Garden Update

I’m obsessed. I love my garden. It is not large by any means but this tiny rectangle of goodness brings me so much joy.

The sunflowers have just started to bloom and it brings back so many good memories. I remember planting them with my mom in our backyard on Long Island when I was a kid.

I can’t wait until they all are blooming. Up against the white fence it’s going to look beautiful.

The lettuce was a fail. From far away it looks like the healthiest thing but I never pulled out the weaker links and now it’s just jam packed and covered in aphids.

The tomatoes are doing ok as long as I caterpillar pick every day. Those things are relentless but I can’t kill them. So every morning I go out and toss them over my fence into the neighbors yard. It really is hard to garden without pesticides but we are doing it. Some tomatoes have been sacrificed because of it.

My pride and joy though is these carrots! You can’t see them growing so it’s so rewarding to pull out a big orange carrot. Like every time more exciting than the next. You might say I’m a little crazy about these carrots. I am.

And they taste even better. We have so many that we let friends come over and pick their own.

My second favorite is the sweet peas. For awhile they just looked like a huge messy weed but then they started flowering and now everyday we pick 6-8 pods. My kids love it.

My cucumbers died. I am in mourning. I think the peas choked them out. And the eggplant even tho they were all planted the same day is still a small plant. I guess they just grow slower. This has been such an awesome experience for my kids. I let them take care of it from weeding the beginning gardening and planting the seeds, making the compost dirt, watering and pick off caterpillars to the harvest. They always ask me, “Are we real farmers mom?” We sure are guys.

The Last Supper

Celebrating the Last Supper with my babies and their friends is the best tradition I’ve ever started.

This is our third annual Last Supper. We get mini plastic “wine” glasses, we break bread and read the story of the Last Supper.

After we went outside with our pitcher of water. We sat in a circle, read the Bible story of the washing of the feet then we passed the pitcher around washing our friends feet. Listening to the giggles and the story come to life for them just makes my whole day.

Seeing Lydia be a part of it this year was the best. Every year builds on the year before and my kids will always know the truth of Easter. That Jesus died for their sins and that He loves them more than they will ever know.

And while we still celebrate with the bunny and the eggs, nothing is more special than the day we celebrate the last supper.

This year I tried it with just Lydia and her little friends. And you know what, they totally got it. They loved the wine glasses, the sharing of the bread and the washing of the feet. They may not know the reason behind all this but next year they might just remember a little bit of it and smile.

Butterfly World

Our spring unit ended with a trip to Butterfly World. It was a such a treat because Madeline, Max, Ben, Brynn and Jolie met us there.

The tour guide was so great. She caught several butterflies for us to see up close and we got to touch a caterpillar.

But nothing beat the Butterfly that landed on Max face!!

He looks like the poster child for Butterfly World.

They even have a big museum 🤢

We took home some milkweed plants and were lucky enough to find 2 monarch caterpillars.

Easter Celebrations

I love Easter, it’s all the Jesus minus the stress. Christmas is beautiful but Easter has a more laid back vibe. No big presents, no extreme baking and easier part… I don’t host this holiday. We go to my sisters.

Lydia’s baby class started off the holiday with a little party. We had bunny booty pancakes for snack.

I read to them One More Tickle and Biscuits Easter. They actually listened. I was stunned. I tried all kinds of things today to keep them happy. I brought bubble wrap and bubbles, an Easter egg sensory bin and stickers. I’m pretty sure this little judges were impressed and they are a hard group to please. .

The homeschool celebrations continued with a Park day that I put together with pin the tail of the bunny, bunny hop races, “egg” and spoon races and an Easter egg hunt. The kids had the best time!

Even the Easter Bunny made an appearance!

Easter with my family was so sweet. There are so many little babies. Check out this cousin crew!

They don’t even know how lucky they are. Soon we will be adding little Matilda to the group. It’s crazy in one year we’ve doubled cousins.

But where it all began… my faves of all the world!

It’s sometimes sad to realize we don’t all live in the same house anymore. We aren’t fighting o we sharing clothes or eating the last of the English muffins. We blinked and we all have our own families. But these people are my first loves. My bffs.

Sweet Memories

Tonight there was a storm and it’s been months since it’s really rained here. So we took the kids out in the yard and all laid on the futon and watched the storm roll in. I always loved doing that as a kid. We counted the seconds between thunder and lightning and I told them how when I was little my grandma told me that thunder was just the angels bowling.

There is nothing I love more about our homeschool than snuggled up reading with my kids. Right now we are reading Winnie the Pooh. It makes my day when they make a connection and retell the story to me.

My pretty little farmer girl.

Lydia loves her little rocker. Sitting on the front porch is our new nightly thing before bath.

Timmy wrote a book today. He says he’s an author now. I love his drawings..

I just love Lydia’s baby walk. It a belly first kind of a skip hop run. Like she’s bouncing along to her destination. It’s so cute.

I am starting to understand her baby talk. Yesterday she asked to to close a door and open a snack. She’s so happy that I finally can translate her language. Her new word for No is NUH UH with a head shake. Her favorite thing to eat is apples. Eats them just like a big kid.

We picked basil from the garden to add to our soup. The kids watched as I cleaned and dried it. Then came the cutting. Grace is like, “Mommmm what are you doing? We didn’t just grow it so you could kill it!”

Our first Sunrise

I love the sunrise and I really want my kids to love it too. So I woke them up at 6:30, packed us a breakfast, some baggies for shells and their paint set. It was the most beautiful sunrise ever. This time of year is a good time to go with the time change. Just add it to the list of the amazing benefits of homeschooling. I kept them in their pjs and that’s how we started our school day.

When we got home they made seashell necklaces.

St Patrick’s Day Celebrations

We had a couple parties for St Patrick’s Day. On especially for Lydia’s little buddies and one for our church group.

For Lydia’s baby party I bought green balloons, shamrock cookies, fruit loops, green grapes, green apples and decorated their tables pretty.

I love that I’m able to spend this alone time with Lydia and her friends. Sometimes I feel bad that she has to tag along with all the big kid events. But hard work??!! These babies give me a run for my money. So far the only way to their heart is food and bubbles.

For our church group we learned all about St Patrick’s life and good works. The kids love the legend that he drive out all the snakes. The shamrock really is a great way to teach the trinity. I guess St Patrick knew what he was doing.

We were lucky that Father walked in just as we were preparing to pray over our food so he said the blessing for us.

On the morning of St Patrick’s Day my kids woke up to some leprechaun magic. And by magic I mean green pee and gold glitter foot prints.

The rest of the day my kids were setting up evidence that a leprechaun was in our house. This one is a half eaten applesauce and juice box with gold pipe cleaners as “shoes” that the leprechaun left behind.

I printed some St Patricks math worksheets to go with Lucky Charms cereal. We made green pancakes and that was the end of the holiday.

March Happenings

March started off really warm. For sure we thought winter was over and summer was here. But we were wrong. Since these pictures we’ve actually had to put the pool away. I love cool weather. Every summer I beg for it but I’m ready for a little summer.

We celebrated Dr Seuss birthday in style! Our homeschool group moms really put their heart into this get together. We even had the kids dress up as book characters. Timmy was the grinch, Grace was Cindy Lou Who and Lydia was a mini cat in the hat girl. I’m so glad that my kids have all these friends. Homeschool kids may actually be more socialized than the world thinks. Sometimes I struggle more with finding time to do school work because we has so many play dates.

We went to Sea World twice in March because the weather was amazing. Mornings were in the 50’s and afternoons in the 70’s. Plus we are almost up on our season passes so we wanted to get our monies worth. We love Sea World especially the penguins. I know not everybody is a fan and I get that but as a Homeschooler I just can’t think of a better way to spark a love of learning when it comes to the ocean. I still remember seeing the Shamu show as a kid and thinking I want to save animals too! There were 2 new pilot whales there and they were so cute! Loved the kids it was like they were smiling. We took Tims parents with us to treat them for their anniversary. It was nice for Tim to spend time with his parents.

Our kids are so big. Tall enough to ride all the kid rides alone. They were so excited.

Look at Timmy with his arms around her being protective. He’s so sweet. Lydia on the other hand not a huge fan of any rides. It starts off good and well you’ll see in the photos lol.

We had lunch at the Shark Restaurant and I can’t rave about it enough. Food was amazing but the view was totally cool!

Timmy and Grace got their very first library cards. They were so excited. I gave them both their own bags to check out as many books as they can carry.when we got home they played librarian.

We made slime for the millionth time but this time was different. Grace made it into a tiara and put it in her hair. I have ptsd from the time she cut all her hair off so I panicked and threw her in the tub to wash it all out. I wasn’t sure how it was gonna go down since it’s made of glue but it was fine.

We painted little gardens.

I love seeing the way Timmy spells. He actually hates to spell on his own. He hates not being right. I was debating whether spelling should be part of our curriculum but when he cried today that he wishes he could spell it broke my heart. I’m so proud of his little sounded out word creations but I think I might have to add spelling to the Language Arts Loop.

We planted a flower garden in the front yard. Spring is definitely in the air. I love waking up to the sounds of the birds at the crack of dawn. For real I do. I love how they take their baths in our bird baths every day.I don’t know if you can see the Mama cardinal in our glass bird bath but she’s there scrub a dub dub.

We did the food coloring and white carnations experiment. Another mom gifted us this test tube holder because she awesome. Grave loves flowers so this whole spring Unit is rocking her world.

I wish I took more pictures at the end because it was amazing how dark in color they were.

We made a resurrection garden for the first time this year. What a concrete way of teaching Easter.

We ordered ladybugs for our garden and invited some friends over to help us release them. It was fun until all the kids were crawling with ladybugs.

We bought a Venus fly trap and that’s been entertaining. Blows my mind every time.

Some pretty pictures, some funny and other just look like I torture them to smile.

Homeschool Convention Notes 2017

I was like a kid in a candy store when I walked into that exhibit hall 🙌🏻 & the night before was my Christmas Eve. So I guess you could say I was a tad bit excited about my very first convention for homeschool.

The main speaker was one of my favorite people, Sarah Mackenzie. She’s like the Beyoncé of homeschooling. Her book changed my whole way of thinking.

It started at 8:30 and me and Lydia arrived at 7am because I’m crazy. But Sarah was the first speaker and I didn’t want to miss a minute.

One of the first questions she asked us was to think of how we want our kids to describe being homeschooled 20 years from now. Like imagine your kids are 25 years old and out to dinner with friends, what will they say?

We all shouted out things like loving, fun you know all the sweet adjectives we could think of.

She starts laughing and says oh you mean you don’t want them to say that they knew all their letters by 2.5 years old or that they completed their entire geometry curriculum on time?

That really got me to thinking. Even as a public school student, how I describe my school years has zero to do with what information I learned when and do I even remember half the things they tried to shove down our throats so that we could finish our workbooks by June… 

When I think back to school I remember my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Phillips, who was so wacky & fun. I remember Show & Tell and the sand & water tables. I remember Mrs. Rhinehardt who read Corduroy to me for the first time and sent me home with the ragged old bear to take care of for the weekend. I remember Miss Dunn who lived with her parents on my street. She was so sweet and probably not older than 25. She had us do a project where we designed a restaurant making blueprints and then we had to create a menu. I loved that and at the time thought I for sure wanted to open my own restaurant. I remember mean Mrs. Maine. Nobody liked her but I don’t know why. She read to us Little House on the Praire. My family moved mid way through the year and we hadn’t yet finished the book. She knew I loved it and bought me my own copy. Its on my bookshelf to this day. Its still my favorite book. 

In the later years I remember Mr. Navetta. The absolute best. He taught me Algebra and he worked so hard to make sure I understood. If you made lower than a C on a test he would have you come in a relearn what you missed. He was available before school and after school for free tutoring. He always made time for me. He was obsessed with the book “How to Kill a Mockingbird” and he was a math teacher, go figure. He had the quotes from the book all over his classroom. I visited him every year after I left middle school until I graduated high school. 

I only have 1 memorable teacher past middle school and I can’t remember his name but I can see his face and his balding red hair. He taught AP English at my high school. It was the morning of 9/11. We were all very confused by everything that was happening. We had the news on the tv and when people started jumping from the buildings he turned off the tv and said y’all bow your heads. Now I don’t remember his exact words but he said a beautiful prayer. This was public school and he was a Jewish man. But that day it did not matter. He did what he knew to be right on that scary day and I’ll never forget it.

So when I think about what I want my own children to say about their homeschool experience, I want them to remember all the books, the feeling of being snuggled up to mom, the laughter from playing with their siblings. I want them to know that if I saw they were interested in something that I tried to give them all the opportunity I could to learn all about it. I want them to know how much I cherished the short time I was given to fill them with Gods truth and His love. 

Another important comment that Sarah made was about an airplane and a hammer. Sounded weird to me at first too. But here’s the deal. We buy curriculum because well it’s pretty and organized and we are all excited about teaching the lessons. Come January we are hardly half way through and we are not sure if it’s really going to get finished. And the curriculum stares at us with its not so real eyes and judges us from the shelf. Well Sarah says curriculum is a tool, much like a hammer. Its useful only when you need it and want to use it. You don’t buy a hammer and say well I better use this hammer everyday or I’m a failure. You don’t just go along hammering holes in the wall just to say you used it. Use your curriculum to your benefit, when it suits you and your children. Don’t feel like you have to check it off a to do list. You are the ruler of your school day, the curriculum is only a tool to help. 

And so the airplane… the pilot has a flight path all mapped out. He has a plan. You don’t just board a plane and say ok let’s wing this, where we headed? Bermuda? So you see, the curriculum is your flight path. The plan for the year, so nice and orderly. But just like most flights, there’s bad weather and we have to adjust the path. There are going to be events and sick babies that slow down your pace. Don’t panic, just adjust your path. Don’t rush through your lessons just to get caught up. Be aware of when Jesus is purposely trying to slow you down. And when all else fails, get a blanket and a book and read to those sweet children. 

& don’t forget to date all your paperwork, work book pages & projects – lol

I am so excited for our very first Kindergarten year with Timmy and a little sad about my last year of Grace being a preschooler. Luckily for me I get to start all over with Lydia and maybe by then I’ll have it all figured out.

A Lesson in Horses

Our sweet niece loves horses and lucky for her my brother-in-law bought her two. Timmy and Grace are old enough now to learn about caring for a horse so I asked Halle if she wouldn’t mind giving them a lesson in horses.

My kids were over the moon excited. They wanted to help with everything. Grace took a good 20 minutes to warm up to the idea. I think she was surprised by how big horses really are up close.

First she had them brush Ripley and give her some treats.

Then they gave her some spritz before saddling her up and taking her for a ride.  

Then they gave Ripely gatorade which was news to me. Apparently is good for their hydration. Them she got a nice bath and some love.

Halle is so sweet with the kids. Shes so patient and gentle. I think we are going to make this a regular thing.