Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursdays of Thanks....

I woke this morning on the wrong side of bed :(  It's been either sub zero or snowing here in the Midwest for what seems like years, but in actuality months.  Today it's snowing again!  I feel shut in.  I was talking with The Farmer about trying to find something to be thankful for at the end of January in the frozen tundra and he simply said, "Standing on two feet".   I stopped and then smiled because this is so simple and yet a gift.  This is why I love him :)

Nineteen months; Scalloped potatoes for supper; The smell of Riley's freshly shampooed hair; Neighbor plowing us out; Laysan Albatross live cam; Brothers looking at hunting magazines together; Standing on two feet......

Monday, January 27, 2014

Thirteen Colonies....

I love this Thirteen Colony series by Dennis B. Fradin!  I felt very fortunate to find the set used in excellent condition at a public school discard book sale for 50-cents each.  There is one title for each of the Original Thirteen Colonies:

The Virginia Colony
The Massachusetts Colony
The New Hampshire Colony
The Maryland Colony
The Connecticut Colony
The Rhode Island Colony
The Delaware Colony
The North Carolina Colony
The South Carolina Colony
The New Jersey Colony
The New York Colony
The Pennsylvania Colony
The Georgia Colony

The books include illustrations, photographs, maps, copies of primary source documents, and a timeline of Colonial America events.  The books are divided into chapters and start out with an introduction or overview of each state.  Then the books tell about the natives of each region and their life prior to exploration and colonization.  They go on to tell about exploration and early settlers with biographical sketches of pertinent people.  There are chapters on wars and other major historical events leading up to statehood and industrialization.

I appreciate the time that it must have taken the author to trace and study these histories in order to produce a quality book series.  The series is not super in depth, but gives a great overview of all the major events in each colony's history.  It was intended as a juvenile series.  We did not read each book from cover to cover, but instead read excerpts regarding the natives, explorers, and early settlers.  This Thirteen Colony series is an excellent resource for studying the history and people in the earliest American settlements.

You might consider these notebooking pages to accompany your study of each colony. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Day in the LIfe....January

I'm joining Tristan at Our Busy Homeschool for her "One Homeschool Day" link up.

One Homeschool Day January Edition  

Here is the one day saga of our homeschool.  This is a "typical" Tuesday in January. 

3:00 a.m. The Farmer rises to reinforce the fire in the outdoor wood burner.  Normally he fires twice a day and not during the night, but since it's -20 this morning without the wind chill, he rose extra early for an added boost.  I roll over.

5:45 a.m.  The Farmer comes back to bed.  At approx. 16 months old, Levi started catapulting himself out of this crib at night.  We tried to transition to a toddler bed, but this left him wandering around at night until he found our bed.  We have since caved and allow him to sleep in our bed....GASP!  He sleeps as long as we lay by him.  When we get up, so does he.

5:58 a.m. Since The Farmer is back to lay with Levi, I roll out.  I stumble out to the computer to pray, check e-mails, and blog.  I enjoy this quiet time to get my bearings before the rest of the house rises.

6:20 a.m. Angel wakes to start her chores.

6:58 a.m.  I check laundry baskets.  I washed three loads yesterday so there isn't enough for a full load today...YIPPY!  I start baking Blueberry Muffins.  I thought I could whip them up, throw them in the oven, then hop in the shower.  However, the honey has crystallized in the container and it takes me over 5 minutes to get 1/4 cup.  In my irritation, I added one cup of milk instead of 1/2 cup.  I bought a new muffin pan at an estate sale last fall and I now see the cups are smaller than my old one so I don't think all the batter will fit in just 12 holes.  I think my old muffin pan is in the shed in the sand toys :(  Great!  I dig and find a 6 muffin tin.

7:20 a.m.  I hear Levi talking.  He's awake!  I really wanted to have these muffins and my shower done by now.

7:28 a.m. Riley and Ruben are also awake.  Here comes Levi.

7:31 a.m. Muffins are in the oven.  I quickly jump in the shower.

7:58 a.m. Riley, Ruben, & Levi are having a 4 roll pack Duck Tape rolling championship across the kitchen counter.  Oh, now it has become an elk call.  All this while I'm fighting to get these muffins released from this "new" pan.  They are sticking like crazy!  OK, now the top just ripped off one....GGRRRR!  The kids quickly scarf up the pieces. 

8:03 a.m. Riley and I retreat to the school room.  She reads poetry.  We work together on English and Math.

8:26 a.m.  "I" arrives.  We babysit another one year old typically Mon - Thurs.  He and Levi are quite a handful.  They are only two months apart so it's like having twins!

8:38 a.m. I boil eggs.  We have blueberry muffins and boiled eggs for breakfast.

9:13 a.m. My sister and niece arrive.  They also homeschool and we co-op some subjects.

9:35 a.m. Riley, Ruben, and niece hit the books.  I read aloud, we study history, and Psalms.  Niece does spelling.  Ruben and niece work together on math.  Riley works on copywork.  Riley and niece work together on science.

9:58 a.m. The Farmer is looking for clear tape to repair the tablecloth that Levi is ripping holes in.  The kids get distracted.  I try to regroup.

10:45 a.m. Brief phone call.  I normally don't take calls during this time unless it's something that needs immediate attention.  Today it is.

12:39 p.m. Make lunch of leftover meatloaf and pasta salad.  My sister brought a pizza and some carrots to add to the mix.  After lunch, the kids have free play time.  Legos, K'nex, dress-up, you name it....crazy kids! : )

2:30 p.m. I attempt to lay "I" down for a nap.  It is unsuccessful.

3:00 p.m. Levi takes a nap.

4:10 p.m. Sister and niece go home.

4:20 p.m. I review math lessons for tomorrow and start thinking about supper.

4:42 p.m. "J" comes to pick up "I".

4:56 p.m. I correct Math and English with RileyAnn.  Then I dictate spelling sentences to her.

5:25 p.m. Levi wakes

5:38 p.m. I make supper, chicken breast with garlic and mushroonms, baked potatoes, pineapple, and salad.

6:00 p.m. Angel and Riley take a shower.

6:42 p.m. Eat supper.

7:00 p.m. Riley and Ruben watch Gilligan's Island.

7:05 p.m. I clear table and put leftover food away.  Angel does dishes and sweeps the kitchen.

7:15 p.m. I have a bit of free time.  I check the computer.

8:00 p.m. Ruben and I work on Explode the Code.

8:17 p.m. Ruben and Levi shower.

9:00 p.m. Angel, Riley, Ruben in bed.  Riley reads to Ruben.  I rock Levi to sleep.

9:24 p.m. I lay Levi in bed next to The Farmer.  I open doors that we normally keep closed during the day so Levi doesn't get into things (bathroom and bedroom).  Riley and Ruben are talking, discussing what a quadrillion $1 bills might look like.  "Mom, do you think the stack would be as big as the silo?".... I tuck them in and say good night.

9:31 p.m. Everyone is in bed asleep.  I take one last look at the computer and double check lessons and supplies for morning.

10:30 p.m. I turn off the computer and go to bed....


Angel is in 12th grade and works the majority of the day independently on her studies.  We are all in the same area, but she is doing her own thing.  She does join the younger kids for our family study of Psalms.  You can see her subjects here.

Ruben receives tutoring at the Children's Dyslexia Center so he completes the bulk of his language arts there.

Some subjects, like science are weekly rather than daily.  Tuesday happens to be science day for RileyAnn.  Ruben is using a separate science program.  However, shortly after I downloaded it, our hard drive died and I've been afraid to try it since :(

There you have it! A Tuesday in January here on Drywood Creek :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursdays of Thanks....

Cake decorating; Meeting a deadline; Sunday morning snuggle; Ticklish toddler belly laugh; Successful surgeries; Snowball cake; Fire....

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Personal Finance for High School....

Angel is finishing up her first semester Economics course and has now moved on to Personal Finance.  She will be using lesson plans from My Father's World.  The lessons lay out a reading plan for scripture; Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn; and Money Matters for Teens by Larry Burkett.

I chose this study for a couple of reasons.  One being, the emphasis on learning how to manage your personal finances according to scripture.  We've used MFW studies in the past and I feel their studies are biblically sound.  Another reason is for the simplicity of the Money Matters Workbook.  Though easy to read and apply, these workbooks are in no way dumbed down.  Burkett covers how banks work, checking and savings accounts, money management, budgets, loans, credit cards, the dangers of borrowing, giving money, making money, spending money, buying a car, paying for school, how to get a job, how to keep a job, and "How to Rock Your World with Your Money".  The workbook has a friendly format and practical application activities using real life experiences.

Overall, Angel and I are both excited about this study.  I pray it goes well. :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

High School Economics...

Angel just finished the core of her Economics course.  She is in her 12th grade year, completing one semester of Econ and one semester of Personal Finance.  The main Economics study was based on A Beka Economics Work & Prosperity.  However, she is also reading and referencing: Whatever Happened to Penny Candy by Richard Maybury; A Bluestocking Guide: Economics by Jane WilliamsEconomics: A Free Market Reader by Jane Williams & Kathryn Daniels.    

Several times throughout the study, Angel commented on how much she was learning and enjoying Economics.  We are not huge fans of text books.  A Beka is one of my least favorites simply because of the number of books required to teach each course.  We needed six books for this one semester course!  However, I will say this particular course did spark her interest.  She stated A Beka Economics was "good overall".  She found the "Reviews" at the end of each assigned reading helpful.  She further stated she was not crazy about the "Think Questions" because they were thought provoking and the answers were not readily available in the reading.  I think "thought provoking" is great!  I was actually reassured to hear this. 

Angel has since moved on to reading the Uncle Eric books mentioned above and published by Bluestocking Press.  I think studying from a variety of sources, analyzing, and comparing is an important piece to learning.  She is really excited about the Uncle Eric books as she feels they are written in a friendly conversational manner.  I believe Uncle Eric is writing letters regarding Economics to his 9th grade nephew so the language flows well and terminology is explained.  Angel also said she really likes the articles in Economics: A Free Market Reader.  The commentary and questions in the Bluestocking Guide pull it all together.

Overall, I am pleased with the books we chose for Economics and would recommend them for a high school Economics study. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Making Hasty Pudding....

A couple of weeks ago, we made Hasty Pudding as part of our Colonial History study.  The kids really enjoyed it! 

We ate it for breakfast as a hot cereal topped with our homemade maple syrup.  We also used our ground venison to make sausage patties. I figured the settlers ate wild game so it fit in :)

Here's the recipe we used....

Hasty Pudding

1. In a bowl, combine one cup yellow cornmeal with one cup of cold water.

2. In a heavy saucepan, bring three cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil.

3. Carefully stir in cornmeal mixture, making sure it does not lump.

4. Cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.

5. Cool slightly.  Serve the pudding warm with a pat of butter on top. Add a little maple syrup or sprinkle with brown sugar.

Makes 6 servings

This post was linked up and featured at Highhill Education.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursdays of Thanks....

It's been crazy busy here on Drywood Creek.  I didn't find time for the computer yesterday.  However, I have been keeping my gratitude journal and wanted to make time now to share my thankfulness :)

Little arms upstretched; Levi's negative allergy test; Watching kids being pulled on the sled; The Farmer unloading wood; Original Thirteen Colonies; Sunset over a snowman; Kids playing games....

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Stranded at Plimoth Plantation....

I read aloud Stranded at Plimoth Plantation - 1626 by Gary Bowen as part of our Colonial History study.  The kids and I really enjoyed this book!  Though I would consider it a picture book, at 81 pages I believe it's too much to read and enjoy in one setting.  We spent three days relishing the text and illustrations.

Stranded at written as a journal of 13 year old Christopher Sears, an indentured servant who was bound for Jamestown, Virginia.  When his ship, the Sparrowhawk, was shipwrecked, surviving passengers were rescued and spent time at Plimoth Colony until arrangements could be made to transport them to Virginia.

While at Plimoth, Sears lives with the family of Elder Brewster.  His journal describes life on the plantation including visits with Indians, weddings, funerals, births, methods of hunting and fishing, planting and harvesting crops, drilling with the militia, etc.  The short journal entries are accompanied by woodcut engravings that would have been the most widely used method of making multiple prints in the seventeenth century.  The woodcut illustrations are beautiful and really make the story come alive.

We highly recommend Stranded at Plimoth Plantation - 1626 whether you are studying Colonial History or just looking for a great picture book to read!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thirteen Colonies Notebooking Pages....

I searched high and low for notebooking pages to go along with our study of the Original Thirteen Colonies.  I wanted something that acknowledged the Native Tribes of each colony as well as room to write and draw.  I also wanted them to be FREE!  After searching all day, I could not find what I was looking for and ended up creating my own.  I intend to use these with 2nd, 3rd, & 4th graders. Let me know what you think. Hopefully, you can use them too :) 

Thirteen Colonies Notebooking Pages by greenebalts

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thursdays of Thanks....

Baby who doesn't want his face washed; But loves to show his belly; RileyAnn's compassion in aiding her ailing cousin; Ruben asking me to play a game with him; Dear friend's recent engagement; Celebrating niece's birthday; Shelter from the cold.....

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Pilgrims Brave Settlers of Plymouth...

I read aloud The Pilgrims Brave Settlers of Plymouth by Lynn Groh as part of our Colonial History study.  Though some of the information in this book was review for the kids because of all the other books we'd read, I thought this book was an excellent resource and would make a great spine book.  The Pilgrims...covers life in the New World from November 1621, about one year after the Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower, to around 1628 when more ships arrived and new colonies were started.  The last chapter does mention Governor Bradford's death in 1657 as well as the loss and re-discovery of his writings in the 1800's.  It also tells of the king of England making Plymouth part of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691. 

I thought Groh's book did an excellent job of showing the ups and downs of Plymouth throughout its existence.  The book held illustrations, maps, paintings, and photographs of the people, artifacts, and the settlement. The Pilgrims... is a 95 page book divided into 9 chapters.  The TruthQuest History guide's age recommendation is grades 3-8.  I used it with grades 2-4, but it certainly would be appropriate for older students.

The Pilgrims Brave Settlers of Plymouth is one of those little gems I found for 50-cents at a local school book sale.  It's a keeper that I will read again with Levi when the time is right!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bedside Books...

The weatherman's predicting -60 degrees with wind chill on Monday.  Area schools and businesses are already shutting down.  So, why not curl up with a great book!  Here are some of the most recent books by my bedside...


Man in Black: His Own Story in His Own Words by Johnny Cash - I am intrigued by the life of Johnny Cash.  In this autobiography, Cash shares his many imperfections, as well as his desire for the Lord. 

Desperate by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson - The title says it all!


Art Smith's Healthy Comfort by Art Smith; Wheat Belly Cookbook by William Davis; and Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Nardone - My latest attempt at researching a healthier lifestyle :)


Words that Ring Through Time: The Fifty Most Important Speeches in History and How They Changed Our World by Terry Golway - I really just wanted to read Winthrop's City Upon a Hill, but found many other speeches in this book quite fascinating.

The Noah Plan (Reading, English, & Literature) - Researching more on the Principle Approach method of education (I believe the Beautiful Feet guides are based on this method.)

Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey & Laurie Bluedorn - Reading more about the Classical method of education through Scripture rather than Ancients (I'll definitely be posting more about this book in the future!)

A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason - Volume 6 in Ms. Mason's Original Homeschooling Series - Digging deeper in the Charlotte Mason method of teaching

So there you have it, my attempt at "mother culture".  I don't always read every book from cover to cover, but tend to skim and find pertinent ideas and information.   I also find certain books are more appropriate at certain times.  For example, the Charlotte Mason series is an ongoing resource that I refer to at various times.  There is a wealth of information there and it's not possible to digest it all at once.  I feel the same about Teaching the Trivium, lots of great information to take as needed. 

Here's also a peek back at what was by my bedside last year at this time...

You can reference all my thoughts/notes on Uncle Tom's Cabin here.  Also, check out Julie's Pantry to see one mom's experience using The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila

What books are currently by your bedside?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thursdays of Thanks....

Baby breath; Frost on the trees; December thaw; The laughter of kids building a snowman; Watching the ball drop with dd; New beginnings; Updated journal.....