Saturday, June 24, 2017


We are definitely on our summer schedule.
A much lighter school load and lots of activities.
I have a bunch of posts due, but here is just a glimpse into what has been going on..

firepit..inevitably leads to smores.

Pool is open..just not company ready.
A few things still have to be taken care of for the sake of safety.

Annual end of co-op field trip!

Park meet-ups with friends..even in the drizzling rain.

So much outdoor play makes one tired!

Hiking and picnicking with friends!

Summer Reading Kick-off party and festivities..

And just some good "ole' fashioned fun."

I'll try to get on here soon to get more in depth.
Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 11, 2017


For the past two years, my older kids have been using Math Lessons for a Living Education.
This is a literature based approach to math, not quite like Life of Fred, but similar in some aspects.  I was fairly hands-off, unless they needed help on something.  There is a story to read and then questions to answer based on the story and concepts talked about in the story.  It worked fairly well.
I actually got them for "free" unless you consider the amount of ink and paper used to print out a couple hundred pages per student!  They do come in workbook format though and are fairly inexpensive.

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photo cred amazon

The two younger kids used Horizons for math this year.  My first grader will be continuing with this program for the next school year.  It is laid out nicely and is colorful.  This program doesn't usually have too much overkill on concepts.  Ya know, 600 addition problems and 400 subtraction problems for one lesson..... ;P
To finish up Kindergarten, we are actually using dollar store workbooks on addition and subtraction.

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One of the changes for the next school year is in our math curriculum.
The three older ones will be using Teaching Textbooks.  It was pretty pricey, however I anticipate using them for subsequent years.  I know several people that have used or are currently using this program and they speak highly of it.  I liked that they also offer a placement test prior to purchasing.  Teaching Textbooks offers lessons via cd and will grade and keep track of student progress for me.  They also offer a workbook for those students that would rather do their math on paper rather than computer.  

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In addition to our "regular" math curriculum we have used on co-op mornings.  One of my students also uses the following book:

Product Details

If you have never checked out these books, by Sarah Janisse Brown and published by The Thinking Tree LLC, I highly recommend them!   They have all sorts of homeschooling journals and curriculum.

We had a couple of requests for Life of Fred this year, so we may use that at times as well.  As of now, I only have one LOF in my possession.

I guess that about sums up our math curriculum.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


Would you believe that we don't have a single picture of Boogie in his cap and gown or any of us with him?!!  Totally dropped the ball on that one!  

In my defense, I was "in charge" of Kindergarten graduation--so I wasn't in the audience to even get a picture.  I was helping them line up and handing out microphones and such.  We do have it all recorded though, so that is something.   The parents actually get to stand up with their child and say a little something (I made Mike talk!) and then the graduates gave their mothers each a rose.  They sang two songs that we had been practicing for a couple of weeks and later got their certificates.

I don't put much stock in Kindergarten graduation, but it is a nice little milestone to celebrate.  The celebration of learning is a nice way to end the co-op year--we had a pizza dinner this year and then the closing ceremonies.  There is also a chance for the classes to display any work they did for parents and attendees to look at.  All students that attend the celebration of learning (it is not a mandatory thing) also get a certificate saying they have passed to the next grade.

For the 2017-2018 school year, I'll have a 6th, 5th, 3rd, 1st and PreK..possibly 2 PreKs.
Time flies!

Friday, June 9, 2017


We visited Friday co-op last year on Talent Show day.
Since we joined, the girls had been asking if they could be in the talent show.

Sure enough, Bean gave her archery presentation, recited "The Ingenious Little Old Man" by John Bennett, and both girls sang "Not Guilty."

Missy also played a piano piece, but the title is escaping me at the moment.

They did a great job!  Several people came up to me later on and commented on their performances.

After the talent show, we picked up our yearbook and participated in the end of year picnic.

That concluded our 2016-2017 co-op year.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


A local church hosted a Father/Son overnight camping trip.

Mike took two of the boys.  If they do it again next year, it will be all of the boys! 
They all enjoyed it.

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MJ especially enjoyed fishing!
He didn't catch anything, but apparently spent hours trying.

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It rained in the morning lightly, but it was over soon and not enough to put a damper on things.

Maybe we'll actually be able to go as a family this season.

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Any recommendations on good campsites?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


The weather for field day 2017 was perfect!
We had the red team versus the blue team.

I was assigned to the grades 1-3 group to walk them from station to station.
This would be the reason I have no pictures of the older kids.
Of course, the two littles hung by me instead of going with their respective groups.

Three-legged race!

The kids.

Crazy clothes station.

Water bucket relay.

After lunch, we hit the splash pad.
A bit cold for my liking, but the kids had a blast.

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We even ran into some friends that we haven't seen in quite a long time!
All-around nice day!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


It was a nasty, rainy Saturday that held the Spring Concert.
Many accidents on the highway as we traveled, but it was all sunshine inside.
The girls sang in their respective choirs and the boys had artwork exhibited in the art show.

Concert Choir
sang "Cantate Domino"

Primary Choir sang "The Lord Bless You and Keep You."

Some of the artwork by Boogie

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and MJ

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I had hoped that the kids learning piano would have a chance to play, but as it was the program was two and a half hours long, so it is just as well that they did not.
Apparently the private lesson students do not play for performances?  
Missy will be playing a piece in the talent show this week by her choice.

Nice work, kids.
Now to wrap up our co-op year!!!

Saturday, May 13, 2017


2017 Spring Softball.

Friday, May 12, 2017


We are finally starting to wind down our co-op year.
We did two co-ops for the 2016-2017 school year.
You would think after all the craziness, I would have learned my lesson, right?

Here we are already looking forward to the 2017-2018 co-op year and I signed up for both again.
Not only did I sign up for both--I signed up for FULL DAYS at BOTH!
Not only did I sign up for full days, but I am teaching three classes and helping out in seven over the two days!!  Oops!  I need to edit that.  Since starting this post, I have taken on another class. 

This in addition to teaching at and taking care of our home, teaching Sunday School, trekking to 4-H club meetings and practices, sports, being on the playing rotation for church, Pioneer Girls and more.

I think I might have a problem over-committing myself.

It is for this reason that I really try to keep our days at home free of other influences.  They are too far and in between.  It is such a relief not to have to set the alarms in the morning and just let the day go as it will.  I think this is just a season for us, I won't be able to keep up with this kind of schedule (at least I hope I don't!).  I want the kids to find their niche and then we can focus on that particular area rather than having such a wide-spread concentration.  If our pregnancy had been able to progress, I would definitely not have taken on so much responsibility and probably not two co-ops, at least definitely not two full days.  Again, a season.  I'm also trying to keep our summer pretty open and not schedule much, key word here being "trying." It is amazing how much STUFF just clutters our lives.

This is my motivation.
If they lose interest in any of the above, I don't have a problem modifying our schedule.

Here is to raising happy, healthy, well-rounded, kind productive people.
And to learning to say "No" when the situation requires.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Time heals all wounds.  Isn't that how the saying goes?
Time does not in fact heal all wounds, time makes them a bit more bearable 
and scabs them over so they aren't raw.
Scabs aren't pretty and often leave scars.
Scars tell a story, don't they.

Since a bit of time has passed, I thought I would share some more of our story and thoughts.
When we experienced our first loss, it came totally out of nowhere. 
I had no reason to expect something wrong after 6 healthy pregnancies and deliveries.
When we became pregnant again, it was a whole different ball game.

Pregnancy after a loss is so different.
We were excited of course, but subdued, thinking of what had happened previously. And scared to be honest.
In fact, we barely even talked about it--the baby, the pregnancy, any of it.
Every ache or pain had me questioning and wondering if everything was okay.
We hoped and prayed for all to be well, but it was not God's will that we have a baby at that time.
I can't describe what I felt when I saw the first bit of blood after this eighth pregnancy.
It was like shattering into a million pieces.
I hadn't thought that we would be put through the agony of a loss again. 
Bleeding in early pregnancy is fairly common, but I just knew.
We were almost 12 weeks along.
Almost the 2nd trimester. 
There is no magic number when a pregnancy is "safe," but in general, humanly speaking--we were just about to the "safe zone,"  We had been getting ready to tell people.  We hadn't even told the kids yet--they didn't know until I was already in the midst of the loss.  

We did not opt to get any testing done following the losses.
There is nothing that can be done to prevent a loss such as we have had and many times the testing comes back inconclusive.  In addition, if there were some genetic abnormality--we would never terminate a pregnancy anyway.  Again, we have faith that it is all planned out for us by the Author and Finisher and we will trust in His plan and purpose for us.  

I don't know what the future has in store for us, whether our family is complete or whether we are to add to it.  At this point, we are open to whatever God's will is for us.  His plan is by far better than ours anyway.  I do think though that if we are blessed with another child that instead of waiting to announce--we would ask for prayer right away. ~James 5:16~

I think it is sad how the majority of people reject the gifts that God gives--purposefully.
The Bible says that children are a GIFT!
 Even "Christian" families are rejecting these gifts.
I pray that we would NOT be so selfish and ungrateful.
My views concerning family planning and birth control have morphed slightly over the years.
I'm not sure that I'm ready to open that can of worms though or if anyone would even care to discuss it, maybe I'll put it on the back-burner to revisit at another time.

After our losses, it was kind of eye-opening how many women that I know had actually experienced it and had never shared with anyone.  I understand that--it is very personal and most times people don't know how to react.  I just very recently had an acquaintance reach out after her first loss and I'm glad she did.  I think it is important to talk about these things and there is that immediate connection in experiencing the same grief.  If we can offer just a little bit of comfort to those grieving, than it hasn't been for nothing.  This goes for miscarriage, infertility, stillbirth, special needs babies and the list goes on--no one will know or understand unless we share and make ourselves vulnerable.

The other thing I'd like to touch on briefly, many of the healthcare professionals offered counseling as a source of comfort but also closure. While we declined, I think that is important.  More important in my mind and experience was having a rock-solid foundation on Christ alone, a supporting spouse, and a confidante who knows you and can relate to your life.  Make connections with people, you never know who YOU may be able to minister to and vice versa.  It was also mentioned about having some sort of service for our babies, if that is what you need--do it.  Personally, we did not feel the need.  We have the hope that as covenant children, we will meet them one day again.  In a sense, we can almost be envious that they do not need to know the heartache and sin of this life.  As much as we'd like them in our arms, aren't the arms of our Heavenly Father so much better?!  We did not name our babies either, many people do.   This does not make them any less real or loved to us.

Our first loss would have been a little over 2 months old now.
Our second would still have about 4 months left in the womb.
Those dates and lives will be forever be a part of us.
I hope that our living children also remember, understand and be sensitive to these things.

In many ways, 2015-today have been the worst years of my life, to date.
Yet, as much as I do wish a lot of the things had not happened, I am so very grateful for the stretching and growth all of the events have caused.  In spite of, or maybe even BECAUSE of the hard times, I can truly say we are so very, very blessed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Waaay back in March, I attended and actually helped set up a workshop for homeschool moms called,
"Remember the Calling:  Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool Journey."
A local homeschool mom, Karen DeBeus of came and spoke an encouraging word to us.

It was a nice night with a really small crowd ;)

I didn't take many pictures, but I did take a few notes that I shared with some people that were unable to attend.  I'm just going to copy them as I sent them. is Karen DeBeus' website.  She also has a podcast and other resources. is another site.

So some of the main points:  
Who is in charge of your homeschool?  It is ALL about the Lord.  
We serve a Super Lord so we don't have to be supermoms

We can get bogged down with the day to day things and even give up on our school year (thinking that next year will be THE year it all gets done)--but finish well.  Live in this moment because the next is not guaranteed.

Do you have JOY in your homeschool?  Look back to see why you started homeschooling.  What is our purpose?
With your children write a mission statement.  Have clear goals for yourself and your children--and they may have nothing to do with academics, but rather about pointing your children to Jesus and having them be kind and productive members of society.  Everyone learns at different rates so also don't fall into the comparison trap.  You can be your own worst enemy.  Let go of the pinterest/facebook/supermom expectations.  She also talked a lot about simplifying.  It is not necessarily having and doing less STUFF (though that is certainly part of it) it is having MORE JESUS!  Homeschooling is not between you and your neighbor or you and your parents etc.  It is only between you and God.  

Matt. 6:33
If we seek Him first (in our homeschool) *He will equip us
                                                          * He knows what our children need
                                                          * He will work no matter the style or curriculum we use
                                                          * If we seek Him first, we will be doing things "right"

Here are some verses to encourage: Psalm 126:3, Isaiah 58:11, Hebrews 3:16, Proverbs 16:9

What legacy are we leaving for our children and how do we want to be known? Is our identity in being a homeschool mom or is it in Jesus?  What will our children remember us as?  Mom loved and pointed us to the Lord (and that is WHY she did everything) or Mom did every craft and whatnot..The first should be our goal.

Before talking to your friends or consulting the catalogs or reviews, be in PRAYER over choosing curriculum!  How many of us do that??

Be in God's Word--it should be first thing you see and absorb everyday and it will give you strength.

There was so much more in the presentation, but that is a little sampling.  Hope you are all well!

As I said, it was a very encouraging night.
I hope we get another opportunity to have a time like this sometime in the near future!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


It was wet, rainy and chilly this past Saturday.
The softball game was cancelled, but we trekked on out to the shooting competition anyway.

Mike took the two competitors out early to get there on time and I headed up later (about an hour away) with everyone else.

Again, the kids were all divided up into teams--there were 4-H shooting sports members from all over there, Morris, Hunterdon, Warren, etc. counties.  4 people from various clubs to a team.  Then they each had to make the rounds to the different stations--air rifle 1, air rifle 2, shotgun, 3-d archery, archery games, and quiz bowl.  

Quiz bowl for MJ

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Sporting the ear protection

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Archery games for Bean

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Mike helped out with Bean's team, 
which is why there are more pictures with her in it.

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Air rifle 2 (I think)
I have to say, Bean had never shot an air rifle practice..zilch.
She. Did, Amazing!

She needed some help pumping the rifle, but her aim was right on.
For this station, they shot at balloons, then ping pong balls and then lollipops.
Maybe she's found her nitch?!

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We did not have any ear protection, so we couldn't go any closer,
 but this is MJ shooting shotgun for the first time.
He did hit a clay bird on one of his shots! 
Not bad for a first!

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MJ's turn at air rifle

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After all was said and done, we all gathered to go over who placed where.
Bean's team took 3rd in air rifle 2!!!

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MJ's team took 1st in air rifle 1!!

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Super Excellent Job, Kiddos!!

Monday, May 8, 2017


Our Friday co-op held a dance showcase this past week for all the dance classes.
The girls were so excited.  Mike didn't tell them that he was leaving work early to come watch, so that was an extra surprise!

Waiting for face paint!
In their group, some had tears and some had hearts.
The overall theme of the performances was hunger and the classes were asking for donations to help out local food pantries.

They were happy dancers

Waiting for the music

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They danced to a song called "Overcomer" by Mandisa

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Each girl got an 8 count solo that they could make up themselves.

Then each of the girls got a carnation.  
It was a nice touch.

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Great job, girls!