Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wherein Two Little Girls Had Birthdays

December through present has been very busy for our family. We have had two little girls exchange their ages for the next size up, and their Mama has struggled with lots of migraines. I can count on my hands how many pain free days I've had in the last three months. We have also had many fun days of learning, and fun days of ministry, but a description of those events will have to be postponed until another day.

And Then She Was Five...

Many thank yous to the Grandmas who have waited so patiently for these pictures. =)
She had requested a pajama tea party. We invited our sweet friends the Bastians who came to complete our party with 4 sweet girls and one young woman who helped supervised the festivities. The girls played the Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed game that G-Ma gave us for Christmas, ate breakfast foods for lunch, and had a little tea party with a tea set from her G.G's childhood. I already had everything in our house for the decorations, except for the wire needed for making the puffs. I spent about $10 for all of the food and supplies for this party since we used things that we already had at home. The best kind of party!!
Can you see the food table is a bed? =)

Not long thereafter, SHE turned three!

She had a party at a park with family and a few special friends. The day was supposed to have a 40% chance of rain and be cloudy all day. Instead it was perfectly sunny and cool!! In the pictures, she is wearing a tiara- it wasn't a princess party, but she decided in the morning, that on her birthday, she could wear whatever she wanted. =)

"Sissy" was implored to "help" in the extinguishing of the candles, and I tried in vain to keep her shirt out of the icing. =) It was quite a yummy cake- the first birthday cake I have not made myself. This Mama was swamped with life and migraines that kept pulling the rug out from under her. So this year I outsourced in the cake department. It was a small thing, and in the end, it really didn't matter WHO made the cake. We all enjoyed it! Three of the Bastian sisters are pictured above.
Capturing a special quiet moment with Aunt Heather and Snow White.

We have enjoyed many moments of celebration because in our large and very busy families, we enjoy celebrating birthdays as many times as it takes to include everyone. =)

One of our favorite outings this year has been to a strawberry farm (not so) near to our house. The first time the girls visited with Daddy and some new friends (who live down the street, attend seminary with Jeff and who have children the same ages as ours) as I recovered from a migraine. I didn't feel so sad recovering at home alone knowing that they were having an amazing experience with their Daddy. The second time I got to go along for the ride. Addison schooled me on how to pick the best strawberries and showed me which ones to leave behind. Caiden and Jeff had finished an entire row before Addison and I were half way down ours. Every few feet she had to stop me and check my progress. =)

We found a fun state park on the other side of town where the girls got to climb a tree with Jeff. They loved being little monkeys!

Here's a teaser for next post. Here the girls are acting out some characters in a story that we studied for school. Do you know who they are? =)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Part Three

Part Two

Let's see if it works this time...please let me know if you can see Caiden reading. Thanks!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Caiden's Reading Debut

Today we began our two weeks celebrating Autumn's arrival, and learning about apples. I found this book at Brightlight Book's clearance sale for next to nothing. It's perfect for Caiden to read all on her own. I had intended to upload a video of her reading the book to you all, but several hours of failed attempts, I am giving up. I'll try and find a way to share it eventually...

In other news:

Today we...
* made a "What Do I Know" and "What I Want to Learn" chart about apples.
* discussed the differences in fruit and vegetables and why apples are fruit.
* learned new vocabulary words: bud, blossom, stem, petals
* discussed the life cycle of an apple tree, seed to fruit, and also by season.
* read I Am An Apple twice- once with help, once almost by herself as shown on the movie.
* wrote to her penpal Emma.
*worked on recognizing number words and matching them to the appropriate number of objects.

Tomorrow we will...
* make an apple pie, and introduce fractions as we cut the apples, and then as we cut the pie!
* read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
* put up our world map on the kitchen wall and label the countries the girl visits to gather the ingredients of the pie.
* discuss the countries, color flags, etc.
* learn new vocabulary from the book.
* do a real-life subtraction problem with the apples we have, and then how many we use for the pie, and how many are left over afterwards.

Wednesday we will:
* read The Giving Tree
* practice memory verse
* practice the apple poem

Thursday we will:
* paint a four part picture showing an apple tree in each season.
* label parts of an apple tree that were gifts to the boy
* discuss the feelings of the boy and the apple tree and make a "Happiness Is" book
* practice memory verse

Friday we will:
*Have Caiden read Apples Up On Top with Daddy
* Try and balance bean bag (apples) and walk
* Make an apple book matching number words one through ten with the numbers 1-10.
* Read other apple books picked up from the Library.

It took a long time to upload this movie clip. I'll post the other two parts later...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Love and like

I love my silly willy girlies.
I love that they were serious Daddy snugglers tonight.
I am thrilled with how our school plans went down this week. (THANKS MOM for coming through in a pinch!!!)
I really seriously LIKE my crock pot and my Yankee Candle tart warmer. (we're trying to be conscious of using "love" and "like" appropriately...can you tell? Because the exaggerator in me really does what to use the word LOVE!)
And happiness really can be found in having tomorrow's dinner cooking in the crockpot right now and clean up done.
I may just have found the cure for the "I'm too tired to think about what to cook because it's Friday" blues! Ahh, what a lovely Thursday night!
Oh, and my girls memorized Proverbs 29:11 this week. Even Addison. I love it!!

My final love of the night...
Based on Proverbs 29:11, (A foolish man gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man controls himself."We did a lot of discussing on what it means to be foolish and wise.

Yesterday in the car, Caiden asked me if someone's Mama was wise. I didn't know where she was headed so I answered with a question, "well, I want to know what you think." She answered in the negative based on this standard. "Her Mama doesn't give her children consequences, and so she's not obeying God, because children are supposed to obey their parents, so that means she is foolish." Ouch. She's observing so much. Understanding God's Word so well, and internalizing our explanation of discipline in our home in such a profound way. She's watching folks. She's watching.....

How was YOUR Thursday night treating you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week Three- Storm in the Night

This is a Five in a Row (FIAR) book- I wanted to make sure we got it in before our summer thunder storms were gone!

A lot of this week was from which has free lap book components to use with B4FIAR and FIAR books.

Day One: We talked about Titles- how they tell us what the book is about, and how they are always capitalized.
Bible- we read Isaiah 41:10 and talked about fear.
Science- we talked about clouds- the four most common types. Made a layered book on black paper with white chalk.
Art- cotton ball painting.

Day Two: Dictionary introduction- make vocab cards from vocab in book.
Math/Science- Graph weather daily- introduction. Analyze results daily. (we have more days of sun than we have of clouds)
Art- facial expressions/labeling
Read- Walter Was Worried- Seeger

Day Three: Five Senses/ Listening Walk
Thunderstorm observations- smells, sights, sounds, touch, (a storm actually happened- so cool!)
Talk about quotation marks.
Read Like a Hundred Drums
Narration of the story- draw pictures.

Day Four: Bubble Chart - things related to a storm (that we noticed yesterday)
Brainstorm on sources of light
Discuss the term "Onomatopoeia".
Read- Yum, Yum, What Fun! (a book on onomatopoeia)

Day Five: Quilt Math- identify and color each shape accordingly and then analyze the results. (How many triangles, squares,
rectangles, etc.)
Lapbook assembly

Week Two- The Carrot Seed

The second week coincided with the optimal Fall garden planting time. How perfect! We read the Carrot Seed a Before Five in a Row (B4FIAR) book selection. Phyllis asked if these activities were from FIAR (or B4FIAR) or things I just came up with. The short answer is "yes". Many of these activities are from the books suggestions for these literature selections, however, I am enjoying the creative liberty I am able to have while doing unit studies with this curriculum. I just have so many ideas! Most of these units have taken us two weeks because I have found so many activities that can go along with them, or we've found additional books from the Library that also support our units. We're having way too much fun. =)

Day 1- we talked about the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8 and the different kinds of soil.
What does a plant need to grow? (air, water, sun) - made a cute cut out for the lap book.
Rose's Garden- read together.
Chose an activity from our Math bucket. (More on Literacy and Math buckets later!)
Discussed hard and soft "c" sounds and thought of a bunch of words with these sounds in the initial position and had her sort them.

Day 2- Seed day
Matthew 17- the mustard seed- found a mustard seed and played with it for a while.
Ordered seeds from smallest to largest without assistance and glued them in a line for the lap book.
Prayed for my friend Kaylyn's upcoming adoption from Africa and discussed her blog name- A Mustard Seed Journey. They have two girls close to my girl's ages so it was a great connection for them!
Read and looked at pictures from Ken Robbin's book, Seeds.

Day 3 Plant Garden!!
Looked at the pictures from the Carrot Seed- made pictures with three colors in the same style as that book.
Had cooked carrots for lunch.
Worked on calendar words and talked about how long we had to wait for our seeds to germinate and sprout.
Read The Tiny Seed- by Eric Carle
Painted a picture based on Ps. 1.

Day 4 - Started our "Chart the Growth of a Seed" book
Read The Bean by Anne Rockwell- great because we planted beans the day before!
Reading Lesson from Teach Your Child to Read....
Measured different sizes of seeds.- Introduced inch and cm.

Day 5- Worked on the poem for the lap book.
How a Seed Grows- Helene Jordan
Art rubbings from a Carrot
Assembled lap book.

The difference in the first three weeks of school is that I wasn't back to work yet. The fourth week we took off to visit with Aunt Kris and Uncle Aaron down from TN. So we were able to get in five days of instruction from me alone. Now, I teach her 3 days and my Mom and Jeff to Thursday and Friday respectively. We often scrap Wednesday and do school on Saturday instead. That requires a lot of planning and prep- let me tell you! But it's working well, and well worth it! As far as the school day goes, most of the time it goes something like this:

Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday's schedule: (except Jeff follows the plan on Friday while I work and on Saturday after school and snack, we go grocery shopping for the week ahead.)

Jeff and I wake up around 6:30ish and work out together. Usually the girls get up around then, but are not allowed out of their rooms until 7:00am. They play or read quietly until we are finished with our work out.

A little after 7 I get their breakfast started/on and I shower.
When breakfast is over, they put their dishes in the sink. Then they return to their rooms to get dressed (I lay out Addison's clothes, as she's not matching yet, but C has full reign of anything she can reach from her dresser (not her closet). They also pick up their rooms, make beds, turn off night lights, open blinds, etc.

7:30 to 8am is pick up the house and do dishes time. I normally throw in a load or two of laundry at this time.

We start school by 8. We are usually done by 10.

10:00-10:30 outside play- getting hot, we'll come inside around then for snack. As the weather gets cooler, we will stay out longer again.

10:30 is snack time. (Change laundry over)
The girls will play together until lunch time.

11:50 I start preparing lunch.

12:00 lunch time!!
After lunch I will read them a book from the Library. Sometimes I will put Addie down for naps early and do a reading lesson with C in her bedroom.

By 1:00 they are in bed for naps/quiet time. This usually lasts for 2.5 hours. (I fold laundry and stick in another load.)
When they wake up, it's snack time and we read more books, or sometimes they watch a movie. (Signing Time, Little House, Shirley Temple, etc.)

Around 4:30ish we go outside for a while.

If I start dinner at 5, we'll eat close to 6 and 7:00pm is bedtime! On Tuesday we eat at 5:00 and take baths so we can be at Kindermusik class. I've had them go in their p.j's so we just eat a quick snack, brush teeth and jump into bed after class.

And just to clarify, I don't LIVE by my watch. This rhythm is what our family usually does, and I just wrote it down so we don't get too far off track and so that we are wise managers of our time. If we decide to change the schedule, it's no big deal.

Monday, September 12, 2011


This is called a catch-up post. The girls won't be home for a few more hours, so I'm going to catch you all up on what we've been doing over at the McLaughlin Academy for the last few weeks. For some reason pictures take FOREVER to load on here, and this post will be picture heavy, so we may have to do this in installments.

WEEK ONE: Blueberries For Sal week of Aug 1-5.

Day 1- Read blueberries for Sal, discuss getting lost rules/safety, math with blueberry manipulatives and metal buckets and also discussed differences in the bucket sound if empty or full, and made homemade blueberry muffins.

Day 2- Animal mothers, Animal classification Birds or Mammals, discussion/reading about partridges, bears and crows.
We cut out pictures of birds and mammals from magazines in preparation for assembling the lap book. But we had the most fun thinking of all kinds of animals and appropriately classifying them. =) My favorite moments came in the car and she saw an animal and correctly identified it's classification based on all of the qualifications. Or when she was reading a book in her room and yelled out to me, "Mom, mice are mammals too! And rats, and cats!"

Day 3- We began our Writers Have Choices list: they can make two stories in one. We made a craft with a mountain and two bears on either side of the hill. She colored a bear picture and then I cut it up making it into a puzzle for her to reassemble. We also worked on reviewing/memorizing our address.

Day 4- We watched some movies on uTube about Bears and read a bunch of books from the Library about black bears, brown bears and polar bears. Then we finished assembling the bird and mammal books for the lap book. Here's the finished product!
This is a poor picture, but it's a lower case/capital letter match up sheet covered in a sheet protector so she can do it over and over again.

The next three weeks will have to come later- this has taken 5 hours!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


(Addison at Aunt Kris' baby shower)

341. Watching my wonderful husband officiate the wedding ceremony of his former youth group intern Eric and his lovely bride, Courtney tonight.
342. That my children have a wonderful G-Ma who could watch them so I could just be "the pastor's wife" tonight.
343. So glad that my children were not at the wedding- it was SO hot some people almost passed out. But it was still lovely.
344. The book for the week is Caps for Sale and I found a video recording of it in ASL at the school Library. That's called killing two birds with one stone- ASL practice AND Literature! =)
345. For headway in the arena of child discipline. I have much to learn, but I feel like we're on the right track!
346. For so many great ideas as Jeff begins his new role pastoring young adults and young marrieds.
347. Being in awe of this man that I married: this month already he has spoken at a college group at UCF (BCM), the Drive (the singles ministry), done a wedding, started 4 seminary classes, and next month he'll be the speaker at a college retreat, and speak a few more times at the Drive. Such exciting times! Pray for us in this busy season!
348. For a few hours without the girls to work on school planning and catch up on a few hair bow orders.

In the busyness of the last few weeks, I have gotten out of the habit of recording daily "thanks" for the blessings that have come from the hand of my heavenly Father. This habit of joyfully receiving gifts from the One who loves me and created me for His glory and turning back to thank Him has become something that feeds my soul. It connects me with Him in a deeply profound way- beyond my quickly numbered needs for the day and beyond the rote request of protection for those I love. It helps me pause and remember that my relationship with Him is just that- a relationship. He is constantly working everything for my good and His glory, and I, in some small tangible way acknowledge that and gratefully accept all that comes from His hand. Not just the obviously good gifts, but the hard gifts as well. Here are some recent hard gifts:

349. Having to leave my grocery cart full of food sitting inside the door at Walmart twice to go out to the car and discipline my two year old. Blessing? Having a two year old that finds safety in the fact that her Mama loves her enough to be consistent even at the expense of my convenience and pride, and hugs me long and hard to tell me so.
350. Having to turn around on the way to church today and arriving 30 minutes later than I anticipated. I don't know what rough edges in me needed smoothing out, or what He could have possibly been protecting us from, but I do know that the ride was far more pleasant when I surrendered to Him instead of holding on to my frustration.
351. Being convicted over the areas that we have slipped into bad habits in training our children and watching other people suffer because of my laziness. The gift? A renewed commitment and new plan that seems to be having a big impact on our children in a positive way!

Thank you Jesus for all that you give us. We open our hands to receive from You all that you have for us. Make us more like You.

(Caiden on her first canoe trip 8/11)