Monday, September 24, 2012

The Walnut Acre Daily

This ended up being one of those days that just seemed to keep taking twists and turns that I hadn't expected. Nothing major, just little things that added up. There were several things I had really hoped to get done today that didn't happen but it's okay. It was still a good day, full of love, learning, laughter and living. 

I didn't sleep much last night. Michael was restless and Austin didn't get home from his trip to the beach with my friend and her kids until a little after 1AM. Even after three cups of coffee this morning I was still not feeling very awake. So instead of working on my sewing projects this afternoon I ended up dozing on the couch instead.

We finished our PreK/K unit on Noah's Ark this morning, and will be starting a new one tomorrow about the Tower of Babel. We also worked on the Doctor/Nurse unit and should finish it tomorrow. And of course, we worked on phonics with Starfall. 

In science today Austin and Amanda studied Physics: Sound Parts 1 and 2. This is an online study. I had to laugh at where they worked on math (decimals) today - Austin in the garage and Amanda on the back of the truck. Our Bible study was Hebrews 10 and for literature we read more from a book Austin was given for his birthday. 

CJ had a good day at school today and came home in a good mood. He came in carrying some pictures a friend at school had given him. After he put his things away and had a snack he went out to the field to take pictures. When he came in he colored awhile before it was time to clean up the playroom, hang up his clean clothes and get ready for dinner.

Amanda stuck this hat on Christopher's head expecting him to pull it back off. Instead he kept it on and walked around proudly showing if off. Here Amanda was trying to get him to look at me so I could get a picture but instead he just looked at her like she was crazy.

Outside time!

 This evening Michael pulled out a puppet theater we haven't played with in years. It's missing a few pieces but Austin and I managed to get it to stand up and Michael loves it. I'm guessing I'll be watching a lot of puppet shows tomorrow. 

And not it's time for me to get some sleep so I can fully appreciate those shows. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Walnut Acre Daily - Weekend Recap

This weekend has flown by!

Saturday morning I woke up with the goal in mind of using some red polka dot fabric to make some curtains for the playroom. I could hardly wait to get started but I knew I had to get my other work out of the way first or it simply wouldn't get done. So after cleaning two bedrooms, the kitchen, the upstairs bathroom and hallway I was finally able to get started on the curtains. In the middle of making them my plan changed and I decided to put them in kitchen instead. But my sewing machine wouldn't cooperate so it was taking me a long time. I only got one pair of curtains partially finished and I need two more sets yet but it's okay. I'll work on them some more tomorrow afternoon during naptime. I can hardly wait to get them up and post pictures. 

Doug's Saturday was pretty busy as well. First thing Saturday morning he and CJ took the trash to the landfill. When he came loaded up the lawnmower and weedeater and went to mow two yards. He took Michael with him. He finished those just in time to work on our friend's van for her. This took the rest of the evening.

While he was working on her car, Jennifer and I took the kids and ran a few errands and then decided to just go for a ride. We had a good time talking and the kids enjoyed their time together too.

The kids stayed pretty busy too. Austin's friend Aaron was here for the night Friday night and they were up late. So he slept in and I woke him in time to  get ready to go to another friend's house for the afternoon. I picked him up in time for him to get ready to with Aaron to his house for the night and then they were heading to the beach for the day first thing this morning. 

The younger kids played outside, rode bikes, and even did some math in some old workbooks just for fun.

Today has been another awesome day. It started out a little crazy because I overslept but we made it to church only about five minutes late. 

Today was the second Sunday in a three sermon series on Destiny given by David Chappell. Here are a few nuggets I have in my notes from the first two sermons.

One person, with God on their side, is a majority.

The first reason man was created by God was for relationship. He wants to be your friend (John 15:15). He wants to knock on the door of your heart and ask you to come out and play. He delights in His children.

You have been called by God to invade the impossible, not to declare anything impossible.

Destiny is God's purpose for your life, it is the blueprint of His plan for Your life.

These are just a few of the notes I have written down from the last two Sundays. 

This afternoon flew by. Doug and I went for a walk with CJ and Michael because they had a lot of energy to burn. We scared up a snake and followed it awhile. I think it was a garter snake. We talked about how they should never try to touch a snake because some are poisonous and can make you very sick. We walked on down to the creek to see if it was dry. It was so Michael and I went down to explore the creek bed. We found a little green frog hopping around and a persimmon tree growing on the bank. I couldn't resist a picture of Doug holding Michael. It won't be long before he's just to big to be picked up like that. It's hard to pick him up now and we don't do it very often.

We finished off the day by going to a specially called prayer meeting at church. This Sunday evening and next Sunday evening are being set aside for prayer as the church seeks direction on some things. This is not the typical service, but simply a time of coming for prayer and praise and listening. It is a time of letting go of our own ideas and seeking direction. 

Now I'm relaxing for a little before I get good night's sleep in preparation for a busy Monday.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Walnut Acre Daily - Mushrooms, Crocheted Rag Rug, and More

After experimenting for a couple weeks with doing a weekly update post I've decided to switch back to the daily posts. I seem to keep up with them better when I do them daily and it's a fun way for me to look back over the day while keeping parents of the kids who come daily updated on the things we are doing. 

We got off to a really slow start this morning, mostly because Michael slept in and because Michael was sleeping it seemed like a quiet lazy morning. We ended up missing our usual 8:30 Bible lesson completely. 

After the kids had breakfast and played outside for awhile they came in for our 11:00 work time. Here are some of the things we did.
1. Watched a short video about visiting the doctor.
2. Completed M is for medicine and number 10 worksheets.
3. Played a memory game with pictures related to doctors and nurses - thermometer, cast, medicine, etc. 
4. Phonics using Starfall.
We also sang a song about visiting the doctor and worked on our memory verse - A cheerful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22

When we got home from taking Lauren to preschool I went and took some pictures of these mushrooms growing in our front yard. Some of them are even growing on the tree and pushing the bark out. Doug said they were there last year too but there weren't as many. I don't remember them, but I think they look pretty interesting.

CJ has been enjoying his new to him computer. This afternoon when he came home from school he colored this picture and wanted me to take a picture of it. He's planning to hang it in his room over his desk. 

After Doug came home from work he and CJ went and got gas for the mower and then Doug spent a good part of the evening mowing. He also worked on the cold frame he's building for me. Most of the materials for this have been free or extremely cheap and come from work. The wood and plastic they are just glad to have him take away so they don't have to. It's great for us as we have all kinds of ideas for things to make with these materials. 

This is what has been occupying large amounts of my time this week - cutting strips of fabric from old clothes and sheets and crocheting them into a rug. This rug is my first crocheted rug and I'm still learning how to keep everything even.  I'm using lots of random colors and using up lots of old scraps. I'm planning to put it in the playroom where there are lots of random things going on anyway so it should fit well. It's a lot of fun to make and I've been a little obsessed with it. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The ABC Bunny PreK/K Unit

We recently completed a unit study based on The ABC Bunny by Wanda Ga'g. Here are some of the resources we used and activities we did in this unit.

The kids loved this song and were getting pretty good at singing along.

The following three activities came from the ABC Bunny printables section of Homeschool Creations

ABC Bunny Memory

Classification Worksheets
These were my favorite worksheets that we did.

Alphabet Memory

ABC Bunny Game
This game was one of their favorite activities in this unit.

Animal coloring pages from

This was a fun unit and Homeschool Creations has many more activities that could be done to go along with this cute book.

Friday, September 14, 2012


My friend and I stood on the porch talking as children played around our feet. In the middle of her sentence my friend interrupted herself with  "Oh, look, there's a caterpillar!" We both watched the fuzzy brown caterpillar wiggle it's way across the driveway and then laughed at ourselves for being so easily distracted. It was an "Oh look, shiny thing" moment. 

There was certainly nothing wrong with being momentarily distracted by that caterpillar at that moment but it did remind me how easily distracted I can sometimes be from the important things in my life by everything that happens to crawl across my path. Sometimes what I allow myself to look at as some shiny new thing of great importance is really worth no more than a little creepy crawly drawing my attention from  more important things.

So, today, and tomorrow, and the next day, my goal is to focus on the truly important things God has placed in my life and not be distracted by everything that comes by.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our New Homeschool Year

Last Tuesday was the beginning of our new homeschool year and I have to say I have a sense of anticipation as we go into it. Our style of schooling has changed some with time. Some years I've struggled a bit with knowing how to proceed but this year I'm feeling pretty comfortable. I like the schedule we've created and the work we're doing.

So here is an overview of our plans for the year.

Austin (16) and Amanda (13)
Doug has taken over teaching math to Austin and Amanda and is going to give math lessons Monday, Tuesday and Friday afternoons after he gets home from work. They are currently working on algebra.

Three evenings a week I spend an hour reading aloud to Austin and Amanda. Right now we're reading a book that Austin was given for his birthday. I've ordered the first two books of the Lions of Judah series by Gilbert Morris from Amazon with gift cards that I've earned through Swagbucks and they should be here by the time I finish Austin's book. We also read a chapter from the Bible during our reading time. This reading time is one of our favorite parts of "school." We all three get to enjoy good books together, leading to many good discussions. We cover a lot subjects during this time, depending on the type of book we're reading.

And Monday through Friday Austin and Amanda will each have a 30 minute assignment on varied topics. Currently they're doing a physical science study, focusing on relativity. 

The rest of their time will be spent in a variety of ways - helping to care for the younger children, cooking, and helping with home, yard and garden work. Amanda likes to read, sew, draw, and spend time with her animals as well as volunteering at the SPCA. She is in church nearly every Sunday morning, going to Sunday School and then the main service. She will also develop a fascination with a subject and research it until she has satisfied her curiosity before moving on to something else. Austin is in Boy Scouts and also very involved with the church youth and other church activities. He's not a big reader but loves the History Channel, Animal Planet,Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel, along with some Syfy. And he collects coins so he spends time learning about those. I have NPR talk on a good part of the day and we often discuss the current events we are hearing about there as well as other interesting things that are covered. 

Michael (6)
Michael desperately needs a lot of structure in his day and we will be staying pretty busy. We will be spending a half hour each day on a Bible unit study, a half hour each day on other varied unit studies and 5 - 10 minutes each on focused math and reading lessons. The unit studies also cover a lot of math and reading as well as science and social studies.

The rest of his day will be taken up with outdoor play, nature walks, riding his bike, singing and listening to music, playdough, coloring, reading stories, and other free play. We have a two hour rest time each afternoon as well. He can look at books or watch Disney Jr during this time but he has to stay quietly on the couch. Some days he goes to sleep but most days he doesn't.  On Wednesday evenings he will be involved in church activities as well as being there Sunday mornings. And he's in the children's choir at church as well.

We're looking forward to a year of learning and growing.

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

10 Things About Michael

1. When Michael was a baby, born at 27 weeks and with multiple health problems, we were told he would probably never see, hear, walk or talk. He spent weeks at a time in the hospital. His formula came up almost as fast as it went down, we spent months smelling like spit up baby formula.  He showed little emotion, he stopped breathing multiple times, he didn't blink or respond when a hand was passed quickly over his eyes or brought quickly toward his face. But God had plans for him and they didn't include the doctor's predictions. Michael didn't walk or talk until after his second birthday, but once he did he took off at an astounding rate. Today he walks, runs, jumps, climbs stairs, climbs out windows,rides his bike,  talks nonstop, sees just fine and, since he has tubes in his ears, hears just fine. He's our daily reminder that God still works miracles. 

2. Michael loves to pray and thank God for all the people in his life, naming them one by one. This can make for some very long prayers but it's such a blessing to hear him.

3. He loves music and singing. We have a CD player we let him use and he has it running a lot of the time. When he's not listening to music he's often trying to play the guitar and sing. And he's a good singer. Some of his favorite songs are Use Me, Jesus Use Me, Our God is an Awesome God, and I Am Free

3. Like the other two boys, Michael loves to eat. And he has a habit of trying to sneak food which has led to some very funny mishaps - like the time he tasted the used coffee grounds in the coffee pot, the time time he poured half a bottle of green sprinkles in his mouth when I had my back turned, and even just today when he tasted a frozen onion ring from a tray that was about to go in the oven. 

4. One of Michael's favorite things to do is go somewhere. Anywhere, just go. Often his last question at night is to ask where we're going tomorrow, and his first question when he wakes up in the morning is if we're going somewhere today. And if the answers is "nowhere", well . . . let's just say it's not a good start to the morning.

5. He has a bad habit of scaring me half to death - like the time in our old house when he opened the window and screen in the second floor bedroom and proceeded to throw his sisters clothes out the window, leaning out to watch them fly, resulting in a totally freaked out neighbor running over to our house and pounding on the door to let us know our son was in danger of falling to his death. Doug fixed that window so that it could only be opened about six inches so that wouldn't happen again. Or the time in our new house when he opened the upstairs window and climbed out on the porch roof. And then there was the time when he asked to go to Grandma's house and I said no so as soon as I was distracted he took off walking and went to Grandma's house anyway. Thankfully it's only about a quarter mile away and we're not on a busy highway.

6. He enjoys using the computer and really, really wants one of his own. He likes to use Starfall and listen to music on YouTube.

7. He's a cuddler and a snuggler. I love that about him and am hanging on to these times because I know how fast this time will pass.

8. He's such a people person! He loves everyone and remembers names and faces. At church he's a busy little charmer, giving out hugs everywhere he goes, calling to people walking by, disappearing to say hi to someone he hasn't greeted yet. 

9. He has an incredible eye for seeing things that match in some way. One of the things I hear most often when we're driving somewhere (usually at the top of his lungs) is "Look, Mommy, it matches, it looks like . . . " And he remembers where things are that match something else. He told me ahead of time that on a certain road there was a car with wheels that matched the wheels on the car of someone at church. And when we passed that house he pointed it out to me. He also remembers how to get to places, often after only going that way once. 

10. Every day he makes me laugh, frustrates me almost to the point of tears with his strong will, amazes me with something new, reminds me how much I love him, and teaches me to never underestimate the plans God has for each us.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Walnut Acre - Week in Photos 9/2 - 9/8


We had a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Michael saw this desk in the basement and wants it for his room. It needs a little work so we let him play around with sanding it. Of course, Mykalin and Madeline wanted to help out too. They lost interest after a few minutes and went back to riding bikes and playing with the wagon and Michael's walkie talkies.

After a temper tantrum, Michael decided to play us some music. He can't really play this guitar yet but he sure does have fun with it!

Labor Day I spent the majority of the day trying to cook. It was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right. The bread was supposed to be Maple Wheat Bread but after I started mixing it I discovered I was out of maple syrup. Oops! So I made some substitutions and went on. The bread actually turned out okay and the kids ate it for snacks. I also made these egg muffins to reheat for breakfasts this week. The egg muffins turned out pretty good but the cheese sauce I made to serve over them wasn't all that great. 

We continued with our Creation Story and ABC Bunny units and also did some math worksheets and phonics on the computer. Michael likes to use the Starfall site for phonics practice and that's what we were using here.

Amanda took the kids for a nature walk.

Gage enjoyed practicing his computer skills. Actually the batteries are dead in this one but he was having fun anyway. 

Doug is the math teacher for Austin and Amanda this year. I have to say I am more than glad to let him have this job. I enjoy teaching almost any subject but math.

When CJ came home from school he wanted to rake leaves and Lauren wanted to be his helper.

And after all Lauren's hard work in the yard, she snuggled with Holly while they played with Holly's phone.

Wednesday morning we got out the playdough. The boys played a few minutes and then took off again, but Calla really enjoyed the playdough and stayed awhile to play.

We did a little more on the Creation Story Bible Unit and also practiced our math skills.

Here's a little peek at a project I've been working on lately. I'll share more about it after I've completed it.

Wednesday evening was our first evening of Wednesday night ministries at church after the summer break. Our evening starts with a free meal for all and then their are a variety of family, adult and youth programs. We're a part of the family ministry called Family Works. I was hoping to get a few more pictures but the evening flew by and we were so busy I only got this one. This was during the time between the meal and the time the evening activities started. Austin and CJ had already gone off to their own activities and the younger kids were coloring pictures.

I didn't take many pictures Thursday.

 These are from our rather unproductive attempt at going to a Doctor appointment Thursday morning.

And here is a new bean and rice recipe that I tried that I'll be sharing next week. It was really good. I made a similar one recently but I think I liked this one even better.

The grapes haven't done well at all this year but this poor empty arbor makes a great place to build a house with blankets.

Playing the abc bunny game. . . 

. . . math worksheets. . . 

. . . and an online phonics lesson.

Have I mentioned before that I'm so glad Doug is teaching math this year?

Doug gave Michael a haircut and then I gave Doug a haircut. Austin still needs a haircut though.

CJ worked hard picking, husking and cleaning corn from his corn patch. He fixed us some corn on the cob for dinner and it really good, sweet corn. 

Yard work is so much more fun with good helpers!

Doug finished Michael's desk and it is now in his room. Michael is so proud of that desk!

And that's a peek into our week. It was a good week and we're looking forward to another fun week.