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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Weekly Recap: With Thanksgiving and Christmas

Happy New Year! I need to catch up on the end of the previous year, so here we go!

Daddy got new tires on his van, thanks to Black Friday sales they were a great price! We enjoyed Thanksgiving and Christmas and spending time with family. Both my husband and M have spoken in sacrament meeting during the past month. I put together some Christmas stories into a Christmas program outline for our church, and each group created a skit for their story. J was the ghost of Christmas present, M was the child who gets on the Polar Express, and I was Santa in 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. New Year's Eve was a fun night as well, with spinach artichoke dip and vegetables, and pigs in a blanket made from Little Smokies. We watched National Treasure and Snowball Express, and some kids stayed up late enough to also watch Groundhog Day with Dad.

Each year my brother and sister buy my family tickets to an experience of some sort - the zoo, aquarium, etc. Last year they gave us cash and instructions to choose. We had a dinner and play picked out, then something came up and we weren't able to go. When The Forgotten Carols tickets went on sale, I bought seats right away and we surprised the kids! Everyone had a great time, but it started so late.. we didn't get home until 11 p.m. That was rough, but the play was memorable.

We had a tummy bug go through the house. Some were sick for about 24 hours, but some were sick for about 15 minutes. It made for a rough few days but we survived!

We had quite a situation to solve in our living room. My parents gave us my grandpa's couch. We wanted to put it down in our school room, but because of the way the previous owners finished the stairs and hall, it wouldn't go around the corner down there. So we gave away the broken couch that was down there, moved the recliner down, and put the second couch in the living room. My sister decided to replace her couches and offered her 3 part couch to us. We had a couple of weeks while we argued about what to do. Some of us wanted to keep the recliner but some of us wanted to get the couch from my sister. We couldn't fit both. Eventually we decided to give away our recliner and two couches and put two parts of my sister's couch in our living room and the chaise in our school room. We are all very happy with this arrangement now and love the new seating! The chaise in the school room is now a highly coveted reading spot.

Our chickens are old enough that they rarely lay eggs anymore, so rather than have the extra expense and care through the winter, we slaughtered them all. Well, my husband gratefully took over that chore.

M received her new brace, a Cheneau style brace. Both it and her Boston correct her spine in different ways, so it's a little bit of a struggle deciding which to wear. But the Cheneau style brace does help with the upper curve in the way we hoped it would.

My parents and sister got the chance to visit my brother's family out of state, so my sister's dog stayed with us for a week. It was a lot of fun having her here, and she got so much attention she'll either decide she's done with us or beg to visit!

We made Zopf bread for Christmas; this year I made 10 batches, which equals 40 loaves.

School Highlights:

  • History - Lessons on Hitler and his treatment of the Jews, as well as finishing up the history lessons available to us. There are a few more that we're hoping are published soon, but the last 15 lessons of the course are non-existent. I've been asked to help write them, so I've begun reading about the topics as I wait for further instructions on what to do!
  • Literature - We're almost finished with Little House in the Big Woods. The two youngest (2nd and 5th grade) are enjoying doing these lessons alone and always do their reading assignments without me!
  • Science - We're studying arthropods now. We did a lesson on worms and the kids remember the first time we did that lesson and dissected an earthworm. They refused to do that again. M is continuing to work through her high school biology lessons on her own.
  • Geography - We've finished up the available lessons here too, and are waiting for more to be published. Recently we learned about the African Rift Valley and biomes in Africa. M suggested that we just move forward with our country reports while we wait for more lessons to be published, that way we don't get behind for our end of year celebration. 
  • Music & Art - We've been using Shades of Sound: Thanksgiving for some simple music lessons. These are fun; we learn a little about a composer and piece then listen to it. We listen for specific suggestions then rate and record our thoughts. During the listening portion we color a picture that corresponds to the music and theme. We've had fun doing these lessons, and they don't take much time.

Friday, November 23, 2018

D&C 88:119 Study

Many years ago I created a handout for a Primary lesson I taught.

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

After listening to General Conference in October, I had the impression that I should study this scripture and ponder how I could create a house of each type mentioned.

Then I remembered that revelation is sprinkled throughout a group. I felt that if I truly wanted to determine as well as build these houses, I needed the help of everyone living here.

This "House of God" study made a wonderful Family Home Evening lesson. My daughter took charge. She quickly explained what we were going to do. Each person got a pen (different colors of course) and then she set a timer. After three minutes, we passed the papers. This continued until we each had the opportunity to write on all seven papers. Then we hung them where everyone sees them daily.

Now we can look at the papers and set personal and family goals. I am glad we did this together!

You can download the handouts I created from the links below.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Weekly Recap: With the scan and the crabs

Whew, when do we get to slow down for a minute?

J has been doing service projects almost every day this week. He and the other boys his age at church planned this to help ward members. He's been such a good example!

E got a fixed retainer put in her lower jaw to help hold things as the rest of the baby teeth fall out, before she can get braces.

M was scanned for a new brace. She'll be getting it in a few weeks. It was really neat to see how a 3D scan is done.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Good, Better, Best

I've had a little thought in the back of my head for many months now. I've felt I need to simplify and refocus. For school this year, we adjusted some curriculum which has helped a lot. I've also been focusing more on my kids and family. With the announcements in General Conference this year about the new curriculum being home centered and church supported, I've felt that my family needs to be the center of my focus more than ever before. The videos and links below are things I've been studying as I choose how I want to spend my time going forward.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Guitar 360 Method Review (Using a Guitar and Baritone Ukelele)

I'm not sure why playing the guitar is so fascinating. I used to play around with my mom's spare guitar; eventually she gave it to me. My son has attempted to learn a few things, but without lessons. When we were given the opportunity to review the Semester 1 Bundle from Guitar 360 Method, we couldn't wait to get started.

What is Guitar 360?

We received access to the Semester 1 Bundle, which includes the Absolute Beginner bonus content + the 13 weeks of Semester 1. This amounts to about 18 weeks of online guitar lessons (the last two weeks will be available soon.) You can sign up for the free beginner course and get started right away to see what you think. While the lessons are laid out in weeks, you don't have to take a full week to complete a lesson if you are confident and ready to move on. The instructor uses an acoustic guitar as well as an electric guitar, and you can follow along with either.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Weekly Recap: With the apples and the vehicles

Well, it finally happened. Our van blew a head gasket. The same thing we replaced three years ago. This time the cost of the repair is more than the van is worth, so we've decided to say goodbye to it. That was hard, a lot of memories are associated with it. But it's just an object, and we still have all the memories.

We've been thinking about what vehicle would replace it for over two years now. We've gone to test drive the kind we want but none of the vehicles ever seemed right for us. Well, we finally felt comfortable with one. Nervous about a car payment again, but calm too. So we showed up late for Halloween this year, but in a fancy ride. So fancy that I have to refer to the owners manual nearly every day. Ha ha ha!

Wolf in sheep's clothing, Statue of Liberty, firefighter, leprechaun

Our washer started leaking too, but it was still under warranty. The repairman said that in the 18 years he's been repairing washers he's never seen this part break. Comforting!

Sunday Snacks - Dutch Apple Beignets.
My kids would like you to know this is one of those "the best of life" pictures because it doesn't show the powdered sugar and green paint on the counter or the giant squash waiting to be baked.

I finished working on the curricula project I've been working on, condensing literature lessons for Family School! These lessons are so good, and I can't wait for them to go through the final steps before they go live.

My kids have been playing the guitar and learning from some online lessons (review goes live next week!) and they were so excited to find 14 guitar picks in our new vehicle! What a random thing to leave behind, but pretty neat too.

J went on an overnight campout and had a good time but also got cold, despite taking two extra blankets for his sleeping bag.

Neighbors gave us their extra apples. A lot of apples. So we freeze dried them! These make the best snacks, and we made some little pouches for our 72 hour kits.

We were given a couch and wanted to put it in the school room to replace a broken one. Well because of the way the previous house owners finished the basement, it won't fit down the hall. It's one inch too long! We want to fix the hall and refinish it the correct way, but since we have a new vehicle that doesn't seem likely. So we rearranged the living room and school room and now we have two couches in the living room and a recliner in the school room.

School Updates:

M had the opportunity to visit with a graphic designer and learn a little bit about what she does for work. She also got to try using Adobe Illustrator.
N finished All About Reading Level 4! She's done with reading lessons! She also finished All About Spelling Level 2 the same week.

Literature: The younger girls started studying Little House in the Big Woods.
Geography: We started learning about the hydrosphere in Africa.
Art: We looked at and described some of Georgia O'Keefe's paintings.
History: We looked at Roosevelt's New Deal and the Church Welfare Program. We also learned about Germany after WWI.
Science: We finished up Kingdoms & Classification from The Good and the Beautiful. I like the curriculum, but it feels simple. I'm used to the in depth lessons that include a gospel principle from Family School.

Friday, October 19, 2018

CashCrunch Careers Review Update

Recently I reviewed CashCrunch Careers, a website that collects personality traits from a survey that you take and gives you a list of suggested careers based on the results.

I received an email today explaining some changes on the site with a suggestion that I log in to see my updated career report.

Below, with the large black letters, is the original report. The large blue letters is the new report.