Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chrysalis prayer

It is time for another Chrysalis flight, where many will come and feel the Love of Christ. This is my prayer...

Dear Heavenly Father I pray that this weekend I will used for your glory. Be with these ladies that are coming Lord. surround them with your Holy Spirit. Show them your love. Encourage them. Break down walls; help them to let go of things in their life that are holding them back from you. I pray for healing in their lives. Lord, reveal yourself mightily this weekend. Teach them who you are. That they may not deny your goodness, your love or your Son. I pray for the brokenhearted, that you would heal their hearts. For those who had experienced loss, let them know you see their tears. Lord bless these girls. I pray for this team you have established for such a time as this, for this moment. Minister through them and to them. Let them be your hands and feet, let Christ be seen in each and everyone one of us there. For those giving talks boldness, honesty, clarity of speech and content. Thank you for each testimony you have given. For our lives to be used for your glory; the good and the bad, bearing fruit in your name. I pray for those working behind the scenes. Give them strength and endurance. Eyes to see what needs to be done and obedience to see it through to completion. Bless them for their work O God. Father protect our families who remain at home. Send forth your angels to guide and protect. Keep them safe from all harm intended by the evil one. Let our families draw from your strength. Bless them Lord. Thank you for the leaders. Thank you for their faithfulness. Give them wisdom and understanding. Guide them by your Holy Spirit. Thank you for this weekend. Thank you for lives changed and renewed. For freedom and wings to fly. Praise and Glory be to you alone. In Jesus Name Amen!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Eye and Other Senses

The month of October we have been exploring our senses.
Today we went to the eye doctor to get an eye exam.

The kids enjoyed telling the doctor all about the eye. They found it interesting the different "tests" they had to do especially the one for depth perception. Yet all of it "Was cool!"
I appreciated finding out that their vision is "perfect."

If you have not had your kids eyes checked, take them in. Mine found it to be a fun field trip.

Here are some pictures from our Konos day, at the beginning of the month, where we explored our senses.
My boy cutting up a cow eye ball...

All the kids watching to see what to do next. They each had their own eye.

I love dissection!



The scent revealed.

Touching...with gloves.

Feeling in a bag.

For hearing they listened to sounds and tried to identify them. It was a fun day. I am so thankful to have other families to enjoy learning with.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back to the Y

After months on inactivity, I went to the YMCA tonight.
Its about time I got moving.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Orchard 2008

Today I convinced my husband to go to the orchard. We ended up meeting some friends and enjoyed an afternoon picking apples.

The apple picker...

Look at them apples...


Apple jackpot.

My hubby as Mr. Wilson...

On top of the world...

The kids enjoying a wagon ride...


Apple pie, pumpkin pie and pumpkin seeds are in our immediate future. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008


This started out as a response in facebook but was too long to leave as a comment. So it became a post instead.

On the discussion of home school, we will continue to do so as long as it is working for our family. Hubby and I knew would homeschool within the first year of marriage, long before we had even conceived. One reason being that Hubby grew up next to a homeschool family and they dispelled every myth and fear one could ever have about homeschooling. These kids are the most well rounded socialized people we have EVER met. They are extremely bright. Involved within the community and just great people to be around.

So much has changed in the realm of homeschooling since the days of ding dong ditch, when kids literally had to hide the fact that they were home schooled out of fear the government would take them away. Michigan now has embraced the parents right to educate their children and with that the doors of opportunity have flown open and continue to grow. There are now co-ops, shared teaching, sports for home schoolers, science fairs, group field trips, mentors, music ensembles, choir and symphonic bands...the list is endless. There are used curriculum sales and state wide seminars. There are more curriculum choices than you could ever imagine. Not to mention resources found on the internet, at the library and different organizations.

Other reasons we home school are we feel it the parents responsibility to teach their children. I am not one that cookie cutters every family and says ALL should home school. I think it is a personal choice that each family has to make. Our family has chosen to school at home. We have the freedom to teach our kids what we feel is important. Mainly being our faith. While omitting, at least in the fundamental years, that which we do not believe to be of value or that which we feel is detrimental.

I like that we can individualize their educations. No two children are the same and I love that we can strengthen those things that are of greater interest. We can also spend more time developing those areas of weakness. We can go on field trips galore and turn everyday life experiences into moments of learning. I find that since I have this responsibility of being the sole educator I am very mindful of what is being taught. I discuss in greater detail. I talk to my kids like they are people, with their own thoughts and ideas. I love dialoguing with them about what they think about certain things. Because I know what they are learning or experiencing I am able to reinforce things throughout the day or while driving in the car. I also know what interests they have and make opportunities for them to grow and excel in those areas.

I think so many parents want to be involved more deeply in their kids life and education. I have many friends that are successful in this. One in particular has made it a point to read every evening with her kids and the rewards have been great. She has great readers and writers. It is a time they all look forward to. It is also a time where they can discuss things going on in their world. My biggest pet peeve with public schools is not the teachers, or the kids. It is not the curriculum. It is the other parents. I see far too often parents disengaging themselves completely from their childrens education. It appears that the mentality is school is for learning and it ends there. The church should teach you all you need to know about God and it ends there.

If I were to encourage you, whether you homeschool or not; be involved in your kids lives. Ask them questions about their day. Take interest in what they are learning. Read with them even when they can read for themselves. Take them new places and create new learning experiences. Your enthusiasm or disdain will rub off on them. Find out what your kid is interested in and give them freedom to explore it. And as I mentioned in my previous post, get them outside; enjoying nature. Nature can be one of the best teachers of all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Operation Get Outdoors

Today we declared it Get Outdoors Day. We dressed in layers and headed outside. Subway in hand I told the kids to find a spot to eat our picnic lunch. There were picnic tables near-by but they chose these rocks instead.

From this rock perch we discussed using all our senses to explore.
Then we set off with sketch pads in hand. They could go wherever they wanted and stop to draw something if they liked.
Here is the boy deep in thought, drawing some trees in the maple forest.

Little girl found a spot on a rock and made one of her drawings.

She was super proud of her picture. Which shows all the small trees beneath the taller ones.

Raccoon tracks

Deer tracks.


This is a close up of what they are looking at. A spider and sap on the log. As well as the rings.

We came across a cool observation shed. It had slits that you could see out.

They drew so many different pictures. Trees, woodpecker, squirrel, carvings of a compass...

It was such a great afternoon.

It was a day well spent.

Richard Louv on the Today Show

The Effects of Nature

As a kid I lived outside. I could orient myself and tell time by the sun. My favorite place to be was up in a tree. I felt safe, secure and happy in a tree. The higher the better as I could see more of our world from the perch in my back yard. I am extremely fortunate in the fact that I was born into a family that frequently appreciated the outdoors. We camped at state parks, hiked trails at nature centers and explored different environments on a regular basis. I know I am a richer person because of it.
On my date with my Dad last night we went to see a lecture by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. I am so glad we went.
Our nation is in desperate need of reconnecting with nature. Obesity is on the rise(even with organized sports) more kids than ever are on antidepressants and there is an alarming amount of kids that have been diagnosed with ADHD. I am talking about our children here. We live in a generation that would rather watch a program on TV about nature rather than be in nature experiencing it for themselves. We live in a generation that believes they know more than those who came before, yet they do not know true real life experiences. We are loosing our kids to technology and I think unless some very intentional things happen, nature will be lost to this generation and the ones that follow.
During the lecture the phrase 'in our schools' kept surfacing and research that had shown the effect on our kids when they encountered nature. . There have been studies that show kids who learn by natural light perform better than those who use artificial light. There have been studies that show kids who had one week of outdoor nature experiences scored better on tests. Those who walked in parks; were more relaxed, better focused and performed better on tests. Nature has had huge calming affect on those with ADHD and some studies show it should be included in ADHD therapy. To sum up the research, Kids are happier, healthier and smarter when they experience nature.
The phrase 'in our schools' stuck out to me for many reasons.
1. The schools are under restrictions and pressure. They often do not get the opportunity to get their kids truly outdoors as field trips require planning and funding. Their schedules are restricted to make more time prepping for standardized testing, meaning shorter recesses.
2. I see the effects in my nieces and nephews who are in the school.
3. I am not nor our my kids in the public school. So everything mentioned on the school front I automatically process through the mentality of how can this information be altered to benefit my homeschool.

So how can I take what was discussed and apply it to our home school? I believe I need to get back to nature. I no longer want to be content reading about it in a book. I want to go, explore and see if we can see it live. I want to include at least one half day a week of nature study. Going to different parks; watching the leaves change color and fall to the ground. Hiking trails. Getting knee deep in a pond with a skimming net. Tracking animals. Laying out under the stars. Seeking out different habitats and ecosystems. I want my kids to know how to fish. I want my kids to know how to hunt. I want them to know how to survive in the wild. And I truly believe to do this it will have to be intentional.

Yesterday before the lecture I was having a discussion with my son, age 7. He was asking where I was going to go with my dad. I told him about the author, the book and the authors views. We talked about our families take on TV, computer, books, education, exercise and nature. Then we discussed how other families do not get outside, that their kids are content to watch TV all day. It was about this point that he exclaimed "cool." I mean really doesn't it sound great to watch TV all day. So being ever wise, he proposed a social experiment. He would stay in his room for a week, not talk to anyone, nor go outside or interact with anything living. We talked about what variables would be part of "the experiment." Would my fish stay in my room? No, that would be considered nature. Oh and we should probably cover the window so you can't see outside. And your books, those should probably go to. And if we wanted to make this truly a technology verses nature experiment we should get rid of your toys for the week too. Just you, the TV and video games. Food would be delivered to your room and you could come out only to go to the bathroom.
Sound like a good plan....not to me! But he was all over it. He was ready to start that moment. But rather than a week he quickly decided that a day would be good. Somewhere in his brain he was already counting the cost and isolation for an extended period of time did not sound so pleasent. But a day off of school with the TV, this he thinks he could handle. All in the name of a social experiment.
We called dad for approval and it got pushed to the needs further discussion plate. After further discussion we stil don't know if we are going to let him try it. On one hand what damage could be done in 24 hours? What could be learned? Is it worth it?
Personally, I think he would happily kiss us good-bye. Shut the door and escape into TV oblivion. For about 2-3 hours, then I think he would venture out, just to see what we were doing. Or he would convince his siter to join him. I think he would grasp the concepts of isolation and the effects it has on a person. I think he may also try to play up the fun that video games and TV can offer. I think he would experience lonliness. I think he would want to be outside, especially if he could here others playing outside. I think the experiment has merit but can we achieve the same observations without having to experience it? What do you think?

There is definitely an interesting current and discussion of all things nature in our home this week. One I am glad to be reminded of. I homeschool for a reason. I am not stuck to a desk or a set format for the education of my children. Sometimes I need to be reminded that seat work is not were true education happens.

As Louv said, "Kids in nature are happier, healthier and smarter." Isn't that what every parent wants for our kids? If you do, get your kids outside today. A sense of wonder awaits them.

Oh and one last thing, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU READ LOUV'S BOOK. Last Child in the Woods.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Like a Good Girlscout

Reading Blueberries for Sal , the words 'to store them up for winter' ring through my head. I have been thinking, don't worry I do this daily. I have been thinking about our grandparents. They were of a generation that wanted to be prepared. They had cellars lined with food to get them through the winter. They had root cellars filled with potatoes. They filled their ice chests with meat, both bought and hunted. They canned in harvest. When winter came they had food to see them through.
I know from reading blogs that the art of canning and storing up food is not completely lost in this generation but I do believe it is a dying art. And of those of us who do not can, do we even store up? I have seen a few signs in the last months for around town. It is the governments readiness program. Ready for what? Who knows; floods, hurricanes, natural disasters, health epidemics, economic crisis'. I am not sure what all it covers but I think it has merit. They encourage Americans to be prepared for any kind of emergency, making a kit. Do I have a said kit? Ummm no. I have random supplies scattered EVERYWHERE through out my home. Candles one place, matches in another, flashlight (w/o batteries) that's helpful. Do I have food to sustain us? These are things I think about. I want to be more deligent. I want to be more prepared. Whether it be a power outage, a falling economy or some other unknown, I want to be prepared.
I think it's time I get it done. My girl scout leader would be so proud.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday

Little Miss,

This has been a year of growth. Last year you were extremely shy, not wanting to talk to anyone but your closest family. This year, you have made huge steps. Greeting others, saying thank you and answering questions sent your way. I am so proud of you. I know God is growing you into the young lady He has called you to be. Watching you emerge is been beautiful.

In school you are officially in Kindergarten. With your own school and your own desk. You are a quick learner, soaking everything up. You love words. In your spare time you love to say, spell and write the different words you know. You love books and want to be a librarian when you grow up. Now that you are reading beginning books it is fun to see that love and passion grow. I hope it is a love you never loose.

In school you count to 100 by 1's and 10's. You know all the letters and their sounds. You write well. Reading is emerging and you learn new words everyday. You love science and nature. Especially animals, one of your favorite thing to do is to write animals you see in your animal book. You are ever watchful and on alert.

There are many things I love about you. You are adventurous. You love to explore and try new things. Including ethnic foods. You push yourself to do what others may not even try. Such as climbing the tree in our front year. You have persevered and conquered your goal. I know with your determination you will go far.

You are a great sister. It is fun to watch you and your brother snuggled up reading or watching a movie together. I hope you never forget, he is one of your best friends. Now and for many years to come.

You still love to snuggle up in my lap. As you are growing bigger all the time I know the day will come when you no longer fit. I cherish these moments. The smell of your hair, your giggling body and smiling face. I can not help but kiss you, you are so cute I could eat you up.

You are active. You completed another triathlon this year. You love to run and ride your bike. You and the neighbor girl can ride up and down the sidewalk for hours. You also enjoy to swing and dance. Will you dance, sing or cheer lead when you are older? These are things I wonder. You are so full of potential, I can not wait to see God's plan for your life unfold.

You are beautiful. You are lovely. You are growing. You are strong. You are loved. You are cherished. You are my sweet little girl.

I love you!

Birthday Girl

Birthday Breakfast of pink heart pancakes and sausage

One happy 5 year old

Monday, October 13, 2008

Crane Fest

I mentioned in previous posts that the kids and I were planning on attending the Crane Fest. Will attend we did.
It was such a great, fun and inexpensive way to spend a Fall day. There were so many activities and things to see and do that we spent the large majority of the day there. Here is our day in pictures.

There were many different organizations that brought animals such as this owl.

A peregrine falcon

Here is how you can tell the difference between a hawk and a falcon in flight.

This tortoise was out walking ALL DAY. Whoever said tortoises were slow never met this guy. He literally walked MILES throughout the course of the day.

The local high school had decorated wooden cranes as an art project, we had fun picking out our favorites.

Pirate Crane

Super Crane

Checking out the different rocks at one of the booths.

Looking through one of many different binoculars and scopes to get a better look at the birds.

Little Miss as a butterfly

This is Captain Cattail. He led the kids on a hike and then stopped here to talk about water.

He strongly encouraged the kids to get out and explore. So here is my troupe exploring.

They found this cute little toad.

The hayride.

Shuckin' corn the old fashion way.

Below are the kids making rope. This was probably a highlight of the day.

They made teh ropes the perfect length for jump roping.

The color was fabulous and the sun was shining. Who could ask for anything more?

Around dinner time we settled into our chairs and watched as the cranes came in. It was really cool watching them fly in. There were hundreds by the time we left. They were landing in the water seen below.

Thanks for letting me share our day.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gorgeous Day

Today is such a gorgeous Fall day!
Perfect for apple picking, raking the yard, football or the Crane Fest.

We will be going to the Crane Fest. See this post for more info.

Whatever you do enjoy the day!

Game Night Quotes

"I can't wait for the runs."

"That's a compliment in a very negative way."

"RACKO!" "Nooooope."

"Your pants are talking to me."

"Does anyone else hear the party in his pants?"


"Pure. Madonna?" 'Like a Virgin'

"Skip Sarah."

"You are sooo mean!"

"That cake is the bomb diggity."

"You did a Kristin."

"Hi. My name is Tom."

"What would you do if...."

Thanks ladies for a fantabulously fun evening. I no longer need an ab workout this weekend. I think I laughed so hard they may even be sore tomorrow.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

15 Minutes

This the amount of time I am going to allot myself both today and tomorrow for the computer.
With a house to clean, kids to pay attention to and distractions galore coming from the computer.
15 minutes is all I am going to allow.
We shall see how this goes.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I am "The Perfect Mother"

Facebook told me so...
I had to laugh at this Quiz my friend sent me on facebook. It actually pegged me quite well. I guess I am the perfect mother. Hey...don't pop my bubble I am basking in my brief moment of glory.

Here is what it said:
You were born for motherhood. You gave birth naturally- no drugs should ever be in your system. You are earth-friendly. You believe in education and knowledge for your family. You would love to home-school. You bake cookies and whip up fabulous meals. Your children are the most precious gift you could give to the world.

This Morning

ME: We have a dentist appointment today.
DD: I am going to get dumb again.
ME: Do you mean numb?
DD: Yeah numb.