Friday, September 28, 2012


My husband is a big fan of woodworking and so my son is too. Today he asked me for a printed horse from the internet. I didn't ask why, but printed it out for him.

He went to the garage and used the scroll saw. This is what he made:

He has never done this before, but wow, I think it is something!

I can't wait to see what else he creates!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

She's 18...

For any of you mothers out there, you will know what this post means.

My oldest beautiful girl turns 18 today. I cannot believe it.

Hannah Grace, the firstborn to our amazing brood of five, is officially an adult. I think she has been that in mind and heart for much longer than a few hours, but there is something about saying, "She is 18."

In fact, it makes me cry a little bit. You see, I remember her as she was not so long ago, as a baby loved  in such a crazy powerful way. 

Then you grew along with your first sister and brother...

And then two more sisters...

And you started to grow up!

And you were blessed with friends that have lasted your lifetime.

And then you hit your early teen years where you started being you--serving your family in so many ways.

And now I can hardly believe the young woman you have become.

And your joy and kindness makes my life rich.

And you are one of my best friends in the world.

And while you are beautiful on the outside, you are most beautiful on the inside.

I love you more than words can express. 

Happy Birthday, Hannah Grace.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am very grateful for forgiveness. God is so good to give us friends and family that love us, support us, and are there for us. I am SOOO grateful for them!

What I'm reading: I am reading a most fascinating book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. It is a really good book. More to come on that in later posts. I am using it this week in our history study about the Scopes trial.

What I'm listening to:  My husband's conference all. :)

What we're learning: We have been learning about the Dust Bowl, the Depression, and we are on the cusp of World War II. I can't wait to get to that because I love studying this time period. It is personal to me because my 94 (!!) year-old grandma lived through it and her stories are wonderful.

What's cooking:  This week we are making some yummy stuff. My beautiful oldest daughter, Hannah, is turning 18 tomorrow and she selected a delicious meal. We will be baking cranberry orange scones with fruit smoothie for breakfast and pesto chicken panini sandwiches and a delicious salad for dinner. Hello, yum! We love pesto and have not done panini sandwiches at all this summer so I cam very much looking forward to that!

What I'm buying: Well, I bought a last minute birthday present for Hannah that I was not intending to buy, but it was THERE and just yelled HANNAH so I had to buy it. I cannot say what it is though or she might see it. :D

What I'm thankful for: For family and friends, for a dedicated husband that LOVES me, LOVES my children, and is devoted to doing God's will for our lives. I am very grateful for him.

What I'm creating: Lesson plans for history! I would also like to paint my kitchen and hallways - which is the first time I have said that out loud. LOL

What I'm praying: For my dear friend Gena Suarez, Publisher of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. She is in the hospital and will likely have a C-section in a day or so and she needs prayer for safety and peace. Thank you for praying with me if you think of her!

What I'm planning: School planning never seems to end. AND I cannot seem to get things done around here. My husband is going away for a five day business trip so I am planning what he should take with him.

What we did this last weekend: Oh, we had a LOVELY visit with most of my family at my aunt's house in the California Delta. It was so nice and relaxing for me and we ate like kings. :D We (even *I*) wakeboarded and wow, am I sore today! LOL I tell you, I am feeling my almost 42 years! :D

What I'm looking forward to: The fall season kicking in. We have had a taste of fall and I can't wait for it to come full blast here. California never has much in the way of strong weather like some of you do, but I buy my fall candles and enjoy the weather in the 70's and eventually it gets to the 60's and it feels really cold. haha (I know that those of you living in genuinely cold places must laugh at us California sillies when we say that the 60's or - shudder - the 50's are cold.) :D I fully admit I am a baby when it comes to cold weather!

A picture to share: These are my five beautiful children standing in the back of a moving boat over the weekend. We had a ball. I am such a blessed Mama!

Have a lovely week!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Virginia Apple Pudding - Come to me, Fall! :D

I pull this recipe out each fall (and at other times of the year when I want a little fall in my diet.) Because we just came home from Apple Hill with about 60 pounds of apples, I just had to make it! I hope you enjoy it.

Virginia Apple Pudding

½ C butter (NOT margarine – gross)
1 C sugar
1 C white flour
2 t baking powder
¼ t salt
¼ t cinnamon
2 t vanilla
1 C milk
2 C sliced apples

Preheat oven to 375. While heating, put butter in a 2 quart casserole pan and put in the oven to melt it. (I usually double this recipe and do it in a 9x13 pan.) Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the apples and stir to make a batter. Once the butter is melted in the pan, remove it and place on the stove. Pour in the batter all around on top of the melted butter. Then, put the apple slices on top of the batter and press it into the batter. Bake until the batter rises over the apples and the crust is browned; about 30-40 minutes (a little longer if doubled). Cool for ten minutes and enjoy as-is or add vanilla ice cream. 

This is a REALLY good recipe. J

I would post a picture, but it is all gone! Tee Hee!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Birthday

We spent the day at a lovely place (that is not really a single place, but many different farms) called Apple Hill yesterday. It was my third daughter's 12th birthday. She shares her birthday with September 11 (which for a child can be a difficult thing) so we made it a day of celebration, good food, and fellowship with friends in a beautiful part of the California foothills.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful girl, Elizabeth. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

She Lived

Some of you know that I attended a memorial service for a long-time friend over the weekend. We were not close friends, but I loved and respected her and admired her many abilities. She was one of those people that used her mind and was not afraid to do things her way. We met about 15 years ago at church and attended the same homeschool support group. She and I would discuss whether it was possible to school the way we wished without using the most expensive curricula out there. Could we do it without this or that? How could we make it work? I loved that she thought outside the box. We worked together at The Old Schoolhouse and she challenged me to write an article about homeschooling moms and the burdens they carry. How we think we have to do it all and do it perfectly, but that God really does equip us to school our children right where we are--with or without the "right" curriculum. How He is our burden bearer and that we can trust Him for all things--including our homeschool journey with our children. I never wrote the article. I might now do so in her memory even though I feel totally inadequate to carry the torch she carried. She would have written it better.

At her service, I learned so many things about her that I did not know. I learned how she touched the lives of many people by just living her life. It was a powerful and humbling memorial service that challenged me to live better and with more determination in my role as a daughter of the King, wife, mother, friend, homeschooler, and in my many jobs. She was an incredible role model even amid her suffering with cancer.

I wanted to share an article she wrote on her cancer journey (Facing Affliction with the Faith of a Mustard Seed), and the beautiful tribute to her life that the Senior Editor of The Old Schoolhouse shared to preface it. May this article, and Deborah's tribute bless you today as it blessed me.

"Afflictions are often the black foils in which God sets the jewels of His children's
graces to make them shine better."
~Charles Spurgeon

Enjoy eternity, Andrea, you will be much missed.

Friday, September 07, 2012

New Year and Online Learning

I don't know where August went, but wow, did it fly by. August is our only month in the year when we are not doing formal school and where I give myself a few weeks off to plan. I always seem to arrive in September by the seat of my pants and totally NOT prepared. I was able to pull it together for the oldest two (10th grade and 12th grade) since those two grades need a tad more of my attention than the other ones, but wow, I squeaked into our September start by a very tiny margin!

I will need another full week before I feel we are in the swing of things, but I am excited about some of the online programs we are using this year. My youngest three (8th, 6th, and 4th) are using these programs--all of which we have never done before. All of these programs are from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Samson's Classroom is an upcoming Schoolhouse Review Crew vendor that we are accessing already (because there are a few perks to running the Crew!) This program offers sight words, spelling, and reading programs all within the same website. So far, so good! We have just begun this program, but my youngest with the reading issues is already doing well and enjoying this one. (Yippie!)

Reading Kingdom is another online reading program that we are using. We took all of August off so we are just getting back into this. My youngest is also doing this one and seems to like it so far. This is reading help too. She likes online programs so I take advantage of that here!

VocabularySpellingCity is another online resource that I have two of them (8th and 6th) working with. I really like this program. Once I figured out how to assign lists, I have enjoyed getting this one going for them. The multiple ways they teach the children the words, the games and other avenues they offer the children--all are well done and thorough. This will be a great product to get to use this year!

ALEKS Math is the newest online program to join our new year line-up. I have a two-month free trial going for my three youngest children to see how it works for us. My 8th grader does well with online math programs so I am very hopeful there. My 6th grader is new to this kind of learning so I will be very interested  to see how it works for her. My 4th and I will be sitting together going over it every day. I have already enjoyed doing this with her and even though she balked at doing the assessment, she did better than I thought she would and I think even enjoyed it a little bit. :) We shall see.

MyMathLab from Pearson Education's homeschool division is an online algebra program that my 10th grader is using. I am very pleased to see the progress here! This is not a program I would have chosen had it not been presented to the Crew, but the course is very thorough, expects a high level of understanding in order to move on, has full video presentation, and is an all-around great program!

So do you use online programs in your homeschool? What have you found that worked for you?

And just so you can keep your sanity and find the help you need, the September issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is here for free to help you! Just click below to see the whole magazine with all its beautiful encouragement for you. Enjoy!

Look inside >
Cover BC
September 2012

Have a great weekend!