Bucket List

I don’t have a bucket list, but I’m thinking I should write one.  So far, since I stopped writing on this blog, I have done a bunch of things I could mark off such list, if I had one.

Last year I went to hunter’s safety course, and passed, so I could go hunting with my boys. Hunting was quite cold and not really on my list of things to do, but I did it. One of those things I never would have thought to put on my bucket list.

hunting hunting2 hunting3

Last December Eric and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary and our gift was a concert.  I had never been to a concert like that in my life. We went and saw Tran-Siberian Orchestra’s Lost Christmas Eve.  It was such an exciting and fun experience! 🙂

TSO2 TSO3 TSOticketsWinter lasted forever last year and I think this coming winter will probably do the same. It has been chilly these first days of October.  It’s a beautiful time of year though!  I love fall leaves!  Their smell, the crunch under my shoes and their beautiful colors!

Photography has been happening, though I haven’t been shooting a lot lately. :\ I did 2 photo shoots in September. One was a wedding and another was a maternity shoot.  Weddings are beautiful and I think I really love SMALL weddings! I’ve never shot a big wedding, but it’s not on my bucket list. 🙂 I get stressed out about small ones enough that a big wedding would just send me over the edge. hehe Anyway, it’s been an ok year as far as sessions go. I would definitely love more sessions.

This past July we went on vacation and had such a great time!  Vacation is NEVER long enough!  We decided to do a sight seeing trip and just enjoy the USA.  Our first stop was Colorado to visit my Aunt Cindy and Uncle Fred.  It was a visit that was too short, but we loved every minute of it!  My bucket list item from there was sitting on the summit of a mountain!  I had been to Colorado before, but never did that.  It was exciting, dizzying, and the road up the mountain was a tad scary!

DSC_0652 copyEric made a snowman in July because he could.

DSC_0496 copyDSC_0561 copy DSC_0582 copy DSC_0630 copyThe kids liked their mountain top experience ok, but Grace was a little freaked out over the heights.  Ryan experienced altitude sickness the worst out of all of us. He and Grace didn’t climb up to the summit of Mount Evans because it was freezing and scary. 🙂  Nathan came along!

We traveled through 16 states total on our trip and the kids still talk about it and what a great time vacation was this year!  I’m so glad!  It was such a fun, family time together!  I hope we can do another trip next summer and make more memories like that!

We started school in mid-August and I am enjoying the school year.  Of course, I was more excited about starting school than everyone else in the family. hehe  We are in Paths of Progress this year and are enjoying learning about different inventors this year!  Nathan is technically supposed to be a 9th grader this year, but i decided to just hold him back one more year.  I figure it’s ok if he graduates at 18.  🙂  Ryan is 7th grade and Grace is 5th grade this year.  These last few years of homeschooling have been so wonderful!  We love the Trail Guide to Learning series, and I am so thankful for them!

Maybe I’ll sit and write out a bucket list of things I’ve already done and things I would like to do in the future and make a page for it on my blog.

God is Good.

School Days

This school year is just moving right along!  Today we finished week 7.  Woo Hoo! 🙂  I am excited about how fast school seems to be going.  I’m pretty sure it has to do with our new curriculum and how it keeps us going every day.  I love not feeling lost and actually having a direction we are going in.  The kids are learning a lot of new things this year.  I probably have said that so many times when I write about school.

Last week we finished up our Columbus Unit in our Paths of Exploration book.  It being the 6th week, we finished up some projects and enjoyed a field trip last Thursday.  We took a field trip to the Imagination Cruise that is put on by Jennings.  We met some other homeschool friends there and had a pretty nice time . . . until it started raining so hard that we had to stay in the boat.  It was so nice cruising along the Three Rivers of Pittsburgh on top of the Empress.  Just hanging out and chatting and taking in the sites.


My friends, Liz (who is also my running buddy) and Katie and their children were all there.

While we were on the Rivers, we saw where the replicas of the Nina and Pinta were parked.  Unfortunately we did not get the chance to see them while we were in town that day.  They left on the 3rd of this month.  So that is a bummer, but at least we got to see them as we rode by on our field trip!

Last week we also learned about the phases of the moon and I found this fun idea on Pinterest.  The kids had a fun time learning out the different phases of the moon and enjoyed the tasty snack while sculpting their Oreos just so.  It made for a nice activity!

This week we started our new unit on Jamestown!  It’s been a pretty good week, though today was not so good.  To be honest, I was just glad to finish the day and have the weekend off!  We did have a field trip again this week!  This time we went to the Pittsburgh Zoo!  It was a rather sudden field trip.  My sister in law asked me Wednesday if we wanted to go Thursday since the weather was to be wonderful (oh, and it was PERFECT)!  So we did!

I love taking pictures of everything the kids do and see.  Well, almost everything.  🙂  I had to be sort of selective yesterday since I realized my battery was almost dead and I had left my charged one at home!  Thankfully I made it the whole field trip and my battery didn’t die!  Anyway, the kids had a blast with their cousin and I had a nice day chatting with my sister-in-law.  We enjoyed all the sites the zoo had to offer.  I loved seeing the baby rhino!  So cute!  🙂  The sun was in and out of the clouds all day and it was a warm 75 degrees.  I got a tiny bit pink on my nose, but I didn’t mind at all!  I figured we all could use a dose of vitamin D before the long, cold winter sets in.

We are going to start using the S.O.A.P. Bible Study method daily.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to use and what to do for Bible Study time and this is such an easy method.  I recently purchased the kids some new study Bibles and am excited for them to put them to use.  It took me a long time to find just the  right ones for them.

That’s all for now!  I’ll write more as our school year moves along!

God Bless!

Week 1 – Done!

My kiddos on the first day of school.

I know it’s a repeat picture, but I can’t help myself.

Nathan  listening as his brother reads.  He’s so serious, I know.

Really, he was listening just fine until he realized I was about to take a photo.

Ryan doing his daily read aloud.  This is during our first day of school.

I LOVE Paths of Exploration.

It’s such a different way of schooling, but a wonderful different.

Grace is here doing her copywork.  She likes to do this part.  🙂

Now, I love POE because it covers so many different topics!

We’re still trying to find our groove and figure out how to make it work for us,

but it is going wonderfully.  At least in my opinion.

Grace minced a clove of garlic for the kid’s cooking part of the lesson today.

Ryan was using kitchen shears and cutting of the gross pieces from the chicken tenderloins.


Nathan cried his way through dicing up an onion. 😥

He made sure he let everyone know he was not really crying.

I was just having fun teasing him a little about it.

This is the almost finished meal of Chicken Paella.

Sooo delicious I tell ya!

I ate a whole bowl and then a little extra.

And a little extra after that.

The kids enjoyed their time in the kitchen and it was fun helping them out!

Fridays are a nice, relaxing day where we just catch up on what wasn’t done during the week.

That’s probably one of the things I love about POE.  I also love how everyone is involved in the learning processes!

They all learn differently, but it kind of appeals to everyone.

First Day of School – Student Photo Week!


This morning during a break I took the time to get some first day of school photos!

Nathan   7th Grade.  I still can’t believe this!

Ryan   6th Grade.   Can’t believe this either, really!

Grace    3rd Grade.  My baby . . .

All 3 of them together.

A more normal photo of them. 🙂

They wanted to do this pose. Silly kids! 🙂

Our first day of school was a little crazy as we have started new curriculum, but

so far we like it!  Can’t wait to get more into it as the days and weeks progress!

Curriculum for 2012-2013

This week is about Curriculum @ Not Back to School Blog Hop,

and I’m so excited about ours this year!  Hopefully it’ll transfer to the kiddos. 🙂 

Our new curriculum has spelling included, but I love this so much that

I just have to keep it in some way!  I’m sure I’ll get it worked out.


We’re continuing with Math U See.

We’re trying something new this year.

Trail Guide to Learning’s, Paths of Exploration

I’ve read so many good things about this that it drew me in!

School is all planned and ready to go now.

Our start date is August 20th! 

I almost forgot about BIBLE!!
We’re going to be using:

My Time With God New Testament Devotions by Paul J. Loth.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Week 26
Our last few weeks of school have been disrupted by illness.  I have all these great idea, but no one feels good enough to really apply them.  We’ve (I’ve) just been happy enough to get the basics done lately.  
MATH:  Nathan had a 94% on his math test.  I’m not sure it reflects his grasp of things though.  He seems to learn something new and forget something he knew before.  It’s frustrating, but we gotta keep pressing on.   Ryan did multiplication tables a few days last week, but ended up getting sick on Wednesday and had Thurs. and Fri. as sick days.  Grace got an 84% on her math test, but she does understand what she is doing – she was just careless on her test.  
GRAMMAR & Explode the Code:  Nathan did 3 days worth of Grammar and Grace did 4 days of Explode the Code.  Ryan also did 3 days of Explode the Code.  The rest of the week I didn’t make Nathan and Ryan do their stuff.  I was exhausted – nights of lost sleep from kids waking up just kind of got to me.  It’s amazing how tired mom gets when the kids are sick.  
SPELLING:  Nathan got an 85% on his test and Grace took her test, but I’m just having her review last week’s lesson this week, that way she and Ryan can work together.  
BIBLE:  We started working on the beatitudes last week, but didn’t get as far as I liked.  We’ll just press on.  
SCIENCE:  Nathan did unit test 6 and got an 82%.  He started unit 7 and will be done with his Creation or Evolution book!  I think he’s enjoyed the study.  After he’s done with that and the weather starts being more stable, we’ll start Nature Study again.  I definitely want to be more organized with it.
On Leap Day the kids went to a party that my sister-in-law planned.  It was so cute!  I have pictures and I want to add them, but can’t right now.  Our big computer is still being worked on (hubby had to wipe it clean and is reloading everything) and I can’t play with photoshop to resize the pictures until it’s ready to go.  
Have any of you heard of Home School Enrichment magazine?  I LOVE it!  I got some free issues in the mail and decided to order some.  So many great articles and great ideas!  


Weekly Wrap-Up

Week 25
This was a rough week of school, let me tell ya!  After our 2 weeks of modified school with a few days taken off for sick days, it was hard getting back into the groove.
MATH:  This was a good and bad week all wrapped into one.  The 2 week break from math helped Nathan a lot.  He finally understood what he was doing with his long multiplication problems.  He doesn’t always pay attention, but when he does he gets the problems correct.  Ryan, on the other hand is having major difficulty with multiplication because he told me he doesn’t really know his multiplication tables.  That’s when I found that site www.honorpoint.com  and Ryan really likes it.  I’m so thankful for the internet!  Sometimes you just don’t know what will help out your child until you try different things.  Grace is doing well with her math, too.  She loves math (so not like her mother, thankfully)!
Grammar & Explode the Code:  Nathan is learning about Pronouns in his grammar now.  He seems to be doing ok, so far. 🙂  Grace and Ryan are flying through their Explode the Code books.  They enjoy those subjects.
SPELLING:  It was a pretty good week for spelling, for the most part.  Nathan got a 95% on his test.  He did a really good job.  Grace and Ryan did their tests.  Ryan’s wasn’t so good at first, but he was determined to get a 100% and he did!  He took his test once and did pretty bad, so he studied his words and then retook it for the 100%.  He doesn’t remember things well, so I know it was determination that helped him get the 100.  That’s the kind of effort I LOVE seeing from him.  I made sure I told Eric so he could praise Ryan for the good job he did.  Grace did ok on her test, not the best, but we’ll be going over the words again next school year.  
HISTORY:  We are catching up with our Freedom Friday from the week before.  We did a page of quotes to guess who said it and started reading through the Declaration of Independence.  It could have been a better week, but we were just getting by with the basics most days last week.
SCIENCE:  Nathan is continuing in his Creation or Evolution book.  He’s getting near the end of it and seems to be enjoying the study.  Ryan and Grace did not do any science last week.  I’m looking forward to doing some nature study once spring is in full swing.  It’ll be nice to have some classes outside!
BIBLE:  It was a fail in this subject this week.  We finished our Character Studies a couple weeks ago and I have just not found something to start.  I do have some Bible books in the book case, I need to start one of them!  Tomorrow!
As I mentioned, it was a rough school week, but it was profitable!  This week will be a bit modified due to some business and on Wednesday we’ll be going to a Leap Day Party!  I’m excited about that! 🙂  It’ll be a fun day!  

Weekly Wrap-Up

Week 23
As you can tell, I’ve been in a blogging funk lately.  Not so motivated to write about anything, really.  I guess these are the ho-hum days of winter.  Nothing exciting or interesting going on for the most part (a few things I will save for another post).  Eric had a head cold one weekend and I had one last weekend – it lasted for about a week.  Not good!  Thankfully it’s over now and I’m feeling mostly normal again.  Well, normal for me anyway. 🙂  
School continues on though.  That was going the same, so this past week I decided to change things up a bit. I’m thinking we’ll have one more week of “abnormal school” and then get back on track with our regularly scheduled studies.  
MATH:  This week we started reading through Life of Fred  Butterflies and it has been rather fun!  I know it’s easy elementary math, but amazingly my older boys needed this review (especially my oldest).  We have one more to read through, which we borrowed from a friend.  I am ever so thankful to her for loaning these books to us!  I’m really tempted to purchase them now.  I’ll have to talk it over with the husband and see what he thinks.  I’m trying to decide, which I’m sure will happen after discussing things over with Eric, if we should switch completely OR use Life of Fred along with our Math U See.  Decisions, decisions . . .  My boys are behind in math and some times it’s like they just aren’t grasping things.  I feel like I’m totally messing things up for them at this point, but we’re pressing on with what we have for now.
BIBLE:  This past week we completed our Bible study on Character traits.  We’ll still work on the Scripture verses for the rest of the school year and move on to some other Bible Study (after I figure out what that is).  I believe it’s a very important subject – the most important subject.  We must learn and know God’s Word and what He wants us to do each and every day.  
SPELLING:  All 3 of the kids read through their spelling log books up to where they left off and we did spelling practice and I went through each kid’s books with them and had them spell words that they had missed all the way through.  It was a good review.  Nathan enjoys spelling a lot and does pretty good most of the time.  Grace isn’t as good spelling words out-loud since she uses phonogram sounds to spell words, but she can write them pretty good!  With Ryan it’s just an all-round struggle, but he did really good spelling words out-loud the other day.  I’m glad for that!  If only he’d just realize that using the phonogram sounds really will help you spell words out!  

GRAMMAR/WRITING:  On Monday, Nathan did a Cumulative test for the Adverb Unit for his Grammar.  He got a 93% on the test.  He did a good job because that’s a lot of stuff to remember!  We tried something new this week, too.  All 3 kids had a writing assignment and we have a small poster on our wall with how the Writing Process works.  The kid’s papers were about a paragraph each, Nathan’s was 2 paragraphs.  They did pretty good, too.  Next week we’re going to write another paper and concentrate on sentence patterns and review the parts of speech and probably do a page or two of editing.

HISTORY:  Last week, Rebecca @  Mom’s Mustard Seeds started a fantastically wonderful series called FREEDOM FRIDAY.  Last week for history we read the Mayflower Compact and answered questions on it that we got from HERE.  We also watched the video by Lynn from FOUNDERS ACADEMY and answered questions about the video, too.

ART:  Nothing formal, but there was some spontaneous drawing and coloring broke out once or twice.  My kids spend these long winter days playing with Lego’s a lot. My living room gets vacuumed a couple times a week, after I get them to remove all their Lego’s from the floor.  Might not be “art” officially, but they are being creative with their building/playing.

CURSIVE:  The kids are doing good in this subject.  I haven’t made them write their final papers in cursive, but we’ll get there.  I’m thinking Nathan and Ryan can probably do this and Grace might even like to try it.  The boys are working through their new cursive writing books.  I really like the book Nathan has right now.  It’s called HANDWRITING:  Book G by Thomas M. Wasylyk.    The other 2 are using Handwriting by ELP.  Grace is using Practice Book 3 and Ryan is using Book 4.  I think once they finish those books up I will move them to the books by Thomas Wasylyk.

SCIENCE:  We didn’t really do anything in science this week, unless you count watching Monster Bug Wars.  It’s kinda creepy, but cool, too. 🙂

Well, that’s our wrap-up.  It was a fun week of school and we look forward to another week of this kind of schooling AND a  field trip!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Week 22
These have been a crazy couple of weeks here.  It’s just been plain hard, not fun at all, and pretty stressful for all involved.  
MATH:  Nathan has taken the same math test 3 times and just can’t seem to grasp the concepts.  Actually he does grasp the concepts, but he is not that careful with his multiplication/addition.  Ryan – who often struggles – passed the same test on the first try.  It’s amazing what attention to detail can do!  The question is how to get someone to focus.  Grace did fine with her math.  She is cruising right along.  
GRAMMAR/EXPLODE the Code:  Nathan did a review of his End of the Adverb Unit Cumulative Test. He has to review it because it goes over all he has learned to this point in his book.  He’ll be testing in it this week.  Grace and Ryan are doing well with their Explode the Code books.  They do their pages and then read them to me each day.  They don’t always like reading it to me, but they do it anyway. 🙂  
SPELLING:  Last week was a good week for spelling.  Everyone did pretty good on their tests and seem to be learning.  Some days are harder than others, but we do make it through.
SCIENCE:  Nathan took his Unit test 5.  He did ok on it.  Ryan and Grace played a little with Snap Circuits.  That’s always fun to do.  
HISTORY:  We watched the rest of Drive Thru History and then I didn’t feel good Wednesday on, so we just did the basics the rest of the week.
CURSIVE:  The kids are doing well with their cursive writing.  Nathan is accidentally writing more cursive, so I think that’s great! 🙂  Grace writes is very nicely, as does Ryan.  They just aren’t fluid cursive writers, yet.  
BIBLE:  We learned about Perseverance last week, though we didn’t study it as hard as I would have liked to.  Their memory verse was Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for he is faithful that promised;)”  
School itself  wasn’t so bad last week, but I started getting sick Wednesday and I haven’t had such a terrible headcold in a LONG time.  Thankfully it wasn’t the flu, but it was enough to knock me out of commission for a few days.  I haven’t laid in bed for that many days in a row in a long time. 
This coming school week is all about “abnormal” schooling.  I’ll share more either on Friday or on the weekend! 🙂