May 31, 2013

Five Question Friday for May 31st

Time for a random question post with...

1. What is an acceptable age for girls to start dating?
Um...well. I don't have girls right now but if I did...first let me say that we prefer COURTSHIP to dating. In our family you don't date for the fun of it. You COURT for marriage. We would not encourage courtship until about age 21. Though if my husband had a daughter to deal with--he'd change that to like...never. LOL!

2. Do you think your kids should have summer homework?
Well, since we homeschool, they have no choice! We do at least 1 day a week of some form of school during the summer. I find the retention is MUCH greater this way.

3. Would you prefer to live without AC or heat?
Oh now that is tough. I am going to say without AC---as long as I have WATER! I have lived without AC before...both here in Kentucky and back in Washington. It can be done. But I can't live without heat!

4. What the worst thing about staying in a hotel? (Besides not being with your family)
Usually the beds. I can tolerate about everything else. But if the bad is bad....

5. So, do your kids really get "104 days of summer vacation"?
Um, see answer to question #2! Haha. But we typically end our "normal" school beginning of June and don't pick it back up until beginning of August.

Have a most excellent weekend!

May 27, 2013

Poppins Book Nook ~ All About Dinosaurs!

Welcome to the magical world of Poppins Book Nook for the month of May! I am so excited to be participating in this series each month! Our family adores books and it's always fun to talk about your favorites!
The Poppins Book Nook is unique because we are not selecting a book by author/publisher, but rather we are selecting any storybook that fits into the topic. The Poppins Book Nook theme for the month of May is Dinosaurs and prehistoric times!

I have boys and they are VERY interested in Dinosaurs! So I wanted to share with you what our family's favorite dinosaur themed stories are--perhaps they are some of yours too!

Our most favorite book about dinosaurs is...
Oh how the boys adore this book when we read it aloud! It's marked as a Level 2 reader at our library--but really after just one time of me reading it aloud, Little Britches was confident enough to read it on his own...just asking for help on a couple dinosaur names. The pictures are fabulously hilarious. The dialogue is ideal for reading aloud...
I personally love the mom's comments and facial expressions in this book!

And we were able to dovetail right into a great discussions on what kind of dinosaurs we'd like to get for free---and what we could use them for.

During art class this week, Little Britches was given various snacks and some peanut butter and told to "build a dinosaur". My mother-in-law (the art teacher) said he had a blast with this activity! And then he enjoyed gobbling it up during lunch.

Our main "I can Read" books for this theme are the fabulous Danny and the Dinosaur books by classic children's author Syd Hoff.

Little Britches loves to read these books...

Another favorite is...

Little Britches loves the pictures in this book as well as the story itself--about Max Spaniel the "dinosaur hunter" who seeks to find dinosaur bones in his own backyard.

Our lesson plan this week included learning about how the names of the dinosaurs can tell us a about the dinosaur itself by studying the suffix and prefix. I am using a lesson plan from a free site called The Learning Page. The lesson plan is geared towards 1st-2nd graders and is perfect for Little Britches.

Once that was done, I had him create his own dinosaur! First I let him choose a base color (green) and we painted his hand and then he used his hand to create the body. He decided to use it to make spikes. Then using his choice of colors he painted the rest of his dinosaur. Once he was done, we used the suffix and prefix name list to name the dinosaur--Steggodactylsaurus!

I also used the cutout dinosaur images to create a Dinosaur Hunt of our own. I colored and cut out dinosaurs and then I hid them all over the house for Little Britches to find---kitchen, bathroom, closet, bedroom, etc.

This was quite the fun activity--he enjoyed running around trying to find them...especially when I hid some in the kitchen pantry. I gave him a clipboard with their names--some he recognized, some he didn't--and he would lay them out to count and see if he had found them all. Once he found them all, I read the meaning of each name and had him try to figure out which dinosaur was which. 

When he was done I had him tell me which one was his favorite (the Oviraptor) and had him color a page for it (also from

We had a lot of fun with our dinosaur unit and it was fun to read our favorite books again!

Here are some of our favorite dinosaur theme books for you to get for your own family!

[Affiliate Links]

Here is a list of all the other fabulous blogs participating with our Dinosaur theme! 
Make sure you visit them and check out what their favorites books are--and see what kind of activities they did!
Have a blessed day!

May 24, 2013

Five Question Friday for May 24th

It's another week for linking up with Five Question Friday...these are always fun because you never know the questions more than an evening in advance! So here goes!

1. Do you wake before the alarm or stay in bed until the last possible second?
Usually I don't budge until the alarm goes off...lately though I've gotten into such a routine that I wake up like 3 minutes before the alarm goes off. Seriously, body??? Three minutes?? But you know--when I have something important to do and getting up with the alarm is CRUCIAL, it always seems that my body wakes up sporadically before it ever goes off. Like 1 hour in advance. Or 20 minutes early. So weird how that happens.

2. Who should get a baby shower? Is it just the first baby or all babies?
Oh now that's a good question! I have always loved showering moms with their first babies...or, if they have a new little one after a LONNNNNG gap or if they've had lots of troubles getting pregnant. I went to one where the mom had a surprise baby after 6 other she really just needed new stuff. It had been over 10 years since her last child of that sex. That was fun. I also like little online showers for when you are far away and can send the mom something. I'm doing that for a friend who is pregnant with her 4th.

3. How will you spend Memorial Day?
With my family! If I was still living back in WA, we would be going camping with the extended family at the beach...but sadly we don't go camping over Memorial Day out here. I wish we would. We love to camp.

4. Do you have a Storm/Hurricane/Tornado/Fire plan for your kids, house..?
We have a tornado plan. Everyone knows where to go if we would have a tornado. Even my oldest knows. For fire---we need to review the plans for that. We recently attended a field trip to a Fire Museum and they spoke about fire safety so I know the time is right.

5. What is your favorite morning drink?
Mmmm...I ADORE a nice coffee mixed with hot chocolate with whipped cream!

Love these questions as they give me a fun post to share during the week about totally random stuff!


May 20, 2013

Fresh from the Bookshelf: The Rainbow Egg (Childrens Book Review)

I am excited to start reviewing books here on my blog! I love books and read so many of them, that I knew this was an area I could easily enjoy. I decided to cut my teeth in this new venue with a children's book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Westbow Press as part of their book review bloggers program. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

The Rainbow Egg is a very sweet heartwarming story celebrating the beauty of adoption. The first thing I did was flip through the pages and look at the illustrations. They are beautifully done with a whimsical feel. My seven year old son really enjoyed looking at them and especially enjoyed the illustrations of the chicken house with all the chickens having different patterns and colors on their tummies.

I would say that The Rainbow Egg is written for about a level 2 or 3 reading level based on the sentence structures and vocabulary. I found that there was a better flow to the story when I read it aloud which makes it the perfect book for a parent to read to their child.

The story is very sweet as it follows the journey of the little chicken who lives all alone in the woods with the other woodland animals and then one day lays a beautiful rainbow egg. It chronicles in pictures and simple words, her struggle to care for the beautiful egg without any nest or any help. As she journeys along she finds a chicken house—and needing a rest from carrying her egg, she ventures inside. Little does she know she will find her help inside from Mr. and Mrs. Rainbow who have no egg of their own.

The ultimate theme of this story is one of the powerful love that is involved in adoption. It is subtle in the way it talks about infertility issues as well as how it deals with the choices made by families who adopt--and those who give up children for adoption. I think it would be a beautiful book for a family to have venturing into the world of adoption—or for any child who has been adopted. I think that any family involved in the adoption process would love this book's message.

Would I buy The Rainbow Egg? Not for myself. It isn't anything that would connect with my family dynamics—however, I have friends who have embraced adoption in their families and I know that this book would find a cherished spot on their bookshelves.


May 19, 2013

One word...

May 18th, 2013
A day I've waited nearly 3 years for. 
Three years I have waited for one thing--a name. 
Three years I've been eagerly listening for anything to claim me as his. 
And tonight...initiated by my darling Little Britches while in the bathtub...

Baby Britches said...


I cried...
I have a name.

When he was on my lap shortly thereafter I held him and asked...
"Who am I?"
And he smiled sweetly and softly whispered...

I have a name and it is "Mommy".


May 16, 2013

Give Me Words to Speak...Therapy Sessions

As many of you know (if you've been following) I have a chatty child (Little Britches) and a silent child (Baby Britches). Baby Britches (33 months) is quiet and serious. But he's TOO quiet. As I discussed in some of {earlier posts}, we had him tested and he ranked super high in the receptive speech and what he can understand and such. But he tested *severe* for his Expressive speech and it was determined that he needed weekly speech therapy.

We have had two therapy session so far. Our first one last week went okay--though Miss Katie spent the first 15 minutes just trying to get him to interact with her. Thankfully he finally did...but it is very frustrating when he doesn't cooperate considering it's only a 30 minute session.

We were given some flashcards for him to work on--one set with short simple words with easy sounds to say (pie, pea, no, me, tie, tea, bee, moo, may, day, whoa) and then one with easy double syllable words (tato, people, nana, daddy, mommy, baby, bubble, turtle, puppy). She tested him with them at the first lesson and he didn't do very many.

We've been working with him over the past week---he didn't want to work with me nor my husband at first. But when Little Britches grabbed them, he could get Baby Britches to repeat for him. That was the icebreaker. From then on we've been able to review them...the only ones he has issues with are "me" and "mommy".

Today at his session, I was so happy he just jumped right in this time and whipped through all his single syllable words. He passed 100%--even getting "me" which he wouldn't do at home. He passed all the double syllable ones EXCEPT for "mommy"--surprise surprise. Sigh....

The little stinker happily chimed "daddy!" with a smile and light in his eyes...but when it came to the mommy card...he just shook his head and said "no!" Won't even try it!

[One of these days I will hear my name...and I will cry. I know I will...]

But Miss Katie was happy that he'd passed so well this week! She tried some other cards and he did okay on them. We are now continuing his two syllable words, but adding in words that end in consonants so we can hear endings. She gave us some new cards for this week.

I love the way she works with him. She lets him have a toy--and then she has him say words to earn play time with it. For instance, today was all about Mr. Potato Head. She had him say "tato" to get the potato portion. Then every so many words he could choose a piece. And if he had choices between pieces she would have him speak for them...

It went something like this...
"Justin--do you want Mr. Potato Head's mouth?
(Justin nods)
"Okay, can you tell me what this card is?"
(He says the card)
"Great Job! Do you want the blue mouth or the red mouth?"
"Great job! Can you say "Blue...Mouth"?
"Mow boo!"
"Good trying! This IS a blue mouth!"
And she hands it to him...

He is very receptive to this style and does extremely well with it. I really enjoy Miss Katie. It appears she is just what he needs!

On the general front, he's really doing well. The amount he speaks now is night and day beyond where he was 6 weeks ago. He is connecting things--like he will raise and lower things and go "up-down-up-down" and then he'll move a door and go "" and his letters. He continues to amaze me with his letter recognition! He can tell me letters whether upper or lowercase.

I truly feel that if we get his speech in gear, he'll be reading. Simple as that. He'll be ready to learn how to read....and that's rather exciting!

As for two word sentences...the most he's doing right now is to put the words "no" and "please" with other words and he MIGHT put a color with another word (Blue Bubbles). But that is a starting place and way ahead of where we were less then 2 months ago.

We have a two week break from therapy (she's on vacation) but that gives us time to work on the cards she gave us and continue our efforts to get him to do 2 word sentences...we are going back to Washington state to visit my parents this summer and I would love it if he could at least call them by name.

Or me by name...yeah. Let's go with that first...

*This is an affiliate link to some of the toys and learning materials we use to help Justin speak. I recommend them for anyone with Toddler-Kindergarten age kids!

May 13, 2013

Spring Scavenger Hunt and Nature Study

 Anyone who is a homeschooler knows that school is not limited to worksheets and desks and books and videos and four walls! Spring is a time for us to take school outside and do things that the boys don’t really recognize as “school” in the classic sense.

Real education is about using things experienced EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE to further the development in the areas we consider important in our child’s learning process. One of the best places to do that—and have your kids typically in 100% agreement to whatever you want to do-- is outside!

Whenever I say “Let’s go outside!” I rarely get a negative answer…
unless of course there is a serious session of engineering going on with the LEGOS

But typically, no arguments—instead it’s a drop everything and run—as if they don’t do it I will change my mind. Which of course then leads to literally dropping everything and leaving it on the floor—Legos, cars, tractors…sigh.

Tell me I’m not the only one who is just baffled why this happens day after day even after many reminders of “pick up your toys FIRST!"

We took school outside on Monday afternoon and enjoyed spring while doing a simple nature scavenger hunt. The printables we used today came from Marcy @ Ben and Me and they are so cute! There are so many fabulous scavenger printables out there---I just happened to already have this one printed off, so I went with it!
spring scavenger hunt

He found all but two of the things (no frog, no ducks) and he had fun running all over to find them! In the process of finding a green leaf, he discovered a leaf with fuzz on the underside of it...

...which then led to a speculation of what it was and why it was there (LOVE RABBIT TRAILS!).

After he finished with the scavenger hunt, I gave him a nature journal page (also in the printable) and told him to find something he sees around us and draw it—then to write about it. If it is free writing, I do not correct his work as he goes—instead he finishes and then we go over it together. I find he is more willing to write if he knows he can ask me for help—but isn't worried about spellings and grammar.
nature study
Can you read what he wrote? "Silk is a tipe (type) of thing that caterpiler (caterpillars) yous (use) to bild (build) a sack."
He decided to draw and write about the sack of caterpillars we found this past weekend. They are nearly gone now--but you can see the white sack in the photo collage used to be 3 times that size.

When he was done, we played hula hoops 
the favorite activity lately
The boys rolled in the grass.
Yes! We did a tick check!

And then we just all put our arms out and spun around in a circle until we were dizzy.
Hilarious to watch Baby Britches!

I taught the boys how to play "wheelbarrow".
Baby Britches did it the best. 
I think because his legs aren't as long.
 I didn't take pictures because I was doing it too! 

Baby Britches used several words--roll, hoop, hole--to describe various things we were doing. It is so nice to hear him--he even put two together "roll hoop!" 
Baby Steps...just taking baby steps!

I took a break and sat down in the grass. Baby Britches was holding the stick he'd used to roll the hoop, but was breaking it into pieces. So I took some pieces and Baby Britches and I practiced our letters...we had to stick with all the straight line ones because he couldn't figure them out otherwise.

ABC in Nature
He though it was pretty neat that I could make letters he knew with the twigs.
I don't know why I never thought about doing this before. 

The last thing to share--I was doing something on the porch and Little Britches called out "Mommy--come quick! And bring your camera! I can't describe it, but bring your camera!" And so I is what he had found!
nature study
They are what appear to be Chrysalis pieces! 
Looking at this picture now I wonder if that's not the brand new butterfly there on the black behind the chrysalis on the right...

We enjoyed our afternoon outside--that's the great thing about spring and summer. Nearly EVERY day is just right for outside adventures here on the farm!


May 12, 2013

Homeschool Mother's Journal ~ May 12th
In my life this week…I am continuing my in depth study on the book of Ephesians. I will also be trying out some new recipes for things like granola, trail mix and other yummy snacks. I need to go through some boxes in my closet---big Rubbermaid containers that hold who knows what! Haha! I only go through them once a year--but THIS year I promised myself I'd be pretty brutal and merciless about throwing stuff out! We'll see how it goes!

In our homeschool this week…I am going to be trying out a brand new history curriculum called History Rocks Part 1. I am working with the creator (Jill @ Enchanted Homeschooling Mom) to give a review later this month. We love history and I know it will be fun to try something new. We are also plugging away on our last few weeks of our My Father's World 1st grade curriculum...

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… Embrace the mess! Let your children do something you don't let them do very often because of the clean up--they will appreciate it mightily and you will be glad you let your hair down and let them have fun. Think finger-painting!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…It won't be much longer before our next monthly co-op field trip! This week we have to start our animal report as our field trip is at a zoo. Each student will be giving an animal report as we visit each exhibit. Little Britches chose a lion--"because they are quite fierce." Haha!

My favorite thing this week was…finishing up some good books. That always makes me happy!

My kiddos favorite thing this week was…painting. Yes--I decided to embrace the mess and let both boys paint this past week. And they enjoyed it immensely and loved seeing their creations up on the fridge.

I’m cooking…bread!!! I love fresh baked bread, don't you?

I’m grateful for…my mama and my them both dearly!

I’m praying for…so many people dealing with so many trials from health issues, to emotional issues to loss of job. My list goes on and on and on!

Something I am ogling or have my eye on…Hmmmm...definitely the glass tea infuser travel mug I talked about on Friday's post. Ordering it tonight! :)

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
Little Britches helping Baby Britches with his brand new John Deere tricycle from their Uncle...I love seeing them work together!


May 11, 2013

Sabbath Silence for May 11th

I've that from this week forward on Saturday's (my Sabbath) I will just share a scripture or a verse that I've been reflecting on during the week. I'm not going to write a long post...just share what verse God was been putting on my heart this week. 

Here is the one for this week...
Photo Source
Have a beautiful and blessed Sabbath day!

May 10, 2013

Five Question Friday~ May 10th

I love 5 Question Friday--but haven't participated in awhile--but I am today!

1. What's the one personal hygiene thing you will not do in front of your spouse? Um...haha. I think I'm going to have to say going #2--there might be a random walk-in moment, but that's just something I prefer privacy on. I hate it when I have to take my toddler with me into the bathroom because while I can't speak many words, he says "poopoo" loud and clear! And he gets excited if he sees it and shouts it with glee! (hiding head with shame) 2. What's your favorite thing about a newborn? I love that fresh and clean smell straight out of the bath--and I love how you can just snuggle and hold them for hours on end...I love it and I miss it and hope I get to experience it in the near future! 3. When is "too young" to have a Facebook account? Um--I really think that you need to be at LEAST in high school. But if possible--how about just wait until you are an adult! It seems like the filter on the teenagers minds and mouth these days just is getting worse and worse--as evidenced by the Facebook status' of my younger relatives! But even if a teenager--I think the mom and dad need to be checking up on it. I know that my friends with teenagers do. They visit their kids social media accounts daily and even have the passwords. 4. What are your hoping for on Mother's Day?
Something unexpected. A card from my husband--or a present from him and the boys. Usually I end up having to buy my OWN Mother's Day presents! Haha! I do have one picked out--a glass tea infuser travel mug from Mountain Rose Herbs! 
It's on sale right now and I gotta have it! I love loose leaf tea, but sometimes I'm in a hurry and can't take it with me because it's too hot, not ready or whatever--but with this I can! Yep. I gotta have it.

5. What was the best field trip you ever took in school? Hmmm...I think the one I loved the most was when we went to Fort Clatsup in 4th grade. Very very cool and fueled my love of history. But I also loved when we went to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) because that place is just a child's dream.

May 9, 2013

Tot School for Wednesday May 8th

So today I had the time and we did intentional tot school yesterday. I was able to get this in during the time Little Britches was over with my mother-in-law doing art.

I discovered some alphabet beads and cord hiding in the bottom of a box...and knew he'd love them. He did! 
 He tried stringing but got frustrated so he decided to just say the letter then hand it to me to string for him. We will try the stringing again another day. 

The next thing we worked on was cutting. He loves using his brother's I gave him a piece of paper and let him go to town...he is still cutting two handed. Which means he needs me to hold his paper up for him. And if I set it down he'd yell "Up!"
 He was so funny. Once he made snips all the way around, he started trying to cut off the pieces. If he did cut one off, he'd grin really big.

After cutting, we moved to painting. I wanted him to make his 4 Mother's Day cards. We decided to make handprint flowers with fingerprint bees. He chose each color specific for each card--and oh how he LOVED painting up his hand! And then getting to use the paintbrush was quite fun for him!
Here they can see when I turned my back on the red one, he added some extra handprints! Haha!

What they look like after I add the final touches...cute, huh?

Once we were done with that, I let him do some free painting. I let him choose the colors he wanted and put some of each onto a paper plate like a palatte...then after I taped two pieces of paper together, I let him go to town!

One last thing we did--that I didn't take a photo of--was I gave him another piece of paper and a big fat pencil. I thought he'd draw. But no--he said "Help! A-B-D!" He wanted me to help him write his letters. So I held his hand and he told me what letters he wanted to write and we wrote them. I even told him to tell me "big" or "little" and he was very good about specifying AND identifying them regardless of whether it was upper or lowercase. I think that's very cool--it's something my Little Britches had a few issues on last year in Kindergarten for a little while. 

It was so nice to actually have the time for INTENTIONAL tot school...not just sneaking in random things in a busy day. I will try to do this more often because it's clear he enjoyed it a lot.  I truly think he's going to be one who rocks a pre-school program and is going to be an early reader. So he may start slow in the speech area...but I think he'll be early in most everything else!
Baby Britches (33 months)


May 8, 2013

Iris + Rain = Science Lesson

Last year I bought some Iris Hexagona bulbs for my flower bed. They came up with their leaves, but never flowered last I've been waiting to see their beauty. 
Needless to say I was very happy to see this on Friday...
I love the anticipation, don't you?? I didn't have to wait too long...because after a nice rain and sun combo this weekend, here are my beauties!! 
 After the rain today, I decided to get some close-ups of the flowers and was fascinated by what I found...
beautiful rain drops caught on the petals...So beautiful!

And here is another shot--see the puddle in the middle?? 

So this evening, I had Little Britches help me check out my flowers...he was fascinated with this one! He told me--"Mama! This petal looks like the water slides we did! It goes down into a pool just like the ones we went on!"
 Brilliant description, don't you think?? So we discussed why it might be shaped like that...and then we examined the leaves and noted how they were curled up and hypothesized that they must funnel water down to the roots. And so, with a big "I've got an idea!!" Little Britches ran and got my watering can and proceeded to pour water on the flowers observing how it ran off the "waterslide" petals and down into the funneled leaves and then to the ground and roots...
...thus proving our hypothesis and making me happy for yet another easy science lesson from God's glorious world.