This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

TOS Reviews ~ year 2

Reviews from June 2011 – December 2011

~ How to Have a H.E.A.R.T for your Kids

~ Wise Alec ~ Nature Nut

~ Before Five in a Row

~ AIMS- Solve It! 3rd Problem-Solving Strategies

~ Aletheia Writing Magazine

~ Visual Latin

~ Always Icecream

~ E-mealz

~ Apologia - Educating the WholeHearted Child

~ Wits & Wagers Family

~ Excellence in Literature, English 1

~ Memoria Press – Classical Phonics

~ Ooka Island Adventure

~ Keyboard Town PALS

~ College Prep Genius

~ Read Naturally

~ The Reading Game

~ Artistic Pursuits, Book 1

~ The World's Greatest Stories


I am a list maker. I like to have things written down in front of imagesCAD4T46Kme so I can physically check them off when I am done, it’s just how I roll.  I admit that sometimes my lists give birth to new lists, but that just keeps things interesting right? Sprittibee says “Lists are living, breathing, always-changing reminders of things that you don't want to forget about... things that are important to you.” and I couldn't agree more.
Today I am linking up my list of 30+ things with Spritiibee’s Big Fat Annual List. I think my list is manageable and compact. So without further adieu here is my list.
30+ Things for 2012
  1. daily time with God
  2. move ME up on the priority list
  3. find a new doctor & go for full physical
  4. read The Well Trained Mind’s Novel list
  5. start running ~ small baby steps and do a 5K
  6. join a church service group
  7. simplify
  8. de-clutter & organize the house ~ donate or giveaway
  9. drop the last of my baby weight
  10. decide if I am going back to school
  11. read at least 52 books this year, not including read-alouds to girls
  12. menu plan weekly
  13. paint/decorate each of the girls room
  14. paint/decorate the master bedroom
  15. makeover house in tidbits (more to come on this)
  16. get caught up with grading/recording/personal portfolios
  17. cut more coupons
  18. read 5 homeschool related books, read 3
  19. purge emails/ yahoo groups ~ keep inboxes cleaned and manageable
  20. work on photography skills
  21. plant garden again ~ the right way
  22. sell WA State house, CLOSED July 5th,2012
  23. encourage/help Marie create label/creations
  24. save money to go to CA for Thanksgiving 2012
  25. eat breakfast
  26. start and maintain family home management binder
  27. redo floors downstairs
  28. print digital photos ~ put inside albums
  29. have a monthly date with the Lt.
  30. get recommended daily calories
  31. go on more fieldtrips
  32. mail my 2012 Christmas cards by December 5th.
  33. make checkbook registers for the girls
  34. modify budget
  35. build better relationships
  36. follow through
What are some of your goals for 2012? Link up at Sprittibee’s and share your list. I also plan to tackle these tasks with the 3 in 30 challenge

Friday, December 30, 2011

Our year in review…

This is my second year participating the the Year in Blogging review hosted by Tracy @ Work of Heart and Soul. It’s pretty simple and I hope you will join in on the fun too.

To participate simply: Post the title or first sentence of your first blog post from each month. You can also add a favorite picture from each month, even though it doesn’t necessarily go with that post.  Link  up in the comments of this POST.

~A Stable Beginning’s Year in Review~

January ~ 52 things

caffey girls family photo 2011cropped

February ~ Get a grip


March ~ 058 –064 ~ 365

feb misc2 028

April ~ GoGo Kabongo

Easter 2011 223

May ~ 4 short weeks

end of April misc birthday 118

June ~ Wordless Wednesday~ gymnastics 24/7

World Class Gymnastics Lv5 team 2011-2012 048

July ~ Good Samaritan

signed cast 001

August ~Not Back-To-School Blog Hop ~ 2011-2012 Curriculum choices

1st day of co-op 012

September ~Weekly Wrap Up, Week 2 ~Hurricane Irene & no power

CADIE 5TH birthday 145

October ~ Wonder Maps

Oct misc 052

November ~ Excellence in Literature

 Thanksgiving 2011 112

December ~Party of 5, week 4

Christmas, Party of 5 089

Thanks for taking the trip down memory lane with me.  We have had a blessed year!  If you don’t already have a blog, I encourage you to start your blog in 2012 so you too can link up at the end of the year.  Head on over to Tracy’s and check out how others spent 2011.

From the fullness of His grace

we have all received one blessing after another.

~John 1:16

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My word ~ 2012

*I am reposting this from last year because it’s really a multi-year goal for me.  I realized that it would take more than one year to accomplish this word, so I will continue to strive for it daily *

It's that time again…a time to look back at the past year and evaluate our progress. Our successes and our short comings.  A time to look forward to a clean slate of the New Year.

I have spent the last few days thinking of one word that will describe what I want to accomplish in the upcoming year of 2011.  I wanted to find the perfect word that would summarize my whole theme. Yet, I kept coming back to four areas of my life that I want to improve on. I wrote them down and pondered on them for some time.  Then, in the middle of a sleepless night I realized that my theme word was right before my eyes all along.






photo credit

1 John 4:19 ~ We love because He first loved us.

All of these words are strong, tangible, action words that I will go into more depth on within the coming weeks as I start to put my goals into action.

What’s your word for 2011 2012?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Favorite photo{s} ~ 2011

What, I only get one? That could be a real challenge.  Today I am linking up with two great bloggers, Rachel @ Finding Joy and Sam @ Sam’s Noggin to pick the best photo of 2011. Like so many others I can’t just choose one, so here are my top three.

july misc 106

I got re-baptized through water immersion in July. It was a Happy Day!

June misc 057

I love this picture of my two little's, Montana & McKenzie.  They are two peas in a pod and the best of buds.

Thanksgiving 2011 106

This picture is from Thanksgiving that I took of my Auntie and my little sister. 

What’s your favorite photo{s} from 2011?

Favorite Photo

Head crash


send-w6 I thought I was doing everything right? Backing up my files to my external hard drive and keeping up a good system. That is until one day a few weeks ago my main hard drive for my homeschool/life files
It won't turn on, it won't upload, we tried to plug it into an external uploader device and NOTHING.

My files are gone…

I don't know how to feel, but numb would best describe it.

There is a bright spot in this situation and I am clinging to that right now, my hard drive with my digital photos all the way back from 2005 are safe and I will be taking extra measures to keep them safe. Any suggestions? How do you preserve your photos?

The Lt. gave me a new Western Digital 3TB external hard drive for Christmas, what a great guy! It will give me a great start into the New Year and beyond.  Now I must figure out a way to remember what pertinent homeschool files can re-downloaded with our fast approaching school year restarting in January…

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

 caffey family photo 2011 color 

Merry Christmas!!! We hope this letter finds you happy and healthy and blessed by the Christmas season. Our family has had yet another amazing year, including the addition of a new member of the family, Mason Oliver.  Gotcha there didn’t I??? No, we didn’t have another baby, we expanded the family with the addition of our awesome beagle puppy. The girls are growing way too fast and we are savoring each and every moment.  Homeschooling has allowed us to grow closer to each other and allows for flexibility in our busy schedules. 

RAVEN 10_06_11_RSA_Student_Portraits_10_6_3259-928256 Marie is still the cheerleader of the house and this season she is competing on two teams, Junior 2 and Senior 3.  Next season we hope for her to compete individually.  She is excelling in school and adjusting to the pace of high school freshman classes and course loads. History is her favorite subject in school and although we got off to a rocky start by switching curriculum we are now back on track with Sonlight and she is learning American History in depth.

Madison just recently turned 11 years and is in the 5th grade SAIGE 10_06_11_RSA_Student_Portraits_10_6_3184-928171and her favorite subject is creative writing.  After breaking her toe this summer while vaulting she has made great strides to get back on track with gymnastics.  When we switched gyms in August, she had just 4 weeks to learn the skills needed to move up to Level 5 or she would have to stay Level 4.  With lots of encouragement and support from us and true Caffey determination she got all the skills she needed and at her first gymnastics she qualified for Sectionals!

Mikayla will turn 9 years old just after the New Year and is in the  TRINITY 10_06_11_RSA_Student_Portraits_10_6_3236-9279563rd grade.  Her favorite subjects so far this year have been Art and Math.  Mikayla excels in gymnastics and it is even more evident now since we have switched training gyms and in her scores.  She was invited to join the TOPs (Talent Opportunity Program) that includes extra conditioning and training for a strength and flexibility test in the Summer of 2012.  She has her eyes on the prize of going to TX and training with Bella Karolyi for a week in 2012 if selected.

Montana is 5! She is doing Kindergarten CADIE 10_06_11_RSA_Student_Portraits_10_6_3217-928307work even though we  elected to opt her out of schooling officially with the school district.  She is excelling and learning to read and loves school.  So much so I have to pace myself with her to keep up.  She is also making great strides in gymnastics and was just promoted to the advanced class. Montana enjoys playing outside and with her new puppy.



 FAITH 10_06_11_RSA_Student_Portraits_10_6_3279_copy_copy-1211241McKenzie is 2 years old, WOWZERS my baby is getting so big.  She is a petite spitfire and let’s just be honest here, has all of us wrapped around her little finger, but we all love her so! Medically she has a clean bill of health for which we are all so thankful for.  She had tubes put in at the end of August right before her birthday and they have made a world of difference in her communication skills.



Mason1 We brought just a little bit more testosterone in the house with the addition of our wonder puppy, Mason.  He is an awesome 11 week old puppy that fills our home.  He loves being with us and chewing playing with toys, regardless of if they are his or not.



caffey family photo MikeandI 2011The Lt.  has been busy with his new Helicopter command and finishing up his Master’s degree. Our first year of shore duty has been a blast and it’s great that he comes home each night.  As for me, I continue to hold the family together with my color-coded master schedule and lots of love and patience.  It’s not always easy but God is good and he provides when my energy is low.

We pray your family has a blessed holiday and may your hearts be warm with the blessing of Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Party of 5, wk 6

party of 5, wk 6

Pre-dinner laughs. 

(taken with iPhone)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

TOS Review ~ The World's Greatest Stories

I have been trying to find  a good reading of the Bible on CD for the girls to listen to for the last few months.  Several that I have tried have been dry and boring and not really what we were looking for.  That is until we were introduced to The World's Greatest Stories.  Goodbye boring, hello exciting, edge of your seat, attention grabbing listening. Bible stories we are all familiar with are vividily brought to life as they are retold by world renown actor, George W. Sarris.  With music and sound effects the all the words are taken, word for word, straight from the Bible in either the King James (KJV) or the New International versions (NIV). 

Actor George W. Sarris brings to life in the mind's eye the characters and events of some of the most treasured stories in all of history. The texts of all of the stories are taken directly, word for word, from the Bible. They are told, however, using the art of a dramatic storyteller, incorporating carefully chosen music and sound effects. The result is a very exciting story that comes straight from the words of Scripture.
We recieved the NIV set of The Prophets CD and my children were all completely silence and engrossed in the stories they have heard many times before.  Even the little tot, McKenzie who sometimes does not enjoy riding in her carseat was quiet and listening intently.  The very first time we listened to the CD's in the van we had reached our destination of the gymnastics gym before the story was over and my girls DID NOT want to get out of the van until it was over!  Yes, they are that good if my gym crazy kids didn't even want to go to practice until they heard the last of the story!

.Volume 1's CD includes the following stories on it, each of them is thought provoking and attention grabbing stories:
  • The Blazing Furnace
  • The Handwriting on the Wall
  • Daniel in the Lion's Den
  • Elijah & the Prophets of Baal
  • The Prophecy of Jonah
I hope I have peaked your interest in these outstanding, amazing, attention grabbing CD's. I wholeheartedly recommend these CD's for anyone looking to share The World's Greatest Stories!  We will be adding to our collection at the beginning of the year. There are 18 individual stories on CD for a total of 6 CD's. Each CD is about 1 hour long and costs $7.95 per volume.

~Volume 1: The Prophets
~Volume 2: The Life of Christ
~Volume 3: Beginnings
~Volume 4: Joshua & Esther
~Volume 5: Joseph & His Brothers
~Volume 6: Defeating Giants
~Plus, The Real Story of Easter, from the Gospel of John (NIV only, $9.95)

To see what my fellow crewmates thought of these CD's click HERE.

Company ~ The World's Greatest Stories

Product ~ The World's Greatest Stories, Volume 1, The Prophets

Price ~ $7.95 per volume

Ages ~ everyone

I received a copy of The World's Greatest Stories, Vol. 1, The Prophets, in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Christmas, Party of 5 076I am so excited to introduce to you a new little bundle of joy joining our family on Wednesday. He is 8 weeks old and as cute as can be.

The Lt. and the younger girls went and picked him out this past Sunday while I was at a cheer competition with Marie.  He is an early CHRISTmas present this year and we are all so excited to pick him up on Wednesday night.

Christmas, Party of 5 077

Monday, December 5, 2011

TOS Review ~ Artistic Pursuits, Book 1

Sometimes I struggle to incorporate Art into our week.  I am 10_k-3_1happy to say that with Artistic Pursuits  it’s not so much of a struggle anymore.  Artistic Pursuits offers a wonderful Art program for many different grade levels all the way from Preschool through High School.  We have a few other books for the older girls but I used this review mainly for Montana and Mikayla joined along too.  They loved it and so did I!

We received Artistic Pursuits K-3, Book 1: An Introduction to the Visual Arts which is a great place to start. With 32 easy to follow and do-able lessons,it makes it easy to get a full year of Art. Book 1 is designed to introduce Art History as well as  includes a hands-on art project relating to the particular era and medium being studied.  Book 1 teaches what artists do, what artists see, and where we find art in our everyday life.

  small_k-31_p6small_k-31_p7 small_k-31_p8

We received Artistic Pursuits K-3, Book 1: An Introduction to the Visual Arts which is a great place to start. With 32 easy to follow and do-able lessons,it makes it easy to get a full year of Art. Book 1 is designed to introduce Art History as well as  includes a hands-on art project relating to the particular era and medium being studied.  Book 1 teaches what artists do, what artists see, and where we find art in our everyday life.

With books for many different levels you are sure to find one just right for your student(s)...
-K-3 Book One
-K-3 Book Two
-4-6 grade, Book One
-4-6 grade, Book Two
-Jr. High, Book One
-Jr. High, Book Two      
-Sr. High, Book One
-Sr. High, Book Two

Artistic Pursuits has won many awards in the homeschooling community, including Practical Homeschooling Reader Awards, 2010 Homeschool Crew Favorite Fine Arts Product, and first place in the art category in the Excellence in Education awards.  Each of the books sell for $42.95 each and can be purchased here.  The great thing about them is that the pages are non-consumable so you can use the books again and again with your family.  Artistic Pursuits also sells the art supplies needed for the projects in the books and prices vary for that.  You can however find the items at your local craft store and be fine too. Artistic Pursuits met all of my expectations and more.  They will always be my go to curriculum when it comes to Art for my students because of the ease of lessons and the open and go format of the books.  It’s no wonder they have won so many awards, the books are fabulous and we will continue to use them in our homeschool for many years to come!  Click here to see what other TOS Crew members thought about Artistic Pursuits.

Company ~ Artistic Pursuits

Product ~ Artistic Pursuits K-3, Book 1: An Introduction to the Visual Arts

Price ~$42.95 each

***my camera is not loading the pictures I took of the girls art, stay tuned for pictures***


I received a copy of Artistic Pursuits, Book 1, in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

TOS Review ~ The Reading Game


The Reading Game which was created by Kenneth Hodkinson author of the “Wordly Wise” series has just released a fast-action memory card game that will get your kids reading.



The Reading Game is a supplemental learn-to-read program that correlates with most standard curriculums.  It also meets the criteria of the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts, Foundational skills, and Reading skills needed for both kindergarten and first graders.  The Reading Game consists of six illustrated storybooks: Skunk, Snake, Bear, Penguins, Unicorn, and Zebra. Each book comes with a color coded  word matching card game. The memory games are played in six stages for each book, learning five words in each stage.  By the end of your first book your student will be able to read 30 words.

Frequent exposure through play hard-wires these words into long-term memory. The card game requires two players, the student and a tutor.  By transforming rote learning into a fast paced game where there is a winner every few seconds, learning to read becomes fun.

The first story is told using just those thirty words. It tells of a skunk without a stripe who is rejected for being different but finds acceptance among a group of cats and becomes their defender. Each subsequent game in the series adds a further thirty words for a reading vocabulary of 180 words by the time the complete series is finished. Of the twenty-five most commonly used English words, twenty-two are on that list; of the forty most commonly used English words –thirty. The multi-sensory teaching approach – through the card game play and the storybooks - works well for retention and student enjoyment.                             ~ from the website

I used this program with EXCELLENT results with Montana and recommend it wholeheartedly! She is now reading and writing sight words.  She is so enthusiastic about it too, I love it!  The Reading Game makes it fun and exciting to learn to read.  The Montana Reading Game 006 Stories are great too and build confidence with each new word learned.  Montana has a goal she is reaching for.  Once she reads  her first book,  Skunk, she will be able to cash in on her prize.  She has already decided that she would like a Baby Alive.  She is getting so close too, I love her determination and I owe a big thanks to the creator of The Reading Game for that! Check out what my Crewmates thought by clicking, HERE.


Product ~ The Reading Game

Price ~ $24.95

Ages ~ Pre-readers to 2 grade


I received a copy of The Reading Game, in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Party of 5, wk 3

Party of 5 wk3

No, I didn’t forget to post a picture for this week’s Party of 5.  Since my laptop took an untimely departure due in part to a 2 year old who shall remain nameless,  I usually use Marie’s laptop when we go on trips.  Well, the same nameless 2 year old also got her tiny little hands on Marie’s laptop and it is in the shop after a nasty fall. Thank goodness for Best Buy’s Protection Plan.

I was able to round the girls up for this group shot right before everyone started showing up for Thanksgiving dinner. The lighting was beautiful and I was able to get some great shots of everyone on the deck (stay tuned for the Thanksgiving recap Sunday). 

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love, great food, and lots of  laughter, we sure did!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

TOS Review ~ Read Naturally

One Minute Reader by Read Naturally, is an at home reading program that motivates your young reader to improve their reading speed and comprehension in a fun and exciting way. By using this program just 15-30 minutes a day, a few times each week your student will develop fluency through the modeling step (Read Along), repeated reading step (Read Alone), and a progress monitoring step (Marking Hot & Cold Scores).  As part of the TOS Crew, I received the Ready, Set, Orange:  Level 1 Starter Kit and the Level 3 Book CD set "Disasters".  The set included a "How To" DVD in the Level 1 Starter Kit and everything you need to get started in the One Minute Reader program including a timer, a two tone graphing pencil all in a plastic case.

One Minute Reader has 6 levels of readers, with 7 books available for each level. Each book contains 5 non-fiction stories and includes a CD with each of the 5 stories read at 3 different speeds. I love that!!!

The Process:

~ Get Ready to Read
~ Time Yourself Reading (with the 'One Minute' timer included in the starter set)
~ Mark Your Cold Score in Blue
~ Read Along With the included CD
~ Read Alone, and Raise Your Score
~ Take the Quick Quiz
~ Read for an Adult
~ Mark Your Hot Score in Red

I used this program with Mikayla with great results in her reading comprehension.  Montana also used the CD during her evening room time and listened to the stories.  Sometimes Mikayla has a hard time getting motivated with her reading but this program has really helped take away some of the apprehension. The price is just right too.  A Starter Set is $24.95 and the other books for each level are priced at $12.95.  You also have the option to purchase the starter set and the additional 7 book/CD levels all at once for $99. I would recommend this program to anyone who has a reluctant reader or you have a child who needs just a little extra help. It has helped our reader tremendously. Check out what my crewmates thought by clicking, HERE.


Company ~ Read Naturally
Price ~ Starter Kit $24.95, Book & CD Set $12.95, Bundle (Starter Kit + 7 books) $99.95
Ages ~ Beginning reader to Adult
I received a copy of One Minute Reader, in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.