Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Josh's Smilebox for Pasco fishing trip

Click to play this Smilebox scrap pages: Fishing Time w/Uncle Dan
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Another NATURAL Happy Face

Nancy, this one is for you!!!

Jacob got a scrape on his arm and if you use your can kinda see a face - the 2 eyes, nose, and the straight mouth - not really smiling 'cuz it hurt a bit!

Memorial Day

We went to visit my brother and sister-in-law for Memorial Day weekend this year. What a great time we had. The boys went fishing on Sunday and the girls went to lunch and did some shopping! That is my kind of relaxing!

My brother was in the military so he took us to their local cemetery to see the Memorial Day celebration. There were flags everywhere! Each flag stands for a soldier who has passed away and has a small name plate on it. Talk about a powerful visual! I have been very interested in supporting the soldiers - especially since a boy that I watched grow up in our church went to Iraq a few years ago to drive tanks. I was blubbering on the back row of the church when the pastor prayed for him before he left for his mission. I was holding Josh who was quite small at the time and just kept thinking - "I couldn't do that - let my baby go off to fight in a war!" His mom was very well put together and she told me "If God is calling him over there, then who am I to say no?" WOW! What maturity she has shown me over the last few years.

So, needless to say, I saw all these flags and just couldn't help but think about the family members who were remembering those who fought for my freedom. I did get a bit teary eyed while walking through the cemetery. Boy, this sure does make it very clear that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

Thank you to all who are willing to sacrifice time and life for our freedom! Our prayers are with you!

Here are the boys with their cousin Seth. He is 4 and did not want his "new friends" to leave.

Here is a pathway with the flags displayed along the sides.

In the center of the cemetery there was a pond with a couple of swans and some REALLY BIG fish - the boys wanted to get their fishing poles but we calmed them down and explained that you can't fish in a cemetery! They were not happy since they could see the HUGE bass just being lazy in the shallow pond but they did cooperate.

Here is a picture of the area for the service that they had set up on the other side of the pond (with the HUGE fish -did I mention that already?)

More flags on display.

More flags.....

My brother decided that he wanted flag with his name on it. Then I reminded him that he had to die before he could get one! I told him not to rush it.....we might just have to get him one for Christmas as a joke!

Lucky the Mourning Dove

This is Lucky Bird! My mother-in-law rescued it from their backyard in Yuma, AZ. So, what to do when they came home for the summer? Bring it with her of course! She has been hand feeding it and all the way up to the Pacific Northwest it sat in her lap or on her shoulder or in it's little box. The bird is really cute but we like to give her a hard time about being the CRAZY BIRD LADY! Here is Jacob holding Lucky. Every time Grandma would walk away and the boys would go over by him, he would start cheeping and ruffling his feathers. By the end of the night he was a bit more relaxed around the boys.

Here is one of Lucky sitting on Josh's hand.

Josh thinks he has died and gone to heaven. He has been wanting a bird and now we can live vicariously through Grandma (aka CRAZY BIRD LADY). He was trying to convince me to buy it from Grandma but the poor little bird follows her around and thinks she is the mother. I couldn't bear to take it away from her - and, for the record, she won't give it up. Now the only problem is what to do with Lucky when we go camping in a couple of weeks.....she didn't think of that when her soft little heart got her into this predicament.

This whole situation kinda reminds me of a story Ken's parents tell about Ken when he was younger. He was on his way home from school and found a poor chicken in an alley in town. The chicken didn't have any feathers and had been played with/chewed on by the neighborhood dogs. Ken (and his soft heart - wonder where Josh gets his compassion for animals?) rescued the chicken and brought it home. His dad said he could keep it if it lived (and all of us parents know.....that is not a smart thing to say because the love and care of a child can bring anything from the brink of death back to a rip-roaring life!).
Well, guess what?! She lived and Ken named her Henrietta. Well, Henreitta was quite the part of the family. She would ride on the back seat of the station wagon while they traveled to see the grandparents. WHAT A SIGHT THAT WOULD BE, huh?! She even made friends with the family German Shepherd.
Soooooo, all that to wonder we are where we are!
Oh, and I just happened to find the book "Are You My Mother?" at a garage sale this weekend and thought it was appropriate for the situation. My mother-in-law got a good chuckle out of that one!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Learning Opportunity

This year the boys have tried some online learning programs. I enjoy them because there is less planning for me but I also miss "teaching" the concepts. But, sometimes it is better to have someone else explain - especially the math that Josh is getting into now. I know how to do it but am not very good at explaining it. We started with one but I wasn't happy with how the boys could click through the explanation and then just do the problems and not understand the concept at all. I also didn't like the record keeping part of it. I had a hard time figuring out what the boys had covered and what they didn't get. They enjoyed the freedom of doing their work on the computer independently but I felt like I didn't have a clue about what they were doing.

I began searching google and checking with other homeschoolers online and..........I was so excited to find Time 4 Learning! What a great program. We signed up for the 14 day trial and now I am hooked! We will be doing 1 lesson a day throughout the summer in the Math and Language Arts areas. If the boys want to do the Science or Social Studies lessons that would be fine by me but we will see. They have lessons from pre-K through 8th grade. Then next fall the boys will use it for their 4th and 7th grade curriculum.

This program is the best! It has all the lessons laid out for the parent to see and the kids have the chapters on the first page they open. They can either first listen to all the lessons or try the chapter test if they feel confident that they know the concepts in that chapter. If they pass the test, great. If they don't, then they just do the lessons and activities and then do the test again. The lessons consist of small animated video clips and then questions to review the information given in the clip. The boys know they are doing "school" but it isn't as painful as pulling out the book and working in it. I also like that they get immediate feedback on a wrong answer, rather than waiting for me to correct their lesson (sometimes it would be a few days before I would get to their book) and then having to do the lesson over because they missed a small piece of the formula.

I can print out a report of their activity with test and quiz scores daily, weekly or monthly. I am printing weekly right now and think this is working well. I will just keep this with our weekly schedules so I know where the boys are in their progress.

Can I say it again? I AM SO EXCITED TO FIND THIS! Check out the website at and see how well it will work with your own kiddos! The 14 day trial period leaves you with nothing to lose! And, being as un-techy as I am, I have already had to call the support number. The people on the other end of the line are so helpful and friendly!

If you sign up, please say that you heard about it from me. Time4Learning does most of their advertising by word of mouth and members can earn a free month by referring other people to them.