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Friday, January 31, 2014

Random 5 on Friday-January 31st

The Pebble Pond 

 I'm excited about joining in with The Pebble Pond and her weekly meme "Random 5 on Friday" Five random things so here goes...

1. After a year of having issues with my computer, we rebooted it to factory setting to then have issues resurface after three days. Went down today to look for a new laptop and the gentleman there said it might be a program that my windows is having issues with. SOOOO... I went home, found the ONLY two programs that I added back on after the reboot, chose one of them and un-installed it, then defragmented my computer to close it out and reboot. VOILA! It works.. I can't believe it. A year of having issues and it was because this program was incompatable to Windows.. Insane.. I just now pray that it IS the fix and the issue won't return.. So far so good..

2.  Working on re-organizing my recipe binders. Have my entire desserts/breads binder all organized and need to cut down my decorate scrapbook paper that I will be using as dividers and then label and add tabs and one of the three binders will be done.

3. It's snowed here this week. Got about 4 inches two days ago and now it's snowing again this evening expecting another inch. Winter is back here in Montana with under freezing temps for the next several days so this snow is here to stay for a bit.

4. Daughter locked herself out of her car while it was running at work. Had to go drop off a spare key so she could get into it. While snowing.. Fun times...

5. Working on learning a foreign language. Through the T.O.S. Homeschool Crew this year we have the opportunity to review Mango Languages. My DS12 is learning French through the program. I am re-learning French alongside him to help him whenever he needs it. I am also learning German which my husband can speak fluently so it will be nice to have a conversation with him in the near future outside of just telling him I love him and "Don't Touch" which is pretty much all I knew before.  So in honor of our snowy weather here is a sentence in German that I have learned this far.. 

"Schlechtes wetter heute, nicht wahr? 

Pronounced as:
SHLESHtes  VETa  hoita  nisht  vah

Which means 
"Bad weather today, isn't it?"

Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Thousand Gifts 66-86

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Had computer issues this week so I'm behind in my weekly One Thousand Gifts post which I usually post on Wednesday.. Here is this week's One Thousand Gifts.. # 66-86....

 3 Gifts Found in Christ

66. Salvation
67. Forgiveness of our Sins
68. His Blood

3 Things Blue

69. DS12's favorite color
70. DS12's room
71. A bluejay

Something Borrowed, Found, Inherited

72. A book
73. A pencil
74. My grandmother's Bible

A Gift Before Dawn, At Noon, After Dark

75. The sound of silence before all is awake
76. A delicious lunch
77. The Constellations on a clear night

3 Gifts in the Kitchen

78. My Kitchen Aid Mixer
79. My beautiful cupboards that have been recently redone
80. All of my baking equipment so I can make yummy meals

3 Things Found in Friendships

81. Laughter
82. Trust
83. Companionship

A Song Heard, A Soft Word, Light Seen

84. Birds chirping outside while it's snowing (a song heard)
85. love ( a soft word)
86. Watching a falling star (light seen)

Return next Wednesday for my next installment of One Thousand Gifts....
You can join in on the 1000 Gifts Journey by visiting A Holy Experience HERE

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Catch All Area Cleanup Begins

Do you have a spot in your house that seems to be the catch all? This one below is mine.. I know, not much but it's one for me and I dislike it. It's covering up my bins and I'm having trouble getting to my stamping supplies because this tote is full and in the way

This weekend, I want to tackle this pile, go through everything in the tote and thrift store, or sell what it's in on our local online 'garage sale'. On the top of the tote sits a blanket I started making years ago for my son. All it needed was a straight stitch down two sides and it's complete. I plan to finish this. Of course, my son is now too old for the theme but I do know of someone who would like it so it will be a future gift! The white box in front is FULL of documents that need to be shredded so this will take a good amount of time to complete. 

This mound of stuff is occupying a corner of my office. I'm a stickler for having a clean home. My motto is "Everything needs a Home.. If it doesn't then it's gone." Now that my kids are older, I can finally have an organized and clean home. It's such a wonderful feeling when you know exactly where something is, you don't have to look for it or repurchase something because you can't remember if you still have it.

I look forward to finally having this under control and this corner back to it's clean self.. I hope that I will be finished with re-organizing my recipe binder by the weekend so I can tackle this and get it done. We are supposed to receive a good amount of snow in the next couple days so it looks like a perfect time to do some indoor cleaning and organizing.. don't you think?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Re-Organizing Recipe Binder Begins..

I've been wanting to reorganize my recipe binder for some time. Mainly because I've acquired a lot of recipes thanks to Facebook and Pinterest. The system I had before worked but as I started to collect more recipes it was getting harder and harder for me to find what I was looking for. Mainly because I had vague categories such as breads and that included muffins, bread, scones etc.

I also had a vague category of lunch/dinner which you can only imagine how many were in there??

So here I am.. starting fresh, with a clean slate and an idea.. I've now started implementing this idea into an actual binder. It all starts at the computer......

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Going through my enormous FAVORITES folder with all my recipes I've saved off the internet and printing them all off below...

A nice HUGE stack and a few ink cartridges later.. (I'm still not completely done with this because I had computer problems which have been going on for months and finally decided to reboot the computer to factory setting) This has taken me off course a bit as I needed to get my computer back to running. I still have a few more from the FAVORITES and then I have my Pinterest boards to go through and print.. YES.. I'm printing them out and adding them to my binder because I no longer want to rely on my computer for my basic needs.

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So far here is what I've been able to accomplish. I've put the recipes I have into more specific categories and have put a protective sleeve over everyone of them.. of course to protect them from water and food spills while cooking/baking.

I will be dividing all of my recipes into 3 binders. One for BAKING, COOKING, and NON FOOD

Each category will be covered in pretty scrapbook paper, labeled on it and also have a tab for the side.

I hope to get this done this week since it's consuming most of my kitchen table. Now that my computer issues are (praying) behind me now, I can move forward with getting this complete because I'm itching to get back to cooking different meals. You can only cook the ones in your head for so long before you NEED to make something different.. 

I'll post my cookbooks when they are all done.. Until then....

Monday, January 27, 2014

Q is for Quilting

blogging through the alphabet sm.
Blogging through the Alphabet
Click on the picture above or go to Ben and Me website HERE to get more info on how you can join in...
Q is for Quilting
I've never quilted in my life. I actually can't sew real well either. But that's NOT going to stop me from learning how to quilt a blanket this year. I guess it's all the "Quilts of Love" book series I've been reading over the past year that has really driven my imagination, thinking I can make a quilt.
I know it probably won't be perfect and I'm worried about what it will entail, but I'm up for the challenge.
Homestead Blessings: The Art of Quilting
I've purchased every single one of these wonderful videos above. Some I already knew how to do, such as the crafting dvd, but this one above will be my starting point in learning how to quilt and to make my dream of making one this year a reality. I can't wait to get started!
I also have a ton of pinterest pins on how to get started all ready for me to research before setting off to the fabric store to begin my journey. I'm getting excited!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Scraps of Evidence
Abingdon Press (January 21, 2014)
Barbara Cameron


A Word from the author:

CBD, CBA, and ECPA bestselling author of 35 books (including new series upcoming for Abingdon Press in 2011/2012) including fiction and non-fiction books for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Harlequin, and other publishers.

I sold three films to HBO/Cinemax and am the first winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.

My two novellas won the 2nd and 3rd place in the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest from the Faith, Love, and Hope chapter of RWA. Both were finalists for the novella category of the Carol Award of the American Christian Writers Award (ACFW).

My Thoughts on This Book:
I absolutely LOVE this Quilts of Love series. This one was no exception. You not only get the signature romance that all the books in this series offers, plus a storyline surrounding a quilt.. This one gives you some suspense, a murder mystery that has held the interest of the St. Augustine, Florida police department for years. With a new detective on the case and a fresh murder to investigate, can Tess and Logan find who they are looking for, on and off the job?
I love how she intertwines the characters, the plot is gripping and has all the elements I love in a story. Romance, a strong storyline, and the love of learning about quilts..


Tess has taken some ribbing from her fellow officer, Logan, for her quilting hobby. He finds it hard to align the brisk professional officer he patrols with during the day with the one who quilts in her off-time. Besides, he’s been trying to get to know her better and he’d like to be seeing her during those few nights a week she spends with her quilting guild. Then one afternoon Tess and Logan visit her aunt in the nursing home, and the woman acts agitated when Tess covers her with the story quilt. Aunt Susan is attempting to communicate a message to them about Tess’s uncle. There’s a story behind this quilt, they realize, one that may lead them to a serial killer. Will they have a chance to have a future together, or will the killer choose Tess for his next victim before they find him?

If you would like to read the first chapter of , go HERE.

I have received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Art Curriculum For Homeschoolers

Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
For the month of January I am contributing to a Virtual Curriculum Fair.. Each week is based off a certain subject/idea. I can't believe that I am penning my last post for this fair. Time sure flies doesn't it.
This week's subject is Seeking Beauty: the Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World
The last time I participated in this we were using Heart of Dakota and we were studying Shakespeare, Poetry and Art which made this last post easy to write. You can find the detailed post on that curriculum HERE
This time around, since we are taking a year off from Heart of Dakota curriculum, we are not studying any of these subjects so I thought I would give you a list of some art curriculum that we really enjoyed doing over the past 10 years of homeschooling..
This will be our curriculum choice for 2014-15 school year for my 7th grader. This curriculum has a wonderful Charlotte Mason approach to teaching and a wonderful Bible, Poetry, Art curriculum built in. Check out their website HERE to learn more
Draw and Write through History: Creation through Jonah   -     By: Carylee Gressman
We love this Draw and Write Through History series of art working through historical time periods. This is also a part of some of the Heart of Dakota series curriculum books.
I've had the opportunity to review this wonderful curriculum and loved it. Please take a look at my review to get more information on this great year long art curriculum
I also had the opportunity to review this awesome digital art studio, and to this day my son still enjoys it often. You can check out more info on this
Spears Art Studio is a wonderful year long curriculum for K-8 as well as another set for High School students.. Check out my thoughts on this amazing curriculum
See the Light DVD series is also a wonderful set to teach the basics of art to your children. No experience necessary. Great for beginners. You can check out my thoughts of this curriculum
Throughout the years, we've spent two of those making lapbooks with our studies. While lapbooking you get really creative with how you lay them out, design and assemble them. Lapbooking is a wonderful form of  'art' that enlists your child's creativity.
Outside curriculum above and lapbooking we also spent a lot of time doing hands on projects which stretches their creativity in designing and experimenting with different tools for art. I would highly recommend some sort of hands on teaching for all K-8 graders..
Thanks everyone for stopping by my blog each week as I shared our curriculum with you during this month long Virtual Curriculum Fair. I had a blast and look forward to participating next year..

Check out other homeschool bloggers that are participating in this week's curriculum fair to see what they are sharing in regards to Seeking Beauty in their homeschool...

44 Awesome Free Resources to Study Art and Music! by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Finding Beauty with Classical Composers Monthly by Kristi K. @ The Potter’s Hand Academy

Art and Music Appreciation Resource Lists by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Easy Guided Drawing: Benefits and Resources by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

A Peek into our Homeschool: Seeking Beauty by Brittney @ Mom's Heart

All Things Lovely by Michele P @Family, Faith and Fridays

Virtual Curriculum Fair: the Arts by Jennifer @ a glimpse of our life

You Gotta Have Art! by Lisa@GoldenGrasses

Classical Crochet... Or Something Like That by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

The Art of the Matter by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

The Arts: Creating and Appreciating Beauty by Leah@As We Walk Along the Road

Our Curriculum Choices 2014 ~ The Arts & PDHPE by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun

{Virtual Curriculum Fair 2014} Seeking Beauty: The Arts in Our Classical Homeschool by Sharra
@ The Homeschool Marm

Learning Crafts For Kids & Adults by Kim @ Homestead Acres

Finding Time for Beauty in Homeschooling Including Fine Arts by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Arts & the Extras ~ These Are Some of Our Favorite Things by HillaryM @ Our Homeschool Studio

Friday, January 24, 2014

Random 5 on Friday- January 24th

The Pebble Pond
I'm excited about joining in with The Pebble Pond and her weekly meme "Randon 5 on Friday" Five random things so here goes...
1. The three day weekend wreaked havoc on my plans to watch my calories. Went to a surprise bday party with food/cake and then the next two days I didn't exercise so I felt like all my hard work the week before was for nothing.
2. Made two dozen homemade greeting cards for my stash. I love having cards on hand for when I need them so I don't have to always be in the mood to make them. It's nice to have a lot to choose from for that special person I send them too..
3. My oldest son, DS14, finished his 1st Semester of high school today. He's excited about starting his new Guitar 101 and Swimming classes for the 2nd Semester.
4. Went through both boys rooms/closets and re-organized them. Took out clothes and toys they no longer use or wear and now their rooms are nicely organized with everything having a place.
5. I've really liked eating salads this past week. It's hard to find some with a dressing that doesn't set you back way too many calories or full of junk. It's been a chore to find the right ones but I'm looking forward to getting more spinach/kale in my diet.

Homeschool Essentials: Extra Curricular

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

I'm excited about joining in on the 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop sponsored by the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Day Five:

Today, my topic contains info regarding "Extra Curricular"

On the last day of the blog hop, I'd love to share a list of some things we've done outside of the basic core subjects in our 10 years of homeschooling.

Extra curricular activites...

1. Homeschool Swimming Lessons
This was set up at our local indoor swimming pool with other homeschooled families. Both my  children learned to swim through this inexpensive swim class
2. Co-op
We've joined two co-ops over the years. They allowed my children to learn things outside the core subjects including- drama, PE, art etc
3. Cub Scouts
We were heavily involved in scouts for several years.  
4. 4-H
My children were involved in 4H for two years learning, photography, horses, aviation, electrical, and theatre
5. Royal Rangers and Youth Group
My boys are involved in weekly youth group which is Royal Rangers for my youngest and a teen group for my oldest son
6. Martial Arts
My boys were involved in two years of martial arts at our local gym. A free class with paid membership. My oldest received up to his purple belt and my youngest to a green.
7. Field Trips
To touch base on scheduled field trips, they've been to:
Fire department in both WA and MT
Airport watch tower- Great falls, MT
Hiked a buffalo jump
discovered the inside of a cave in Kentucky
Newspaper office in Great Falls, MT and Couer d'Alene, ID
Museum of History (MT) and (ID)
Science Museum (Hands on) in Helena, MT
CM Russell Art Museum-Great Falls, MT
8. Family Field Trips
Every opportunity we can get when we travel we try to make it educationally fun..
Ghost Towns in MT and MI
1880's Town in South Dakota
Corn Palace in SD
Lighthouses in WA and MI
Battlefields in MT
Pompey's Pillar
Lewis & Clark Caverns -MT
Mt Rushmore
Mt Rushmore Caves
Crazy Horse Monument
Forts in MI and MT
Havre Under the Streets -MT
Grand Canyon
Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium- Arizona
Hoover Dam
Reid Park Zoo in Tucson Arizona
St. Xavier Mission in Arizona
Sonora Desert Museum- Tucson Arizona
Kitt Peak Observatory-Arizona
Customs and Border Patrol- MT (Hubby works here so the boys get to really learn about the helicopters and airplanes)
I'm sure there is much more, but this is all I can remember as of today..
9. Art Classes at Paris Gibson Art Museum- Great Falls, MT
The kids took some free classes to make historical art
10. Bowling League for homeschoolers
I put my two boys in a 6 week bowling league that gave them weekly tips while playing 2 games a week.
11. Children's Museum- Great Falls, MT
My boys went to the local children's museum for a weekly craft time with other homeschoolers and then was allowed to do hands on play at the museum afterwards
12. PE Classes
Took two kinds of PE classes over the years. One was when my son was young that taught him flexiblity, plus the basics of basketball, soccer, and track. The second one was beginning basketball
13. Baseball
My oldest son played 4 years of little league baseball
14. Soccer
My youngest son played a year of soccer
Do you have any special places that you've toured or have done extra curricular activites that your kids loved while homeschooling? I'd love to hear them... Leave a comment below..

 I've enjoyed joining in with other homeschool mom's this week sharing my Homeschooling Essentials with you all.

 Don't forget to check out the other wonderful ladies that have participated in this week's Homeschooling Essentials to see what they've shared... I'm including 9 of the 89 that are participating below.

 Lisa @ A Rup Life
 Jordyn @ Almost Supermom
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog
 Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
 Brandi @ Brandi Raae

Click on the link below to see the other blogs participating at:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 23- Fitness Challenge-Healthy Dessert

New Year Fitness Challenge - In Photos with
Onto Day 23 of the New Year Fitness Challenge
Today is Healthy Dessert

I love making things from scratch because I don't want to eat processed, chemical infested food.

I love graham crackers but don't want to buy them in a box so I found this yummy recipe to make them myself.. mmm

Graham Cracker Recipe

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Homeschool Essentials: Curriculum

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

I'm excited about joining in on the 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop sponsored by the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Day Four:

Today, my topic contains info regarding "Curriculum"

What Curriculum Are We Using for Grade 6?

This year we've stepped away from using our favorite curriculum "Heart of Dakota". The book my son was heading into was a bit too old for him so we decided to take a year off and wait until he hit middle school (grade 7) to work on the next level. So this year I worked hard finding curriculum that would work with the Charlotte Mason approach to teaching, which is what we follow.

Here is what we chose for 2013-14

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For History, and Literature we are using Notgrass- Uncle Sam and You
If you'd like to learn more about this curriculum in depth I just did a detailed post

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For Science this year we broke up two of the Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology Series into two semesters. 1st Semester we tackled Zoology 1 and for the 2nd Semester we are tackling Zoology 2. I wrote about this curriculum recently HERE if you'd like to read more about it in detail

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For Math this year we've chosen Saxon 7/6 with DIVE into Math CD to accompany it. I wrote a detailed post regarding this curriculum HERE if you'd like to learn more..

Language Arts- We've chosen a few books from Queen Homeschool which follows the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling.

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Learning to Spell through Copywork Book A

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Language Lessons for the Elementary Child (All grammar, writing structure, poetry)

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Words of the week Volume 1 and 2 (each are 1 semester in length) Vocabulary

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Our Beautiful America (Copywork)

I wrote a detailed post about all of the language arts curriculum we are using above HERE. If you'd like to learn more about it, please visit my link...

Tomorrow, I'll be wrapping up the 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials by listing some extra curricular activites that we've been involved in over the past 10 years of homeschooling. See you then... 

Don't forget to check out the other wonderful ladies that have participated in this week's Homeschooling Essentials to see what they've shared... I'm including 9 of the 89 that are participating below.

 Lisa @ A Rup Life
 Jordyn @ Almost Supermom
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog
 Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
 Brandi @ Brandi Raae

Click on the link below to see the other blogs participating at:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

P is for Photography

blogging through the alphabet sm.
Blogging through the Alphabet
Click on the picture above or go to Ben and Me website HERE to get more info on how you can join in...
P is for Photography
I've been photographing for over two decades. My passion for photography starting in my freshman year of high school when I stepped foot into my first photography class. I fell in love. I spent 4 years learning all I could before I graduated. I even was a teacher's assistant for that class, just to have another class each day..
After I graduated from high school, I found a job at Sears Portrait Studio. I worked there until I got pregnant with my daughter. When my daughter turned one, I went back to work at Walmart Portrait Studio for a year. I was traveling out of town for this job. By this time, I was a single mom and needed to be closer to my daughter's daycare.
 I got a job at Glamour Shots as their photographer and absolutely LOVED working there.. I had some wonderful memories photographing people and this was the job I was working at when I met my husband.
While working at Glamour Shots I heard of a wonderful opportunity of a full time job working for Olan Mills. (when they had their own studios, which were large beautiful rooms to photograph in). I couldn't pass up this opportunity so I took it. I worked here the longest. Started in North Carolina and they were able to transfer me to Washington State studio when we moved in 1997. I was promoted to manager as well as photographer and continued to work there for another year.
When I got pregnant with my son, I needed a job that didn't do a lot of lifting, so I decided to quit and worked for Expressly Portraits in their backroom, developing their photos. It was nice to see the other side of photography and not always behind the camera.
This was the last photography job I had. After this, I chose to be a stay at home mom when my oldest son was born in 1999.
Even though I don't have a career currently in photography, I still LOVE to take photographs. I now have my own blog set aside to display my favorite pictures I take. For many years now, I've photographed my own family without using a studio and now I love taking pictures of scenery, historical buildings, cars and ghost towns.. I currently just enjoy photographing family and friends and anything nature...
Visit My Photography Blog
Check out my photography blog-

One Thousand Gifts 45-65

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Three Witnessed Blessings
45. my son adapting well to high school
46. my daughter achieving above and beyond in college
47. my daughter hitting 1 year at her job
A Gift Bringing- Laughter, Prayer, Quiet
48. my children
49. the health of my family
50. as they wraps up and all is asleep
3 Gifts from God's Word
51. Grace
52. Forgiveness
53. Love
3 Gifts That Might Never Have Been
54. My daughter returning home to me to live full time
55. If I never moved to North Carolina back in the 90's then I would of never met my husband
56. Homeschooling- Never thought of it until my daughter was of school age
3 Gifts Only Seen Close Up
57. The freckles on my son's nose
58. a bumble bee on a beautiful flower
59. snowflakes
A Gift in Sky, Water, Memory
60. A bald eagle swooping down to gather food
61. a beautiful ice layer on the river surface
62. the day I married my husband 16 yrs ago
A Gift Wrinkled, Smoothed, Unfolded
63. The hand of an elder, wise above their years
64. A well worn blanket cuddled by a child
65. A love poem my husband wrote me that I have folded and tucked away in my drawer
Return next Wednesday for my next installment of One Thousand Gifts....
You can join in on the 1000 Gifts Journey by visiting A Holy Experience HERE

Homeschooling Essentials: Planning Tools

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

I'm excited about joining in on the 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop sponsored by the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Day Three:

Today, my topic contains info regarding "Planning Tools"

I'd like to discuss with you on how I organize my kids school work and to share a lesson planner I designed for my son to keep track of his daily school work.

In years past, I would find myself making copies of schoolwork as we went through our school week. I then would also find myself forgetting to make a copy when it was needed that day. Last year I decided to do a little preplanning over the Summer month and make this file folder below.

I color coded each quarter.
1st Quarter-Pink
2nd Quarter-Blue
3rd Quarter-Red
4th Quarter-Black

Using these colors, I found file folders to match. 9 for each quarter, in all four colors.
I then labeled each folder with the Weeks 1-36.

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I then went through all the work that was needed for the year and make copies of everything that they would need to work on that couldn't be done in the book. I then filed them in the appropriate weeks folder.

Each week had two manilla folders inside. One marked with a B and the other with a C, when I was homeschooling both of my boys. Each of their work went into the manilla envelope with their initial inside the colored weekly envelope.

To keep things organized I took a calendar and marked the weeks in appropriate colored circle stickers so I would know what week I was on and what quarter we were working on.

This helped me streamline our homeschool with two children last year. I just needed to grab that weeks folder, pull out their individual ones and hand them their work. It was great not needing to scramble for copies..

After my paperwork for the kids were organized, I knew I needed to streamline their lesson planners. In years past, I would just copy their needed assignments into a spiral bound notebook, until I decided it was putting a lot of work on me to write down each subject every day/week.

I decided to design my own, since I couldn't find a readymade one on the market that would work for what I was looking for.

I made this below.
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Hubby designed the emblem which is for our school. Then with the child's name, year and grade

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I made labels on the dividers (which match the colored folders I use for filing for each quarter)

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Lesson Planner (YEAR)
Day of Week_________Date________ Week___of 36

On the left side is the name of the curriculum being used already typed up on each page and a blank space for me to write down the days lessons.

I divided this book up into four sections (4 quarters) with the appropriate amount of pages for each quarter plus one extra per week in case work was not complete for the week there was an extra page for 'homework' over the weekend

I had it spiral bound with a back hard cover and plastic protective cover in front for durability.

This is my second year using this system and love it. I fill it out by quarter which works out great. I only need to work in it 4 times a year. I check his work daily since I give him a check line for him to check off his work each day. I look it over and he moves on..

Tomorrow I will be discussing the curriculum we are using this year for grade 6. Check back to take a peak....

Do you have a special system you use for your homeschool? I'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment.. Thanks 

Don't forget to check out the other wonderful ladies that have participated in this week's Homeschooling Essentials to see what they've shared... I'm including 9 of the 89 that are participating below.

 Lisa @ A Rup Life
 Jordyn @ Almost Supermom
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog
 Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
 Brandi @ Brandi Raae

Click on the link below to see the other blogs participating at:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Homeschooling Essentials: School Space

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

I'm excited about joining in on the 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop sponsored by the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Day Two:

Today, my topic contains my "Homeschooling Space"

A little glimpse inside our area where I store all homeschool related materials and where my son finishes his daily work. 

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Here is our little space above. It's our original dining room. We just remodeled the space by adding new color, new window trim and mini blinds, floor, ceiling trim and light fixture. Along with that I added some encouraging quotes on the wall. Above the window it reads "Dream Until Your Dreams Come True" Very simple since this room is adjacent to our living room and the first room you see when you walk in the front door.

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With homeschooling one child this year (DD19 graduated May 2013) (oldest son is currently in public school) my space has been emptied quite a bit. My bookcase that stores all of our current work is above.  It used to be jam packed full of stuff, but now it's cleaned out, simplified and easy to get to.

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The homeschool cabinet stores everything else.
Top shelf holds folders, extra notebooks and paper
2nd shelf holds future curriculum
3rd shelf holds pens and instructional videos & CD's
4th and 5th shelf holds office supplies (aka school supplies for projects)

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This is the last of our area and it's thinned out dramatically over the past year since my youngest is in 6th grade we've let go of a lot of supplies that would be more fitted to a younger child which left this area almost empty as far as the small white drawers. The small drawers hold more supplies such as glue, pencils, pens. The bottom white bins are currently holding curriculum that needs to be sold come Spring. The black bin on the end is my lesson planning which I'll discuss in tomorrow's posts for this blog hop..
I'm glad I was able to share our homeschool space with you. Thanks for stopping by...
Tomorrow I will be discussing our homeschool planning tools. Check back to learn more.... See you then...

 Don't forget to check out the other wonderful ladies that have participated in this week's Homeschooling Essentials to see what they've shared... I'm including 9 of the 89 that are participating below.

 Lisa @ A Rup Life
 Jordyn @ Almost Supermom
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog
 Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
 Brandi @ Brandi Raae

Click on the link below to see the other blogs participating at:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Day 20 Fitness Challenge-Hydrate Me

New Year Fitness Challenge - In Photos with
Onto Day 20 of the New Year Fitness Challenge
Today is Hydrate Me
I'm all about drinking water and getting hydrated, especially after a long run or hard workout. I'll be honest though, plain water is yuck. So for me to stay hydrated I drink lemon water.. It is so delicious and lemons are so healthy for you.

To make 4 QTS slice up two lemons (organic if possible) squeeze juice from lemon into water and throw in the peel just like below in the picture. Let steep overnight and drink away.
Check out this website to find out some great reasons to eat lemons HERE 

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Homeschool Essentials: Charlotte Mason Style

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

I'm excited about joining in on the 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop sponsored by the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Day One:

Today, my topic contains info regarding "Homeschooling Methods"
We've spent years changing our ways of homeschooling. Textbooks, boxed curriculum, lapbooking, unit studies to name a few.. After all this we've finally found the one we love the most.
The Charlotte Mason Style of learning.
What is the Charlotte Mason Style?
First we must know who she was...
From Wikipedia "Charlotte Mason was a British educator who invested her life in improving the quality of education in England at the turn of the twentieth century. Her revolutionary methods led to a shift from utilitarian education to the education of a child upon living ideas."
The teaching methods that we use in our homeschooling include:
Living Books:
The use of living books, in every subject possible instead of dry, factual textbooks. A living book is something that is written by one person and not a bunch of people (like in publishing a textbook) Someone with a passion for the topic he/she is writing about. The content should be alive and engaging. She didn't like 'twaddle'. Books or materials that dumbed down or was insulting.
To narrate back what they have just read or learned about. It could be orally, written or drawn and was expected after reading of their material. It's purpose is to focus on what the child has read, drawing attention to details. It also helps them communicate in their own words what they have learned.
Copywork- Handwriting:
Once your child has formed each letter perfectly, they went on to copywork. Taking phrases, sentences, scripture, quotes etc and copying them word for word.

This was not meant to critique but to read, and encourage the children to develop his/her own relationship with the poems and poet. We would learn about one poet and his/her work per year.
One of my favorites in the subjects taught. She wanted the children to learn the content of Shakespeare even in the earlier years of learning.
Designed for children over the age of 10, she used consistent practice in narration, dictation, and copywork to lay the foundation for grammar study. Small lessons each day, letting go of worksheets and drills.
Working on learning 6 artists a year. Studying their work, and life. Studying a picture and then either describing the picture through naration or asking them to draw the outlines of the picture being studied.
Nature Studies:
She encouraged children to spend hours outside exploring nature. They would take along a sketchpad to draw, while labeling the different aspects of nature they observe. Students kept a calendar of the first finds of each season- birds, flowers, and other species were sketched, described, and dated.
Reading the bible everyday to the student in it's content. Memorizing was important to her.
History is taught mainly with living books. Biographies, autobiographies and narration. Also making timelines was something she did with her students.
Just like history, this is taught through living books.

I was a bit intimidated at first on how to approach teaching this style of homeschooling. I love everything that she did, especially using living books, nature studies and simple small grammar and language arts lessons. I just didn't know where to start and I struggled with designing my own lesson plans. I've tried in the past and for me it was so time consuming.
You can check out Simply Charlotte Mason website HERE. This website is full of wonderful resources, teacher planners, and curriculum guides.

After looking through this website though, I still felt overwhelmed until someone mentioned to me a curriculum that followed the Charlotte Mason approach and was already put together for me. I was thrilled to hear about it and couldn't wait to check it out..

Heart of Dakota

Two years ago I was introduced to this curriculum and I fell in love with it. It was exactly what I was needing. It follows her way of teaching using living books on her subjects. I do want to say though that I don't use absolutely everything that it offers. I didn't like her choice of english so I'm using another Charlotte Mason curriculum which I will share in a moment. I also use a different math curriculum (Saxon) as this works well for my kids.. Other than that, we love everything else about the curriculum.

(For the Language Arts we've chosen to supplement by using Queen Homeschool)

Queen Homeschool is another great resource in following this style of teaching. My son loves this selection much better than the one H.O.D offers with a more relaxed approach which I feel follows Charlotte's approach nicely.

So this is the teaching method that has really worked for our family for the past 3 years. I plan to use Heart of Dakota for two more years unless she comes out with more books. We will then look into them for the High School years..

Tomorrow I will be discussing our homeschooling space. Check back to take a peak.... See you then...

Don't forget to check out the other wonderful ladies that have participated in this week's Homeschooling Essentials to see what they've shared... I'm including 9 of the 89 that are participating below.

 Lisa @ A Rup Life
 Jordyn @ Almost Supermom
Jenn @ Teaching Two Stinkers
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog
 Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
 Brandi @ Brandi Raae
 Wendy @ Simplicity Breeds Happiness
 Jodi @ Insane in the Mombrain
 Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break 

Click on the link below to see the other blogs participating at:
 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Day 18 Fitness Challenge-Workout Must Haves

New Year Fitness Challenge - In Photos with
Onto Day 18 of the New Year Fitness Challenge
Today is Workout Must Haves

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My workout must haves..
1. Great music with the perfect beat to keep me moving
2. Water to hydrate
3. Good exercise shoes that are comfortable and don't cause blisters
4. A towel to wipe off the sweat. ( I sweat a LOT while working out)