Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shoes for Orphan Souls

The second service project AHG has been working on is Shoes for Orphan Souls. We participated in this service project last year at our Christmas party and decided to do the same thing this year. All over the world there are children who have never had a new pair of shoes. Shoes for Orphan Souls strives to provide children all over the world with shoes.

Sissy has really developed a heart for service..I'm seeing it as one of her spiritual gifts. She desired to collect alot of shoes for this project, so she took her desire to the entire church. She hung a couple signs around the building and had announcements made requesting shoes or monetary donations. There happens to be someone at our church who is a manager at a local shoe store and can get shoes that have been marked down at an amazing deal. So, between her and Sissy, they were able to purchase 60 pairs of shoes for this project. Here is a picture of her and some of the 87 pairs of shoe laces she helped collect.

At the Christmas party the girls each drew pictures or wrote notes, stuffed them in a pair of shoes and then prayed over the shoes for the child that would receive them.

I'm not sure what has been more of a blessing to me, knowing how many children will be helped through the two service projects we have taken part in this year as a troop, or seeing my oldest really develop a heart for others who are less fortunate. She is hoping to make it bigger and more successful next year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Roman Feast

We have just finished up our study of Ancient Rome and ended it with a Roman feast. We dined on ham, hard boiled eggs, a salad of greens, peas and carrots with a "wine" dressing, cooked apples in cinnamon and a bread dessert. It was alot of fun putting our feast together.

The girls made a sign for our "dining room" to let dad know that this would be the place we would be eating our dinner that night. Romans usually at around low tables, sitting on the ground or lounging on low couches. We just pushed our two end tables together to make our dining table and dad got the couch. He really enjoyed acting like the emperor! We made him a crown using tinfoil and cardstock.

Just for fun we "dined" on giraffe (the kids found it sad that at some feasts, the Romans would eat giraffe) so we placed one of our stuffed giraffe's under a bowl and revealed it before the meal.

In addition to the meal, the low tables, couch, crown and giraffe, the kids and dad wore togas! (By the time mom got the meal together I forgot the toga!)

Our Roman feast was a fun way to end our study. We are headed into learning about the Muslim faith and where it came from for a couple weeks and then will be headed into the medieval times.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Co-Op Performance

We finished our first semester of co-op for this year. The girls seemed to enjoy their classes. Here are the classes they took:

Sissy - Book Club (Read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and did a lap book)

Apologia General Science Lab

Babysitting (learned basic first aid, information to collect before parents leave

determining what toys are proper for various ages, etc.)


Peanut - Gym

Arts and Crafts


Lego Robotics

Sweet Baby - Fun with Books


Beginning Cooking


Sweet Baby was so excited for ballet as she has never taken dance before. She seemed to really enjoy it as well. For our last day of co-op we ended the day with a performance by the little ballerinas. They danced for us to Silent Night. It was sweet to see all the girls sharing their new skills.

Blankets for Hope

The girls have just finished up a couple service projects with American Heritage Girls.

Our first project was making pillowcases and fleece tie blankets for Blankets of Hope - this is an organization in our county who provides pillowcases stuffed with a blanket, book, and small stuffed animal to children who are removed from their homes and placed in foster care. My girls enjoyed being able to choose a favorite fabric from JoAnn's and then were helped by people who actually know how to sew, and made pillowcases.

Here is Peanut at the sewing machine. The two younger girls mainly helped push the foot pedal, but also received instruction on how important it is to keep their fabric straight.

Sissy did much of the sewing herself. Her "teacher" is a dear friend of mine - who incidentally does not have a daughter of her own. This is another thing I love about AHG and having it at our church - we have gotten alot of support there from people who just want to teach the kids how to serve others and be the best young ladies they can.

The finished product...

The fleece tie blankets were perfect! If the girls had no desire to sew, they could easily cut and tie the edges of the blankets. Peanut enjoyed this part most of all. In total, and in about 2 hours, the group completed 34 blankets and 35 pillow cases.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Festive Field Trip

We had fun on a field trip on Friday. The whole family traveled a bit over an hour to Detroit to tour The Parade Company. The Parade Company is responsible for the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year will be the 81st year that the parade has been running! The field trip allowed us to walk through the HUGE warehouse where the floats are stored and created. I have been watching the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade since I was a kid. Many of the things that I saw yesterday were things I've seen over the years.

These are paper mache "heads" that people wear while walking in the parade. We learned that they weigh up to 100 lbs! In addition when the parade first started, it was run by Mr. Hudson. He employed people to walk in the parade. Now, the parade is full of volunteers. If someone would like to wear one of these heads, THEY actually pay The Parade Company $200 to wear one! My kids think it is crazy to pay that kind of money to walk around balancing a 100 lb head on their shoulders!

Sweet Baby immediately noticed that there was an elephant head, since elephants are her favorite animal, we snapped a picture of her.

I remember seeing these in the parade year after year. People climb into them and walk around with them..FUNNY!

After our introduction and taking a peek at the paper mache heads and ostriches, we went on to see the area where they are creating new floats. We were not allowed to take photos of the floats themselves but I was able to take a picture of this. The artist was sanding down this big piece of foam like stuff to make a piece to a float. The kids really thought that was neat.

Here is the Wizard of Oz float..cute!

Daddy really enjoyed the engineering aspect of the tour. The spent a bit of time telling us the materials that were used in creating the floats. This is a "float" that is powered by a bicycle. You can see that it is going to be a car of some sort. They use steel bars and chicken wire for the frame. The frame is covered with muslin, primed and painted before it is ready to go.

Peanut loved the princess carriage. Apparently the base of the carriage as donated by an Amish family. Our tour guide also mentioned that they rent the carriage out for weddings!

Here Peanut is getting her picture snapped with the carriage.

Here is another piece of the parade that I remember seeing over the years. These are rolled down the street by people dressed as clowns.

Here is a shot of the adorable Sesame Street float. I miss the days that my kids got excited over Elmo and Big Bird. SIGH...

And of course, the exciting part of the parade for little ones...when Santa makes his way down Woodward Avenue. Although the last couple years have me reassessing the whole "Santa" thing, I do adore the images of Santa and his workshop.

This is the float that Santa actually rides in on. Cute huh?

Here is one final float that Peanut liked and I thought it was cute as well. It is an "aquarium".

Anyway, what annual traditions do you have for Thanksgiving? Growing up our family tradition included going to my grandparents, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, eating a wonderful dinner and relaxing.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This Week

We have just a couple weeks left in our study of Rome. This week we have been studying Acts and Paul's missionary journey and the beginning of the church. As we are winding down our study of Rome, we are supposed to have a Roman Feast. This week the girls wrote We will be having our feast the week after Thanksgiving. Technically we are supposed to have our feast the week of Thanksgiving, but I'm not about to do Thanksgiving at our house AND a Roman feast all in the same week so I'm tweaking things a bit! So, the girls sat down to make a Roman scroll for daddy. I told them that we would see if we could get daddy to dress up in a toga for the feast. Sweet Baby ran with that and added an instruction to hers.....

"Don't frget to be romany"

Of course she meant "forget", but what cracks me up is the word "romany"!

For science, the younger girls and I began talking about flowers and their parts. They enjoyed making models of a flower. Here Peanut is (complete in her pj uniform) coloring some pollen onto the stamen and pistil of her flower (made from pipe cleaners).

Sweet Baby enjoyed making her model - complete in her sister's Laura Ingalls Halloween costume ;)

Peanut wanted to make her flower look like her favorite flower, a tulip, so she closed up the petals a bit. It seems the girls enjoyed this hands on activity....I love smiles like this!

Friday, October 28, 2011

More Delight

I have indeed had the most struggle homeschooling my youngest. Sweet Baby has a streak within her that makes her very outspoken, tends to speak before she thinks and seems to enjoy pushing her mother's buttons. However, this year I have discovered the most delight of the last 4 years - our homeschooling years - in my parenting.

Last year this sweet child was unable to master math. One day she would learn about how much a dime was worth and if we did not discuss it each and every day, she would forget its value. Sometimes it took 2 weeks for her to remember the value of a coin. It was so distressing and frustrating - to both of us. Just this past week we revisited coins for the first time since May. What a delight that she remembered the penny and dime, knew what their value was and how we count them! Here she is practicing.

In addition to struggling with money, she was never able to memorize simple addition facts. Sometimes, even at the end of first grade, she would need to do her +1 facts on her hands. It frightened me and made me so sad. Well.....look at her now! In just 2 months of school my Sweet Baby has memorized her 0's, 1's, doubles, 2's and is well on her way to memorizing her doubles +1's. Here is a photo of her accomplishment as she was able to complete the flashcards.

Above anything else I'm amazed at her change in attitude. She does not grumble about math anymore (thank you Saxon!!!) and she works hard, pressing on. I am so proud of this little spitfire and so thankful that God answers prayers. I have prayed hard that he show both of us the joy that we can have in homeschooling - and he has done just that. After managing all these flashcards I told her how thankful I am that I got to see her do it, because if she was at school, I would not have shared in the moment that it all made sense to her. She looked thoughtful and said, "Mom, I still wonder what school would be like in a school building, but I'm glad I am homeschooled too."

Rising to New Heights

Sissy had a great month with American Heritage Girls. We took the Pioneer unit to a local team building company. The girls were going rock wall climbing, an d she was quite excited. Here she is getting all suited up to get ready to learn how to belay and then climb the wall.

I was shocked and excited that she was the only one out of 3 girls who not only made it a fair amount up the wall, but she made it all the way! The instructor was impressed as well because she asked her if she thought she could turn around and go backward, I was surprised to see that she was able to!

Here she is making it to the top!

I continue to be amazed at all the great things she is learning. I am really enjoying being the unit leader and getting to see what the kids are doing, their reactions to things, and growth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Discovering Seeds and Germination

The little girls are in the middle of a science experiment. They are learning about seeds, germination and what it takes to make a seed germinate. We placed seeds in 5 different jars last Monday and are watching them to see what they will do and drawing out our results.

Jar 1 - Damp paper towel, 4 kidney beans, set on windowsill

Jar 2 - Damp paper towel, 4 kidney beans, in refrigerator (cold, no warmth)

Jar 3 - Dry paper towel, 4 kidney beans, on windowsill (no water)

Jar 4- Damp paper towel, 4 kidney beans, set on windowsill, steel wool in jar (steel wool is supposed to eat up the oxygen in the jar)

Jar 5 - Damp paper towel, 4 kidney beans, black construction paper around jar (no light)

The girls were very excited to see that "something is happening".....

God's Design provided us a chart to record our findings on, but knowing Peanut, I knew she would prefer to draw what she saw, rather than fill out a chart, so I drew some very crude jars and made copies of them to record on. Here she is contemplating what she sees.

In addition to watching what the seeds are up to, we soaked some kidney beans and some corn seeds over the weekend. Doing this allowed the girls to dissect the beans and see what the insides look like. Here Sweet Baby is peeling off the seed coat of the kidney bean.

Believe it or not, you could actually see the first little leaves inside the bean. It was really neat. Peanut is recording what she sees on a lapbook piece from the Hands of a Child Plants lapbook. I purchase lapbooks from them whenever they have one that will go along with what we are doing for history or science and when it fits with what we are talking about, we do a lapbook piece and put it all together in the end.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Sight to Behold

I am remembering back to just 2 short years ago when Sweet Baby was ready to begin kindergarten and my misgivings about teaching her to read. I remember not feeling like I could do it and that a public school could give her a start in kindergarten with her basics and then bring her home for 1st grade. I'm so glad to say I was wrong.

For history/Bible are discussing the Old Testament prophesies of Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection and then looking at the New Testament and seeing where the prophesies were fulfilled. Nothing warms my heart more than having my Sweet Baby looking up her own scriptures and then reading aloud from the Bible.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Scientific Method in Action

Sissy is diligently working through Apologia General Science and I'm so proud of her willingness to pick up her books and do her lessons. She just finished Module 2 which had her learning about the Scientific Method. Although we are doing all the experiments at our co-op, we were going to miss last week's class so she did the experiments at home.

She really enjoyed this experiment, which had her implementing the entire Scientific Method. I was supposed to make a flashlight stop working and watch her as she attempted to figure out why it was not working and make it start working again. I chose the "easiest" way to sabotage the flashlight which had me taking the batteries out and placing a small piece of paper between the connectors so it was prohibited from working.

Sissy took it apart...

Noticed the paper, came up with a hypothesis, put the flashlight back together without the paper...

And tested her hypothesis by turning it back on to see if it would work. She did a great job!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Leaves and Arches

For the first part of the year for science the little girls are doing plants. We are learning about leaves and trees right now (perfect for this time of year). A couple weeks ago we took the dog on a hike to a local park. It was a perfect day for a hike, the sun was out and the leaves are starting to change colors.

I do not think I need to say anything about this picture. Awwwww...

At home the following Monday the girls did leaf rubbings with the leaves we found. They really enjoyed that.

For history we were talking about Roman arches and aqueducts. We discussed how an arch makes structures much stronger. We built a "bridge" using a 4x6 card, some books and pennies. The 4x6 card did not hold many pennies at all before it buckled under the weight.

We added an arch under the bridge to see if it would indeed strengthen the bridge. Sure enough it did. The kids were amazed at how many more pennies the bridge could hold just by adding an arch under the bridge.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

First AHG Meeting of the Year

Last week we had our first co-op of the year and our first AHG meeting. I forgot to take my camera to co-op but I did snap a few of our girls before the AHG meeting.

Here is Sissy all proud of her Pioneer Sash. She'll use the same sash for her remaining 6 years in AHG. Notice her Lewis and Clark Award? That is the red and gold one - she worked very hard for that last year.

Peanut is an Explorer this year. She earned several badges as a Tenderheart, she did not receive them until the year end ceremony and since she has moved to a new level this year, she will not wear them on a vest. She starts all over this year :)

Here is Sweet Baby showing off all the badges she earned last year (there is one more hiding on the other side). She will remain a Tenderheart this year and next.

And, here is a shot of the three of them.