Sunday, June 29, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

A large part of the week was spent working our our movie project with our homeschool group.  Kessiah and Jenessa wrote the script and last week was devoted to filming and editing.  It was a busy week...I could tell the kids were more tired than usual!  It was a fun project and we ended on Saturday evening watching the production.

It was the last week of swimming lessons.  Sienna moved up and will be in the last class.  Logan will repeat his class.  Mason will move up (he will be in the same class as Logan)  Corbin struggled the first 4 lessons with going to class, but the last 4 he did great.  He will repeat his class.

Saturday morning Ryan took the girls to go set up some flags to commemorate the 19 firefighters that died here last summer.  Such a tragic really makes me grateful for those people who do those jobs that are so dangerous yet so needed.

I may lose my mind by the middle of November...I signed 5 of my kids up for soccer this fall!  I wasn't going to sign Corbin up this year but every time I started talking about soccer he insisted that he was going to play too!  I probably won't even attempt (even if it is possible) to get him to practices...we'll just get him to the games and he will be fine.  It will be crazy enough trying to get 4 kids to practices...last year I could only get 2 kids to practices because of their we'll see how it goes!

Friday, June 27, 2014

8th Grade, 6th Grade, 3rd Grade, 1st Grade Curriculum Plans 2014-2015

It's time to think about the next school year!  This is what we are planning for next year (2014-2015).  My 4 oldest will be involved with an online charter school in some way. 

8th Grade: Kessiah

Kessiah has really enjoyed Williamsburg Intermediate and plans to do another year with them.  She enjoyed the interaction in the online classes and the project based curriculum. 

It is a little crazy for me to think about the fact that this will be her last year before she starts seminary.  After this year she will need to get to seminary by 6:00 a.m.!  And early morning seminary will continue at this house for about the next 10 years.

6th Grade: Jenessa

Jenessa will start Williamsburg Intermediate, she has been watching her big sister all year and is anxious to try this out for herself. 

3rd Grade: Sienna

I have enrolled Sienna in an online charter school that offers quite a bit of flexibility.  I can have her do math and language arts through the charter school and do anything else on my own with her.  I am considering having her do science with the charter school.  This will be new for both of us...hoping for a quick learning curve!

Sienna will continue to participate in our homeschool group (all the kids are involved with this) and homeschool coop (Sienna, Logan, and Mason are involved with this one).

Our coop topics this year will be animals with backbones, ships/planes, Native Americans, Western Movement, Animals without backbones, First aid, Civil War, Depression, Art

Our LEAP topics will be Art, Animals/Habitats, Weather, Economics, Variety Show, Crime Solvers, Architecture, and Native Americans

1st Grade: Logan

I have enrolled Logan in the same online charter school as Sienna.  I like the fact that I can just do math and language arts with them and continue my own thing with science and history.

Since I am not going to sign him up for history or science I have made a plan of topics to cover with him (and the younger boys will tag along).  We will cover animals, transportation, weather, bugs, and the body.  I made the topics go along with either what we are learning about in coop or LEAP so we will just cover them a little deeper.  There are a couple of months at the end of the school year that I don't yet have a plan for...I just didn't feel inspired with anything yet.


Mason is technically old enough for kindergarten, but he has such a late summer birthday that I am not going to push him.  He will be old enough to be in a group with our homeschool group...he has actually been participating with them for a few months.  And he will start going to coop with Logan and Sienna.


Corbin is preschool age and is eager to work on educational activities when his siblings are so I will have things available for him when he wants them.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

Corbin has done GREAT in swimming lessons this week.  He has gone willingly to class and has stayed with his class the whole time...and has participated.  He has been a new kid!

It was another great week at the library summer reading program.  It was a balloon guy and he was a fun entertainer.  Both Logan and Corbin had the chance to participate in the program and bring home a fun balloon hat.  Logan was part of "The Three Little Pigs" and Corbin was part of a retelling of "There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly"

We went again to the "Movie Under the Stars" again.  It seemed easier this time with Ryan with us.

Saturday was a busy day...especially since we didn't have anything on the calendar!  Ryan and Kessiah helped clean the church on Saturday morning.  It was the Young Women/Men's turn...we've almost missed that week before...but Kessiah was determined to make it this time!  We had a good Saturday morning job time...I redid the Saturday job chart this week to hopefully make some things run smoother.  And while they did go better...I found a few mistakes/changes that I need to fix...I guess that is normal!  After lunch Ryan took the 4 oldest swimming at the Pronghorn Ranch pool...they are trying to get some time in there before we sell our house!  Ryan, Kessiah and I ran some errands and made it back it time to take the family to the High Priest Social.  (I love it when someone makes dinner for my family!)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

On Monday, we were sitting outside on the back porch when Corbin came walking toward me with something in his hands.  As he got closer he said "I have a frog!"  And boy, was he excited!  He had caught a frog by himself.  He wasn't very happy when it got away...I had to go and help him try to find it...which we didn't!

Other animal news...Kessiah caught a lizard (we have a lot of those around...but they are rarely caught).  And we found a baby bunny in our garden area 3 times...the third time was the last straw for me.  We took that bunny back to our old neighbors house!  She is a funny lady who sets out carrots for all the rabbits that are around.

Jenessa got to help with the magic show at the library this week.

On Saturday Ryan drove a float in the Prescott Valley Days parade...the girls went with him.  Jenessa and Sienna rode on the trailer in their soccer shirts (the float had a bunch of kids in sports uniforms) Kessiah drove in the truck with Ryan and squirted people with water guns.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What I Am Learning During our "Spending Freeze"

I had been talking about moving into a bigger home for about 9 months before we moved to this house in February...I could tell that our current home wasn't working well with homeschooling our 6 kids.  We had talked about doing some remodeling with our home, or building a new home, and there was a home nearby that was for sale.  At the very end of December we learned that some people we go to church with were being transferred out of state and needed to sell their home.  It seemed like it would be a good fit for our family and I felt really good about the move.  Unfortunately, we had to buy the house without the selling our current home first.

We have been on a self imposed spending freeze since moving into our new home...while waiting for our other house to sell.  It is going much slower than we had is under contract now.  But it is a contingency offer (they do have an offer on their house) and it doesn't close until the end of July.  So, we are just praying that everything goes well for them so that it will go through on our end!  We decided not to try to sell it while we were still in it...that option was really overwhelming for me.  I didn't know how I could possibly keep it clean enough to show at a moments notice and make it look like 8 people did not live there.

Since moving...and owning 2 homes...we have had to make some adjustments to our spending habits.

1.  I am learning that we spent a lot of money of stuff we didn't need!  Not that we are big spenders...but I realize more than ever that there were unnecessary purchases.

2.  I am learning that we spent more for groceries than I realized.  While we've never been really big spenders at the grocery store and I always shop the sales...I never really worried about how much I was spending.  My kids are learning to say "If we have room in the budget this week can we buy______"

3.  I am learning that we ate more junk food than we needed to.  I actually already knew that.  Ryan is a wonderful husband and does some of the grocery shopping for me...however, he does have a habit of throwing some extra things in the cart that I wouldn't normally buy.  So, when Ryan or the girls get the munchies on the weekend...they have been opening up some cans of my freeze dried fruit that I have had for several years.  I guess it's a good way to rotate it and see what we like!  Kessiah has also made several sweet treats when she "needs" something and I have made an effort to make more treats.

4.  You don't have to spend money to have fun!  Especially when you have a bunch of baby chicks, ducklings, and kittens.  Our new pets have provided lots of entertainment that has helped a lot when we have had to say "no" to different activities.

5.  You can get through Easter without a new outfit!  We have always bought the girls new dresses for Easter.  I thought about it during the month before Easter but never said anything to the girls and they never said anything either...until we were on our way to church on Easter morning!  It surprised me that no one had mentioned anything before then about not having new dresses.  There was some disappointment expressed, but not as much as I expected.

6.  It is hard to say "no"  I guess I've usually been in a position where I can say "yes"  I found myself saying "no" to Jenessa more than anyone else...usually at the grocery store...I made her cry a few times...which of course made me feel bad.  She has gotten much better...but the first couple of months were hard.

7.  I spent too much on "disposables" ...paper towels, plastic baggies, etc.  They are easy and convenient.  I have been focusing more on using dishtowels instead of paper towels and plastic leftover containers instead of plastic baggies.  I've even stopped taking snacks with us in baggies and using plastic containers instead most of the time.

8.  I am learning how important a menu plan is!  I have always been pretty good at having some kind of plan...but now it is even more important because I don't have any freezer "junk food" to fall back on if I get lazy!  I have done some freezer cooking in the past but I haven't done any since we moved here...maybe I'll have to try that again.

9.  I am really glad that I had some food storage put away.  I have been using it...because I have just been buying what we need for the current next couple of weeks and still trying to stay within my new budget. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summer Devotionals

We recently finished memorizing The Living Christ with help from some free printables from  This was our second time going through this...I really like these printables.  Kessiah used this for her Personal Progress Faith Value Project.

So far this summer I have been sharing thoughts from the most recent General Conference talks in the Ensign.  It has been a good way for us to review and discuss some of the counsel that we heard.  I have enjoyed sharing my thought with my children and the discussions that have happened.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Weekly Wrap up

It's been a busy week around here...although that is really nothing unusual!

On Tuesday, we enjoyed our first library program for the summer.  One of our favorites was there...Wildman Phil.  He always brings some interesting critters for the kids to look at and explore.

Kessiah had Girl's Camp this week starting on Tuesday afternoon.  Ryan joined her beginning on Wednesday.  They have been missed around here this week...but I'm sure they have been having fun.  Ryan texted me this picture of Kessiah on the zipline...she has been looking forward to doing this again since last year!

Swimming lessons started this week.  I had successfully enrolled Sienna and Logan, but I had Mason and Corbin on a waiting list...happily they both got in!  Corbin is a bit of a stubborn turkey though and won't participate with his class until the very end of each session.

One day as we were driving south from our home, 6 pronghorn antelope crossed the road in front of was pretty exciting.  I couldn't grab my phone fast enough to get a picture while they were crossing in front of us.

Thursday evening Jenessa talked me into taking everyone to the Movie Under the Stars at the Civic Center...they were showing The Lorax.  After we got back from swimming lessons, we ate a quick dinner, got our pajamas on and headed out.  It went pretty well...although I got a little overwhelmed at the end when Corbin wanted to run off and play and Mason wanted to go to the bathroom.

Friday, we arrived at the theatre for the summer movie program and Mason told us he didn't have any shoes on!  Ahhhhh!  After several minutes of tears, yelling, and discussion about what to do we realized we had an extra pair of flip-flops in the car that belonged to someone we had babysat earlier in the week.

Saturday morning I dropped the boys off at a friend's house and went on a mother daughter Activity Day hike with Jenessa and Sienna.  It was a fun outing.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Life on Our Little Homestead

Ryan got a real gate put in...much easier than the old wooden gate we had been using just propped up.

He also got our playset up and ready to use.  And we took down the trampoline that was left here and put ours up.  Now it really looks like our backyard!

Our chickens are getting bigger...but sadly, one of them died.  They are still fun to watch although they haven't been the center of attention as much since the kittens showed up!

I have taken a much more active role in taking care of the garden this year.  I am excited to see some blossoms and small squash growing.  There are some blossoms on some tomato plans.  But many of our plants seem to be sickly looking...I'm disappointed since I had hoped for a great harvest.  I'm hoping that I just need to be more patient.  I will definitely need to learn more about this new hobby of mine!  I did sneak a little strawberry and a pea pod yesterday...tasty!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What we read in May 2014

I've been working my way through a few ebooks that I got from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle in April.

Advanced Penny Pinching had a lot of good ideas...most of which I already do.  It did make me think about trying to buy nonfood items at Walgreens to see if I can get them cheaper.  It also inspired me to activate my account that we started clear back in 2002!  Of course, the registered credit cards were all expired.  Maybe if I really use will help pay for some college expenses for these kiddos!

Another one I read was The Busy Homeschool Moms Guide to Daylight.  It was a good book about organizing time and space but geared specifically for a homeschool mom.  I am already a pretty organized person who always has a routine/ most things in this book were not new ideas for me.  I did appreciate the reminder about the main reason I am homeschooling...and that is the relationships we have with one another in our family.

Steady Days:  A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood had
some great reminders for me about the example that I am setting for my children and how my attitude affects them.  Enthusiasm is something that I would like to work seems that too often in my blessed and busy state I don't show much excitement and contentment about my job as a mother.

Honestly, I skimmed through most of The Pursuit of Motherhood, but I did enjoy the chapter about the healthy mom. It helped to reinforce in my mind the changes that I am trying to make to be healthier.

I also read a "real" book...Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze...excellent book.  I borrowed it from the library, but I would love to own this one!

Kessiah finished the Seekers series by Erin Hunter...the next one doesn't come out until next year. After looking around on the internet, I made a list of books/series that I thought she might like.  She choose to try the MYTH series by Robert Asprin.  She is enjoying it even she pointed was written a long time ago (in the late 70's!)  Later...Kessiah decided to stop reading this series as she felt like there were some morally inappropriate things going on.

Jenessa enjoyed a nonfiction book called the White House Kids, she found it interesting to read about the children of the presidents. She also finished the Divide series by Elizabeth Kay.

Sienna has enjoyed the Blast to the Past series (I like these because they are history related) and 3rd Grade Detectives this month.

The boys have enjoyed every book that has been read to them!  And I have been better about reading to them before bed...which they love and it makes me feel good too!

We are well into the summer reading program at the library and our family summer BINGO program.