Thursday, October 31, 2013

Week 9 - Peacock poo, a pumpkin carving contest, and a vortex cannon

Here are a few highlights from our week...

Well, we ended up just going on one field trip, but throw in our homeschool co-op group, a contest, and a fun science activity with Dad, and you have a pretty full week :)

On Monday, we went to the Lufkin Zoo. We love that zoo. For one, we got in free, and two, it's never overly crowded. 

They don't have some of the big name animals most zoos have, and it is fairly small, but they do have LOTS of free-roaming peacocks...and where there are a lot of peacocks, there is A WHOLE LOTTA peacock poop. The test was to see who could make it through the entire zoo without stepping in poo. My blue-eyed boy and I failed :( 

White peacock

Hippo Crossing - thanks hon, I love you too ;)

Long lost....cousin?

Guess who else we saw at the!
After that, we visited the Texas Forestry Museum. Too bad all the cool outside stuff was closed for renovations :(

He's not really thrilled about the new look :/

Bubba had a long hard day at work so sister was making him a good home-cooked meal ;)

We only completed one of the art lessons listed in the TM since science was heavy on the cutting and coloring again. I don't want to push my blue-eyed boy too far this! We skipped art lesson #152. 

We came to Jesus' death and resurrection. Believe it or not, but we were actually looking forward to making the resurrection cookies. We have always heard about them and always meant to make them, but they just never fit into the schedule.

They were good, but a little too sweet for me...almost like an airy, crispy divinity cookie.

We said farewell to Augustus and hello to Emperor Tiberius. I wonder what type of ruler he'll turn out to be?

We finished up the Bronze Bow. We really liked the story, but dislike the kind that leave you hanging or wondering what happens next. Ugh! And this one did a little of that. If it was up to my brown-eyed girl, she said Thacia and Daniel would get married and Leah would be healed and eventually marry the soldier. Yeah, I'd probably end it that way!

This week was all about the eyes. We watched another Chloe and the Nerb video and did another activity from the Body Book.

Friday was our homeschool co-op. The kids had a blast in their classes with their friends, but the highlight of the day was the pumpkin carving/decorating contest. They did an awesome job on their pumpkins. 

Sonic the Hedgehog

Felix the Cat

My blue-eyed boy even won 3rd place and a $5 gift card to Sonic. My kids had decided beforehand that whichever one won would share with the other. So...guess who all had ice-cream from Sonic after the park?

The final touch to the end of the week was when Dad built a "vortex cannon" with the kids. He explained to them how it worked and they had loads of fun playing with it until the box pretty much pooped out.

Now to gear up and get ready for next week...which is lining up to be even crazier than this week :/

Monday, October 28, 2013

Things I want for my daughter (part 2)....

(If you missed part 1, check it out here.)

So, what about all the "frogs in princes clothing" these girls and teens get their hearts broken over?

I don't want that for my daughter. I don't want her in and out of wasteful relationships and heartbreaks. Someone once made this statement to me and they may have heard it from someone else, 'Dating is good practice for divorce.' true is that! Girls who 'date around' or flit from one guy to the next are not learning the meaning of commitment or even of what a real relationship is and means. Not that I expect them to get it right with the first guy they date (I sure didn't), but if that whole dating scene could be kept to a minimum it would make a huge difference. 

If they would only purposefully choose who to lend their hearts to, and choose someone who respects them and has a strong walk with the Lord... 

Growing up, I was not allowed to date until I was out of high school. At that time, I wasn't fond of that rule, but I was ok and didn't rebel all that much about it. Although lots of other girls around me dated, it wasn't too terribly uncommon to find someone else who wasn't not dating like me, so I didn't feel alone. Now, that concept is almost nonexistent! And these girls are dating starting in elementary school not high school as was common in my time (not that it was all that long ago or anything). But elementary school?!?!

Now that I am an adult, I am SO THANKFUL for my mother's wisdom in helping me to avoid that whole circus. The only wish I have is that she would have talked more to me about her reasons why she did that though AS I was growing up. I never fully understood it until AFTER I was much older and married. My mother never was much of an 'explainer'. I knew she loved me and that she had good reasons for doing what she did because she'd say things like, 'I just don't want you to make the same mistakes and have the same heartbreaks as I did'. I knew she had a terrible childhood and upbringing and she didn't like to talk much about it at all. Or she say things like, 'I grew up without a mother and she was not able to guide me or teach me, so I want to make sure I do that for you'. (Her mom died when she was just 4 or 5 years old). Like I said, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she loved and cared for me so I accepted that the rules she had and what she was doing was for my own good even though I didn't always understand it at the time.

I want my daughter to be strong in who she is BEFORE she adds some guy into the mix. I don't want her to be some wacko, crazy, liberal feminist or anything, but simply a healthy, self-respecting girl that possesses a sureness of herself and the person God created her to be. Girls that are unsure of themselves are often taken advantage of or they "lose" themselves getting all wrapped up in the other person only to struggle to "find" themselves again when the relationship ends.

I don't want that for my daughter. 

I want my daughter to love God, first and foremost. I want her to take the best path He has for her. And as she is going along that path, I want her to look across the way and see a guy on the same path, going the same direction, with the same heart for God. That will be the one for her. 

That is what I want for her.

I pray she always remains a "God Girl".

...And while I am at it, that is the kind of person I want for my son's future wife as well....Ahhh, but that is an entirely different post in itself ;)

Things I want for my daughter (part 1)...

I don't know why this has been on my mind lately. Maybe it's the pictures I have been seeing on Facebook of half-dressed girls and teenagers. Maybe it is all the status posts I've come across of yet another teen girl depressed or devastated because the latest prince charming turned out to be just another frog. 

I see these things and my heart hurts for these girls. Then I start thinking of my own little girl and how she will be a teen in just a few short years. She will be bombarded with dating choices and clothing styles of all of her friends, peers, and older teens she looks up to.

...and that scares me.

I don't ever want my daughter to feel that she must show more skin to attract some guy...and I definitely don't want a guy like that going after my daughter!

I want my daughter to have self-worth, to be confident, and to be sure of who she is as a person and, most importantly, as a child of God. 

I want people to be attracted to her because of her heart and her inward beauty. Maybe this is why I downplay my own outward appearance. If she sees me overly concerned about my looks, my clothing,  or my appearance, then I am in a way, teaching her that is what is important. Notice the key word, overly.

Of course it is important to have good hygiene and to look presentable. I want to teach her to eat healthy and to take care of herself both inside and out. I just don't go overboard with it. I don't stress out about every blemish on my face or the weight I've gained over the years and so on.

I don't freak out if I didn't put my make-up on that day as I have seen A LOT of women do and they just go on and on about how terrible they look. In reality, they really don't look bad...they just look real ;) Truth be told, I rarely wear make-up anyway and actually prefer not to wear it. Hey, that's 10 minutes I get back in my! I just don't want my daughter to feel like she has to cover up or alter herself in any way to feel more confident about herself or to get others to like her. Sure, it is fun to get all dudded up for different occasions, and yes, there are days when I put a little extra color on my face to conceal a few extra blemishes I might have or to make myself look a little less tired than I really am...LOL!  I just don't go overboard with it all.

I want my daughter to have respect for herself with the clothing she puts on her body. I want her to dress in a way that honors herself and the God who made her. I know she won't be perfect in the way she dresses every single time, the Lord knows there were times I certainly wasn't as a teenager, but if she can understand and see just how beautiful and virtuous she is, perhaps she will choose more modestly rather than loosely.

I see some girls and the way they dress and my heart breaks for them. Why do they feel the need to attract a boy's, well, anyones attention in this manner? What happened in their lives to cause them to want to dress the way they do? What distorted their self-image or adversely affected their self-esteem? I pray for the Godly women in their lives to come along side them and encourage them to be who God created them to be...beautiful from the inside out :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pearls Before Pigs...

Strange title, I know. Let me explain...

It was inspired by Matthew 7:6 and some memories of my mom - "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

For a little background info on this verse or the next few paragraphs, check out The Expository Files. In a nutshell, "...Of course, these words of Jesus are allegorical. I doubt that any were literally casting pearls before swine. The meaning is pretty simple to figure out; "Do not persist in offering what is sacred or of value to those who have no appreciation for it, because your gift will not only become contaminated and be despised, your generous efforts could also be rebuffed and perhaps even openly attacked."

The "dogs" and "swine" here stand for the unappreciative and worldly; unappreciative and uncaring men and women who belittle the value of what is offered to them. "That which is holy" would be the meat offered in sacrifice to God. A dog could care less whether it came from the altar or the garbage. The swine have no appreciation for either the beauty nor the value of the pearls under their feet..."

Now that we have the Bible part of it down, let me get on to my mom.

My mom was not really raised in a Christian home and certainly did not have a Christian upbringing or positive experiences from early childhood on into her young adult years. Let me just tell was. bad. She gave her life to Christ after I was born as did my father. I guess I was somewhere between the ages of 3 and 5. Even then, change came slowly as their walk with the Lord and their convictions grew.

Believe it or not, my mom had more patience with the "bad kids" and the people no one else really wanted to be around rather than the good ol' "churchy" folks. You see, she could relate to those bad kids... those rejects. She was not afraid to go where most would not or mingle with the outcasts. She knew all too well how her lack of Christian influence and lack of God played a role in her life and what a struggle it was for these people to break free from the bondage of sin. 

My mom just could not understand how kids (and adults), raised in church and christian homes could squander what they had been given and could care less about God...hence the saying, casting pearls before pigs. And yes, sometimes, she was perhaps a little too blunt about it (to their faces). Yep, my mom was a "what you see is what you get kind of a person". Love her or hate her, but she was, for the most part, always real.  

Now, don't go all politically correct on me. I am not calling "church folk" pigs or dogs or anything like that. I am one of those church folks. But I do have to be honest...churches are full of "pretend" people...saints on Sunday and sinners the other 6 days of the week. I should know, sadly, I have been there many times myself. I see people who have been given many opportunities to follow Christ and hear about His saving grace, yet turn their backs on Him... and I can see where my mom was coming from and why she just didn't have much patience for the act of being all churchy-fied and pretend. I thank God for giving me a mother who bluntly pointed out (time and time again) the sad truth of this precious gift that I was squandering.

How she wished she could have had a life and opportunities like mine.

I think about these "pretenders" and I have a deep sadness for them and the gifts they are missing out on or squandering. Like my mom, I have an even deeper sadness for those people who have never heard or have not had the many opportunities to hear about Christ as others have.

With all that being said, I also have a deep, overwhelming sense of thankfulness and appreciation to God for my life, my parents, and my upbringing. I have been up close and personal with the other side through my mom and much of her side of the family. Thinking about how different life could have been for some of my family members just breaks my heart. God....God made all the difference in my parents' lives and ultimately in my own life. 

I don't even know why I started writing this...perhaps it started with some memories of my mom and perhaps a little out of my own fear.... fear or worry that my kids or my grandchildren or my great-grandchildren will take being raised in a Christian home for granted and squander their blessings. I read about the Isrealites and the miracles God performed time and time again and yet somehow generation after generation pushed God further and further out of their hearts and minds until they forgot Him completely.

I pray God helps me and my husband to train up our kids in Him. I pray for their spouses and that they will continue to train up their kids and so on from generation to generation. I pray I/we never lose our sight of God and our appreciation and thankfulness for the gifts and family that God has blessed us with. I pray we never become like pigs...not knowing or appreciating what is being offered to us.

Thank you, God! And thank you mom and dad for being that pivotal turning point in our families...thank you for answering God's call...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

RtR Week 8 - LEGO aqueduct, an "electrifying" field trip, and lots of rotten Roman videos

Here are a few highlights from our week...

On Monday, the kids participated in a free online Lego class about aqueducts through Currclick. The instructor always does a great job providing the history behind what the kids are going to be building as well as step by step instructions as they build. They had lots of fun. My daughter built the kit that went along with the lesson and my son built his own creation from the Legos he already had on hand.

We have been VERY relaxed in this area. We watched a cutesy video made by kids that sort of caught us up on the life of Haydn tho. So, we called it good and are ready to move on.


We finished up the Mystery of the Bible series about Herod. The kids lost interest somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd segment, but I was interested so I watched them all. There was only 1 part that I disagreed with. I believe it was somewhere in the 3rd or 4th segment. To some degree, it sounded as if they suggested Herod murdering all the male babies under age 2 was a made up story simply because it wasn't found in Josephus' book of writings. Really?!? There are a lot of things that happened around that time period, but were not mentioned in Josephus' book, so I guess they didn't happen too? The Bible states otherwise, so I know it to be a fact. Other than that, it was pretty interesting.


This week, we focused in on the Roman army. Here is a comical Rotten Roman video to go with Roman armies. The kids love it when they get to watch the Rotten Roman videos and this week was full of them!

Here is another one about surviving in the Roman army.

And another funny about deserting the Roman army.

And yet one more about executions since that was covered in The Roman Empire this week when discussing what would happen to slaves if they tried to sneak in and join the Roman army.

In Augustus Caesar this week, one of the chapters was about Germanic tribes, we we watched a video to go along with it. It really didn't add much to our studies and we could have left it out all together.


There were several Chloe and the Nerb videos to go along with everything we learned in science this past week.  Hair video, nail video, skin video

The kids also completed the activity from the Body Book. This activity had a lot of cutting and coloring. Even my brown-eyed girl thought it was a bit much.


We finished the week up with an "electrifying" field trip. We watched the ArcAttack show at the local theater. This was a group that was featured a few years ago on America's Got Talent. It was a ood show. The kids learned about the Tesla coil and how it goes with music. Here are a few pictures...

Next week, we have not one, but TWO fun field trips planned...and i guess we'll fit a little school somewhere in there too ;)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

He's Still Working On Me...

I had forgotten what it was like to actually be home (all. day.). Yesterday was one of those days.

 No errands to run, no appointments to make, no mission projects I had obligated ourselves to be at. Just home...

I find we don't have to rush and can take our time to finish school. Imagine that! I actually have time to play with my kids. Dinner is on the table in time to actually sit down and enjoy eating together. We get most of our chores done and get the house fairly clean...well, decently clean anyway ;)

Sure, there are lots of opportunities for things you can do to fill up your day and when people know you are a 'stay at home home schooling mom' they will definitely use that to their advantage, but I am learning, it is ok to say no. 

I have just felt so overwhelmed lately...and a bit crabby because of that too :(

I don't have anyone to blame, but myself though. I have a bad habit of overly cramming my schedule so that when one little deviation or one unexpected appointment or errand pops up, I immediately feel overwhelmed and irritated. It shouldn't be this way; I shouldn't be this way.

So, changes are in store. Some won't happen till the end of this school year, but others will start happening now. I need to seek what God has for us to do and participate in...not just what I want to do. 

When I was reading through the Old Testament, I would get so mad at the Isrealites and how they'd go off and do their own things and totally forget about or disregard God. I'd think, "Haven't they learned yet, or Don't they know that by now?!?" Sadly, I find myself in the same predicament all too often.

I think Satan is really good at filling our lives with "stuff". Sometimes good, well meaning, worthy "stuff", but if this stuff is keeping you from doing what God has for you or if you find yourself talking at God instead of with God, something is seriously wrong. 

It's time to slow down and give the control back to God. 

I am so thankful He continues to love us, and help us, and care for us. Despite all of my sin sin, He's still working on me :-D

Friday, October 11, 2013

RtR Week 7: Pax Romana, hearing, and mission projects

Here are a few highlights from our week...

This week has been extremely stressful and busy. Anytime we start a new mission project there is an adjustment time in trying to make it all work and flow smoothly. It didn't help that we were already behind from the week before AND we had 2 mission projects this week. 

Last week, we participated in 40 Days for Life which is just a 40 day stretch, once a year, peaceful prayer vigil against abortion. Basically, for a few hours on one of the 40 days, we stand outside of our local abortion clinic silently praying with some holding various signs about praying to end abortion, or how we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God in the hopes of deterring just one person from getting an abortion or thinking twice about what abortion really is. We also had on hand literature to help those women considering abortion as well as those who may have had an abortion for counseling and after-care.

This week, we volunteered at the Clothes Closet at our church. We spent a few hours sorting and hanging clothes. The very next morning, bright and early, we helped with Kids for Christ at one of the local public schools. My little brother attends this particular school so we like to stay involved in what he is doing. It is a great way for him (and my kids) to reach out to their friends so they can hear about the love of Christ. My kids really enjoyed this one :)

And finally, we also had co-op at the end of this week. The kids ALWAYS enjoy their classes and especially playing at the park afterward. Mom, however, is thoroughly worn out!

Another easy and complaint free week of drawing books, Bibles, and boxes in art - Yay!

We have started back at the beginning in the life of Christ with the birth of John the Baptist then went on to cover the birth of Christ to the Magi. I totally forgot about the Drive Thru History Series I had stored away on the shelf, so we are going to be viewing several of those videos in the weeks to come as well as a little bit of catch up ;) I will try to post the videos soon that correlate with the various weeks in MFW.

We didn't enjoy Augustus Caesar's World as much this week. I felt like we jumped around a lot in time and I had a hard time following the chronological story line when it came to talking about the Greek philosophers and trying to figure out how/where they fit into the timeline. There just seemed to be a lot going on and it doesn't take much for me to get confused anyway :/ At the end of the week though, we were back on track somewhat in discussing Augustus and Jesus again. 

We watched another silly Rotten Roman video about Caesar Augustus.

We also started watching a series of YouTube videos about Herod and plan to finish up next week.

Here is a video that goes along with Pax Romana.

This week, we focused on the ear. The activity listed in The Body Book was not all that clear when it came to putting all the pieces together. I *think* we did it right. I do SOOO much better when it comes to gluing and taping if I can see the finished product or at least step by step pictures or diagrams. Either way, the kids got the idea ;)

Be sure to check out the Usborne Internet Links that go along with the First Encyclopedia of the Human Body. There are some fun games and videos about the ear that my kids enjoyed this week.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

RtR Week 6 - Arch Activities, internet links, and an upcoming FREE online Lego aqueduct class

Here are a few highlights from our week...

My husband and son attended a hunter education course on Saturday. It was 6 hours long, but for a 10 year old, our son hung in there and did very well :) He was the youngest in the class. The next in age were teenagers from one of the local high schools who *ahem* slept through some of the course material. My husband was not impressed with their behavior, but was glad the instructor called them out on! Our blue-eyed boy was answering questions out-loud and made an awesome grade on the test. 

My brown-eyed girl and I did not get our mother-daughter date. She was not feeling well from possibly eating something containing gluten earlier in the week and slept most of the day :( 

Another good week...drawing boxes and paper bags without using horizon lines and starting points...all went well, no complaints :)

This week, we are focusing in on Old Testament prophesies and their New Testament fulfillments.

We always look forward to history each day. So many new things to learn!

The kids had fun completing the first arch activity using index cards.
Flat bridge

Only held 9 pennies

arch bridge

20 pennies and counting!

adding a few horses (nickels) and soldiers (quarters)

final count: 20 pennies, 5 nickels, and 3 quarters before collapsing 

Here is a link to a brief, but informative video overview of arches.

Here is a link to pictures of the Tiber river bridges mentioned in the teacher's manual.

And here is a link to pictures of the Pantheon also mentioned in the teacher's manual.

Instead of doing the jello/pudding box arch activity, we chose to play a game called Arch Rival. It is a VERY old game that hubs and I had long before we ever had kids, but the kids enjoy it, so we've kept it around.

First, they constructed their arch using the help of the green/blue frames.

After removing the frames, they were left with a very nice arch.

After that, they played the game a few times.

The kids are really looking forward to building a Roman aqueduct out of Legos in a few weeks through a free online Currclick class. The lady who teaches the classes always does such a wonderful job explaining the history behind whatever it is the kids are making. The Lego classes are free and they always have a supply list you can gather yourself or you can purchase inexpensive Lego kits from her. Find out more here :)