Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I love his imagination, ingenuity and resourcefulness! 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

the day he was finally tall enough for the big slide!

One Tuesday, when David and I were having time by ourselves while Cora was at preschool we had finished our math and reading for the day and I decided to make a spur of the moment trip to Focus on the Family.  We had been listening to their radio theater production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and I wanted David to get to experience the Narnia room there with the wardrobe.

When we walked into the building they told us that unfortunately the slide wasn't open that day because they were short staffed.  We went and enjoyed the Narnia room and a few of the other activity areas.  Right as we were about to leave they came over the PA system and announced that the slide would be open for a short time!  

David had patiently waited as his same age cousin shot up in height ahead of him and was able to ride.  We went to measure him that day and he looked right on the line to me.  I was hoping that the workers thought right on the line was tall enough as well.  

Sure enough we climbed the three flights of stairs and they pronounced him good to go!  He was so excited!  

He went by himself the first time and then I asked if grown-ups are allowed to go too and they said "yes!" so we both went down the second time!  It was a lot of fun!!  

Have you ever visited the Focus on the Family visitor's center?  


Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Sunday, September 11, 2016


We had a little family carnival yesterday at one of our favorite parks.  At the end we had a "cake walk" with Andes mint cupcakes and spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese pecan frosting and Honeycrisp apples (for those who were choosing healthy eating) up for grabs.  It was a fun time!  

What did you do this weekend?


Saturday, September 10, 2016


Things I want to remember about this time:

1.  Whatever David and I are doing for school, Cora wants to be in the thick of it.  As he was practicing writing numerals and completing patterns of numbers (counting by twos, evens and odds, even backwards!) she was drawing on the big easel pad.  She would say "one" and draw a line segment, then she would say "two" and draw another line segment connected to the first and she kept on until she had an interesting shape with several sides!  David really wanted her to close the shape by connecting the lines at the opening so finally she did.  

2. I have found a math curriculum that I am really liking so far.  The Critical Thinking Company's Mathematical Reasoning.  So far we have a copy through Inter-Library Loan (love that service!!!) and we are laying a transparency over the student pages for him to complete with a marker so we don't mark in the book.  I am hoping to find a good used copy by the time we have to return this one!

3.  Cora picked out this outfit herself and I love that she is interested in matching!  (although mis-matched outfits can be awfully cute too)  

4.  Hooray for bare piggy toes and messy buns and paint on our ankles from lots of creativity.  

5.  Noticing the brain quest cards in the corner from David's and my after school date to Chick-fil-a to share a 4 piece nugget kids' meal (David is still so jazzed to be able to eat the dairy nuggets - the original breaded ones as opposed to the grilled!)

What is your favorite thing to order at Chick-fil-a?  
Are you sad about the disappearance of the spicy chicken biscuit on their breakfast menu?

Happy Saturday!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

gathering in

"Because in the end, the point of home in all its fullness - the point of good meals, full cupboards, or ordered rooms - is not just to provide creaturely comfort or to prove some sort of competence.  The point of home is to be a refuge for the soul, a place where beauty can be encountered, truth told, goodness touched and known.  It's why home needs hush as well as bustle, silence as well as song." ~ Sarah Clarkson, The Life Giving Home

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday morning

These two!  

This was last Saturday morning.  They spread that stack of books around, reading and exploring the printed word all day long in spurts.  

I loved it!  

What books are you enjoying right now?  With your kids or without?

My kids are loving the Miss Nelson books.
I just finished Mere Motherhood by Cindy Collins - a very good read.  
Starting Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

homeschooling together

We have a new opportunity within our homeschooling routine this year.  Cora is going to our sweet preschool that we love two mornings a week.  That means that David and I get some one on one time.  For this first time we drove home from taking Cora and dropped off all of our bags at our neighborhood coffee shop where Daddy was already working.  

Then we drove the last mile home, got out of the car and onto our bikes and got a mile ride in back to the coffee shop.  Getting some exercise in and fresh air and sunshine and letting David do something he loves more than most anything else right now, riding his bike!

David and I shared a chocolately peanut buttery oatmeal treat and then dug into math and reading with a fun game and some reading of the Box Car Children thrown in too.  

It was a big morning and David really did great at keeping with it!  It was a long morning for me too!  This teaching stuff is exhausting but I wouldn't trade it at all.  

I really enjoyed all three of us being there together!

Fried egg word practice!  

Funny boy!  

Have you and yours started back to school?


Friday, May 6, 2016

around here lately . . .

Just wanting to capture some memories of life right now . . . 

We got to go to David's art show at his one day a week school and see his interpretation of Georgia O'Keefe's work.  

Cora built a giant tower!  

David has been very interested in cooking and "plating" food creatively lately.  He wanted this dinner to be in rows.  

I got to teach David's Bible class one Sunday morning and we played a "dart board" game to review with velcro wrapped ping pong balls.  

These key lime mini cakes were pretty tempting at Costco but I passed them up.

I did make rosemary rice krispie treats for a girls' night!  

They were super yummy!  

Keeping my house picked up has felt like a battle lately.  After a morning of "resetting" I snapped this picture to capture the moment.  

As we did our music lesson the other day "Baby" decided to play along.  :)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

this is pretty fun

photo credit:  Adrian

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

pink shoes

firmly in the "do it myself" phase . . . 

dyeing eggs 2016 edition

On Good Friday Nana came over to visit so I decided to seize the moment of having another adult around to do our egg dyeing!  

Unfortunately ALL of our pictures with Nana in them are out of focus but I had to include ONE to show she was here!!  In this photo she is teaching David just like she once taught me about dipping an egg in different colors on either end to make a tri-color egg (white in the middle).  

For whatever reason our egg boiling and dying did not go all that well.  The kids had fun but the eggs weren't all the way cooked (as we found out when two fell on the floor) the dye colors came out really wonky, etc.  

After dyeing eggs traditionally, I decided to try out an idea I'd seen online.  Volcano egg dyeing!  

Cora is pouring her baking soda into her bowl herself.  

Mixing up some baking soda paint.  

After you paint your egg with the baking soda "paint" you pour vinegar over it!  

It was exciting and way less messy than the other way and also turned out some pretty and unique eggs!  I would definitely do it this way again.  

Do you have any egg dyeing traditions?  

Is there anyone reading who has never dyed eggs?


Monday, March 28, 2016


There was a little pre-dinner creative session at our house recently resulting in these two lovely pieces (one Cora's and one David's) now hung in our dining room "gallery".  

I am pretty much in love with this funky paper person!

Also, you might notice the days of creation in the top left of the photo.  We spent a week learning the days of creation using fun ideas found here.  It was a huge hit with the kids!


Saturday, March 26, 2016


“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool."  Isaiah 1:18

photo taken this morning 7:17 a.m. Easter weekend

“The others cast themselves down upon the fragrant grass, but Frodo stood awhile still lost in wonder. It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name. All that he saw was shapely, but the shapes seemed at once clear cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured for ever. He saw no colour but those he knew, gold and white and blue and green, but they were fresh and poignant, as if he had at that moment first perceived them and made for them names new and wonderful. In winter here no heart could mourn for summer or for spring. No blemish or sickness or deformity could be seen in anything that grew upon the earth. On the land of L√≥rien, there was no stain.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Last week saw us in Pittsburgh to visit my in-laws and to celebrate my mother-in-law's retirement concert from the Pittsburgh Camerata which she has directed for the past 18 years.  

She has advanced the group in many ways and has done much good for the singers.  She excels at creative programming and goes where many will not.  This fall she did a concert centered around the theme of human trafficking and brought awareness to this serious issue (which you know is near and dear to my heart as well, what a blessing to share that with one's family) as well as raising funds for rescuing and rehabilitating victims.  

This is only my second concert of hers to get to attend but each time they have truly been captivating and as a side note, her name, Rebecca, means captivating as well.  

She is never one to sit still though and is on to new ventures including writing a Steelers website, Going Deep: An Introspective Steelers Site.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Letter A

Beginning in January we started through the alphabet in our homeschooling journey.  Now for reading we are using the curriculum, All About Reading and it introduces phonograms in it's own order and pacing.  We are not focusing on the letters of the alphabet from a learning to read or write standpoint but as a springboard for a spiral curriculum to learn all about God's wonderful world and all the things the people He created have learned, discovered, invented, thought, created, etc.  

We also have a separate math curriculum but going through the alphabet this way allows us to focus on various things/read literature about things that start with the letter.  Then as the kids get older we can go more in depth on say . . . amphibians or whatever it is but they are getting an introduction and scaffolding for their learning now.  

So above are some of my "key words" for our Letter A Unit to spark ideas.  

Our library has an amazing Educational Resource Center that we like to visit and do things pertaining to the unit as well as just play, explore and learn through choosing manipulatives to play with on our own.  

We used letter tiles to spell out some A words and David chose on his own to make a sentence complete with punctuation and spaces between the words.  

We also explored all of the continents that start with the letter A.

Until I was going through photos I had forgotten that we actually began our Letter A unit before New Year's as we were getting a bit restless and ready to be back into some routine.  

Then we rang in the new year with Grandma and Grandad.  

We have been to Alaska several times so Alaska came up at various times in this unit.  We also have a large map of the United States as decor in our dining room so the kids look at it a lot during meals and ask different things and learn along the way. 

This Alaska Christmas ornament was made by my brother for me!

We also ate some "A" foods including Apple Jacks, Asian pears for the first time, antipasto and alphabet soup

We read A LOT of alphabet books during these two weeks including this one that was a favorite and continues to be.  

The notes you can see underneath the book are from Sarah at Frugal Fun 4 Boys and have been so helpful to me as we navigate learning respect and discipline, etc.  in our home.  I highly recommend checking out her blog and particularly the series I linked to.  

We are always including home ec classes in our homeschool!  No matter what occupation you end up with, everyone needs clean clothes.  :) 

This girl really likes to help with the laundry and is a pretty good folder too.  :) 

One of the kids snapped a picture of mom!  

We also made alphabet soup for the first time during this unit!  

We also did various activities from our Letter A pinterest board some of the favorites being an alphabet soup bath, domino addition game and an alphabet relay.  

In addition we did a rhythm of the day each day we did our "triangle time" (in schools they usually call it circle time when all the kids and teacher sit in a circle on the rug and sing, talk about calendar, etc. but since there are three of us, we call it "triangle time")  :)  Rhythm of the day is something I used to do in my music classroom.  Basically the students read a rhythm and learn to clap it, say it, count it and then play it on an instrument.  It's lots of fun and my kids LOVE it and I love that even at two Cora is learning to read music.  We put various A words to our rhythms and used instruments like agogo bells and comparing and contrasting agogo bells and tick tock blocks.

One day was ALL about Alphabet soup!!!  Three books about it, cooking it together, making pretend alphabet soup together with a relay and naming things that started with the letter we drew and tricking Daddy with our alphabet soup for dinner - the kids were in their own alphabet soup in the bathtub!  But we really ate what was in the crockpot!

Ants - learning all kinds of facts

Watching a really cool Disney nature video about Arctic animals like musk ox, caribou, grizzlies, wolves etc.  And also reading books and watching you tube videos and doing our animal devotional book about arctic and other animals.

Reading a million books about animals, alphabet, arachnids, ants, apples, etc., etc.

Learning the 12 apostles song and memorizing “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

LOTS of formal reading and math curriculum with phonograms, site words, etc. and pattern blocks, unifix cubes, etc.

Addition practice  

Learning some of Aaron Copland’s (an “A”merican composer) music like Appalachian Spring and Rodeo

Looking at different A places on the globe including Alaska and getting a better understanding of it’s scope and postition in the arctic

Practicing letter formation of lowercase a

Learning more about fine art and artists