Friday, July 22, 2016

New Delightful Reading Levels

Delightful Reading is now three separate kits! The previous one is now Level 3. 

We started out writing one new kit for helping littles learn letters and sounds. But there was so much to it that we expanded it to two kits and then restyled the original Delightful Reading so that all three kits matched in look and feel. 

Level 1 is "Playing with Letters and Sounds." Level 2 is "Words I Can Build" which helps the child start blending sounds into words. And Level 3, as always, helps your child read sentences and stories. 

"A is for Art" was so much fun to work on! I looked through thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of classic art pictures to find just the right one for each letter of the alphabet. Each letter gets its own picture and there are several items in each picture that represent the sound of the letter.  It's great as an alphabet book on its own, and there are additional activities which use "A is for Art" in Level 1. You can purchase it separately or included in Level 1

I haven't had the completed kits for use with Harrison, but I've been using the ideas from the lesson plans. I have to thank a number of people who contributed ideas for these activities: my kids and husband, Alisa, Cheley, and Sonya and her team at Simply Charlotte Mason. 

We tried to keep activities simple so the parent doesn't have to do a lot of prep work each day, but we also wanted it to be like play for the child. Harrison is especially enjoying the "active" activities. I like the child's "Words I Can Build" booklet from Level 2. It's simple and is a great way for the child to look back and see what words he's learned how to build. 

So much fun to work on! I appreciate Sonya and Simply Charlotte Mason for allowing me to be on their team. They make everything pretty and make sure it makes sense and so much more. And my kids are learning how to read. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Missouri Bound 2016

Several important people in our lives were going to be in Missouri around the same time so we decided to make a trip again this summer. It was a busier vacation than usual ~ lots of people to go see, a cell phone to fix (and you have to drive to St. Louis to fix it), family and friends arriving..... 

But the drive to and from was the best we've ever had, especially traffic-wise. We picked up Phoebe from camp on the drive to Vandalia (she was Worn. Out.). That little bit out of the way took us around Austin and Temple, which is traffikey and full of road work.  We traveled back on Saturday and Sunday with Sunday taking us through Dallas and Austin which, again was great, because of less traffic and no road work. 

Phillip drove me around and told me all kinds of stories and showed me all kinds of landmarks. I've heard it all before, but I always enjoy hearing it again. Especially since I forget so much. Papa did the same thing for the kids. Drove them to the place he grew up and the one-room schoolhouse he attended. Papa and Mimi lived a Laura Ingalls life. 

The church above is the Spencer Creek Baptist Church that Papa grew up in. It's still going strong. His brother attends. Papa goes to First Christian Church in town now.

Mimi wanted a picture of Harrison with his hair freshly combed. Doesn't take long for those cowlicks to spring up.

Decorating an old phone to look like a cow. 

Cody and his kids were passing nearby so they came over to spend a day and a night with us. I meant to get more pictures, but this is the only one I got, I guess. And not a very good one at that. So that's Emmey and Liz on their phones. It had been two years since we saw them last. Some of the kids swam at the Vandalia Aquatic Center and other of the kids watched Doctor Who. We played some games, did a lot of talking and eating. Phillip drove Cody around and told him stories and showed him landmarks. Good times.

Always a beautiful sunset from Mimi and Papa's front porch. 

Papa, Phillip and Elizabeth on the front porch swing.

Harrison wanted to be a raptor in a cornfield. 
Soybeans were growing across from Mimi and Papa's, so we had to drive down a gravel road to find a cornfield. The crops are doing so much better this year. Last year it was too cold and rainy and it was a poor harvest. This year is looking good so far. (I feel like I know what I'm talking about when I say stuff like that.) I really liked Laura Ingalls and Farmer Boy when I was little. Now I get to live around it a little bit when we visit Missouri. 

Across from the raptor in the cornfield was a wheat field. Part of the field had been harvested, so Harrison gathered some straw. He's still trying to figure out what to do with it. 

While Phillip and his dad went to St. Louis to take care of a dead cell phone at the Apple store, I took the kids to Moberly. That's where the college that we met at is located. It's where we lived as a newlyweds for a couple of years and where Elizabeth was born. I took them to the church and visited Mary Green. She often had college kids over to her house in town, and Phillip and I probably got to know one another there more than anywhere. At least I got to know him. I was pretty quiet, so I don't know if he who say he knew me from Mary Green hang-outs. 

Anyway, the picture above is in the new library with Patty Agee. She and her husband "adopted" me and had me over for school breaks, got me involved at church and let me dog-sit while they were away (dorm life is fun, but I sure enjoyed getting to stay in a home once in a while). She is the librarian for the college, and I loved the library. She would have spiced cider in a crockpot for certain winter holidays and it smelled so good in that library! 

Rothwell park where we had our first serious relationship talk about "what is this?" Yep, I asked that on the first date. I wanted to know where it was headed ~ no foolin' around. He also proposed to me there in the park a few months later. 

Galen and her family were there this week. There was a lot going on in her life. They went to Jeff City to eat at a favorite restaurant of cousin Eric who died in a car accident 7 years ago to the day. She also had recently come into contact with information on her birth family and was able to meet up with her siblings on another day this week. It was fun to see all the pictures and hear the stories and find out how many of her birth relatives other family members and friends have known because they live in the area. 

Aunt Anita and her kids also came for a meal. She homeschools her son, who is Elizabeth's age, so she and I got to compare what we're planning to do this year. Always fun for two homeschool moms.

In the picture above, Papa is reading a newspaper and Uncle John is watching the kids (Phoebe, Jonathan, Harrison, and Seth) play a card game.

Phillip and his brother, sister and parents. 

Back home again! Liz had made cow cookies for the Harris' and then we forgot them on the countertop when we left. So Harrison is trying a 10 day old cookie. It's a bit tough, but still tasty. 

Back to baking right away. It's the 4th of July after all. Must have a flag cake.

Quest to Save Rainbow Planet by Phoebe

Phoebe drew this series of illustrations a while back.  She was interested in writing a story for a competition and came up with a story from her pictures. Amazing Kids! Magazine (online publication) published it as The Quest to Save Rainbow Planet.

President Phoebe in her office.

The announcement at the podium and gathering up the army.

Heading to Rainbow Planet.

Destroying the bad guys on the planet.

Celebrating victory.

Announcing the victory to the people.

It was a fun project for us. She talked me through the story several times and I suggested some edits; then I typed it up for her while she dictated. A good bonding activity.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Scobee Planetarium

We've wanted to visit the local Planetarium for years and we finally made it happen a couple weeks ago.

This is the new space suit that is projected to be used in the Mars Mission. You're supposed to be able to bend your knees and elbows better than in the old one. It also takes a lot less time to put on - twenty minutes as opposed to 2 hours (I could be misremembering that info, but it's close). 

It also hooks right up to the outside of the spacecraft and you can step out of it into the inside of the ship, that way the suit always stays on the outside of the spacecraft. I guess there was a big mess when they brought in moon debris, and they're trying to rectify that problem.

Phoebe and Charlize.

I would recommend going to see the Planetarium. It wasn't very expensive (and teachers got in free in June). The lady who presented the program was very knowledgeable ~ I especially liked the question and answer session at the end ~ you could tell she loved the subject and would answer any questions the kids threw at her. A few constellations, the sun, moon and several planets were looked at during the presentation. The planets would zoom in really big on the dome and spin while the lady pointed out various things and talked about them. That was cool. 

We went to the 7:00 show. We might try to go to the later double feature sometime. Or wait for a new show to be developed and go during the winter months so we can spend time in the observatory. It was closed at this time for repairs. 

Hi, Liz!

A tree begging to be climbed.

Sibling snuggles. Warms my heart. 

Liz was hot after coming in from a walk. I guess we could have put ice down her back, but this works too.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Riverwalk - Starting the Mission Reach

We parked at Steve's Homestead (free spot on a side street ~ it was 8:00 am on a Saturday morning), and started at Johnson St Bridge, just north of E. Guenther St Bridge. 

Jessica went with me. She and her husband are back to town after living away for a few years. 
(Still working on selfies.) 

Cormorants again. 

There were several parks along this section. I want to take the kids back here ~ I think they would enjoy the parks and the River. It was more secluded on this path. There were a lot of bikers and joggers, but there weren't a lot of businesses along this stretch. I'm thinking of biking some of it instead of walking it because it's 7 or 8 more miles (one way) of walking with not a ton to see. 

We were passing right by the Pearl on the way home and so stopped at the Farmer's Market. Excellent  idea! I've never been to this, although I've heard a lot about it. We tried lots of samples and I ended up coming home with Bread and Butter Pickles from this lady.......

...... and garlic bread from this place

And a little music to go with the stroll. 

We ended at ConcepciĆ³n Park. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Harrison is Six and The Boat

Liz went down a short section of Cibolo Creek on her milk jug-duct tape boat. The creek is way up this year. Which means it's about waist deep. We walked the length of it through Cibolo Creek Nature Center a few months back, so we would know what to expect if ever she wanted to take the boat down the river.

Liz is teaching me how to take selfies. When I take them, I end up with a double chin.

And Harrison's birthday party. He turned six. Wow. My little squishy is growing up. 

This is the Kylo Ren balloon he wanted. 
It was quite interesting trying to get the thing blown up at HEB. 

Liz did the decorations and the "cake," which was a giant cookie.

Star Killer Base cookie. 

Harrison being Kylo Ren.

Phoebe's Rey hairstyle and staff, all brought to you by Liz. (She's a maker, if you can't tell.)

Emily and Will and Mrs. Alisa came over. 
Harrison said he wanted to "have Emily over. And maybe the other Travis kids." 

Harrison came with Liz and I to Boerne Lake the next day. He brought the Rush Hour game he received for his birthday and played it while Liz took out the boat. Jonathan and Phoebe haven't been interested in going with us to take out the boat, so it's just been Oldest and Youngest and I. 

I took it for a short spin just to see how it acts. It's a sturdy one. Gives you a workout for sure. 

Liz crossed a short arm of Boerne City Lake. She would love to take sailing lessons here some time. Maybe next year. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Riverwalk and Childhood Memories

I went early in the morning this time, to catch coolness. Traffic was awesome at 7 and 9:30 am. There weren't a ton of people out and about ~ a few.... just enough to say hi to and know that I'm not completely alone out there on the Riverwalk. Joggers and walkers and tourists, construction workers arriving, restaurant employees sweeping and putting out chairs, river workers cleaning up mud and leaves after yesterday's storms. 

This walk kept reminding me of my childhood in Rayne, Louisiana, so this one's for you, Mom and Dad, Mike, Tonya, Cory. 

Not exactly like it, but this reminded me of our old white, column-porched house on West Edwards Street. We could climb out our bedroom windows and sit on the roof. We played on the porch when it rained. We slid down the banister and had all kinds of adventures in that house.

These are just like the spools that my dad brought home from work or some place. These were tables or parts of playhouses or just fun to "walk" on around the backyard. And we had a large one and small one just like this. I think this picture was taken in King William District.

Large crepe myrtle trees. I've seen a lot of crepe myrtles in Florida and here in Texas that are planted in new landscaping, and they are never very large. We had a large one in our yard in Rayne that we could climb, and I noticed the Riverwalk had a lot of large ones also. 

Lots of carvings in this old crepe myrtle, so I went ahead and added another.

A tiny fig tree! 
We had a large one in our backyard. We could climb that tree too ~ it provided a lot of shade in the hot southern summers. During fig season though, the ground would be covered in squishy figs that you had to avoid. I love figs fresh from the tree. It's awesome to be able to go to your backyard and pick food to eat. 

Not ripe yet.

 The section I walked this day was from Jones Ave bridge to Guenther bridge in King William District. About 2 miles. It covered that square section of the Riverwalk that most people visit ~ the one that is near the Alamo and Rivercenter Mall. It's a very pretty section with neat bridges and waterfalls, wooden benches and greenery.

I parked on a side street next to a coffee shop called Rosella Coffee. (Another childhood memory of a good friend named Rosella.) It was packed when I got back to the van, so I'm glad I was there early enough to get a free parking spot. I did step in and get some coffee for the drive home.

This picture isn't so pretty, but I thought it was interesting. There were a bunch of these tiny fish on the sidewalk in one short section. Maybe they somehow got up there from the storm yesterday? There are a bunch of centipedes and snails crawling on them.

Only 9 more miles to go!