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.

Friday, February 28, 2014

beauty captured {32/365}



Thursday, February 27, 2014 ~ a TOS review

Science4Us Review

Hi there! This review represents the first review for the Crew year for me. So glad you stopped by to read it so I can tell you about an exciting new science program for kids in grades K-2, called

Science4Us Review

Science is a favorite subject for many in our family so I was super pleased when I found out we were on this review for Online Subscription. We received a 6 month online subscription to for use with Montana (7) and McKenzie (4).

Science4Us ReviewScience4Us Review is a complete secular standards-based, science curriculum geared towards early elementary students. Since this program is so versatile it can also be used to review core science topics for students in grades 3-5. With students can choose from a variety of main topics to study, including Physical Science, Life Science, Inquiry, and Earth/Space science. With several different subcategories under each main topic there is so much to learn and explore! While it is secular, I would recommend Christian parents to pre-screen the origins of the earth section and decide for themselves if they will study that portion of the program.


Now, I am sure you are thinking that this is going to cost you an arm and a leg for science, right? Wrong! Regular pricing is just $7.95 per month, per child. Plus each online subscription includes access to over 350 lessons, worksheets and activities to keep your little ones learning and engaged. I love the mission statement for, it reads:

The mission of Science4Us is to provide a solid foundation of fundamental science concepts for students in their formative years, on which a deep understanding and interest in science can be built.

I love that! The attention to detail the creator of this program has built into it shows. If you are familiar with Vocabulary Spelling City, they have the same creator.


I used this science program primarily with Montana, my 1st grader 2-3 days per week. Because we have had a busy several weeks in the midst of traveling for gymnastics, I just let her log in under her unique username and password and let her explore what interested her for a few weeks. Since she has an interest in all thing animals she quickly gravitated towards the Life Science section for many days. She loves animals, especially Cheetahs.


While McKenzie, 4, did have her own log in she was not too interested in the actual site. No fault of the program, I just think that she is a little too young for it. However, I look forward to checking out the site again in a few years when she is older and more interested.

Science4Us Review

Overall, we have really enjoyed using this program and will continue to do so even after our subscription expires. I felt like the online activities were age appropriate and while it is geared towards K-2, I think children on the higher end of the age range will have a better grasp of the material. I also love the fact that it is web based and that it will be available on the iPad very soon. A fantastic way to keep learning happening even when away from home.

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this science program by clicking the banner below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Company ~

Product ~ Online Subscription

Price ~ $7.95 per month, per child

Grade ~ Kindergarten – Second, Remedial for 3rd-5th

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up ~ week 22: The one where we came back from FL

In my life this week things have been kind of slow. We enjoyed the long holiday weekend last week as we traveled to and from Florida for Mikayla’s gymnastics meet. We arrived home a little after 6PM on Monday night. I have yet to post about our trip to Legoland, FL, but I hope to get that up on the blog early next week. I have so many fun pictures I would like to share. Here’s one to tide you over :)


Unfortunately, we brought back a nasty bug with us that has made rounds through the house. Fever, vomiting {for some}, and a wet cough…YUCK! I was hoping to escape this bugs nasty grip but I think it has finally caught up with me. Either that or my body is starting to slow down with this pregnancy. I will take the first though, I was so enjoying my new found energy.

school day Collage 

In our homeschool this week we made some significant progress even through the sickness. The Lt had the rest of the week off so that was nice for him to be home. Tuesdays is our co-op day, however, only McKenzie and I made it. We missed 1st hour, which I disliked, but we made it nonetheless. Marie and Mikayla stayed in bed all day Tuesday. They were feeling miserable and I felt miserable for them. By Wednesday everyone had started to feel a bit better which I was incredibly thankful for. The weather was nice enough to open the back door and a few windows to “air” out the house and get some fresh air moving through.

 Feb misc 002 Ninja turtle McKenzie

We are in full Science Fair mode here at our house. Can I just say it is stressful? Not only because I have Madison participating in the fair but because my science class I teach at co-op is also participating. That’s 5 other children that I am gently nudging along to the best of my ability, even though I only see them once a week. I have great faith in all of the students and I know they will get their projects done, its just the leading up to it that is a tad stressful.

fish experiment Collage

Mikayla worked on an experiment this week as she learned about fish and how they use swim bladders to help them float in water. I must say the experiment and corresponding reading was interesting. Montana tagged along this week and watched and asked questions since we are currently reviewing a science program online. She even drew up a picture of the experiment all on her own which I thought was great! I will be sharing a review about the science program Montana is working with on Thursday next week, be sure to come and check it out.


I need to say that sentence diagramming is hard work especially when Mama is tired! Madison is in the throes of getting into the complex sentence diagramming. I understand the theory behind it, but man, sometimes my mind was spinning this week thinking, is this really relevant?!I know the answer is YES, so we will keep plugging away with Rod & Staff.

outside play Collage

I am also putting the final touches on Marie’s high school transcript this weekend in preparation for mailing her completed summer scholarship application on Tuesday. She’s finalizing her essay that must be completed for the process also. Can I just say that I am so very thankful for her wonderful writing teacher at co-op! She is amazing and Marie is able to pull her thoughts together and produce amazing work. So, thank you Candice!!!

So, that was our week. I hope you have had a great week in your school whether it be home, public, or private! Have a great weekend!

Homegrown Learners

beauty captured {29/365}



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hello Florida!

FL postcardThis past President’s Day weekend we took a little family getaway down to Florida. However, the trip was not all pleasure because Mikayla was to be competing on Saturday morning for gymnastics. The sunshine and warmer weather was glorious for those 4 days but it is good to be home :)


Wednesday evening before we were to leave we had a snow storm that blanketed our area and the I-95 South. Thankfully by Thursday morning the snow had pretty much melted in our area because it rained that night and we just had to deal with the residual scattered snow and ice along the I-95. On Thursday we drove as far as Savannah, Georgia and stayed overnight at the Spring Hill Suites. I was thankful that we did not have to rise super early on Friday morning and could take our time having breakfast and getting to Orlando.


We arrived in Orlando about mid-day Friday and were able to check right into our room at the Hilton Homewood Suites. Can I just tell you that I LOVED this hotel room? We had a mini apartment suite with a full kitchen (minus oven), living room and bedroom suite with 2 double beds. Plenty of room for our family of 7 to move about and be comfortable. When going to Disney World I prefer to stay on resort but this hotel was really sweet :) !

First up on the agenda Friday was to find a shoe store since we realized that Mikayla had only brought her Bear Paw boots and nothing else with her. Not quite going to cut in when temperatures were in the mid to high 60’s. Oops, my bad! I should have double checked the shoe situation for everyone :) After taking her to Famous Footwear and getting a pair of new shoes for her and Montana we were set to explore the north side of International Drive. When we came to Orlando last September we stayed on resort so the territory was new.  We enjoyed a nice quite dinner that evening in a local sit down restaurant and turned in for the night right after watching Luge finals on TV.

NYC Baby Micah reveal 029

Saturday morning was game time, bright and early. Mikayla’s session started at 830 for registration. While she is not a super fan of the first session times we make due. I could tell she was nervous that morning. She only ate a little bit and immediately started complaining of stomach pains. Which I recognized as anxiety. After seriously walking a country mile in the 2nd largest convention center in the US we were able to catch a taxi from the indoor shuttle man. All the signs pointed for us to come in on the West side for parking, the only thing was the gym area was on the complete other side. If I wasn’t nearly 6 months pregnant it would not be a problem.

Once we made it inside the gym, Mikayla was still nervous. When she found out the rotation schedule I could see it on her face the anxiety creep back in. Floor first, then vault which has been giving her fits. She was to go last on the floor and I think that was a blessing and it hurt a bit. Midway through her teammates performances she came over to the Lt and I crying. We quickly calmed her down and spoke words of encouragement and praise to her. I whispered a prayer to her and told her to pray while she waited to be saluted. A couple of my gym moms always say,

“Let go and let God”

Things settled down a bit as she waited for her last teammate to perform. Once she stepped on the floor into position I thought she was good to go. Muscle memory had taken over and she danced and flipped like she has done so many times before. Then she started thinking and took some missteps and missed a tumbling connection as well as did a few “fake it until you make it” to get back on track moves.


As they moved onto Vault the grimacing and anxiety returned as she waited to warm up vault. The Lt and I stood at the end of the vault area cheering on each girl as they warmed up and competed. It’s not an easy vault the Yurchencko flip, but you know what? My girl got over the vault and her feet hit the mat first. She did take a step on the first run and touched the mat with her fingers for the second run. But I really did not care. The only thing that mattered to me was that she flipped over the vault and hit with her feet. The score on vault to me was just a score.

She has been struggling with this flip since she jammed her fingers on two separate occasions and hurt her ankle in the beginning of the season. However, she will not tape her fingers for vault. I originally told her that I was not traveling to FL for her to do a timer or not vault at all. As I write this, it probably sounds harsh, but you see she works on this vault specifically during practice and can do it, we have it on video!


After vault was bars, Mikayla’s favorite. Things were going fantastic in my eyes. Yes, there were bent arms and leg separation in a couple of spots but it looked beautiful in my eyes :) She hit the pirouette on the first attempt and transferred to the high bar with a kip cast handstand. That’s where things got a little sticky. When she casted up to handstand she literally got a little stuck in the handstand position. I had to turn away after a few seconds because I knew it was either going to go two ways. Thankfully she was able to complete the next skill, a free hip to handstand and go into vertical. After that was just giants and dismount. The giants where great, the dismount however, was out instead of up and she flew to the end of the mat, just barely getting her feet to touch the mat first before landing on her back. Ouch! Beam was the final rotation and looked good with a few wobbles. Mikayla kept herself on the beam which is always good and connected her series dismount.

Magical Classic ~ Orlando, FL Feb.15, 2014

Floor ~ 8.425

Vault ~ 8.300

Bars ~ 8.100

Beam ~ 8.775

AA ~ 33.600

MC Coach K

Overall, I think this meet was just the confidence boost that Mikayla needed to get over this anxiety hurdle. Our next meet is in a few short days in Maryland and then it is on to the State meet mid-March. This season has definitely been a learning and re-building season. While it is painful to watch my child struggle this season I look forward to having the old Mikayla back and seeing her perform to her hearts content.

MC awards

Tomorrow I will share with you about our trip to Legoland. For now here is a sneak peek collage at some of the fun we had.

Legoland Collage 022014

beauty captured {27/365}


Wordless Wednesday ~ YES!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

beauty captured {24/365}

FMcKenzie bc24McKenzie’s first gym show

The Pebble Pond

Tuesday, February 4, 2014