Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A peek into our home school week!

Playing letter-sound bingo, one of Anna's favorite games.

Completing a cross puzzle to go along with our Jesus Storybook Bible lesson.

Learning about the life cycle of a frog.

Part of Anna's Creation Lapbook.

Part of Anna's Creation Lapbook.

Decorating frogs and toads based on their characteristics.

Highlight of our week: Creation Lunch! Even little brother got to participate.

Creation Lunch: We had a food that represented each day of Creation, and I managed to make them all allergy-proof.
Our classroom, in our basement for now.
My little girl and I have been having so much fun with our kindergarten home school! I'm really enjoying the freedom of not using a specific curriculum this year, but instead planning out my own weekly lesson plans by using a variety of resources from around the Internet (Pinterest is a life saver)!

Consequently, I've been much more excited to teach and Anna has been much more excited to learn; it also enables us to work at the pace and with the learning style that works best for her. I've already seen great leaps and bounds in her reading progress in just one week compared to the frustration and lack of success we were experiencing last year!

In case you're interested, here's what our school day consists of:

  1. Opening: We say the Pledge of Allegiance, pray the Lord's Prayer, have a prayer request and praises time, followed by prayer, go over our weekly letter/sight words/math problems, and then work on our calendar notebook
  2. Bible: We're going through the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones currently, completing a chapter a week. I'm using the wonderful resources here to supplement additional activities to go along with each chapter. 
  3. Geography/Science: We're using the Window on the World: When We Pray God Works by Daphne Spraggett and Jill Johnstone for geography. This book has information on a variety of different countries as well as information on the Christian population with ways to pray for each country. We also use an inflatable globe, which helps in understanding where places are located. For science, I'm using various ideas from around the web, such as this week we learned about frogs and toads and all their differences/similarities and life cycle. 
  4. Phonics/Reading/Writing: I found this amazing word families resource that we're currently using for phonics. Anna has already learned to identify her letters and their corresponding sounds last year in home school, so we are beginning the fun of reading! We also use Bob Books and some fun online reading sites such as Starfall and Progressive Phonics
  5. Read aloud: We have a read aloud time with books from the library or that I already own. We've been reading Fish is Fish by Leo Leonni and Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel this week to go along with our science unit. 
  6. Math: I purchased a math workbook that we are working through. Anna does really well in and loves math! She's already at first grade level, so we're focusing more time on reading this year, with math as a fun reward afterwards.
Anna also gets to participate in a local Christian school's afternoon art/music/PE classes. She is really enjoying the time there with friends and I'm enjoying the structure and motivation to complete home school on time each day (as a mom who tends to be Type B)! 

I've found myself extra tired since school began, even managing to give myself a decent burn while trying to cook popcorn over the stove late one night, but we're enjoying the start of school and looking forward to the new year!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Currently listening to: "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave

I'm a bit obsessed with this song currently. Such a good one by Big Daddy Weave.

"If I told you my story, you would see Life. But it wasn't mine."

Monday, August 24, 2015

Update on our 2015 Zero Dollar Clothing Budget!

David, ready for church yesterday morning,
in a darling outfit given to us by another mama friend.
I thought it was time for another update on our family's Zero Dollar Clothing Budget for 2015! 

My husband was traveling across the world last week for his work with unfoldingWord, and while I was at home with the kids, I decided to tackle the huge project of switching over the kids' clothes from Summer to Fall/Winter. Here's the multi-step process that it involved:

  1. I first treated any clothing that had stains with my favorite homemade stain remover!
  2. Then, I went through their summer wardrobes and donated items that were too small or I stored the items that David outgrew, which my youngest son Joel will fit into in the future. 
  3. I went through their Fall wardrobes that I have in storage and pulled out items that will fit for the upcoming season, then I also donated items that I did not want to keep due to poor fit or overabundance (we've been blessed with so much). 
  4. Finally, I re-filled and organized their closets/drawers with the new season's items. 

Let me tell you, with three kids' wardrobes, this took me days to complete, working mainly during nap times. I felt quite accomplished hanging up the last items this morning, just in time... as our home school year starts tomorrow!

I'm amazed that, even in a year of a zero dollar clothing budget challenge, we have plenty! I'm literally stuffing items into overflowing drawers and donating bags of items that we just don't need. God is a good, loving Father who provides, if we just let Him.

In my last update, we still had $82 in birthday/gift money that we had set aside for any necessary clothing purchases this year. With two more birthdays in July, we were given an extra $60 to add to that total, now at $142.

I've found that the most unforeseen purchases this year have been for my five year old daughter. I have had new shoes in larger sizes for her in storage, but her shoe size has remained fairly consistent over the past year, so the shoes in storage still aren't fitting and she's worn out her current shoes.

Also, being the oldest, she is involved in several extra curricular activities that have required various updates to her wardrobe (i.e. new athletic shoes for T-ball, new dress shoes/tights for church, uniforms for her art/music classes, etc...). Plus, we've just been given a lot more boy items for some reason.
My free tights purchase for Anna from Sears!

Here is what we have bought (or gotten for free) using the reserve gift money:

  • New athletic shoes for Anna - $3.18 
  • School uniforms for Anna -  $49.55 (plus, we had a wonderful neighbor and church friend hem the two pair of pants that were too long for free)
  • A "Little Brother" shirt for Joel's birthday in November - $1.03
  • Tights for Anna - FREE using points from Shop Your Way

Plus, grandma bought 3 pairs of school shoes for Anna and a pair of shoes for Joel. Got to love those grandmas!

So, negating those purchases, our reserve is now at $88.24!

Four more months until I can go shopping! Truth be told, I'm getting antsy to update my wardrobe!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Free Kindergarten Daily Calendar Notebook

This was exactly what I was looking for to use in our home school kindergarten this year, so I thought I'd pass along the freebie in case you were interested in a free calendar notebook, too!

Free Kindergarten Daily Calendar Notebook from 123Homeschool4Me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Last day of my Roaring 20s

It's the last day of my 20s. I thought I'd share some highlights of the decade as well as some things I'm still learning for all you young-ins out there.


Graduated college
Got married to the best husband in the world
Lived in 4 States
Moved into 9 different homes
Bought a house
Overcame cancer
6 pregnancies; 2 abdominal surgeries; 3 living miracle babies
Got my first full time job.
Made it through as a working seminary wife
Became a full-time stay-at-home mom
Paid for a minivan in cash
Featured on a Boston billboard
Entered into full time ministry as a missionary wife
Started a blog

Wisdom for you teens and twenty year olds (because I'm that old now):

It goes fast.
Don't buy a selfie stick.
Choose a spouse who fears the Lord, you will thank me later.
Be humble.
Give generously, no matter what.
Don't pursue wealth.
If God gives you a family, know that children are hard and messy, but precious and worth it.
Be content in all things.
Get involved with the global church in any way you can; it's much more exciting than politics.
Be authentic and vulnerable and loving.
Work for the Lord's favor, not man's.
Don't gossip.
Don't lie, ever. Satan lies.
Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Expect persecution if you follow the Lord.

Here's to thirty!