Friday Favorite Things {13}

We have our first week of school under our belt and we survived it!
It wasn't picture perfect - there were meltdowns and accidents and frustrations - but it was good.
For that I am grateful!
One of these days I'll attempt to capture some pictures of the challenges in our days but usually I'm so busy averting a crisis or kissing a boo boo or calming a meltdown that grabbing a camera is the last thing on my list!
For now, here are some of my favorite moments of the week!

Little sister curiously watches math lesson proceedings.

Some days, keeping little ones occupied and happy during lessons is nearly impossible.
Then there are such sweet moments as this.

Taitum's lesson for the day was learning how to bounce and catch a ball.
This turned into a whole lot of craziness - balls flying around the room, children diving every which way and giggles galore!

Mashing bananas.
The hardships of a three year old.

First ever tea party complete for this little one!
She is so pleased to be a part of things!

A First Attempt At Artist Study

There have been several elements of the Ambleside Online curriculum that sounded unrealistic to me.
One of those components was artist study.
The nice thing about AO is that you can follow it as closely or loosely as you want.
However, I figured that since it was created by people who have been doing this homeschooling gig much longer than me, I would follow it as closely as possible and then start picking and choosing what did and did not work for us.
Today was our first stab at artist study.

We had a tea party.

And talked about 'Paul Revere', a painting by John Singleton Copely.

Um, it was delightful!

I even found our discussion intriguing.
I purposely didn't read anything about the painting so that this week it would be all our own thoughts and speculations.
Piper thought he was holding a teapot he had found and thinking about whose it might be.
She asked why he was in the dark which led to a discussion about where the light was in the room and what time of day it was.
I pointed out the tools that are on the table and Piper thought that maybe he was fixing the teapot.
Tait gave her two cents every now and again (mainly echoing what Piper would say!).
In the end, they were over the moon about drinking real tea at their artsy tea party and even happier when I explained that this would be a weekly occurrence this school year!

So we are drinking tea and talking about paintings by famous artists, listening to classical music in the van, weaving potholders and reading more books than I ever thought possible.

Either I've gone off the deep end or we're officially Amblesiders!

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Handicraft: Weaving

I've hummed and hawed over what to do for a handicraft to begin the year.
I really want this to be a time Piper looks forward to and enjoys.
Anything too difficult would cause frustration.
Anything too easy would lose her interest quickly.
I finally settled on weaving and ordered a kit with her homeschool supplies.
Yesterday afternoon, I pulled it out, gave her a few instructions and demonstrations and...

She loves it!

Her sisters were both sleeping so it was a very peaceful endeavor.
I think we both enjoyed the time together beginning this project!
She was very proud of her work so far!
She will continue to work on it each week and eventually will have made her very own potholder!

Back To School 2013

Today was our first day back to school!
It went surprisingly well.
I think we're all glad to have some routine back in our lives!

Here is what we are doing this year:


Ambleside Online, Year 1 ( We are basically following this to a T. The only changes I've made is adding in Canadian History readings. )
Home Art Studio Kindergarten (I chose the Kindergarten level so Taitum could join in without it being too far beyond her!)


Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready (I'm using this with Renly, too, as it provides activities for one year olds. You can download it for free here.)
Before Five In A Row (We will occasionally row a book.)
Busy Bags (I'm working at getting these together for her since she likes to sit with us while Piper does her school work.)

The girls favorite thing today was the Home Art Studio art lesson!
I can't say I blame them!
I remember loving art projects in school, too.
And it made for a very pleasant way to end our first day back!

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Reminders For A New (School) Year

With one week of summer vacation left, I'm beginning to prepare for our return to school and a more normal routine.
I'm truly attempting to go to bed early.
And thinking about getting up early (that can wait a few more days though...)
I mostly have all our books collected and things printed for the coming year.
I just need to knuckle down and get September's menu plan made, a history timeline posted and come up with a feasible plan for chores.
It's all a bittersweet feeling.
I'm absolutely looking forward to the coming school year.
I'm somewhat dreading the transition and the inevitable issues that come with it.
However, this year I'm aware of this which will hopefully make all the difference.
My motto for the first weeks of school: This too shall pass.
But also, I've just really loved this summer.
Sometimes I have a really hard time just chilling out and allowing for a change of pace.
This year I had no such problem and I can honestly say I'm going to miss our lazy days of summer.

photo by Mya L.

Anyhow, as I gather our resources, plan our days, and sharpen the pencils, I think it's good to remind myself why we're doing this.
In fact, it was Piper who prompted me to really think about the reasons we are homeschooling.
On a trip to the grocery store together, she asked me why she was homeschooled.
It was nice to be able to give her real answers even though I'm sure she doesn't quite understand the importance of them yet.
Although our reasons are many, these are the main ones that I relayed to her 
( I did explain them in a way that was understandable to a five year old but I won't do that to you. ;) )

1. The freedom to talk and learn about what we believe throughout the day and to be taught everything from a Christian worldview.
2. To provide an education that is tailored to each child as an individual and that offers a multitude of experiences and opportunities that can create a lifetime love of learning.
3. We believe family should be central to a child's life and home should be a safe place to grow and learn. We want to be their greatest influence and for them to be able to build strong bonds with us and each other.

This is why I do what I do.
As I get ready for the year ahead and say goodbye to summer, it is motivating to remember the reasons.
These choices are not always easy, but I really believe they are worth it!

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Summer Time Fun {2013}

 Every summer, without fail, summer kicks my blogging butt!
We're just having way too much fun!
Here's a glimpse at our summer so far 
And a (sorta, maybe) promise that I'm back?

Sea life observed.

Playgrounds conquered.

Campfire stories told.

Campers slept.

Friends enjoyed.

Daredevils dared.

Cousins hugged.

Marshmallows roasted.

Puddles splashed.

Backpacks carried.

Ladders climbed.

Brother married.

Sisters copied.

Soccer played.

 Hikes completed.

New places discovered.

Ice cream eaten.

Roller coasters ridden.

Screamers screamed.

The kids all cheered.

18 'monther' smiled.
(Mama cried.)

I hope your summer has been full of fun, happy memories and relaxation, too!

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I love motherhood.

We're a smiling family.

I'm a covenant keeper.

I love my husband.

I am above self pity.

I am a nation builder.


Worth more than rubies.

“I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson

My Hubby

My Hubby
He's my bestest.


She is my compassionate, dramatic, fun to be around 6 year old. She loves to shop, get dressed up fancy and anything else that screams girly!


She is my goofy, snuggly 4 year old who loves to sing and dance and smile all day long!


She is our one year old smarty pants! She does all she can to keep up with her older sisters and to keep them in line!

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