Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rain Forest

One of the images that tends to be front and center when it comes to home schoolers is that of phenomenal projects and great learning experiences. That can be quite intimidating, especially for those of us to whom such creativity does not come naturally! But, every now and then an idea does come to me. (And, I look forward to Olivia continuing to grow and learn because I think her creative mind will be a treasure-trove of ideas.)

When I realized that we were going to be spending a week and a half on rain forests, an idea amazingly popped into my mind. Create a rain forest! The girls had been drawing pictures of what they were learning. What about cutting and molding instead? So, off we went. The result was a much less than perfect and very disproportionate rain forest creation of which I am incredibly proud! The girls worked so hard, didn't back down from challenges, and learned a lot about rain forests in the process. We put it all together on Monday - here are the pictures!

Painting the backdrop.

The finished backdrop Angie's sloth
Olivia's gorillaThe rain forest scene - notice the addition of colorful plants to the backdrop - cacao pods on one tree, bananas and banana flowers hanging down, an enormous bromeliad on the right, and some rosy periwinkles here and there.
Close-ups of...

Angie's tiger jumping out to attack Olivia's okapi with a snake nearby in the undergrowth.
Angie's sloth hanging from a tree near a bunch of bananas.
Yep, even Steven got in on the action! Here's his snake perched on a limb.
The proud girls with their finished project.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flowers

Spring is so beautiful! These roses were gone by the time we moved last summer, so we didn't know what to expect. If we had thought about it, we would have pruned the bush back over the winter, but we just didn't pay much attention. Saturday morning we went out and got some pictures of the kids with the roses and picking daisies in the front yard.

"For you, Mommy!" :-) How precious is that?!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

School Tidbits

I frequently have in my mind a picture of how I would arrange the perfect school setup - what I would need and how perfect this or that would be.

The perfect school setup would, of course, include an incredible outdoor learning area. Naturally, we don't have that imagined school setting. But, not having it is kind of like not have toys that do everything. Sometimes not having is so much better than having because we are forced to use our God-given creativity! Like using a toy-storage tub and a couple of kid-sized chair to make a perfect outdoor work place. True, I don't exactly fit, so a lot of our interactive teaching time had to be done inside this time around, but the girls had a great time doing their independent work outside the other day! God is so good to us!

Something else that has been fun with school lately has been watching Steven grow in his ability to be involved in school. He's progressing from rambunctious toddler to learning preschooler, and I love it! The toddler years are so much fun to me, but this is the first time I've actually had the chance to be homeschooling grade school with a preschooler around since Livie and Angie are fairly close in age.

Steven loves history and read-alouds as much as his sisters. He even participated in creating our rain forest (more to come on that this week!), and yesterday he picked up some scissors and began to cut. And did quite well, I might add! Yes, we need to work on his grip, but he had a little strip of construction paper less than half an inch wide, and he was cutting little grooves in it! Occasionally he'd cut a piece totally off, but for the most part he did quite well just cutting those little grooves. As you can see by the grin on his face, he was very proud of himself! I just found a tip on making a rice tub for preschoolers, so I put that together earlier this week. It's a tub full of rice in which we will hide things, put cups for filling and emptying, and play matching games. I'm excited about introducing that to him. Learning is so much fun!

I'm in the process of slowly going through next year's curriculum, gaining familiarity with the books, planning some of our extras, and creating a picture book wishlist. We're having a great time finishing up this year, and I'm sure next year will be just as fun, if not even moreso!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Yum!

Well, for those of you who haven't caught it on Doug's blog, he did make it home on Wednesday! Angie's dentist appointment went well and she was fantastic through it all (thank you for the prayers!). We were done in perfect timing to go pick Doug up in Little Rock. YAY! It was definitely wonderful to have him home. We all slept much better Wednesday night!

Yesterday we had more cause for celebration. We found out it was National Cherry Cheesecake Day! We haven't been on top of the celebrations lately (you can probably tell from the sparseness of the calendar below), but we just had to celebrate this one. So, the kids and I dropped Doug off at the dentist and then headed to Walmart for the necessary ingredients. Although we like just about any type of cheesecake you put in front of us, we prefer the refrigerated over the baked. So, we pulled out our trust Homemade Gourmet cheesecake mix, added the cream cheese and Cool Whip, and produced a nice creamy cheesecake for our evening dessert. So, it wasn't the most beautiful cheesecake in the world, but it sure did taste good!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Update

Just to let you know, Doug made it safely to Kansas City. He was pretty tired last night, but seemed to have a good trip and a good evening. He had some meetings last night and today is touring around Kansas City looking at some missions opportunities. He is sitting down right now to an Indian taco (American Indian, that is). He just sent me a picture of it. It looks pretty good!

We're doing well around here. Last night around supper time, Steven knew that Daddy should be home but wasn't. So, he walked over to my phone and said, "Can I talk to Daddy on this phone?" Once he talked to Doug for a minute, he was fine. This morning he was pretty emotional when he realized Doug wasn't home when he got up. But, he got to talk to Doug about an hour later and has been fine since. The girls have commented that they wish Daddy was home, but they don't seem to be having problems. God has definitely been keeping things nice, even, and calm around here. Thanks to all who are praying!

Yesterday afternoon was a beautiful "play in the yard" kind of afternoon. Here's Steven practicing his tennis serve...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tidbits from the Week

It's been a week for fun little things. I like weeks like that! Come with me and take a peek...

Princesses in school - check! We've had a lot of cloudy, rainy school days which kept us from being able to enjoy the great outdoors. So, sometimes being able to dress a little differently is just what we need to add a little diversion.

We started learning about the rain forest in science this week. We are making a display of sorts to show off some of the things we learn during this section. We'll have a backdrop of trees, make some plants out of construction paper, and make a few animals out of clay. Not exactly proportionate, I can tell you that now! But, our goal is more to reinforce what we're learning than to make a perfect display. These are just a few sneak peeks - stay tuned for the finished product, which will probably come sometime next week.

Meanwhile, there's Steven. He's such a hoot! Here are some of his antics for the week...

- Skipping through the house saying, "It looks like I'm skateboarding!" (I had no idea he even knew what skateboarding was! Apparently some of the boys at church skateboard. And, he adores those big boys at church!)
- Informing us all that he's a "Pooka Person!" During our morning devotional the other day, we were talking about different races and people groups, including our own. After a bit of discussion, Steven said, "I'm not a white person - I'm a Pooka person!" (Pooka is Steven's nickname, by the way.)
Meanwhile, there are the helmets. Steven has been wearing his big sisters' helmets for a while. I always assumed that it was because he'd seen them wear them when they rode their bikes, so he wanted to do the same thing. We weren't too sure about our little boy wearing pink and purple princess helmets, but he didn't seem to care. So, we figured we'd let him do it until we found him one of his own.

Then the other day he walked in and asked me to put a helmet and his knee pads on. He said, "I need my helmet so I can go throw my football!" So, now I know!

Meanwhile, while we were in Wal-Mart today we came across a Hot Wheels helmet set on close-out for $5! Yep, that's just what we needed. Steven, of course, thought it was wonderful and couldn't wait to get home and get it out of the package and onto his head (and elbows and knees). Ain't he cute?




Doug's parents came up today and we headed up the road to a quaint little community called The Village. It is a collection of shops and restaurants run by a group of people who live, work, and go to church all together in their little community. It was quite the fun experience.

We started with a delicious lunch at the barbeque restaurant and then went and browsed the shops. It was a nice outing and an enjoyable visit with Grandma and PopPop.
Looking into the upcoming week, we do have a couple of prayer requests...

Doug leaves in the wee hours of Monday morning (2:00ish, actually) to head to Kansas City for a couple of days. He will be joining a few others from our association to explore missions opportunities with the Kansas-Nebraska State Convention. He'll be returning midday on Wednesday. Please pray for the team's safety as they travel and for a very productive trip. Pray for the rest of us, too, as we're not at all used to Daddy being gone!

Meanwhile, Angie goes for her frenectomy, filling, and dental impression on Wednesday morning. Pray that it all goes well. We will find out on Wednesday when we'll have to go back in to get her appliance. Thanks for praying!

Well, the expected thunderstorm has rolled in, so it's time to shut down the computer. Hope you all had a great week! Have a blessed Sunday as you begin your new week!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Girls

Here are some more Easter shots of each of the girls. Oh, and just to let you know, it was NOT night time when we dyed Easter eggs! That's just how dark and stormy it was here Sunday afternoon!






Thursday, April 16, 2009

Steven

Here are some Easter snapshots of just Steven.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Pictures

Okay, so you didn't really think that the few pictures I posted on Monday were the only Easter pictures I took, did you?! RIGHT! Yeah, like I could even consider restraining myself. I don't even consider myself a true amateur photographer, but I just can't help trying to snap those cute posed pictures every Christmas, Easter, birthday, and any other chance I get.

Here are my favorites. I originally was going to put them all in one post, but there were just too many. So, today, tomorrow, and Friday will be dedicated to posting all of my favorites. Thanks for indulging me! :-)









Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt

Saturday morning we joined some other families at church for an Easter egg hunt. It dawned on me that although we've hidden eggs on our own for the kids in years past when weather and timing have permitted, they've never really participated in an all-out group egg hunt. They seemed to enjoy themselves.
Younger kids ready to hunt.
Older kids chomping at the bits ready to go!



After the hunt we went inside for a light lunch and a bunny craft. (Just for the record, Angela is almost always in the midst of a group of three or four little girls when we're at church!)