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.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday


Friday, June 22, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up ~ School year is DONE!!

balloon bouquet Whew, we may made it! Another year down and the planning has begun for the 2012-2013 school year. We still have to test for proficiency and that will be done next week. I have learned a lot from this past year and I will take that new found knowledge into account as we head into another year come August.

st swim

So, just what do we have planned for the summer break? Lots of family time, pool time, and gymnastics and cheer time. Finding the balance will be key to a smooth, relaxing summer. I am hoping to find that balance quickly as this week was a whirlwind of activity. Do you want to know how many times I drove to and from the gym which is 30 minutes away (each way) on a good day?

19 times!

Crazy, I know! Next week our carpool starts in full force and I am so thankful for that! My drive time will be cut down dramatically and I think know my pocketbook will be happy about that. (Very thankful that gas is so low right now too).

     c swim

Montana started her first Level 4 practice on Monday afternoon and she loves it! She is so cute at her practice. She is at the end of the line because she is the youngest at 5 and the smallest, but do not let that fool you she can hold her own!Coach Barbara is so good with the new girls and Montana wants to go everyday like her sisters. She gets up bright and early to see them off each day.  Speaking of which, I have decided that Madison and Mikayla will not be continuing on with 5 days (6 days for Mikayla because of TOPs) in July and August.  It is just too much!  On me, on them, and it is so stinking HOT in the gym. Mikayla has all the skills needed for the Level 7 (and then some) and Madison only has a few more skills for Level 7. So, we are scaling back from 25-27 hours a week to 20 hours for Madison, and 22 hours for Mikayla. Wowzers, That is a lot when you write it down! These girls are committed, and they have not lost the fire in their eyes because believe you me {hehe…my mom used to say that all the time :-)} when they say they don’t want to do gymnastics anymore, then we will walk away…as hard as that may be.


Marie is doing awesome at her new cheer team. I am so glad that we made the switch. Even when I was so hesitant to let her cheer with the new team because of skill level conflicts. She is now back flying, something she has not done since  our days with CheerStarz in WA. She is a natural at it and is continuing to work on her flexibility and tumbling. She was asked to double team again this year with a team at the Beach, however, with our schedule it just is not possible to drive 1hr each way with major TRAFFIC. Yes, she would have been on a team that pushed her skill level to the max, but God has a different plan right now for her and we are content. Marie’s main goal for this season is to get her full in a tumbling pass.

f swim

McKenzie is just being the normal average 2 year old. She is very curious about everything  and into everything.  She loves to swim in the pool and does not show any fear of the water. Don’t worry Grandma we watch her like a hawk!  Her vocabulary is expanding exponentially everyday.

Happy Father's Day 2012 134

Well, that is our week in a nutshell. We will be hanging out by the pool this weekend and grilling on the grill. How was your week?  Are you done with school yet?  Any big plans for summer break?

I am linking this up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up. Stop by and see what others were up to this week.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Creation Illustrated ~ a TOS Review


I always have a magazine tucked away in my tote bag for those long hours we spend at the gym. Have you heard of Creation Illustrated? it is an amazing magazine showcasing God’s creation through pictures and story. Let me tell you a little more about it.

Over 19 years ago the Ish family had a vision and put together this wonderful magazine. Their purpose is to share the wonders of God’s creation. By revealing fresh insights of His infinite wisdom, gentle touch, undeniable justice, redeeming love, and flawless design, pure truth shall bring renewed peace. Each part of this publication is offered as a reprieve from the daily rigor’s of life so that all can look to the future with unbridled gratitude and hope.

PhotobucketPhotobucket  Photobucket Photobucket

We were lucky enough to receive four beautiful copies of Creation Illustrated for this review. Each issue features:

  • A Creatures Near and Dear to Us feature on hummingbirds called "Flying Jewels"
  • An Outdoor Adventure story on Yellowstone National Park
  • A Lens on Creation snapshot of birds on "Bonaventure Island"
  • A Creation Day 6, Part 3 story on the Creation of Humans
  • Creation Highlights in the news
  • A Creation Resource Guide
  • A Creation Stewardship page
  • My Walk with God story called "Bloom Where You're Planted"
  • A Genesis Cuisine recipe section featuring Smoothies for homemakers
  • A Wholesome Living Guide
  • An encouraging children’s story called "Bunny Surprise"
  • A Youth Photo Contest
  • An Instructional Guide to help homeschoolers and teachers glean key spiritual and character-building lessons from each article
  • An Educational Resource Guide
  • Uplifting poetry
  • And more!

The photography is amazing and the content of the articles are just as impressive.  It is no wonder that readers call it “The Christian answer to National Geographic!”. My favorite pictures came from the Fall edition. The leaves and autumn colors are just amazing. Each edition is subdivided into 3 sections Creation Illustrated in Nature, in Scripture, and in Living. Each section provides the Spiritual, Mental, and Physical enrichment we all need.  Uplifting spiritual and character building lesson are also included and teach the eternal truths through the things He made.

In the back of each edition includes an instructional guide to help you glean facts or spiritual lessons from the articles with. However, they are just a guide. You can choose to just let Creation Illustrated be for enjoyment and/or informal discussion.


Creation Illustrated is published quarterly in the United States. Subscription are for the following lengths/rate:

  • 1 year $ 19.95
  • 2 Years $ 37.95
  • 3 Years $ 53.95


If you pay with a Credit Card you will can save $5.00 per year per subscription. Canadian Residents will need to add $5.00 for postage, those living in other foreign countries will need to add $10.00. Want to try before you buy? You are in luck! Request a  sample issue of Creation Illustrated before committing to a subscription. I know these magazines have been a great addition to our family so be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought by clicking on the button below.


Product ~ Creation Illustrated

Subscription Price ~ 1 year $ 19.95 , 2 Years $ 37.95, 3 Years $53.95

Ages ~ 6 to adult


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DISCLAIMER: I received a year subscription to Creation Illustrated, 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.

Monday, June 18, 2012

myWorld Social Studies: Building Our Country ~ a TOS review

If you remember last year when I wrote a review of Pearson’s Reading Street you know I was quite pleased. This year Photobucketwe had the opportunity to check out Pearson’s new homeschool line and I was chosen to review the myWorld Social Studies, Grade 5A bundle. Included in this bundle are:


Student Worktext ~The Student Worktext encourages greater interaction with the content and more active reading leading to long term retention of skills and concepts. Your child will love writing, drawing, circling and underlining content as they connect, experience and understand the world of Social Studies.

Each chapter incorporates a real life story that relates to the lesson providing the basis for discussion. Lessons feature a variety of activities providing your child an opportunity to interact with the material to apply their knowledge. Checkpoints are featured throughout to ensure that your child understands of the material.

myStory Video DVD-ROM ~Think virtual field trips! The myStory Video DVD features engaging videos with actual students that explore the Big Question of each chapter. Video icons within the student book indicate that a corresponding video is available on this DVD. These videos allow your child to see children of his or her own age explore the Big Question and the key ideas in each chapter, to go on video field trips, and to watch a character from the chapter come to life. Through these video features, your child will make a personal connection to the lesson, building long-term understanding and knowledge.

Teacher’s Resource Library DVD-ROM ~The Teacher Resource Library is a one-stop resource for the myWorld Social Studies Teacher’s Guide, lesson plans, and instruction resources. Each chapter will provide:

  • A Teacher’s Guide for each chapter
  • Lesson plans
  • An audio podcast on chapter subjects
  • Hands-on activities to engage your child
  • Editable tests for each chapter and separate answer keys

These carefully planned resources will guide you with planning, supporting activities, and testing to ensure learning is personalized to fit your child.

                                                                       ~from the website


The 5th Grade Homeschool bundle is priced at $69.99 and is an awesome curriculum packed with an immense amount of engaging material. Madison was hooked right the the beginning and enjoyed the lessons. She says it did not feel like school work, but more like finding clue to the puzzle. The 9 Chapters within the student text(about 3-5 mini lessons each) take you from "The First Americans" through "Civil War and Reconstruction". The student worktext helps your child retain the information learned by connecting, experiencing, and understanding the world around them.  The myStory helps guide your child to make personal meaning the the content within each chapter by using writing prompts.

The Teacher Resource Library CD is filled with detailed information and content. Everything from lesson plans, to podcasts, to hands-on activities. It is a great accompaniment to the whole program.

We personally enjoyed the virtual field trips on the myStory DVD the most. This gem of a DVD allows your child to explore the Big Question and key ideas from each chapter, along with taking a virtual field trip. I can not wait to explore some of the sites in person as we being our in depth study of American History with Mikayla next school year. I would definitely recommend you trying out this or any other Pearson myStory products and see the quality firsthand. Members of the Crew also reviewed myWorld Social Studies, grades 3-6, enVision Math, grades 3-6, Reading Streat, grades 3-6, and MyMathLab Algebra 1 & 2. Be sure to head on over and check out those reviews too.



Company ~Pearson Homeschool

Product ~myWorld Social Studies: Building Our Country, Grade 5A bundle

Price ~ $69.99

Ages ~ 4-6th graders, depending on your history cycle



DISCLAIMER ~ I received the myWorld Social Studies: Building Our Country, Grade 5A bundle, 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.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rainbow Sentences ~ a TOS review


PhotobucketWe are seriously in love with our iPad! There are so many great apps out there, one of which is Rainbow Sentences from Mobile Education App. We had the opportunity to review this app over the last month to help solidify sentence structure.

Rainbow Sentences, which is for the iPad only, is designed to help students improve their ability to construct grammatically correct sentences by using color coded visual cues. The who, what, where, and why parts of sentences are color coded to help students recognize and understand how combinations of these parts create basic sentence structure.

                                                                                         ~from the website


Rainbow Sentences has 3 levels of play learning with 3 degrees of difficulty in each level. Line Color Coding~ The lines above the picture story are color-coded with blue for the subject and red for the predicate, etc. Word Color Coding~ words are color coded to match the lines above for the correct part of speech. Word Grouping~ words are moved to the lines as a grouping of the part of speech rather than individual words. 

RB Sentences 1RB Sentences 2  In each level there is a picture shown about the corresponding sentence. Your child’s job is to decode the sentence and put it in the correct order according to the color-coding. A feature that I love, is that as you move the words they are being read to you.  Great for the visual learner and the beginner reader. The goal behind completing the series of sentences is to complete a puzzle, which then becomes animated.

RB Sentences 3


  • 165 images to create sentence from
  • Intuitive drag and drop to create sentences
  • Words are spoken as they are being dragged for non readers
  • Words can be color coded for added visual support
  • Word groups can be selected to simplify sentence construction
  • 6 levels of sentence complexity
  • Pictograph lessons to help students learn proper sentence construction
  • Record feature allows students to record sentences in their own voice
  • Save and email recorded sentences
  • Students earn puzzle pieces during play to encourage continued play
  • Puzzles come to life once level is complete


We have really enjoyed using Rainbow Sentences by Mobile Education Apps and would recommend it for a must have iPad educational app. I used this review with Mikayla (9) and Montana (5) and I have found the girls playing this game outside of school hours. I am not one to complain about that! Montana struggled a little bit at first but once I figured out the settings were not set right for her, she was able to play and figure out the words and sentences on her own. If you would like to watch a tutorial to learn more about Rainbow Sentences, click here. Rainbow Sentences can be purchased from the iTunes store for $7.99. Click right HERE to read what my Crewmates thought of Rainbow Sentences and the other reviewed item, Story Builder.


Company ~ Mobile Education Apps

Product ~ Rainbow Sentences

Price ~ Available in iTunes for $7.99

Ages ~ 4 and up

Disclaimer ~ I received Rainbow Sentences from Mobile Education App, 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, June 3, 2012

The Road to Masters

Mike's Masters graduation

Awesome Achievement

Your college graduation
Fills us with love and pride.
We always knew that you could do
Whatever you really tried.

It's a long and challenging journey
To get a college degree,
But you wouldn't quit it, you just went and did it,
And we're beaming affectionately.

Your achievement is awesome, Lt.;
You've worked hard and you've passed the test.
We love you so, and we want you to know,
We think you're the very best!

                                                                                By Joanna Fuchs


~ 18 months to complete

~ 56 page Capstone Paper

~ 3.86 final GPA

Degree earned:

Masters in Aeronautical Science with a specialization in Aerospace Management.

Congratulations Babe, we love you!!!!