*****Please note that there are days where I will post more than once. So, to find out all the latest happenings and "goings-on" in our family (or my random thoughts), be sure to scroll down.*****

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas With Family

On the 17th, we got together with my side of the family to open gifts.  We were scheduled to go to Virginia for Christmas (which didn’t happen), so we made plans to celebrate early.  The boys received lots of cool toys that have kept them busy over the Christmas break.  Here they are opening their gifts and having fun…

Stay tuned for pictures from our celebration of Christmas Week…

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pinterest Anyone???

So, have you joined the latest addiction…aka Pinterest?  I’ll admit, I’m late to the party.  However, I’m now hooked.  There’s such a wealth of information on that site, and I could spend hours just looking, pinning, and dreaming. 
I have put my Pinterest time to use though…I’ve made and tweaked three recipes so far.  I’ve also used my non-crafting ability to tackle a few Christmas ornaments and the yarn felt wreath (this has been on my to-do list since it made it’s debut in the blogosphere months ago). 
You can find me on Pinterest under mom2calebnmicah
Here are my Pinterest attempts:

Crockpot BBQ Chickenbbq chicken
Parmesan Ranch ChickenParmesan Ranch Chicken
KISS PiesIMG_8092
Yarn Wreath with Felt FlowersIMG_8138
Ribbon Tree OrnamentIMG_8090
Ribbon Tree OrnamentIMG_8086
So, do you Pinterest?  If so, send me your name, and I’ll follow you!  Smile  I love seeing new ideas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Third Grade Weeks 23, 24, and 25 in Review

Here’s a compilation of the past 3 weeks (it didn’t take us 3 weeks as Caleb chose to double up on stuff in order to have a longer Christmas break)…
English – Caleb finished up his ACE Pace by working on synonyms, sequencing, and cursive letters. 
Math – NEW CONCEPTS:  Between Which Two Tens; Add to Check Subtraction; Reading Dials; Counting by 4’s to 16; Line and Ray; Counting by 12’s to 60; Equal Sign and Not Equal Sign; Counting by 4’s to 28; Ounces and Pounds; and Time Patterns.  REVIEW CONCEPTS:  Fact Focus:  16, 9, 7; Fact Focus:  17, 9, 8; More Doubles:  7, 8, 9; Fact Focus:  Opposites of Doubles – 7, 8, 9; Fact Focus:  12, 8, 4.
Caleb is still doing really well in his math and English this year.  I’m so pleased that we switched curriculums, and I feel we’ve finally found our match.  I’m hoping he continues to do well so that next year’s curriculum choices will be easier.  Smile
We’re enjoying lots of holiday craft and baking time during our Christmas break.  The boys are super excited about Christmas, and I’m enjoying the memory making.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Party Time...

There’s a party going on!!

Historical fiction author April W Gardner is celebrating the release of Warring Spirits, the second book in her Creek Country Saga! Everyone who purchases Warring Spirits on Amazon on Thursday, December 15, 2011, will be entered into SIX different drawings for some cool and unique prizes. That’s right—ONE purchase. SIX chances to win. 


She’s also giving away personalized, signed book plates (labels for the inside cover). One for every book you purchase. That’s a lot of bang for your buck. Order today and cross a few names off your Christmas list!

So what’s this book about? Warring Spirits is the sequel to Wounded Spirits, April’s Grace Award winning debut novel. Here’s a bit about today’s featured novel: 

Where blood is spilt, unexpected love may bloom.

In 1816 Georgia, escaped slaves control the land just beyond the American border in Las Floridas. Lost somewhere between white and black worlds, Milly follows hope to the only place that can offer her refuge—the place Georgians are calling Negro Fort. The first, sweet taste of freedom convinces Milly that surrender is not an option. Death would be more welcome.

Major Phillip Bailey has orders to subdue the uprising and return the runaways to their masters. Forced to fight alongside Creek warriors—the same who etched the scars into his mind and flesh—Phillip primes himself for battle.  But inside, a war already rages—return for the woman he thought lost to him or concede her to the enemy she loves; follow orders or follow his heart.

Ready to learn more about those great give-aways? Hop over to APRIL'S PLACE.

Book excerpts are a great way to get a feel for the author’s writing style, so I asked April to share a scene with us. Here’s a taste of chapter two where Milly, the heroine, must make a pivotal decision—keep running or stand and fight for her freedom.
Ahead, the forest made way for a clearing occupied by squatty huts. The escorts led them through the settlement’s cold, lifeless center. The only sign of activity lay ahead behind a massive wall that loomed before them. Hushed voices of women and children carried over the top, and light from their fires illuminated a path that ran the along its base.
Instead of taking the path, one of the men pulled aside a thick layer of hanging vines and banged a series of knocks against the door. Only blackness greeted them until a narrow passageway opened from the other side. 
A glow emanated from within. She had yet to step foot inside, but already Milly felt at home. She moved to enter, but Isum hesitated.
“What is it?” she whispered.
He turned to her and grasped her chin. “Them soldiers out there? They’s comin’ for all them what’s here. In the fort.” 
Milly nodded. “I know.”
“Do you?” His voice lit with intensity. “I’s willin’ to fight for my freedom, but you…you gotta be sure this is what you want. Iffin you don’t, we keep on south. Find us another place. Some place safe. You gotta be sure. ’Cause there ain’t no goin’ back. There ain’t no surrender.”
The finality of their journey weighed her down like a yoke dropped around her neck. There ain’t no goin’ back. That, she understood. She’d told herself the same the moment they’d broken free of Crawford County. For the last two weeks, she’d chosen her own steps, in her own glorious time. Going back to slavery was not an option. 
There ain’t no surrender. Was she willing to die for her freedom?
Isum was. She heard the resolve in his voice, saw it every day in the proud tilt of his chin and in the way he gripped his pistol. He would die hard, but he would die free.
A handful of seconds passed as Milly wavered. She had a choice—enter, or turn around and try another option. 
Was this what freedom felt like? If so, she could never give it up. Not now that she’d tasted it.
She wished to God her first real decision as a freed woman wasn’t such a grave one. Still, she smiled. “I’ll fight beside you. And if need be, I’ll die beside you. There’s no going back.”
Isum’s teeth gleamed as a grin broke his features. In one swift move, he slipped a hand around the back of her head and dropped in for a kiss. With moisture from his lips cool against her cheek, she squared her shoulders and stepped into the opening ahead of him.

Sound intriguing? Head over to APRIL'S PLACE to learn more! Or go straight to AMAZON to get your copy.

--April W Gardner is a multi-published author and the founder and senior editor of the fun literary site, Clash of the Titles.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Third Grade Week 22 in Review

Here’s how this past week went for us…
Bible – Our Bible stories were on “Jesus Lives Again” and “Jesus Showed Himself to His Friends.”  We read Matthew 28:1-8 and John 21:1-8.  Caleb’s memory verse was I Corinthians 15:4b.
English – This week Caleb worked on antonyms and synonyms.  He’s still really enjoying the ACE Paces, and he’s doing really, really well.
Math – NEW CONCEPTS:  Counting by 3’s to 30; Pentagon, Hexagon, Octagon, Oval; Choosing Coins for a Value; and More Words That Tell Us to Subtract.  REVIEW CONCEPTS:  Fact Focus:  14, 9, 5; Fact Focus:  15, 9, 6.  Caleb is still doing really well with the CLE Light Units.  It seems to be the right for now.
FUN SCHOOL – Here’s what Caleb worked on during Fun School…Math:  He read Mummy Math:  An Adventure in Geometry by Cindy Neuschwander and played with his Hot Dots Money Cards.  English/Brain:  He worked on a decoding worksheet, a secret code worksheet, and a “name something” worksheet.  Reading/Magazine:  He read his Click:  Farm Animals magazine.  Science:  He read his Farm Animals book and typed up a report on farm animals.  Bible:  He read a devotional on “Heidi Has An Attitude.” 
We will probably be skipping FUN SCHOOL until after the New Year.  We’re still a few weeks behind in our regular studies, so I want to take the time to get us caught up with that since we’re hoping to be out of town for Christmas.  So, for the next 3 weeks, Caleb will work on Handwriting, English, and Math.  Then, I’ll come back and do a combined review of those three weeks.  Smile

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Introducing Gizmo…

We purchased Gizmo, a two-month-old Shih-Poo, over the weekend.  We were able to welcome him into our home yesterday.  Yeah, yeah, yeah…I’m crazy for allowing another pet into our home, but I truly think Gizmo is special.  You see…Caleb has not liked dogs too much…well, he hasn’t been happy with Little Man.  Since we had Little Man before Caleb was born, he’s always been a wee bit jealous.  So, we didn’t think we’d ever get another dog if Caleb had anything to say about it.  Even when the idea was presented over the weekend, Caleb said he’d just have his lizard and Micah could have the new dog (before we had seen/purchased him).
I guess Gizmo pulled at Caleb’s heartstrings, and he’s in love…he LOVES that he can play with Gizmo.  It warms my heart to see him interacting with Gizmo and being truly happy.  So, he was a GREAT purchase, and I think Gizmo has stolen all of our hearts.

Caleb and GizmoIMG_8026
Little Man…grumpy in his old ageIMG_8027
He’s a little furballIMG_8036
Gizmo with his pigIMG_8038
Micah and GizmoIMG_8043
Goofy MicahIMG_8049
Look at that face…IMG_8050
Acckk… a snakeIMG_8051
A boy and his dog…IMG_8052
Warms my heart…IMG_8055

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Third Grade Week 21 in Review

We are finished with our studies until after Thanksgiving break.  Here’s how week 21 went for us…
Bible – Our Bible stories were on “Jesus Showed His Glory” and “Jesus Died For Us”.  We read Matthew 17:1-8 and John 19:11-18.  Caleb’s Bible verse was John 10:15b.
Math – NEW CONCEPTS:  Points and Polygons; Subtracting Nine; How Many More/Fewer; and More Fractions (Fifths, Sixths, and Eighths).  REVIEW CONCEPTS:  Fact Focus:  12, 9, 3 and Fact Focus:  13, 9, 4.
English – This week Caleb finished up another ACE Pace, and he took a test.  He scored 100%.  I’m REALLY pleased with this English curriculum, and I think it’s working well with Caleb.
FUN SCHOOL – Due to the Thanksgiving break and the fact that we’re still a few days behind, we opted to forego fun school this week.  Caleb still spent some time watching educational shows and doing some other “educational” things, so all is not lost. 
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We’re welcoming a new addition to our home today…Gizmo, an 8-week-old Shih-Poo (Shih Tzu and Poodle mix).  So, we’ll be busy house breaking and training him for a few weeks.  Wish us luck…pictures to come soon!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Third Grade Week 20 in Review

Another week is complete at Childress Academy.  Here’s how week 20 went for us…
Bible – Our Bible lessons were on “Jesus Forgave Sins” and “Jesus Showed Who He Was.”  We read Mark 2:1-12 and John 20:24-29.  Caleb’s Bible verse was John 20:29b.
Math – NEW CONCEPTS:  Counting by 3’s to 12; Words with Special Meanings:  A, Each, Pair; Fact Focus:  Adding 9 to 3, 4, 5; One Third of a Group; Fact Focus:  Adding 9 to 6, 7, 8; Counting by 3’s to 21; Pints and Quarts; Quarters to Pennies; One-Fourth of a Group; and Line Segments.  REVIEW CONCEPTS:  Caleb reviewed everything he has learned thus far…nothing major was focused on.
English – Caleb worked on state-of-being verbs.  He’s still doing really well with this ACE Pace curriculum for English.
FUN SCHOOL – This week I made Caleb sit down and write our his plans for FUN SCHOOL.  I felt that this would still give him autonomy, but some sort of a guideline and focus for each day/subject.  In Math, he worked on using the clock to give directions (for instance…take 3 steps 12 o’clock, etc), using the balance scale, and telling time.  In English, he worked on typing.  He has JumpStart Typing, and he spent time using that program each day.  In Reading/Magazine, he read Star Wars Adventures in Hyperspace – Shinbone Showdown by Ryder Windham.  In Science, he read the first two sections of Science Crackers – Cracking Chemistry by Steve Parker.  He also did an experiment do determine the strength of paper.  I’ll explain this at the end.  In Social Studies, he read Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures – The Japanese Flying Ninja Surprise by Sara Pennypacker.  In Bible, he read a devotion called “The Three Teachers.”  In Art, he did some drawings from All About Drawing – Horses and Pets by Russell Farrell & Peter Mueller.  He drew a cat and a mouse.
As I mentioned earlier, Caleb did an experiment to determine the strength of paper.  Basically, a piece of flat paper is not very strong.  However, if you roll it up, it becomes stronger.  Caleb had to roll up 16 pieces of paper, and tape them together into groups of 4.  Then he was to stack a book to see if the paper would hold the book.  It did, and then he continued to pile on books until I made him stop.  LOL!  He had fun, and he learned that we can re-construct items to make them stronger.  Smile 

The rolled up paperIMG_8009
Top viewIMG_8008
1 bookIMG_8010
3 booksIMG_8011
6 booksIMG_8012
7 booksIMG_8013
11 booksIMG_8014
***I really think this game plan idea is a GREAT compromise for both Caleb and myself.  It gives him some goals for the week, and it gives me the accountability to know that he’s LEARNing.  Smile  I think we’ll continue to try this as long as it works.  ***

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Caleb’s Bedroom Makeover

Back over the summer, Brian and I had a “duh parenting” moment.  We realized that while we had spent time reducing the use of chemicals in our home and cleaning up our diets, we had overlooked one area.  Caleb’s bedroom was decorated with taxidermy animals.  Yep…lots of once living animals were hanging on the walls.  What we didn’t think about at the time was how all of the chemicals used in the taxidermy process were seeping into Caleb’s bedroom and in essence, his system.  So, we came to our senses and realized that it was time for a bedroom makeover.  We promised Caleb that we would use the money we received from selling all of his taxidermy animals to decorate his room in the décor of his choice.  After much back and forth, he finally settled on a COWBOY room. 
Brian and I went to Hobby Lobby and bought lots of COWBOY décor to bring life into Caleb’s bedroom.  We also purchased him a bunk bed loft system (again, his choice).  We were in the process of removing carpet from the living room, and Caleb wanted his carpet gone, too.  So, we hired a crew to put in laminate floors.  Since the room was going to be made over, it made sense to have the walls painted/repaired, too.  So, we hired a painting crew to come in and paint his room (and some other rooms).   Once his room was painted and the bedroom furniture was built, it was time to start decorating.  Caleb got to choose what was put on each wall, and I must say…the finished project is GREAT!  I LOVE his room, and I think he does.  I also love that it’s one that can grow with him…even if he chooses to dismiss the COWBOY theme, his bedding will work with something else.  Or – he can keep the COWBOY theme until he moves out…either way, it works, and we’re all in love!  Smile

The view of Caleb’s room from the hallwayIMG_7983
Caleb’s bedroom doorIMG_7950
Wall right of his closetIMG_7951
Wall left of his closetIMG_7952
Right of his bedIMG_7953
Boot hooksIMG_7954
Wagon wheel above his bedIMG_7956
Wall across from his bedIMG_7958
Praying cowboyIMG_7970
Roping cowboyIMG_7968
Wall left of his windowIMG_7959
Western themed shadow boxIMG_7961
Smith & Wesson gun chartIMG_7963
Bunk bed loft system…steps/drawers on the left, desk on the rightIMG_7965
Close-up of his beddingIMG_7976
Now, Micah wants his room re-decorated.  However, the deal is…he MUST sleep in his own big boy bed before that happens.  LOL!  Smile  I’m sure it won’t happen any time soon.

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