Saturday, November 7, 2009

School Pictures 2009

I took the kids to our favorite park, Creative Playground, to take our school pictures this year. It was such a beautiful day! They wanted to play so I was trying to get the pictures as quickly as I could. I was so "fast" that I forgot to get some of them together, which they reminded me when we got home later. I guess I will just have to "dress them up" again and go back! They really didn't get to play as much as they wanted because their dad called from work to say he was done and we met him for lunch.

JC: age 10 1/2, 5th grade

Jenni: age 8, 3rd grade

That is our progress report for today. Thanks for stopping by. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Our Family Happenings

Sometimes I forget to post on here and upload pictures because I upload them to my fb page. So many things have been going since school started. The children started school in August and have been doing really well. They are off today and Monday because public school is taking the days off. We are seeing how we like going with the local school schedule. Except we will end in early May instead of early June.

We made a wonderful family trip to Colorado in September. When I say family trip, this time I am happy to say that Sami went with us!!!! We were so happy words can't even tell how much! We left on Wednesday. That just happened to be Jenni's 8th birthday, September 16! So we were in the car the whole day! She got to open some gifts before we set off on our journey, movies and a new game for her DS. She was ok with spending the day in the car because we were driving to her favorite place to be and going to spend a few days with one of her favorite people in the world, Caroline! The girls didn't know we had special plans for them for their birthdays. Caroline turned 7 a few days after we left. They got to celebrate together! Plus, I got to see one of my favorite people! Michelle! But we all have become very good friends over the years with every member of this family! They are like family to us!

On Friday we took the girls to have manicures and pedicures (real ones where they sit in a massage chair and soak your feet in the water, etc.). I think they had more fun playing with the controls on the chairs than anything! It was so fun. Us "big girls" (Sami included) had pedicures while they got their feet and hands done. Then we took the girls to Chili's for a birthday lunch! Fun! We stopped and got the girls a big cake to share for their birthday party that night. Then she slept over that night. We were staying at the hotel right next door to their restaurant, Hilldaddy's Wildfire. (It is the most amazing place to eat! WE LOVE IT!!!) We love that we just walk over there at all hours of the day or night. The hotel isn't the greatest but we don't spend a lot of time in the room.

We went to Red Rocks with them on Saturday and then left for Westcliffe from there. We got to do a little shopping in Westcliffe and bought Sami a black hoodie that has Westcliffe, Colorado on it. I have one that is like it but it is blue. Then we ate at our favorite pizza place, Pizza Madness! It was delicious! Of course, our trip would not be complete without a trip to the bowling alley. We bowled two games and then went back to the room for the night. The next day we took Sami to the land for a short one hour hike. We took her to the top and took some pics up there.  Then we headed home, way long drive! Got home about 3:30 a.m. Monday morning. But it was so good to see friends and get away for just a little while.

Nick turned 17 on the 29th. We got him a wonderful left handed electric acoustic guitar. He loves it! He took it with him on the trip. He plays in the band at church. He has actually started writing some songs and I think they are pretty good. I would like to see him get published. Not sure how to do that, but maybe some doors will open there, too!

Since we have been back so many things have gone through my mind and heart. The urgency has returned to knock on doors to see what will open for us. We love it there and it is where we are happiest. Sami loved the weather and the beauty. We enjoyed having her with us so much. We have been putting out resumes and checking the job sites for jobs for John. I have checked on some things for me. I found out I can sub in Westcliffe, possibly in Colorado period. He said because of the college credits I could qualify for a 3 year license. That would be good part time income to help pay for clothes for the kids or something like that.

I found out that certain fruit trees will grow in that area and I am so excited to plant them on our land. Green apples are one of the trees that will grow, as well as Jonathan apples! Way fun! We love apples. I am thinking of all the things I can make ourselves and possibly have some left over to sell. Also found that I can grow berries and such. That sounds so wonderful. I would also like to try my hand at some other gardening. I don't know if I would be very good at it but I want to try. I think I could grow tomatoes and possibly some simple veggies. I am going to work on my baking. Baking bread and other things to help stretch our food dollar and our health.

We are in the process of getting the land financed with a bank in Colorado. As far as I know, that is going to go through. They haven't said no, so I am assuming it is yes. We have been working with them for about a month. That will at least give us some time to get it paid off. But the really neat thing is I believe we have found a way to build on the land! I found Homestead Homes! It is really neat because it is very little down, instead of the 30% most places want down to build a house. The way it works is you act as the contractor. You set up who does the work on the house. The more you can do yourself the less it costs you and the more equity that is built up at the time of completion. So my thoughts: see if I can get the people that care about us, our friends and family, to help us out a few days here or there with getting it done. The more people willing to help out the faster it will get done and the more affordable it will be for us to do it. So that is one of my missions, to find those willing to help with certain parts of the building process, like wiring, putting up windows, cabinets, flooring, bathroom fixtures, etc... I don't know when we will do this yet. I would think it would be easier to work on it for ourselves if we lived near there. So possibly, we will wait until the Lord moves us that direction. Please be praying about this and also, praying about how you might be able to donate a little time to help. All of the supplies are included in the cost of the home, but the labor is what we would save money on. Any amount of help would be so greatly appreciated! We would be thrilled if this took place next summer, as always, it is in God's hands, not ours.

So the saga continues...we do not know what the Lord has in store for us but we are open to whatever that may be. We are interested in getting back to a simpler way of living and away from the hustle and bustle of big city life. God knows our hearts and desires. We will keep you posted. It has been a long six years already. We don't know how many more years God will have us wait.

Until next time...blessings to you. 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nature Study

As I was washing the breakfast dishes Friday morning I saw spider webs glistening in the morning sunlight. An idea came to my mind! Let's study spiders today! So we got the camera and took some pictures. While we were out there we found a hurt butterfly. I almost got a picture of it on Jenni's leg but it startled her.

This was a neat web. It looks like it has something in it that the spider wrapped up. I wonder what kind of bug it was. We weren't sure but had lots of guesses.

We didn't see a spider even though there were so many webs all over the place.

Our pretty butterfly climbed on the gate as we watched it. Butterflies are one of my favorite of God's creation. Those who know me can tell you I have lots of things with butterflies on them in my home.

JC did his best to catch it and get a closer look. He finally did and we noticed that its wings were torn up. That is why it was on the ground and climbing up the gate instead of flying away. Poor thing.

The kids looked up information on four different spiders and did a report (mini report) on it and drew a picture of the one they chose. I wanted to share that with everyone. They did a good job.

The Wolf Spider by Jennifer

Wolf Spiders don't spin webs. They hunt for there food at night. They have very good eye sight. They have strong legs to make them run fast. They have four large and small eyes. Spiderlings will live on there mother's back until they are big enough to hunt on their own.

The Jumping Spider by Jonathan

umping Spiders are small. They have four pairs of eyes that can see their pray from 12 inches away. They can jump a very long way for such small spiders. It leaps on it's prey before the insect can see them. Jumping Spiders eat small insects. They do not make webs since they catch their prey by jumping on them. They are easily identified with their black and white markings. They have a hairy body.

I am very proud of their work and that they had a good time doing it. We went to soccer afterwards. Next week starts the games, this was just a practice week. I love being able to spend our days together doing fun things like this. Discovering Gods world and creations is an amazing thing!

That is our progress report for today. Thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School 2009-2010

Today was the first day of school for these two, just like AISD. It is true, we usually don't start until after Labor Day weekend. But every year I get to hear about their friends being off for a teacher work day or something like that. So I decided we would give it a try. We will be off when they are off and on when they are on. But that means no more "free Friday's" and no more "no book work the whole month of December" with only crafts and reading projects to do then. We usually spend December focusing on Christ's birth and all the things that go with that special holiday, like making gifts for others, serving others and just enjoying our family time when the rest of the world seems to be so wrapped up in commercialism. We will still have two weeks off in December so we will make the best of our time. We will still finish school the first week in May, like last year. I really liked being done with school before the book fair that weekend. It made looking for next years stuff so much more fun. Instead of having to go home from the book fair and having to work so hard for the next few weeks before summer, we were able to just enjoy our time and look forward to the next year.

Of course, we had to do the traditional "first day of school" pictures! I have done them for years and years, even though we homeschool. Why should we not when that is part of the fun? We get to look at them each year and see how much they have grown. These two have grown so much this year! I now have a 3rd grader and 5th grader.

I just love her smile! She makes me smile when I see it! She was really excited when she found the purple binder. We tried to find hot pink but it was a different type of binder. These are really neat, they have two sets of rings inside! So I got those so they would have similar binders. I have some great ideas on using the binders and keeping things more organized this year.

He wanted to take the picture with his backpack even though it is the same as last year. It has stayed in such good condition we didn't need to buy new ones. He has a cool red binder. He was trying not to smile too big in this. I think he thought he was too old to take this picture. But I am glad he did! He won't be this age ever again and "mom" needs the pictures so I can look back and remember!

This year we did some things differently to help them with their organizational skills and just to make it more fun. Also, so they could grow in their writing. We have many aspects of English. I am looking forward to see inghow creative they can be with their writing. We have three composition books each; story journal, daily journal and newspaper journal. I am sure the first two are pretty self explanatory. But the third one you might not know. Each week they will have their own Sunday paper (I buy more than one each week for the coupons). Each week they need to look through it and find an article that catches their attention, cut it out, and paste it in the journal. That way they get used to reading the paper and finding articles of interest. It will also help them learn how a paper is put together. By the second half of the school year I would like for them to be able to put their own "paper" together monthly. We will send it to family and friends. And possibly "publish" some of the articles on this blog.

We will be doing Grammar together. We will be memorizing the prepositions and playing fun games to help us remember them. Plus other fun grammar games. I have a writing book, The Write Stuff, that has some neat writing assignments in it that we will do throughout the year. They will also be required to write a REAL letter once a week and mail it. Not an e-mail, but a hand written letter. It seems to be a lost art these days. We are still using our Spelling Power for Spelling. They placed very well on the test, both 7th grade spelling levels! I was impressed!

The Bible verses we will learn this year are many, instead of one large one. They will have weekly verses to help them towards their goals in GA's and RA's at church. We will learn the verses from Ephesians on the Armour of God since last year we did the Beatitudes. They still have their daily devotion books plus we have our Discovery 4 Yourself studies we will be working on through the year.

I think we will have a great year!!! So far, so good!!! I am very happy with how things went today. They worked hard! I am trying to keep things fun so they will want to keep working hard.

That is our progress report for today. Thanks for stopping by. 

Friday, July 31, 2009

Jenni's Profession of Faith

Of all the things that have happened this summer, this is by far the most important thing that has happened in our family. It was something that we knew was close because we have been there for her the last 7 + years (she will be 8 in mid September) teaching her and guiding her in her closeness and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The thing that worried her was having to walk up there in front of everyone and getting baptized. She knew and understood the other things that were important to know in your heart. She knew that Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, died for our sins, was raised again on the third day and was seen by many before He ascended into Heaven to one day return for us. But for a young shy girl like her, it was going to take a lot. I told her often as we would talk about it that one day Jesus would give her the strength and courage to walk that "road" to the front and to be baptized.

During our second week of VBS for the summer, the one at MRBC, it was the second night of invitation. The teachers were asked to go up front in case any of our group wanted to talk or make a decision. As soon as I stepped out to go she grabbed my arm and said "Can I come with you?" I asked her what she meant to make sure I understood. She wanted to come up front to ask Jesus into her heart. I told her "of course!". So as we stood there and the pastor led a prayer tears rolled down my face. Because I knew in my heart I didn't have to wonder if it was real or just a child wanting to do it because everyone else did. This was a huge step of faith for her and even though I would spend time before bedtime talking to her about it, I knew it was genuine.

The next night during the family night of VBS she went up to the pastor to ask him if he would baptize her. I wanted her to ask because it was another step of courage that I needed to see she could make. They set the date for the Sunday after that one, July 12! What a glorious Sunday morning that was, I have to tell you! As I stood there watching her my heart was so full of joy. She will be with us in Heaven forever! (She tried to find her daddy in the worship center as she looked out but he was in the back of the room ready to leave afterwards. We went right to the apartments to lead Bible study afterwards).

Jenni: "raised to walk in newness of life!"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Mission Arlington Apartment Ministry

We work with Mission Arlington and teach at a local apartment complex. We sing songs with just the kids in English but with the adults we sing in Spanish. We take the kids to off site activities throughout the year, like Fall Festival, the Christmas store to shop for their family, Easter egg hunt, summer camps, and youth gym nights.

The kids get a big kick out of the fun songs we sing.

For the Rainbow Express and on Sunday mornings we break into smaller groups with the children to give them more individual attention. It also helps them to focus better when the groups are smaller. We break into groups to do a Bible story and craft and/or booklet of coloring pages and word search puzzles.

We also do things for the kids and families on site, like deliver Thanksgiving meals on Thanksgiving Day, pass out school supplies, and do what is called Rainbow Express with volunteers from all over the US who come to work with Mission Arlington throughout the year.

If you ever want to serve at Mission Arlington for a few hours, one day a week or regularly, just go up there and they will put you to work. They are always in need of anyone willing to help. They need more Bible study teachers for apartment complexes that don't have anyone.

Until next time...blessings to you.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Home School Book Fair 2009

Every year in Arlington the weekend of Mother's Day the Home School Book Fair is that Friday and Saturday. We set aside that weekend for family time. A time to focus on the past school year and what we accomplished or didn't. And a time to focus on the coming school year and what we want to accomplish during that time for each child. It is such a joy and a privilege to have this responsibility. I wouldn't trade it for anything! 

The kids were able to finish up their school work on Thursday. That is the first time we have done that and we really like it. So that will be our goal from now on, to be finished before the book fair! We may have to work a little harder in some areas at certain times of the year but we will still not start until after Labor Day and we will still take a winter holiday from Thanksgiving week through New Years. We do so much during that time anyway, just not workbooks. 

This year, while I did get the traditional math workbooks that we enjoy, my heart was drawn to things that will prepare my preteens for the things that will be coming in the near future. It may seem early for that when my children are only 10 and almost 8 but I know that if I let this window of time slip by and do not prepare them in the way that the Lord is leading me to do then I am not doing my job correctly as a mother. The world has such different standards than the Lord does. So if I want my children to have the Lords standards for handling things then I need to get to them before the world does. 

I found this neat series for preteens and young teens and their moms called Secret Keeper Girl. It is for moms and daughters. I purchased the younger version of the 8 Great Dates for you and your daughter. I also got the Bible study called: My Best Friend Jesus. I want my daughter to know that above all, Jesus needs to be her best friend. And that I am here for her in all things. My older daughter and I went through some hard times so I am trying to learn from the mistakes I made. We are very close now but went through a lot to get here. I am hoping I can help my other little princess have an easier road.

I also got the Beautifully Made set. It teaches her about the changes that are going on in her body and how to deal with them. There is one for younger girls like her and then when she does start. There is also one for moms. It has ideas for celebrations you can do with your daughter when that time comes. It helps them celebrate the changes that God created instead of dreading them. I am very excited to do this because I didn't learn them this way. I learned most of it from kids from school. Not really the best way. 

I also found some things for the guys in my family. Most of them are to teach them what God expects them to be as a godly man. I even found one for moms called Preparing Him for the Other Woman: A Mother's Guide to Raising Her Son to Love a Wife and Lead a Family. I thought that would be really good for me to read.

I am praying that this new school year will be full of wonderful memories for our family and building blocks to a godly life for my youngsters!

That is our progress report for today. Thanks for stopping by.