Earlier this week I was finally able find time to sew!  Best of all, I was finally able to use my "new" sewing machine. :)

Back in March I purchased a "new" machine from a lady at church.  I got it all oiled (it hadn't been used in years), and then it sat.  First I didn't have a convenient space to use it, then I didn't have time.  I finally found both!

My "new" baby :)
I'm happy to report the machine works like a dream.  (It also has a "home"... no pics of that yet.)

The project was a car seat cover for TJ.  I'd made one for Phoenix, but since he was born in the winter I used batting, and it was much too warm to use for summer!  I was able to find fabric I liked, and discovered after the fact that it was really on sale... I spent less than $7 on this project, and saved $14.42. Yay!

And here it is:

I used this tutorial.  If I were to make another, I think I might make it just slightly less wide.  I had an idea for this type of cover back when Alex and Chase were babies... I just didn't ever develop the idea (I didn't even own a machine at the time, and wasn't all that interested in sewing).  I love it because it's much like a blanket, but the straps keep it out of baby's face.  Also, it keeps the handle of the car seat accessible.

Now we just need a baby to put in the seat. ;) Thankful it will be soon!!


Just Alex

Since we had a really full day on Alex's actual birthday (check out the posts entitled "Field Trip: Pt 1, and Pt 2) we had to wait to take him out on his own for a birthday dinner.  One week ago (10 days after the fact) we finally had the opportunity to take him.  He chose to head to Texas Roadhouse.  He was even a good sport and sat on the saddle while they sang their "Happy Birthday" song. ;)  (I realized after the fact that I should have taken a picture of that!  duh...)

Free birthday dessert. :)
 A few days later he looked like this...
 I'm just thankful that he's still my "little boy" -- enough so that, rather than duck and run when I pull out the camera after he's pulled a stunt like this one, he'll pose for me.  LOL


Spoken Word

Today I get a chance to kind of brag on my brother, while sharing (he shares) from the Word.  This is a spoken word he wrote which was produced by some people from his church, GracePoint Church in New Brighton, MN.

Kevin is currently the Business Administrator at the church, but has earned his M. Div. from Bethel Seminary and does sometimes preach.

I hope this spoken word touches your life.  Please feel free to share it with others.  May it have a lasting impact.

Thanks, Kevin, for allowing me to share this on my blog.  You should know that I'm proud of the man you've become.


Runaway Ralph

Anyone remember the Beverly Cleary books about Ralph the mouse?  Ralph paid a visit to our house...
cat toy and a lego bicycle
He came "riding" through my kitchen courtesy of Jericho, and I couldn't pass up the photo op.  LOL  Reminded me of my childhood. :)


A New Home

Not for us... though we are considering our many options at this point!

Radar was ours for a year.  He was a sweet dog, but because of ever-growing children (size and amount.  LOL) which in essence was decreasing our space, and the fact that he couldn't be outside unless he was tied, we felt it would be more fair to him if he had a new home.  One where he had more space, and would be able to run.

A couple from our church came last Monday (day after Mother's Day) and picked him up.  Their children are grown, and while both had dogs as children, they haven't had one since they married (if I remember right, that was about 40 years ago!).  So, they decided it was time.  They are fencing their yard for him, and I can already tell he will be well-loved and cared for in their home... and probably a bit spoiled. ;)

We are so grateful that Radar has a new home, and he's not too far away (several blocks) so we can stop over and visit from time to time.  His new family also lives on Tim's bike route to and from work, so he sees him briefly almost daily.

Goodbye, Radar!  Congrats on your new home.

Trying something new

One of the blogs I read on a regular basis, and often link up to, is Sew Many Ways.  Today, Karen posted about how she made her blog signature without html.  So, I thought I'd try it...
It's too big... but other than that, I think I like it.  Opinions?  Anyone?

**Update: resized
Small enough?  Or should I shrink it more?  Or should I ditch it altogether?


Every day

Every day, half a dozen times or more, the voice behind this precious face says, "Mommy, I love you SO much!" or "Mommy, I like you SO much!"  Not much in life that is better than that. :)


Field Trip! Pt. 2

As promised... part deux :)

After the Science Museum we headed over to Burger Moe's (a place Tim and I found while at the MACHE convention - we ate there three times during that trip because it's just.that.good!).  It was good to be back! :)  This time, we met the owner.

my burger w/o a bun, and sweet potato fries.  yum!

free birthday dessert.  "Moe" was kind enough to bring one out for every kid at the table, not just the birthday boy. :) it did not disappoint!

Walking to the car in the parking ramp of the museum, Alex asked if it would be possible to go walk around outside Target Field and see some of the statues and stuff they missed out on the first time they went to a game.  We agreed -- what we didn't tell him was that we already had tickets for the game. :)  It was so much fun surprising them all by walking through the gate after checking out the statues!
1st view of Target Field from the skywalk

kids in the golden glove

birthday boy

our view of the field

are we having fun!?

there's the smiles!

mom and the birthday boy (had to prove I was there too! LOL)
Long day, late night, but TOTALLY worth it!

In the midst of all of this, Chase was feeling pretty punk.  He woke up with a sore throat in the morning, and we gave him Tylenol for the discomfort.  By the time we finished at the Science Museum he wasn't doing so hot.  I walked from Burger Moe's to the nearest pharmacy and bought some more pain reliever. He perked up for the game, but was ready for bed by the time we left the field.  Found out the next day that both he and Shiloh had strep, bringing the household strep count for the week to 4.  Everyone is feeling better now after their rounds of antibiotics.


Field Trip! Pt. 1

We got on the road about 9 am.  I have to admit to sleeping most of the way to the Cities. ;)  Levi was so impressed with all the large buildings, the tunnels, and the many roads.  Tim was less impressed with having to drive those roads...

We got to the Science Museum, bought our tickets, and had a few minutes to look around the Mississippi River Gallery.  Then we headed to our scheduled visit to the Real Pirates exhibit.  They had listening devices (press the number, then hold it to your ear to hear about a specific piece of the exhibit).  I was worried Levi wouldn't really "get" that part, or that it would be boring for him, but he was the one who ended up pointing out each new audio site. :)

At different points throughout the exhibit there were volunteers who gave more information.  One of those covered navigation tools used by the pirates, and how they worked.  Everyone enjoyed learning about that one. :)  Tim said it was the highlight of the exhibit for him.
learning about navigation

After the pirate exhibit it was time for lunch.  We ate at "Chomp", a deli located near the Dinosaurs and Fossils Gallery.  Of course, after lunch, we checked out the dinosaurs.  I love a good opportunity to talk to my kids about how fossils formed without the benefits of the hundreds of millions of years scientists always talk about (the "ocean" that once covered MN:  you've heard of Noah and the flood, right? *wink*).

Next stop was the Omnitheater for a showing of "Under the Sea".  Awestruck.  That would describe the reaction from the kids (especially Victory and Levi) when that giant screen folded out in front of us. :)

The rest of our visit was spent mostly in the Collections Gallery, and the Experiment Gallery.  Didn't take long and it was 5 pm!  Hard to believe how quickly the day passed!

Kid's favorites from the Science Museum?  Alex, Levi, and Victory all vote for the Omnitheater.  Chase liked the giant pterodactyl skeleton hanging above the main entrance. :)

Don't miss Pt. 2 - coming soon! :)



Easy way to earn a dollar:
what a goofball!
had to include this one even tho it's blurry just because it's so funny ;)

he's pretty proud
I noticed this afternoon that Levi's teeth looked funny.  Further investigation found a VERY loose tooth - of which he was completely unaware!  LOL  Then later, as I was teasing him about pulling his tooth out, I realized the one next to it is loose as well.  We got the first one out before bed, and I offered to pull the other.  His response?  "No!  I don't want to look like a Yankee tooth!"  Oh boy.  He cracks me up!  LOL  The *tooth fairy* around here brings $1 for the first tooth... others are worth 50¢.  He's pretty excited!



A couple weeks ago, Levi had a fever for a day.  It put him on the couch.  He threw up.

Several days later, Chase had a fever for a day.  He napped in between doing school.  He went to bed early.

Saturday, Victory had a fever for the day.  She was on the couch all day.  She was feeling better on Sunday, but had a sore throat.

Today we did strep tests on four kids.  Two of them tested positive.  Victory was one... Jericho was the other.

Jericho never did have a fever.  Sometime last week the kids picked apple blossoms from a neighbors tree.  Later in the afternoon Jericho developed hives.  We gave her Benadryl and tossed out the blossoms, giving kids strict instructions not to pick more.

Last night at supper, Jericho was incredibly cranky.  She went to bed cranky.  About 3 hours later, she woke up cranky.  I brought her upstairs because she had a dirty diaper, but I also realized she was covered front and back in hives again.  Hmmm.  Maybe it wasn't the apple blossoms? More Benadryl, and off to bed she went.  Woke this morning looking fine (but a bit sleepy).

The doctor decided to run the strep test on her since strep can cause hives (and Victory's test had already shown a positive).  You learn something every day!

In other news... Alex's eye gets more colorful every day.  I'll post pics of that soon. :)

Today, Phoenix has started running... mostly because it gives him more time to get into mischief before someone can catch him and pull him away. ;)

We have a "field trip" coming up on Wednesday that I'm looking forward to posting about later in the week.

Happy Monday, all!  Enjoy the sunshine, and have a great week. :)


The Story

Taken this morning
Get's more colorful by the hour ;)
Wednesday night was the last day of RAD... family night, dinner and a movie, gift bags. We decided a few days before that we would stay home and have our own family night.  Pizza was on the menu (RAD dinner was spaghetti... too messy, and we have a few that can't eat it anyway) and we figured we'd play a board game or something after eating.

After supper clean up was nearly done.  Tim and I were doing some last minute things, and deciding what game we would play.  Alex and Chase headed outside.  We decided since it was so nice we'd skip the board game and play a game of kickball in the backyard.  Then there was some commotion at the front of the house.

We heard that laughing/crying that says "it hurts, but that was hilarious!" and just let it go... and then the real crying started.  Chase.  He has a tendency to over-react, and since they started out laughing we still figured it wasn't too bad.

A few minutes later, Alex came in the house whimpering and holding his face, and lay down on the couch (face down).  I hadn't seen his face at that point and inquired as to whether he was bleeding.  He said he didn't know and I told him he'd better get off my couch!  LOL  I called him over and told him to move his hands.  Then I sucked in my breath rather loudly and requested that Tim get an icepack.  Oh boy.

Apparently, Alex was running one way around the house, and Chase was running the other.  They met, in the air, at the corner of the house.  Alex remembers running, and then being on the ground, but doesn't recall seeing Chase.  Chase saw Alex and says he closed his eyes.  He also says Alex must have seen him because he yelled "Woah!" right before they hit.

Chase's forehead, Alex's eye.  Chase's knee, Alex's calf.  Alex's knee, Chase's thigh.  Alex is still limping a bit (deep muscle bruise), but Chase is fine.  And, as you can see, Alex's eye/face absorbed the most impact.  His 14th birthday pics next week will be cute. ;)

Tim said maybe we should have just played Monopoly.  He also informed the boys that if they are going to do that again to let him know so he can get it on video and we can at least make some money out of the deal. LOL

Our doctor friend was here this morning to take a look at the eye and assured us that it's all fine.  Just need to continue icing occasionally for a few more days.  And once again we prove that things are never dull around here. :)


The Plan

Planning for a new year of homeschool can be a bit daunting... especially when you realize that what you're currently using isn't really working for every subject area.  That's what we ran into this year.  For the last two years we've used Alpha Omega LifePacs exclusively.  Next year will look a bit different...

The current plan:
Alex (who we are now preparing for high school. YIKES!) is starting 9th grade in the fall and will be using LifePacs for math, history, and science.  He will also be fulfilling some electives credits with LifePacs (astronomy and geology - both tie in with his science for the year, and The Life of Christ -- he chose that last one on his own! Is it okay that I had a proud mom moment? *grin*).  Language Arts will be IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) curriculum.  We will start with Teaching Writing: Structure & Style/Student Writing Intensive B and Phonetic Zoo, and later will add in FixIt! Grammar, and Teaching the Classics.

Chase's year will look much like Alex's, minus the electives.  He will be in 7th grade.  They will be taught at the same level in IEW.  The Phonetic Zoo (spelling) allows them to work at their own pace.  All IEW is a mastery based system which I felt was missing in LifePacs (especially their LA).  While LifePacs are mastery based in theory, I didn't necessarily feel my boys were mastering anything...  thus the change. :)

Victory, Levi, and Shiloh will all be using another IEW curriculum aimed at the younger set.  PAL (Principal Arts of Language) is also a mastery based program which includes both Reading and Writing.  The three of them will be taught together (time efficiency!) but will still be allowed to advance at their own pace.  Eventually, Victory (and maybe Levi?) will add in All About Spelling.

Victory and Levi will be completing 2nd grade level LifePacs for science and history together.  Victory will do LifePacs grade 2 math, and Levi will do grade 1 math.  For Shiloh, I think we'll stick with printable worksheets and flashcards for math.

I think that's it... ;)

I am thankful for the summer months to figure out all the new additions (not just curriculum!  TJ will be a mystery as well. *grin*).  I'm also thankful for a husband/father who is incredibly involved in our schooling.  He is my master planner... I rely on him to make up the schedule for the year because it's just not my forte, and he does an EXCELLENT job! He also helps with teaching, correcting/grading completed work, and is a great sounding board for those frustrating moments/days.

I'm also thankful for a loving heavenly Father who provides what we need each and every day... even especially the tough days!

Curriculum Links: