January 28, 2013 | Uncategorized | Permalink

That was the craziest December on record.  Billy and I took on the Christmas Pageant at our church, and with that came planning, writing, filming, more planning, directing, organizing and on and on.  It was really wonderful.  Very rewarding work.  I will have another post with some details, but for now, here’s a picture that someone snapped the night of.

We ended up taking a huge homeschooling break.  (As in, all of December!)  We kept up with the essentials (those second graders tend to forget math concepts), but that was about it.  The flexibility allowed us to actually feel the season while in the midst of chaos.  Still, I’ve never sent out Christmas cards so late in December 🙂

I really wanted to make gingerbread houses with the kids this year, so that made it to the top of the priority list.  My mom and I made some very elaborate ones when I was a kid, with porches, and bay windows, but I was on my own this year so I made simple ones.  (Actually Billy helped.  Love that man.)  Decorating is obviously the best part!!

Christmas actually found most of us sick with the flu.  It was a bummer to not be able to hold baby Felix.  Thankfully we’re all better now, and we’ve spent all of January really focused on schoolwork.

So Merry Christmas everyone.  I hope everyone had a wonderful year and my prayer is that God draws you near in 2013.

giving thanks

November 28, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

I have so much to be thankful for.  Gratitude is underrated.

My baby boy turned six.  He happens to be head over heels for Star Wars these days, so a Yoda cake was in order.  I promised him that I would try, because I was seriously doubting my abilities.  I mean, Yoda isn’t exactly easy to sketch.  I was actually pretty impressed with how it turned out, I might even make a tutorial for it.

The lightsaber candles were my own creation after I couldn’t find anything in stores or online that was even close to what I was after.  I didn’t really want a giant Darth Vader holding a candle on top of the cake.   So while I was drawing Yoda, Carrington and Ellie went to work with polymer clay and some taper candles.

So just like that my sweet boy is another year older.  Now we’re on to December, which should be slightly (haha) less crazy this year because Carrington took a year off from the Nutcracker.  I’ll leave you with some Halloween/Thanksgiving pictures.  Yes, Deacon went as a spade for Halloween.  Carrington/Alice in Wonderland wanted an accomplice.  I only had a couple of hours, I couldn’t have pulled off a Mad Hatter!  The leaves are from Ann Voskamp.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!


November 3, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

My sister in law is a rockstar.  I’m in love with my new nephew.

Welcome, welcome to the world, baby Felix!


October 28, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

As in, the leaves.  Because they’re falling and they’re so, so, so beautiful.  We actually pull over and stop the car to collect some of the prettiest ones we see.  Really.  We went to Charlottesville at the end of September for the Heritage Fall Festival, which is held at Monticello.

The grounds are gorgeous, right down to the vibrant brick red dirt.  The cider doughnuts aren’t too shabby either.  I would know.

There was a huge hill near the place where we parked, so on the way back to the car the little guys ran to the top so they could roll down.  When Carrington didn’t run after them I mentioned that the little Carrington would have been the first one to the top, but this bigger Carrington must be too old for such things.

Ahhh, there’s still some of the little girl left in her after all!

Then she proceeded to turn fourteen.  She’s almost as tall as me.  She towers (gracefully) over both Billy and I on her pointe shoes as she pirouettes around the house.

That’s a lot of candles to put on a cake!  I made this double-decker vanilla cake and topped it with vanilla frosting roses.  Yum.  It was super sweet, too.  Just like her.

So October finds us welcoming and waiting.  We welcomed (from across the country) my newest nephew, Weston, born to my big brother Jon and his wife Dana.  Rumor has it they’re coming here for Christmas, so I’ll be able to get my hands on the sweet little thing, but until then at least I’m getting pictures.  Now we’re waiting for my brother Jeremy and his wife Lindsay to have their baby.  She’s 40 weeks and 2 days today.  Any. Day.  Come on baby, Aunt Jen wants to snuggle you and eat you up!

wet and rainy and cold

October 9, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

This was my reality on Sunday afternoon.  I didn’t think to snap a picture of the dreariness outside my window though, I think it would’ve given my post a little somethin’.  It was wet out there.  Not to mention freezing.

Summer clothes packed away, winter clothes brought out.  It’s usually a pretty gradual process but I’ve been around the season-changing block a few times so I’ve got a pretty nice system.  Now, what does one do, with mountains of clothes to be sorted/folded/packed/washed, with the bundles of energy bouncing all around said piles?  You send them downstairs with daddy and a play-doh recipe, duh!

Then you take care of business.  Oh, you come down once to take snap a picture and eat a plate of play-doh food, can’t forget that.

We spent last weekend in Roanoke with my brother and oh-so-pregnant sister in law.  I can’t wait to get my hands on that baby!  School is going very well, we’ve all been working really hard.  This week my goal is to find a new table for my sewing machines, because there are some holidays on the horizon.  I got rid of my huge oppressive cabinet in hopes of something smaller and lighter, but then summer happened and GEEZ it’s been a few months since I’ve sewed.  Did I mention both of my brothers have babies due this month?  Hmmm.  Must. Get. Busy.

first day 2012

September 12, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

Our first day went so well.


We sent Carrington off on the bus, she has a 45 minute bus ride every morning!  Happy to report she is loving high school so far.


We also had our cake-for-breakfast-only-because-you-go-to-school-at-home tradition.


Always a hit.

So, let’s talk curriculum, shall we?  Finn (who would have started kindergarten this year) is flying through The Everyday Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.  We’re also working on handwriting, going back to basics a little bit because he takes quite a bit of time forming all those pesky letters.  He’s sitting in on all of the things Ellie is doing too, and he has picked up a lot.


Ellie (who would be going into 2nd grade), is reading so well.  She is devouring books, sometimes two chapter books in a day.  Her latest kick is The Boxcar Children (by Gertrude Chandler Warner, you know the old classic ones, there are dozens).  We’re using The Complete Writer (level two, by Susan Wise Bauer) after happily finishing level one last year.  This is really an awesome book, it focuses on comprehension, meaning we read an excerpt and then she needs to answer my questions, in complete sentences.  This was difficult in the beginning, and she struggled with it so much.  What a difference a year made though, of constant practice.  (I will mention that Finn, on the other hand, is able to recall details from the stories without even thinking twice, so I’ve concluded that brains just work differently.)


Grammar is being covered by First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (level two, by Jessie Wise).  Both Ellie and Finn enjoy this one.  It covers memorization, basic grammar such as definitions of nouns/pronouns/verbs, copy work, poems, etc.


We’re also using Spelling Workout Level B, which is technically a late first grade level spelling book, but we are needing to start there.  She writes phonetically (SO cute, I secretly wish it would pass in the real world so I never have to correct her) so she’ll spell “telescope” like “telluhskope”.

For math we’re using Math Mammoth for the first time.  The format is such a welcome change from Saxon, which we used last year.  Saxon was really solid as far as content, but teaching it was like pulling teeth for me.  She’s also practicing a lot with various iPad apps, I’ll have to do a separate post on the ones we use.


Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I love the idea of learning history from the beginning until present, and the Story of the World series does just that.  The idea is that grade 1: The Ancients, grade 2: The Middle Ages, grade 3: Early Modern Times, grade 4: The Modern Age.  Then repeat that cycle in grades 5/6/7/8 in more depth, then again for grades 9/10/11/12 in even more depth.  This corresponds to the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages in a classical education (again, I’ll have to post more on this philosophy in a later post!).  I found it to be way too advanced for Ellie last year in first grade though, so we’re working through it this year and we’ll probably catch up over the next two years.  I’m really confident that it will provide such a great grasp of history that we’ll stick with it for a while.  Of course we’re supplementing with books from the library on whatever subject we’re studying (hence the pyramids, we’re in Egypt right now).  The book is in story-form, but comes with an activity book that has maps, coloring pages, other activities to complement the topic, etc.


So that’s the majority of what we’re using this year.  I promise to update you in a few months to weigh in on what’s working and what’s not.  I’ll also give you a run-down on what we’re doing for science, I left it out because it’s mostly hodge-podge, sort of just following their interests.  Which, for us, is what homeschool is all about.

strawberry picking

September 12, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

“Camping” last night was great, it cooled off nicely and we got chilly enough to snuggle 🙂  My mind is beginning to wander to back-to-school to-do lists, but it’s just going to have to wait.  We have more pressing things to be done right now.  Like Monopoly.  And Blokus.  Rinse, repeat.  I did give three children haircuts today, so that’s something.  (Maybe I shouldn’t admit that on my blog?)

Anyway, here are some pictures from a strawberry picking trip a couple of months ago.  We picked so many, all of our arms were full on the way back from the field to the barn.




back in business

September 12, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

Try as I might, I’m coming to you tonight from my old friend PC.  Well not my old friend, a new friend, but finally I can find a picture when I want it!  And print it!  Without banging my head against the wall!  But for now we’re headed outside for the night, so I’m saying goodbye to technology.




creek love

September 12, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

May 27, 2012 4:46 AM

These pictures are also from the beginning of the summer (although the date on my camera tells me it was really late spring…?).  It was so hot!

May 27, 2012 4:54 AM

And when it’s hot, one must cool off in the creek.  Unless you’re afraid of frogs or fish.  Then I don’t advise it.

May 27, 2012 4:52 AM

Sticking your feet into the water is kind of like when a baby puts something in their mouth.  You just feel it better, have a better grasp of what it is, become more in tune with it.

the fastest picnic ever

September 12, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

May 23, 2012 2:19 AM

These pictures are from earlier in the summer.  We literally spread our blanket out, sat down, cue the big thunder.  When we were leaving, these little teenage ducks ambushed us.  They were so cute!  And quite friendly, they were eating right out of our hands.  The mama duck hung back, just quacking away at all of them.  I wish I spoke Duck and could’ve heard exactly what she was telling them 🙂

May 23, 2012 2:24 AM

May 23, 2012 2:24 AM