Monday, March 30, 2009

rite of passage.

my first and second (and i use the term "my" very loosely!) have just returned home from a weekend of turkey hunting with their Papa. there is the smell of man about them; they share private jokes which result in rolling giggles... they have quickly hushed stories to share of untold quantities of consumed fried catfish, coke at night,a certain inability to stay still in the "blind" (and resulting opportunities to tromp in the giant gully nearby), big trucks stuck in Georgia red-clay... and not one turkey in sight.

they sport sleepy eyes (up at five till after 10!) and grungy shoes and new cammo gear and huge rain boots. there is a new and deeper bond forged with a man God blessed our family with, and there is the sense that soon, they will be much older, perhaps (and prayerfully), wiser, and i have the awareness that not long in the future, they will know the sweet sadness of sacrifice so that mankind will have food provided by God... at their hands.

it's bittersweet, this blessing. they lose a bit of little-boy, and yet they gain strength. it is one more reminder that they are "borrowed..."

i often wistfully imagine days of quiet and the opportunity to sip lattes and read novels mid-day... and yet i am sharply aware today that those days will come too soon, and i will miss the never-ending chaos. soon, perhaps tomorrow, "my" boys will be the men God is shaping them up to be.

thank you, Papa, for a Papa here who joins in this process.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

a few years ago, a little girl was born in a small town in indiana. her family loved her very much, and her Creator loved her even more. she grew up to be a pretty lady with a prettier spirit, and she met a handsome man who had two little girls and a broken heart. with the help of her Father, she helped him heal his heart, and long years later, she helped him bring home the hearts of his girls.

one of those girls grew bigger and came to live with them. the first girl, whose name was constance, lived out her name in her actions. she devoted herself to loving faithfully the husband and daughter she was given. she prayed and she loved and she taught and she encouraged, and Papa-God blessed her faithfulness by building a home of love.

the daughter she loved grew up and moved away and had a family of her own. through the years, challenges would come, and days would be hard, and callings would be felt, and all the while constance would remain constant. she would pray, and she would challenge; she would encourage, and she would love. she was the woman her Father named her to be.

the husband was grateful, as well, for the constance of constance. she was his partner and friend, his lover and helpmeet. she continued to pray, and she worked and she cooked, she served alongside and still she loved.

the girl constance was a gift to me from my Papa. i am the daughter of her heart whom she loved, and served, and challenged, and encouraged. i am the "little one" who gained confidence at her faith, who knew trust in her faithfulness, and who knew unending love in her arms.

it's my mom's birthday today, and i am one spoiled girl. for i have received the love of constance.

happy birthday, mom. i love you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

strawberry fields...

mmmm... wandering the strawberry fields today, and then visiting a super-cool park we'd never been to before... meeting up with Nana and some friends, both old and new. spring has officially come to Florida - and it's strawberry season. mmmmm...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

pretty, pretty things.

i PROMISED my sister in law i'd set up an etsy store for her. i plan to take these to a local shop i love to offer for sale. i've already laid claim to a few of these. and every time i wear them, someone tells me how adorable it is. won't you leave some blog love, and let me know if you're interested in one?

she scouts out super cool vintage and new buttons and creates these little wearable works of art. honestly, can you believe the "hat girl?"

wordless wednesday.

fish heads and sugar snap peas...

okay, some things about boys are just plain gross. sorry. the catfish that came home from the skyway bridge fishing trip made me gag. i will spare you the really detailed pics, but i want you to know that inside the catfish, which daddy attempted to filet, was another fish. now that was cool. but don't ask me to eat that thing. man, i miss that little place we used to go for fried catfish in northern indiana when i was growing up. colfax?? was that the name??

much sweeter... sugar snap peas, please. Little was so happy up on his stool, picking these apart and chowing down. i am ever in awe of the tenderness natural to the Bigs when they respond to them. he'd say, "ahhhhhh" and force feed one of them, and they'd giggle and take it. and again, i say Papa didn't just bless us with Blue, He blessed Blue with his amazing siblings.

see how determined is his expression as he works on those peas?

and a little art time... despite the wind (NOT good for flying art papers) and the impatience (yep, mine;) we endured and relished the perfection of spring.

happy day - it's spring!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Outdoor Hour...

i promised i'd go look up the link again... check the right side for the Outdoor Hour icon. click on it and it'll take you to the blog we're following for our nature studies. i confess i've yet to fully explore the site, but i'm excited about what we've read so far. the approach to nature study is very Charlotte Mason - gentle and directed - allowing us to really dive in and appreciate our Papa for His creation, one fascinating detail at a time. happy wandering!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Sentence Game - homeschool product review

MORE FUN THAN GRAMMAR LESSONS! If you're looking for a fun way to improve writing and grammar skills, this game is for you! For 2 to 6 players, grades 1st and up. Rules are easily mastered. The Sentence Zone can be played at six levels - from Level 1 in which the player builds a subject and verb sentence, to Level 6 in which the player builds complex sentences with independent and dependent clauses. With over 500 color coded cards, students are sure to be unique and entertaining every time. A great reinforcing individual activity where a player keeps track of his score from day to day, trying to top his previous score, or a great group activity where competition drives creativity and learning. An instructive and enjoyable way to shatter the tedium of English grammar lessons!
This is a quote from the website regarding The Sentence Game, a product we received for review.
We did enjoy playing this game. Any time we can break out of our regular routine and add variety to our studies, and especially when we can incorporate all of our ages, it is a hit. The game came with an instructional video to help us get started. The idea of the "game" is to use the words provided on the brightly color-coded cards (so coded to distinguish the parts of speech) to create sentences, building your grammar and storytelling skills in the process.
Liked: This is already put together. It has lots and lots of words for building. It is easily adaptable for my beginning reader and my older kids.
Hhmmm: Some of the word choices seem a bit odd - the way the game is broken down is a bit hard to follow, the video dated, and the "point" of the game somewhat unclear, at least to me.
Buuut: For those who are deep into grammar, or writing studies, this might be of great interest! For those who are more advanced than me, this might make perfect sense as a game!

I do have to mention, because I think it is significant, that this game costs $67 on the website. For us, this would be a significant part of our school budget for something we'd consider an "extra."
If you are interested in this and other Bonnie Terry products, you can find them here.

nature study.

week 3? i think. i've gotta dig up the link for you for the challenge we're doing - getting out and studying Papa's big world. anyway, we love breathing deeply and soaking it all in - especially when the weather's as God-beautiful as it has been.

more science in real life.

it's been a couple weeks, but we still wanted to share these shots from adventures with friends. we met up with a family who'd just moved back to the area do watch the manatees at the Teco power plant. i am sure some environmentalist will have some problem with my finding beauty in this shot, but i don't care. the image itself is cool; i love the contrast of the smokestack (oops: update thanks to a friend - it's STEAM!! now we need to look up how this all works!) against the pure sky. i am awed by man's ability to take what God's given us, and although we often screw it up, we're able to harness the energy He's created and use it to better our lives. most of the time we use it for betterment, anyway.

we love the "socialization" comments and questions we get when strangers find out we're homeschooling. yes, our kids are really deprived. hee,hee! it's a cool thing to be Littlest when your siblings are exploring. you get a front-row seat to watch the adventure. and when they're really cool siblings, they take you along for the fun. .

e was very teary-eyed when i told him he couldn't climb the tree overhanging tampa bay. until i softened up and let him. it's what you do when you're a boy. or a girl! and he was so proud when he could swing over the water like the rest of them. nice hour-long drive home in underwear it was. pants don't travel well when the've been "dipped" in saltwater.

the girls loved the trees, too.

i don't think Blue was too pleased about breaking the rules.


it's so cool when we get to live out our science projects in real-time. we built a rocket to finish out our astronomy study before we dove headlong into botany.

Littlest got thirsty. He drank much of the water we had for our experiment.

E., as usual, took a few climbing breaks.
Blue decided sand was more fun.
Alka-Seltzer didn't so much work for us. We tried vinegar and baking soda (isn't that always the fallback for a homemade experiment?) It bombed, too, and not in the right way. The top of our film cannister kept popping off before we could set our rocket aright. In the end, we just enjoyed watching the film canister explode. After I explained what film canisters were for, back in the old days. Sigh.

not sharing coffee and camera is not well received.