blend throughout the story.  I was so glad that I read this book and learned this piece of history - not because it was "good" but because it was eye opening. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Our Week in Photos #20

It was a pretty quiet week!
 Nate loves to play games so he pulled this favorite out. 

 They had choir practice on Thursday night.  (That's Josh with his hood on and Nate in the red striped shirt) 
 Lots of school work happened this week.  I have a goal of being ahead enough that we can take the week before Christmas off.  I love really long Christmas breaks :-) 
 Today was our last day of Friday School this semester.  Josh and another girl decorated this cake in their Cake Decorating class. 

 The boys made this fabulous tarts in their cooking class.  
Nate got to write about his favorite animal that they studied in his Animal class. 

As I'm sitting here on a Friday evening, I'm realizing that this is the first quiet Friday night we've had in awhile.  We got home from Friday school and I put on my Pj's, got my favorite blanket, a great cup of coffee (from Bigby!), my book and snuggled with my cat. HA!  What exciting lives we live around here :-) 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Weekly Menu

We jumped into a new and better routine this week but with doing that, I haven't had the creative mind to write this week so the blog took a back seat.  I also didn't make a single meal that I planned :-)  I totally forgot to take that Ham out of the freezer so instead we had Tacos, Spaghetti and Meatloaf since I had ground beef in the fridge already!  Here's the tentitive plan for the coming week.  Why is it tentitive?  Because I haven't gone to the store yet this week so anything can change HA!

Friday - It's the last day of Friday school.  I'm tired already (and I'm writing this on Thursday!) so I know I won't want to cook.  Maybe we will meet Darryl at Wendy's for dinner to keep it easy.

Saturday - Josh is participating in a special choir so we will be eating lunch out with my mom afterwards.  Since we will have a big lunch, and I still have to go to the store on Saturday afternoon, dinner will be something simple like Chicken Nuggets or Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.

Sunday - Slow Cooker Pork Chops with caramelized onions and peas, mashed potatoes, and Mac and Cheese (for my sweet Nate - it's his favorite food so sometimes I just make it because I love him so much!)

Monday - Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana and Garlic Sticks (Ok, my kids aren't soup eaters so I'll probably provide them with something they actually like . . .like chicken nuggets)

Tuesday - Baked Ziti and Garlic Biscuits and green beans

Wednesday - The boys and I will grab something to eat before AWANA.

Thursday - Poor man's hamburger steaks, buttered noodles, and peas and carrots. 

That's the plan - I'll let you know how it plays out next week . . which, in case you didn't realize it, will include Thanksgivings menu as well!  (WOW!)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Our week in photos #19

We had a great week.  It started with a weekend away for me and, well, ended with a trip away for me.  Throw in a little Halloween fun and it was a pretty good week of fun!
 I, of course, enjoyed a great weekend away scrapbooking and chatting with friends. 

 Josh's pumpkin - an Enderman.
 Nate's pumpkin - a three headed Wither (from Minecraft also) This picture shows two of the three "heads".
 We also got our first snow!
 And yes, Josh is outside without a shirt.  Before you judge . . this is tradition.  I think there is a photo from almost every year where, on the first snow, Josh runs outside without a shirt.  It's almost like a right of passage HA!
 This photo was not planned.  Our two friends showed up in these Halloween shirts and the boys have the same ones so we had to get a photo with all four kids.  Such a cute photo!
 Halloween night really was a great night if it was a little chillier than we would have liked. 

 We ended the night at our church for their indoor "trunk or treat" so the weather did not really matter.  Josh's face is just killin' me HA!
 I ended the week at a birthday party for an old family friend - Alice (she's the one sitting).  She turned 90.  It brought together some dear friends.  Jeanne Turk (back left), my mom (middle), and Mrs. Basler (Back right).  All pretty special people in my book.
 Finally, Darryl took the boys to Friday school today since I was gone and I'm so glad he did.  When I got home Josh said, "Mom, I made you a pie".  This is the pie he made today in his baking class.  I love that he's learning to bake!
I didn't get to share this last week - but the rhino and turtle on the left are both projects that Nate has made recently in his class.  I love all of the experiences they get at Friday school!