Thursday, July 28, 2011

WonderMaps--Chance to WIN!

Having spent this week pulling all the pieces together for our upcoming homeschool year, I know how valuable WonderMaps would be for me. I spent a lot of time looking up medieval maps, partly so I know what I'm talking about, and partly because Carli loves mapwork.

Here is an awesome giveaway...

I'd say I hope you win, but really, I just hope I do! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Can't Get Much Better than FREE

One of my favorite aspects of Ambleside Online is that it uses many texts that are now public domain and can be found as online texts for free. Yes, I still love the feel of a book in my hand (and sometimes even the smell. I'm strange, but at least I know Kirsten is there with me!). But we still have way too many books to chose from both here and at the library if we need a feel-a-real-book fix, and we do...often.

There were a few books I found cheaply on Amazon, AbeBooks, or Half, and I bought them since they were ones I thought we would enjoy having in our hot little hands. But Glen bought me a Kindle for my graduation a couple years ago, and I really enjoy the feel of it in my hot little hands too. I love how easy it is to throw in my purse and have whatever book I'm in the mood for at my disposal.

All that being said, there are some incredible sites out there that have FREE eBooks, many of which I can transfer to my Kindle. The ones I can't transfer can be read from my laptop and often can be printed and put in a notebook.

Here are my favorite eBook sites:
:: Google Books
:: Project Gutenberg
:: Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project (There are a lot of free ones here, but some to pay for too, so make sure you know what you're clicking on!)
:: Amazon Kindle Store You can get a free Kindle ap for your PC (or practically any other electronic device) too!

I've recently discovered a couple sites for free audio books as well! I love to have my (ok, Glen's) MP3 on while I'm cleaning. I load audio books from our library site, podcasts, whatever, and clean/cook/fold laundry and feel like I'm not doing anything quite so mundane. Carli may use audio books from these sites to "read" from Ambleside Online's Free Reading list, though I'm still enjoying the stage where I read most of her literature to her since I enjoy it so much.

Anyway, the sites:

:: Librivox
:: Books Should Be Free (Amen!)

What are your favorite sites for free resources?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Big-Girl Bed

(I have no idea why this picture turned out pink, but take a look at that smile, would you?)

We finally have a bed set up for Madeline in the girls' room! Carli and Olivia were both in their own rooms at four months, but with Madeline, it's obviously been a bit different. For one thing, SPACE! Our third bedroom is our school/play room without a lot of extra room for a crib/pack-n-play or a bed. The girls' room is already wall-to-wall furniture. And too, even when we did try out the pack-n-play in another room, she always ended up back on a pallet on our floor when she was sick...and she just sort-of stayed! :)
The first night was not the proverbial walk in the park. She was so excited (?) and kept sitting up and laughing and being all-around silly. Then she cried when we left and turned the lights out (even though she always slept with them off before). Carli and Olivia were very frustrated with her laughing/crying because they wanted to go to sleep. I finally laid her on my bed and she was out like a we moved her back to her bed when we were ready to hit the hay ourselves. In the middle of the night, the girls woke us up because Madeline was crying again, so it was back to the pallet.

The next night was ever so much better. I put Madeline to bed earlier than the other girls, sang to her, kissed her, talked sweet nothings to her, and then I laid her down, turned on KLOVE (Christian radio station), turned out the light and walked out. She protested for a few minutes and I ignored her (*sniff*), but she quieted down quickly and for the next 20 minutes or so, every time I'd peek through the door, there she was, sitting up and staring back at me. I didn't say anything to her, just smiled and went about with whatever I was doing. Sure enough, it wasn't long before she was sound asleep...and she slept for 15 hours. (She had a little cold, and was probably worn out from the night before!)

Ready for bedtime prayers with Mommy and Daddy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Flipping Through and Laughing Out Loud

My lovely boss Ginger (with Digital Sermon Transcription, if you're interested) frequently Facebooks links to Jonathan Acuff's blog, and I have laughed out loud so many times reading it because he knows! Take, for instance, his latest "Stuff Christians Like" post: Saying Goodbye to Vacation Bible School. We've all been there. Yep, it's fun while it lasts, but seriously, could you do that every night of your life? (This year the week of VBS turned out to be my first week of work filling in for Matt here at IWU-Kokomo's front desk, so I missed all the "fun," but I certainly remember how utterly drained and exhausted I was at the end of those two hours!)

Anyway, I requested Acuff's Stuff Christians Like from Interlibrary Loan, and I picked it up today on the way to work. Flipping through it and reading only the headings made me laugh out loud and cause the laughing-tears start to slide down my face! If you've grown up in any kind of church culture at all (and I do mean any, clear across religious spectrum), you will find your church (you?) in a few of these! It's fun to laugh at yourself a bit, I think.

Here are some of my favorite headings under the banner Stuff Christians Like:

:: Trying not to complain around missionaries

:: The sound-guy neck crane

:: Pressing on your eyes during prayer

:: Saying "You're in my thoughts and prayers."

:: Name-dropping God to get out of a speeding ticket

:: Refusing to tithe until you have the proper amount of cheerfulness in your heart

:: Telling testimonies that are exciting right up until the moment you became a Christian

:: Losing the will to clap during songs

:: Finding typos in the worship music

:: Making sure everyone knows your fiance isn't living with you

:: Telling other people maybe God gave them the gift of singleness

:: Fake laughing at unfunny jokes out of Christian love

:: Judging people who use the Table of Contents in their Bible

:: Coming to church sick

...and my all-time favorite:

:: Dominating the "Please turn to..." Bible race during church

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Homeschool Planning Pages--Carli

I love to visit blogs and look at schedules and planning pages to get ideas for my own. I combined several ideas from Ambleside Online's yahoo group to make pages that work for me. Someday, I may figure out a schedule that combines both children, but for now this was the easiest. You can see and print the schedule here. You are more than welcome to change it up and use it however you wish! Happy planning!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Birthday celebrations

A week ago Sunday we celebrated Madeline Kate's third (!) birthday with cake and a few presents. First, though, I wanted desperately to get a picture of Madeline in her new dress from Granny, and wouldn't you know it, Gramma took Maddy's little jacket off before I can snap it. So imagine a cut little pink and black jacket. It was sweet! As you can see Madeline is signing cup...Sunday dinner wasn't quite ready, but she definitely was.
This year Madeline was very into opening her presents. Carli was the only one she'd let help her, but even then she was a bit territorial!

She sees her magnetic doll set and lunges with a smile!

Couldn't resist, but she's away and won't see this for a while, probably! :)

This picture of Glen and Madeline will tell you just about everything you need to know about how Daddy feels about his girls.
She must have liked the cake...she has her hands ready to "thank Jesus for the food!"
Love this sweet dress I found on major clearance at TJ Maxx. I figured out at Easter that I could save myself a lot of money if I would buy flower stems 50% off at a Hobby Lobby sale, add ribbon to an alligator clip and hot glue it to the back of the destemmed flower! So this one cost me $1.50 rather than $6! :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kindergarten and the Formidable List of Attainments

Olivia will be starting Kindergarten at home this year. Can it be I will homeschooling two children??

Thankfully, the adjustment will come slowly and gently, as Olivia's "school" won't take nearly as long. As many of you know, I'm knee-deep (neck-deep?) in Charlotte Mason research, and I was so happy to learn that she recommended no formal schooling before age six. That doesn't mean no learning, however. In fact, here is her "Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six":

A reprint of a curriculum outline from a CM school in the 1890's. from Summer 93 Parents Review pub by Karen Andreola

1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns
2. to recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm
3. to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
4. to read--what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child
5. to copy in print-hand from a book
6. to know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows
7. to describe the boundries of their own home
8. to describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach
9. to tell quite accurately (however shortly) 3 stories from Bible history, 3 from early English, and 3 from early Roman history (my note here, we may want to substitute early American for early English!)
10. to be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views
11. to mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them.
12. to do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees
13. to know 6 birds by song, colour and shape
14. to send in certain Kindergarten or other handiwork, as directed
15. to tell three stories about their own "pets"--rabbit, dog or cat.
16. to name 20 common objects in French, and say a dozen little sentences
17. to sing one hymn, one French song, and one English song
18. to keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations.

And NO, I'm not sure we'll get to some of that (um, French? Good idea, but this mama is not fluent in French). I'm not that good. The point is that instead of pouring over worksheets, the child should be outside as much as possible, exploring, observing, discovering nature up close and personal.

Since Olivia will be six in January, and since she is begging me to teach her to read, we will be using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, using letter tiles, etc. For math, I am not purchasing a curriculum, but we will be doing lots of domino/dice/counter math, reading living math books (great lists found here, even for little ones), etc. We will begin handwriting (manuscript) with some very short lessons.

We also will be following along with Ambleside Online's year 0 reading list, maybe doing some lapbooks for ones we want to spend more time with:

::Winnie the Pooh series by AA Milne and Ernest H. Shepard (Winnie-The-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, Now We Are Six).
::Beatrix Potter series (Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, etc,)
::The Little House by Virginia Burton
::The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
::The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
::Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
::Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
::One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
::Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
::Ox-Cart Man by Barbara Cooney
::Stone Soup and other folk tale retellings by Marcia Brown
::Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
::The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman
::Brer Rabbit books by Joel Chandler Harris
::Poems and Prayers for the Very Young by Martha Alexander
::A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (illustrated by Eulalie, Jessie Wilcox Smith, or Alice and Martin Provenson)
::A good collection including classic stories and folktales such as "The Little Red Hen," "The Gingerbread Man," "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "The Three Billy Goats Gruff."
::A good collection of Aesop's Fables, such as the one illustrated by Milo Winter
::A nice Mother Goose collection
::Illustrated classic poetry such as Poems for Young Children compiled by Caroline Royds
::A good collection of classic children's poetry such as A Child's Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa; The Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry selected by Louis Untermeyer; The Oxford Book of Children's Verseedited by Peter Opie

As part of training in the habit of attention, I'll include Olivia in a sort of "circle time" with Carli, where we'll study the Bible, memorize Scripture and poetry, learn hymns and folk songs, and study artists and composers.

As far as foreign language, I'm still not sure if we'll be sticking with sign language or delving into something a little more, uh...foreign. I must admit, since I didn't study languages as a young one, I'm a bit intimidated by the thought. Carli will be doing Latin in a year or two, but somehow that is more exciting, and it will be more to learn the roots of the English language. I just really need to research options for a good curriculum that would be fun and effective. I've messed around with Rosetta Stone samples and LOVE it, but we just don't have the cash for that now. Ah well, I'll figure it out. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

With the Aunties

With Glen's sisters (Emeline on the left, Lorraine on the right) on Sunday, July 3.

Ah, the Aunties. Emeline and Lorraine are becoming such lovely young ladies whom I truly enjoy spending time with. Can't believe they are going into eleventh grade this year! Whenever Glen's family is in town on Sunday, they spend the afternoon with us. We share a meal and visit, clean up and then most of the adults take our Sunday afternoon naps! :) The aunties are such a big help with the girls, watching them through the afternoon and getting them ready for Sunday night church.

Lorraine has a special place in my heart because of her love of reading and her knack with my children. Emeline shines in the kitchen and with her art work, and over the last couple years has learned the ins and outs of caring for Madeline's special needs. They are both hard workers...every once in a while I even find a changing table or drawer in the kids room put back to rights and neatly organized after the little ones rummaged through one too many times!

Love you bunches, girls!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rookie Camp Preview

This was Carli's second and last year at Rookie Camp. Next year it's on to pre-teen girls camp, if you can believe that. She turned 8 at camp and she came home happy and exhausted after four days/three nights of lots of physical activity, crafts, service projects, and Bible teaching. Here is a sneak peek, thanks to Connie, who went with her daughter Hallie (first picture) and as a counselor.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

You're 3, Madeline!

This is the day

we celebrate your birth,

the moment
you graced us with your presence.


Wrapped around our hearts.

And we're ever thankful.

Hugs and Kisses,


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We have an 8-year-old???

Carli Brooke turned eight years old last week...while she was a Rookie Camp (kids' church camp). Let me tell you, this mama missed her girl quite a bit. On her birthday, I was in Hobby Lobby picking up a few gifts for her and getting ready to head to Marion to see her when I got a call that Matt's baby was on the way and it was time to cover the front desk at IWU-Kokomo for him. So Glen was the lucky one, the one who hugged our birthday girl and passed out treats to her roommates.

Her party was Saturday at Jackson-Morrow Park with a sweet bunch of girls + Cameron and Nathaniel + parents. Olivia took most of the pictures, and I didn't realize that there was a smudge on the lens and a lot of them didn't turn out very well. It was a day of Mama-mess-ups. I forgot a knife and a cake server, and somehow, one of my packs of plates disappeared (did I just leave it in the cart or what??). It was windy on the hill, and despite lots of taping, the table covers continually billowed up, knocking over plates and cups. Ah, well. We had a lot of fun despite Mama and the wind! :)

An extra-bright spot in the day was the discovery that the Nature Center was open, so to escape the heat for a while, we headed over there. We visited with the critters (stuffed and live), looked at some cool science displays, and made bracelets.

I had to share this one (obviously after she pulled her bow out, her favorite trick).

Pizza crust...Mmmm.
By the way, when did this little one grow up? She took this picture herself. (Oh, and the lady in the background is Amy, our neighbor, whose little girl is a new little buddy to our girls)


Eight years! The time is slipping through our fingers so quickly, and I want to cling to each moment of being your mama. Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady you are becoming. You have a tender heart and a love for Jesus that warms our hearts, and your prayers of faith challenge us to trust Jesus more. I pray God will direct your steps all through your life and that you will follow Him closely.

I love you,


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I don't know if any of you are challenged in the creativity department, but I certainly am. I know what I like, but the thought of putting it all together, even if money weren't an issue, definitely overwhelms me. Though maybe I could do it...if I did the shopping and somebody else did the actual work! :)

Here are some sites I LOVE when it comes to decorating. I'm not even sure what to call this style, but I love vintage prints and furniture, "found" items that just really pull you in. Not too country...just sweet.


The Handmade Home
The NieNie Dialogues...NieNie's blog isn't all about decorating, but you see her style in the background of a lot of her posts. The one I linked to is of a basement makeover by Alice Lane, I believe.
The Lettered Cottage
(Probably my favorite) Soule Mama, and especially this space.
Tiny Victorian Cottage -- Not really into a lot of Victorian, but I love all the white!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Links that Make Me Happy--Charlotte Mason Edition.

I recently finished Karen Andreola's A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning. This book was such a lovely introduction to Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is wanting to learn more about her methods.

Anyway, today I had the brilliant idea that just maybe Mrs. Andreola has a blog, and what do you know, Swagbucks pointed me in the right direction. I was trilled to find such a beautiful site, just as inspiring as the book. Visit Karen here.

I recently discovered that there are lectures online from the Childlight USA's Charlotte Mason Education Conference. They can be downloaded to your computer or MP3.

I have only listened to two so far. Maybe I subconsciously assumed that because this was, at least in part, a homeschool conference, the speeches would be less than stellar. (Why do I still have these underlying prejudices?? I AM a homeschool mother. Maybe my own insecurities are bubbling up to the surface?) Let me just tell you, the two speakers I've listened to so far knocked. it. out. of. the. park. These two doctors were very articulate and so interesting that I was sorry when they closed their lectures.

The first lecture I listened to was Dr. John Thorley's "'Science of Relations' vs. 'Examinable Content'" (last one on this page). If you know anything about Charlotte Mason, you'll recognize the phrase "science of relations." Dr. Thorley is from the UK, and with his accent he sketches some of the history of the UK's "state" school system (he explained the difference between that and what are called "public schools" in England). While this may seem like a snore, it was actually quite fascinating. Not only has he taught in the state schools, he has also been a school inspector, and I believe he has also taught in a Charlotte Mason-style college.

The second lecture I listened to at 4:00 this morning (I took a pill with caffeine WAY to late...SO, I worked on a transcription file, took a long bath, read 50 pages from Justin Cronin's The Passage, and STILL couldn't sleep), and despite the exhaustion, I was spellbound through all but the last 10 minutes, when it all caught up with me. I awoke an hour later to find it finished and sleep was no longer a problem!

Anyway, the lecture I am referring to is Dr. Jack Beckman's "The Books that Changed My Life." Anybody who knows me knows reading is a passion of mine, even if I don't have as much time to read as I would like. I love books and I love books about books. Now I've discovered I love Dr. Beckman talking about books! In this lecture, Dr. Beckman presented some of his favorite books and why they have been important to his life. He is a very engaging speaker, and when he read passages aloud, he brought the term "living books" to a whole new level. I couldn't help thinking of you, Aunt Pam, and you, Aunt Ardella, as I listened. You would resonate with his passion for books.

Whether you're a subscriber to the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education or no, I have no doubt you would enjoy any of these links. Enjoy!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Congratulations to my lovely Auntie for reaching 500 followers on her blog "A Sheltering Tree." If you've been to her blog, you know she has a mentoring heart and a warm writing style that make for an incredible blog. If you've not "met" her yet, now would be an great time to head on over just might win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Hey, where did everybody go??? Ok, then, enjoy the blog. I'll see you over there!