27 March 2015

End of the Week Wrap-up {week 27}

So I just realized how badly I have slacked this year on the weekly wrap-ups :/  Kind of feel bad about that.  
Okay.  I'm over it.  

This just hasn't been the year of the weekly wrap-up, I guess.

But there's always now and I thought I'd jump back in there.

Part of the reason I haven't been motivated to post our weekly wraps has been that so many of our weeks have been really hard this year.  You may remember my post last fall about how our 9-yr-old son, Mr. B, has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.  We are still learning how that is effecting us as a family, how we can better help him succeed, and how to handle the daily challenges.  And there are many daily challenges.  Often in the evenings I am just emotionally wrung out (this explains my lack of blogging in recent months).  

I am very hopeful that we are learning new and better ways to help our son learn and grow in areas where he really struggles.  Focusing on school work is currently a huge issue at our house.  I have tried what feels like everything under the sun, primarily in the way of natural products and behavior modification.    We recently made the (very big for us) decision to try medication.  We are just at the beginning stages of seeing if it helps, but I am hopeful.  

As for what's been happening in our homeschool lately...

We started the month off with a weekend trip to Arkansas, then headed back home to celebrate Vince's birthday.  He was awesome and chose some super fun things to do on his special day (birthdays are school holidays here, btw).  

We went to the science museum in Nashville.

Next we went to a trampoline park.

Then along came our biggest snowstorm of the year (and hopefully the last!) so we cozied up at home for a few days.  

The Princess participated in her first-ever speech contest with our local 4-H chapter and did a great job!

We made a model of a lung for that chapter of our human anatomy study.

We attended a local international festival.  Mr. B was especially excited to visit the Japanese booth--he loves origami!

Our homeschool group enjoyed a special history program presented by a member of the local chapter of the Sons of the Revolutionary War.  

The Princess turned 12 and we had a blast celebrating her!!

And just yesterday we enjoyed a tour of the offices and production area of our local newspaper.  It was so interesting!

It has definitely been a busy month!!  In fact the first three months of this year have really flown by.  I am trying to figure out ways of slowing down the rest of the year~any ideas?!

We are plugging along with our studies with the end of the year looking much closer :)  We've made it far enough along in the year to know what's working well for us and where we would like to make some changes for next year.  Last week I attended Teach Them Diligently in Nashville and was able to get a head-start on preparing for next year.  You can read more about that here.  And I'll be blogging soon about some of those changes we'll be making.

And now we're looking at the end of March.  Whaaaa???  So much to do before our school year wraps up.

What have you been up to lately?

25 March 2015

Reflections on *Teach Them Diligently*

This past weekend my husband and I were privileged to attend the Teach Them Diligently homeschool convention in Nashville.  I have to say, I was pretty excited about going!  And my hubby was generous enough to come along, keeping me company while also enjoying some workshops himself.  

The convention was held at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland hotel although we didn't stay overnight there.  Since we live just an hour from Nashville we commuted instead.  The first couple of days we left the kiddos with the grands, but decided to take them with us on the last day since we wouldn't be there the entire day.  

If you've never been to TTD, or any homeschool convention for that matter, I would highly recommend going!  Until this convention I had only attended a couple of other state level conventions.  TTD has done an amazing job of putting together a well-thought-out, God-honoring event that they are bringing to 4 different cities in the US this year.  The atmosphere of this convention and it's attendees was so refreshing.    

I was super pumped to see so many familiar faces from favorite blogs, websites, and books as speakers for this event.  While it's impossible to attend every single session (my husband and I often would go to different sessions to make the most of our time!), you can always get the recordings ...or simply choose the ones that seem the best suited to your needs and interests.  I thoroughly enjoyed each workshop session I attended and was able to have nuggets of wisdom to take home with me.  The workshops were well-planned and included powerpoint presentations and some handouts as well.  You can take a peek at the session schedule here.  

Some of my favorite workshops were:

I can assure you that I will be reviewing my notes a lot in the near future!  

And, of course, I had an amazing time browsing the vendor hall ...off and on for three whole days!!  Bliss!!  My poor husband could hardly drag me away.  It's just always so helpful to be able to look at curriculum up close and be able to ask questions about it.  I definitely found some new things for our upcoming year that I'm excited about!

The only real disappointment of the weekend was that James Dobson didn't make it.  Apparently he was snowed in where he lives with all flights cancelled.  So that was a bummer.  

But it just meant more time in the vendor hall for me! ;)

If you've never been to Nashville and visited the Gaylord Opryland hotel, you really must!  Even if you're not staying overnight.  They have the most gorgeous conservatory areas!  Plus there are shops and restaurants, too (I recommend the gelato!).  Below are a few pics that we snapped while showing the kiddos around.

So ...all that to say ...if you get an opportunity to attend a Teach Them Diligently convention this year you should totally go for it!  

24 March 2015

Time, Please Slow Down!

Happy 12th Birthday to our Princess!!

(isn't this an awesome hat/card that my sister got her?!)

Yesterday our oldest turned 12.  
It's hard to believe how quickly time flies by.
It seems like just yesterday I was getting her nursery ready 
and buying all of those tiny clothes.

She has grown into a lovely young woman and we are SO proud of her!!
She is a joy to have for a daughter.

We had a great day together.  
First, we had some lunch and played games 
...and acted silly at Chuck E. Cheese.  
Then we went to see the new Cinderella movie (wonderful!).
We squeezed in a bit of shopping (birthday $$, you know!) 
and finally, we met up with my family for a birthday dinner at Olive Garden.

And posed for a few funny shots after dinner :)

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!!

22 March 2015

What's For Dinner {March 23rd}

OK, here we go ...getting back on track.  My life is in desperate need of some boring, ol' routine.  So far the first three months of this year have  f-l-o-w-n  by!!

Life, please slow down.

Thank you.

Anybody else feel this way, too?

Well, I'm beginning the start back to some routine by posting my dinner plans for the week here on the blog again.  While I do still meal plan even if I don't post about it, I find that posting it brings me so much more accountability.

I'm happy to say that we are planning to use the grill this week for the first time this spring.  Yes, spring is actually here even though it seems to be staying mostly hidden where we live so far.  I am so ready for sunshine and warmer temps!


...here's what cooking this week:

Monday: going out to celebrate The Princess' birthday!  {Olive Garden}

Tuesday:  {grill} Greek Turkey Burgers with Fried Potatoes

Wednesday: {slow cooker} Sloppy Joes with Potato Chips

Thursday:  Beef Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

Friday:  Goulash with Salad and Garlic Bread

Saturday:  Stromboli

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

23 February 2015

What's For Dinner {Feb 23rd}

What a week this past week has been!  We've had 'Snowmeggedon' here in Western Kentucky!  About a foot of snow total, plus some ice.  That means we've been inside.  A lot.

And that means lots of cooking.  And cleaning up the kitchen.  :)

Why is it when you truly need to cook and don't have other options, that's when you least want to do it?  I have felt like that a lot this past week...ha.  Mostly because I was tired of being at home constantly.  We did have some good meals though!  And I tried several new recipes: homemade granola bars, roasted cauliflower soup, and even homemade dog biscuits for our dog!

So I'm looking forward to getting out more this week but I have some yummy meals planned, too.

Here's what's cooking this week: 

Monday:  Cajun Turkey Breast (slow cooker), Red Beans & Rice, Crispy Brussels Sprouts w/Bacon & Garlic

Tuesday:  Fajita Stuffed Peppers (Vince & me), Grilled Ham & Cheeses (for the kiddos)

Wednesday:  BBQ Turkey Sandwiches

Thursday:  Pinto Beans (slow cooker), Fried Potatoes, Cornbread

Friday:  {out}

Saturday:  {out}

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

18 February 2015

Snapshots of a Snow Day

Here's a quick look at our last couple of days.  
We've been enjoying a beautiful snow!
It's an unusually big one for Kentucky and we are loving it:)

How about you?  Do you have snow where you live?

15 February 2015

Reading With My Daughter

Quite a while ago a good friend recommend The Mother-Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick to me and my daughter.  She and her daughter had just finished it up and had really enjoyed it.  After checking it out a bit, I thought it might be just the thing to read with The Princess.

The series kicks off with four 6th grade girls and their moms forming a book club and it follows the lives of the girls--their friendships, their trials, their triumphs--over the course of that school year.  This first book has the girls reading Little Women and throughout it you will find fun facts about Louisa May Alcott, a discussion guide, recipes, and even a great goal-setting exercise.

Admittedly, I am selective about what my daughter reads and consequently shun much of modern juvenile fiction, but there are definitely good new books being written and I think this is a worthy series.  It does include some middle school drama and while we escape quite a bit of that being homeschoolers there will always be some drama with girls in middle school no matter what, so the books are definitely relate-able.  Plus some of that girl-drama gave my daughter and me some good opportunities to talk and discuss things of that nature.

The best part of starting this series, of course, is reading Little Women!  My daughter is really loving it and I am, too!  I hadn't read it in years--and I think it was just a short abbreviated version then.  However, there were some spoilers in the book club book, so for the next one I will make sure we read the classic first then the corresponding book club installment.

There are a total of six books in this series.  The classics the book club girls read are: Anne of Green Gables, Daddy Long-Legs, Pride and Prejudice, the Betsy-Tacy series, and Jane Eyre.

Since we'll be reading the classics as well as the books in this series, I anticipate it taking us a while.  And that's okay!  This has been a great experience for me and my daughter so far.  I look forward to making some yummy recipes, watching movies of the classics, and having lots and lots of great conversations!


What about you?  Have you or your daughter read this series?  What did you think about it?