A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Monday, May 29, 2017

So This Happened...

One of the side effects of the San Diego trip was that it cemented in Brianna's mind her decision to join the military.  Josiah took her to meet his recruiter, and they got the ball rolling.  She spent one day at MEPS taking the ASVAB.  She spent another day there, having a physical.  Then she had a session with the recruiter again, where she selected her job.

The following week, it was back to MEPS to swear in!

It's official.  My little girl has joined the Army.  She leaves shortly after graduation next year.

I'm excited for her.  I'm glad that she can just enjoy senior year, knowing she has her plan nailed down, and doesn't need to worry about making huge decisions any more.

And on a lighter note, how many of my kids have to join the military before they name a battleship after me??

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Our Week Learning About the Human Body

Last week, I alluded to the fact that we were working on studying the human body.  We ended up having a lot of fun with it.

First, we traced everybody onto big brown craft paper.

I used a pencil to trace them, and then we went over the pencil lines with Sharpies, evening things up a bit, and making it easier to see the lines.

As we learned about our various organs and systems, we would color, cut out, and paste them onto our bodies.

I found that I'm much more aware of what can go wrong with the human body because of my involvement in the world of China special needs adoptions.  In fact, several times, I pulled up Facebook and showed my kids a picture of a child I knew with a condition relating to the organ or system that we were learning about.  I was pretty matter of fact about it, stating that "sometimes, something goes wrong, and someone's __________ is a little different."  When we got to bones, I asked the kids, "Do we know anybody whose bones are a little different?"  They all blinked at each other and shook their heads.  I got a laugh out of that, blessed by the fact that their limb differences are such a normal part of life, they don't really think about it much.  In fact, when I was reading aloud, I ammended, "You have 206 bones..." to "Jack has 206 bones."  Hannah asked, "How many do you have?"  (I think she thought maybe there was a difference between boys and girls?)  I told her 206.  Then she asked, "How many do I have?"  I explained that I don't really know, but we did some counting and made some guesses, based on the bits she doesn't have.  It was a good conversation.

The kids also read through the pile of books about our bodies, one each day during quiet time.  They would each share something they learned from their book the next day.

The patterns for the organs come from the book My Body.  We also talked about nutrition, and used some of the resources from Choose My Plate, including a set of food flash cards that we separated into piles by food groups.  We talked about "sometimes foods" and "anytime foods," as well.

I used the My Body book when my big kids were little, so I'm a little nostalgic to be ending my homeschooling days with it, too.

Of course, we did more than just study about the body this week.

Jack and Hannah are DONE with their spelling books!  Hallelujah!  Katie still has a few lessons left in hers, but we're plodding along.

Last weekend, Eli and I were part of a group that planted 13 trees with Sacramento Tree Foundation!

Bubba and I were paired up with a guy and his little girl (who is in the hole we dug, lol) and the 4 of us got 2 trees in.  Then I hauled wheelbarrows full of mulch for a while, and Eli got to help stake and tie the new trees.

I took this picture to send to Annaliese (who is currently in New Zealand) so she can see the girls are still wearing the Australia shirts she got them last year when she was there.

A panda dress for Hannah.  I think I'm going to have enough fabric to squeak one out for Katie, too.

Unfortunately, while I was coverstitching the neckline, one of the needles broke and flew into my eye.  I'm okay, but it didn't feel good.

Remember Multicultural Children's Book Day?  I read a lot of the reviews, and there was one that even had a cool art project to go along with the book.  I put the book on my Amazon wish list, thinking I'd get it "someday."

So I was so excited to walk into the library last week and spot THE BOOK!  After we got it home, I did a search, found the blog post with the art project, and we made it this week.  We used Kwik Stix for the flower stems and fingerprints for the flowers.

Miss Katie did hers later, and she used Kwik Sticks for the flowers instead of fingerprints.

Hey look!  We finished another book!  I love this time of year, it feels so good to be wrapping things up.  We're all done with Charlotte's Web from Memoria Press.  We actually reviewed the Third Grade Literature set (4 books) last year.  The study guides are really challenging!  I would recommend ordering at least one grade level down.

I have an Instant Pot.  And it's a marvelous creation.  But I'm not very adventurous, nor do I like cooking very much, so it mostly gets used for about 3 dishes.  I like to brown some sausage in it and then add beans, which have been soaking overnight, plus a little onion, garlic, and cumin, and set it to "beans" to cook.  Comes out marvelous, especially with some fresh cilantro sprinkled on top.

I taught Josiah how to make it, and he does so about once every 2 weeks because it's one of his favorites.  With so much exposure to dried beans being reconstituted, he was inspired to start a couple bean seedlings in a plastic bag in the back yard (with a damp paper towel).  The sprouting bean above has now been planted in a little pot, and we're looking forward to seeing what happens next.

This was a little bit of a crazy week for us, since we had not one, but two field trips, but we still managed to "do school" on the other days, and even played a game.

Since these guys are done with spelling, I thought a word game would keep that part of the brain active.  We used our letter tiles to play score-less Scrabble.

Another book finished!  I think I picked this one up in the $1 spot at Target.  It was kind of funny, the first few days I had her working in it, she kept saying, "Oh, Colorado like the Colorado in my puzzle."  Um, yes, Katie, all of these states are like the one in your USA puzzle, lol.  So she's had good exposure to the names and shapes of our states this year.

After our 2 field trips, we were home all day Friday, so we were able to finish up our body project.

I was able to teach the girls about their uterus, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes while Jack was off reading one of the Redwall books, his current obsession.  We had a great discussion of menstruation and how many eggs we have and other fascinating related topics.  Brianna came home from school, took one look at the white board, and said, "You taught about periods today."  I'm not sure how much Katie absorbed, but I think Hannah has a fair enough grasp on the basics that she won't freak out when hers starts.  (Hopefully not for a couple years, but I have no way of knowing how old her birth mama was when she started, so better to prepare on the early side.)  She asked intelligent questions.

Yeah, I know.  Jack's way too large for the bones in the book.  If I had been thinking, I could have photocopied them greater than 100% to enlarge them a bit.  Oh well.  I'm sure he still learned things.  

We're about to embark on the last week of school!  Actually, Brianna has only 3 days left, and Eli 4.  I really want to get through the rest of Katie's spelling book, so we'll work on that until it's done, but for the most part we should be done on Friday.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mandisa Out of the Dark CD

One day, in the car, I heard this song on the radio, and I really liked it.  Two days later, the opportunity came up for me to review the brand new CD Out of the Dark, by Mandisa.  With the song Unfinished on it.  Well that made my day!

I was very excited to receive Out of the Dark, and popped it in to listen to right away.  It's peppy!  You may be familiar with Mandisa's song, Overcomer from a few years ago, or the super happy Good Morning song.  This CD features 16 songs, most of them with a similar happy, peppy vibe.

Overall, I really like this CD.  Unfinished is still my favorite, but I'm Still Here is probably my second favorite.  The only thing I'm not crazy about are the spoken tracks.  The song I'm Still Here is about Mandisa's struggle with depression, and the first track is simulated voice mails from her concerned friends trying to check in on her.  While I'm sure that's very powerful in a music video, I wish they'd left it off the CD.  My kids kept asking me, "What's that talking?" when I would play the CD.  I usually skip past it now.

I like the wholesome, encouraging music on Out of the Dark, and I hope you will check it out.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Our Mother's Day Week

I'm finding that I'm not getting Our Week posted every week any more.  I'm not sure if this is the beginning of the end for my blog, or if I will find new things to talk about.  Transitions abound, that's for sure.

For now, we're just trying to get through the last couple weeks of school.  Everyone is looking forward to summer!

Remember our History Unboxed boxes?  Hannah got to do the terra cotta warrior project included in our China box because Jack had already made one when we studied about China 2 years ago.

I really like the Art In History ceramic projects.  We still have some of the completed ones floating around here.

When we did the Egyptian Tomb Walls, I realized that the kids would have had more control with a permanent marker than with a paintbrush, so I had Hannah do some of the black detail work with Sharpie.

I finished another PJ top for Katie, to match the previously shown pajama shorts.  2 down, one to go.

I've been thinking a lot about how I will use my time once I'm no longer homeschooling.  Sure, there are projects around the house that I've been putting off that I will get to, and I'll have this entire room to sort through, but I am very drawn to spending my time making a difference.

I've been watching the Feed My Starving Children website for about a year now, waiting for a mobile pack event to happen near us.  A couple of times, there's been a local one, but the sign ups filled before I saw it.  So I was very excited to get the opportunity to participate this time!

What's even better is that I took Jack and Hannah with me.  Here we are, hairnets on, getting scrubbed up to pack meals for kids in need.

Jack Jack was on the funnel.  He held the bags in place while the scoopers at the end of the table poured the 4 ingredients (veggies, soy, vitamin powder, and rice) into the funnel.

Then he passed the bag to the weigher, in the purple shirt.  Her job was to make sure it was between X and Y # grams.  She could add or subtract a little rice to make it just right.

Hannah and I were on the sealing machine.  I took the bags from the weigher and held them in place, while Hannah brought the bar down and held it until the light went off.

This was our boxer.  His job was to take the bags and stack them in piles of 2 until we had 36 bags, then put them into a box.  The warehouse runners would then whisk the box away.  Our team (which included another funnel on the other table) packed about 5 boxes every 10 minutes.  Each bag contains 6 meals.

These particular meals are headed to Nicaragua.  We had a great time packing, and I hope to participate again the next time there's an event near us.  During our volunteer session, enough meals were packed to feed 78 children for a year!

Brianna has had lopsided hair for a while, since she shaved part of her head last year.  It was growing out, and she decided it was time for a cut that would even things out.

My Mother's Day present from Josiah.

Mother's Day snuggles with Katie.

These guys took me out to a yummy lunch at Panda Express.

Then we went to the park.

We walked along the creek, where we saw ducks, turtles, and tons of dragonflies.

The girls climbed several trees.

We even found a snail bush!

And a tree with a hole in it.  It's neat to see all the interesting things we can discover if we take the time to explore.  We walked about a mile, just hanging out together.

I had wanted to get pictures of everybody again this year like I did last year, but that just didn't happen.

We finished the Dinosaur Book that we created from the Dinosaurs on the Move book we won from Figures In Motion.  I'll be a little sad to see all our historical figures come down when we finish up our homeschool year, so I'll probably turn those into a book, too.

Wheelie the cat, checking out my new patio tables and chairs, a Mother's Day gift from Paul.

We went to the library this week, and it was nice enough to play at the park for a while.  I would have taken more (better) pictures, but I was chatting with a friend.

Can you guess what we're learning about right now?  As we finish up our school year, we're finishing off a lot of our books.  I decided to pull out My Body and get one last use out of it.  I bought this book ages ago, when we lived in Santa Rosa, and I used it with Zach, Annaliese, Josiah and Samuel there.  Then a few years ago, I used it when I taught at homeschool co op.  Now I'm using it one last time with Jack, Hannah, and Katie.

I've started a pile of the homeschool materials we're done with, and I'll be adding My Body to it soon.  I hope some other family gets as much use out of it as we have.

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