Friday, July 29, 2016

The Last Couple Weeks

Liz went to work camp with the church on this week. This was her first time. They get together with other churches and paint houses in town. They're gone all day but get to sleep at home at night.

We visited the Japanese Tea Gardens a few months ago and Phoebe's continual words since then were, "I want to go back early in the morning when no one else is around. I want to go by myself." So we dropped Elizabeth off at work camp one day and went to the Gardens alone. There were only a few workers there feeding fish and working in the shrubbery. She chased cats and we walked all around and I sat back and watched her wander off a bit. I think she enjoyed her time alone.

Swimming at Lady Bird Johnson pool. 

And we were blessed by a neighbor who had season passes to Six Flags and invited us on Invite a Friend For Free Day to go with them. This was all of our first time at Six Flags. Liz was at CIY during this week, so she didn't get to go with us.

We rode one roller coaster which scared the kids off anything else that sniffed of scariness. I didn't particularly enjoy it either. It didn't go upside down or anything, but it was really fast and went sidewise and I lost my sunglasses. 

Mrs. Adeba took Harrison on this little ferris wheel while we rode the roller coaster.

Waiting for VBS to begin. 
Harrison was so excited this year! He has had some trouble in the past with being away from parents or siblings. There was a time when he cried every Sunday morning in Sunday School. I think it became a habit for him. But this year he had no apprehensions and had a great time. 

We found this ox beetle in the playground. It looks like a June Bug but is much bigger. This is the female; the male has three horns. It was huge! 

We have one more week of summer and then we begin school! I've got a couple more things to figure out, but we are mostly ready. 

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.