Wednesday, August 27, 2008

9 Years and Counting!

Kevin and I just celebrated our ninth anniversary and I am absolutely amazed at how quickly the years fly by! I am so blessed to get to spend my life with my very best friend and the man that I am still head-over-heels in love with. It is intriguing in a way, but I am most definitely more in love with Kevin today then I was when we first got married. Our love has grown deeper and our lives richer because of the influence of each other. I can't imagine life without him, and I thank God ever day for the blessings of a wonderful marriage and a committed love.

Our marriage has not been without it's major ups and downs, and we've had our share of struggles, but it has only shown us exactly how committed we are to making our relationship work.

Here's praying that we get to celebrate at least 51 more! :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

BCC Day Camp 2008

Last week was a fun, eventful week for Eli and I as we experienced our very first BCC Day Camp! It was nice because Eli was able to participate as a camper and I was able to be a part by coordinating and leading the music. The BCC Crew (we are BCC's children's church worship/dance team) led the kids in high-energy worship first thing every morning (8:15am - Yikes!) and then most of the Crew worked as counselors the rest of each day. I wasn't able to stay since I had to work, but Eli enjoyed every minute of each day! His counselor told me that he went full-steam and then every day would slow down considerably by about 2pm. The rest of the afternoon he dragged a little, and by the time we picked him back up at 5pm he was ready to crash from exhaustion! By Thursday he was completely worn out, but had a blast! Some of the activities they participated in included: swimming at a pool, roller skating, watching Space Chimps in the theater, sliding down a huge hill on a monstrous slip-in-slide, play lots of water games, compete in races and other competitive games, swim and play at a water park . . .

Below are some pictures the children's pastor captured of Eli throughout the week:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Curriculum List . . .

The reviews have been read, the moo-lah has been spent, the books have been gathered, and the materials have been assembled . . .

Here is my curriculum list for this upcoming year for Elijah and Ethan:

  • History - Sonlight

  • Language Arts - Sonlight

  • Reading - Sonlight plus our own readers and read-alouds

  • Geography - Sonlight

  • Science - The Magic School Bus Teacher's Guide (which incorporates the TMSB books, videos, and activity books), 365 Days of Science and the Kids' Nature Book, plus hands-on nature classes at Indian Springs Metro Park twice a month

  • Math - Math-U-See Alpha (complete from last year and I will then order Beta)

  • Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears

  • Bible - The Children's Bible, Devotions for Boys Ages 6-9 and Character Sketches, plus weekly memory verses

  • Physical Education - "Learn to Skate" classes and Karate classes

  • Art and Music - Various sources (mostly me!)

  • Other Enrichment classes - RECESS co-op once a week

  • Preschool Basics for Ethan - Comprehensive Curriculum

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Can't Believe School's Coming!!!

I can't believe that we are only three weeks away from the first day of school!!! I'm excited, thrilled, nervous, apprehensive, scared and even a little nauseous! :) Most of my nerves aren't caused from the schooling itself (we had a great year last year), but instead I am totally unsure of how in the world I am going to manage my time!!! I know I have way too many irons in the fire and I certainly don't want to drop any of them.

I recently started pouring over all of my curriculum books for this upcoming year, and although I still need to sit down and actually write out our daily lessons, I feel as if I am beginning to have a fairly good idea of what the year is going to look like. In one word - BUSY! The biggest problem I ran into with school last year was keeping school time as one of the top priorities in order to ensure it got done. With trying to get our photography business off of the ground, much of my time had to be flexible and school time was constantly pushed around. That most certainly can't happen this year! This year I actually want to have a dependable and predictable schedule for each day.

Last year my kindergarten philosophy was "introduce and expose." I wanted to be sure that throughout the year I introduced Eli to the idea of "school" and exposed him to a lot of different activities and types of learning. I also worked very hard specifically at teaching Eli to read (which was successful - yeah!) The year was very laid back overall and that helped it be very successful. This year there is more structure needed (IMO) and so I need to be more organized. I am not known as the most organized person in the world . . . thus, the nausea. :) I am hoping to dedicate some time next week to really hammer out what the days will look like and do my best to figure out exactly how much time is going to be needed each day. Then I also need to factor in where schooling fits in with the other many facets of our very busy lives . . . God, our family, church, the business, fitness, house maintenance, hobbies . . .

Life is always interesting. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Smarter, Cheaper & Healthier

Kevin and I have recently decided to dedicate ourselves to improving our eating and spending habits. There are many reasons why we have decided we needed to change, but a few of the major reasons include:
  • clearly seeing how much we were spending eating out each month and concluding that we were eating ourselves into debt
  • continuously throwing away food from the refrigerator before we could eat it
  • realizing that the pounds aren't going to melt themselves off anytime soon.
  • becoming educated on the amount of preservatives, pesticides, bad fats and processed foods we were ingesting into our bodies with our previous way of eating
  • realizing that we were sacrificing our health for convenience

While researching different ways to stretch our grocery dollar with healthier, natural foods, I came across this hand-dandy list that I thought I would share. We won't be purchasing everything on this list, but there are certainly some things I can substitute into our weekly menus.

"Here are healthy, nourishing foods you can always find at a good, low price. No matter what store. No matter what season. No matter if you donʼt clip coupons . . .
  • eggs
  • bananas
  • carrots
  • corn
  • broccoli
  • lettuce
  • cabbage
  • celery
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • onions
  • canned vegetables
  • canned tuna
  • peanut butter
  • oatmeal
  • whole grain bread
  • flour
  • corn meal
  • quinoa
  • brown rice
  • beans
  • lentils
  • pasta
  • spaghetti sauce
  • sunflower seeds
  • popcorn (not microwaved)
  • string cheese
  • yogurt

- information collected from"

I am also cooking with fresh vegetables from my garden (and the Farmer's Market for things I didn't grow) and I have concluded that I will definitely be adding to my garden next year. This year's selection was drastically reduced by a few pesky deer (and probably a rabbit or two), and I figure if I double what I plant for next year I have a better likelihood of having something to harvest from each type of crop. Also, I would like a better selection of vegetables for next year. This year's garden included sugar snap peas (completely eaten by the deer/rabbits), corn, zucchini, summer squash, decorative fall gourds, green beans (which suffered greatly from the critters), wax beans (completely eaten), romaine lettuce (eaten), leaf lettuce (also eaten), cucumbers, red onions, yellow onions, better boy tomatoes (scalped by the deer), cherry tomatoes (scalped), early girl tomatoes (scalped), carrots, green bell peppers, purple bell peppers, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, pumpkins, basil and chives. Now this may seem like a lot, but so far only the zucchini and squash have really been successful. Typically by this time we should be eating a ton of sugar snap peas, fresh green & wax beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in addition to the squash. Oh well, better luck next year. I am really hoping that next year's crop will significantly help the budget by providing more produce for our family to eat fresh and to use in our menu. With food prices constantly rising, every little bit I can do at home helps. I also know that all of this food was 100% organically raised, no pesticides or chemicals used here!

Monday, August 4, 2008

God's Incredible Handiwork!

While at our family cottage a few weeks ago we were able to witness the miraculous in something seemingly small and insignificant. Kevin was swimming with the boys when he spotted a dragonfly emerging from it's nymph-stage armor. It was clinging tightly between two dock planks and was working tediously to free itself from it's exoskeleton straight-jacket.

The whole process only took about fifteen minutes, and we were all amazed at the beautiful creature that was "birthed" before our eyes. We were also shocked that the dragonfly went from perilously perched on the dock to soaring speedily through the air within a split second's time. It was gone before we could blink, none-the-less snap a picture, and all that was left was the lonely, discarded shell that once was the dragonfly's skin.
So remarkable!