19 August 2014

Back-to-{home}School: Curriculum Choices

It's that time of the year again!!  I love getting all organized and prepared for the start of our homeschool year.  It hardly seems possible that this is our 7th year of homeschool and I now have a 4th grader and a 6th grader.  This year it seems we have more subjects and books than ever!  We'll be starting back in just two weeks.

Here's my 6th grader's personal lineup:

What's worked in the past that she's continuing with:

What's new this year: 

Here's the 4th grader's personal lineup:

What's worked in the past that he's continuing with: 

What's new this year: 
  • Supplemental Math: Life of Fred
  • Reading: Rod & Staff
  • Piano lessons

The subjects we do together: 

Whew!  I think that's all.  

Well, other than some various workbooks that we'll use occasionally.  

And LOTS of literature books that we'll read.

It seems like there is so much more on my schedule and plan for this year!  I hope I can keep up;)

What do you have planned for your homeschool curriculum this year?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments! 

18 August 2014

End-of-Summer {field} Trips

 Our summer is about to officially wrap up~can't believe fall is almost here!  August has been crazy busy so far, but these last couple of weeks are (hopefully) going to be a little slower.

We had two short trips back-to-back at the beginning of this month ...which made me realize more than ever that my son is just not a very good traveler.  But we survived.  And even had some fun in the meantime ;)

Our first trip was to Indianapolis for a ministers conference.  I didn't attend much of the conference, but I did get to hang out in a cozy hotel room downtown with my kiddos, eating some delicious pizza, and watching lots of the Food Network (a guilty hotel splurge since we don't have cable).

The kids and I also did a bit of walking around downtown while Vince was at the conference.  Indy has a lovely downtown and I always enjoy visiting there!

So then we came home for a couple of days and turned around and headed back to the Cincinnati area.  One of my childhood friends who lives in Alaska was in the lower 48 visiting family and friends, so we made plans to meet for the day at the Creation Museum.  It was so much fun to see her!  We haven't seen each other in person since before either of us was married.  It was fun introducing our kids, too.  We have daughters who are just 6 months apart in age and sons who are just 2 months apart in age.  

Of course, we loved our visit to the Creation Museum--it was our 4th visit (if you count the debate) and they have awesome new exhibits every time we go!  If you haven't been before, I highly recommend it.  Oh--and this year all kids are {free}!

While in the Cincinnati area we were able to stay with some dear family friends who live nearby~Jack & Joy.  And they were a true joy to stay with!  Jack is one amazing cook and I think we gained 10 lbs while there...ha!  

It seems like most everyone has started back to school or homeschool by now.  We will be starting on September 2nd--the day after Labor Day is our tradition.  We have already begun the school year's activities with our local homeschool group though and are enjoying that.  I'm glad that I've still got a couple of weeks to get organized for school!  

22 July 2014

Summer Lovin'

I've been wishing for more of those lazy days of summer, but even though it's been super busy around here we are having a good summer.  Just not a lazy one ;)  I'm completely tempted to give myself an extra month of summer an not start back-to-{home}school until October.  

I'm kidding.  


So thought I'd give you a little peek at what we've been up to lately.  

We love Christian Way Farm!  There's always something fun to do there!  
And playing mini golf in 90+ degree weather is definitely fun
~especially for kiddos who score holes-in-one and get
a freebie from the drink cooler!

The Princess has begun guitar lessons from my dad.  
She is liking it so far, although she did confide to me that she 
didn't realize it would be "that hard".  Ah, the joys of practicing.  
Did I mention that we start piano lessons next month?

We are starting to harvest some pretty little cherry tomatoes from 
our few tomato plants.  The kids loving picking them.  
The only problem with that is that they eat them all before they make 
it back to the house.

Just taking some fun pics while shopping at Opry Mills Mall.  
We really didn't go to the Grand Old Ole Opry--although I think that would be fun.

More Grand Ole Opry giant guitar fun.

I have finally begun working on the kids school scrapbooks.  
This may take a while.
I'm only 7 years behind.

We enjoyed some yummy German food at Guerst House in Nashville 
recently while celebrating my sister Kari's birthday.  We have been 
wishing for a good German place to eat since we moved from AR
 and I think we've found it~yea!

We also discovered a yummy local ice cream place in Nashville.  
The kids really loved the "Trailer Trash" ice cream--it's full of 
ALL KINDS of candy bars!

There's been LOTS of Lego play this summer, too.  My son is currently 
obsessed with all things LEGO Movie :)  And just Legos in general.  

Of course, there's also lots of swimming, vacation Bible school, tree house fun, sleepovers, reading, helping Dad at the church, playing board games, and more happening around here.  All in all, it's shaping up to be a pretty good summer.  

What about your summer?  What have you been up to?  Leave a comment and tell me about it :)

08 July 2014

What's For Dinner {July 7th}

So, yes, I'm a day behind in posting this.  I hope you'll understand.

Summertime is here and I'm feeling a bit lazy this week.  It's been so hectic lately that I've enjoyed have a little more downtime at home so far this week.

We did have a lovely 4th of July weekend though~how was yours?  We had a friend visiting from Alabama and we just hung out doing things like grilling out, eating on the deck, watching the kiddos swim, discovering a new farmers market, going on wild goose chases looking for some bookstores, and playing Mario Kart :)

But I neeeeeed my menu plan.  Our evenings don't go well without it.

So in the spirit of staying on track, here it is:

Monday:  Rotisserie chicken with white sauce, baked beans, fried okra, and twice-baked potatoes

Tuesday:  {Date Night!!}

Wednesday:  (Mexican meal at our small group leaders' meeting)  I'm taking Black Bean Salsa & tortilla chips

Thursday:  Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken with baked potatoes (and some leftover sides)

Friday:  {The Princess' choice night}  Spaghetti & Meatballs with Garlic Bread

Saturday:  Homemade Pizza (pepperoni and cheese for the kiddos, spinach & artichoke white pizza for Vince and me!)

Sunday:  Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili with Rice

25 June 2014

The "Official" End of our School Year

While we wrapped up our homeschool year lesson-wise on May 30th, our year with our homeschool group didn't officially wrap up until this past Friday at our annual Field Day and Yearbook Release Party.  We had been looking forward to this day for quite a while and it did not disappoint!  

Well over 50 kiddos from our group and their families turned out for some good ol' outdoor fun--you know, the relay race-type-of-fun!  

It was a great way to finish up our year and get to hang out with friends--some of whom are moving away this summer.  

At the end of the games  one team was awarded a Good Sportsmanship Award.  We were grouped by PreK/K5, 1st-3rd, 4th-6th, and 7th-12th.  Each age group competed amongst itself.  And each team was awarded with a very nice participation medal.  My kids were so proud of their medals!  They had a total blast!

And before everyone headed home we rounded out Field Day with picnic lunches and the distribution of our new yearbook.  My hubby and I were the yearbook sponsors this year so we were excited about this, too!  Our yearbook club students chose a very fun theme for the book: "Sweet, Sweet Memories" and candy was the fun motif throughout the book.  This was our second year to be the yearbook sponsors and it is a big job ....one that I was happy to have checked off for this year :)  But it is fun and our yearbook club students were lots of fun to work with!  

{edited 7/3/14}: We have used UBuildABook.com for the past two years for our yearbooks and have really been pleased with both the books and their customer service.  We have not found a company that can beat their price.

So I feel like the 2013/2014 school year is officially over.  My kiddos have completed their required school days and school work. The yearbook is completed and handed out.  We've had our final activity for this school year with our homeschool group.  And I have completed my term with our homeschool group's steering committee.  

2013/2014 was a good school year!  I'm ready to enjoy summer now!  

How about you?  Are you finished with school for the summer?  Are you continuing with school through the summer?  I'd love to hear from you!

19 June 2014

{freezer cooking} Quiche Muffins

I have aspirations of having a freezer full of yummy food to pull out at random for my family's eating pleasure.  I have yet to make this happen.  However, occasionally I do whip up an extra casserole or something to pop in the freezer so that it isn't completely bare in there.

This past week I decided that having something easy for breakfast would be nice to have around.  Something besides Eggos, you know.  

So I thought why not make up a batch of muffin-sized quiches and freeze those!  I have a great Quick Quiche recipe that works great (no crust needed!) and it turned out well in muffin form.  I also used my handy silicone muffin cups which made the whole process unbelievably easy.  I highly recommend these!  My mom gave me this set so I'm not exactly sure where they came from, but I know you can find them online.

Just one batch of the following recipe made 15 of these muffins!  

Quick Quiche
3 eggs
1/2 cup Bisquick mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. salt 
Pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded cheese, your choice
1/2 cup or so of cooked meat, your choice (ham, sausage, bacon, etc.)
1/2-1 cup of veggies, your choice (onions, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, 
spinach....the list is endless--steamed or sauteed veggies work best).
Mix eggs, Bisquick, butter, milk, salt, and pepper together very well.  
Stir in shredded cheese, any meat and veggies 
(although if you just wanted to keep it plain you can do that, too).  
Pour batter into your muffin cups (if using a muffin tin, I recommend
using foil liners).  Bake at 350 for 
25-30 minutes or until set and browned. 
Let cool for 10 minutes or so before removing.  
For freezing, I layered these in a Ziploc freezer bag with wax paper 
in between so they wouldn't stick together.  
(If you want to make one whole quiche, 
just pour this mixture into a pie plate and 
bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes).

Just take one out of the freezer and microwave for about 1 minute on defrost and 30 seconds at full power.

16 June 2014

Our Family's Summer Reading Program

Even though we have officially wrapped up our school year, the learning doesn't end there.  It just looks different for the summertime.

One of the most fun things we do to continue learning through the summer is to READ!!  

In years past we have participated in lots of reading programs (you can find a great list of those here) from stores to libraries.  And they have been varying degrees of fun.  

Sometimes we live too far from a particular store to really reap the benefits of the program.  Sometimes the program is too complicated.  And sometimes it's just not fun.  And I think reading should be fun!

{reading 'in a favorite chair'}

So this year I decided to come up with our own reading program with great incentives.  

I found some great free printables online and pretty-much cherry-picked what I wanted from them.  

I am using the awesome reading bingo cards and prize coupons from HowDoesShe?'s Summer Reading Star program and a cute reading log from Helping Moms @ Home.

The way it works:
  • The kiddos are challenged to read at least 20 minutes (you can set your own time goal) at a time and the bingo cards give them fun ways to do this: "in the bathtub", "wearing a hat", "in my favorite chair", "on a Tuesday", etc.  When they do one of those they get to put a sticker on that spot (no doubling-up allowed here!).
  • When they "bingo" they earn a prize coupon.  These have such awards as getting to stay up late, picking what's for dinner, getting to invite a friend over, etc.  I'm trying to focus more on "experience" rewards rather than material ones with these.  
  • When they "black out" the bingo card they earn a "Golden Ticket"!  My husband and I are still deciding what these will be, but we're thinking probably a trip to our local water park, Chuck E. Cheese, or some things like that.
  • They must keep a log of the books they've completed.    
  • As an extra incentive, they will earn .01 per page they read and they will be paid for the pages they've read each week on Fridays.  

{reading 'in the bathtub'}

So far they have been SUPER excited about this program!  Of course, I just rolled it out today...lol  And I am excited about this because it has lots of fun elements.  I wish I were getting paid a penny a page for all of the books I read!  ;)

I'll update you later in the summer and let you know how it's going!

Happy Reading!